The Stopping Starts, Again

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by sonofJack, Jun 26, 2013.

  1. Guy_Stewart

    Guy_Stewart Well-Known Member

    sonofJack: I'd say I love you, but I don't want to give anyone any ideas. Your words; your presence; inspires me. Your honesty challenges me. I would not have returned here if it weren't for people like you. Solid rocks. Foundational.

    Thank you.
     
  2. sonofJack

    sonofJack I deserve self-respect

    My new responsibilities at work were being misrepresented.

    When I was offered the opportunity to jump in as a sort of relief pitcher for our school, I was surprised, and a bit freaked out by the outpouring of support, not only from my friends, and trusted colleagues, but by some folks I rarely interact with. Getting congratulatory messages from students felt great, though I wondered at first if they thought I was moving on, and away from the classroom; which I am not.

    Most of my training, was on practical applications, processes, and procedures that I'll need to simply stay afloat in the new office. There were some discussions of legal, and structural best practises, but not a lot regarding the real meaning of the position. What was the one word that would describe the organization's existence, if the job was not being done? It was not being addressed.

    After my first weeks solo in the chair though, I'm starting to see it. As I move through this new adventure, the answer to my question will fully reveal itself, and I will throw my energy into taking it as far as I can, in whatever direction it needs to go. My biggest gift, thus far, has been the fact that only one faculty person has reacted negatively to my promotion; not in the way I'm most comfortable with - confrontation, but rather in a passive-aggressive, cynical I'm-smiling-but-I-hate-what-is-going-on-here way. One person out of a staff nearing 200, is a pretty good percentage. I know there will be more, as some folks may have their easy job functions shaken up a bit.

    It's funny to me that the person who preceded me saw the job as an overwhelming amount of work. Sure, there's a learning curve to get comfortable with the processes, but there's a diamond mine of opportunity to help students, and the organization, move up to another level, whatever that may be. Overall, a great place will be just a little greater when I'm done with it. I am confident saying that, because that's just the way things are.

    I've never been comfortable with the status quo. My family life growing up, cemented the idea in me that talent, social status, and charm are all just tools. They pale in comparison to what hard work, resistance to negativity, and acceptance that failures are just learning moments, can do. Hard work, smart work, whatever you want to call it, is the thing that always keeps me moving forward. To paraphrase Ted Turner (no hero of mine, but this slogan was on his desk at TBS): "Lead, Follow, but just keep the hell out of my way".

    Life can be shitty some times. Life can be beyond wonderful too. Prepare for the shitty, but never stop fighting with every breath you have to reach the wonderful.

    Getting bogged down in the processes, will keep you from getting where you want to be.
     
  3. Guy_Stewart

    Guy_Stewart Well-Known Member

    Congratulations, Sir. Without knowing how you are in your school, I can tell by how you interact through emails that you will be a powerful administrator.
     
  4. sonofJack

    sonofJack I deserve self-respect

    Thanks Guy Stewart. I appreciate the support!
     
  5. 1075 days...dang! Just an observation :)
     
  6. a short guy

    a short guy Well-Known Member

    Double dang! :)
     
  7. sonofJack

    sonofJack I deserve self-respect

    Work is closed all this week. I mean really closed, as in the doors are locked, the heat is off, and security has been instructed to turn people away. This is a situation where I do not function well.

    My boss instructed me to do something I've never done before: create an "away" message, and change my work email over to "not here." She also said that any emails she sees from me dated between when we left and when we're to return, will not be seen as me just doing what needs to be done, but rather me not doing what needs to be done.

    In other words, it has been suggested that it may be a good time for me to relax, because in a few days, there is a tremendous amount of very tricky, and extremely important, work to be done. Thus far, I've been pretty good, reading only the occasional email preview, but not clicking on anything (if an emergency arises, I certainly would not ignore it), and I've left my meeting scheduler alone too.

