All posts by Holden

About Holden

Holden is a really groovy guy. By day a Management/IT Consultant, by night a wiper of his children's asses and regular in group fitness classes.

Thoughts on Masculinity and Hetero VS Homosexuality

I grew up in Northwest Georgia where boys and men typically affirmed their masculinity and sexuality with trucks, boots and camo-ball caps. I’m not originally from the south and never quite identified with the sub culture, but I lived in it, understand it inside and out, and appreciate it on a certain level.

As a kid and especially a teenager, this made me stand out like a sore thumb. I remember it being insinuated more than a few times that I was queer, gay or even a faggot. I remember one very hurtful time when my two best friends at the time insinuated that I was gay while we were driving down the road. Nothing is worse than being trapped in the back of a car and being attacked with the “So, are you a faggot?” question.

Worse, I’ve been propositioned by quite a few men as well. I remember working at Target one summer when a gay co-worker asked me if I wanted to come over to his house and go swimming. His parents were out of town for the weekend.

I have a lot of conflicting feelings about this on the inside that I’ve never really talked about. I admit, I do have a lot of hobbies or interests that most people would consider gay, though I have never actually felt attracted to another man before.

This morning I was riding my spin bike at 5am. Yep… real manly right? I had my earbuds in and there was I was alone in my garage with the music thumping in my ears. I sang out loud because, hell, it is 5am and I’m all alone in my garage! So why the fuck not!?

As I was cooling off I wondered what my wife would think about my performance, if she had happened to peek her head in and see me. Would it turn her off? Would she think I wasn’t very manly?

I spend a lot of time afraid my wife doesn’t think I’m masculine enough. I’ve heard her make fun of me to her sister for having solo ‘Just Dance’ video game sessions, or singing along to lofty sounding Silverchair songs with my guitar. And last summer, when I took her to see Les Misérables I got the impression that she felt awkward when I became visibly moved during Eponine’s solo, ‘On My Own’. Yes, I admit, that isn’t very manly and probably isn’t going to help you get laid at the end of the night. But I couldn’t help myself. I got teary eyed.

I’m not sure how I developed these tastes. My dad is a former marine who hunts, shoots, then carves up his own meat. He makes his own wine and beer and spends entire days wondering around in the woods for fun. And my mother isn’t really into much of anything, except shopping and watching re-runs of CSI on Lifetime. I also have zero friends who share any of these interests with me.

I just am who I am for better or worse. I do worry about what my wife thinks though. I pay extra attention to how I dress, how I carry myself, the amount of authority I command and the way I deal with other men who challenge me. I’m careful to never appear that I am not in control.

Sometimes, when we’re going through rough patches in our relationship, I feel that my masculinity is on trial. And to an extent, I feel the same way with most of my friends, especially those I might keep at arm’s length.

Though, I do wonder if maybe the most masculine thing I can do is be secure in who I am, and be a confident leader. I wonder if, at the end of the day, honesty isn’t what is most masculine. Instead of trying to fit into a mold of what society tells us masculinity is.

I am a confident, physical, strong man. I know who I am. I am honest with myself. I am not afraid to stand up for myself, my friends and my family. I am a good provider. And I work hard and love my wife and girls through and through.

That is true masculinity.

-Holden

Quick thought on Ebola and FEAR!

Last night I watched my poor wife watch World News Tonight on ABC in queasy discomfort.

On the screen, anchor David Muir reported-  “Someone in New York City who has been to Africa was found to have symptoms that might be indicate they have Ebola, but could also just as easily belong to the flu or common cold!  No one can confirm if it is Ebola or not at this time…. and now on to the WAR ON TERROR! BE MOTHER FUCKING AFRAID BITCHES!”

David Muir World News Tonight

Alright, I’m paraphrasing of course, but that is what he might as well have been saying.

Turn your damn TV off, quit listening to the radio. Give it up already. The news no longer backs up their “news” with sources or information.

I’ll put it this way, if I wrote an audit report for work, or a research paper for school the way news sources report the news, I’d be fired from my job and get an F in class for failing to site valid sources and incompetency.

It’s all a fucking joke.

