Sunday, June 10, 2012


About a month ago, I went to the park with my son and met a foreigner there. We started talking about several topics, starting off with the local language. I wasn't surprised in the slightest that he has lived here for longer than I have, but his local language skills are around the level of a pre-schooler. Not coincidentally enough, his desire to learn the local language evaporated shortly after he met his girlfriend, who also doesn't know the language. His child is going to school in a year or two, so he seemed to be a bit worried about how the kid would do there without being able to communicate. So, I told him exactly what I did to learn the local language in three months. He seemed to take everything I said to heart, so I hoped he could take a few months to become semi-fluent, then teach his kid what he learned.

(UPDATE: He first planned on moving back to America next year at great financial cost, and taking a job that doesn't pay much, in an effort to avoid learning the local language for his child's sake. This didn't happen, and it turns out that his kid was sent away from the local school to be homeschooled because he can't speak with the teacher or other kids. I expected nothing less than this kind of laziness from a married person).

Later, after he saw how well-behaved my son was, we talked a little bit about child rearing and how we could both improve our styles, trying to find the middle ground between corporal punishment and "letting them do their thing."

Then, he turned the conversation to politics.

I stood there, politely maintaining eye contact and nodding as he went off on a half hour tirade filled with swearing, exaggerated hand waving and yelling about Walker this, unions that, Obama this, Republicans that. At one point, he referred to a long-time friend of his, who happened to be on the opposite side of the political spectrum, as a "f***in' idiot," before he walked the statement back and called him "ignorant."

Two days later, I was watching TV with my wife at our house, and my mother-in-law made a surprise visit. She started yelling at the two of us for not picking up her phone calls thirty minutes earlier, and barked that it was absolutely unacceptable behavior for two parents. "What if your son was sick or hurt?!" she bellowed. "He's going to school in a few months! How can you two be so selfish?!"

So what do these two incidents have to do with marriage? For that answer, I need to rewind to nearly the beginning of my life, and the things I overcame to become the man I was before I got married:


Until I was 6, and still living with my father, he taught me to hate. I still remember being 3 or 4 and telling my younger brother that I wished Martin Luther King Jr. were never born, so "the blacks would still be our slaves."

When my mother got custody of the two of us when I was 6, she taught us the filth of those beliefs, and neither one of us followed them again.

Selfishness and Egotism

From around age 6 to 14, I was a snot. I refused to let my friends play my video games, I yelled at them when they made mistakes, and I relentlessly teased and insulted them because I thought it was funny.

When I turned 14 and my depression hit, I knew that I wasn't a good person. To fix that, I (erroneously) thought that there were only two ways I could deal with my depression: turn it outwards and become a bully, or turn it inwards and beat myself up for everything. I did the latter, and stopped hurting others as much as I could.


From around 14 to 21, I was a depressed and suicidal ball of self-loathing. I never did anything to improve my life, and blamed everyone except myself for not getting better.

When I turned 21, answering "Yes" to Leena's question, "Do you want to get better?" set me on the path to healing, and I never gave up forgiving those who hurt me, severing poisonous relationships and following my dreams until my depression was eradicated around the time I was 23 or so.

Religious Tribalism

When I was around 14 or 15, I rebelled against my non-practicing Baptist mother by becoming a hardcore Atheist. I blamed God for not helping me when I was in pain, internally screamed at the heavens for not doing something to support me, and got into arguments about how people were stupid to have faith.

From 17 to 23, I studied several faiths to find some peace with religion, and using the ideas they shared, was able to take bits and pieces here and there to form the tools I needed to crush my depression later. They also helped me to form my spiritual beliefs of today, and I now have nothing but respect for people who practice other faiths, or none at all.

Political Tribalism

Around 17, I became a hardcore Progressive, so I could blame the powerful for being corrupt and leaving scraps behind for the "downtrodden" like me. Around 21 or 22, after I started the path to emotional recovery, I became a hardcore Libertarian so I could blame the poor, weak and unhappy for not improving like I was. Six or seven years passed in total, where I felt seething rage or snapped when I heard words like "Bush" or "socialist," hated faceless millions of people for their ideals, and lacked the emotional control to treat people I respected like friends, instead of mortal enemies, when I learned that what they believed differed from my ideas.

