Man, Are You Toxic? How to Start to Get Over It

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Man, Are You Toxic? How to Start to Get Over It
/

So, this week in our attempt to make your life a little bit better, we’re talking about being toxic and we are specifically talking about men being toxic.

And to do that we first have to define what toxic masculinity is.

Maya Salem in a 2019 NYT article writes that it’s:

  • Hiding your emotions, pretending you aren’t upset
  • Making sure everyone thinks you’re hard. (not your muscles, but your brain/soul/emotions)
  • Violence=toughness=powerful

“In other words: Toxic masculinity is what can come of teaching boys that they can’t express emotion openly; that they have to be “tough all the time”; that anything other than that makes them “feminine” or weak. (No, it doesn’t mean that all men are inherently toxic.)”

Salem

But toxic masculinity is more than that. It’s a set of beliefs that a lot of men believe about themselves and that a lot of women believe about them, too.

What are those damn, stupid beliefs. According to Dr. Axe, they are things like (all the italicized below is a direct quote, but the format in the notes is hitching:

  • Manhood is defined by violence, sex, status and aggression.
  • Men should not be interested in “feminine things” because this makes them appear weak
  • Men shouldn’t display “feminine” traits such as emotional vulnerability.
  • Men and women can never truly understand each other or just be friends, for reasons like men are always interested in sex.
  • Real men are strong and don’t show emotional signs of shame or weakness.
  • Anger and violence are useful ways of solving conflicts.
  • Men are not suited to be single parents/the dominant parent in a family.

So, you might recognize some of those beliefs in yourselves or in others, rights? And it’s kind of a lot of bullshit.

You can be male; you can be a man and be nuanced. And there isn’t some dichotomy of man strong/woman weak. We’re not even going to begin to talk about how tough female sex organs and birthing organs are, right?

Sigh.

That is a rant for another time.

Moving on, masculinity theory has its origins in gender theories and has been expanded by the work of Raewyn Connell (Australian sociologist), Dr. Ronald Levant (researcher) and others who speak of the patriarchal dividend. And according to Dr. Axe, it’s about:

“A set of values, established by men in power, that functions to include and exclude, and to organize society in gender unequal ways. It combines several features: a hierarchy of masculinities, differential access among men to power (over women and other men) and the interplay between men’s identity, men’s ideals, interactions, power and patriarchy.”

So, what are those values? We talked about some of them, but those aren’t all. Let’s go at it from another angle.

Over on Tiny Buddha, Charles Razook writes:

“Toxic masculinity has bred men to be the life of the party. Drink hard. Smoke cigarettes. Do drugs. Be indomitable. This behavior always necessitates sleeping in to recover afterward and lower productivity.

“For women, on the other hand, there is more of an emphasis on looks, composure, and output. Essentially, on being perfect.

“This may sound misogynistic, backward, and antiquated, but unfortunately, these expectations still affect our society, though they are slowly changing. And the result is not very positive for men or women.”

How does this hold us all back? That’s kind of the question, right?

According to Scientific American,

“But this scramble for dominance and denial of emotion comes at great cost. It blunts men’s awareness of other people’s needs and emotions, drives domestic and sexual violence, makes aggression look like a reasonable way to solve conflict, forbids seeking health care (and even thinking about seeking mental health care), and pours fuel on the fire of drug and alcohol abuse

“Toxic masculinity even invades life’s small pleasures. To paraphrase the comedian Bill Burr, the man box means you can’t admit a baby is cute, hug a puppy, say you want a cookie, order banana pancakes, or carry an umbrella in the rain (“Get those shoulders up!”).”

And how do we fight it?

  1. Allow your kids and your men to have emotions and express them, damn it.
  2. Call out people for being nasty trolling idiots.
  3. Look at your kids’ role models. Are they toxic?
  4. Remember toxic people can change. Your mistakes don’t have to destroy you. Just thinking they do is toxic.
  5. Admit that culture and society has helped shape you and your personality and belief systems.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Don’t be afraid to explore who you are and why you are that way.

