Reality Sets In

It’s been ten days since the U.S. presidential election. Given the outcome and what’s been happening in America since, the last thing anyone needs is another thought-piece by a white male with an upper-middle-class upbringing who lives in Canada. I’m writing this anyway for one reason: I expected Donald Trump to be elected.

I was told from a young age that I was too cynical. My retort would always be that I was, in fact, realistic. I don’t think it’s cynical that, even in 2016, I thought Hillary Clinton wouldn’t be elected president because she’s a woman. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, I think that falls under a realistic point of view.

Before I go on, I should make it clear that I would have voted for Hillary. But I don’t think it’s realistic that a woman can’t be president. I think it’s realistic that far too many people in the world struggle with the idea that a woman is as qualified (or so, so much more qualified) to do a “man’s job.” Or that women can be confident. Or that they can be opinionated. Or that they can make mistakes. Or that they are entitled to respect. Or that they are men’s equal and often much more.

I would call all of this realistic thinking, but I think I need to explain why. My parents divorced when I was very young and through joint custody I grew up primarily under my Mom’s roof. My mother came from a very traditional family yet knew that being a woman did not dictate what job she might have or how she might live her life. This was the example I was raised under. It’s why I remember from an early age thinking it strange that boys would make so much fun of girls. It’s why I’ve had never thought twice about having a woman as my boss. Most of all, it’s why I’m dumbfounded by the casual and ingrained sexism I witness on a near daily basis.

I’m sure any woman reading this is rolling their eyes at another man being “surprised” that sexism exists. But being raised by a woman that made her own way meant that I, by default, looked up to women. I looked up to my Dad as well, but I honestly can’t remember distinguishing between the two. My exposure to men believing themselves to be superior to women came from everything else I experienced outside my home. I became aware that it existed, even if I couldn’t always understand or appreciate what I was seeing.

What I’m trying to say is that I’ve never taken it as a given that a man takes precedent over a woman. At least not consciously. But certainly unconsciously. Because that’s our world. The world where a man can openly question a woman’s ability to do a particular job. (I heard this 14 days ago.) The one where a man openly scoffs at the idea that women can have their own conferences to address sexism and the wage gap in their industry. (Less than two months ago.) And the world where some random man on the internet is going to find this post and try to say sexism isn’t real.

This is the world we, as men, live in quite comfortably. Because we always think we have the upper hand. Or we think we’re aware of the problem and that in itself is enough. To that, I plead guilty. But seeing my prediction about Trump come true has left me with a deeply unsettling feeling that’s made me know being aware isn’t enough for me anymore.

This election should be a nasty wake up call for my fellow men that misogyny and sexism is alive and well in our world. If you have ever questioned it or believed that you never participated in it, the fact that a bigoted, dangerous buffoon has been made president because he has a penis should make you believe. If this election result isn’t the best reason to question all of your own thoughts and actions, then things aren’t likely to get better. That’s just the reality of our world.

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[Note: that’s not quite the exact quote, but you get the idea.]

The 13 Best Pieces Of Advice I Got From Inspiring Clickbait Listicles

Happy 2016 everyone! With the New Year come new resolutions to better myself spiritually and professionally! Below are 13 pieces of the best advice I’ve found from prominent business, marketing, social media and life leaders that will help you make the most of the year to come!

1 – Tell Your Story

Nobody cares about you, but tell them your story anyway. They won’t listen, but at least you’ll get to hear yourself talk.

2 – Live Authentically

If you don’t own any authentically made goods, buy some.

3 – Have Something To Say

What do you really stand for? What separates you from all the other clickbait bloggers? How meaningful are your clicks? This isn’t advice, but serious questions for you to really think about.

4 – Always Keep A Notebook Handy

Then hide your phone in that notebook. That way, people will think your spending all your time going over deep thoughts instead of stealing content ideas from Instagram.

5 – “Inspiration” Is For Wimps

So find someone who’s inspired and take their lunch money.

6 – Reimagine Your Content

Because whatever you’re putting on the internet, it’s shit. It’s all shit. Including this.

7 – Make Up Your Own Wordypoos

Whoever said a fitzroy couldn’t waddlestack didn’t phlank a gingerboom.

8 – Have A Strategy For Your Everyday Life

How do you craft a strategy for a day in your typical life? At the end of each day, go over everything that happened to you. Then, write a strategy you can retrofit to what you did so it seems like you did it on purpose.

9 – Be Accountable. Unless It Was Your Fault.

People – especially bosses – love it when you own up to things. So don’t be afraid to take credit for something that happened, unless it was that sizeable mistake you made last Tuesday.

10 – Answer A Question With A Question

If you give an answer, someone might listen to you and that could come back to haunt you.

11 – Believe In Something Bigger Than Yourself

Like money. A big pile of money.

12 – Think Like Mark Zuckerberg

After he sleeps with a girl, he probably points to his penis and says to her, “You and 12 others like this.” Try doing that.

13 – There Is No Vaccine For Virality

Contagious content is king. So keep your poison vaccines away from my content. Please share this.

When’s Your Book Coming?

I had some friends over on New Year’s Eve, shortly after I started writing things on here again. (I refuse to say “blogging” even if that’s what this is.) They asked me why I had started again, why I stopped in the first place, and if I was going to write anything else.

I shrugged. I don’t know what this is. I don’t know what I’m doing with it. I’m not very good at committing to things, especially personal creative projects.

Then one of them looked at my bookshelf and noticed the debut novel of a friend of mine, The Dilettantes. He turned to me and asked, “When’s your book coming, Warren?”

I shrugged. I have only ever taken a crack at writing a book once, about five or six years ago. I entered the 3-Day Novel Contest and finished a roughly 50 page draft of a half-cooked idea. I sent it to my friend Michael who had already written a book, received his constructive criticism, revised the draft, and haven’t opened it since. I’m not sure why.

At the time, I remember thinking I had a decent idea for a book. Not that I would necessarily know it if I did. It seems like that when you do any kind of writing on a regular basis (especially if you do it as a job), people kind of expect you to eventually write a book of some kind. But it’s not an easy thing to do. At least I don’t think it is, I’ve never really tried it.

I think part of the problem is the writers expect so much of themselves that they think their first book will never be good enough. Actually, forget the first book. The first draft will never be good enough. We don’t stop to realize that maybe, just maybe the first one doesn’t have to be perfect. We do revisions on our writing all the time but somehow expect ourselves to write something on that scale perfectly on the first go. I mean, I’m almost certainly going to come back and find grammatical errors in this after I have posted it. I’m going to write those revisions. So why can’t I write a book?

Partly because I’m not sure what I would write about. I’m not sure I could pick up a five-year-old draft of a novel and continue working on it. I’m not sure it’s even a story I would want to finish. But I guess there’s really only one way to find out.

Maybe it’s all about holding yourself accountable? Let’s try that. I will finish a draft of a novel by the end of 2015. And it will be perfect.