-Holden

Thoughts on being a Consultant

I’m 31 years old and on my third career. I still don’t know if I really like what I do or not. I still don’t know what exactly I want to do with my life. For the past 3 years, I’ve worked in consulting and professional services in one form or another. My current job is definitely more aligned with management consulting where my last was more about delivering large IT projects.

Over the past month I have spent considerable amounts of time recruiting college students, trying to convince them to come work for my team. I tell them all the benefits of working in this field. All the challenges and potential for personal growth. I promise them opportunities to travel, earn a great salary and meet interesting people.

On my way home from these recruiting sessions, I always wonder if maybe I’m blowing smoke up their asses. If maybe I’m selling empty promises.

I think that for the most part, management consultants are full of shit. Some of us are experts, some of us are really smart and add real value, but I think a lot of us simply bill hours and write fancy reports filled with tables and flow charts.

I don’t know if I like what I do for a living or not. I like some aspects of it. I like the potential to make a lot of money, I like the future prospects of tangent career paths not in consulting, and I like the job security. So I keep going. But honestly, sometimes I feel like I’m living off a steady diet of Big Macs- I’m eating this overhyped, stacked cheese burger covered in special sauce which is supposed to be delicious, but it’s really just a bunch of bread and no meat.

I worry that I’m feeding these college kids bullshit. But I’m even more worried by the fact that they seem to want it so bad. I don’t think they’ll necessarily see it as bullshit and that worries me for the future. It worries me that we’re becoming a society full of bullshitters. I also worry that some of these kids probably just see me as a tool, the ones who aren’t all in with the program.

Am I all in with the program? Am I just a tool?

I miss being a geek. I struggle to stay engaged in technology, but family and work pull me away from doing what I really enjoy all the time. I feel like I’m losing myself a bit at times.

I really don’t want to become a fucking tool. I really hate tools. I really hate liars and especially people who lie to themselves.

It might be time to start insisting I do more of what I love, both at work and home.

-Holden

How does a woman find her confidence?

I should change the name of this blog to “Holden’s Wife Blog” since that seems to be the only thing I write about anymore. I suppose “BlogTruth” is still appropriate though since everything I do write about her and our relationship is pretty raw and truthful.

Today, I’d like to talk about my wife’s confidence.

My wife seems to go through a lot of ups and downs in her self-esteem and confidence. After a challenging yoga session, she’ll come home on top of the world. After going out with friends and getting hit on by a few nice looking guys, you’ll find her glowing the next morning as she brags about it to me over coffee and English muffins. But in general, her default confidence level is typically below average.

Is this par for the course for most women, or perhaps people in general?

I find the low self-esteem and confidence issue annoying as hell. I have my own insecurities like anyone, but have always been the kind of person who shrugs it off and moves on with the day.

Sometimes I look at my wife and wonder what the hell she has to be insecure about. She’s beautiful, fun, hardworking, insightful and a great mother.

When I look at my wife, I see the girl next door who every boy fantasizes about, complete with a nice pair of tits and a rocking ass. When I read her emails, blog posts or even well thought out comments on Facebook, I’m impressed by her insightfulness and how well she can put her thoughts to paper.

I never get bored with my wife. She always somehow has new exciting stories to tell about adventures she had way before she ever met me and they’re always pretty damn funny, whimsical or uplifting.

My wife loves having fun. She’s the kind of girl who insists on enjoying a beer or a glass of wine for every occasion. She’s the kind of girl who dances in the middle of a blues bar when everyone else is hanging around lazily at the bar. She’s the kind of girl who isn’t afraid to strike up a conversation with the craziest looking guy or gal in a dive bar and end up having a night long adventure with them. I’ve endured all these things time and time again, usually in extreme discomfort…

My wife is also abnormally outgoing and charitable. She rarely walks by a street musician without throwing a few dollars in their bucket and having a chat between songs. She’s the kind of person who surprises homeless people with cheeseburgers and French fries.

My special lady is one of extremes. While I’m typically more even keeled and go with the flow, she lives life through peaks and valleys. I don’t know if that is a good thing or not. I just wish I could help her discover how to keep the valleys from being quite so low at times.