Links

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-to-fight-toxic-masculinity/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/what-the-wild-things-are/201810/toxic-masculinity-what-is-it-and-how-do-we-change-it

https://www.ladbible.com/news/weird-man-who-called-womens-swimsuits-pornography-loses-his-job-20210909

SHOUT OUT!

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. 

Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

AND we are transitioning to a new writer podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW! You’ll be able to check it out here starting in 2022!

We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.

Carrie is reading one of her poems every week on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That’s a lot!

Here’s the link.

best writing podcast WRITE BETTER NOW
Write Better Now – Writing Tips podcast for authors and writers
best podcast ever
loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird
best poetry podcast by poet
Carrie Does Poems

Mean People Suck

Carrie Does Poems
Carrie Does Poems
Mean People Suck
/

Hi! This year (2022), I’ve decided to share a poem on my blog and podcast and read it aloud. It’s all a part of my quest to be brave and apparently the things that I’m scared about still include:

  1. My spoken voice
  2. My raw poems.

Thanks for being here with me and cheering me on and I hope that you can become braver this year, too!


Mean People Suck

She is driving, in her car, with the sticker MEAN PEOPLE SUCK

Stuck on the bumper. She hasn’t yet peeled

The sticker off, though she promised herself

When her dad bought her the car, she would before the week was through.

Mean people suck.

But as she drives the car, at night, down the curves

Of the Mud Creek Road, she isn’t thinking of the elegant statement

Stuck to her little, gray automobile, she is thinking

Of the boy poet in her German class, the handsome one, with hair,

And how, only a half hour earlier,

He gave her the best compliment she’d ever heard:

                        If you lived in Nazi Germany

                        You would’ve been in the resistance. I am sure.

Ah. She sighs at such a compliment, better by far than a litany

Of her attributes, of the color of her eyes, the beauty of her words.

Not better than the boy poet’s hand on her thigh,

Or perhaps, his lips on her instep.

You can only ask for so much.

This is what she thinks as something darts in front of her car.

Headlights turn the fur orange.

A cat, she thinks as she swerves. A fox?

The thud is as bad as she imagines

And for five seconds she keeps driving,

Five seconds before she pulls to the side of the Mud Creek Road,

Five seconds before she tries to find the hazards.

She can’t. She can’t find them and while she looks, her body

Shakes and she tells herself:

Drive back.

            Drive back.

                        Turn around.  

She does, watching the body grow large and clear in headlight beams.

Not a fox. Not a cat. No crying little girls tomorrow

Searching for Muffin or Smokey,

No pictures of cuddly kittens posted on supermarket wall or telephone poles.

A raccoon.

Why did she think the fur was orange? Is she color blind?

Do you need glasses if you’re color blind, she wonders.

Parking parallel to the body in the middle of the Mud Creek Road, she looks.

God, he is beautiful, this raccoon, perfect mask and paws and fur.

            Move him, she orders herself.

                        Move him.

She opens the door, but the animal stirs… a slow, graceful lift of his head.

His eyes meet hers. And she knows, knows she can’t move him,

Knows she can’t take off her jacket, wrap it around his soft, bruised body,

Can’t bring him to rest in dignity by the woods. And she knows she can’t

Get in the car and run him over and over again and again,

Forcing tires over his furry bulk until the pain is over.

In her own hips,  a pain like sciatica spreads, needles sticking and

Spinning down her flanks.

She shuts the door, puts the car in reverse.

The raccoon stares.

The raccoon watches the lights retreat and despite the increasing distance, despite

The roar of other cars coming closer, the rush of blood,

Despite everything, this raccoon hears the girl yelling to herself:

            Coward! Coward…

And he agrees.