Around 24, I knew I was sick. So, I spent time on both sides of the political aisle simultaneously, and realized how much either side suppresses inconvenient stories, cherry picks data, spins or outright lies to push their agenda. I realized then that I could never trust anyone to give me the whole story when something went on in the world, so I stopping listening to all of it. After that, I not only became more focused on my goals in life, but found a new kind of peace where I stopped viewing half of the world as evil or stupid.


From around 18 to 20, I was huge: 250 pounds of pure fat, no muscle to speak of. It was painful to be so unappealing to everyone around me, and it only made my depression worse.

A little before I turned 21, I cut my caloric intake from 4000 to 1000 calories a day, spaced those calories out over several meals, and hit up the gym every day until I dropped 70 pounds, and was able to bench 100.


Around 22, my depression became anger. I snapped at demanding customers at work, became heavily invested in politics so I had a faceless enemy to hate, and even started pointless, stupid fights with my first girlfriend.

After two years of this, I knew it had to stop, so I started exercising complete and total control over my thoughts. It was exhausting for the first few months, but after a while, I calmed down to the point where my optimism and happiness were automatic instead of forced.

Faithlessness and Complacency

When I first got abroad, I felt like slipping back into my old ways because things didn't get immediately better. I got lazy and moody, went outside only under protest, and spent my days playing PSP or watching TV all day.

Then I got my butt in gear, went out to live life, and became awesome in about a month.

So again, what does all of this have to do with marriage? Well, take the first two stories that happened in the past few days, and compare them to what I went through before I married. Then, a problem was me holding a scalpel blade to an artery in my arm. A problem was a borderline mother, whose destructive and ever-changing emotions were a constant mystery until the moment she was screaming in my face for something. A problem was going through three parental divorces before I was even in my teens, and having to move and lose my friends (and not to mention my emotional stability) no less than seven times before I was even in high school. A problem was knowing that around 16,000 children die every day of hunger, and trying to figure out, with the money I made, how I could make that 15,970.

But a problem for married people, and those intimately connected to them?

- You didn't answer your phone.
- You forgot your jacket.
- It's too hot.
- My sister is angry.
- I flip out every time politics comes up.
- I'm too lazy to learn something beneficial for my children.

All cause for colossal laziness, brooding depression or explosive anger, it seems.

I struggled for years to become an awesome person. When I was abroad and still not married, my mind was free of the concerns of most people, because I had the tenacity and persistence necessary to change my life for the better in every possible way. I didn't work around my problems and focus on my strengths; I stood tall over my problems until they cowered in the corner, pleading for mercy, and then I made them into my strengths.

And now, today... someone called me fat, throw a fit? The house isn't spotless, blow up and bark? Even married people that aren't in my family lack the strength to abandon poisonous political views, or crippling sloth, in order to improve. Marriage means extra, unending work to be sure, but for the things that could be put off until later, like the previously mentioned foreigner's politically charged emotional instability or his child's chances in school, they were things to continually put off until later. That is a married person's life: a thousand paper cuts, or endless procrastination. Sacrifice or complacency. Days without rest or laziness.

Do you want to know what this feels like? To overcome and destroy many, not just one or two, problems that would crush or paralyze other people, then to be imprisoned in the life of petty issues that I'm living now? It's like I spent a decade going through a punishing school system, then I graduated from a difficult college and graduate school, and once I had a few months to enjoy my new diploma, I was chained up in a kindergarten to learn my ABCs for the following 20 years.

My wife got upset about how I washed blankets. I used to be anxious about learning an entire language in months. My mother-in-law gets upset about what people think of me when I'm not dressed for cold weather. I used to worry about how I was going to live another day.

Marriage has hobbled me in every possible way. Every last scrap of strength I accrued for myself, and wanted to use enjoying life and helping people, has been transferred to my family. And yet, after all I've given up, and knowing full well that I need to make over a half million dollars in the next fifteen years to pay for all of the expenses of my married life, it's not me who blows my top at my family; it's the exact opposite.

Living a life of complacency and sloth in marriage sounds like a dream, but it's not. Even though it was a pretty tough road to get there, I can say without hesitation that I was happier abroad, before I got married, than any other moment of my life, and it was worth the struggle. And I didn't become a great person then because I was born genetically better (I had health problems growing up), or because my parents were rich (three of the five were poor, two were middle class), or because I was lucky (you make your own luck). It was because I decided to do it, then didn't give up until I did. If the schmuck I was could do it, anybody can.

