Musing no. 26: Another sleepless.

Can’t sleep, yo.

Tomorrow I need to be up by later. Meaning tomorrow is now, and in approximately 4 hours I need to get up and fix my life lol. We’re welcoming new students to Columbia. About to encourage those new to the challenge and remember how far I’ve come in spite of everything I’ve gone through. All my choices, all my mistakes; but I choose to learn.

Even if being whoever I was before now was easier, at least I know I have a purpose. Yes, we will all have horrible times in our lives where we feel like the ability to comprehend the reason and purpose for those times are obsolete. Yet we keep on; we have no choice but to keep on. Some may lose focus on their purpose, others may get side tracked. It will always be there, though.

I used to want to blame other people “ruining” my emotional well-being, but I forget that I have a bigger responsibility to myself. I am in control of how I react. I am responsible for how I treat other people.

Yes, I’m a little piece of work too. Nobody said I was perfect. I’m just good at dishing advise I don’t take, which–by the heckin way–everyone is. 😏

It’s good to feel like you have the ability to lift blame off of your shoulders and place it on others, but some do the complete opposite, too.

How others choose to be to you has nothing to do with you. That’s in their control.

How things become and how things end up–no matter how unfortunate or tragic things end up being–is not entirely dependent on you. (Leaving that open, because it doesn’t just fall under life here, but also around the world at all times and different eras).

You choose. You pursue. You fight for it, if it’s worth it.

And if it’s not?

You had fun. 🤙🏼

Musing no. 23: Memories of Hooah.

A year ago today I got back from Fort Sill. It’s probably the most ridiculous thing, being sad about coming “home.” Training was my home. That’s where I felt most powerful, most respected, most apt. Hell, even for being one of the tiniest in the battery, I know I was one of the best. I knew all my stuff, trained at night, ate all the food I needed to sustain the strength, tried to get the sleep I needed. I was usually up first to do my hair before everyone. I helped those I can–strugglers, slower ones, the ones that cried at night after being yelled at during the day. I quietly agreed, even if untrue, when my Drill Sergeants told me I did wrong even if I wasn’t–like when I was accused of smiling at a male even though I was freaking squinting because of the sun, yeah we got crap for that. But I did my best. I wanted to be one of the best. I pushed myself to be the best. I did extra work. Hell I carried others’ heavy rucksacks more than the males did, because no one wanted to touch the females’ things–not even their rifles (when they were at sick call etc., we had to bring their crap anyway). And later on, that would take a toll on me. I got injured, because I kept going and didn’t know when to quit. I got hurt in training, but that made them want to get rid of me, because I was not built for it. After 8 weeks of training and being one of the top scorers for females, they wanted me out.
But what was the most challenging when I was away was fighting for my right to stay. I wanted to stay. I wanted to heal up, keep training, do my part, come back to NYC and be one of the first female medics in my unit–a National Guard infantry unit, the “Fighting 69th.” That didn’t work out now, did it? How can you defend ourself when the person prosecuting you works with the people who are supposed to defend you. You lose. 
So they send me back. And here I am, with fractured L5 facet joints, and a stress fracture on my right sacrum. Fun. And everyday I live with that pain. Sometimes I have to take pain medication all day because of it. Sometimes I lose my appetite because of it. Sometimes I’d rather stay in my room and sleep because of it. I can’t go running the way I used to before I enlisted. I can’t stand one way for more than 5 minutes. I ache like someone hit my back with a 2×2 if I went and took a nice long walk. I sleep for 6 hours, but I wake up every 2, because I have to keep moving my body and it hurts. There have been instances that I would be in so much pain, I’d lose my breath. But that doesn’t matter at this point. I’m just tired of the pain, and I have been doing everything I can afford to help ease it–acupuncture, therapy, cortisone shots etc..
Don’t take your bodies for granted. Go work out. Go run. Hell, go walk in the park. What I’d do to be able to do that without pain! 
Also, to those who keep telling me I’m not a veteran, I know. Good job, you did your part for your country telling us that. Nobody ever said I was one. Chill yo butt. Ain’t nobody got time for you. Go suck a duck. 
To my friends and family who have been nothing but supportive and loving, I appreciate you. Please keep doing what you do for me to others. You guys are sunshine and everybody needs a little ray. Being here in my–yes MY country, coz I earned tf out of that citizenship–country without any close family in proximity– shoutout to my Seattle Family–with y’all support helps a lot, even if we all have our own things going on. 
Okay that was a really long rant, and I doubt anyone would read a long long post. But anyway. Go enjoy this day. It’s beautiful. It’s heartbreakingly beautiful. Heartbreaking because this was the day I felt so defeated last year. 
But I’m coming back. 

