All of us have or will experience challenges in life. These challenges mold and bind us together to create potentially a more well-rounded individual. Change is constantly happening.
Reflecting on my life as a child, I interacted well with girls. We played ball. We mud wrestled. It is all in good play. We trained for a potential invasion by the Soviet Union. I had an overactive imagination back then!
So bottom line the 1980’s was a wonderful time to be alive. I rarely had a bad day. Being that my dad is from East Tennessee moved to Florida in 1969, he met my mom while delivering pizza. So I have spent much of my time in Florida particularly around Clearwater and St. Petersburg. I experienced both the laid-back country life and the more open life. Family reunions, moonshine, hayrides. Fairs. Swimming in the ocean, teenagers and senior citizens enjoying their lives despite difference in age, bikini contests and oil wrestling matches. We lived our lives and didn’t beat each other up over political correctness and moral busybodies.
Fast forward to 2018. I was attending a risque art show and pudding wrestling event at Synergy Tattoo in Knoxville. The pudding wrestling was an add-on to serve as a fundraiser for a domestic violence shelter. Everything went well. I mainly came for the wrestling match. But out of I estimate 75 attendees, about 50 were women, But the art show helped to expand my horizons and throw it back into Jezebel’s face. “You are too good for this!” So the following Saturday, after some pictures and video were posted on one of the participants Facebook accounts, several women who didn’t even attend the show came out of the woodworks and they attacked her. I observed this online attack throughout the day. Eventually, the body shaming became so vicious that she removed the pictures and video to prevent further attacks. No good deed goes unpunished!
As I entered my teenaged years, it was generally fine. There were a few occasions out of curiousity some of the boys and girls would take turns showing themselves off. But for some reason (ha!), the girls wanted to see me more than the other boys. But once again, it was just kids being silly and learning about life as they go through their phase.
Between August, 1988 (7th grade) to August, 1991 (sophomore), I grew from 4’11, 89 pounds to 5’6″, 130 pounds. Then I stopped growing all through the rest of high school despite being able to eat 15,000 calories a day. But I also did 5,000 pushups, 5,000 crunches, ran about 50 miles a week and woke up at 5 every morning. 5 has been showing up repeatedly in my life lately. What does that mean?
I have enjoyed playing sports since I was 5. If I had to pick a few big years in my life, 1979, 1981, 1985 and 1988 come to mind. 1992 and 1998 were my favorite years personally in the 90’s. But both decades were enjoyable.
This country beginning with 9/11 has been going through A Dark Night of the Soul. I personally have had my own experience with this. As it relates to modern times, we are constantly busy. It is difficult to form deep, lasting relationships. 2020 certainly has driven a nail in the coffin. I have struggled with this particular aspect of modern society as well. But even more so, my lack of success in establishing a steady, well paying career, having a stable personal life has wrecked havoc on me. I started in 2011 having these desires for a wife after enjoying being single my whole life. I encountered around 90 straight nights of attacks by the Jezebel Spirit. Looking back on it, I helped to turn me into a more aggressive and assertive person and this will be especially helpful in the future battles to come. The other result of these attacks is that it helped to humanize me a bit whereas much of my life, I acted like The Professor or Spock.
I have for much of my life functioned like a computer. Highly logical, I am able to compute calculations into the trillions without using a calculator or even pen and paper. My ability to run multipication tables or calculate the number of years it would take to travel from one end of the universe to the other (approximately 42 trillion years if a space shuttle was traveling at its normal speed). The universe itself is around 14 billion years old. I rarely write anything down. With my deep love of anything historical, I can recall immense details no matter if it was 2,000 years ago or 200 years ago.
However, this has along with a conservative personality in a conservative culture combined with hearing loss creates severe challenges. I have to lipread to understand a person. Therefore masks and people walking all over the place while talking creates hardship. I have to memorize lyrics and then replay the lyrics when I listen to a song. I have memorized around 2,000 songs. I can recall entire movies from start to finish. I can recall entire books, magazine and newspaper articles even if I hadn’t actually read them in 30-40 years. I can also look at a picture and accurately tell you which decade or century it was in without having any additional information to go on.
I always did well interacting with tomboys and plain looking girls. I do well interacting with people in a small group setting where we discuss business, politics, philosophy, and just about any other topics.
