Where does the time go?

Last weekend I was sitting in a tree stand with my bow thinking I should write a blog about this… A couple days later when I looked, it’s been a year since I wrote anything.  A whole year?!?

Where has the time gone?!

Then I started thinking about how the past year of chaos has been spent… Absorbed with good friends, the stress and chaos of loosing the house I was renting and buying a place of my own, moving, work, learning how to be a homeowner and all the oddities that have gone into the first 6 months, the beginning and end of a couple romantic relationships, white tail bow hunting for the first time…. Yea, it’s been a busy 300 and some odd days.

Now I’m sitting at my kitchen table… I have room for a kitchen table!!  With the 4 new to me chairs I just purchased yesterday morning, looking out the slider door over my deck and backyard.  The late October Michigan sky is overcast of blues and grey, we had freezing rain yesterday and a little snow last night -the first of the season.  My heart is so in love with my life.

In late August or maybe early September, not really sure which, hell maybe it was even July…while hosting a bonfire at my house with friends; I decided I was going to host this year’s holiday party with friends.  Wait, whaaatttt…. I’m hosting the holiday party!?!!!  I have not hosted one since 2006, the same year as my divorce.  I’ve gone to a friends house once or twice for Christmas, but in the past 10+ years I have not willingly done much for the holidays.  In fact last year’s plans fell through because my friends’ kids were sick, so instead I barricaded myself in my tiny rental with a rotisserie chicken and pie, then decided to paint my bedroom. The year before I spent Christmas day with my phones (work included) turned off and snowshoeing.

Now this year, I am planning the Yule dinner with friends -yes it is going include a bonfire!  …and I am so excited about all of it.  Yesterday I was in Hobby Lobby and of course the Christmas decorations were 40% off, I bought a new tree topper and some bulbs, a table runner and I was smiling the whole time. Let that sink in, I bought Christmas stuff in October!  Me!!  The one who has been boycotting anything to do with the holidays the past 10 years.  Now mentally I am running over in my head how I want to set the house up, the feeling I want the home to give off with the decorations and oh crap I want to buy this or that… I need this…. I want to replace these for those….

Last year I talked about the emotional healing I felt I had gone through and that I had come to be in a better place.  Clearly what started last year has continued into this year like a snowball rolling down a steep cliff.  Proof of this can be seen in the smile on my face when I fill my house with the loud laughter of my friends.  The calmness in my soul on an overcast Sunday morning as I enjoy my morning coffee curled up in my oversized chair with my two dogs laying on my feet.

I still eat animal crackers with my coffee on a lazy weekend morning, some things will never change.

img_4783

 

Advertisements

one sunny Sunday in April

Amongst the damp and darkness of my garage this was growing…

This was a text message I sent a girlfriend this afternoon, but I couldn’t help but think how symbolic. All this, all this junk I’m trying to cut, things with memories that drag me down and keep me from moving forward.  To find a lily growing out of the darkness.

But let me back up.

Last night I decided I was going to tackle my garage, I would spend the day digging into it and sorting it.  This is a project I have been dreading for a long time…  It’s not just that it needed to be cleaned, I had packed things in there when I first moved here back in December of 2010 and not touched them since.  I was dreading those things.

Well, I woke up this morning feeling like I got a decent night’s sleep -amazing what not waking up to an alarm clock can do for one’s soul.  So a pot of coffee later, two slices of left over pizza and cracking open a monster energy drink, I tossed on jeans and a tshirt, weaved my earbuds under my shirt up my back and stuck my phone in my back pocket.  Took a deep breath and flung open my garage.  Here we go….

An hour or two in, I had unloaded the side of the garage that was entirely packed with junk.  I had three piles going, keep, recycle and donate… and one very large black garbage bag -ok, I filled two.  About this time, one neighbor greeted me in his pajamas -did I mention I started at like 8:30-9 am? Briefly chatted with my neighbor how it was time I cut my mental baggage…and if he knew of anyone who wanted a 6 chair dining room table, they just had to come haul it off.  He said how his daughter might be interested and how he’d like to take a look at it.  He changed clothes and then decided to navigate my mess.  One look at the mahogany table top and one chair, he laughed and said nope, I’m keeping this for myself!  I will gladly take it off your hands.  When he asked me why I no longer wanted this gorgeous dining room table, I told him: it’s a life I no longer have.  I would rather know that it is being filled by a family sharing food and good memories than just wasting away in my garage unused.  Truth, is it was meant just for that. For children spilling things, adults laughing… right now that is not my life.  I will not have any more kids of my own, but some day, maybe I will again be at a table filled by my family and loved ones.  But right now, right here, that is not it.

