Monday, December 28, 2015

The Making of a Gender Rebel

 I was raised in a very feminine world. Most of my childhood was spent around my mother and my older sister, with some time also around my grandmother and step-mother. My father was in my life, but he was a very sensitive man, and I never had any traditional “masculine” role models. My mother spanked me as a young child (although sometimes it was a good swat to the thigh or a yank on my arm.) My step-mother was dominating, controlling and overbearing to the extent that I felt a constant tension in her presence (and even still do to some extent today.)

Even though my mother hit me, I still love her greatly today. One of my most vivid early memories was about 7 years old. I was on the staircase and I was playing too loud, acting out, and trying to get attention. She got furious and charged at me to grab me and give me a good spank. I swung back simultaneously and landed one on her arm. In that moment, she looked at me and there was a mutual acknowledgment. That phase of life was over. She never hit me again. Our relationship after that was perhaps as good as any relationship could be. I admire her and love her and look up to her.

My mother was an incredible example of strength. When she was in college, she went to an all girls college where they made her wear school uniforms that included a skirt. She has always hated skirts and dresses, so she ran for student body president. She won, and she rallied the girls in protest against the dress code. That year, they changed the dress code and allowed women to start wearing pants. She didn't just talk about change, she made it happen.

When my sister and I were older, I remember my mom told me that we weren't allowed to listen to the song “Luka” by Suzanne Vega because it perpetuated a negative image of domestic abuse. That's the kind of woman my mom was. She never used the word feminism, that I remember, but she used the phrase, “Women's Lib.” My dad was a big supporter also. Women's lib, to my father, was women burning bras, throwing off the shackles, entering the workforce, and proving that they could be strong and powerful and unlimited. A beautiful sentiment, I must say.

My mother also tried to challenge common gender stereotypes. My mom and sister taught me that women like sensitive men, and they praised me endlessly for my sensitivity, gentleness, and kindness. I would dress up in girl's clothes from time to time for fun. I would cry when watching chick flicks with my sister.

The one thing which was traditional, is that my mother also taught me how to BBQ, telling me that it was a man's job. It's amazing how much I enjoyed lighting the BBQ, and doing my “man's job.” Wow... I can't even describe how wonderful it was to feel like I had this one little job. I can't say there was anything else that I thought I was supposed to do as a man, but BBQ and be nice to women.

My mother and my sister were also very clear that I should not be a creep, or an asshole, or a dick, or a pervert, or a shithead, or macho, or a bully, or sleazy, or slimy, or anything of what “most men” were. To be honest, I was terrified. I absolutely could not be that guy! I did everything I could to avoid being a creepy asshole. I heard so many stories about the awful ways men treat women and I was told again and again how bad men were, and how important it was that I be different. I don't know if they realized how much I was listening to them. It was incredibly influential as I passively listened and quietly took it in. They were older than me, and strong, and they were the authorities. I admired them both so much.

My relationship with my step-mother, on the other hand, is full of painful memories. She was intense, overbearing, and controlling. She was proud of her anger and how well she could wield it on others. I came home from my step-moms so many nights in tears. My mother knew that whenever I came back from a weekend at my dad's, the first words out of my mouth would be “I Hate Maria!” I hated her with all my soul, and have probably never felt so much animosity for any other human being in my life.

Every moment I spent near her was a moment on edge, waiting for the next explosion, waiting to be dominated. My only coping mechanism was to submit. I was docile and silent in her presence, and then let out the steam later, when in the safety of my mom's house, or when in the streets on my skateboard.

My father was an incredible presence in my life and a great role model. I never knew why he didn't stand up for me and protect me from Maria. It took a lot for me to eventually forgive him for that. I didn't realize until very recently what a wonderful influence he was on me. He was quiet, and he considers himself an introvert. He was a peacemaker, like my sister, avoiding confrontation, and often trying to smooth things over.

Throughout my entire childhood, there was a mysterious feeling I had, which I wouldn't understand until much later. It was a pervasive attitude that was subtle, yet never explicit. I have this vague memory of a childhood TV show, maybe Nickelodeon. A girl beats a boy in a contest, the girl is strong and victorious, the boy is face down in mud or something of that sort. Everyone cheers and hurrahs and claps, and the laugh track rolls, and everyone is so happy for “women's lib” and “women's empowerment.” As a boy, this was influential on me. The message I heard from such shows was: boys are bad, girls are good. Beating boys is good. When girls win, people clap. When boys win, it is unjust.