    Luckily, when it comes to my teaching, she is my boss' boss, and the new guy who supervises me directly will let me do whatever I want because that guy is me. I've spent the week picking away at my courses, rather than pushing through like an enraged elephant. Yesterday, I was in my pyjamas until 5pm, doing spurts of readings, changing up some assignments, redoing my presentations, solving a great crossword, watching a cool doc about Cuba, chatting online with a friend from back home (a guy I haven't interacted with in decades!), eating anything in sight, not clearing snow off the drive, not going grocery shopping...it was a great day.

    There is still a great lot of work to be done on my courses, but experience tells me that for all my excitement about getting things wrapped and ready to go, I inevitably change nearly everything anyway. I teach about a very dynamic world; it would be criminal to think that what I prepare in December, will be even close to the reality of February, March, or April.

    My boss left me with a fun dilemma to wrestle with: she wants me to revisit the thought of adding a discussion on pornography, yup the very one her previous boss thought would be a great idea. To make my decision trickier, she had me talk to the new Fine Art professor, who was unsure about how to introduce figure study to her curriculum. The previous prof had left it out entirely, but this woman has a very sound argument for why it should be taught, especially in light of current day Rape Culture conversations. My boss feels that I should at least think about what is being communicated to our youth through porn.

    Two things: 1) your suggestions are welcome. Who better to talk about the effects of pornography than the people here. I don't need long essays (like I write), just a sentence, a word, an emotional response. Give me what you can. Tell your friends. Tell others on here. If anyone is too shy, a private message is fine. However, I feel that this may be the start of a much-needed talk on my pages. 2) I hope my nearly 3 years of healthy Internetting are not in peril, as I have done some initial research, but with Safe Search on "strict".

    So far, it appears that I may add a small section on Pornography, but only as a sub-section in the Advertising unit. As we know, P has very little to do with sexuality, but it is a very powerfully crafted selling tool, and one which uses techniques that have been driving us to drink, smoke, overeat, and buy unnecessary gas guzzlers, for over a century.

    Wish me luck!
     
    newleaf63 likes this.
  8. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    I hear about guys and girls swapping pics of their genitals as though it's no big deal. My young gym friends have even offered to show me, an offer I would never take up. A lot of university kids are inured to P. A discussion on that sounds complicated. Personally, given the predilection for universities to go after profs for the slightest thing I would tread carefully. I think undergrads should just learn the basics of how to think and articulate themselves, because they are too young to understand what an experienced prof is getting at. Some would be right there with you, but most either wouldn't care or be validating their own prejudices one way or the other. I'm sure this isn't helpful, but thought I'd wade in.
     
  9. sonofJack

    sonofJack I deserve self-respect

    Discourse is not just helpful Saville, it's necessary! There is much to think about on this, and if I play it right, I'll be thinking about it for so long that I won't have an opportunity to address it this semester ;)
     
  10. sonofJack

    sonofJack I deserve self-respect

    This is my last day of what has been a very relaxing holiday. I did cause work on and off throughout, but most of that was pretty easy, with the exception of some new content that was necessary for me to add.

    I spent yesterday doing nothing. Slept in to 8. Didn't get out of my pyjamas all day (I guess they're more loungewear, as I really just cannot wear stuff when I sleep). Watched football. Had some beers. Ate fun food from NYE. Solved six NYT crosswords. Listened to about 3/4 of an amazing show on CBC 2 Radio. It would be hard to describe to non Canadian friends, but it was a musical tour de force, from some of our best indie performers, covering the greatest Canadian rock band.

    I guess that did describe it!

    Got back in the pool this AM, and finally got my swim up to 2000 metres. The speed isn't there, but I'm not that concerned. It feels good, getting in a tepid pool on a very cold, very dark morning. With my workouts lasting a little longer than they did a few weeks ago, there's a bit more of a crowd in the shower afterward. That they include me in the conversation, does not necessarily mean I take part.

    This morning's topic was apparently about the one lifeguard's, er, bulge. Yeah. I had neither the content, nor the will, to add to the discourse, but I'm embarrassed to day that I could have. It was impossible to miss his; well you know, there are some things in life you just cannot un-see. That's not the point though. Why the fuck did these adult men feel it necessary to point out this young man's generous genetic gift, to each other?

