Recently, your mother and I were searching for an answer on Google. Halfway through entering the question, Google returned a list of the most popular searches in the world. Perched at the top of the list was “How to keep him interested.”
It startled me. I scanned several of the countless articles about how to be sexy and sexual, when to bring him a beer versus a sandwich, and the ways to make him feel smart and superior.
And I got angry.
Little One, it is not, has never been, and never will be your job to “keep him interested.”
Little One, your only task is to know deeply in your soul—in that unshakeable place that isn’t rattled by rejection and loss and ego—that you are worthy of interest. (If you can remember that everyone else is worthy of interest also, the battle of your life will be mostly won. But that is a letter for another day.)
If you can trust your worth in this way, you will be attractive in the most important sense of the word: you will attract a boy who is both capable of interest and who wants to spend his one life investing all of his interest in you.
Little One, I want to tell you about the boy who doesn’t need to be keptinterested, because he knows you are interesting:
I don’t care if he puts his elbows on the dinner table—as long as he puts his eyes on the way your nose scrunches when you smile. And then can’t stop looking.
I don’t care if he can’t play a bit of golf with me—as long as he can play with the children you give him and revel in all the glorious and frustrating ways they are just like you.
I don’t care if he doesn’t follow his wallet—as long as he follows his heart and it always leads him back to you.
I don’t care if he is strong—as long as he gives you the space to exercise the strength that is in your heart.
I couldn’t care less how he votes—as long as he wakes up every morning and daily elects you to a place of honor in your home and a place of reverence in his heart.
I don’t care about the color of his skin—as long as he paints the canvas of your lives with brushstrokes of patience, and sacrifice, and vulnerability, and tenderness.
I don’t care if he was raised in this religion or that religion or no religion—as long as he was raised to value the sacred and to know every moment of life, and every moment of life with you, is deeply sacred.
In the end, Little One, if you stumble across a man like that and he and I have nothing else in common, we will have the most important thing in common:
Because in the end, Little One, the only thing you should have to do to “keep him interested” is to be you.
Your eternally interested guy,
This post is, of course, dedicated to my daughter, my Cutie-Pie. But I also want to dedicate it beyond her.
I wrote it for my wife, who has courageously held on to her sense of worth and has always held me accountable to being that kind of “boy.”
I wrote it for every grown woman I have met inside and outside of my therapy office—the women who have never known this voice of a Daddy.
And I wrote it for the generation of boys-becoming-men who need to be reminded of what is really important—my little girl finding a loving, lifelong companion is dependent upon at least one of you figuring this out. I’m praying for you.
— Dr. Kelly Flanagan
Happy International Women’s Day
(A long conversation about travel, intuition and ways of living.)
“I get frustrated from feeling two sides of things. Sometimes I’m feeling really, really happy, and then it seems as if everything is falling apart or spiraling down, and I don’t have control over it.”
“Do you think it’s more a matter of how you perceive things or what actually happens to you?”
“It’s more how I perceive things, but I’ve also been through a lot of change in my life in the last two years. We traveled and did some amazing things. We went across the country and had an Airstream RV. I also take photos, and I saw the most amazing landscapes. We went out west and that was incredible. I wanted to keep going, but my husband wanted to come back. He was homesick. And here I am. I had the rug pulled out from under me. It’s frustrating because I was experiencing so much, and the world was opening up. Now I’m trying to make it work. Sometimes I can make it work, and sometimes I can’t.”
“Do you feel stuck in the city?”
“I’m having trouble coming back. The experience changed me so much that when I came back, all my relationships changed. And I wasn’t really expecting that. Some people don’t like the changes. But when you’re going through something like that, you’re changing profoundly. Then you’re back, and everybody is different to you. You want it to be the same, but it’s not. You’re not the same person, and there are people who don’t like it. There are family members who are shunning us now. It was like this big thing we weren’t supposed to do. You are not supposed to do such a thing, go on such a trip. They think you must be crazy. And it was the opposite. I think it was liberating. But now I’m not feeling that liberation anymore. I come back here, and everybody is living kind of in a box. They are all in their little boxes, and they want you to be in a box, too. But for you, the box is gone, and you can’t bring it back.”
“Do you feel that a lot of your energy is being wasted in this environment?”
“The energy is going inward. It was flowing really well, and now it’s getting trapped because it’s not completely in alignment. When you’re living with someone, you have to make it work, and it can be hard to listen to what would be good for you. It’s a real dilemma.”
“Are you saying that you’re feeling so unhappy that you’re tempted to break up your marriage and go off on your own?”
