the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Becoming an Adult

I never rebelled against my parents, and that’s unhealthy. They were always there for me. I’m still a child in many ways. (sorry, Mom — not your fault) Now THAT’S unhealthy. It is frustrating to me. It is frustrating to Sophia. I need to be more of an adult.

This is what I talked about with Esther, my therapist, during therapy session #8. This was an important session. If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you know that I’m always talking masculinity and “male-ness,” as if this was an issue in my life because I didn’t watch football. Now, I’m thinking I was looking in the wrong place. Who the f**k cares? The question for me isn’t, “What should a MAN be like?” It should be, “What should an ADULT be like?”

During the session (still only 50 minutes!), I found myself feeling very emotional, partly out of shame and partly out of relief. I would have never verbalized these ideas on my own. My self-image is quite different. I’ve always thought of myself as too adult, even as a child — but I think I’ve been fooling myself. I think I was just afraid of doing things and testing myself, and interpreted this as “mature” and “adult.”

These are a couple of ways I can improve my adult mindset —

1) Keep to commitments.

2) Stop feeling the urge to please everyone.

3) Learn to accept adult reality.

These are not just issues for men, but men and women. These are difficult challenges, so I’m going to take baby steps by starting the process first in my blogging life.

1) Keep to commitments.

I have a commitment as a blogger. I enjoy blogging. It is creative. Part of this commitment is participating and reading your blogs. Lately, I’ve been distracted by dumb online applications like Facebook, just because “everyone else is doing it.” There are only so many hours in a day. Wouldn’t you rather I read your blog than play scrabble or snog you with some second rate add-on?

I’m dumping Facebook by the end of the week.

2) Stop feeling the urge to please everyone.

I’ve always hated blogrolls that only list the same ten Dooce-level bloggers. These are the same people who needed to have a designer’s name on the back of their jeans in high school. I love the fact that I add a new blogger to my “blog crushes” every single day. Unfortunately, the list is approaching 300 names. I can’t keep up with everyone. Why try? Why feel guilty? An adult doesn’t need to please everyone all the time.

This week, I’m deleting EVERYONE from the list, and starting from scratch. Look at the positive side — this will give you a another chance to be my blog crush! If I didn’t put you on, don’t take it personally. Emailing me and kissing up always helps.

3) Learn to accept adult reality.

I’m going to be honest. I think I am cooler than most of you. Why? Because I don’t have advertising on my blog. That’s right. Suck it up. This might seem like a dumb blog to you, but I still view myself like a sophomore in college wearing all black who deems himself an “artist” and will never sell his art to the highest bidder. Of course, this attitude is disastrous in real life. Why do I still idolize someone like Van Gogh, living in a seedy rat-infested flat, slowing going insane, and cutting off my ear? Of course, Sophia will laugh because I am afraid of ants, but this a romantic image — not reality. It is a childish image. Immature. It’s OK to have my Penis talk on my blog, but I cringe at the thought of him hawking Starbucks new “Holiday Latte.”

I’ve refused some jobs because of this attitude. Now can you see another reason Sophia wants to kick me out?

Several of you have tried to hook me up with blogads and blogher, but I always seem to “forget” to do it. Sophia wonders what’s so wrong with making two hundred or so bucks by selling ads. Only a child (or someone very rich) says no to money!

This is not one of those “Woe is me. I’m going to add advertising” posts. I should so it — not only for the money, but because it is the adult thing to do.

P.S. — I’m going to need a “Therapy” category soon, won’t I?


  1. Jill - GlossyVeneer

    I identify with a lot of this! I have never rebelled and still feel a need to please my parents, even though I’m married and live in a different state. In fact I am always trying to make everybody happy, often at the expense of my own health and happiness. I am trying to learn that “I can say NO! and not feel guilty.”

  2. OMSH

    I love the adult Neil.
    Please don’t get rid of your talking penis though – pretty please … he really does have a dominant, sexy side.

    Therapy is good.
    Chocolate is better.
    Margaritas are the best.

  3. sizzle

    you know what? i’m gonna cancel my facebook account too. i’m joining you!

    also, this book i read recently called “anxious to please” was really helpful for me in getting over some of my people pleasing crap. you might like it?


  4. melanie

    “talking masculity and “male-ness,””

    masculity sounds like a disease, not a gender definition.

    I like your list. I am working on being an adult too. People put ads on their blogs? unheard of. I don’t have anything I want to sell….