    I remained quiet, finished my shower, and got out of there.

    Listening to their chatter was like going back in time to Mr. Corbett's gym class shower room: there was that same bizarre mixture of provocative homoerotic banter, loud confirmation of hetero self-identification, and shaming of the guys who acted just a little too nervous, or just a little too interested.

    Back then, I had to learn the hard way that skipping the after-workout ritual was more deadly than suffering through the worst of it. Coach advised me "you can survive those assholes by just going along with their shit." He was right too. They stopped ganging up on me and the other nerds as soon as we got with the program, and jumped in the shower with the others. The two guys who just couldn't do it, were mercilessly harassed until they quit gym altogether. I remember at the time that I shunned them both as quitters. Losers. Fuck ups, who deserved their fates.

    Somehow I had become part of a bizarro world, where guys who were eager to strip down regularly, and hang out naked in close proximity were "okay," but the ones who valued their privacy, were "queers." We all looked. We all compared. We all kept our mouths shut, because at that age, breaking the don't-ask-don't-tell code, was lethal. Hell, it would be years before someone even explained to me what "queer" was. I honestly had assumed it was the kids with really tiny wieners or some other laughable, unfortunate innate trait.

    By 11th grade, even though I was firmly entrenched as one of the jock-nerds, I dropped gym, and quit school sports to get away from what was slowly devolving into an every more disturbing culture in my eyes, and a coach who would not support the few of us who wanted to make things a bit easier for the other guys. I was becoming less fearful of speaking up, and speaking out, but I knew it was time for me to get out, before I became anathema.

    I missed my sports dearly. I did not miss the other crap though. My girlfriend at the time applauded my decision, and opened up to me about how truly awful most of the jocks were to her and the other girls too. It made me ill to think that I had ever been lumped in with them. I was in my early 20s, and out of college before I entered another locker room, and was happy to find it was full of (mostly) adults, who just wanted to go about their business.

    It's how tribalism works. We gather in groups that are coalitions at best. The alphas keep control of the herd by setting rules, testing the membership, and punishing transgressors. Individualism, fairness, and truth are slowly squeezed out. Woe be the tribe member who wants in so badly, that he can never be himself. Taking a stand comes with a heavy social price tag, but staying silent costs you so much more in the long run.

    I guess I'm lucky that from this experience, I learned to just not give a shit about being accepted by groups, especially ones that won't accept me as I am.

    Let's hope the guys go back to talking about cars, money, and the shitty job they think the government is doing. Otherwise, I just may have to speak up.
     
  11. WRAT

    WRAT Active Member

    SOJ, always good to read your journal. Happy New Year.
     
  12. sonofJack

    sonofJack I deserve self-respect

    The learning curve for my new responsibilities ratcheted up a notch yesterday. Two instances in which a decision I made based on a literal translation of how I was trained, turned out to be incorrect. One was minor, but the other led to a student probably suffering through an day of thinking he would not be admitted back into his program full time. It got fixed, and without the writing skills employed by my boss, it could have been a lot worse.

    Regardless, I fucked up. Not just in giving the wrong advice, shit happens, but in taking all I was told about procedural issues as gospel. That is not how I work. At least, that is not how I work at the level I am capable of.

    I'm going back in today with my annoying "question everything" approach. It may get tiresome to my coworkers, but if it saves the students grief, it will have payed off.
    ---
    Interestingly, I spoke to people at the pool today. Early morning pre-swim, is when I'm usually in my silent place. Some people may think I'm grumpy, or hungover, but really I just don't want to talk much when I'm getting ready to hit the pool. It became apparent to me this morning as to why I'm like that: I have never felt like I belong there.

    I've feared the water since before I can remember; feared being in it. I have always loved being in boats of any kind, and probably would have water-skied, if I knew it could have been performed without my face going under the waves. The pool is actually scarier to me than the lake. As the depth increases, my heart rate goes up, and the reverse is true coming back to the shallow end. Add to this the other swimmers, and the fact that after all this time, my confidence in my personal ability to swim, is about .01.

