An Open Letter To Female Lady-Fellas

Following suit of fellow (far more successful) blogger Ally Spotts (VERY worth reading), I am writing this as an open letter to women from a man's perspective. Have no fear, you cuddly, adorably uptight equal opportunity extremists, I'll write my piece to men too. This has simply been on my mind for a while and recent events have simply pushed them into the realm of "need to be developed." Sitting for 2 and half hours fighting madness in Cultural Anthropology doesn't hurt the desperation for something to ponder. These are simply the words of an admittedly somewhat jaded boy who is tired of what he sees on both sides of the spectrum. So without further ado, you may read my first of two letters here: Dear Ladies, I am going to speak purposefully in a rather extreme, generalizing way about the issues on my mind with a specific rhetorical stance meant only to enforce my points and encourage thought. I will be writing in mass with the inescapable knowledge that I have close female friends who represent everything that is right not just with women but with people in general. I am extraordinarily aware of and embrace the fact that just about every rule has exceptions. The generalizations I am about to say are surely among those things with exceptions.

1. Never let someone tell you that you can't do something just because you're a girl. Not where you thought I would start is it? Of course not. You ladies are the crowning achievement in God's creation. He stopped with you because it simply couldn't get better. You got the beauty. You got the parts to complete your male counterparts. You were not created as subordinate or as superior, but from Adam's rib: his side. Under his arm, like two classmates posing for a picture on the playground. Totally different but completely equally favored. This being said, listen up. I told you there's nothing you can't do, and I completely back that, as long as you understand what I mean by nothing. There are logical limits to that kind of a statement. You can't fly. You can't survive without water. There needs to be a line drawn between can't and shouldn't. I have a lot of readers of this blog who do not subscribe to the same system of beliefs as I do, and so you will find fault with this next part: the Bible (my basis for how we should live) lays out groundwork for the specific things men and women should do. God sets it in motion in Genesis with the differing punishments given to men and women. Paul speaks of them in his letters to Timothy. This is not a post about what your roles are, nor is it a commentary about how fair or unfair I think they are, but it is rather an exhortation to women who are of like mind that there are Scriptural examples of the expectations God has for you. In no way is God limiting the things you CAN do, He simply says, like He says to every person alive "lay down what you think of yourself and instead do what I would have you do."

2. No matter the reason you do this (which I may never understand), leggings are never an acceptable alternative for pants. I don't know the names of all your short little skirt things or those shirts that attempt to shove in our faces the degree to which the fat content of your chests is disproportionate to that of your male counterparts, but I'll let you in on the deep, inner-workings of the male brain: we notice. The more willing you are to show it, the more willing boys are to be slapped for looking at it. The more willing you are to show it, the easier boys think it is to get you out of it. The more you show us, the less we think you are capable of intellectually. Yes, it is vulgar. Yes, it is unfair. Yes, I hate that it is true, and no, I am not exaggerating. I think that if women knew what flit through mens' brains based solely on what you are wearing (NOT on body size or type or preconceived notions or heresay), this country would be dressed differently. You might clean out your closets. If you hold it in front of a hungry animal, you cannot get mad at it for eating. Sure, men are pigs, but you do not have to be the slop they consume.

3. (this is the longest and last point in this letter)Please, for the love of all that is holy, acquire your validation from some source that is not a man. *I speak more about the concept of Identity here, if you want to read* Men are horrid, superficial, two-faced creatures who, if you look for acceptance from them, will give it to you for the right price. I am sick of reading blog posts and articles and bad poetry about how to find the right man for you, because it insinuates a one-track mind. It focuses attention, calls importance to, deems necessary, the almighty relationship. Not like, friendship relationship, you know, the boyfriend/girlfriend, hold hands down the street, whisper sweet nothings and make it official on Facebook and Twitter and Myspace relationship.