I saw this trope repeated again and again in my childhood in different ways. It was never explicit, but it felt like a heavy negativity pressing down on me. The other thing my mother did was rant often against old white men. She had an unending list of complaints with old white men. “White men are in the white house, and that's why the government is incompetent.” Or, “White men run all the businesses, that's why there is so much greed and corruption,” etc.

She also taught us from a young age to recognize the privilege we had as white upper-middle class Americans living in a world with so much poverty. I'm grateful that she taught us that, and I often feel so much gratitude for the good fortune I've enjoyed in life.

At twelve, my grandfather died. At sixteen, my mom started dating women: One less man, one more woman. It is important to understand that a boy's world is almost entirely made up of his family and his peers, and perhaps also his school teachers (mostly female, too.) This was it for me. I didn't see any patriarchy, I hardly saw any men anywhere, except from a distance. I lived the first 18 years of my life inside a matriarchy, and a matriarchy which was sometimes quite oppressive and dominating. Many other young boys are raised this way as well.

My intimate relationships with women for the first part of my life were horrible. I was always so confused why they didn't appreciate how nice and sensitive and sweet I was. I would give them presents, and write them poems, and offer to help them with anything, and I mostly ended up alone.

I remember once when I was walking on the beach and my girlfriend forgot something in the car. I literally ran for 10 minutes in the sand back to the car to get her that thing and bring it back to her. It is funny now, as I write about it: it sounds like a well trained puppy dog. I thought this was what women wanted. I had no clue that it could be any other way.

I was also incredibly angry with the world and with life. I mostly spent my time smoking weed and riding my skateboard. Ironically, when I wasn't trying to impress women, they would see this skateboarding fiery strong man and be attracted to the masculinity which I didn't even yet recognize within myself.

At the age of 24, I discovered the pickup artist scene, and that started another long chapter of my life. It was so incredibly liberating, and life transforming and brought me so much deep inner growth. People say bad things about pickup-artists, but for whatever it's worth, it was a huge positive influence for me. For the first time ever, I began to overcome my shame of being a man. Hmmm... Yes. I want that one to sink in for a second...

For the first time ever, I began to overcome my shame of being a man.

Thank you, pickup community. I feel tremendous gratitude.

At the same time that I discovered the masculinity inside myself, I also discovered that there were so many men in the world just like me. I was not alone, and somehow I had always known that. Here was a community of other men who were also breaking free from their shame of being men. Here were other men walking fearlessly into the pain of rejection and ridicule and inevitable failure, standing strong with the knowledge that “I am a good person, no matter what women say about me.” How beautiful it was to become a part of this community! How beautiful it was to begin to share this with more men as they also had their minds blown in learning something so new and fresh and alive.

I left the pickup artist world after 6 years, and continued on with my life, quite happy to have finally come out of my shell as an adult, as a man, and as a person participating with life. I had finally been able to integrate my very strong feminine side with my previously unrecognized masculine side.

This whole time, I was still a huge fan of strong women. I loved strong women, and dated many strong women. I also fiercely questioned gender stereotypes. I was always a supporter of women's rights, and women's empowerment, as my mom had been. She is, to this day, such a big inspiration for me when it comes to standing up for what I think is right. She taught me how to be bold, and daring, and unapologetic.

If the story ended here, I would have naively gone about the rest of my life happy to support women, never thinking much of the word “feminism.” I wasn't opposed to feminism (though I thought it was a silly word etymologically speaking.) I thought that women's rights were important, and so I supported it whenever I could, and continued to defy the expectations of my own gender role, and that was that.

It was only recently, when I was compelled to look deeper into the world of Feminism proper. I was 36 years old at the time, and long past the pickup artist part of my life. I was interested in the topic, and joined a discussion on the topic of Feminism to see what people were saying.

Within the discussion, I was surprised to discover something which I had not been expecting to find. I was expecting a talk of positivity toward women and liberation from the rigid demands of an irrational society. Instead, what I found was that long lost negativity that I had experienced as a kid. It was that same nebulous cloud of what I now think is best described by the word "misandry."

Like I said, this misandry was never explicitly known to me, but somehow I recognized it as something nebulous in this discussion and got curious. Soon, the discussion blew up and one of my male friends was kicked out of the discussion for expressing his views. I was shocked. What was this thing that I just witnessed? I didn't know.

It was reminiscent of that cloud that lingered over my childhood, but what exactly was it? Thankfully, a good friend directed me to a Warren Farrell video, which changed my life forever. For the next month, I binged on Warren Farrell. He spoke to all those things I had been feeling but couldn't name. I cried, and cried, and then after quick breaks, I came back and would cry some more. My heart was bursting open. So many memories, so much pain. So much recognition. Such a wonderful feeling to discover that I wasn't alone! I wasn't the only man hurting! Wow.