    This morning, I didn't turn my back on the pre swim conversation in the locker room. If not totally engaged, I at least was interested in what they were talking about (old guy hockey, and icy roads). Before we started our laps, I even had a short chat with the old fast lady who shares our lane (after which I realized that she is probably younger than me, and seems rather nice). After the swim, I shared a little back and forth with one of the guys who turns out to also be an ex-hockey player (mediocre like me).

    It would seem that the only person who was keeping me from feeling like I belonged, was me.
     
  13. sonofJack

    sonofJack I deserve self-respect

    My week at work was pretty damned positive. There were speed bumps and hiccups at every turn, which I'd been instructed to expect, especially in the weeks just leading up to the new semester. I had only one upset student (who genuinely apologized afterward), and one rather bitchy parent (who I had to remind that I am working to help her daughter, not her). Friday was an absolute hurricane of student meetings, scheduled, drop in, phone in, emailed, and one in a stairwell (I think he was actually running stairs as a workout).

    A few minor procedural errors were pointed out, but other than those, my boss came in a few times to tell me how happy she is with me in the chair, brought me cookies, and gave me a lead on some freelance work that is right up my alley.

    The next two weeks will be even crazier, as more students trickle back into the city, realizing that they haven't signed up for courses yet, or that they failed to meet the continuance requirements in their programs, and wish to move to ours. On top of that, I'll be teaching a full course load, chairing faculty meetings, and continuing to look after my mom, and be a good husband and father.

    Well those last three things will always be on my scheduler. In the end, they are all that really matters. They are why I'm doing this.

    Life is good.
     
  14. newleaf63

    newleaf63 Member

    soj

    happy new year. i enjoy reading your journal thoroughly. it holds many keys and much inspiration, your writing is superb and the manner you deliver your posts never fails to show me just what can be gained from continued abstinence from my addiction. thank you for your words and continued support you give me and no doubt, many others.

    did you decide what to do regarding introducing a discussion on pornography? a trawl through the younger forums here points to the damage freely available porn does daily, the perfume adverts on television here in dear old blighty over christmas were like soft porn... something advertising uses well(?). i guess at its basest level porn gives us men a sense of power we feel we are lacking whilst it gives women problems regarding body image... a glib and generalized view but a starting point.

    i wish you and yours good health and continued progress.
     
  15. WRAT

    WRAT Active Member

    SOJ, thanks for stopping by my journal. You are an inspiration.
     
  16. sonofJack

    sonofJack I deserve self-respect

    Hey, I slipped past the 3 year mark. No PMO for 3 years. I guess that is a good thing, even if it was not what brought me to YBR in the first place.

    More than years ago, I came here because I felt I had a problem with masturbation. Funny thing was, I had no problem at all masturbating. You could say that I was very good at it. But here I was, expecting the huge group hug that these places usually bestow on newbies, would be all it takes to get me to my goal. There was a good stretch of not-doing-that-thing-wanted-to-stop-doing, then a glorious crash and burn, brought on by, who the fuck knows.

    I've watched many souls on here struggle with their goals, their strategies, even the perception of their afflictions. A thread is going on right now, and I feel that my contributions may cause more harm than good, so I'll stay quiet. It is eye-opening to see what we blame ourselves for, and how so many of us are afraid of who we have become. I don't think people become other people; it is more accurate to say that who we truly are, always shows through in the end.

    I get this from my wife, who despises the "I'm not myself when I drink" excuse. She was a psych major, and a damned good one. Drugs that relax us, and remove inhibitions, merely allow our core human out. He us usually different from us, due to the many layers of filtering we've learned to apply over the years. But watch a silly drunk old man, and you are probably seeing exactly the person he was, when he was very young.

    There was always a lingering fear at the back of my head, that some of the stuff I did when nobody was watching, would come to life if I was ever horribly drunk. I was even frightened that as my faculties disintegrate in later life, I would be that sad old man masturbating in the corner. But if there is one thing that I've learned from this stretch of not-doing-that-thing-I-said-I-would-not-do, it is that that person who looked and sounded a lot like me, who looked at some images that are outside of my lifestyle; that person was not quite real.

