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RSI: To Just Function is a Problem

Though Self Improvement is intrinsic to the journey, I have a problem with how we’re expected to just function. I’m sitting in my dining room, my music playing and my roommate testing his Magic deck. With my fingers on the keyboard, I’m typing words while my entire life of decisions swirl around in my head. I’ve already started, deleted, and restarted thrice. I’ve settled on this topic because I believe that this statement is a universally relatable fact.

See, I’ve been calculating things like hours and dollars a lot lately; asking the ever important question: “What is the best use of my time?”  and in doing so, I’ve realized that I spend too many hours commuting and recovering from my commute.

Avoid minimum wage activities.

Here’s My#50percent: if you aren’t constantly asking yourself what the best use of your time is, you aren’t doing this life thing right. The best use of your time doesn’t have to always be work. Now, you might have a hard time believing that I just put those words in writing, so I’ll explain. Right now, the best use of my time is this conversation with you. In a few minutes or so, the best use of my time will be the deep coma I’ll have earned after working my regular job and coming home to pour the benefits of my musings onto this page. Tomorrow, the best use of my time will be seeking the long-term solution to my MWA–minimum wage activity–problem. Get it?

I have a problem with how we’re expected to just function because we aren’t being taught these concepts. Then, even when we are, the design of the system pushes us into the activities we’re supposed to be avoiding. I have a problem with how we’re expected to just function because there should be more to life than just function. Unfortunately, life is a series of MWA’s when you aren’t born into financial wealth or provided the education AND the opportunity to capitalize on what you’ve learned. We shouldn’t be made to feel guilty when we want to spend irreplaceable moments doing enjoyable things. We also shouldn’t be made to feel guilty when we have to sacrifice that many more hours of life that we’ll never get back working jobs that we’d rather simply Not because just functioning is expensive.

Those Minimum Wage Activities that we’re supposed to be avoiding are often the elements of life that keep us sane. Some clean to work through thoughts, unpleasantness, and turmoil. Some drive just to feel like they’re going somewhere. Sometimes, an MWA is the only thing protecting the general public from yet another mass shooting… but the expectation is that we function without regard for the inequity of the design. I have a problem with that.

Do More. Require Better.

It’s Been A Long Time… I Shouldn’a Left You…

I promise, I only left because… because… let me do this right. 

I’d love to say that I left because our Ruthless Leader decided to take a different path, but that would be a lie; I was mostly MIA quite a while before that happened. Y’all know I’m not much for lies, duplicity, or feigning optimism, so I’m going to apologize in advance if I shatter any false ideas you’ve cultivated over the years. The simple version is that I was pulling my life together. Unfortunately, the simple version never quite does it for me, so here we go:

I was busy being depressed. I couldn’t keep telling you to “Do More. Require Better.” when I barely wanted to do anything at all. I’ve been open about my depression, specifically because of what I believe to be my 50 percent, but I haven’t been open about how useless and ineffective the proverbial voices in my head tell me my writing is. I recognize that maybe once upon a time I had a legitimate following  before I started slipping. I also understand, or believe, that in all things, there must be balance. My depression makes it so I can’t see how anything I do means anything. Regardless of my efforts, there will still be pain, suffering, malice, disease, famine, poverty, discord, racism, sexism, and all other forms of unpleasantness. I was left asking “What is any of this for?” The only logical answer I could find: “Naught.”

So what’s a Reign O’Change to do?  I certainly couldn’t keep writing things I no longer believed. There was no Change on the horizon. I was incapable of believing that Justice would actually prevail. Thus, I stopped. It really wasn’t a conscious decision. I kept thinking, “I’ll come back to this one…” or “this issue doesn’t need my voice…” and “Do I really want be one more person blogging about Donamir Trutin’s ineptitude?” Lots of things to write about, but no drive to lend my energy to what seemed like yet another unwinnable battle.