Warren Farrell was a natural fit for my temperament. He was so much like me. He also loved women. He also had long supported women. He also wanted the best for women. He had been a member of N.O.W., and had been a very early supporter of feminism even when it wasn't a popular thing for men to do. He was sensitive, and soft spoken, empathetic and caring. He was vulnerable, and open with his emotions. He stressed the importance of listening to each other and creating space for different perspectives. This is what sparked my initial investigation into Feminism.

I spent the next few months after that reading and digesting everything I could on the topic. I read from MRAs, and from Feminists. I listened to the mainstream opinions, from Fox news to MSNBC and in between. I looked at the blogs, and the foundational books. I read Kate Millet, and bell hooks. I listened to the anti-feminists, the equity feminists, the marxist feminists, the radical feminists, the gamergaters, and more. There was no aspect of the topic I wanted to leave unexplored.

As an adult, now, I have a pretty good relationship with my family. I get along well with my mom, although sometimes I space out when she's talking too much. I love my dad, even though we sometimes argue about politics. My sister is unbelievably strong and brilliant. I've even come to a greater place of peace with my step-mother, Maria.

Most recently, I've been discovering and healing some of the wounds from my relationship with Maria. Some of them have lingered deep and even now I continue to work to let them go. One thing that Maria did often was to argue that her opinion was correct and she would bully me with her anger until I would submit. I was not allowed to disagree with her because she was right and I was wrong. (I can even imagine her arguing with me now about what I just wrote.) It is a sentiment which I see reflected in modern day Feminism and in general views of misandry which pervade our culture.

Sometimes it takes me a great deal of patience and inner fortitude to stay centered in such heated conversations. I recognize that this can be one of my “triggers.” That's right, I get triggered around certain topics of gender. I get angry. I have even fumed with rage. But, recognizing that I am not a child anymore, and no one is actually overpowering me anymore, I keep trying to open my heart. In the pain, I try to breath into the pain, love through the pain. I try, and when it is too difficult, I take a break and do something else. Then, I try again. It is too important not to open my heart.

But, it is not only my triggers which keeps me talking about topics of gender. My heart also opens because many more people are hurting, and not just men like me. I have seen how misandry hurts women too. There are certain aspects of our culture (and unfortunately they are often perpetuated by Feminist ideology) which are creating so much tension and violence, and hatred, and pain for people who I care about. I see how pervasive it is, and how mainstream.

Obviously, gender issues get a lot of air time in modern discourse. My focus often goes to the issue of misandry, which seems to be one issue which does not get a lot of air time. Perhaps it also interest me because it is so personal to my own life.

I recognize that Feminism is a vast range of ideologies and movements, and some of it can bring tremendous benefit for human beings. I love women. I love men. I love that people ask important questions. I love that people stand up for each other. I am a vocal men's rights activist and a vocal women's rights activist. I want to help people. I want to stand up. I imagine, sometimes, that this is my chance to carry on the torch that my mother once lit when she was rallying against that school dress code way back then.

This is the time to speak up. People are hurting: men, women, families, our culture. To me, it seems too important to argue over the meaning of words, or some theoretical ideologies. It's too important to dismiss each other and bicker. The pain is very real, and I personally think that now is a good time to start addressing it. I am not a Feminist, and I am not an MRA. I never liked labeling myself like that anyway. If anything, I guess I will call myself a gender rebel.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Restructuring The Blog

Here's the deal.  I've written a ton of stuff on this blog.  Some of it has been useful, some of it has been entertaining, and some of it was just me rambling on about all sorts of whatnot.  Well, my plan is to change that, and to clean it up.... stream line it.... make it easier to read, and less cluttered.... leave it here for posterity and accessible as a free resource for others who may be following in my footsteps.

As always, don't forget to leave some footsteps of your own.  Enjoy the posts, but do yourself a favor and take action in your life.  Your life is too short for anything else.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” - Maria Robinson

"The Chinese have a saying: The best time to stop bein' a dumbass is forty years ago, and the second best time is now." - Jed McKenna


Women kick ass! Let there be no doubt about it.

I love women. And almost as much, I love helping men find success with women in their lives. This blog has been a great opportunity to fuel that mission, but as things change, and life moves forward, I must move forward too. I don't know if I will be back teaching Pick Up again. (There's a good chance I will be.)

For now, I'm on to a new adventure. And, for whatever masochistic motivation that inspires me to write about my life, I have started a new blog to share my adventure.

The theme of my new blog: Meditation, Travel, Life. It's my life, my journey, and my favorite new... hobby?... meditation.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

You Think You Can't Dance?