Hey, thanks for listening to Carrie Does Poems. These podcasts and more writing tips are at Carrie’s website, carriejonesbooks.blog. There’s also a donation button there. Even a dollar inspires a happy dance in Carrie, so thank you for your support. The music you hear is made available through the creative commons and it’s a bit of a shortened track from the fantastic Eric Van der Westen and the track is called A Feather and off the album The Crown Lobster Trilogy.

While Carrie only posts poems weekly here, she has them (in written form) almost every weekday over on Medium. You should check it out!

https://freemusicarchive.org/music/eric-van-der-westen/the-crown-lobster-trilogy-selection


Whip that Sexy Feta, Honey

Whip that Feta, Honey

Recipe by CarrieCourse: AppetizersCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Servings

8

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

20

minutes
Calories, but who is counting, really?

113

kcal
Total time

35

minutes

Stuff That Goes In It

  • THE OLIVES OF AWESOME ROASTED HAPPINESS
  • 2 cups of different kinds of olives, pit those bad boys

  • ⅓ cup of the olive oil that not just a virgin, but an extra virgin, wonder what the hell that means.

  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed up (not on booze, this isn’t drunk garlic; it’s smooshed)

  • 1 shallot, quartered

  • 1 lemon, quartered

  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme and 2 sprigs fresh oregano, hanging out together the way thyme and oregano do

  • Chili flakes to make it spicy

  • Feta that is all Honey Whipped
  • 8 ounces of feta cheese

  • 3 ounces of room-temperature cream cheese

  • 3 tablespoons of honey

  • black pepper

How to Make It

  • This is the sexy part. Find your oven. Turn it on. Do whatever it takes to heat that baby up to 450° F. I
  • Feel accomplished. Now search through the tupperware for an OVEN SAFE baking dish.
  • Put your all those olive ingredients (including the olives and chili flakes to taste) together so they can party like it’s 1999 and Prince is coming over.
  • Bake for somewhere between 20 and 20 minutes in the oven. Do not use cannabis! YOU are not getting baked. The OLIVES are getting baked.
  • But on your best BDSM gear and whip the feta. How do you do this? Not with whips, actually! I know! I know! Bummer. Just put all the whipped feta ingredients into a food processor . Pretend you’re at a nightclub and pulse it. Pulse it again and again and again. Throw your hands in the air. And do it until that mix is all smooth and creamy.
  • Find a spoon. Use it to put the feta in a bowl. Now top it with the baked olive mixture. Feel sexy while you eat it because you are, damn it. No matter what that boy said at your sixth-grade dance at the Catholic Church in Bedford, New Hampshire, you are.

Notes

Strange and Stupid Reasons People Call 911

Loving the Strange
Loving the Strange
Strange and Stupid Reasons People Call 911
/

Tomorrow there’s a big storm coming to the coast of Maine (allegedly), but if we have power and internet, we’ll be here talking about the random, strange, stupid things people call emergency services about.

Have you done this?

Dispatcher friends, if you want to share anonymous stories, feel free to message. We know you have some.

See you then, fingers crossed!

LINKS WE MENTION IN THE PODCAST

https://www.police1.com/bizarre/articles/top-5-most-bizarre-911-calls-QToCYgkLEeBW1hwD/

https://www.ranker.com/list/dispatchers-worst-calls/michaelchoi

https://www.somethingawful.com/news/leaked-911-calls/1/

https://people.com/celebrity/911-operators-tell-all-29-of-the-dumbest-calls-theyve-ever-received/

https://www.buzzfeed.com/angelicaamartinez/funny-911-calls

https://www.boredpanda.com/operators-share-most-ridiculous-911-calls/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=organic

Be Brave Friday, Money Worries, Trying New Things

Hi!

It’s BE BRAVE FRIDAY!

And it’s been a week in our family full of kid drama (they are totally okay; they just had a hard week at school) and me doing my annual stress out of:

WHY DO I WORK FOR MYSELF? WHAT IF I MAKE NO MONEY.

I do this every single year. The truth is that I’m actually super lucky. I get to make content all the time (sometimes I even get paid for it), write books, and help other people write their own stories. And I still have a house and food, so you think I’d chill out, breathe deeply, and not worry so much about supporting my family, right?

