Been staying up a bit later than normal. Trying to figure out why. Could also be that I am doing other things rather than writing. I wouldn’t say it’s a distraction, but it has drawn my attention from my routine which is not all bad. Maybe it’s good that I am taking a step back from the book for a little bit so that I am not drowning in it, although I doubt I would.
I did manage to come up with a new idea. I had originally thought to retire the characters, seeing as how the ending could have been seen as a terrific and logical closure point. However, should the book take off, I have a feeling people will become attached to them and possibly want more. I am outlining the idea now and seeing where it takes me. The plot which I was thinking about for the last few days is pretty intense. The overall idea would have my main character stepping back into his past and exploring his decisions which ultimately led him to where he is today. It’s a somewhat introspective look, taking aim at the butterfly affect and making people think about making one decision over another. As most of us have thought about at least a few times in our lives, the character thinks about how different his life would be had he chosen one seemingly simple path over another. It would be something as small as choosing to go out with friends one night or something as pivotal a taking one major opportunity over another. He is eventually given the choice to relive his past and with that, facing the prospects of a very different future.
Given the chance, would any of us make different choices in our lives? I feel overwhelmingly the answer would be yes. However, I think given ample time to take all things into consideration, most of us may back away from that choice and ultimately choose to stay where we are today. We all have regrets, some of us more than others and for fewer still, regrets so painful we’d do just about anything to go back and relive our lives. I have had parent’s tell me that they’d want to go back and wait a few more years to have their kids or to have their children with a different person. Many don’t realize if that change is made, it could have dramatic affects on other things currently in their lives, some positive and some negative. I was speaking on the phone to a friend of mine and i posed a question to her. She has children and I told her if she was faced with the painful choice of saving one child over another, what child would she choose and based on that decision, could she then live the rest of her life with that choice? As I am sure you are already thinking, it’s a nearly impossible choice. To force a parent to choose one child over another is not only cruel, but for most, unfathomable. Sadly, there have been situations where a parent has been forced into making that choice. Obviously, this choice is usually made under an extreme amount of stress as saving the life of one person and damning that of another isn’t something any of us would ever wish on anyone else.
In this idea, I am posing that question and forcing someone to make a similar choice. For some, this idea may damage the character while for others it will show a very human side to them. I think ultimately it will show that while reliving life and making different decisions may seem like the greatest thing in the world, it may not always be a viable answer. As a way of thinking about it, pose these various questions to yourself. Would you have chosen a different person to be with or marry? Would you have chosen one job over another? Would you have chosen to take that road trip out of town knowing that tragedy was waiting for you around the corner, while at the same time knowing that if you did change that decision, you would never have met the person who is now most dear to you in your life? Again, I volunteer that these questions are impossible to answer for most of us. It all leads back to that heart-retching question…would you choose that other child’s life over the other if given that second chance? Would you choose to let someone else die if it meant saving the life of the other if you had a chance to relive that moment…
It’s one hell of an idea. Thought provoking and almost unimaginable…but I am going to explore it.
As it’s easy to see, I am a man. While I am not old, and I definitely not a kid anymore. I’ve pushed passed the 30 year mark and I am well on my way to 35 which is fine with me. I have found that while life sometimes throws you curve balls, I am enjoying the gaining of wisdom and the learning I am still doing at this age. I can look back at my teens and 20s and laugh, knowing I am a much wiser man now because of my stupidity. While I know it’s just a fact that a majority of men mature slightly slower than their female counterparts, I find it sad that something I see as so simple to understand is still dogging the minds of my fellow males. I am speaking about this ridiculous “Macho Man” attitude that sadly many of us were taught by our parents at a young age and has somehow morphed into a ravaging jealousy that can, at times, destroy relationships. Just in this past year, I can think of at least two times where I inadvertently caused marital strife simply by saying hello or talking to an old female friend of mine.
As it’s been said before on this blog, I spent a number of years in Austin, Texas, away from my hometown of Corpus Christi. For those who do not know, CC is a smaller city of maybe 300k people and is located along the southern coast of Texas, right on the Gulf of Mexico. We have a high Hispanic population and that might have something to do with the problem I am seeing, at least in this part of the country. When I returned home from Austin back in very late 2009, I was detached from society and I hadn’t spoken to several of my old friends for many years. Deciding to try and reconnect, I started up a Facebook page as many have done, and started looking for my old friends. Many of my old pals quickly found me and it was nice to see how they were doing all these years later. Many of them had of course married, had families, you know the regular stuff people do in their lives which I thought was all good and well. Being that CC is a smaller city, it wasn’t a surprise to me to see several of my friends had married people that I knew from high school or other social gatherings. Some of these spouses I knew and other I was perhaps an acquittance with. What it all came down to was that i felt like I knew these people and they, at least, knew who I was if they didn’t in fact know me personally.
