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Yesterday, my bank account balance hit a new low:

$14.51

A few weeks ago, I burned through the family’s emergency cash to repair our Subaru Forester. Blew out the radiator. Temperature gauge was broken. My own fault for not checking the coolant frequently enough.

The week after that, I sent my wife to a health clinic to get some necessary blood tests. It was one of those “sliding scale” clinics for poor people. They told her to get some ultrasounds done at the local hospital.

My wife went into the hospital with the expectation that it would cost around $50 – $100. Nope. They sent us a surprise bill for almost $800. Plus the $200 she already spent at the previous clinic.

And guess what the hospital said after all the expensive work?

“You’re fine.”

(Which is good I suppose. But still…)

Then immediately after that our bank card got hacked and drained out what little cash we had remaining in the account.

So once again, I am broke.

Furthermore, when I’m preoccupied with closing the next deal and paying the next round of bills, my libido plummets. Failure to produce in one area produces failure in another.

It’s a vicious downward cycle.

I say this not to solicit pity. I’ll be fine. I have a couple clients I’ll be invoicing next week. I’ve got several prospective clients “in the pipeline.” I’m all too familiar with how to survive this game.

Add my wife’s part-time income from music teaching and the food stamps and we can just manage to pay our bills, feed our child, and put a mild dent in my student loans (plus my credit card debts from all my naive post-graduation screw up attempts to make money.)

The question always running through the back of my mind is “Why don’t I have my shit together yet?”

Supposedly, I’m a member of one of the most privileged classes in the world: a young educated white male from a middle class background.

Yet I can’t help but feel my first decade of adulthood has been more like the refrain from the 21 Pilots song:

We used to play pretend, give each other different names
We would build a rocket ship and then we’d fly it far away
Used to dream of outer space but now they’re laughing at our face
Saying, “Wake up, you need to make money”
Yeah

Wish we could turn back time, to the good old days
When our momma sang us to sleep but now we’re stressed out

If I’m honest, it was my long string of screw ups that led me to the red pill and masculine development. I had to learn how to recover my dignity as a man, and handle a woman who witnessed a long string of objective “non-successes.”

I had to get her to believe in me again. To believe in my purpose. To believe that I could not settle for being a cog in a machine or living someone else’s life script.

Or at least, if she wouldn’t believe it, I had to believe it myself and become indifferent to her response.

A woman cannot perceive or appreciate the growth that happens in a man beneath the surface. She cares not for the inner boy struggling to become a man. She is not designed to empathize with a man.

Honestly, I can understand why many men give up on life. The burden of performance is unrelenting.

And it’s not just about money. Every man I’ve known feels he doesn’t “have his shit together” in some way.

Bad father. Bad husband. Bad in bed. Bad manager. Bad student. Bad health habits. Bad Christian. Bad at getting dates. etc.

Men are quick to condemn themselves for their shortcomings. And wives, preachers, teachers, and the media are all-too-happy to quickly reinforce this condemnation.

There is no neutral ground for a man. The pressures of life will either make or break a man.

Men today don’t necessarily need more advice.

We need healing.

Heal the boy and the king will emerge.