The Brutal Reason Why You’re Addicted to Dating Emotionally Unavailable Men

The toxic effect of chasing men who won’t give you what you want

When you crave romantic love, you can’t live without it. But, when you’re addicted to chasing emotionally unavailable men, love becomes intoxicating.

These men can drip feed you with bits of affection, which keeps you hanging on for more, even though they do not want a relationship. You can’t get enough of them, whereby you end up addicted to wanting someone who’s not that into you — a toxic love addiction or unrequited love.

Like a drug addiction, it all feels good at the beginning. Relationships can seem distorted through an altered perspective when you’re hanging out for it.

It all feels good until the intoxicating effects of the relationship start wearing off. After the rush and excitement, it all comes crashing down, until you want more to feel the same high.

You’ve become hooked on the relationship. But, what happens when the other person doesn’t want more? You can’t get enough of them, chasing them, and waiting for the next feel-good moment.

You can look towards men to make yourself feel good when you don’t feel good enough. You can project them to be everything you ever wanted. So, you end up getting hooked into feeling good about yourself, through the lens that you see them.

You can end up on a high from chasing someone who doesn’t want a relationship, due to the intoxicating feeling. The anticipation of seeing them excites you and overrides your sense of reality.

You may feel the urge for more and they don’t want it. Somehow, you get drawn to a person who is emotionally unavailable to you. You’re addicted to the excitement of chasing them. When you pine over them, you want them more, so you can feel good again.

When you are craving romantic love, you might ignore the signs that you are not loved back. Having a love addiction can distort your perspective when you hold onto the hope or the fantasy of obtaining unmet and one-sided love.

As a relationship therapist, I hear the agony of unrequited love from those who feel stuck chasing men who don’t love them.

You must be honest with yourself and face the brutal truth when you are in love with someone who is not that into you. Otherwise, you can become blind-sighted and in denial about the actual relationship.

So, why do you have a love addiction for men who are unobtainable in some way?

It is easy to stay attached because it feels better than accepting the reality that the relationship could be over.

Love is an addiction and it can feel good, even if it’s not good for you.

You do not want to acknowledge the actual truth, because you do not want to be alone, so you’ve created this fantasy that you are loved. You can project your hopes and fantasies onto them, feeling intense passion, that is one-sided. You see them as whatever you want them to be, to fulfill your unmet needs.

You can look to others to feel good about yourself when you feel not good enough. So, you end up getting hooked into feeling good about yourself, through the lens that you see them

You ignore the signs that love is one-sided because you cannot stop yourself from holding on. You can end up chasing them and put effort into a dead-end relationship. They may even tell you the relationship is over, but you do not believe them.

You may even be misguided to think that if you fight for the relationship, you will convince them to love you back. Like an addict, you’ll do whatever it takes to get that high.

Having an addiction to unavailable men means you hold onto those who do not love you because it feels better than getting over them.

It can feel worse to go without — temporally.

The toxic effects of the addiction to pursuing unavailable men diminishes your self-worth and self-esteem, so you feel worse about yourself. This can cause many to put more effort into a dead-end relationship that goes nowhere.

Sometimes, it’s hard to be honest with the situation. Your hopes and dreams can cause you to believe whatever you want, rather than see the truth.

You’ve become addicted to something that is toxic for you and became dependent on a relationship that doesn’t really exist.

You end up attracting men who do not want a relationship while sacrificing your chances of finding real love.

The only way to recover is to withdraw from the relationship and learn how to move on from the toxic love.

The truth is, you’ve become addicted when you get hit with the intoxicating feelings so that you end up wanting more. It can be hard to give up something that feels good but is not good for you.

So you settle for someone to escape the empty void within yourself, of feeling not good enough from unmet love. When you stop looking externally to feel good about yourself, and look within yourself, you can heal the addiction of loving someone who doesn’t love you back.

Nancy Carbone is a relationship therapist. If you notice you’re addicted to chasing emotionally unavailable men, you can schedule an appointment by contacting Nancy on her website at Counselling Service Melbourne or follow her on social media for more tips and advice.