Ok, what I'm about to show you is kinda embarrassing. So, please make sure to laugh 'with' me (not at me).

But, I've got to show you, because Alexandra and I nearly won a trip to New York! We made it to the Top 18 videos but, well.... we were beaten by a couple of 7 year olds. Damn!

I could explain the video, and give away the surprise, but I think I'll just let you watch and see for yourself. (Um... yes... that's me dancing on the sidewalk with a puffy white shirt on.) It was a contest for a trip to New York to see Mary Poppins live on Broadway. We may not have won the trip, but perhaps it can still bring a smile to your face.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Shiny Blue Pants And A Skateboard!

Did you know that I devoted 10 years of my life to skateboarding?

I don't get on the old board very much any more. Mostly just to cruise down the hills of San Francisco. But, when the opportunity arises to make $25,000 having a little fun with the four wheels... well, I jump on it!

Alexandra came across a contest on youtube and insisted that we enter. We actually put 5 videos in the contest (over 480 total entries). But, in the top 15 - my Skate Video Was Selected!!! They chose mine to be in the top 15, but ultimately they gave it to some guy who bounces around on his head.

Watch the video, laugh your ass off (And enjoy my massive skate skills). And, if you look close, you'll see that Tina is actually the famous Project San Francisco Mannequin who normally wears her crazy outfits in our living room. (Isn't she cute?)

Lighten Up and Enjoy...

Daniel

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Grattitude for My Mentors

Recently, I've had people ask me about my own history and how I got into all of this. I've written many posts along the way, but I've never summarized it all in one place. So, step on the time machine with me as we go back through the last four years of my life. It all starts January 2004...


I have always been a huge supporter of the community (even through the many times when my friends may not have agreed). I LOVE the fact that men are helping other men to improve their lives. I LOVE the men's culture and the sheer fact that shy guys, nice guys, awkward guys, and all sorts of men are taking action to go after what they want.

My introduction to it all was a David DeAngelo newsletter (which somehow ended up on my computer). It changed my life. Within 2 months, my entire paradigm on women and dating had done a 180. I saw everything in a completely new way, and I felt liberated to begin making up for a lot of lost time.

I then tried out Ross Jeffries' Speed Seduction and began actually applying the techniques with real women. I creeped out a bunch of those women, and I had fun with some others.  I'm grateful for their patience with me.  It was a huge time of personal transformation, and although I wasn't having sex with any of them, I was really inspired, and my confidence began to improve dramatically.

Then, I found a website called fastseduction.com. This was the next big shift. On this discussion forum, the community put emphasis on: "Field Work, Field Work, Field Work." That is, theory wasn't nearly as important as being in the real world, talking to real women!  Some of the posts from a member named TylerDurden were the most inspiring to actually get me out where the women are.

I started reading through the Maniac_High and Tokyo_PUA archives (as they were living in Japan and I was living in Korea at the time). I plowed through those old posts (many of which were inspired by and extensions of Speed Seduction), and continued to find DRAMATIC improvements in my relating with women, my confidence, and my life in general.

I also continued to skim through posts by Juggler, Gunwitch, TylerDurden, MrNYC4U, Toecutter and some of the other fastseduction posters. ALL of which I loved. I ATE it up.

That discussion board may sound creepy to outsiders of the community, but for me, it gave me a new perspective, solid support, and best of all it was free.

When I started really applying the "Field Work" mentality, I started seeing results.  It should be obvious... the work you do to challenge your comfort zone with real life encounters will be the best learning experiences.

Up to this point, I hadn't had sex in a year and a half.  Then, within 5 weeks I was dating 6 women!

Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Everybody!

This year is gonna kick some serious ass.

My New Year's Resolutions?

1) Take up Yoga starting now and for the rest of my life. In ten years I'm gonna be a Master Yogi

2) Keep in touch with my family more often. More regular phone calls, and talk to them more about the things we have in common.

I'm excited. Two things that will kick ass for me in 2008.

Of course, many more highlights are to be expected. I can't even imagine all the awesome adventure's I'll have this year!

Bottom line: If you're reading this, take a second and find the joy in your life. Remember the things in 2007 that kicked ass for you. Get in touch with that, and start to spread it outward for 2008. It's time to start bringing more inspiration to the world, more of our full potential as human beings.

And Dream BIG! IF you're dreams for 2008 were to get 12 dates... take a moment and change it to 120 dates. Or 12 dates with supermodels. Make your dreams big and go overboard. For a moment just forget about "being realistic" and just let yourself get excited about the possibilities.

I wish you all the best New Year, and I wish you many great new experiences ahead.

- Daniel