Things That Shake Me

I want you to listen to this. Quinn Christopherson wrote this based on his experience living as a woman for 25 years and then being suddenly thrust into a male world that confirmed the terrible experiences he faced in his previous life.

I want you to set aside the transgender discussion for another day, and imagine a world where people interacted with you not based on what they take in when looking at you: your face, your breasts, your hair, your voice, your ass - but based on what your mind holds, what your soul delivers.

I am an advocate for largely traditional gender roles. I do believe we were created with different strengths for good reasons. I am a proponent of stay-at-home moms and provider fathers. I believe biologically we have specific designations for caring and conquering that society can't mitigate or mute, for all of their trying. Not that men don't care and women don't conquer, but we are engineered for and driven by different strategies.

I also believe that any human should be able to do whatever they are capable of doing fully. I have been a firefighter in both the structure and wildland world but I removed myself from that active role when my physical performance could compromise the safety of myself or others. I am not against women doing whatever they are able do, or men for that matter, in non-traditional roles if they do it well. I have met some super stay-at-home dads that would put my mothering skills to shame and I have met women that can outperform 90% of the men I know on the fireline. 

I doubt there is a man that could relate to the lyrics of this song, and when I heard Christopherson tell his story, it broke my heart. It broke my heart because last week I sat in an office with a man who "listened" to me share my passion about the Veterans Service Organization and shooting team that I work with, and this man immediately converted the talk into one about my "brother's vision." Because he couldn't accept my voice. I am a woman. He kept offering his support of what my brother and the other men were doing, and offered to pray for me when I left his office. It ripped me apart inside. He's not a bad man. This is just normal for him, it's normal for most of the world I live in, and what really killed me, is the realization that it's normal for me and it barely phases me anymore.

I was raised being told that college, the workforce, etc, were "no place for women." I grew up believing I had one option. I took that option, and while I wouldn't change anything, it makes me angry that I didn't know better. I didn't know that I could chase my own passions and do anything I was capable of. Obviously my world has changed since then, or I have migrated toward a larger and broader world. But those ideals are still alive and well.

I am grateful that my children have grown believing that they can do it all, anything they're physically qualified for. Anything they work hard for. I am proud to know that they will never settle to only serve the vision of their male counterparts. I know that they run into the same faceless judgement, passed over because they have less  hair on their arms or don't look like a sawyer should look. But I know they are smart and resilient enough to push back and stake their claim on life.

We live in a time where women have more voice than ever, and when I have considered traveling back in time, there is no spot in history that I would trade places with. But we still have room to grow. Especially in our small, backwater towns, like the Alaska where Christopherson was raised, where education and growth and expansion still loom as threats to a ritual lifestyle of repression and entropy. I am still interrupted. My opinions are still second guessed. I am still occasionally told that I can't do things.

I am tired of people trying to erase me. It's my dream, it's my passion. I love my brother and back him and his vision up 100%, and he the same does for me. I will be a relentless and passionate supporter of the man that takes me as his partner in life. I love that. But he will be mine as well. I don't believe in the male privilege complaint, but I do believe that men who are not raised to respect and cherish the intelligent soul of women are deadly to our species. Men who cannot see us as intellectual and spiritual equals, and even physical equals in context, hold back the whole human race, just like women who emasculate and deface the strength of manhood do.

We are different, we are equal. Harnessing that perfect fit together makes us powerful. Why would one horse want the other tied behind the wagon instead of pulling alongside, or even pulling a relief shift? Where you lack, I compensate, and you do the same for me. It's how we're made. Erase one and you weaken the other.

Things That Don’t Measure Up

I’ve never been enough. 

I’ve chased my heart in circles trying to understand how it works that I have never been enough in a relationship. 

I’m starting to understand that it isn’t that I am not enough, it is that I attract people who lack so much that I can’t be enough for both of us. In fact, it might be my fullness as a person that draws them in, and it’s enough to get us pretty far down the road. 