 

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Breakups When You’ve Been Together For 10 Years Or More Affect You Differently — Here’s How

It’s tough to part ways with a partner at any stage of a relationship, even in the early days. But if you go through a breakup after ten years together, it can come with a new set of difficulties. First of all, “a breakup after having been together for around a decade is a substantial change,” Lauren Cook, MMFT, a clinician practicing emotionally-focused therapy, tells us. “Not only is it a loss of a romantic relationship, but a friendship, partnership, and general sense of comfortability.”

By the ten-year mark, you’re way past the honeymoon stage, which Cook says can last for up to two years, and well into the committed, companionship stage. You aren’t just dating anymore, but have truly become a solid part of each other’s lives — with a shared routine and shared goals for the future — making it more difficult to adjust to a new life.

There’s also the fact that the longer you’re in a relationship, the closer and more interconnected you become as partners, Dr. Carla Marie Manly, clinical psychologist, and relationship expert, tells us. “On an emotional level, one key factor is that couples who are together longer are more likely to have experienced significant life events together — whether it be job changes, moving, illnesses, family issues, etc.”

Going through these things together forms bonds that become key elements within your psyches and the relationship itself, Manly says. You don’t just know each other, you really know each other, so the idea of no longer having that connection can be incredibly painful and disorienting.

young sad woman sit beside window with vintage filter effect

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To add to this, there’s all the growing you did as individuals, as well as a couple during this time. You’ve not only gone through a lot together but are entirely different people from who you were when you first met. “Even more so than five years, a decade is a transformative period of time,” Cook says. “Chances are, your life looks considerably different than it did 10 years ago and if you have a partner who has seen you through all of those seasons, it is a tremendous change.”

Maybe you grew up together, and went through a lot of firsts, like new jobs and big moves. Or maybe you helped each other overcome obstacles, in order to learn more about yourselves. While all of that is still true, and it still happened, it can be tough to look back on the time spent together. In many ways, when a breakup occurs, it might even feel like you’re losing all your memories, Manly says, and all that history.

Young interracial couple in the couch stressed with financial problems doing calculations with paper work

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To untangle your lives at this point can also be tough logistically. “Often, your finances have become merged, you may have shared a living situation, and your other relationships with friends and family are intermingled even more so than in a shorter-term relationship,” Cook says. “Rewiring all of this takes time and processing.” It may be a while before you settle into a groove again, or figure out how to move through life without each other.

Of course, it’s always possible to amicably part ways and feels ready to move on, no matter how long you’ve been together. But many times, “recovering from a breakup of a long-term relationship can take quite a lot of time, particularly if the breakup was sudden,” Manly says. “If one or both partners are resistant to the breakup or shocked by a toxic issue (e.g., infidelity), the adjustment and healing time may be significant.”

Whatever the case may be, if your relationship is ending after ten years, it’s possible to make it easier on yourself, usually by quite literally taking it easy. “Part of the recovery process includes adjusting to a new normal, which means knowing that things will not feel normal for quite some time,” Cook says. “The important thing is to engage in self-care strategies, including spending time with family and friends, picking up a hobby, and getting enough sleep, exercise, and proper nutrition.”

It may even help to chat with a therapist, as they can be “incredibly helpful in addressing underlying issues such as anger, sadness, and grief,” Manly says. You can also talk with friends and mentors about your emotions and progress, she says, and any sense of “stuckness” you may be feeling.

Breaking up after only a few years together can be extremely difficult, but make it to that ten-year mark and you may find that it’s even trickier to part ways, and find your footing again. Since the process will likely be different, be sure to take your time, talk about it, process your feelings, and you will eventually be able to adjust.

 

The Absolute Dater – Making Online Dating Easy Again

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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How to Make a Girl Want You and Think Of You Sexually

Are you attracted to a girl but don’t know how to get her interested in you? Use these 10 ways on how to make a girl want you sexually to do just that.

Here’s a piece sent to me by one of my readers. It seems interesting and worth running on the blog today. You can always learn something new.