So why are we here today? We’re here because I lost a friend. He’s still very much alive. He’s just not invited to the table anymore. Now, let me be clear: this young man literally came to the cookout. He brought deviled eggs and they were delicious. He tried to teach me how to play HALO. I promoted his craft as a Tattoo Artist. I defended him in public forum against an overzealous supervisor. So when I tell you “I lost a friend.” I mean I lost someone who I thought would be a permanent resident in the complex place that is my heart. How? It all started because of this story I shared on Facebook.

Truth be told, I didn’t even read the article. I figured the least I could do was continue conversing about things Requiring conversation. It’s yet another example of Hollywood deciding that Brown people are better represented by artificially tanned white people.  #RepresentationMatters is a battle cry for those of us who remain unseen and misrepresented by the media. How was I supposed to know it would devolve into “a friend” accusing me of hating white people. If anyone had told me that he would conclude that I was one step away from being a terrorist, I’d have laughed them to scorn. We had Jon Snowed our way through our friendship: we knew nothing about each other.

In my anger, I wrote this entire post, and in doing so, I realized that I needed to come back. That should’ve been–and might still end up being–an addition to The Letter Series. It could’ve been a head-first dive into Decorum Deficiency Disorder. I would’ve gotten so many more hits and shares if only I hadn’t forgotten the purpose of my mission.

#DoMoreRequireBetter is about me doing my #50percent more often and better. So, here’s how this is going to work: I’m back. I’m not mincing words, holding hands, faking the funk, or coddling Anyone. I won’t promise to be here every week, but I’ll be here with all the passion and vigor I can muster… because the conversations still need to be had. We will #RESIST and continue #NotBackingDown because the Cheeto in Chief has earned my wrath. In short: I’m here to Do More & Require Better.

And now we come to…the end of an era

Today, oddly enough was supposed to be the pay off FINALLY for a number of posts about relationships that I thought might be better than all my previous ruthless on relationships post. And indeed I’ll get to that later.

 

Instead,

Today is a day I bring us to a place I knew could happen, but was happy every time it didn’t. Today we end the hour for the last time. What do I mean? Today is the beginning of a goodbye party. For this blog. Oh it will continue to exist, but a transition is afoot. And so with all transitions, some things remain the same, while other change or are left behind.

If you would have told me 3 years ago as I was studying for the bar that we would be here I would be shocked. But if you would have told me that we would get here after 450 thousand views I’d also be shocked so much attention happened. Words Don’t Do It Justice started as an idea, a bit of fun, and a lot of me. I have buried hatchets with enemies because of this blog, reconnected with old friends, and made new ones because of this blog, found meaning in the midst of my own personal depression because of this place. I have consumed it, and let it consume me. I love it. But loving this blog means knowing what to do. And taking a good long look I know the thing to do is let it go.

But I said this was transition not destruction.

And indeed it is. I’ll be taking Words Don’t Do It Justice away from our blogging past into a show based future. For me, the question was one of logistics. Was it better to end everything and walk away from these years of effort, or find a way to keep the place alive in the hearts of all of you who have supported us? I choose to believe that you will keep supporting us, and I chose to keep this place alive in a new way.

That means giving you what we planned. Give No Quarter, The Wrath of Ruthless, and Words Don’t Do It Justice are the three pillars of Ruthless Radio. 3 shows with different formats that bring you many of the topics you might see written about here, but in a new form and with some new and old faces/voices. Over the next few weeks as we ready to for the relaunch of Words Don’t Do It Justice as a podcast, you’ll get to read some farewells from various alums, and hear from the incoming folks for these shows. You’ll also see the Words Don’t Do It Justice site itself undergo various changes. With plenty of hard work, luck, and you listening in, I hope to earn your trust for these new shows, and continue to hold our interest.

SO! What about Weekend’s Don’t Do It Justice?

Well I’m happy to say our little casual interest site is growing well. And it is going to continue. We had a nice response to the sample chapter from Project 13, and now that game of thrones is done you’ll see a lot of other reviews, news, and related content there. Our gamers are doing their thing, and if Vantinel’s CEO appearance is any indication of commitment, we will only continue to grow over there.

