This time I would like to spend time connecting with the reader in a real way. I would first like to speak a little bit about myself. I am a very sensitive dude and am also a straight white male. In many ways I am very privelaged and have had advantages that others don’t have, many of which I will never be conscious of at the time. I am also socially awkward and anxious. I have been both bullied and bully. I have been hurt and hurt others. I have loved and hated. In short, I am a human being. However the things I value the most: empathy, connection, friendship, altruism, community, learning, and love are not shared as societal values. What is means to be masculine has forever been something I have scoffed at and hated. It makes sense, because I have never fit into that role and have always resented that I didn’t. It wasn’t like I had any desire to be like the stereotype I hated, but I still resented it. Why couldn’t I find friendships or a girlfriend if I was a nice guy? However, being a nice isn’t that simple. Being a good person isn’t transactional or something that should be used to gain trust of others for personal gain. I felt like I always went above and beyond for my friends and for people I cared about. I avoided conflict and tried to be generous. I still lost friends and still got in conflict. Because in the end, I didn’t trust in the value of being myself and the value of having people who valued me for me. I was being manipulative and passive aggressive because I didn’t trust that anyone could actually care about me. Because I didn’t trust myself. I didn’t like myself. I was my own worst enemy. No matter what, no person could hate me as much as I did. And I am trying to recover. What is amazing about the labor movement or the democratic socialist mindset, is that in encompasses values I really truly believe in. I have struggled my whole life but I do feel like I am learning better how to communicate with other people and be less harsh on myself. I am learning to be confident that the right people will be the ones who stay with me and are friends with me. I cannot avoid conflict and isolation is always so hard. We need community and we need other people. This isn’t a collectivist conspiracy even those who are more conservative value the community that church provides. I wanted to let you know if you are reading this, that you are not alone. You have me and you have others who are like me. You are good the way you are. If you want to improve and grow you should let yourself. But never ever doubt that you are worth something. That simply by being you, you are worth a lot. I dislike capitalism because it makes us into mere numbers without the fire of the human spirit. I am an atheist who believes that love and community are worthy things to worship. Together anything is possible. Rationality includes the strength of moral clarity when done right. Without morality and without emotions where would motivation come from? We need both. If you are a dude don’t be afraid to feel to be vulnerable. Don’t be afraid to show your guy friends vulnerability and to connect emotionally. You don’t have to consider intimacy purely sexual. You can be close friends with a dude and be platonic and it not be weird. I am not just a man, I am a human and I am both vulnerable and strong. In my vulnerability I find strength of character and will. Hate is a fire but it burns out. Love can smolder in the darkness and when light reaches it, nothing can stop it.