Thanks, Blane!

Girls may get drawn to a guy for his personality.

But even if you’re a guy with a great personality, it’s easy to end up becoming just a friend instead of a lover. If you want to make a girl fall in love with you, read these.

But if you want to make a girl want you and desire you sexually, read on.

Girls love great guys who are a lot of fun to be with. But then, there are a lot of great guys all around. And when you’re attracted to a girl who is drop-dead gorgeous and can get the attention of any guy she wants, it’s not easy to make her desire you sexually.

But there are ways, really easy ways.

Most guys are too afraid to make a move on a girl who’s very good-looking because they’re afraid to get spurned.

Don’t be one of those guys.

But when you’re trying to impress a girl you know, don’t make it obvious that you like her too soon either. If she doesn’t like you yet, she may end up distancing herself from you to avoid any awkward moments.

Instead, behave like a friend.

10 steps to making a girl want you

If you find yourself getting really attracted to a friend who’s getting a lot of attention already, you can definitely make her desire you and want you. All you need to do is play it safe and slow by using these steps to turn her on and make her want you.

#1 Be a good friend. Sometimes, behaving like a friend can be the easiest way to a girl’s heart. But there’s a very thin line between being a friend that she’s attracted to and being a friend she considers a brother.

If you want her to want you, be a good friend who’s there for her, but don’t always be there for her. Speak to her when she’s around, but make sure she sees you flirting with other girls now and then too. Don’t be the friend who’s going to give a shoulder to lean on. Instead, be the friend who talks about current events and fun things.

She’s got to love your company to start with, but she should never feel like you’re an indispensable friend. If you go wrong here, you may just end up getting into her friend zone and lose all hope of sleeping with her.

#2 Flirt with her. Try to spend time with her when she’s alone. If her other friends are with her, you can avoid her or just wave a hello and move on after a quick chat. The more you hang out with her as just a friend, the lesser the chances of you ever making her desire you.

Spend time with her only when she’s all by herself. That’ll give you enough time to date talk to her and discreetly flirt with her. Flirt with her, make her feel warm and awkwardly nice while hanging out with you. And treat her just like you would treat your girlfriend, but don’t ever call her your girlfriend though.

#3 Don’t be possessive. You may like her a lot and hate all the other guys that flirt with her. But you know what, you don’t own her. And she’s not your girlfriend. So never behave possessively or prevent her from meeting or talking to other guys. You’ll end up losing her because you’ll become a creepy guy.

Instead, have your own life, but give her your time when you bump into her or have some alone time together. Don’t be stuck at her hip. She’ll never fall for you and you’ll end up becoming her doormat.

#4 Be her secret life. As I said earlier, spend a lot of time with her and flirt with her, but do that only when she’s by herself. Create a secret relationship that no one knows about other than the both of you. By doing this, you’ll make the relationship more exciting and thrilling. Become a part of her life, text her often at night when you know she’s alone, talk about personal issues, and indulge in everything a couple would do. But keep the relationship a secret.

#5 Make her miss you. Now, this is tricky but also a lot of fun. Once both of you are closer and like spending time with each other, call her every night for a week or so. And then, don’t call her one day. If she meets you or texts you the next day asking why you didn’t call, she obviously missed you and wanted to speak with you!

Flirt with her and charmingly ask her if she missed you because you didn’t call. Use different ways to make her miss your company and constantly create scenarios where you force her to realize that she actually likes you and misses you when you aren’t around.

#6 Confession time. Confessions are the best way to open a girl up. Of course, she won’t start confessing about her sexual escapades to you just yet. You need to warm her up to it. During one of your late-night calls, tell her that you bumped into one of your exes who was a horny wild cat.

The girl you like will obviously be curious and would want to know more about your ex. Use this excuse to go into the details of your sex life. Be patient and start funny, and get more descriptive and add explicit horny details as the conversation goes on. If you play this game carefully, speak softly and make sure you describe the events like an erotic story, she can’t help but visualize you naked. And chances are, she’ll also be wet down there just listening to you!