  5. psychomom

    I canned the blogads because (nobody reads my blog and) I hate to advertise for others, I actually cut off or remove the designer tags on my jean.

    As for being an adult, I have kids and they are more mature than I am. Some of us are just kids at heart.

    I don’t wanna grow up and you can’t make me.

  6. Chantel

    Neil, I like this new side of you – I can’t beleive you haven’t added advertising yet.


  7. LVGurl

    BlogHer revenue could be worse… I can buy an entire cupcake with my earnings 😉

    I will miss being part of your blogroll, but I hope I can write something clever enough to gain your esteem again! But cleaning the blog house is a good thing…

    I’m glad to hear that therapy is really working well for you.

  8. communicatrix

    1. Boundaries are your friends

    Saying “no” to what you don’t love lets you say “yes” to what you do. Yes, you will lose some “friends” and people will think you’re weird and blah blah blah.

    Eff ’em. You commit to what you want to commit to.

    2. See #1.

    3. Uh…what is this “adult reality” you speak of? Capitalism? That’s working out really well these days, innit?

    If you want to have ads, have ads. If not, don’t.

    But do not kid yourself that there’s a “right” way to do it, unless by “right”, you mean Republican in the economic sense. God love Sophia–I know I do–but there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

    If you’re, you know, into skinned cats.

    (You know, I initially picked this moniker because of its allusions to empowered femininity and talking good, but now I’m wondering if I’m secretly just a big ol’ Marxist…)

  9. Neil

    Communicatrix — Aw, come on, I thought you were coming around to wanting a lot of money again. I bet you were really good at writing advertising copy, weren’t you?

  10. 180/360

    But what about our Facebook baby? Who will look after him?! 🙂 I need to drop practically all of these applications I’ve picked up. They just drain me!

    I think deleting your massive blogroll will be cathartic. Like I told you, I’m not big on ads, but to each his own.

  11. Hilly

    I love this post! Lately, I’ve been trying to figure out what is important to be rather than what is important to be perceived as. I was just thinking about Facebook, Twitter and all of those other things that tend to annoy me more than not. Seriously, what is this new f*ck me application? Geez.

    Anyway, I don’t do ads on my blog either and am friends with obscurity…so like, can I wear all back and sit at your table?

  12. better safe than sorry

    it sucks being an adult. did you see 60 minutes last sunday, the new “adult age” is now 26??? out of the three items you’ve listed, i think #1 (for me) is the most important. as for #2, it actually makes me feel better trying to do things to please others, i don’t think i’d even change that one for myself. i don’t have facebook but have thought about getting it, not so much for me, but as a way to keep an eye on what my kids are up to.

  13. Bec

    Starting again is refreshing. I cleared out quite a few from the roll when I moved, and it felt good… Facebook has been a problem for me but I only go on there once a day now… Now I have replaced it with Twitter…

    I made a decision a long time ago that the only ads on ‘Tree will be charity or cause based… unless the company sends me a suitcase of cash first!

  14. Dave2

    I went through the same trauma with my blogroll. Eventually I solved the dilemma by having only those bloggers I’ve met in person on the front page… then putting everybody else on a dedicated blogroll page. Of course, now that I’ve met 50 bloggers (and counting!) my solution requires a solution… but it’s tough going when you don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings.

  15. Neil

    And don’t believe that Facebook is really for you… it is more about advertising than any blog could ever be…

    From Businessweek

    Oh, and Finn, don’t worry about me leaving Facebook… I will still “poke” you every once in a while via email.

  16. JC Carvill

    You can advertise on Facebook?? Wow…It takes an adult to admit all these things. If you need to drop Facebook then that is what you need to do. Thanks for sharing this!

  17. Dagny

    Being adult is overrated. Probably why I still wear lots of black still to this day.

  18. Not Fainthearted

    Soooo, it’s wrong that because you had a little mini rant against advertising on blogs I felt (for just a second. OK. A few minutes.) that I should go cancel the new ads on my blog…because Neil thought I was a sell-out.

    OMG. Where did I put MY therapists number?????

  19. scarlet hip

    I’m wildly impressed. No, seriously. I am.

  20. Los Angelista

    I’ve never been to therapy but this post has convinced I should go. I’m such a people pleaser.

    I will say though that I’m rather fond of Facebook since it helped me reconnect with a few folks I actually like. I do hate all the vampire/werewolf applications. I wish I’d stop getting invites for those.