Between my neighbor, his nephew and myself; we dug out the table top, the legs for it and the six chairs then hauled them over to his garage.  I felt something inside me release.  I continued to unload boxes and sort them further into the piles.  One of the totes I opened to see what it was, I found old framed art…my art.  I posted the following to my facebook page.  Initially, I was hesitate to do so.  But then I thought, why?  Who are we worried that will see that you are cutting ties with your physically and emotional baggage?!?  Posted.

One pot of coffee, a monster and some leftover pizza. I’m finally after 6 years, digging into a corner of my garage….boxes that were packed up in Connecticut, things that were Haley’s as a toddler. I haven’t been ready to deal with this until now. 😢💔 I’m torn between cutting the boxes open to make sure there’s nothing to keep and just dropping all of them at Goodwill. One tote that I opened had the drawings I did for her nursery. Mixed emotions.

A few more hours, my other neighbor is shorting though countless boxes of toddler clothing, perfect size that her daughter is transiting to.  Two overly stuffed totes and a new Disney Princess tv later.  Watching her shift through my daughter’s old clothing was mixed emotions.  I almost whelmed up into tears when I saw her select a adorable sundress that I very clearly remember my daughter wearing.  These clothes have been boxed up close to ten years.  Ten years that I was not ready to deal with the reality, the reality that my ex husband doesn’t let me see my own daughter.  The reality that this is a life I no longer have… The reality that I had been holding onto these clothes because I was not ready to deal with the loss of the lie, of what I believed life was suppose to be.

Between the two neighbors, I made the first of two recycling center runs.  My hands literally shook a bit as I drove with my Jeep packed.  Things that were beyond salvage and just needed to be gone.  Things I had been holding on to for no good reason.  I had turned on some country music and Chris Stapleton was the first song to play….

You only need a roof when it’s raining
You only need a fire when it’s cold
You only need a drink when the whiskey
Is the only thing that you have left to hold
Sun comes up and goes back down
And falling feels like flying till you hit the ground
Say the word and I’ll be there for you
Baby, I will be your parachute

It made me smile.. how in the moment accurate.  I listened to the song on repeat for a good portion of the rest of the day.  It made me feel better, a little more at ease at what I was doing.  Digging out my emotional baggage and eliminating it from my life.

After the second neighbor came through, I loaded up the second recycling center run.  Then dashed home to see just how much I could cram into my Jeep to take to Goodwill before they closed in an hour.  I literally crammed from top to bottom front to back, my four door Jeep full of boxes and bags of old clothes.  It took bin bins at Goodwill to get it all out… I dove back feeling slightly numb, over caffeinated and weird… Not really knowing exactly how I should feel.  I got home and sorted through the last of the things that were left outside the garage.  Organized what had been left in shambles inside the garage and neatly stacked and put things away.  The garage is not done, there are still more boxes to go through, but they are all my old belongings.  There are still more things to be donated.  But for this attack, I feel good at the enormous dent I put into the garage.  Hell I could almost park a Mini Cooper in there now, alongside my own vehicle.

Now, a few hours after closing the garage door, another two slices of leftover pizza and a shower… I feel better.  Tired.  A bit of a headache, ok a whooper of a headache.  But I feel lighter.  My soul is happy with today’s progress.  Like literally lifting a dark sore from your heart.

me too

I no longer instantlly start shaking, or have to fight off a panic attack when I think about you or when I see a vehicle that reminds me of yours.  I have, intentionally avoided any face to face interaction with you since March 2007.  Some days, that isn’t long enough.  An etenity would not be long enough. It’s been 10 years.

I can usually have casual conversations about having been married.  But the timing is of my choosing…  the other days, once in a blue moon, something catches me off guard.  In the past, being caught off guard, I could feel myself sinking into that dark pit.  The pit that would makes me shake inside, the pit that would I could feel myself choking on the bile in the back of my throat.