I treasure the relationship I have with my wife. But it is a challenging one for me. She is a very complex creature. Sometimes I think it might be nice to be married to someone a bit more like myself. Another professional who has a great paying job and a bit more stable personality. But shit, wouldn’t that be boring.

My wife has forced me to have some pretty crazy adventures.

I just wish she could learn to feel the same way about herself that I do….

-Holden

 

Ebola, ISIS and a Perpetual State of Fear

Last week a really smart friend of mine wrote me an email saying some things I felt were really foolish. He has a trip to South America coming up in December and he was writing me, asking what I thought about the Ebola outbreak and wondering if he shouldn’t bail on the trip.

A follow up email later that week spread on to fear talks about ISIS and the possibility of an American invasion by radicalized, passport toting Americans or worse, Arabs posing as Mexicans and waltzing right across our southern borders into the homeland!

My friend isn’t the only one who has latched onto these fear memes. It seems most of us are being drawn into the Fear-Machine. My new stance on all this is- I need to see it to believe it. In the mean time, I’m assuming it is all bullshit. Here’s why:

  1. The NSA leaks carefully selected information to the media. This includes both authorized leaks that Congress is aware of and unauthorized leaks: http://www.wired.com/2014/10/nsa-mind-bender-wont-tell-info-already-leaked-media/
  1. Our government has repealed a portion of a law named the Smith-Mundt Act which made it illegal for our government to propagandize US citizens: http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/07/12/us_backs_off_propaganda_ban_spreads_government_made_news_to_americans
  1. The Norman Lear Center, a public policy advocacy group which works with government agencies, openly admits they lobby Hollywood to inject propaganda into prime time television. Below is a link to a two minute audio clip showing how they use their influence to push a climate change agenda. What other memes and ideas might they be pushing? http://adam.curry.com/enc/20141009173314_hollywoodhealthsociety4martinkaplanbragging.mp3
  1. Udo Ulfkotte, a German journalist explains how Intelligence Agencies befriend journalists abroad, write articles for them and push them to publish Agency produced propaganda in highly credible news sources, which American news sources then use as official sources.

These Intelligence Agency produced news articles published under the name or credible journalists have the power to sway both public opinion and set the agenda for law makers.

There’s a few clips here, but each well worth a listen (listen to in order):

All news clips are compliments of the No Agenda Show- www.NoAgendaShow.com

-Holden

Life is short, and Marriage is hard.

My wife and I have had some rocky times as of late. It’s been rocky enough that there has been talk of divorce and I’m pretty sure my wife has even gone so far as to consult an attorney.

A lot of the discourse in our marriage has come from my wife’s complaints aimed towards me.

I am a man of supreme imperfection. I stress too much over money, I get too lost in my work, I freak out over little things sometimes, and I have a bad habit of letting tension build up in my to the point that I explode and say things I’d never day say to anyone I wasn’t in a legally bounded relationship with (aka marriage).

As of late, my wife has decided it is all too much for her. Over the last year I have tried very hard to step outside of myself and fairly assess my imperfections independently. I have admitted many of my faults and tried very hard to work on each of them. I still fall into the same old bad habits at times though.

Other times, I wonder if perhaps I am not really the problem though. My wife has been acting very strange over the last six months or so. So strange in fact, I wondered if maybe she was having an affair and all this lashing out at me was due to her own guilt fermenting inside her and her trying to offload onto me and make me as much of a bad guy as she was feeling like on the inside.   A bit of lowly eavesdropping has led me to believe this is not the case.

So what’s the problem then? Why is my wife always so damn angry at me despite all my communication and effort?

Life will end soon….

Yesterday I wrote a post talking about what women really want in a man.

That post was born out of the experience I had last Friday night while having a guy’s night out.

That night, I was flattered to death. One of the ladies told me I was a great guy that evening. I haven’t heard that in quite a while. I kind of shocked a shift in the perception I have of myself.

“What? You think I’m a great guy? What on earth would lead you to believe that?”