As I end for now I just want to say thank you, and of course to keep watching what we do. But more than that, thank you for being a force for us. We continued to push because you were there with us. 100,000 visitors, 450,000 views, and 3 years of growth, While things must change, I am glad to have made it to this point. A point that let’s me look back and say that YOU made us more than I imagined. And though Words Don’t Do It Justice…Thank you.

 

“THE Ruthless Wonder” Matthew Elisha Williams

Founder of Words Don’t Do It Justice

I’m THE Ruthless Wonder, And I believe in the friend zone

Ruthless On Relationships: The Friend Zone

Where do you stand?

Where do you stand?

Yes folks we are there now. It is time for a Ruthless on Relationships special edition. Special edition because I really didn’t plan to post at all this week(work is savage right now), nor talk about this. SO, why am I? Well the best way I can put it is that I’m tired of people failing to grasp it and then putting their thoughts on Facebook. And we all know what happens when I get annoyed. NOW let’s get to it!

The Friend Zone is real

This statement on the face of it is not a problem really. But when you add context. When you put it in the age of XO Jane and Jezebel. The age of #NotAllWomen and #NotAllMen. The age of outrage, ostracizing and tumblr activism. Well then things take a turn. See your normal human mind that is ruled by logic knows exactly what I mean when I say friend zone. Because you, someone you know, or someone you truly care about has dealt with what it really is. You’ve read about it in romantic literature as far back as Ancient Africa. You remember the crush who you never spoke to and think “I was in the friend zone.”

But these other folks don’t mean that. They don’t mean that time you and your friend were so close that you just suddenly developed a feeling for them that was more romantic than friendly, but it was one sided. They don’t mean the friend of yours who liked a guy and was friends with him until she told him her feelings and he rejected her. They don’t mean what your brain has told you for the span of your existence that the friend zone means. They think it means something else.

To these people, these ultimately sadly but willfully ignorant masses, the friend zone is about men who think being nice to women gets them sex. Or men who say they want to be friends to trick women into dating them. Men who feel entitled to sex because of the things they have done for women or the position they have with them. Do you see the problem yet? Of course you do. You’ve been reading me this long so you know what the deal is. But since you are sharing this with your friends, I’ll point it out all clickbaity and continue.

THEY BELIEVE THIS IS AN ALL MALE CONSTRUCT TO SUBJUGATE AND OPPRESS WOMEN.

The Conflict

This conflict on meaning is a problem for a lot of reasons. No doubt you’ve already thought about your female friends and the guys who treated them like they were in the friend zone. But let’s not be exclusionary here. You are well aware of the nice guy friend of theirs they know likes them. The one they joke about taking them to dinner on their dime. The one who flew them out to some vacation. The one who always invites them to be their date of record for events so they don’t look gay or lonely. But even that level isn’t deep enough. Fellas you know that friend of yours. You know, the friend you’ve known since grade school or high school. That you use the excuse that they dated your boy you stopped talking to in 1997 to keep from approaching. The one you laugh off when girls you want to publicly date are around, but always seem to find yourselves in way too intimate to be just friend positions otherwise. Y’all are lying to yourselves. You’ve put that person in the friend zone. I’m not, nor am I into dating members of the trans community, so I can’t speak to them, and thus they are out of the analysis here. But I will say I’m sure everything that I’ve said so far goes for them as well. Hell probably worse since they have to come out as trans, go through their version of transition, and hope that telling a friend who they crush on won’t end in violence.

The reason the friend zone is very particular in meaning, and ultimately should be narrowly tailored to what I’m talking about, is that it is irrespective of gender, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The friend zone is a place you put a person you don’t have romantic and sexual interest in, but you believe has some romantic and sexual interest in you. I did a podcast of the Wrath of Ruthless not too long ago about the different attractions and what in the end they mean. Shoutout to friend of the show Láy Krardashian for the post that help make that happen (You fellas looking for a boyfriend go talk to the babyface badboy). In it we talked about the effect of these attractions. Here I want to talk deeper really quick about both sides of crushing on someone. Because I think that is where people mix up asshole fakes, and nice people. If you have a crush on someone, usually, USUALLY, you aren’t going to say something. You’re going to mope around, trying to figure it out. You’re going to wait just long enough for them to start dating someone else, and then move on. If you do say something you often make it bad timing(aka when they’ve already said they only want to be friends), or when you can make an angry counter to someone else vying for their affection. You are not in the friend zone just because you have a crush. You’re in the friend zone because the person doesn’t feel romantic or sexual about you, and they already scoped you might have that potential feeling.

