If it’s socially egregious to suggest that females are slaves to their hormones, then shouldn’t the same expectation apply to males?

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I made a big dietary lifestyle change four years ago in an effort to be more healthy. After testing prevailing theories and monitoring endless biomarkers and micronutrient levels I lost fifty plus pounds and improved every measurable marker immensely but one stood out. At 46 years old, my testosterone level rose to was that of a virile 19-year-old. After quickly and proudly posting these results to social media it occurred to me that although my blood showed a hormone historically associated with aggression, I had become a pacifist.

This was confusing to me. I believed that testosterone was directly associated with violence but it seemed to have the opposite effect on me. Are we not the slaves to our hormones some may have us believe? Further, if it’s socially egregious to suggest that women are slaves to their hormones, then shouldn’t the same expectation apply to men? I was not always anti-violence. In fact, I loved fighting. I boxed for over a decade and even co-owned a boxing club. I forged close friendships over stiff jabs to the face (mostly received) and my personal favorite, hooks to the body (mostly delivered). …


In our weakest moments, we reveal truths about ourselves we’d prefer to hide. Maybe what we ought to be doing is to not hide them but uncover them, own them, change them.

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In case you were in a beautiful, silent place last week, perhaps in nature with no wi-fi, let’s catch up. In front of national news media, Congressman Ted Yoho called Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a “fucking bitch”. Rep. AOC chose not to respond formally and instead choose to brush it off through social media tweeting, “But hey, ‘b*tches’ get stuff done.” Rep Yoho addressed the incident publicly, and instead of apologizing, he doubled down. Without actually saying Ocasio-Cortez’s name, Rep. Yoho refused to “apologize for my passion, or for loving my God, my family, and my country.” …


When we own our true nature through strength and vulnerability, we are defining what masculinity is.

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When I met my brother in law for the first time, we shook hands firmly as we exchanged affirmative expressions, eye-to-eye study, and a murmured “good to meet you.” He’s a military man from the United States and I’m a writer from Canada. I didn’t meet him when he married my sister because I had only discovered that my sister existed months before, which I feel I should explain.

After shipping a swab of spit to ancestry.com, I was notified that my DNA suggested I had first and second cousins who had also sent in their spit. A woman reached out to me through the site’s messaging service, explaining that she was searching for her birth father. I decided to help. The clues she provided me led us to believe and later confirmed that she was my older sister. We decided to meet in person in Portland, OR, and I later published an article about it. …


Let’s take into consideration the societal and environmental influences in which participants are growing.

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Never to be outdone, my father once quipped “it’s well known that girls mature faster than boys, but we catch up and pass them pretty quickly.” He thinks he’s hilarious. He’s accepted, albeit reluctantly, the common trope that “girls mature faster than boys,” which has over the years been backed up by neuroscience through brain imaging and observational studies. Aside from the fact that these studies confirm a well-known and accepted bias they haven’t accounted for one confounding variable: neuroplasticity.

The Buddha said that our minds create the world around us to which Gabor Mate adds “but first our world creates our mind.” That is, our minds develop in our childhood through how our parents love us, the village of other children and adults who raise us, and influences from our environment. …


My editor called me out for how I wrote about the women in my book. Here’s how I handled it.

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I never realized the toxic way I thought and wrote about women — until my book editor called me out for it. She told me, “If I have to read the way you describe women one more time, I’m not going to edit this fucking book.” I was speechless.

I’m going to share my journey with you since she called me out, but to get the full picture, we have to go back to the beginning and see where my mindset about women was formed.

The book I was writing was never meant to be a book. It was meant to be a suicide letter. After a memory of sexual abuse from my childhood came flooding back as an adult, I decided to end my life. I left the woman I was in love with. I cheated and lied. I partied all the time, got high, and prioritized being around beautiful women. …


Alarming Aroma at Thirty-Thousand-Feet

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There exists endless tropes about negotiating airplane restrooms as they serve as much comedic novelty as they do their designed purpose. Changing a baby’s diapers in an airplane restroom brings with it a performance worthy of the Three Stooges and on Delta Flight 2839 bound for Minneapolis, I was invited on stage to perform a matinee of my very own.