#7 Talk sex. If you’ve pulled off your sexual confession without a hitch and she liked what you had to say, she’s definitely turned on now. Ask her about a horny experience from her past. She may hesitate at first, but pester her just a bit. If she’s horny, she definitely wouldn’t mind getting into details. And as she tells her stories, gasp and talk like you’re imagining the whole thing. It’d be a huge turn-on for both of you.

#8 Get her to talk dirty with you. You may wonder if all these steps are even possible, but you won’t believe how easy it is to get a girl talking dirty in a nighttime conversation until you’ve tried it. Trust me, it’s really easy, as long as you’ve warmed her up with your horny stories. Now that you’ve got her confessing all her dirty deeds to you, it’s time you get yourself into the picture.

Compliment her for being such a naughty girlfriend, and discreetly tell her how awesome it would have been if you were her boyfriend. Saying that will definitely spark a fire of lust because she’ll know exactly where you’re going with the conversation. Speak softly, don’t get overexcited, and don’t stop with the dirty questions.

#9 Have phone sex. If you’ve used the list of dirty questions while talking to her, chances are, both of you are already really horny. Now start creating imaginary situations to turn her on even more. Tell her something like “I wish I was there right now, there’s so much I would want to do…” And when she whispers back softly and asks you what you’d do, you’ve hit jackpot.

Describe what you’d do to her in detail, starting off from kissing her neck to taking her top off to whatever else you have in mind. Avoid talking about kissing her on the lips straight away though, it’s too personal and straightforward for a few girls. And before you know it, both of you would be talking dirty and having phone sex with each other!

#10 Ask her out. Well, so now you’ve made her want you and crave for you sexually. But what’s next? You just had phone sex with her. You’re on a high, but don’t end it right there. Ask her if she’d like to meet you, or go out on a date with you the next day. She’d be too horny to resist.

And when both of you meet up on a date, it’ll probably end with both of you having sex or falling in passionate love. Either way, you’ve got the girl of your dreams wanting you and craving for you sexually. Could you ask for anything more?

If you want to know how to make a girl want you and think of you sexually, use these 10 steps I’ve mentioned. If you play it calmly and safely, you could be in bed with the girl of your fantasies in a couple of weeks!

 

The Absolute Dater – Making Online Dating Easy Again

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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7 Grounding Techniques To Calm Anxiety When You’re This Close To Losing It

Because it happens to all of us. I’ve suffered from anxiety and depression most of my life. But as I’ve gotten older I learned to rewire my brain and spank those demons and make them pay.

And you can too.

No one is immune to feeling anxious at least on occasion. And no matter who or what it is that sparks your pending eruption, knowing how to calm down the anxiety and anger you feeling when you’re seriously this close to losing it can save you and those around you a lot of collateral damage.

Life happens, and a simple chain of events can slowly stoke a fire within you. Then all it takes is one “he said/she said” or “they did/they didn’t” to push you across the threshold into this close-to-losing-it territory.

Once you’ve learned some effective grounding techniques and coping skills for calming anxiety, calling upon them can be far more empowering than impulsively unleashing your fury ever will be.

Here are seven tips on how to calm down when you’re feeling anxious using simple grounding techniques and positive coping skills.

1. Excuse yourself, gracefully

Leave the room, the situation, the area, or park the car, but get yourself to a safe place. That can even mean staying right where you are until the heat of it subsides.

It may be a big test of your inner strength not to storm out of a situation while huffing, puffing, slamming chairs and doors, but do it with grace anyway.

Depending on the circumstance, leaving may not be possible or ideal. Take a deep breath before asking for a time out (or simply informing them that you are taking one), and be sure to do so in a calm and controlled way — even if you have to fake it.

Graceful exits may also mean hitting pause by drinking a glass of water and feeling it dampen your fire. If no water is handy, you can imagine it.

Leaving in a civilized way, either literally or virtually through a pause, versus going into full throttle bulldozer mode can be the step that helps quell your eruption from spewing.