Musing no. 17: In Remembrance

TW: graphic content.

You hear them arriving. “Another one,” you murmur under your breath, as dust and dirt on dried sweat slowly flake off your brow… You know that there’s no chance, yet you have to fix this again, somehow. 

One by one you see them walking, or carried–maybe, assisted–being herded by medevac into the tent. An arm, a leg, two arms, both legs… an arm and a leg–all missing. Then the ones on the carrier…gone. And then you see the one–if lucky, two–who are so shaken you can tell that they wished they were blind, that there could be Mother’s skirt they could hide behind, but their shock is glossed over by guilt. 

“That should have been me,” their eyes tell you, as they pass you by, knowing at some point throughout this tour they will have to–no, they will NEED to talk to you about it. You have seen this, time and again. You, yourself, wonder, “Am I becoming numb of this?”

“Sir, we need you in the tent,” your assistant tells you. You follow him with your Book in tow, knowing it’s time; some are not going to make it but they seek some sort of transcendental comfort before they move on. 

“Home. I want to go home. Tell me Chaplain, am I going to make it home? It doesn’t have to be this one. How about the next one? The one you spoke about two days ago?”

So you reassure this young man, telling him that yes, he is going to make it home, as long as he commits his spirit and believes that Jesus is the Way and no one else. Sometimes, you question all these things happening and what you have been preaching in believing after they come back from the field like this, but you quickly rebuke yourself. “Stop, Jack, you know better than to question the Creator,” you chastise yourself.

You go back to your tent in anguish over the thought of the wives and children some of them left behind, the siblings they grew up with, or the parents who won’t be able to know that their child is gone–sometimes their only child–and won’t know about it until a few days, sometimes weeks, after.

Yet, you write about it in your journal. You write to remember for them, and hope that the souls you have spoken to indeed found peace and did enough–most importantly believed enough–that they could be where peace lies. Past the blue skies, that encompass all the the earth that somehow cost them–and demanded–their lives.

And now they lie in peace.

___________________
Enjoy that barbecue. The sun, the beach, the drinks, peace. But remember the fallen, remember the fallen. 

Enjoy the sky’s blue hue. The sand, the grill, the food, calm. But remember the fallen, remember the fallen.

But don’t just “Enjoy.” Live your life worthy of another life. Don’t burden yourself with living it too perfectly, though.
 Live it in a way that reminds you of how they were when they were here.
 Live your life to help those in need, to fight for those who don’t have a voice, to not stand on the side when those who are discriminated against struggle. Be their voice–those alive and those who’ve gone. 
Live your life, and take care of yourself. Your life is precious and you know that because those who did not have to, gave theirs so you can have and keep yours. 

Live for them. Don’t make it your sole purpose, but live a life that thanks them for what they did. 

Remember the presence they had. Remember how they were at home. Remember how they were in training. Remember how they smiled, ate, laughed, breathed, joked around, cried, chewed–every little thing they did that made them who they were, what they were, to you.

Remember the fallen–the brothers and sisters that were not your flesh and blood, but did more than your flesh and blood. Meant more than your flesh and blood.

And don’t forget those who felled themselves, too. They were still fighting that war when they got home.

And to those who are still here–just remember it, but don’t live in it. 

Live in the now, in remembrance.