It didn’t inspire me to want to leave my wife or be unfaithful or anything of that sort. But it definitely made me wonder. Why were these ladies so smitten with me? All I’ve been told for the last six months is that I’m selfish, I’m cheap, and I’m verbally abusive. And I’ll admit, these things are all true of me at my low points. But everyone has low points don’t they? I’m not typically this person.

I was mowing the grass yesterday thinking about all this when it hit me:

“What the fuck man? We’re all going to die soon. We have all of what…. 80 healthy years on this planet if we’re lucky? That’s SHIT!” I gotta quit sweating this bullshit.”

So fuck it. I’m just going to keep trying to be a standup guy. I’m going to love my wife and kids and quit sweating the small stuff. Hell, I may even quit sweating the big stuff. I’ve spend so many years building myself up in pursuit of this ‘Two Cars in the Garage and a White Picket Fence’ American Dream that I forgot I was supposed to be happy along the way!

Last time I had an argument with my wife, I had to remind myself afterward that it could be so much worse. One of my kids could have cancer or one of us could be terminally ill, I could be handicapped and not able to provide for my family, we could live in a war torn country where we fear for the health and safety of our boys and girls on a daily basis.

This shit is small fries. It is time to let it go. If my wife is unable to do it, then fine. She can call her lawyers, take everything I own and go start new away from me. If I’m doing my best to treat her right and provide for my family then what do I have to regret? I will always be able to start over. As long as I have my health, I’m golden.

Life is too short to sweat the small stuff.

-Holden

Thoughts on Manliness and What Women Really Want

This past Friday I hit the town with my co-author Atty and another one of our best chums who we’ll call Huck- due to his free spirited nature when he drinks.

After kicking back a few beers I found myself yawning by 9pm. I was having a good time but was ready to go home. It was a long week that had started with business travel on Sunday afternoon and I hadn’t been home one day that week before 7pm.

Then in walked “big Al”, a close friend and co-worker of Huck’s. Al was a very attractive southern belle who was accompanied by her equally attractive sister, her unassumingly beautiful sister-in-law and a feisty bestie with a knack for belting out sarcastic quips the way Barry Bonds used to belt out homeruns at the height of his career.

We paired with the quartet the way peanut butter does jelly when sandwiched between two soft slices of Wonder Bread. I realized at a certain point that the reason we all got along so well was no one was trying to impress the other. We simply gelled.

There was no end game of getting laid, no ulterior motive of having another encounter at a later date or even anticipation of landing a good night kiss. In fact, we spent much of the night talking about spouses, children and family.

My time with our new female friends helped me come to a few interesting realizations. I think I finally discovered what real women want. And by real, I mean women of substance. A woman I would actually be interested in if I were single and looking.

What Women Really Want in a Man

Humility- A strong woman doesn’t require a man; she stands on her own two feet. Once you reach approximately 30 years old, you start to realize that the woman who does need a man to survive probably isn’t one that you care to be involved with. This makes bragging unnecessary and unattractive.

If you’re accomplished, there is no reason to point it. No one likes a one upper. No one likes the man who has to be top dog and authoritative. Instead, your authority should shine in your cool and quiet demeanor, during normal conversation.

Frankness and honesty with thyself- I accepted not too long ago that I am not necessarily the smartest, most ambitious or politically savvy guy in the room. I realized that maybe instead I am more adept in other areas like team building, technical tasks and building relationships.

Bottom line, I learned to be frank and honest with myself. I learned to accept who I am and stop chasing something I am not. Strong women love a man who is honest with himself and isn’t afraid to show it.

Humor- E.E. Cummings wrote, “The most wasteful of days is one without laughter.”

I believe having a good sense of humor is essential to happiness. I believe laughter can cure some disease and ailment. I believe not being able to laugh at yourself is one of the most serious of shortcomings a person can possess.

A strong woman loves a man who can gracefully self-deprecate himselve while remaining confident. It displays humility, emotional intelligence and a certain degree of self-control.

A man who can have a laugh and make those around him laugh is a man who possesses emotional intelligence.

Chivalry- Young men today don’t understand how to be gentlemen. The ‘selfie generation’ is characterized by self-centered individuals paying little attention to anyone other than on him/her-self.