2. Put pen to paper

Intense anxiety or anger can be vanquished by saying what you feel you have to say on paper rather than directly to the object of your frustration.

Kick it old school by handwriting everything that is on your mind so you can vent about this current situation.

The benefits of handwriting as opposed to typing it into a text message or email are twofold:

  • You can’t accidentally click send and unleash your unfiltered thoughts, feeling, and words into someone’s inbox
  • When you finish venting, you can shred the pages with your bare hands (another bonus), leaving no digital trace that may inadvertently be found later

Handwriting has been proven more cathartic than typing, and as well as to help improve critical thinking and problem-solving skills. And being this close to losing it needs solving.

And as explained by Eric Grunwald of MIT’s Global Studies and Languages Department, “Freewriting, a writing strategy developed by Peter Elbow in 1973, is similar to brainstorming but is written in sentence and paragraph form without stopping. Thus, it [increases[ the flow of ideas and reduces the chance that you’ll accidentally censor a good idea,” which can add another level of efficacy in reducing your angst.

3. Visualize the old heave-ho

Fantasizing about flipping the desk over, clearing the table in one swipe, or playing Frisbee with your laptop. It feels good and satisfying, doesn’t it?!

Visualization, also known as imagery, has been a tool employed by Olympians and other elite athletes for decades, and there is much evidence backing its efficacy for putting desired outcomes into motion without ever leaving the room.

How far can you imagine your laptop will actually fly? How well does it bounce?

Keeping your action-packed fantasy in your head allows you to see the action, feel your muscles contracting, hear the thud of your desk, taste and smell the scene in excruciating detail, without leaving an unpleasant mess to clean up afterward.

When you are this close to losing it, you are so wrapped up in the instant gratification of the moment that you don’t see the final scene — the one where you have to pick up the pieces and clean up the debris, all while shrouded in regret, remorse, guilt, and shame for literally following through with your actions.

4. Get tactile

When you are in overdrive and your foot is fully depressed on the accelerator on the thisclose freeway, take the off-ramp by redirecting some resources from that feeling and shifting them to a tactile action like counting your toes.

With the bulk of your attention invested in your current state, very little of you is connected to the physical.

Whether you are standing or sitting, wiggle your toes and notice how many you can feel. Press each individual toe into your shoe and count them, one toe and one foot at a time. Repeat and repeat again.

By counting your toes, you begin to re-ground yourself. You can go further by scanning your body and noticing how your shoe feels or how the fabrics you are wearing feel against your body or what the chair you are sitting in feels like.

This is especially effective when you are in a situation you cannot dismiss yourself from. Tuning into your body helps to calm the mind, and therefore, your emotions.

5. Catch your breath

When in a high emotional state, your breathing becomes rapid and shallow, which in turn moves you closer to losing it because it’s like fanning the flames of a fire to burn bigger.

Box breathing or four-square breathing is a grounding technique used by Navy SEALs you can put into action no matter where you are and is a highly effective way to get back into control of yourself when things are reeling out of control.

  • Inhale slowly to the count of five
  • Hold for a count of five
  • Exhale slowly to the count of five
  • Hold for a count of five
  • Repeat

As Healthline reports: “According to the Mayo Clinic, there’s sufficient evidence that intentional deep breathing can actually calm and regulate the autonomic nervous system (ANS). This system regulates involuntary body functions such as temperature. It can lower blood pressure and provide an almost immediate sense of calm.”

Deep breathing also delivers more oxygen to the muscles you are clenching as they begin to release with each cycle you repeat, essentially disarming the cortisol accumulation simultaneously.

6. Get physical

Dropping down and doing ten push-ups to burn off your anxious or angry energy may not be appropriate at the time, but taking yourself out for a brisk walk can help.

Being in nature helps calm the sympathetic nervous system (your “fight, flight or freeze” response), and putting your pent-up energy into your pace can help to return you to calm.

Even when you can’t get outside to commune with nature, you can use the power of your mind to take you wherever you decompress best.