Wrong.

Full admission: Every month, I look at my sheet where I keep track of income and think, “What if I make no money this month?” And anxiety creeps into the palms of my hands and makes them tingle. This anxiety is even worse at the beginning of a new year, and guess what? It’s the beginning of a new year.

Logically, I know that I’m fine. That I could transition to another type of job if I stopped making money, but I still get that creeping anxiety that tells me, “Do more! Do more! Do more, Carrie. Don’t waste time.”

Sigh.

Does this happen to you?

This is the painting I’m working on. Obviously, it’s totally not done and kind of flat like my panic. Just kidding! Sort of. I’ll try to remember to post the updated version.

IN OTHER THINGS LESS ANXIETY-FILLED

In an effort to not overwhelm you and your email (those of you who subscribe), I’ve made podcasts a different kind of post rather than automatic-to-the-inbox posts. That way you can click on the links of the ones that interest you.

And hopefully they will! I’ve started a bunch of new things this year and I’m hoping that you’ll like them and that they’ll take me in new, exciting directions.

CARRIE DOES POETRY

This brand-new podcast starts of with a quick poem by me, read by me. “Santa’s Apology.”

best poetry podcast by poet
Carrie Does Poems

DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE

This week in Dogs are Smarter Than People, we talked about how addictions are taking over our lives.

Best weird podcast for writing tips

WRITE BETTER NOW

And on the brand-new Writer Better Now, we talk about how to use foreshadowing in the opening of your story.

best writing podcast WRITE BETTER NOW
Write Better Now – Writing Tips podcast for authors and writers

Over on Medium and my social media, I post motivating daily thoughts from my animals. On Medium (and only on Medium), I post poems that I’ve written (usually) every weekday. You should check it out!

My little, creepy book baby is out in the world because who doesn’t want sad, quirky, horror with some romantic bits for the holiday season?

It’s a young adult novel (upper) called WHEN YOU BRING THEM BACK, please buy it!

It’s super fun.

Let’s Go Live on a Sailboat!

On Thursday, my co-podcaster, Shaun, and husband guy, takes over the blog.

He’s adorable. I hope you’ll read what he says even if he does occasionally sound like a surfer dude from the 1990s or Captain Pontification. And no, we don’t always agree. 🙂

best podcast ever
Shaun

So, Carrie has been bugging me all day to get this blogpost done. Right before dinner, she tells me that we should spend 5-10 years living on a sailboat, just cruising around, and enjoying life.

I said to her, “Hell yes! I am all for that.”

Then we sat down, ate dinner at the coffee table and watched some YouTube videos about live-aboard sailors while we ate. It was great! After dinner, Carrie cleaned up while I attended to some other responsibilities that were pending in my life. After the chores were complete, we both, almost simultaneously, sat down in front of our computers.

I said, “I am going to see what’s for sale in the world of used sailboats in Maine.”

Carrie replied in a very happy voice, “That is the best idea I have ever heard of! While you do that, I will check on mooring fees in the nearby vicinity.”

“Hey, look at this one!” was my response, because I was already knee deep in the used sailboat online market.

Then she started to read off some rates for moorings in our general area and then started telling me about the pros and cons of each different area.

I was getting excited! I mean, honestly, this is like one of my lifelong dreams. Sailing around, earning money with an online career, swimming naked in the crystal clear, warm water of the Caribbean . . . all with a beautiful wife. Who could ask for anything more?

As my mind began to fog over with dreams of my dream finally coming true (in a few years of course) I heard this crystal-clear siren call of a voice break through.

“Hey! You working on that blogpost or what?”

I jumped so hard it was like awakening from a falling dream. “Uh, uh, yes ma’am.”

But you know what? As soon as I send this off to Carrie via email so that she can get it posted (sorry it’s late, baby!), she will be right back on track to planning the dream. And the thing about Carrie is that once she has an idea in her amazing brain, she won’t let it die out! Especially if she knows that it will make me happy.