We, as a society, are obsessed with it. It sells so well! Even in the most manly of movies, the perfect girl ends up with the rugged hero (I'm sure I'll talk about this sometime later) because that is what is expected of us. What are every one of Taylor Swift's songs about? Why do women worship Nicholas Sparks and Rom-Coms and write to Abby about relationship problems and drown their faces in makeup and assume that innocuous, amicable friendships should become "more" just because somebody is "cute together"? (Not that it is just women who are responsible for these things, but it is generally associated with you. Remember I am speaking in generalities) Because in many ways, we live in a society that assures us that unless we are in a relationship, we aren't doing something right.

Today in the UC I was eating my lunch in peace at a table in the corner and I was listening to a girl giving Biblical advice to another girl. It was wonderful and refreshing to hear Scripture spoken boldly and eloquently, but they soon got on the topic of this boy. She began giving the advice I've heard a thousand times: pray that you can be made into the woman for the right man and pray for that man that he may do the same. As if we expect God to drop a man/woman into our lives because that's what we want. Why are we not praying more that we become who God wants us to be, with single/married not even an issue? We should ask to be conformed to the image of God not to be partnered with somebody else who wants the same, but because we want to be conformed to the image of God. It's that simple. It is a disease even within the church, this addiction to relationships.

I have read articles about cheating and sex outside of marriage and love and entries from Christian blogs about how to find the perfect Christian guy all with the expectation of finding a guy. Ladies, please hear me out: I am not at all slamming Godly relationships - I am merely asking that it not be the priority of your life. It is a sad thing when, even within the church, we stress more about our relationships with boys than we do with our relationships with the Creator of the boys.

This letter is very long and rambley. To be honest, it was very hard to write, because men and women are such fascinating and complex creatures that have such enormous potential that it was hard to synthesize my thoughts about the way they should interact. Here is what my notebook looked like before even editing:

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And it went onto the back too.

I just HAD to capture how much you rock, how much potential you have, how much you are treasured, and how specially you fit into God's vision. But I also wanted to highlight some areas that can use improving (and have no fear, the boys are next, because we are far worse off). It is not an extensive list (I figured 1500 words was plenty). I am more than open to discussion, further exploration, etc.

I just wanted to make sure that the jewels of creation realized it, took it to heart, and found it within themselves to pursue a relationship with their Creator before anything else, because He is jealous for your hearts more than a boy ever could be.

Mountains of Love, Hamilton

Hamilton Barber

The subject of this page is an introverted writer/musician/lunatic from Chattanooga, TN who dabbles in lexical dexterity, unorthodox thoughts on prosperity, and being overwhelmingly undeserving of the privilege of waking up every day. He hopes that everybody who reads these words takes them to heart and leaps higher than he ever could. He reads, thinks, and speaks too much; he listens, works, and loves too little; and he says “I” entirely too often. The words on these pages are not his: they are the words that were given to him.

What I do when Andrew hogs the sleep

We depart for civilization in 6 hours and all I can think about is how dark it is in this room and how Andrew is in the bunk across from me hogging all of the sleep. Or: what is vacation, a place to get away or a place to get alone?

Or: what I need is fresh air and I need to dig words out of that dusty place I threw them when we got here. For some reason.

Words are stubborn when they've been wadded up. They crinkle a little in their unfolding and you have to flex them back and forth for them to be of any use. Go figure, you don't call for a week and all of the sudden they're mad at you like you did something wrong. You tell them you just didn't need them right now because you're trying to unwind and take a breath before the train hits again and they get all defensive cause they feel like you're using them. You forget that words have feelings too. And trust issues, I think.

I tell them, let's take a stroll, because we need to talk, and I figure the humidity would help with that.

I step outside and I can smell the ocean. I can feel on my skin the sticky hot Atlantic wind and the salt in the air makes me thirsty. When the air conditioner kicks off behind me I can hear the steady rhythm of the waves crashing to a meter that seems asymmetrical at first, but on longer listen is just a complex set of hits stretched out over an ambling, slow, incredibly steady tempo. We are waltzing, that sound and I. We're going nowhere in a hurry.