Then I got married, and my evolution stopped. Everything I was, and could have been, has been given to my family.

How awesome was I? It's easy to answer that question by talking about what kind of son I have, because he's the one who got nearly everything I worked for. He's a mini-celebrity around here, and it's not just because he's cute. He's still a toddler, but he's more polite than most middle schoolers. He's multilingual, polite, intelligent, inquisitive, adventurous, well-behaved, and diplomatic, just like his dad was five years ago. And honestly? He was worth the sacrifice. He went from tantrums as a baby, to the good boy he is today.

But my wife and mother-in-law? More of the same. They have no incentive to improve their bad behavior and tendency to drama, because I have no leverage over either of them:

When my son's bad, he loses out on trips, toys and a happy dad.

When my wife's out of order, she directly controls our sex, indirectly controls our money through the threat of divorce, and knows it's best for our son that we stay married, so she can just keep on acting up when she pleases. Even when I punish her for her nonsense with less monthly payments or ice cold apathy, she just comes back harder, or she promises to do better, then acts like an a-hole again a few months later.

When my mother-in-law goes ape, I know she has a large influence over my wife's emotional state, which in turn affects mine, so I can't get her to behave, either.

If I hadn't married my wife, she would still be the same woman that she really is: the one I dated five years ago, and I would hardly ever talk to her mother. My wife would also be on her best behavior, because she knew how many other women I knew who were waiting for a guy as great as I was to sweep them off their feet. And of course, I would be on my best behavior, because any and all girlfriends I would have dated would have deserved nothing less.

Marriage was completely unnecessary for me, as a strong man, to have an excellent child and life. I only went through with it because my son needed a stable environment to grow up in, and I didn't want him going through divorce like I did as a boy, much less several. But marriage has only complicated and ruined everything it's touched in my life, when it wasn't even needed in the first place.

I've read statistics that show that children of married couples grow up to be more happy and successful than those from single parent houses. But unless the child is already coming or born, I don't think that's a good reason to get married. To be perfectly frank, I think single parents fail their children so often because single parents are, by and large, unfit to parent.

How many of them are horrible people who push away the other parent of their child, and then turn that bad behavior on their kids? How many are the kind of person who is inherently attracted to irresponsible, abusive losers because of non-existent thought control and poor mental health, then get abandoned by the loser, and then turn their mental issues on their children? How many work hard for their kids, but when they get home, they refuse to spend time with them because they have no desire to get themselves up for their kids' sake, and instead leave the childrearing to the TV, their own parents, or their children's friends?

People who are married, just by nature of staying in that vampiric institution, have already proven that they have the ability to sacrifice. This bodes well for their children, which in turn is why their kids do better. It has nothing to do with the marriage contract, and everything to do with the parents' personalities.

My point is that marriage is unnecessary baggage, sacrifice and strife that doesn't need to be put in place for a kid's sake, provided that their adoptive parent, or parent through surrogate mother/donor father, has the financial strength and emotional well-being to take care of all of their child's needs. Getting married to prove that you will be a good parent is like testing a bulletproof vest's capability to stop a bullet... by wearing it while the gun is fired. It's a punishing shortcut to non-existent happiness and security, but the most insidious thing is that the price is unfathomable until you get into it, and realize what you gave up for no good reason.

Picture life as a cold mountain, with snow, biting winds, and sharp, rocky handholds all up the side of it. At the very top is an unexplainable, lush garden of beauty and relaxation, but you must climb to the top to experience it. Shangri-La, if you will. Being unmarried, responsible and honorable means climbing that mountain every day, taking the chilling winds and exhausted muscles until reaching the very top. And it also means learning to love the climb, because not only does pain show you that there are things you can improve on to become even better, but when you reach the top, you'll know that you earned your great life.

Marrying means finding a damp cave a quarter of the way up, going inside to light a dying fire, wrapping yourself up in itchy animal hides, and feeling content that at least it's better than the cold outside.

My problem four years ago? I climbed ten miles yesterday, and I'm exhausted.

The problem of married people? These hides smell funny.

I should have realized that I wanted kids, not marriage, before it was too late. I should have realized that kids fulfill, and marriage drains, winners like the man I was.

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