While catching up on personal emails, one email from Task and Purpose stood there, just blinking at me.  The subject line, an article I had already seen pop up on facebook, I was ignoring.  I knew what the article would say without reading.  I knew how the author would feel without knowing her.  I knew the panic.  The fear.  The embarrassment…

kept my abusive marriage a secret because marines are supposed to be tough

But you’re tough, that doesn’t happen to tough women. 
Yes it does.  It can happen to any of us.

I wonder if her family had spousal abuse issues. Not recognizing the drinking and violence as completely unacceptable suggests growing up in just such a home.
Really?!  Actually, I think those of us who did NOT grow up in such a home are at even more of a risk for these relationships.  Because unlike the girls who watched their mothers (or fathers, it happens both ways) beaten on a regular bases.  We don’t recognize the warning signs, nor do we normally attrack these men; in fact I would venture to say the majority of these men seem above average normal. It’s not until you are in the middle of it, do you realize just how bad it is.

Women are equal. They are totally equal to men. That’s why the President had put them in combat units like the Marines and Rangers. Under that logic, there is no way for a woman to be abused. She can equally fight and defend herself as good as any man. …..welcome to equality
What in the actual fuck… God I hate social media and the ability to share your jackass opinion.

I’ve been sitting with the “share to facebook” window open now, for the past twenty minutes… All the things rolling around in my head, all the things I want to say.

I was tired of pretending. 
I was tired of being made to feel like I wasn’t good enough. 
I was tired of being made to feeling guilty like it was my fault the things he said.
I was tired of being made to feel like I would not emount to anything without him…or that I was not strong enough to stand on my own. 

I’m tired of feeling like my family choose him

Yet none of it do I have the courage to type and post.  I know we still have mutal friends on facebook, tons of Army buddies.  Every once in a while I see a comment to him, even though I have him blocked.  I got to a point I wasn’t going to hide on social media anymore, but I also couldn’t deal with him.  I couldn’t deal with the fact that half my family wants to be social with him, welcome him into their homes at Christmas or Thanksgiving…. The first year that happened I threw my phone so hard across the room that the Nextel cell phone I had came to rest in the drywall of my mother’s dinning room.  Sorry mom. It happened again last year, I didn’t know until Christmas evening.  When my brother called my mom and then proceeded to put my 11 year old daughter on the phone. Surprise!! You can not begin to imagine my feelings.  My brother’s response, you need to just get over it.  My dad says he wants to have a relationship with his granddaughter, my father’s wife -oh don’t just DON’T get me started on that woman, let’s just skip her all together. My sisters avoid the conversation at all costs.

It wasn’t until one of Kyle’s particularly scary benders left me alone in our apartment, searching for places to hide our ammunition that I realized something had to change.

God if only I would have realized this when my ex walked around our Fayettivelle apartment with a pistol in his hand after a night of heavy drinking and tequila on base.  I couldn’t tell you all the details of that night.  I could tell you we argued, over what, who knows.  Probably some random guy I didn’t know said hello to me, or I was friendly with someone in line for lunch.  I stayed too late at work. The list goes on and on. Instead, I thought I could fix it, could fix us, could fix him.

I wasn’t rare or special in my attitude — women in the military are particularly vulnerable to abuse due to geographical isolation from family and friends, and the potential for social isolation within military culture in general. Evidence shows that violence against women is a pervasive problem within the military-connected community, and it is an extremely relevant issue for active-duty servicewomen. Among the branches, the Army consistently has shown the highest rates of domestic violence, followed by the Marines, Navy, and Air Force. In one study of active-duty military women, 21% of the women surveyed reported being on the receiving end of domestic violence incidents. VA studies show even higher reported numbers of 36.6%.

After the military we moved to Southern Illinios, were our daughter was born.  Just over a year later, we moved to Arkansas.  Neither location did I have family or friends; both locations I contemplated leaving him.  Each time, I thought, but where am I going to go?  I have no help and no where to go, I am completely isolated. When I finally walked out in the middle of the night, after we had been arguing for several hours.  I called a friend, she was on her way to Arizonia from South Carolina, she said I’ll met you in the next major city.  I have almost no memory of that drive or the following week.  I was terrified.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, or where I was going to go….but I knew I couldn’t go back. In fact I walked out at roughly 2am, at 2:30 am my own father was calling me telling me to get back home.