And now I'm asking something different. Something about what keeps sleep away. Something about what brings it in the first place. Something about the nature of things that comes alive on still hot nights like this.

I always related to Thomas the most, I think because I know I would have been the one trying to call Peter and the Beloved one out on their excitement until I actually put my hands in the gaping, miraculous, saving holes. I can look back on him and frown and ask him "how could you" when really I should just look at myself and mutter the very same words. Ask myself if I believe simply because I have seen, or vice versa. The curse of looking for reason and knowing that until you find it there will be sleepless nights. The pain in that place you can't touch when belief sometimes feels like a listing sailboat after a changed wind. When you wish you could be Elijah and call down fire from heaven not so much for proof but just to see something wet catch fire.

Sometimes even just for the proof, I suppose.

You can drown in your unbelief, and it does feel like drowning. Gasping, groping, frantically kicking your feet until your hands slide upon something already being rocked gently to sleep by the tide. When finally on the surface you realize that it is the surface itself that snapped you awake. Just when you started to think that your whole world was underwater and enslaved to wet, you burst to the surface and your lungs ache for more of whatever it is up here that just tastes so good. You realize there's way more up here than there was down there and you can see better too.

You can hear, somewhere in the distance, those waves pounding the shore being heard by a boy sweating and swatting flies on a porch in South Carolina.

The funny thing about them is that as they roll over the sand they pay no mind to us. We can build sand castles to try to stand in their way but the water won't have it. We can try to drown out the sound with music but they crash all the more. We can film them and stick them in a spotlight and draw attention to their beauty but they pulse humbly. We can mock them with barriers but they will power through them mightily.

They are constant. The same when husbands get fired and when brothers die and when babies are born and when teenagers get pregnant and when empires fall and when songs are written and when animals sleep and when it rains and when boys want so hard to just believe as fierce as the sea but let reason get in the way. These waves operate separate from reason. Blame it on rotating planets and spinning moons and shifting continental shelves and trade winds all you want and the waves will be there when you crawl back to simply see them. They represent something that goes on despite us. One way in a long list of ways God can shake us up to refresh our belief. One thing in a long list of things that proves that there is something besides us and our petty human problems.

They are beautiful to taste for a soul crying "why".

 

I believe this is all the thought I am allowed on this sticky summer's eve before my skin becomes fodder for a thousand hungry insects who will bite me no matter the vigor with which I question them.

Hamilton Barber

The subject of this page is an introverted writer/musician/lunatic from Chattanooga, TN who dabbles in lexical dexterity, unorthodox thoughts on prosperity, and being overwhelmingly undeserving of the privilege of waking up every day. He hopes that everybody who reads these words takes them to heart and leaps higher than he ever could. He reads, thinks, and speaks too much; he listens, works, and loves too little; and he says “I” entirely too often. The words on these pages are not his: they are the words that were given to him.

>Slash.

>I was a witness to something last night which I will here attempt to describe.

I saw a literal wall of Marshall cabs, for starters.
I saw a man in a wheelchair wait in line, weave up a handicap ramp, and sit with anxious expectation with a large top hat on his head for the opening act to be over so that he could see the hero, whose visage he wore on his shirt.
I watched a crowd of people go nuts for a band who killed it, even though they didn't know any of their songs. Simply out of courtesy/response to awesome music.

I saw on a stage five people, all of whom were over 40 years old, playing to 1,100 people, aged anywhere from ten to 65. One of these people, Saul Hudson (more famously known as Slash), a founding member of Guns n' Roses (whose music I don't necessarily enjoy, although it is impossible to deny that they invented rock music as it is known today); who has played in front of stadiums with the largest audiences recorded in recent history, played roughly 300+ shows a year for the past 30 years in two world-renowned bands and several smaller ones, who has toured the world several times, smile a genuine smile when he looked out at the crowd of people watching him.

It was as if he were performing for the first time. He was relaxed, poised, and the definition of every image the term "rock star" conjures. He jumped around onstage as if he were 20 years old. He's 45.