Of course the assholes are the ones who, gender non-dependant, say they want to be friends to try and trick their way to sex, or keep you in said friend zone for the purpose of abusing your feelings about them to gain things to their benefit. Putting you into the Friend Zone is not an asshole move. It is a perfectly reasonable protective measure. Let me said it again. PUTTING YOU IN THE FRIEND ZONE, BY ITSELF, IS NOT AN ASSHOLE MOVE. IT IS A REASONABLE PROTECTIVE MEASURE! The asshole is also found in the ones who feel entitled to sex for doing things. REGARDLESS OF GENDER. I don’t care if you are the doting female friend who brings chicken soup to her childhood buddy because his last girlfriend got him and the puppy sick right before she walked out. I don’t care if you are the super cool LGBTQ+ friend who helped your homie pick up the pieces after every single straight person broke their heart and made them write godawful poetry that you still clapped along to. Just because you do friendly things doesn’t mean you get to make moves. Those lunch time mimosas where she poured her life story and you repoured your heart out? No excuse to try making out with her while y’all were drunk. That 3rd watch of fear and loathing over blunts and beer? Didn’t earn you cop a crotch on the couch time. That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works. And that’s not the friend zone. That is sexual assault.

However, just like there are assholes, asshole fakes, and the like, there are also nice people. You have a nice person in the friend zone now. You are also in the friend zone of a nice person. Nice people who have no idea you like them and are oblivious to the fact that you want to tell them how you feel. Just like there is someone you think is interested in you, but is just being a good friend. You’ve been told all your life that in heterosexual relations men and women can’t be just friends. And you’ve been told the same for homosexual relations. That everyone who is in your part of the sexual spectrum and isn’t family is so part of the culture that you are unable to be truly platonic. I’ve fought that notion myself. I’ve grappled with the “Am I digging her like that now?” moment. Usually a few times thinking about it makes it go away. But since I already told you 1. The friend zone is a place you put a person you don’t have romantic and sexual interest in, but you believe has some romantic and sexual interest in you. And 2. Putting you into the Friend Zone is not an asshole move. It is a perfectly reasonable protective measure. Let me give you the third and final bit now. 3. You owe it to your single friends, as a friend, to be helpful to their love life, aka be a wingman/wingwoman(A trans man or trans woman is still a man or woman for the purpose of this analysis. When the nonbinary community comes up with a word, and I’m doing this again, I’ll add it).

Now why do you owe them? Mostly to prevent confusion, and be a good friend. Think about it. When you’re single and available your friends who share your gender identity help as best as possible. You may even seek them out for good ideas in dating. Why is it any different for those who share a gender with your sexual preference? Why isn’t it MORE important to help and be helped by them? After all, a guy talking to other guys is only going to get so far on what an incoming woman wants. You can actually have a chat with her and size up who she is versus the male friend and pre-check some compatibility. Your lady friends can see what kind of girls a guy is into, but your guy friends can give you some insight about what his manly habits are. I often boil this down in conversation to a simple thing. If you are in the friend zone with a single person who matches your sexual preference, ask them to hook you up with their friends. “I’m your friend? Word? Then hook me up with your girls, bestie.” is common parlance these days in memes, but I truly believe that. You have a female friend who just need her ass slapped and hair pulled to get life right? Don’t be salty, link her up with the dude who is 28 and still has no plans to be serious this decade. You have a guy trying to pick up the pieces? You know your homegirl has the Ms. Materialistic attitude, don’t pawn him off on her, hook him in to your network of good girls who will treat him right. I’m not saying you have to be the patron saint of matchmakers, I’m saying friends help friends find their way in life. And in love, that’s the way it should be no matter what the orientation and identity of the people involved. So seriously, I’m single, you have hot friends, and in my Jagged Edge voice “Where the party at?” LOL