  21. teahouseblossom

    Well, it sounds like therapy is really doing its job, making you introspective and stuff. At any rate, if you do delete your whole blogroll, I hope I make the cut!

  22. kris

    Cripes. And I only now discovered Facebook. Oh, the poking!

    I have felt many of the same things, N. Particularly with regard to not devoting time to reading the blogs of others. I feel sometimes like I’m going through the motions, doing what I should rather than enjoying the process. That sounded pretty adult, didn’t it? Trying.

  23. wendy

    I tagged is that for some jewish..or in my case catholic guilt….

  24. Miss Syl

    The question for me isn’t, “What should a MAN be like?” It should be, “What should an ADULT be like?”

    Personally, I’m highly suspicious of any question or statement containing the word “should.” Are you over 21? Then you’re an adult, legally. Everything else is a personal choice.

    Whose definition of “adult” are you going by? Why do you need a definition of “adult,” anyway?

    Only a child says no to money!


    I see no problem with anyone making money if they want to, but actually, I think it works exactly the opposite way from what you’ve said.

    *Children* rarely say no to money, because it’s generally a gift and not condition-bound. Whereas for adults, money exchanges can involve many conditions and consequences. Therefore adults may have many reasons why they don’t choose to accept/earn money from certain others.

  25. Bre

    I’m thinking I need a therapist…

  26. Biscotti

    I love that you are applying what you learn in therapy to your blog life. Definitely crush-worthy!

  27. gorillabuns

    i don’t want to be a grown up. i want to whine for chocolate milk everyday while someone else does my laundry. i so wish i appreciated the fact that my mother did everything for me – through graduate school.

    since i have lame blogher ads on my site and talk about peeing constantly, i somehow don’t think i’m going to make it back on your list.

  28. Paul

    Good on you.
    Sounds like you very latest session was very very similar to the last one I ever needed. Except I was told its ok to have an inner child …. just dont let it have control.

  29. pocketCT

    Adults can say no to money-they have a myriad of ways to get it.

    A crush every day seems so hard to maintain not to mention rigidly scheduled. How about a blog crush of the whenever?

    I haven’t published a blogroll. It seemed too daunting. I had the excuse of using google reader and having them have a “share” instead. Now I read they made a blogroll utility. It is oddly too public to share who you are reading. Or who you aren’t reading, or aren’t reading anymore.

  30. Jessica

    Neil, you are adorable….

    I couldn’t agree more re: Facebook.

  31. Meredith

    I am a lowly soul with a pitiful blog. I don’t post every day and I have very few readers, but I don’t even care. The world is being overrun with those corporate types and something as pure and wholesome (dirty and nasty?) as a blog like yours shouldn’t be tarnished by the likes of corporate advertising. Being adult doesn’t require making more money for The Man. Ads are icky.

    Yours in childish behavior,

  32. churlita

    It sounds like you are becoming more self-aware, but I agree with whomever said to be careful of the word “should”. It’s dangerous. You should do whatever you’re comfortable with. Apparently, I’m quite comfortable ending sentences with prepositions.

  33. laura

    I remember when i was your blog crush of the day. i hope i can be again soon. 😀

  34. fringes

    No more blogrolls ever.

  35. Neil

    Churlita — Yes thank you. We all need to be careful of shoulds. This is major problem for me. I should say should less.

    Fringes — Why so against blogrolls? Why do you think we all have them?

    Meredith — I read your post against advertising . I think the same… but really — WHY? What’s the big deal? When you write your book, don’t you want to sell it? In my case, this is not just about advertising. It is an example of a neurotic attitude I have… something anti-money and success, which is not very healthy. I’d rather be on the sidelines making fun of YOU than doing the adult thing and getting dirty myself. Bloggers like Dooce have tons of advertising. Does anyone think worse of her? Of course not. People think MORE, as if making money off of your blog is a sign to others that you are good and worthy. People love success. She supports her family! Let’s do an experiment. I bet you that when I put up advertising, I will actually get MORE readers. Look how BlogHer puts links to each other’s blogs — making it into a huge clique.

    But I applaud you for blogging to improve your writing. I wish I was as noble.

    Which is the more adult attitude? Blogging to flirt with hot women and hopefully get some topless photos via email (so far, just one!) or making money off of the blog (even if it is a hundred bucks)? Or can it be BOTH?