That is why I am still the luckiest man in the world.

Peace kids!

Remember to always Love Your Way Through It!

Shaun

My little, creepy book baby is out in the world because who doesn’t want sad, quirky, horror with some romantic bits for the holiday season?

It’s a young adult novel (upper) called WHEN YOU BRING THEM BACK, please buy it!

It’s super fun.

How to Use Foreshadowing in Your Story’s Opener Like a Boss

Write Better Now
Write Better Now
How to Use Foreshadowing in Your Story’s Opener Like a Boss
/

Hi, welcome to Write Better Now, a podcast of quick, weekly writing tips meant to help you become a better writer. We’re your hosts with NYT bestselling author Carrie Jones and copyeditor extraordinaire Shaun Farrar. Thank you for joining us.

One of the coolest things you can do when writing fiction or longer nonfiction is to foreshadow the ending of your story in the beginning of your story.

Foreshadowing according to litcharts.com is:

A literary device in which authors hint at plot developments that don’t actually occur until later in the story. Foreshadowing can be achieved directly or indirectly, by making explicit statements or leaving subtle clues about what will happen later in the text. The Russian author Anton Chekhov summarized foreshadowing when he wrote, “If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off.” The description of the gun on the wall, in other words, should foreshadow its later use.

You want to tell the reader that something is going to happen, give them a clue about what it might be.

Foreshadowing can be subtle, mysterious, or direct.

Over on the Reedsy blog they shrink the types to two: direct and indirect. And explain them as follows:

Direct foreshadowing occurs when an outcome is directly hinted at or indicated. It gives readers a nugget of information, prompting them to want more.

Indirect foreshadowing occurs when an outcome is indirectly hinted at or indicated. It subtly nods at a future event but is typically only apparent to readers after that outcome or event has occurred.

Foreshadowing when it’s direct can be a fantastic way to hook the reader into wanting to gobble up the story. A great example they use is Lauren Oliver’s Before I Die, which opens with:

“They say that just before you die your whole life flashes before your eyes, but that’s not how it happened for me.”

So the reader knows that the narrator is going to die and what they want to know is how. It’s damn direct, right?

An indirect style of foreshadowing can be something as simple as

   The air grew chill as I walked toward the beach. Winter is coming.

Now we know the air is chill and cold is coming and we indirectly think:

Oh, something is going to happen because it’s cold and winter is almost here and someone is probably going to die.

The symbols in our culture can carry a lot of metaphorical and foreshadowing weight in our stories.

So we want to use it like a boss and give the readers a little wink so that they are hooked into the story but also feel like they are figuring out the story as they go along. It’s pretty cool.

Hey, thanks for listening to Write Better Now. These podcasts and more writing tips are at Carrie’s website, carriejonesbooks.blog. There’s also a donation button there. Even a dollar inspires a happy dance in us, so thank you for your support. The music you hear is made available through the creative commons and it’s a bit of a shortened track from the fantastic Mr.ruiz and the track is Arctic Air and the album is Winter Haze Summer Daze.

https://freemusicarchive.org/music/mrruiz/winter-haze-summer-daze

Porn is Taking Over Your Life.  How to be Successful in 2022

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Porn is Taking Over Your Life.  How to be Successful in 2022
/

Hey!

We’re going to start the year off right by talking about porn.

What the what?

And this is your year to give up porn. And no. We aren’t talking about erotica. We’re talking about what self-help guru Tim Denning calls “addictive habits.” He uses the word porn to grab attention (it works if you’re here) and explain how these addictions are everywhere.

He then categorizes all the different types of porn we have.

There’s lifestyle porn – sitting on the toilet and whipping out your phone.

There’s money porn – always being on your phone or laptop so that you can earn that “100,000 in five months,” always reading the article or watching the podcast to figure out how to make that money super quickly.

There’s startup porn, which is basically being addicted to starting new businesses so you can get that money.