    Whatever a person is into sexually, as long as it is consensual, between adults, and causes no harm, is barely interesting to me. I don't have gay colleagues, I have trusted and respected colleagues. The lesbian couple up the block, are just the couple up the block. I don't care, and would not be upset to know, if any of the dudes I swim and shower with are gay. Or straight. Or whatever the fuck label someone may need to tag on them. It is just not interesting to me.

    Seeing an arousing image, and acting out to it does not out you. It says a lot more about who you are not, as you have graduated to the point where you need to shock yourself to get the dopamine pumping. There is very little chance that you'd ever want to find yourself in the same company in the real world. There is even less chance that the subjects of those images you use would want to have you with them, particularly when you're doing that thing that you do.

    For over three years, I have not PMOd. I've seen some pornographic images, and yes, there have been times that they have caused arousal. Apart from those instances, there have been times that I've masturbated. These happen, not just due to the fact that there is no intimacy going with my wife; not physical anyway. No, sometimes they just happens. Then it doesn't again, for a very long time. It never needs to be fuelled by some fake visuals either (though the waking from a far too sexy dream thing still summons Mr. Happy), as they were not helping anyway. No, they were doing the opposite. To use the big capitals: P = not worth looking for, but not easy to avoid comPletely, M = no big deal, in Moderation, O = a bit more problematic, especially when you get it On something, but PMO = stay away, or your Penis May revOlt.

    Yeah, that was kinda lame.

    Just over 3 years ago, it became clearer to me that masturbating is not a great worry. Porn fuelled masturbation was what had taken me out of Club Boner, and as soon as I finally realized that, most of the stresses, and "triggers" (I hate that descriptor) faded away.

    I found that the thing I needed to do was rebuild those things that had made me a pretty good person to start with: my mind, my devotion to my family, my physical fitness, my career, and my objectivity. That last one can be a real bitch too, because it is so easy to fuck up, when we get lost in our own shit. Yet it is so easy to continue down the proper path, when we see things as they really are.

    I've rambled on too long. Again.
     
    40New30 likes this.
  17. SOJ, really good read there. GREAT insights. Can't say I agree or that they apply to me to a letter but many of your observations ring true. To wit, (and I'm outing myself here a bit....and I might lose some credibility...but this site is worthless if we can't be honest with strangers, no?) I have been *hardcore*P-MO free for 122 days. I kept a stash of softcore stuff to wean myself off the P altogether. Hypocrite? Cheat? Sneak? Phony? Maybe. But the truth is emerging to me very solidly lately...and that there was a very definitely line in the sand separating my problem behavior from simply getting some release quickly and efficiently once in a while. And that line is hardcore porn. I can't look at it. I can look at nude women. Here's the kicker: I don't do the latter very much at all. But over the course of several years of trying to kicking this fucking time/soul-sucking habit, I have realized that beautiful nude women doesn't destroy hours and hours of my life or stain my soul. Do I hope to get to a place where I'm back in a real relationship with a real woman and finally delete all that stuff? YES! But I'm not there yet. Where I am is NOT looking at humans engaging in sexual activity and masturbating to it. And that's a HUGE accomplishment for me. I won't be judged for being less than perfect. I'm in a good place and where I'm going is even better. The dragon has largely been slayed. I feel very little need to peek at that cache of imaginary babes. But sometimes I do. And it's quick and easy. So, for me, I found a line that I can safely not move past. I know I'm being naive that I can always stay on the right side of it. But I need to go at my OWN pace. I need a plan for success for ME. No pun intended here, but different strokes for different folks. What's working for some guys here (40 -- all in with NO anything for the most part) doesn't work for me. What is working for me is my own path. And, praise God, I'm on it. And it's working. And there is no magic to images anymore. They don't twist my brain and resurrect The Beast that I once knew. Anyway, your post just really resonated and I'm learning to be more honest (it's a process) with strangers and myself. You kick ass man. 1100 days of not doing something you used to do all the time that caused so much pain IS THE WHOLE POINT. You've slayed a dragon. Kudos man.
     