  36. By Jane

    You mean those ads are supposed to pay us money? I thought they were just pretty pictures.

  37. Caron

    Keri Smith over at The Wish Jar has some interesting points about some of the issues you’ve been exploring lately.

    And, yes, some of us do think poorly of Dooce. I think she is a pretentious wanna be. I go check her out when you wax rhapsodic about her, but I just don’t get it.

  38. Neil

    Ugh, I didn’t mean to get into the Dooce argument again. I’m not even really talking about blogging. It’s just easier to talk about blogging than the real world.

  39. kellypea

    You are quite the breath of fresh air. Funny, too. And here’s my two cents on your thinking today seeing through my blogging eyeballs:
    You can do what you want with your blog because it’s your blog.
    Others will always try to persuade you to do what they like to do.
    You don’t have to do it.
    Being an adult is highly overrated.
    And my blogroll is so I can click on people I might forget because they don’t “hang out” in the same places I do.
    Facebook I did facebook for two minutes and then ditched it.
    Advertising on a blog gets to be wall paper after a while. You won’t notice it and neither will anyone else.

  40. Jay

    You’re giving me therapy-envy. I vaguely remember what it was like to have real adult clients – these days I am among the homeless population, and believe me, the things on your list? They don’t even exist for these people.

  41. Caron

    Didn’t really want to give you an “ugh” moment. I guess I find your writing voice authentic, and I don’t get that from she who shall not be named. That’s more what I meant to say.

  42. Neil

    Caron —

    Thank you. The professional, adult response to your comment is to say thank you. My “authentic writing voice” is carefully crafted after years of experience, and I’m glad you appreciate it. I started my blog for people like you, to share a little bit of my experiences and wisdom in order that I might help you in your own endeavors. Godspeed!

    The child’s response — Ha Ha. I have no idea what the f**k I am doing!

  43. Erika

    Oh I’m so so sorry. That becoming an adult thing so does suck. Good luck with it though.

  44. sandra

    Well, good for you! At the very least, you’re sticking to your commitment to figuring things out — the rest will come.

  45. Meredith

    Neil, honey, I made a post just for you. Don’t be mad. I had the best of intentions. See it at
    Kiss kiss!

  46. SJ

    I found Facebook only slightly less annoying than MySpace. Dumped them both months ago. Twitter, I still don’t get the appeal unless you use it to keep tabs on a distant loved one. Clearly, this means I am cooler than you, if that’s possible.

    P.S. I was your Blog Crush of the Day once, but never got put on the list, so I won’t be missing anything.

  47. Neil

    SJ — My bad!

    Meredith — Thanks for fighting back. I commented on your blog.

  48. Kyra

    I admit that just recently (in the past few months) I added the ads to my blog. Frankly, I need the piddly amount of money just to offset gas prices so I can keep attending college and being abused by the professors for no good reason. 😉

    Don’t grow up too much, it isn’t worth it and the world has less color. Responsibility is necessary, but so is skipping through the daisies.

  49. V-Grrrl

    Facebook is for babies.

    And you don’t need to please everyone, you ONLY need to please me and Esther.

  50. SJ

    Neil, honey, sweetiepie, I’m thrilled to be added, honestly. But the name of my blog is PSEUDOtherapy, not PSYCHOtherapy. I can’t afford the real thing.

  51. Jennifer

    What’s facebook?

    (Ha! I kid. Although I wish I was cool enough NOT to know.)

  52. mrsmogul

    It’s been a month and I think Facebook generally sucks. I try to get joy out of it but no it doesn’t. I only started with the ads because it’s the only income I have! (that and the babycenter gig) Yes you don’t have to be a people pleaser, I tell my MIL all the time. She’s always doing crap for people and resenting it. Hi on a sunday!

  53. Princess Haiku

    I found you via Ascender and I appreciate your blog pruning 🙂 i.e. starting a new link list. I have thought about that and recently cut down on mine. The more links you add the less you can visit and it does make sense to start over. Except for those most special blogs friends of course.

  54. Nina

    You are being rather self critical. Of course you are allowed to be your mom’s kid still. And so what if you have ads or don’t have ads? If you blog for money, put the ads up. If not, just be your same old self. I can’t say anything about Facebook because I have resisted it so far. Both Myspace and facebook scare me.

    You’re awesome. Don’t get all smashed up in the pressure.

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