“We actually broke it off for a little while, and then I realized how awful that is because we’ve been together for 26 years.
Maybe if I knew what I know now, if I knew how traumatic it would be, I wouldn’t have done it. I just read about this lady from Texas. She and her husband went on a 22-month tour around the world. They came back, and they were going to move to Denver and start their lives. Then, she disappeared, and they couldn’t find her for a month. They just found her and determined that she committed suicide. She couldn’t handle the integration back. And I know exactly what she was feeling. I can see how stressful it can be to experience something so different and to have to come back and integrate into this life. But I’m very hopeful because I’m intuitive, and I know that it all happens for a reason. It wouldn’t have happened otherwise.”
“How did you first know you wanted to travel out west?”
“I’ve been dreaming for a long time. I dreamt about California when I was in high school. Then, when I started skiing a lot, I started dreaming about skiing out west. I had these tapes that I would play in my head: me weaving down the slopes. I would loop it, this dream, over and over in my head. I dreamt and dreamt and dreamt for years before I decided to do something about it.
Then, my husband’s career started faltering. He lost his job in 2009, and I said, ‘That’s it! That’s the opportunity.’ He was lost, but I new exactly what I wanted to do. I had been dreaming about it forever. I put together a plan. He said ‘I’m not ready for it yet.’ So he took another job. After six months, that job wasn’t going well at all, and I said, ‘I’m going ahead with the plan.’
To prove that I’m serious, I decided to sell our second home on the Cape. I did all these big projects to make it look really good. I put a fireplace, wood floors, all these nice things. I made it look really nice. It sold in a month! We sold the house in the worst market, but we got a really good price for it, and it sold really quickly. And he said, ‘Well, I guess.’ But he didn’t quit right away. He dragged it and dragged it and dragged it. The day before he was planning on going and quitting, they fired him! And he got a huge severance! They gave him $60,000. It literally paid for everything. It was unbelievable! It was as if everything was meant to be. And that’s how it went the whole time. That was the theme. Things just fell into place. There was no plan, no agenda. I followed my heart; it unfolded. It’s amazing being at the right place, and at the right time, and meeting the right people who tell you, ‘You have to take this road; it’s the most scenic way. You have to see this.’ Because we really didn’t have it planned out. We just did it. And it worked. I met so many amazing people. People were attracted to us. We had a Vermont license plate on the RV, and everything was brand new. We had a couple of surfboards, I had my camera, and people in California were fascinated by the whole thing. We were fairly young, so people could tell we were not retired. And they would say to us ‘You guys don’t fit any mold. What did you do? Quit your job?’ ‘Yeah, we did. We quit everything.’ I took all the chips in a poker game and I was all in. Everything was on the table and put into this dream. And it worked.
The only problem was that it didn’t last very long because my husband got homesick. And that killed it. I could have done it for years and years.
I would have learned even more about the way you’re supposed to live. It’s like following something inside your heart, not your brain, that leads you like a compass. You can feel it: I’m supposed to go this way; I’m supposed to meet this person; I’m supposed to do this. And it just lands in your lap in the moment. That’s how it was. Now I can’t do it because things are too comfortable. I don’t need it. I was very psychically tuned because I needed to be. When I was driving the RV, I didn’t know what I was doing. We bought it in L.A. from people who lived at the top of Hollywood Hills. The whole time I was thinking, I don’t know if I can drive this thing. I really don’t. I had to take it down this winding road and then onto the highway. They have those huge highways, and I didn’t know what I was doing. I had to use my psychic abilities to know how to change lanes. I couldn’t see—it’s like driving a tractor-trailer. I had never driven a trailer of any kind. But I did it. I did things I never thought I could do. I was going up and down mountain passes. I did a lot of challenging, technical things like backing it into really tight spots. I found out I can do a lot more than I ever imagined.
And I thought, If I can do that, I think I can do anything. I came back all charged up. Now I’m in this comfortable space, floundering and lost. I want to go do another trip again. I want to feel that magic again. I think you only feel it when you’re not comfortable. I think the bigger risk you take, the more growth you’re going to have. You can’t learn that in the normal path.
“I don’t think I’ve seen anyone speak with such childlike enthusiasm since I started this blog.”
“That’s what we really are: very pure energy, very childlike. Not the belief systems we’ve been taught and the close-mindedness, but who we really are. We love just having an experience and really feeling it in ourselves what we find that experience to be. Maybe it’s taking photos, maybe it’s going for a walk, or skiing, or having a really good meal or conversation, whatever it is. We are all different, but it’s inside you. You feel that excitement, and that’s who you really are—when you are really excited. Except, it’s hard to follow. We don’t want to disappoint people. We have layers that clutter everything up. Now I’m seeing the contrast. You don’t know you are there until you are no longer there and you see the contrast.