Anytime I have been willing to discuss the verbal and emotional abuse suffered; the majority of my family has shut me down and literally told me I just needed to get over it. To move on. Let me say just getting over it or just moving on doesn’t happen that easily and frankly it’s the worst thing you can say to anyone. In fact, I would say it makes the anger and feelings of betrayal even worse.

Forty-five minutes, the share to Facebook window is still open.  Why?  In the back of my head, I still hear, someone is going to tell him….One of your mutal friends is going to tell him. 

I’m not paranoid.  This shit happened immedatly after we seperated and even the first year of our divorce.  Cyber stalking, whatever you want to call it.  He contact the new friends I had made, would blow up my cell phone and even tried to call my Lieutenant a few times.  I specifically remember the night I muted his calls during our divorce proceedings. The sergant on duty saw me do it, he saw the look on my face, the deep inhale I took.  I still remember sitting in dispatch when I did it, with shaking hands.  I remember the sergant looking at me with a comforting look, “I’m proud of you, that’s a big step.”

There are still tons of things I don’t want to discuss and even the idea of putting it into the blog… nah, I’m good.  Maybe I’m not ready to face those demons yet.  Maybe I don’t think they need to be aired, even in a blog. This past August, was 10 years since our divorce.  It doesn’t haunt my daily life anymore. Five years ago that was a different story. Only once in a while, like reading this article do the old memories surface.

Your hair isn’t long enough, you look like a boy.
You look like you have leprosy (referring to my psoriasis, that at the time was horrible)
Why do you need makeup. Who are you trying to impress. 

There is so much more to talk about, so much left unsaid that just floats around inside my head.  One day I’ll have the courage to put it down on paper, to put it out on social media and not just quietly whisper it when the memories are too much.  When I don’t feel myself desprately clinging to anything to avoid those memories.  To avoid sinking into the pit.

It’s been a long while since one of those moments hit me, and even when I could feel those familar feelings, I look around and remind myself how far I’ve come.  How good my life is, without you.

 

Hour and a half later… the window is still there.
*click*
Now it’s on my facebook.
I can feel a pit of guilt in the back of my throat.

coffee and animal crackers

It’s only been 3 weeks since I went home from work with such horrible pain running through my shoulder and down my arm.  Pain that kept me awake most nights for a week, only sleeping in random hour spurts.  Pretty much propped straight up in bed or laying flat; alternating between ice packs and heat, loaded up on “ranger candy” and figuring out if I was going to be good enough to fly to Texas for a training course paid for by work.

It’s only been three weeks… but it feels like three months.  I’m now going into week four, or is it month four?
Weird how disconnected I feel from the gym now.

This is not the first injury I’ve had, in fact it’s just another to the long list of a very active life… and I’m ok with that.  I just miss lifting.  The worst part, at least right now, isn’t thinking about the loss of strength, it’s the mental clarity and the sleep.  Strength can be earned back.  The toughest part is the mental game you play with yourself… Hell lets just call it what it is.  I’m grumpy and irritable as FUCK!

For me, lifting allows me to scrub my brain of my day at work.  It affords me my ‘de-frag’ time before going home, before dealing with the public as Jessie.  It also me to wear my over active self down and be able to sleep normal hours, more than four or five a night.

Earlier this week, Thursday I finally hit a point were I was pretty much pain free the whole day, Friday was the same.  But I promised my doctor at least one more week out of the gym; another week to allow my body to heal and evaluate how the healing process is going.
Like I said, I’m no stranger to injury.  I learned my lesson when I was young about “just pushing through,” or rushing back too soon.  When I say young, I mean twenty years old and in Army Airborne School.  I hard rolled an ankle in the middle of training and did everything I could to hide the injury until the last jump (successful exit from an aircraft).  Walking off the drop zone, I remember the sergeant airborne (what we called the instructors) yelling at me, “Roster 1-5, RUNNN!!” I remember yelling back, I couldn’t, my ankle hurt.  But I had successfully completed the course and earned my Airborne Wings… a choice that I would pay for steadily the following six years and randomly the following ten plus.
So I know this is the dangerous point.  The pain kept me in check, kept me from going to the gym and training.  Now that the pain is not there, I have to remind myself the injury is still healing.  Just because the pain is gone, doesn’t mean it’s over.  It only means the nerve is no longer screaming at you it needs help.