Chivalry extends beyond holding open doors or offering your coat to a lady on a chilly evening. It extends to paying attention to detail and remembering the little things as well. It extends to small gestures of kindness. Little acts of kindness and acute attention make all the difference in the world.

I caught the attention of my wife while working alongside her as a server while in college. Every Friday and Saturday night, I’d look at the side work chart, see what her side work was for the evening then prep for her before she could begin.

Later, I’d take note of what her favorite coffee drink was from Starbucks or her favorite pizza toppings and surprise her by ordering for her on dates.

It is that attention to detail that really catches the attention of a lady and shows her that you get her and that she is more than just an object to you.

-Holden

Preferential Segregation and Gay Exceptionalism

I heard a news clip recently from ESPN where the commentator mentioned that the NFL was begging teams to sign Michael Sam, the first openly gay NFL football player, to avoid a scandal.

michael-sams-nfl-future-doesnt-look-good

Unfortunately, I have no doubt that if a team hadn’t signed him, there would have been a scandal of sorts. After all, America just hates gay people right?

Actually, I think outside of those with strong religious convictions most of us don’t give a shit. I certainly don’t. But what I do give a shit about is the endless parading around and bellyaching of the gay voice in Hollywood, television and the news media.

It seems that the gay movement has evolved into an all-out effort to promote preferential segregation. Imagine if another very vocal minority existed within society which existed to vehemently oppose gay rights. Never mind, groups like these do exist, for example, Westboro Baptist Church. And society loathes them.

The gay community is known to be comprised many very well educated, upper middle class individuals. Why is it then that such bright people appear unable to step back from the situation and realize that they are no longer fighting for gay equality, but gay power, gay exceptionalism, and gay privilege?

These interest groups are now akin to the hate groups that you would logically consider their antithesis, except in reality they are two sides of the same coin. And much more dangerous because of their wealth and influence in politics and media.

I think the lesson to be learned here is, everyone wants preferential treatment and everyone wants to be segregated. Eventually, all interest groups appear to go too far and start lobbying to be placed above opposing minorities and subcultures in one fashion or another.

-Holden

Cancer, tumors, radiation, priorities.

Sometimes I feel like this blog is nothing more but a venting place for me. I only bring mostly the bad stuff here. But so be it. I’m not writing for too many readers anyway, but there is something therapeutic about blogging, and it does make me feel better. So here goes- another super uplifting post.

My aunt has lung cancer. Today she starts chemotherapy to shrink a giant tumor so that it can be removed. She lives 500 miles away in Indianapolis, IN. I don’t see her much, but when I was a kid she was a shining star in my sky.

For a while when I was a little boy and still lived in Indiana, my parents couldn’t really afford to support me. My aunt took me in. She raised me. I remember her taking me to kindergarten, feeding me, hugging me and putting me to bed when I was very little. I remember her taking me trick or treating. Whenever I’m in the area I always make my way over to Mooresville, Indiana to drive through her old neighborhood and remember those trick or treat days.

Over the years I’ve lost touch with her. Too busy with my own life, family and job. And the distance doesn’t help either. Today I decided to call her and tell her I was thinking of her and wish her luck.

She seemed strangely accepting of the entire situation. While everyone else in her family is melting down, she is simply just her. She joked that the worse that can happen is it kills her, and if it doesn’t kill her then she guesses she made out alright.

If she doesn’t pull through, this will the second child my grandmother has lost to tobacco. Ironically, the stress of the entire situation has my mother smoking more than ever. I’m glad I never picked up the terrible habit.

After hanging up with my Aunt, I sat here a second feeling flustered over the mountain of work I have surrounding me this week. Where do I start? I need to set up easily half a dozen meetings, write a report, create Visio diagrams and a bunch of other mumbo jumbo that will probably be filed away and forgotten after I’ve spent the last three weeks preparing it.

What I should really be doing is driving to Indianapolis to be with one of the only people in the world who really cared for me when my parents couldn’t. Even my own grandparents couldn’t seem to find it in themselves to be there for my parents at that hard time in their lives.

But we have to set our priorities straight, right? I’ve got kids to feed, bills to pay, a career to think about.