I saw Myles Kennedy, 41, also a seasoned music veteran, being a pioneer both on the modern rock scene as well as the transformation of Jazz-rock fusion as we know it, step back from the mic as the crowd was singing a portion of a very well-known song, as he does every night of the week on Slash's world tour, and close his eyes. I watched him mouth the words "This is so awesome" followed closely by an undeniable "I love this." He wasn't saying it to anybody except himself. This was all the reminder he needed to remember why he does what he does.

The same as the grin that crept up on Slash's lips as he peered subtly over the edge of his signature aviator sunglasses and looked at the faces of all the people who made him who he is. It didn't happen often, because he was, for the most part, completely enraptured by the music filling the room.

I've been in the presence of "up and comers" who think that they are the best thing that has ever happened to music while they are on stage. I've watched them play so devoid of passion and heart that it almost makes the notes go as flat as the sound.

And then I saw this. With a drummer that played for Alice Cooper in his heyday, a singer who has toured in 4 bands and done his part to bring Jazz back to the mainstream, a bassist who has starred in films as well as played music in the studio with little people like, oh what's his name... Ozzy Osborne, a guitarist who knows enough to play enough in the background to hold a song together while letting someone else receive the entirety of the limelight, and a seasoned rock star whose name is known by a hundred million people who pioneered Heavy Metal but still managed to break into a slow, 3/4 blues jam play music with more passion than I've ever seen anything done. They made it sound fresh. They still got high from the adrenaline.

They felt every emotion a performer should feel and it translated over to the absolutely captivated audience, and you could tell, be it by Slash's uncontrollable smirk or Myles' whispers of overwhelming awe which he never meant for anybody to see.

Hamilton Barber

The subject of this page is an introverted writer/musician/lunatic from Chattanooga, TN who dabbles in lexical dexterity, unorthodox thoughts on prosperity, and being overwhelmingly undeserving of the privilege of waking up every day. He hopes that everybody who reads these words takes them to heart and leaps higher than he ever could. He reads, thinks, and speaks too much; he listens, works, and loves too little; and he says “I” entirely too often. The words on these pages are not his: they are the words that were given to him.

>The Charge

>One of my favorite things ever is when people begin reading a sign that says "Cafe Closed" and then turn around and ask me if the cafe is open.

I say that yes it is, they are just trying to trick you. Just stand there long enough and somebody will come out to wait on you hand and foot. He did not laugh. Apparently there is a diminishing appreciation for sarcasm these days.
It is that time of year when 8th graders go to to High School and High School seniors go to College and Undergrads become Grads and, subsequently, homeless. Change is in the air, with the climbing temperature and humidity and pollen count and number of mosquitos and number of rings on girls' fingers; all of us needing a break from the doldrums of winter and the inconsistency of the spring. So the people I am addressing here is those who are undergoing change, be it personal, social... related to location, age, activity, or educational... pertaining to their eating habits or their working out habits or their study habits... so, in essence, everyone.
When I talk about change, I am not referring to the rhetorical change of which politicians speak or the climate change which liberals whine about and conservatives ignore, I'm talking about the one that matters, the one you can change.
So this is what I'm proposing with this season of change:
1. Revolutionize thought. We have among us the future greatest minds in the world, and I see a lot of it being drowned in the subculture. A friend and I were talking the other day about how much of a burden it is to know that it is our generation that will be leading this world in our respective countries. We will be the pioneers of the future. We will make it what it will become. So how can we become great minds if we do not actively pursue great minds? As much as I hate Plato's circular reasoning, read his "Symposium," for it will recreate the way you see the world around you. As much as I do not agree with him, read Nietzche's "Genealogy of Morals," for it will teach you to truly know something before you discuss it.
2. Begin a resurgence of reason. After we learn to think, we then have to learn how to apply it. I am using Reason in the absolute most broad sense possible, because I think it should be applied to every facet of our lives - from our daily interactions with strangers to our decision making. I think that when this happens the vast majority of tradition for tradition's sake will be completely tossed out the window and the way that things are run will be streamlined and made more efficient. Reason will help you discern when it is time to buckle down and get work done and when it is time to find a desolate hilltop and play guitar until the sun has been asleep for hours. Your acting reasonably will encourage others to follow suit, and may eventually spark just what the resurgence needs.
3. Fall in love. After you learn to apply reason, you must then learn when it may be proper to forsake it. The world of the first two points, the world of logic, is a lonely and somewhat cynical world to dwell in, although crucial to understand before you learn when to let it go. Be it the girl in the desk across from you, playing backgammon, or Stravinsky's "Firebird" suite, learn what it means to have an unbridled passion for something, because it will transcend all reaches of whatever knowledge and understanding you have acquired. In a perfect world, this earthly love will lead you to realize the ardent affection that a perfect God has burning in His infinite heart for you before all things. Everything that has been created has been created for you.
4. Learn to laugh. After the above mentioned steps, this will become nothing but second nature. You will be able to look at people like from my example way up at the top of this page and do nothing but laugh because one thing that has been consistently funny from the beginning of time is people who take the most innocuous of things entirely too seriously. Lighten up. Experience the joy of satire or become a selective audience for math jokes or invent a new language in which to speak with your friends. See the little things for how beautiful they actually are, and let it warm your heart.