Earlier this week, I bit my tongue and signed up at the YMCA so I could swim laps.  I say bit my tongue because the lady wanted to show me their weight area and I just smiled.  She was  very sweet older lady, I say older as in early 50s.  She sized me up and said, “But you look like you know your way around a dumbbell or two.”
I had to laugh. “Yes ma’am you could say that.”
“You lift regularly don’t you?”
“Yes ma’am, a bit.”

Yesterday was my first day back in the pool in almost twenty years. For anyone who saw my snap chat yesterday, I’m sure you got a good chuckle.  I know my buddy Jesse did, because I got an almost immediate response about how he totally understood and had gone through something similar when he got back in the water. Basically, I felt like a spastic toddler; my brain trying to force my body to do something that in memory was so easy.  The first handful of laps were, awkward at best but afterwards it started to smooth out.  Now when I say “back in the pool,” once upon a time in my younger and skinnier, much skinnier days, I was a competitive swimmer in high school.  Of course, that was forty to fifty pounds ago.

This morning, enjoying my animal crackers and coffee (god, I’m such an adult, lol), I feel a little bit of yesterday’s swim…and I slept a little better last night.  My mood is better, I feel….content…for now.

New Ink

New InkA record plays
A song that you’ve not heard
It is perfect
It is home
Everything
Now everything’s different
It is sweeter
On your tongue

Cause you can see the road ahead in your dream
The engine’s more a sigh than a scream
Your ghosts look more like angels from there
The coast comes like a raft of warm airThis morning I woke up feeling a change, in the air and inside of me.  It’s been coming, like the build up on a roller coaster.But
 let me back up.  Beginning of the year, I took a friend to see my 
tattoo guy; she needed a cover up, see she had committed the ultimate 
ink sin.  She had tattooed her then husband’s name on her.  Now with a 
looming divorce she wanted it gone.  Upon walking out of the parlor, she
 proudly proclaimed she had her wings back.  She had felt like being 
married to him, he had clipped her wings and grounded her… now she 
felt like she could fly again.  I remember smiling with a chuckle.Now my turn.While
 my marriage had not been violent like her’s had been; mine had been 
verbal.  I had been young and very impressionable and it has truly taken
 me years to shake it.  No I’m not damaged but I’m extremely cautious.  
To the point it can and has cost me relationships, for fear of ending up
 in the exact same situation.  I lost the love of my life because of 
this.  See, post divorce I was very angry, this beautiful soul of a man 
tried, God bless him he truly did try.  I recently sat down with him and
 we caught up on life, he is well and happy, and I apologized…. for 
being so angry and unable to fix myself then.  He smiled and said, “I 
know.  I still love you, that will never change.”  I had to fight a tear
 or two, because I know he does, I know I still love him.  But we are 
different people now.  He was meant for a specific reason in my life and
 that reason has happened.  I will eternally love him for saving me, 
even though he doesn’t think he did.But enough of that.  It’s only a part of this….Two
 weeks ago, I was running errands, wearing a pair of shorts just above 
mid thigh.  Two years ago, four years ago, six year I would have NEVER 
worn these.  When I was married, I was forbidden to wear anything like 
this.  Heck my ex husband HATED me lifting weights, he even once told me
 to stop because I was “too bulky,” and that was unattractive.  Talk 
about mentally fucking up a 21 year old girl.  So it dawned on me, as I 
am standing in the middle of Target, people are staring at me…. I have
 the quads of a strongman/powerlifter and tattoos running down both 
thighs and I don’t give a damn. I laughed. I laughed at the realization I
 had finally fifteen years later broken in my head that seed my ex 
husband planted.  I was finally free.The last five years have 
been my true healing, I wasn’t ready until then.  The past two have seen
 a lot of inner changes and the past year has been twice the speed.  I 
largely think that getting into strongman has had a huge role in saving 
me.  It has pushed me past social norms, even twice as far as I was 
before, it has forced me to fight my own weaknesses -physically and 
mentally, and brought me to new realizations, not just with the weights 
but within my own life and heart.  My physical appearance has changed. 
My back has “spread,” my quads have grown and I love all of it.  I am 
thirty pounds heavier than what I was when married -but I was a runner. 
 I ran to try and keep the skinny appearance he wanted, what he expected
 and what I thought I was supposed to be.Now last night.  I 
went in to see my ink guy.  An appointment that had been set up several 
weeks in advance, even before the realization in Target.  Forty-five 
minutes of readjustment to get the stencil right, then about two and a 
half hours almost three of actual needle time and I walk out with a 
beautiful pair of Valkyrie wings on my left shin. In black, blues and my
 favorite shades of purples.  Sitting in my Jeep, looking back at the 
front door of the tattoo shop, the full lobby of young college students 
waiting to get new piercings (it’s welcome week for the local 
university) and I let out a full belly laugh.  I had earned my wings 
back.  I was not free to feel like flying… I was, I am flying….

