by the support given. I can't think of another site where i have not had to trawl through an onslaught of cruel, immature and disheartening comments to find those representative of kindness, honesty, understanding and wisdom. So, thank you all for existing. When the world seems dark and desperate, I take great comfort in knowing i'm not the only one trying to light a few candles.
That being said, I feel I could do with some advice. I have no living role model or mentor to ask and no friends who's advice has resonated within me. I wish not to whinge or whine, for it got me no further along the path in my youth than it has crossing the threshold into adulthood. I none the less am, as all seven billion of us are, a victim of circumstance. I was raised by a single mother from birth, helped by my grandparents. My Grandmother did much of the raising, my Grandfather less - excluding his wisdom of learning to laugh at yourself as well as many interesting stories (as all Grandfathers should). The only other male role model was my Uncle but he lived too far away to see frequently. I feel this lack has caused me a few problems; I never enjoyed sport as a child and always felt an 'outsider' with my peers. I still do to a large degree. I have never been good with the fairer sex for anything but friendship and feel constantly disheartened to watch friends fall in and out of love. At 23 years old I can appreciate I am still too young to worry about it, yet that doesn't stop it from getting to me. I feel I must have something wrong with me (another almost given trait in men of my age in this position, just google "23 never had a girlfriend"). I believe the problem is I have not learned how to be a man. I've learned how to be a Simon but in Simon something is missing.
This has caused a lot of negative thinking. Being bullied in school has left it's wounds and I have not stopped licking them since. The main thing that got to me is (I have read a post on this on this site and the responses were great) was the fun made of my todger. Little Simon, as you have already deduced, is a grow-er rather than a show-er and it has been ridiculed during high school despite it being within the range deemed 'normal'. Not only do I feel I should be unashamed of what blessings have been bestowed upon me via the genetic lottery but also that I wouldn't exchange a fragment of my character, a slither of my intelligence nor an ounce of the goodness in my heart to go by the name of "Long-Schlong Fill-Her". It is what it is, and although probably not worthy of a statue built in it's honor, is none the less capable of being the one half of mutual pleasure, the ying to her yang, the tool God gave me to achieve in her the glorious look of a mouse trying to whistle.
But still it doth persist in the shadows of my subconscious, the words they did say that fueled the bully within my mind - "You could do with an extra inch", "What's that gonna do?", "Why don't you text the Oracle and ask why you have such a small penis?" Nice one. You will never please a woman. Turn gay by default or just live the rest of your life alone, for you are nothing more than a disappointment. That is what I told myself, for years. Gay would be great, would solve many a problem considering my lack of manliness has led most to assume I am. Made me think I must be. I can appreciate what a handsome man looks like. I can appreciate the visual splendor of the Northern lights, the majesty of the great outdoors, the power of a fighter jet. But I really don't want to make love to them.
May I order a side dish of anxiety to go with my depression? Of course, but best you see a counselor as well. Done.
Which, along with a few other factors, is what happened. Due to an uncontrollable benefactor of misery in recent months, I was diagnosed with depression, anxiety and possibly OCD (in context to my thinking patterns) and have been signed off work. I am on SSRI's which haven't helped a great deal. They did however ruin my back as the side effect of Euphoria grew to full body muscle lock down leaving me without the ability to lift weights. On a different drug (still SSRI) I now have constant hunger, which is never good in a serious emotional dip, as I'm now almost as fat as I once was. Such is why I'm looking for advice. If you have read this far and still feel you can persist in throwing the wisdom of your life experience into my world, by answering my following questions, then God bless your immortal souls. I'm hoping at least you can all appreciate the courage it took me to post such personal issues on a public forum.
1) How can I man up? I don't feel man-ish, I feel boy-like. I don't know where to find a good mentor? Do I need one? What role models do you guys look up to and how do you utilize their knowledge? Iv'e received advice from women from most of my life to the point I don't feel I even think like a man. I want to be my own beast.
2) I can't run or lift weights for the time being. What exercises are optimal for losing fat and building muscle now without being in a wheel chair later? My spine is ever so slightly twisted and the muscles have locked down on nerves surrounding it. It took a few years to sort out last time and it will probably take a while this time too. To look at oneself with a sense of resentment is about as manly as menstruation, in my understanding.
3)If we all (I hope) have had doubts and insecurities about ourselves, how do I tame the voice reminding me of those? Getting on the saddle seems like a good option but the voice remains, screaming in my mind, "Every horse will laugh at you, just like They used to".
4)I'm dealing with my depression. It's hard work. I wouldn't wish it on Hitler's ghost. If you haven't had it (As in clinical depression/MDD) you will probably struggle to empathize. If you have had it then I'm sorry to hear it. Nothing hurts more or kills you slower than an invisible wound within your soul. The meds don't work brilliantly. They have essentially chemically castrated me. Does anyone know a good way to combat this? Sex drive IS drive. It inspires one to get out of bed just as much as it does to take someone back in it with you. I want my mojo back...