Suddenly I don’t give a fuck about work. Suddenly it seems like a means to an end. Get money so I can give it to someone else.

I hope my Aunt is fearless today. I would be a terrible mess on the inside if I were her. I assume she is, but she’s doing a great job of not showing. She’s a real trooper. I still admire her just like I did when I was a little boy.

-Holden

 

 

My wife and Mr. Area Code (814)

A few weeks ago I wrote about my wife hating being a mother. Then some amazing commenters set me straight on what was probably going on in her head and what I was probably doing wrong. It turns out they were right. The pressures of being a stay at home mother, barefoot and pregnant so to speak, had taken its toll on her.

My wife felt like she had lost her identity.

Then last week something catastrophic happened. My wife went out to spend the evening with a friend going through a divorce and met someone, but not just someone- someone who as she put it, clicked with her in a way no one else has except me when we first started dating.

Only, she didn’t tell me this at first. I had to figure it out through suspicious behavior and thinly veiled lies and being possibly a little too detail oriented. Immediately, my wife started accusing me of spying on her.

I saw the writing on the wall. She was cheating on me. But how bad was it? How long was it going on? So… I did spy. I downloaded her phone metadata (the same stuff the NSA gets) from her detailed billing statement with the cell phone company, pulled the data into Excel and started filtering and pivoting it.

Lo and behold I found it- the number. A single number that had never been called before that last Saturday night when all the strange behavior began.

What was I to do now? Admit I was in fact spying on her, and in the worse way? My wife already refers to me as a “Digital Detective.” It’s what I do for a living in her eyes.

I talked to Atty and he laid the hard love on me. He said to quit being selfish. He said I’ve focused on myself for too long- through grad school, losing weight, travelling, perusing my career, and I’d left my wife behind.

The Conversation.

I went to my wife to have the conversation that I felt would make or break my marriage. It turns out I was probably right.

Instead of making accusations, laying out the evidence or accusing my wife, I humbled myself in the most extreme way possible. I thanked her for allowing me to become the man that I had worked so hard to be. I told her it was because of her and her alone that I was permitted to pursue my education, my career, my livelihood and even my good health.

My wife initially attacked me, like my even broaching the subject had kicked over a beehive. She swarmed and stung hard. She called me a selfish asshole. She made me feel like a piece of shit. I took it.

Then I simply asked her about ‘him.’ Mr. Area Code- (814). She didn’t reply. I don’t think she really knew how.

The Next Day.

The next day I urged my wife to talk to me as her best friend. Not as her husband, but a friend free of accusations, anger or judgment. I think the last day of guilt had worn her down and to my amazement, the details started pouring out.

I sat balled up on the couch, my knees pressed deep into my chest as I listened to the story about this sweet Welsh man who was in town doing a guest lecture series at the local college.

My wife unabashedly told me every detail of her night with him ranging from his pickup line, to light hand holding to taking shots together and dancing the night away. I wanted to puke, but instead I took the repeated blows to the heart.

I asked her if she’d seen him again. I asked her if they had any sort of physical relations. She said no. She said she had gone to meet him for coffee and left out of guilt. Then he was back off to the UK the next day.

She said he was coming back in November. I asked if she’d try to meet with him again. She said she didn’t know.

In my mind I felt like I was entangled in a Stanley Kubrick movie, a strange hypnotic waltz where your feet continue to move in a strict formation while your mind is a million miles away in a place where everything is warped and backwards.

After the fact, I still wondered if maybe there wasn’t more to the story, but I have come to realize it doesn’t matter. What matters at this point is that I had no choice but to trust her. Trust is the only thing that will fix whatever has been broken somewhere along the way.

And frankly, I don’t know that I need to know the details. What does it help? It would only lead my mind off into a tailspin.

So now I work to let my wife regain herself. To focus more on her happiness, because I love her and she deserves it. I don’t feel angry or hurt that she had a night of flirting with a stranger. What I felt was fear.

I feared it was over for good. And maybe, just maybe if Mr. Area Code- (814) didn’t happen to be a foreigner sweeping out of town just as quickly as he’d swept in and swept my wife right off her feet, it would have been.

-Holden