Maybe your happy place is a white sandy beach where the ocean waves wash all your stresses away. Or perhaps it’s riding down the open highway on your motorcycle, sitting under a tree, or climbing a mountain.

Creating or recalling an image that brings life back into perspective is only a thought away.

7. Grab onto gratitude

Chances are, in a moment when you are trying to figure out how to calm down, you are as far away from feeling grateful as you can get.

However, you always have the power of choice, and flexing your gratitude muscle may effectively diffuse the situation.

Bring to mind someone who you are wholly grateful for, or think of ten things you are grateful for in your life. Feel that gratitude infuse your body and mind.

We cannot feel fully grateful or fully enraged at the same time, so go with the positive feelings gratitude evokes.

Most importantly, you can think about how grateful you will feel for not losing it when you don’t, as well as how proud you are of yourself for keeping it together in this volatile moment in time. Remind yourself that feeling this close to losing it is temporary, and gratitude is the long game.

Keeping a gratitude journal and choosing to be intentionally grateful for the people and things that add value to your life helps sustain you in times like this.

Gratitude acts as an antidote to stress. The benefits of giving thanks in our life are endless, especially helping us to build our resilience overall.

Be aware that not any one of these tips is guaranteed to work for you every single time you need to calm yourself down.

You need to find your combination of tools to get you on the other side of losing it, and all are most effective when sampled and practiced before you need them.

Regardless of how few or how many you need to use these techniques and skills, it’s worth the effort, in the end, to find what works best for you.

The Absolute Dater – Making Online Dating Easy Again

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Home Economics and Shop Class

Philadelphia, PA – 1975

If life wasn’t bad enough for me at Fels Junior High, I felt that it was about to get worse. Puberty had erupted all over my body. I was a lousy student, had bad skin, hair, glasses, braces, clothes, etc. I should have just walked around with a target on me so that the bullies, teachers, and parents could always have a clear shot at me. I felt like such a loser.

But it wasn’t all bad. I still had my comic books, my friends, my art ability, and my music. Like everybody else, I’d just have to make the best of it.

But one of the interesting things that happened at Fels was that they finally broke a 20-year tradition at the school. For the first time in two decades, they decided to change things up when it came to certain gender-specific classes they offered at the school.

In 1975 they decided that instead of only boys taking wood and metal shop, now girls would be offered those courses as well. But, that meant boys would have to take cooking and sewing classes.

At first, the boys were outraged that they would be forced to do “girl stuff”. But once we got into it, somehow it wasn’t all that bad.

Former Fels HS building to be demolished - Northeast Times

But before I begin, let me just get a few things out of the way. I’ll tell you what I remember about a couple of the teachers at this school.

Mrs. Lipschutz was my homeroom teacher. When you pronounce her name it sounds like something else. Legend has it that one time she was reprimanding some kid for talking in class and his response was, “If your lip shits, my ass talks!” It’s a juvenile but clever play on words even for a 12-year-old kid.

There was another teacher there who taught algebra named Mr. Dordick. Can you imagine having that as a name working in a junior high school?

There was also a geography teacher there named Mr. Kubell up in room 318. The class was boring to me because all we learned about was Europe. I would always turn to the back of my textbook and read about Australia because it seemed way cooler than anything we were currently learning in class. There was also a story about how Mr. Kubell had been in the military and suffered from shell shock, but I don’t know if there is any validity to that tale.

I had a reading teacher named Miss Ruscoff that I really liked. I was always an avid reader and did well in her class. She actually got married and her new name was Mrs. Dembitzer. My favorite thing about that class was when she brought out an old reel to reel tape player. Every Friday we would listen to old radio shows from the ’40s and 50s. Shows like Suspense and X Minus 1. This was an art form that was before my time. I grew up in a world with television. But I LOVED listening to these old radio shows. They were all based on short stories and acted out in studios and played on the radio back in the day.  What I loved about this medium was that you had to use your imagination. Something I had a surplus of in my brain. On TV and movies, it’s all set up for you. But on the radio, you have to picture the scene using only the actor’s voices and the use of sound effects. To this day, I still tune into Radio Classics on Sirius XM satellite radio and listen to these types of old shows. They still hold up to this day and make you use your mind in a different way than you do to consume the entertainment we’re inundated with now.