It’s hard when everybody else is in a different mindset. This way of thinking is not very common right now. When you’re traveling, it is. You meet a lot of people in that mindset. But when you come home, there are very few. You may get a rare person who would say, ‘Oh, I’d love to do what you did. That’s cool.’ But that’s rare. Most people are like, ‘Aaargh, I wish she would stop that. Oh my God, is that uncomfortable or what? I hate the way she is talking. It’s like a nail on a chalkboard. It’s awful.’ And I get it. But when you experience something else, you want to tell it from the rooftop. But then you get silenced pretty quickly. You realize that people get incredibly uncomfortable, and you decide to keep it for yourself. That’s where I am at now. I don’t talk about it. It’s hidden.”
“At the same time, do you also find it difficult to have conversations with other people about everyday things?”
“I can’t even do it. And if I do, I always end up going deeper. I would start off with that, and then I would steer the conversation into something deeper. I’ve always been a deeper person. For me, this is a serious lifetime. And there are specific things that are supposed to occur here, and they’re happening. I’m learning. I’m a guinea pig for new concepts. And I think I discovered something new. Now I’m trying to figure out what to do with it. Do I teach it? Do I write about it? Because it is something new that I discovered. A new way to live. From your intuition. Not from your culture, or teachers or parents. It comes from deep within. We don’t know it because we are so clouded by what we should be doing, following some path that our parents put up for us. But if you can move away from that for a few seconds, you realize that there is a guiding force. And if you stray this way, it brings you back and keeps you on track.
Of course, not everything is easy when you’re traveling. A lot of things could have happened to us. We were in vulnerable situations. There were people who maybe weren’t so good. You can feel the energy of it and just know not to go near them. Because when you are on the road, your instincts are really sharp. You have to read people really quickly because there could be danger. You are out of your comfort zone, so you have to be aware of your surroundings. I got really good at reading people.
There are other things you may not have expected. The hardship of living in an RV starts to wear on you after awhile. But it doesn’t matter because you have all these other experiences to balance it out. Traveling is physically demanding, but the experiences are so rich that you just don’t care. You do it and do it until you are too tired. But the richness of the experience never disappoints. It almost constitutes another dimension. I hate to use that word because people think of dimensions when things look different. But for me, it is when things feel different.”
“How long do you think you could have done it before you ran out of money? Do you think you could have adjusted to having less?’
“The financial aspect is something that always sort of lays overhead. There’s always that worry that you might be spending too much. But doors would’ve opened. We actually adjusted to having less. And when we came back, I had to unload all my stuff at a storage and move back to where we live right here in the city. It was overwhelming, all this stuff, because I got used to living with very little—just enough to fit in an RV. So now, even though I have a closet full of clothes, I only wear a few things because I am in the same mindset.
“So what’s the next step?”
“The answers are going to come. I think I’m on a journey, and the ebbs and flows there is growth. This is a period of contrast that’s going to create the next step. It’s going to work its way out.”
“Do you think the opposite might happen, and you might settle down and forget about that other way of living?”
“No, I’m never going to forget about it. It’s going to get integrated somehow into a new form because the motivation is there. I have the motivation to work that puzzle. It might not be getting in the RV and going somewhere but maybe doing it differently. It’s going to take a different form. Because I learned a lot. That was sort of the naïve form, the first time. I know more now than I knew year ago. And you can’t unlearn what you’ve learned. You can’t unknow what you know. And I know that this doesn’t feel right. When I was experiencing all that, I thought, This is what life is! What we were doing before, with the corporate jobs and the money and everything, was not life. This is, what we are doing. That was it. It really was what it’s all about. And all the other stuff is no longer important to me. Experiences, that’s what is important. The greatest experiences are what you’re going to remember when we cross over. Were you fulfilled? Did you have really good connections with other people? That’s what matters.”
Gendercide is happening right now, as we speak. Right now, more young girls chances at living a life are stolen, erased, and jeopardized than you would ever believe. Since 1980, when China implemented the One-Child policy, 37 MILLION girls have been lost, that is more than the number of people killed in ALL of the genocides put together. All of them. This week, @Sevenly is teaming up with All Girls Allowed, a wonderful charity that helps by restoring life, value, and dignity to girls and mothers revealing the injustice to China’s One-Child Policy. They are doing amazing things and every purchase this week of a shirt like mine, or another sweet design, sends $7 immediately their way. We can help and we can speak for those that cannot speak for themselves.
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