My toddler who is nearly two didn’t poop the day before said flight so we gave her prunes that morning, a fact painfully germane to the events that follow. Halfway through our three-hour flight, I felt my wife’s expression warm the side of my face and I turned to meet her gaze to meet with an aroma both horrifying and impressive. Before I had a chance to react to the smell I read my wife’s lips that mouthed the words “shot-not.” The “shot-not” game is our shorthand derived from the childhood game Shotgun where the first person of a group to call out “shotgun!” is rewarded the front seat of a car ride. The front seat in our version means not having to clean, wipe, and dispose of, human feces. …


Practicing meditation can bring joy, focus, healing, and many other incredibly powerful benefits if you go in prepared.

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I adopted meditation out of need. As I healed from childhood trauma and subsequent addictions, my wife recommended we try a simple meditation in the morning. I felt the benefits over the next few days and weeks and I haven’t looked back. I extol meditation and how it helped me heal in a book I wrote about my trauma and how I survived. It had been six years of daily meditation when I decided to enter a ten-day silent meditation retreat. As it’s called, the Vipassana retreat, practices sitting and walking meditation for twelve hours a day. The retreat prohibits any speaking, reading, eye contact, or any communication with the outside world. …


How can a white person be part of the solution? Here are a few easy starters.

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It’s been suggested that to not speak up demonstrates an unwillingness to stand up. The problem is that I don’t know what to say. I’m frustrated, heartbroken, angry, confused but I dare not even try to unsee the deliberate hate that we all have witnessed, that we continue to witness.

I’m not sure where my place is here, what my role is. I’m a successful, middle-aged, white man who wants to be a part of the solution. The first book I read outside of school was the Autobiography of Malcolm X followed by Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin. In my teenage years, I felt drawn to Black culture, the music, the art, the sports, and most of all the people. The people who I call my friends, my family. People I’ve cried with, played sports with, stood beside as they married, had children, loved, and lost. I didn’t see the racism, the hate like I’m seeing now. Although I was raised by a single mother and very poor I still enjoyed a white privilege I didn’t know existed. Growing up in Canada, friends were of every color and I simply didn’t, couldn’t comprehend my friends’ life experience. I still can’t. But I know that I love them maybe a little bit more today and I want them to know that. …


Sleep deprivation in adolescents and teens is strongly associated with suicide, the second leading cause of death of teenagers.

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My “lazy” teenage self was right. Now, armed with a lot more knowledge, I aim my best I-told-you-so stare at my father. Of course, at the time he didn’t know any of the facts below as they are pretty new. Still, in my incredibly petty way, I feel vindicated because he was wrong. Below are a few facts that have impacted the way I parent in providing an environment that fosters brain development and mental health for my daughters and how I behave as a husband and father.

I once thought that circadian rhythms were akin to astrology but then a Nobel Prize was won by scientists who proved the circadian rhythms operate at the genetic level. The science I get into below draws from said research so if you are like me, you may want to learn more about circadian rhythms to give better context to the data. It’s pretty impressive information and you will not be disappointed! …


Meditation was one of the first efforts of self-love that actually made a difference in my life.

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In her book Real Love, Sharon Salzberg wrote:

People tell you to just love yourself, but they don’t tell you how.

I think I connected with that line originally because it’s true. There’s a lot of popcorn philosophy out there that isn’t backed up by methodology. When I was working to put my life back together after a five-year suicidal binge with drugs and alcohol, I didn’t need someone telling me to love myself. I needed someone to give me the tools to do it.

Far from having all the answers, I have discovered a method of self-love that has filled my life with more joy, presence, and contentment than I ever could’ve imagined. Rather than telling you to love yourself, I’m going to share with you how I did it so you can see what resonates with you. …

About

Rob Imbeault

Father of daughters, volunteer, author of Before I Leave You: A Memoir on Suicide, Addiction, and Healing. Co-founder Assent Compliance #LGBTQIA+ 🏳️‍🌈

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