Hamilton Barber

The subject of this page is an introverted writer/musician/lunatic from Chattanooga, TN who dabbles in lexical dexterity, unorthodox thoughts on prosperity, and being overwhelmingly undeserving of the privilege of waking up every day. He hopes that everybody who reads these words takes them to heart and leaps higher than he ever could. He reads, thinks, and speaks too much; he listens, works, and loves too little; and he says “I” entirely too often. The words on these pages are not his: they are the words that were given to him.

>Epiphanal Spontaneous Outbreaks

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I've been finding myself occupied recently with terrifying thoughts. I don't know how to control these thoughts either, because I feel as though they are crucial to our existence as humans living in an imperfect world, occupying the endless time of an eternal and perfect God. 

These thoughts that I have been thinking are less long, eloquent diatribes in my mind that is gasping for knowledge and Wisdom and, well, answers, but more glimpses of epiphany that is to come. It is as though my processes pause momentarily and for that instant, everything around me appears totally fabricated and completely unnatural. It is surreal, really, and nearly impossible for me to explain. I see the little cars we drive, the work we attend, the politics we argue until we are red in the face, the accumulation of thin green paper that people kill each other for, and they all appear to me as this visceral realization that we do not belong here. This society that we worship and pursue and accept as truth cannot possibly be truth, for it was created by flawed humans. It is kind of like when you stare at a word for an extended period of time, repeating it over and over and it becomes foreign, almost unrecognizable to your mind. The more I think about all of this... stuff that is on earth, the more it blows my mind that it was put here by us. 

With this frame of thinking, every goal and every motive you possess starts to be tossed into question. Everything here has an expiration date, so the notion of putting my trust in local things starts to be absolutely absurd. I suppose what I am trying to comprehend is the idea that I am not of this world any longer, since I have life in Christ. I know that I am not alone in these far-fetched little musings because poets, intellectuals, thinkers all throughout history have struggled to find their place in the same world that I am seeing. It is a horrifying thought for those without purpose, sort of a fast forward to 80 years from now when literally everything they have known is wrong. I glimpsed the sheer terror of this thought, but it was immediately overcome with a peace that came in the form of a whisper in my ear. It was audible, I swear to you, and what I heard (or felt?) was reassurance that I have nothing to worry about. There is nothing wrong with me having these things, because they are all gifts, but as soon as I start putting stock in them, I know that this moment will revisit me and I will be snapped back to the frame of mind I should be dwelling in. 

I know this was really long and disorganized and somewhat of a rambling collection of thoughts, but I am convinced that somebody out there needed to hear it, and needed to be comforted with what are inevitably the same thoughts I am having. If you feel like having a discussion about it, please email me or something just to let me know that you're listening. Or reading. Or disagreeing. 