5) What can I do to wake up and think, "I matter. I can achieve great things. I am principled, kind and caring. What they say against me, they say against the goodness in me. I am above such slander, I have every right to be here. I shall not apologise for being alive, only for my mistakes. And from these mistakes I shall cultivate great wisdom, I will shine light upon which is dark, show compassion without restraint and be ever stronger for it. For I am a good man".
Right now I feel like a child who has walked into a room of men, pulling on their shirts and looking up into their eyes and saying "Teach me how to play grown-ups. Oh shoot, I just wet myself"...
To the extent I'm terrified someone will recognise my name style of writing, from work or wherever, and tell everyone I know - giving them more ammunition to make me feel awful, whether that's their intent or not.
Regards - Simon
*footnote* I imagine much of this has been asked before, possibly not in an introduction. If Iv'e missed the knowledge in my searching then please link me. The personal touch does however help. Thankyou
1, 3, 4, and 5: initiation into manhood (see the New Warriors AoM group for the main initiator these days), and regular hanging out with the guys (see the same group for the kind where you get to deal with issues you're struggling with, but also see the Freemasonry group, or Knights of Columbus, or something less formal).
2: what are your physical limitations? And what exercise facilities to you have access to?
4: see my blog post on depression for some fixes I found when I was clinically depressed.
Best of luck.
I can't squat, deadlift, bench press or anything I was used to. I'm a member of a gym with all the trimmings (from weights to all manner of cardio equipment). Increasing metabolism is essential and only really done by building muscle. I've googled the living heck out of it and have found nobody thus far in my predicament.
Thanks for your advice, it is appreciated and currently being investigated.
Regards - Simon
Why can't you squat, dead-lift, or bench press? Is it just that you can't bench press much? Then bench press less. I started with just the bar.
All of those exercises require my back. If my back is fine it isn't noticed, when it's not then every lifting and pushing motion is compromised. I started low and worked up but now i cant squat, bench or lift with any weight added without feeling like I'm being stabbed. Pilates and Yoga it may have to be.
Bench press doesn't require back. But... whatever helps you.
How did you hurt your back? What did the doc say about making it stronger?
Damn. That's a lot of big questions. "Manning-up" isn't about feeling -- it is about doing. It is an action, not a state of being. You can feel more manly by doing stuff that makes you feel more manly. Don't wait around for the feeling, and then get started. Feeling like a man is a side effect of acting like one. Earn the feeling.
I don't know if you need a mentor or not, and I have no idea where you'd get one. I suppose this site is as good as any if you can't find someone close by. Your grandfather was probably more of a mentor than you think he was. Men from his day were doers, not talkers. Look at what he did, not at what he said. Did he have a life worthy of respect? His stories may have been more than just stories ... they may have been lessons.
Everybody has that inner-voice that kicks them in the teeth every once in a while ... or constantly. I'm hard on myself. But, I'm hard on everybody, so its only fair. (My inner monologue argues with itself. "Nice going, dumbass." "Can it, Bauer." I'm both hard on myself, and a stubborn ass. Heh.)
That inner monologue is a good thing if you need a kick in the teeth to get you going -- which I often do. Not good if the kick is so effective that it takes you out. Your inner monologue isn't motivating you, it's taking you out of the game. You're beating the shit out of yourself. If you're going to get beat-up ... at least let the world do it. Don't do it for them.
You need to either find a way to get your inner monologue to shut-up, or learn not to take it so seriously that it incapacitates you. In my experience, the best way to shut-it-up is to prove it wrong. The key is to keep going in spite of your inner monologue -- or just to spite your inner monologue. When your inner voice kicks you in the teeth ... kick it back.
As for your girl-problem. You need to get yourself straight first. You're not really together enough to introduce a girl into the equation. Chicks rarely uncomplicate things. You don't need the added burden of maintaining a girlfriend at the moment. I don't know if you're gay or not ... you're either attracted to dudes, or you're not attracted to dudes. If you are, admit it to yourself. If not, never let the thought enter your mind again. No need to gay-bash yourself.
If you're a grower rather than a shower ... introduce her to it grown. Don't waste your time worrying yourself about stuff you can't change. You have enough worries with the stuff you can change.
I have no experience with depression, SSRIs, etc., so I'm not going to give you advice on that stuff. My understanding is that those medicines have a lot of side effects that really suck. If I were you, I'd re-evaluate whether they're worth the hassle. I also have no answers for exercises with physical disabilities.
Thank you for the very well thought out reply. I'm happy in what I'm attracted to, but being told you're wrong when you haven't found the voice needed to fight back makes things confusing. A case of, "I wasn't confused until they told me I was confused!"
It came down to me never learning to stick up for myself and half of my internal monologue shows resentment for that. You are clearly right about fighting it. As it's become more difficult to beat that as opposed to what the rest of life throws at me, vanquishing it's hold will only serve to make me stronger. When it quotes other people, people I don't even really care about, who have made me feel like shit for most of my life, it somehow becomes harder to face.
Such is my intention to finally fight back and within only an hour of posting I have had some solid advice from three people.
Ha, as for my disability. It's just an exceptionally bad back for a man my age. I should have never climbed that tree, or at least not have fallen out of it. It means I can't squat, press or lift - until it has been sorted. I doesn't mean I have a wider choice of places to park my car.