There’s revenge porn where you are a mean punk on social media, hurting people’s feelings in comments, subtweets, or messages.

There’s real porn. We don’t need to explain that, right?

There’s influencer porn where you are all about your brand and selfish instead of giving.

I think there are a lot more addictions than that. There’s the:

Diet Addiction

You think you’ll be happy if you just lose that 40 pounds but you keep hopping from one diet to another.

The Outside Photos Addiction

You think everyone wants to see your vista photos.

Television, Video, and Gaming Addictions

You spend all your time consuming other people’s content and escaping. Escaping is fantastic, but you don’t want to do it all the time.

Denning writes:

“The secret to kill all forms of porn is discipline.

“Discipline yourself to focus on what you know is good for you.

“You have a list of habits already that you probably follow — like exercise, reading, leisure time, meditation — and you can focus your time there and get far better returns than the endless porn-fuelled addictions of meaningless nonsense.

“Porn is an addictive distraction to doing the work you know you want to do. Getting started with your life’s work each day is hard, but so is continually distracting yourself with life porn.”


Instead, maybe think about what you want, who you want to be, what you want to do and think about how you can give up the porn that’s holding you back.

  1. Stop trolling people.
  2. Stop being mean to yourself.
  3. Stop watching so much content (except us of course). Just kidding.
  4. Stop making ideas and not actually pursuing those ideas.
  5. Stop reading your phone when you go poop.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE!

You only have so much time in this world. Use it well. Use it the way you want to. Not the way your addictions want you to.

LINKS WE MENTION

https://www.ksat.com/news/local/2021/12/26/strange-news-stories-from-2021/

https://timdenning.substack.com/p/your-life-is-full-of-porn-stop-getting

SHOUT OUT!

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. 

Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

AND we are transitioning to a new writer podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW! You’ll be able to check it out here starting in 2022!

We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.

Carrie is reading one of her poems every week on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That’s a lot!

Here’s the link.

best writing podcast WRITE BETTER NOW
Write Better Now – Writing Tips podcast for authors and writers
best podcast ever
loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird
best poetry podcast by poet
Carrie Does Poems

Carrie Does Poetry – “Santa’s Apology”

If Santa came would he apologize, the way people do now . . .

Carrie Does Poems
Carrie Does Poems
Carrie Does Poetry - "Santa's Apology"
/

If Santa came would he

apologize, the way

people do now, and maybe

tweet about his perpetuated inequities

Yes, this child received

so much and this one so little.

A deluxe game system for one

And an orange for another. Yes, I gave one

a country and another a drunk uncle

whose spittle smells of gingerbread elves.

Or would he go quiet for months

(maybe years) until he was

emotionally ready to apologize

through his scotch-stained teeth

and say he’s gone through

extensive self-reflection;

therapy with Mrs. Claus

and the elves; and he’s ready

to be a better saint, a fairer man.

Hey, thanks for listening to Carrie Does Poems. These podcasts and more writing tips are at Carrie’s website, carriejonesbooks.blog. There’s also a donation button there. Even a dollar inspires a happy dance in Carrie, so thank you for your support. The music you hear is made available through the creative commons and it’s a bit of a shortened track from the fantastic Eric Van der Westen and the track is called A Feather and off the album The Crown Lobster Trilogy.

While Carrie only posts poems weekly here, she has them (in written form) almost every weekday over on Medium. You should check it out!

https://freemusicarchive.org/music/eric-van-der-westen/the-crown-lobster-trilogy-selection

New Year’s Weirdness

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
New Year's Weirdness
/

It’s supposed to be all about the weird that is the tradition of New Year, celebrations, superstitions, and resolutions. It ended up being about Shaun’s naughty New Years at Benigans in Florida because what happens in Florida doesn’t stay in Florida.

LINKS WE MENTION

https://www.thepossumdrop.com/about-the-possum-drop-our-history.html

https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/new-years

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/parenting/g25360543/new-year-traditions/

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