Hamilton Barber

The subject of this page is an introverted writer/musician/lunatic from Chattanooga, TN who dabbles in lexical dexterity, unorthodox thoughts on prosperity, and being overwhelmingly undeserving of the privilege of waking up every day. He hopes that everybody who reads these words takes them to heart and leaps higher than he ever could. He reads, thinks, and speaks too much; he listens, works, and loves too little; and he says “I” entirely too often. The words on these pages are not his: they are the words that were given to him.

>A Spoonful of Cynicism

>All play and no work has made Hamilton a very dull boy. I need a season to get here that involves me wearing something other than sleeves, jeans and socks at all times, because my skin needs to breathe, otherwise the paranoia cannot escape except through that conveniently placed hole in my head called my mind. You know that phenomenon up in Alaska where it's dark for months at a time? I have a feeling that horror movies happen daily up there, not because of some incessant amount of poorly scripted carnage but because without light, the darkness that surrounds the people seeps literally into the pores of their body, as vinegar will dissolve through the shell of an egg to achieve homeostasis.

It's funny, I've begun to notice recently a few truths about mankind (there will be exceptions to each rule, of course, and I am not in any way ruling myself out here but bear with me): We are, each of us, full of ulterior motives. Smiles are (for the most part) forced, as we are afraid to share our thoughts because we deem them either inappropriate or we recognize them for the schemes that they are. When we have something on our minds but we don't want to acknowledge it, instead of saying "yes I have something on my mind but I really don't want to talk about it yet," we say "nothing." Some might call this category "lying," but that might offensive to some.

The next thing I've noticed is that it is literally impossible for everybody to be happy at once. Compromise has become a four-letter word and a worst-case scenario. I'm talking both about the secular world and the Christian world (which may speak to a different problem, but that's a different rant entirely), as division happens in the church as much as anywhere else you could imagine. You cannot please both your friends and family, you cannot excel in school and work, you cannot focus on creation and retention without shifting your focus back and forth, unavoidably neglecting one or the other. It is not a malicious neglect either, but a necessary and absolutely inevitable neglect, and one that will probably be taken personally...

Which leads me to the next point, that man is the center of his own universe. This is the reason that we are incapable of agreeing with each other, because if we were focused on something other than ourselves for ten seconds we'd realize we are smaller than the most minuscule part on a massive technical contraption. I'm trying to take my own advice here, and I realize it's hard, but I also realize that it could be the solution to all of the problems countless causes and support groups are trying to fix. Think about it: if we really were thinking of somebody other than ourselves, we wouldn't need to assemble teams to take food to homeless people on the street, we would spend less time explaining why that guy is wrong and more time inviting him into our home when it's cold outside and loving him despite his opposite beliefs. But getting every person on this earth to think of somebody other than himself is impossible, and so crime rates will rise and murderers will be set free and no amount of money we throw will stop a war, as has been predicted since the beginning of time.

Perhaps I'm just bitter today. Perhaps I've been doing this thing where I can't seem to please anybody because I'm trying to please everybody, for I cannot choose who I should try to make happy and who isn't worth my time. I want EVERYBODY to be worth my time and I want the people I'm not looking at for the second to understand that it is not that I'm looking away from them, I'm looking at somebody else, for there is a huge difference. I only have one set of eyes, and I have a thousand staring, waiting for their turn for that contact. Perhaps I was just overwhelmed for the moment.

Hamilton Barber

The subject of this page is an introverted writer/musician/lunatic from Chattanooga, TN who dabbles in lexical dexterity, unorthodox thoughts on prosperity, and being overwhelmingly undeserving of the privilege of waking up every day. He hopes that everybody who reads these words takes them to heart and leaps higher than he ever could. He reads, thinks, and speaks too much; he listens, works, and loves too little; and he says “I” entirely too often. The words on these pages are not his: they are the words that were given to him.