Another teacher that was beloved at that school was a gentleman named Mr. DiDonato. I think my sister had him as a teacher but I never did. I just remember him being a really nice guy that had the only class that taught something groundbreaking in school. Computers!

I had a couple of good science teachers as well. Sadly I don’t remember their names, but I remember their words. Science class was always one of my favorites.

Anyway, back to the vocational switch.

The first class the boys in my grade were placed into was a sewing course. At first, it was odd to be in a class like that, and I think a bit unsettling to the teachers. But, once we got going on the fundamentals of sewing it was a really cool class. I think the guys would agree with me on this one. I remember the teacher passed out sheets of lined paper to everyone in the class. We all sat at our sewing machines and learned how to operate the motor and see if we could sew in a straight line along the lines on the paper. A solid exercise before touching any fabric.

She also taught us all of the parts of the sewing machine. Remember how you could lean your thigh against that little metal arm that came down and the motor would accelerate so you could sew like lightning? It was kind of cool.

What I liked best about that class was that you were learning something new and working with your hands. Not just sitting in a boring class listening to some old person talk and reading words in a book. Then being tested on the stuff you read. It was really all about memory and never generating any new ideas. Just boring to me.

But in sewing class, you worked through a project that had a beginning, middle, and an end. We all made shirts! I remember you measured and designed the shirt, then cut it into pieces. The final bit was to sew it all together and then turn it inside out so that all of the seams were on the inside. Boom! You just made yourself a shirt. I loved that!

I even enjoyed cooking class. It wasn’t as fun as sewing class but we made some cool things. Mostly baked goods, but it gave us some great fundamentals for life.

I kind of wish junior high had been more like this. Not every kid is suited to sitting in class after class of boring textbook memory stuff. What if it had been half and half? What if every kid was assessed to what their abilities were? If a kid wasn’t good with the schoolwork stuff, give him more classes where he can use his hands. Teach them the basics. Math, science, reading, and history, but lean their curriculum a bit more towards making things. I think the kids would have been happier and there would be less dissent in the classrooms in junior high. It’s a tumultuous time in every child’s life.

I realize now that most kids that were bullies to me were probably getting the crap kicked out of them by older siblings and their parents at home. Maybe if these children could be given the opportunity to have courses that were more suited to their needs they’d act out less. Give them support and activities where they could work out their negative energy and turn it into making something good. Something they could be proud of. Maybe a little hope that things could change for them. But I could be wrong.

Another class I had was ceramics. Everybody’s first project was a pinch pot. Just an exercise to get our hands accustomed to working with pottery. I had already had years of experience working with clay, so I immediately adapted to the task at hand. My second project was a cool ashtray that I ended up using for years until it finally broke.

I heard funny stories from kids in metal shop that worked on their assignments but also made shurikens. (Asian throwing stars) Which I thought was so cool. I loved the TV show, Kung Fu and would have loved to have made one of those things. What boy wouldn’t? I never had metal shop, but it seemed like another awesome class. It’s probably for the best because with my luck I would have ended up putting some kid’s eye out. I was in enough trouble on a regular basis without any lethal weapons on hand.

Shurikens - Silver | The Specialists LTD

I finally did end up in woodshop and I really enjoyed working on my projects. It was cool to work with such powerful equipment far beyond anything we had in our toolboxes in our basements. I really learned a lot in that class, and I think my peers would agree with me.

I actually still have the little creation I made in that class 45 years ago. It’s been nearly half a century, and it still looks just as it did so many years ago.

A few pieces of wood glued together and then sanded and planed into a  shark. Something I could be proud of that came from a time of such pain. The finished work, something elegant that had been carved by sharp, dangerous objects. It mirrored my own existence in junior high. 

So, even though I had a tough time in junior high, I’m glad I went through it. As painful and awkward as it could be at times, we all experienced it together. For better or worse, it’s all part of our collective history now.

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