Where I struggled was specifically this: being able to initiate and establish well rounded conversations with beautiful girls particularly cheerleaders and the more glamourous kind of women. It has been said men can lose their minds when they get around beautiful women. I believe it! My mind kept wondering if they would be interested in going out with a hearing impaired boy who wasn’t totally sure what he wanted to do when he grew up. Why date me when you can date the quarterback or the guy who is going to Vanderbilt? I as a teenager and young adult believed based on my limited experience with women in informal social settings (didn’t go to parties and didn’t date in high school or college), that women preferred the tall, handsome men with money and all the things that money could buy. As for me, I never made more than $25,000 in a year.
So in a nutshell, subconsiously I believed that the majority of women were essentially gold diggers. I now realize I was wrong. In retrospect, I wish I had a sister growing up. I am not comfortable talking about personal issues especially sexual matters. I am a man of the past. So I had to turn to my female friends over the years to help sort out this confusion and then expand my own horizons through experience and turning the tables.
My conserative background combined with hearing loss and limited social interactions caused me to develop tunnel vision. I was seeing through a glass darkly. But in fairness, I was also being influenced by the surrounding culture as we all are. It is a culture that constantly criticizes women for what they look like, what they wear, how much money they should make and other issues. A man is never criticized for weighing 300 pounds or more. That is considered a good thing given today’s athletes. A man will never be criticized for the clothes he wears. A woman however will be jumped on if she weighs over 130 pounds or under 100 pounds. She will be criticized for wearing a burka, bikini, lingerie, business suit with a skirt that is above the knee, and every other kind of clothing.
One of my cousins converted to Islam a few years ago. When she was a teenager, she dressed like an average teenager would. Yet at certain times, she would be criticized for showing too much skin. Yet after her conversion, people say she dresses too modestly or is oppressed. Yet when she would take trips to Egypt where her husband is from, they would say she is dressed appropriately. You can’t win!
Not too long ago, I witnessed an interesting contrast occur. A man who definitely worked out was walking around with a mask on in a Kroger. He like millions or perhaps billions of people have bought into fear of a virus if it has killed is blown way out of proportion. On the other hand, I also witnessed a Muslim woman with her child walking around with her face showing. Of course, I thought she was beautiful. But how rare to see that. In my experience being in Gatlinburg, Tennessee around a year ago, they would get many visitors from the Middle East as well as Amish, Europeans, etc… It was interesting seeing this melting pot of people all peacefully co-exisiting in a small town in the mountains of East Tennessee. However the Muslim women always kept their faces covered. They generally according to social customs and religious doctrines say the women cover themselves up to protect them from potential sexual predators and rapists. By not seeing a woman’s face and body, a man will not be tempted to sin and inevitably commit a further crime against the woman like rape. I once told a man who was with his wife that the clothes will not protect her if a man actually did try to murder or rape her. I suggested that she should carry a gun or knife.
So basically modern culture portrays women in negative ways in both western societies and more traditional societies. Men can have a fragile ego and fear stumbling in many ways. But these stumbling blocks can’t be fixed by making laws because laws don’t address the interal shortcomings that are related to the heart and soul.
Thankfully, as I moved from my 30’s to 40’s, and gained more real world experience and expanded my horizons (as opposed to relying on distortions and double standards prevelant in modern media), I have pushed my boundaries further. I no longer have these hangups. I have done several things to push boundaries and get out of my shell. I have done some photography that involves nude and partially clothed models. I used to wear baggy swim trunks. In recent years, I have tried on speedos, thongs and even went nude at Hippie Hollow near Austin, Texas. When I told a few of my Texas friends (and I have around 20-30 mostly as a result of working on Ron Paul’s campaign in 2008), they were shocked. They didn’t imagine a guy like me doing that. But I needed it.
I know of Christians who have had affairs, divorces, having children out of wedlock, bickering, arguing about music and even churches breaking up over politics. But if I do some photography with models or go to a party once or twice a year, it is not Christian-like?
No wonder The Lord withdrew me from the church a number of years ago. He wanted me to have an outsider’s perspective for once and to not be tainted by the squabbles going on inside.
Hyprocrisy abounds in our world. For around 40+ years, it was a maze and trap all in one. Thankfully, I have managed to sort through this maze. As I go forward on my journey, if I had to compile a list of people that I can count on as friends and allies in my struggle against Satan and his minions, the first ten people that I would want on my team are women. No wonder Satan and Jezebel tried to harm my relationship with women. I am no longer burdened by the ways of the world. I am free in Christ!