I’ve never written a Purpose Statement for MBTTTR, but if I ever do, I imagine it will be something close to this:
To use honest storytelling as a tool to help people achieve healthy, lasting relationships by raising awareness of uncomfortable truths regarding the things commonly causing divorce and human conflict. To courageously demonstrate personal accountability with hope that others will too. To challenge the status quo. To fight for people, all of whom have intrinsic, immeasurable value and are capable of intensely heroic, beautiful and inspiring things. To encourage men to be great. To encourage all to choose hope.
A Peek Into My Life
I’m just one guy. Divorced with a shared-parenting agreement. I’m 37, but you’d never know it from my behavior patterns.
I’m looking around at piles of papers and unopened mail and unread books on my kitchen counter. There’s a frying pan on my stove top that I didn’t clean after cooking breakfast for my son and I yesterday.
We had a Cleveland Indians-themed (Go Tribe!) casual day at work Friday and I waited until that morning to hunt around my house for the Indians hoodie I wanted to wear. I couldn’t find it, until I went down into my basement laundry room and realized it was one of three sweatshirts matted down and covered in cat hair because my old pet cat Eli used to lay there all the time.
And that would be all well and good except that Eli died the day before Thanksgiving LAST YEAR.
I wake up in the morning and I go to a job for more than 40 hours per week. At that job, I have many meetings and things to do.
Additionally, I am a partner in a young digital marketing agency which we started last year, and is now officially the thing taking most of my time.
I have a little boy at home with me 50 percent of nights and weekends. A child who has homework assignments, food and clothing and bathing needs. A child who needs lunches packed, haircuts, and new clothes.
During the rare moments we are not doing things we MUST do, he craves his father’s attention very much.
My life is:
- Wake up.
- Go to work to pay for house, vehicle, child needs.
- Build business in effort to create more flexible lifestyle.
- Write here, when possible.
Things like grocery shopping, lawn mowing, house cleaning, and laundry steal time from these things. Traveling steals time from these things. The now-ultra-rare social/family event steals time from these things.
I want no sympathy. I choose to have a full-time job. I choose to grow my side business. I choose to write here.
If I want things to change, I’m responsible for making different choices. (The idea is that once my agency is my full-time work, some of these time constraints will vanish.)
This is not meant to convey that anyone should feel sorry for me. Not by a long shot.
It is meant to help you understand a little more what my life looks like.
Which brings us to…
The Comments-Section Shit Show
I do not possess the powers of omnipresence.
I don’t even possess the powers of people with average attentiveness skills.
I am a highly disorganized ADHD-diagnosed, divorced single dad who is NEVER caught up. With anything. Ever.
What that means is, I don’t see each and every comment that comes into this blog. And when I DO see comments, I am mostly seeing them out of context on my phone’s WordPress mobile app. It’s a back-end admin tool, and things don’t look anything like what they do when seeing them on your computer or phone.
So, if you read something and think to yourself: Isn’t Matt seeing this?! WTF?, there’s a pretty good chance I haven’t.
Because, I assume, the kind of people who tend to be dickless wankers in internet comments don’t often read 1,500-word blog posts about relationship-related things, the comments section of this blog has never had any problems.
And as a STAUNCH advocate of free speech, I’ve always been inclined to let comments stand. I’ve been called plenty of bad things, and those comments are easy enough to find if you feel like reading through 4,000+ on the dishes post, or any of the predictably cliché blame-shifting ones from butt-hurt guys in the Shitty Husbands posts.
That’s a personal belief. That truth matters. That we must navigate life even when we don’t “like” things.
I live in the United States where every time a president is elected half of everyone is pissed off. And I feel like you can be the kind of person who takes their ball and goes home when things don’t go your way, OR you can take responsibility for helping people see things your way, so that maybe next time, the candidates who share your smarter, better ideas can win.
We MUST navigate life even when conditions aren’t optimal. Conditions are rarely optimal.
Thus, I’ve been ultra-hesitant to silence voices in blog comments simply because I disagree with them or simply because others don’t like them.