Regards - Simon
If you wished to understand depression better then this explains it better than anything else I've seen. http://www.akimbocomics.com/?p=573
Nice job, Jack. Lots of good stuff here.
That was quite the doozy but I'll try what to help in what way I can. Let's start with your questions:
How can I man up? I don't feel man-ish, I feel boy-like. I don't know where to find a good mentor? Do I need one? What role models do you guys look up to and how do you utilize their knowledge?
Yes, a role model is important for any man, yourself included. If you are religious turn to your faith and look towards Jesus as a role model (or Mohammed, or Buddha, or whatever faith you believe in). Also, I highly recommend reading Brett and Kate's new book Manvotionals. Buy it if you haven't already. It's essentially one large work composed of the philosophy of masculinity. It has exerpts from great men like Socrates, Plato, Abraham Lincoln, and Winston Churchill (among others of course). It would really come in handy for you. I take inspiration from it and I know you would too. I also suggest forming a Cabinet, as outlined in this article from the main site. Start small, with only a few men that you can really utilize the knowledge and masculinity of. Then down the road increase your Cabinet's size. Forming a cabinet will certainly help you. If you want to feel manly I think these are good starting points. Perhaps you could also do small things to feel more masculine- for example, perhaps start going to a real barbershop instead of a crappy salon. Get a straight razor shave. Or start using a safety razor to shave yourself. Start doing manly stuff and feeling manly will follow soon after.
What exercises are optimal for losing fat and building muscle now without being in a wheel chair later?
Your predicament is truly a tough one. If you want to keep the pounds off without exercise, it starts with diet. I suggest researching (and consideration of) a diet called the Paleo Diet. I won't explain it in detail because that's for you to figure out. But it will help keep your weight manageable (I think. But I'm not a diet expert so do your own research). If you can, ride a bike. If you don't have a bike, get one. Go for (long) walks because you can't run. If you don't want to ride a bike outdoors ride a stationary one somewhere. Maybe try resistance workouts- workouts where you use your own body weight against yourself (examples are crunches and pull-ups). Do research on that too so you can determine if it's feasible for you or not. But start all this with a diet change then go into workouts.
If we all (I hope) have had doubts and insecurities about ourselves, how do I tame the voice reminding me of those?
As lame as this answer may sound, you just have to conquer it. Build your willpower up so you can defeat those voices. Basically, man up about it and conquer your fears. BUT, be sure about one thing:
"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear."- Mark Twain (emphasis mine)
What I'm trying to get at is that those voices may be there, but you just have to learn to get the best of them before they get the best of you. Climb your mountain and conquer it.
Does anyone know a good way to combat this?
Nope, sorry. Can't help you on this one. Other guys on here will probably tell you to jerk it and/or look at porn. Personally, I won't recommend that because my faith condemns it and I am a man of my faith. You're on your own for this one. Sorry.
What can I do to wake up and think...
Set goals and achieve them. Big goals, but not goals that are impossible to attain. For example, I want to be the President of the United States someday (yes, a big, impossible dream which I just said not to do). But right now, I just want to be president of my university's student body, which is completely attainable. I wake up every day with a hunger for that office and with a drive to get there. I want that office incredibly badly and I'll do almost anything to get there. So I say set goals for yourself. Goals you can achieve. Here's one: Set a goal to accomplish the 30 Days to a Better Man Challenge. I think this will be an excellent starting point for you to start feeling more self worth. It will also make you feel more masculine by the end. If you're serious about wanting to fix everything you laid out in your post, I say give this a shot. Keep a journal of your 30 days so you know exactly what you did and how you did it.
Lastly, see a therapist if you haven't already. They're there for a reason and they're willing to help. Give them a try too.
Thank you for your response. I have indeed considered the paleo diet. It is an effort worth making, as is the purchase of a bike. My absence from work has given me a dramatic loss of earning potential and as such both of those suggestions are worth putting in the bank, up until I have enough money in there to actualise them.
As for faith, I have had certain religious experiences and understandings. I remember seeing a post saying this is not the place to discuss such matters (or politics) but I will mention if permitted my problem. I can't love that wich should be feared. There is a lot of God driven genocide in the OT for the sins they committed. I can't help but think I would have loved them, if I was all loving. And Hell seems more like abandonment than punishment. I didn't ask to be born, to cast me there for not living life right, a life the free will of my parents coppulated, seems to be unloving. The teachings in the NT are generally a lot more relatable and I do reference them as well as many Bhuddist writings.
Ha, I will die a lonely man if I do nothing but bust a solo on the devils clarinet and porn is not, EVER, a portrayal of the loving intimacy shown between two people who love each other. Mind, body and spirit. Such is a wonderful, beautiful thing and i would emplore those who have it to cherrish it.
I have never heard of the cabinet idea until now. It sounds right up my street, so thanks for that. The better man challenge is also a must.
And lastly, kudos for quoting Mark Twain. I often google him to see if the legacy of his wisdom can help. I am seeing a counsellor and it is going well. I found a comic strip that sums up depression in a nut shell, if you don't have it, it will help you understand if someone in your life develops it.