  18. Mozenjo

    Mozenjo Well-Known Member

    SonofJack, statements like these give me hope. I’d like to think I’ve seen things as they really are for quite some time, but continuing down the proper path has obviously not proven to be easy for me. I’ll write more about that in my own journal, but I want to thank you for sharing your thoughts for these last 3 years. I came on board several months after you did, and you are one of the reasons I took the leap. Posting personal and private thoughts online, even in this anonymous setting, took some doing for me. But I’m glad I did!

    Also, I’m a bit late in responding to your Dec. 30 post, but I’ve been away from here for awhile. Your school project is a tricky one to address in your position. Talking about pornography is not frought with as many risks as it was when we were younger, but as Saville mentioned in his post, it’s still risky enough when you are under the spotlight like I imagine you are. “What is being communicated to our youth through porn” has been discussed so much lately (I heard a spot on NPR last week where porn was called a national health crisis) that I would think most of your students have heard plenty of great reasons for staying away from it. But if anyone can think of a fresh way of communicating those reasons in a way that will stick, it is you.

    My feeling is that people generally respond more to why something is in their best interests versus helping the greater good (like not supporting the oppression of women). I wish that wasn’t the case, but most youth, as idealistic as they may be, are still hedonists at their core. So, how do you keep them away from a hyper-addictive, hyper-accessible, free drug? Since everyone in your classes has probably seen plenty of porn already, they know that there is a flavor for every taste, and that even if 99% of what’s out there disgusts them, there’s still a niche that kinda works for them. There’s also that pesky human penchant for rationalizing our way through thorny moral dilemmas in the pursuit of pleasure. As I write this, I’m trying to find a point that may be helpful to you. I guess the point is that this drug is obviously not harmless. At least that’s obvious to us.

    Most people know that taking drugs like heroin or fentanyl are clearly not in their best interests. If there was a way to equate the use of porn to the use of those drugs, maybe more would just say no before becoming addicts. How to do that?
    Well, through education. I personally rejected the idea that I was an addict until I couldn’t reject it anymore. By reading up at YBOP, I saw that the little voice that kept nagging at me that my ex-wife was right, and that I was an addict, could no longer be ignored.

    I see my son spend so much of his time staring at his phone, I fear that at 15 he has already developed an internet addiction (hopefully no porn yet). When I get him out of the house and away from the phone, which is difficult, I know that when we return, he will be right back at it. The internet has created a world of addicts. And no addiction is harmless. As Eckhart Tolle says, "all addictions start with pain, and they all end with pain." And there’s tons of pain in between.

    I hope some of that helps.
     
  19. sonofJack

    sonofJack I deserve self-respect

    Wow HOS and Moz, your messages really hit me, and in a good way. I came here to help me, but if somehow my process has helped anyone else, then I've already achieved so much more than I could have ever imagined.

    By the way: I waited out the whole decision to inject a pornography discussion into my course. Instead of applying logic, fighting for my academic freedom, and reaping the rewards of taking a stand, I simply slowed the process down until it was too late to change the syllabus. Manipulative? Sure. Cowardly? Maybe. Effective? Fuck ya!

    Not having a strong argument against my boss' proposal is unusual for me. It is an issue that carries great value, and as you mention, perhaps even greater risk. Saville's caution about the dangers of backlash aren't taken lightly, though you all must know me by now, I've fought tougher battles.

    Knowing that she has not pushed me harder on this, gives me a sense that my boss is not all-in with it either. I suspect things are being pushed from above. Perhaps the Russian Porn industry has invested heavily in our Alumni Fund!

    This gives me another four months until we must address the issue again, but Moz, your insight will be a valuable component of where I go with this.

    For now, I can do what I signed on for: help the student prosper.
     
  20. greenmt

    greenmt No Pain, No Gain. Just can't eat cake and have it

    SOJ

    are you alright ? Everything is okay? Please let us know how you are doing. You haven’t posted here since Jan 2017
     

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