No, but seriously, I want to walk off with this notion. You are being sold a bill of goods about the friend zone that just isn’t true. Both by the people who aren’t really as nice as they claim, and by the people who are the victims of fakes and phonies. The friend zone is a place you put a person you don’t have romantic and sexual interest in, but you believe has some romantic and sexual interest in you. Putting you into the Friend Zone is not an asshole move. It is a perfectly reasonable protective measure. You owe it to your single friends, as a friend, to be helpful to their love life, aka be a wingman/wingwoman. Beyond that, everything is someones agenda. Shame to get you on their side of a ideological debate about the place of normative versus transative, male versus female, and all other manner of ideas on sex and gender. But the friend zone is a neutral construct. I’m THE Ruthless Wonder and I believe in the friend zone. And I’d say more but Words Don’t Do It Justice!

– THE Ruthless Wonder

When your enemies go to war, you win?

law (1)

Let’s skip the pleasant notions here. I’ve said before that the man who got me through the bar both times was Jonathan Grossman and the woman who gave me a great plan was Kaci Line. And there is a reason for that. My bar essay class. A mandatory bar prep course we had my very last semester, was taught by one of the subjects of this piece, and frankly was horrid. His reposting of Daughters of the Confederacy videos aside, his incorrect information, unfocused technique, and frankly annoying teaching method are what I’m addressing here as his part in this. Barry and their part…well you’ve already read how I feel about my law school’s administration and faculty before. No one should be surprised.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/education/os-barry-lawsuit-gender-discrimination-story.html

Yes this is what we are going to talk about.

Yes this is what we are going to talk about.

The War on Men

I’m going to call this now. Because I both expect this to get to the MRAs of the world, and because I expect chaos to follow. This will branch out beyond the community involved into a Feminist v. MRA/MGTOW discussion of equality. How for the MRA this represents women getting a taste of their own medicine, and for the Feminist this is proof of entitlement. Just remember I called this now. Me. THE Ruthless Wonder. Now let’s get to it.

The Fault in our Bars

If you didn’t take the time to read the article above I’ll sum it up. David Mourey is the former person in charge of helping students pass the bar at Barry Law where I attended from 2010 to 2013. He was not the only one in charge. But at the end of his time it was on his shoulders. You may have noticed I don’t have a positive opinion of him. That’s for good reason. As a student who was not planning to take the Florida bar I felt he was uninterested in properly preparing myself, and the other students in the same boat for our versions of the exam. What do I mean? I had him for the out of state bar essay class. Having us look up the exact essay structure for our state is a smart idea. What isn’t a smart idea is then having us all do the exact same essays no matter what our structure was. I took a UBE exam, so I had 6, 30 minute essays. I was given hour long essay exams every class. Florida did not use the MPT format essays that are the second part of my exam’s essay format. Guess what we never even talked about much less did.

Now that’s on him. The class though. That’s on Barry. You readers who are also attorneys know full well most schools don’t have required bar prep. Barry had bar prep that wasn’t required, then became pass fail but essay was optional for out of state folks, and then mandatory but pass fail for my class, then graded. That’s right, grades for bar prep. Be angry. At the same time, as I said, they’ve gotten rid of the people who helped get the passage rate high. Kaci Line, gone. Jonathan Grossman, gone. But they expected the same to happen, that these people were replaceable. That as long as they kept pushing bar prep it would net higher scores. You can already see the problem right? It is the combination of amazing teaching skill, and the personal student investment that made things work. By making more and more of the admittedly cutting edge approach to bar prep a mandatory slog for the students it made the potential effectiveness drop like a rock. But it wasn’t all their fault.