I’m pretty good at loving without conditions. I’ve had enough broken hearts to make me resilient, so I bounce back quickly from small hurts. My mistakes have made me humble enough to own my shit in a conflict. My lonely times have given me enough bottled up love and affection and care to meet some of the greatest needs. 

I am self reliant enough that I have the liberty to love by choice and commit my whole heart, knowing I can survive anything. I am confident enough that I can find value even in unlikely places and love regardless of outside opinions and without fear of protecting an image. 

But I’m not Weak ENOUGH to fulfill their need for power and control. I’m not needy ENOUGH to accommodate their unrealistic want for shallow ideals or superficial algorithms for success. And I’m not desperate ENOUGH to allow their lack of compassion and kindness to thrive. I’m not enough of many things. 

Knowing all of this doesn’t make rejection hurt less. I hurt for the loneliness I face and the failure of another love. I hurt for the lack in them that won’t allow me or any other woman to be “enough.”

I know I’m strong enough to get through it, even when I feel like I can’t. 

I just pray that somebody who is as full as me comes along so that we can be enough together, wanting for nothing. Between the two of us we’ll have all the tools and strength to solve any problem and meet any need. ❤️

Things About Investing

Warren Buffet says that if you aren't willing to own a stock for ten years, you probably shouldn't even own it for ten minutes.

I've been reading a lot about investing in stocks, which from everything I have gathered, the only real way to really get ahead in the stock market is to buy and hold for an awfully long time

Before now, the stock market loomed in my mind like a giant, evil nemesis of All That Is Good in the world, partially because of my childhood obsession with the Great Depression and partially because I had to somehow feel OK about the fact that I would never have a single dime to even consider investing. But as I get older, the more I learn and the more "discretionary" dollars I have to tuck away for the future, the more stocks become a socially respectable form of gambling in my mind, and I have always said I would really like gambling if I ever got into it.

The few hundred bucks that I have invested into stocks since Novemberof '18 are at this point showing an 80% average gain - and while that average ebbs and flows, I get as giddy as my a Stecker at a barn sale when some stock I am mildly interested in takes a wild nosedive and is ripe for the picking. It's like a scavenger hunt, based half on gut instinct and half on the advice of scathing wall street commentators from both sides, and I like it. I pick stocks that make sense to me, products and programs that I understand or use. I bought Facebook even though I was counseled not to, since "it has nowhere to go" and it's already made me some money. My new pet is Tesla, which is bottomed out at the moment and waiting for a few hopeless romantics to jump on board and maybe be part of a big future.

I think smart investing holds a lot of parallels to relationships. We jump in based on gut instinct disguised as a crush, and fueled by the approval of our peers and family, or if we're rebels, the disapproval. But so many of us like to take the little gains we make and cash out fast, thinking we know so much and we can just upgrade to an even better earner, or when things start to dip we panic and cut losses and run. Not many of us buy and hold any more.

The stock market is rife with short termers buying and selling for a quick turn-around profit, but what about the guys like Buffet who buy at the bottom and sit on it for decades? That's my plan, with stocks, and with life, given the opportunity. It's good to avoid reckless investments into things that have no potential, but there's no way to foresee a dud every single time.

I've done my share of investing both emotionally and financially in things that I believed firmly would pay off exponentially in the long run, and some of those things have just deflated right out from under me. Maybe Tesla will too.

The biggest challenge with both stocks and relationships is knowing when it's really time to get out, whether it's been ten minutes or ten years -when you have maximized the potential of your investment and it's time to move on. Maybe there's a stock out there worth hanging on to until the bitter end when you're ready to cash it in and go basejumping in Australia - or pay your nursing home bill. I dunno. I'm just an infant in this money world but I like it, and so far it seems like I might be better at picking my stocks than I am at picking my relationships. But I'll keep gambling...

PS, if you want to play the roulette with me, go here:

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