 

A record plays
A song that you’ve not heard
It is perfect
It is home
Everything
Now everything’s different
It is sweeter
On your tongue

Cause you can see the road ahead in your dream
The engine’s more a sigh than a scream
Your ghosts look more like angels from there
The coast comes like a raft of warm air

This morning I woke up feeling a change, in the air and inside of me.  It’s been coming, like the build up on a roller coaster.

But let me back up.  Beginning of the year, I took a friend to see my tattoo guy; she needed a cover up, see she had committed the ultimate ink sin.  She had tattooed her then husband’s name on her.  Now with a looming divorce she wanted it gone.  Upon walking out of the parlor, she proudly proclaimed she had her wings back.  She had felt like being married to him, he had clipped her wings and grounded her… now she felt like she could fly again.  I remember smiling with a chuckle.

Now my turn.

While my marriage had not been violent like her’s had been; mine had been verbal.  I had been young and very impressionable and it has truly taken me years to shake it.  No I’m not damaged but I’m extremely cautious.   To the point it can and has cost me relationships, for fear of ending up in the exact same situation.  I lost the love of my life because of this.  See, post divorce I was very angry, this beautiful soul of a man tried, God bless him he truly did try.  I recently sat down with him and we caught up on life, he is well and happy, and I apologized…. for being so angry and unable to fix myself then.  He smiled and said, “I know.  I still love you, that will never change.”  I had to fight a tear or two, because I know he does, I know I still love him.  But we are different people now.  He was meant for a specific reason in my life and that reason has happened.  I will eternally love him for saving me, even though he doesn’t think he did.

But enough of that.  It’s only a part of this….

Two weeks ago, I was running errands, wearing a pair of shorts just above mid thigh.  Two years ago, four years ago, six year I would have NEVER worn these.  When I was married, I was forbidden to wear anything like this.  Heck my ex husband HATED me lifting weights, he even once told me to stop because I was “too bulky,” and that was unattractive.  Talk about mentally fucking up a 21 year old girl.  So it dawned on me, as I am standing in the middle of Target, people are staring at me…. I have the quads of a strongman/powerlifter and tattoos running down both thighs and I don’t give a damn. I laughed. I laughed at the realization I had finally fifteen years later broken in my head that seed my ex husband planted.  I was finally free.

The last five years have been my true healing, I wasn’t ready until then.  The past two have seen a lot of inner changes and the past year has been twice the speed.  I largely think that getting into strongman has had a huge role in saving me.  It has pushed me past social norms, even twice as far as I was before, it has forced me to fight my own weaknesses -physically and mentally, and brought me to new realizations, not just with the weights but within my own life and heart.  My physical appearance has changed. My back has “spread,” my quads have grown and I love all of it.  I am thirty pounds heavier than what I was when married -but I was a runner. I ran to try and keep the skinny appearance he wanted, what he expected and what I thought I was supposed to be.

Now last night.  I went in to see my ink guy.  An appointment that had been set up several weeks in advance, even before the realization in Target.  Forty-five minutes of readjustment to get the stencil right, then about two and a half hours almost three of actual needle time and I walk out with a beautiful pair of Valkyrie wings on my left shin. In black, blues and my favorite shades of purples.  Sitting in my Jeep, looking back at the front door of the tattoo shop, the full lobby of young college students waiting to get new piercings (it’s welcome week for the local university) and I let out a full belly laugh.  I had earned my wings back.  I was not free to feel like flying… I was, I am flying….

-Inked Amazon Warrior
💋💀