Enemy of my enemy

The current situation then sounds like a great thing for me right? The monsters are fighting each other, I’m far from the fallout, and this shouldn’t effect anything I’m doing. You’re wrong, but I’m glad you’re still so hopeful after reading WDDIJ this long. The problem for me and thousands of other graduates of Barry Law is this is happening all the time. From law professors who send out emails to every single student faculty and alumni calling the people who failed the bar idiots. To students including the son of the Dean of the law school calling Karen Civil all manner of racial slurs. To the Barry Law CFO Arrested for Embezzlement. All the usual low tier law school jokes. All the professors who’ve escaped to better jobs. The location jokes. I could go on and on about this. You get the point though right? These things playing out in the general public and over on places like Above the law make it worse on grads like myself. And that’s before we get to Barry grads themselves being unprofessional on social media when speaking to alums and others. Usually I’d be fine with this because “either something at Barry would have the potential to change, or at least someone might get something they deserve,” would be my mindset. Not so here.

For myself, and many grads like me there is no winner. Either the school survives this, and uses it as a catalyst to keep the same people in power who’ve made regression the name of the game. Or David Mourey gets rewarded by the courts for what should be laughed at. Listen, I’m all for men having the ability to say there was gender discrimination in the workplace when there are no men in power positions and their termination and treatment has a clear basis in their being male. I’m all for looking at the systemic issues of a 70% female and majority culture administration and what potentially that means to men and women of color. I’ll even let you slide on the idea that there are more factors than the bar prep style and structure at Barry that caused these last few classes to have such low rates. But what I won’t do, what I refuse to do, is give a pass to man who’s job at Barry law was bar prep, and straight up and down wasn’t good at it. Harsh words? Maybe, but honest commentary on the subject. There isn’t a concerned Barry alumni group because everything is fine. It exists because of what has gone on. And continues to go on.

Solutions

I wish I had a magic pill for this. If I thought anything other than complete change in administrative culture and approach to what should be the most lauded and publicized program at the school was needed I’d say it. If I thought somehow I could personally help solve the problem I would offer that in a second. The reality is I care so much about my school and the place it holds in the public eye that I am disgusted by all this. The reality is both sides are behaving like children. One trying to blame “Dem Uppity Womenfolk.” The other ignoring reality for their own pointlessly stubborn and clearly ineffective approach. There are no winners here. Perhaps if the school really committed to righting the ship. Hired back the folks that made it work. Really addressed issues like the out of state exam takers. Removed attendance requirements. Rolled part of the bar prep companies folks are using into the program. Let people who aren’t planning to take the bar immediately, opt out of the classes. And yes, hire staff to handle things like reading the essays so they are graded by people who have graded the bar exam somewhere. Instead of students or current faculty. Maybe with that there would be a change to things. The school would look better. At least on this front. Those other things take more work. I could probably put together a whole plan for that. But you know…Words Don’t Do it Justice!

– THE Ruthless Wonder

Class of 2013

Manly Men are B*tches

Good DaddyI’m a girl. I’m a lady. I am a woman. I am strong and delicate, fierce and gentle. I get to be both. Unfortunately, the world demands that men… that our boys choose a side. What it means to be manly… just one more thing I don’t have any business really speaking on. There’s a lot out there about the messages we send to little girls, and make no mistake, that’s important, but not what this here is about. I need to talk about men, how we raise men, how we program boys, and how important it is that we make some real changes if we’re going to make moves in the right direction for all of our futures.

Sometimes I don’t know what’s more damaging: I understand the importance of teaching boys to be Suck it Upstrong, but for some reason, it’s like they’re not allowed to be balanced. Why are any displays of non-aggressive emotion considered weak? I’d ask why Any indication of weakness is automatically considered feminine, but that’s not what this is about. We raise boys to hold everything in, hide their true feelings, and show only a supposedly manly variety of strength, but expect men to be honest, caring, and sensitive as lovers, compliant, subservient, and malleable as employees, and then be tender, gentle, and patient as fathers… all while maintaining an impermeable armor of masculine strength. Then we wonder why they die younger, are more susceptible to violent outbursts, and more likely to go on killing sprees that end in their own death.