This is where I write. Plenty of people have not liked things I’ve written. But I’m not going to stop, nor change what I’m writing to placate anyone who doesn’t like my ideas.
But Then There’s This Other Thing
Despite my many shortcomings, I’m self-aware.
I KNOW that I don’t know many, many things. I KNOW that I’m statistically likely to be wrong about all kinds of things.
So, when I cringe at things I read in certain comments AND dozens of people share my reactions, it’s all very hard to ignore.
I am divorced today because I denied my wife’s right to her own reality. I repeatedly told her throughout our relationship that her emotions and thoughts were “wrong” or “crazy” or “unfair.”
And I am afraid that my instincts to stand up for the rights of people to say unpopular things may be the wrong choice here.
So, Here’s How It’s Going to Be
I’m pissed about this.
I have enough life problems and tasks. And that I have to babysit these comments and take crap from people for my lousy moderation is aggravating.
To be crystal clear on this, I’m NOT saying people don’t have legitimate gripes. The gripes are totally legit. I’m saying people have unrealistic expectations.
I’m both unable and unwilling to moderate these comments to the level required.
There have been tens of thousands of comments left on this blog since it launched in June 2013, and until now, there hasn’t been problem.
But now there is.
How We Say Things Matters
One commenter in particular leaves unpopular comments with regularity. I equate this commenter to the guy I used to see standing up on park benches outside my university’s student union screaming judgments at people walking by.
He’d hold up the Bible and yell at sorority sisters, calling them lesbian whores who will burn in hell. He’d yell at groups of friends minding their own business telling them they’re frat-boy sinners who need saved.
As a baptized Christian and churchgoer, I think there is merit believing in—and living for—things greater than yourself. In loving other people and ourselves. In pursuing truth and trying to live a meaningful, spiritually healthy and balanced life.
But that guy standing up on the bench? EVEN IF every word of the Bible is 100% true, the reality of life is that you can’t communicate with human beings in that manner and expect them to listen to you. If his goal was to GENUINELY “save” people and introduce them to his faith in an effort to help people discover Truth, he was never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever going to accomplish it by calling people sinners and whores.
Jesus, not one time in any recorded text, treated people that way nor taught anyone else to.
Thus, misrepresenting the faith is either an accidental disservice to good Christians, OR a deliberate attempt to fuck with people under the guise of trying to “save” them.
Either way, I don’t like it.
We have a commenter here who kind of, sort of, does that same thing. He believes certain things and shares them. Maybe he’s genuinely trying to help people consider an alternative perspective. Or maybe he’s deliberately fucking with people under the guise of trying to be “helpful.”
Either way, NO MORE.
I would—under no circumstances—allow that asshole preacher guy to stand outside of my house and yell at people visiting my home, my neighbors, or the people walking or driving down the street. Free speech, be damned.
Moving forward, if someone I know to be aware of this post and nonsense side drama writes anything that violates this…
To use honest storytelling as a tool to help people achieve healthy, lasting relationships by raising awareness of uncomfortable truths regarding the things commonly causing divorce and human conflict. To courageously demonstrate personal accountability with hope that others will too. To challenge the status quo. To fight for people, all of whom have intrinsic, immeasurable value and are capable of intensely heroic, beautiful and inspiring things. To encourage men to be great. To encourage all to choose hope.…
I’m deleting the comment just as soon as I’m aware of it.
I’ll have tolerance for people who might not know better.
I’ll have little tolerance for people who intentionally engage, or bait, or flame someone whose ideas they disagree with.
It’s totally possible to read things on the internet and not reply to them.
It’s IMPORTANT to understand the perspectives of people who think differently than we do, because we get to use that information to correct false beliefs, or reinforce existing ones.
But in the end, all I’ve ever asked for is basic decency and kindness, and that’s apparently too hard for some.
Life tip: When 30 people tell you the things you say are indecent and unkind, it’s an indication of a problem.
I think Louis CK said it best: “When someone tells you that you hurt them, you don’t get to decide that you didn’t.”
Now, back to our regularly scheduled program.