So back to Facebook. I started talking to several old friends and they told me about their lives, showed me pictures of children, the whole 9 yards. So as any friend would do, I kept in touch with them, occasionally sending them messages and they of course would write me back. As many Facebook people know, you can add pictures to your profile and allow you friends to comment on them. Seeing that many people were doing this, I felt it was the nice thing to do and started adding rather benign, generic comments on various pictures such as a child’s birthday party of the pictures of the family vacation, just so they knew I had them in my thoughts. Everyone like to feel that others are thinking about them, right? You would think so, and most of my friends did. They were quite happy that I was taking an active interest in getting reacquainted with them and their new lives. All seemed fine…until that male macho spirit came out.
Example 1: Had a female friend, lets call her “Sara” and she and I are having a good time getting in touch with each other. I tell her that I have a couple of old pictures of her and she asks me to post them so I did. I mean she is my friend so what’s so wrong with posting old pictures that all of my buds can look at and reminisce about. Well, her husband wasn’t too keen on the fact that I owned pictures of his wife; as if he suddenly owned the copyright to ALL pictures of his wife. While I can understand if the pictures were of some sort of sexual nature or something that may have caused embarrassment, these pictures I assure you were just friends hanging out, having a good time, nothing you wouldn’t feel any shame about if your children came across them. As the night wore on, her husband ended up going completely insane with jealousy and threatened to leave her if I didn’t remove the pictures. I was completely dumbfounded by this. Not wanting to cause her any grief, I took the pictures down and offered a reasonable apology, saying that if I had know something as simple as a picture was going to cause problems, I would have never posted it. That wasn’t good enough for me. After I did the right thing and took the pictures down, he still felt the need to slander me and accuse me of strike various women years ago when I was still a teen. I found this atrocious and unbelievable that another man would feel so jealous that his only recourse was to make up stories just so he could feel better about himself. I ignored it and moved on.
Example 2: I have an old friend that I’ve known since middle school. He is a decent fellow, has a good career, married to my old friend who we will call “Della”. They have two children together and I am very happy that they are doing as well as they are. Same situation. I find them both on Facebook and Della is delighted to hear from me because, as I have mentioned, it’s been several years. She and I trade messages and I, of course, add my old friend, her husband, to my FB friends as well. I write him and he get…nothing. I figured he was busy and i give him a few days. Nothing. I write him another message and still no response. I am getting worried so I write his wife to make sure things are ok. Della, who is a strong will woman, tells me that she and her husband, my old childhood friend, had a fight over me. He was jealous that I was saying hello to his wife who, as I mentioned, was a childhood friend as well. In my message, I said the basic friendly stuff. “Great to hear from you, glad you are doing well, how are the children, etc etc”, nothing that any other person might simply ask or bring up in general conversation. Apparently, my old friend was deeply offended by this and proceeded to argue with his wife, repeated from what i heard, and then, as my last example, proceed to slander me, saying I used to cheat on my old girlfriends when I was in high school. Della, who has always been upfront and honest with me, told me all this, stating that was the reason he would not reply to my messages. He, for some reason, viewed me as a threat and therefore decided to try and take it out on his strong willed wife, which was a mistake on his part mind you as she put him in his place. She let me know about what was going on and told me that I should just leave it alone and that she would handle him. I offered to stop message her, but she said that it was his problem and if he didn’t like me talking to her, that was just tough. That message made me feel very good, knowing that my old friend was exactly as i remembered her; stalwart and unafraid because she knew if it came down to it, she could easily take care of herself and didn’t need a man to support her. Still not wanting to cause any problems in their marriage, I eased up on the message writing and simply let it be.
Sadly these are just two examples. I actually have over 7, but that would make this post remarkably long and I do not wish to take up so much time. The main point I wish to understand is why in the world would men, one of them my friend (or at least he used to be), display such jealousy? I simply didn’t understand it. If they took a step back and looked at things, they could see that their women were never in any jeopardy. I mean, they are your wives! They married you and had your children, and you seem to think that me, an old friend, is just suddenly going to swoop in and steal them from you. What kind of confidence are these men lacking that they feel the need to trash me publicly, even going so far as to threaten to leave their wives. What kind of macho crap can possibly cause a man to act so irrationally? I know there are many people who will offer their take on this situation, but once again let me assure you. Not a single comment, message, picture, nothing, was in anyway out of line. I am simply not that type of person and as you can see, when I noticed that my presence was causing problems, i took that as a cue and bowed out gracefully. Even after my exit, I was still catching flack from these men as they still felt the need to try and embarrass me in the very public Facebook realm.
Bottom line…men, I am saying this as a friend. Grow up. This is not high school and you are not impressing anyone with your puffy chested jealousy and you are certainly not helping your own case by arguing with your spouse over something as trivial as a message or a picture. You all may say I would react the same way. Well, I was married for almost 9 years and I can honestly say not one single time did I ever feel threatened by another man. Why you might ask? Because my wife chose to marry me and not them and I had the confidence to know that I could hold onto my wife without issue. Now you may be asking “well, why is she your ex wife then?” Simple. I refused to be the victim of her abuse and I left which is beside the point. Again, bottom line. It’s time for that Macho Man mentality to die and it’s time for you to be husbands who love and support your wives unconditionally, not just when it suits your needs. Have some confidence in yourself. If she ends up cheating on you, at least then you will know that you did all you could to hold on to her so in the end, you can still walk away with your head held high. If she leave you because you are a jealous moron, it’s your own fault.