Pink OnsieThe pressure to be manly men starts when they’re born. The suggestion the dressing a baby boy in supposedly girly colors–colors they haven’t even learned to recognize–will somehow make him gay. The assertion that letting a boy play with girls weakens him. The idea that boys have to “toughen up” and can’t cry. In my conversations with guys and gals about what makes a man manly often has more to do with what he does than who he is. Does he work? Does he spend time with his family? Does he act like a man? I honestly don’t really know what that means: “act like a man.” As a matter of fact, it doesn’t seem like most other people really know what it means either. How is it then, that we expect our boys to grow into strong men when we can’t even come up with a definitive answer for what it means to be one?

I think the idea of manliness that we’ve been shoving down our boys throats is Abuseactually feeding a bitch-made mentality. When I say bitch, I don’t mean anything feminine. I mean that we have been raising boys hoping for men, and instead ending up with bitches. They’re over sensitive, homophobic, and moody. Unfortunately, because they’ve been conditioned to hold all of their emotions in, they’re prone to spontaneous combustion. They have a tendency to interpret everything as attacks against their manhood. Of course these are very general statements, and I know that #notallmen are like this. Unfortunately, we’re living in a social climate where everything is taken personally and indifferently at the same time. Every conversation is an opportunity to get defensive or accuse someone of being oversensitive. Even when trying to address and fix these kinds of social problems, we run into this–as the kids would say–bitch-made mentality that makes it impossible to make progress. Here’s my attempt…

A man’s manhood cannot be measured by how many women he beds, hours worked, or dollars spent on material things. Manhood cannot be challenged by anything, if the man in question is truly a man. A an who knows his position, knows his worth, and is fully secure in his manhood does not allow trivialities to diminish his manly swag. A man is honorable, kind, and diligent in all of his undertakings. He keeps his word and is sure to mirror his words with his deeds. He knows his strengths, and does not allow his weaknesses to define him. He understands the importance of partnerships, team work, and family. He works hard, and plays hard. He is balanced. He most certainly strives to Do More & Require Better.

Mom

Random church pic with Mom. Sometimes you dont need a special occasion.

Random church pic with Mom. Sometimes you don’t need a special occasion.

If you’re reading this. It is the future. I’m writing to you from the past. Who knows how long I’ll be on the shelf with this illness, but I wanted to get this written down in time to go up on Mother’s Day just in case.

She loved coming to Florida for this. Still doesn't want to move there though.

She loved coming to Florida for this. Still doesn’t want to move there though.

Mother’s Day

People often have a opinion of the holiday that is steeped in one of two things. An unabashed love of it and their Mother, or a deep avoidance of it because of their Mother. I fall oddly enough in both categories. Some of you know why more than others. When people naturally assume I’m talking about the woman in all the photos of my childhood, adolescence, and adulthood constantly referred to as my Mom, they wonder how I can have ill feelings towards her. Like every child, at some point I got mad about not being allowed to do or get something (usually my way), but I assure you that is not what I’m talking about here. I’m in both categories because as is the case for kids like me, I know the fundamental difference between me and most of you. As many people constantly post the sonograms of their upcoming children, the poems about their mothers and how they were carried 9 months and all that, and inevitably the “she knew me before I knew myself” based reflections, I get angry.

Let me explain.

I get angry because I know, sort of, the woman who did that. I know her in my features, my skin tone, my likely genetically passed along diseases (thanks for the diabetes). I don’t know her face other than what exists in my own. I don’t know her voice other than what markers her and my father passed along to me. And that makes me angry every year at this time. Right along side knowing that I was easy to cast aside. But another anger rises in me. I am angry for the woman who has loved, cared for, scolded, taught, cried over and with, cheered on, and supported me from the moment she saw my face. Because she had to find me. Because she and my Dad had to look for me. Because I wasn’t theirs to begin with.

If you thought she was happy when I got my JD, imagine her watching me get sworn in by a Judge I've known since I was 13, at the second coolest courthouse in Kansas City, with nothing but friends and family around.

If you thought she was happy when I got my JD, imagine her watching me get sworn in by a Judge I’ve known since I was 13, at the second coolest courthouse in Kansas City, with nothing but friends and family around.

In movies, because well I always relate things to something easy, you often find a character who is secretly someone else entirely has odd differences in their mannerisms, looks and the like from their family and finding out why is some deep secret from the family’s pandora’s box. I’ve always known why. I’m adopted. I could say it is easier to handle sticking out when you know why, but I’d be lying. Knowing your extreme light complexion black parents are not passing it on to you so you look darker in every photo? I know the reason. Knowing your siblings from your father’s past relationships are all substantially taller than you, and you’ll probably never get there? I know the reason. And those are the superficial issues. The hard stuff is much darker. I won’t get you too deep in that existential nightmare, but hold the rails as I dip your toes in.

Wondering if your parents really love you or if they might send you away because you aren’t really their kid they just chose to have you around? I know the reason for that fear and it started at age 5.

Get out of that pool folks it only gets darker from there.

So while some of my anger is from not being wanted by the woman who gave birth to me, a lot of it is from not being born my Mom’s son. Knowing that somewhere deep in her mind just like in mine we hurt for the same reason, that we had to find each other. That her and my Dad had to go through paperwork, lawyers, judges, an apparently heartbroken foster mom, and state agencies as well as everyone who represented my birth mother’s family just to get me into their lives so I could have the beautiful dream ending that you seriously only hear about in movies. You might wonder why that inspires anger and not joy, happiness, or many other positives emotions. Well it does. But I started with anger so you’d get why the highs are so high.

I said at the top I’m in both categories. The flame of my anger has, admittedly, dimmed a bit, as I just stopped caring about all but the fact that my parents are the ones who love and raised me. Who were there for all the tiny moments and the towering ones. But the anger category was never so powerful as to overshadow the joy. Better said the anger fueled even more joy. How so? Let’s dream out the other side of that dark pool from earlier for a moment shall we? I don’t wonder did my parents want to have me around. I know they did because of all that to get me here. I have verifiable, legally documented, state stamped proof that by the sheer force of will of my parents I became Matthew Elisha Williams (My name is, in the end, rather telling). I take pride in my name and the meaning of my name. Not because it is so American that eagles should come flying out from behind me while Jimi Hendrix plays the Star Spangled Banner every time it is said or I walk into a room. But because, quite literally, it is the story of how I came to be.

Not the same as when we had season tickets for the Chiefs, but we both loved being back to Arrowhead for some football. GO LINCOLN!

Not the same as when we had season tickets for the Chiefs, but we both loved being back to Arrowhead for some football. GO LINCOLN!

So when I look at my Mother, now enjoying retirement, reading books, but sadly dealing with the complications of having MS effecting one of her legs I have a towering joy. That woman chose me. Every child that was available for adoption in 1982 was available. Every single one, and instead of all of them, me. That’s a powerful thing to know. That’s a powerful memory to hold in your heart and mind when things get bad. I know, because I have. I let her pick what we do with Mother’s day every year. Some years I didn’t have the money to buy her gifts so I wrote for her. Some years the gift doesn’t arrive on time. No matter what though, I give thanks for her. I take a moment every chance I get to remind her I love her, to say thank you, and on days like Mother’s Day additionally make sure she knows I care. Because, as I often say, my parents are my favorite super heroes, always have been, always will be. So I make sure to honor the one I still get to see whenever I want. The cliché ending would be “take a moment and talk to your Mom, think about your Mom, or go see your Mom.” I wouldn’t dare presume that you only have the bright side of the journey I just took you on. Instead I’ll end by saying no matter what your situation, no matter your relationship with your Mother, take a moment for yourself. Reflect on who you are. If that reflection leads you to a positive place about your Mother, take some time for and or with her. If that reflection leads you to a negative place about your Mother, take some time to honor who you became in spite of that relationship. I could say more, but Words Don’t Do Mom Justice!

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Way back when Mom at my side, and my uncle standing in where my father would have if he had still been alive.

 –  THE Ruthless Wonder

 

P.S. shoutout to the soon to be Moms that are also big time WDDIJ Superfans Jessica Thomas and Danielle Baron-Anders(or Anders nee Baron, Luv ya but I have no idea what you decided on last name)