Thursday, June 22, 2017

Why I Do (and Do Not) Support President Trump

I'll be honest, Donald Trump was not my first, second or third or fourth choice for the Office of President of the United States. I personally don't like his style of speech, and his leadership style seems very chaotic. In a time of peace, he might actually make a good chief executive, we do need some serious business sense to correct some of the truly insane notions that crept into the running of the Federal Government.

I Do think it will be interesting what happens when we have a president that is so rich he doesn't really have to care about getting reelected, or even maintaining popular support. It is also interesting to see the populist movement and how it is shaping the country. Purely as a function of political science and sociology no matter what the Trump administration actually does, it will be the subject of great study for decades to come.

At best my personal opinion about the President could best be described as "neutral."  I want to judge him, and his administration on what he actually does, not what media, and elitist political leaders tell me. So far every "forest fire" that has been touted as proof positive that he should be removed from office has been tantamount to a "matchbook." His ability to send his opposition into complete and utter irrationality is amusing, and to be honest horrifying.

Seeing people without a hint of irony, calling themselves "anti-fascists" acting like poorly dressed Black Shirts and conducting political intimidation and violence is informative. Trump has acted like a lightning rod for both extremes of this country, indeed the West as a whole, and it really does let us see just how ugly our "tribe" that we associate with really is. People are starting to build bridges and there's been a move for more centrist attitudes.

He is unpredictable. Wildly so, and that may not be what America or the world needs right now. A stable figure, with a good head on his or her shoulders would have been a better choice. Nearly all of the dozen GOP leaders attempting to gain the nomination were capable, and had the temperament better suited to the Chief Executive. I don't like the joy he takes in antagonizing his opponents, nor do I like when he obviously panders to special groups. I despise even the suggestion of nepotism, and I truly hope that the people he has surrounded himself with are the best at their jobs, not just people that he likes (or relatives).

In the end, my support for President Trump will be conditional, like my support for all politicians. So long as they are on the side of the law, and are genuinely working towards the best interests of the United States I will support them. I will always have my own political views, and many of those are quite strong. I will criticize, lampoon, and lambast, but at the end of the day I want them to succeed.

I disagreed with pretty much all of President Obama's actions while in the presidency. Indeed I would argue had the Legislature more jealously guarded it's sovereign powers, he very well could have been removed from office. That is not to say that I did not want him to succeed. I did. I wanted him to do well and genuinely lead the country. He did not, but that is a criticism for another time.

I won't go to any Trump rallies, other than to see what happens. There's always some sort of spectacle at those things. If the President is speaking near me, I will take a trip and listen to the event. I'll defend him when the attacks against him are ridiculous, unfounded, or outright slanderous/libelous (which many if not most of them right now are). If he has a policy I agree with I'll be sure to tell you, but more importantly, tell you why. In that very broad way, you could call me a tepid "Trump supporter."

But let's be honest here, the real beauty of the Trump us the Lulz that follow him.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Speech, Rhetoric, and Violence.

In the wake of a nut job deciding to try to shoot up a practice for an annual Democrat Vs Republican charity baseball game, there has been a lot of finger pointing. There has been a lot of blame thrown around about the toxic rhetoric of the Left, and the political violence that is sweeping America. There are criticism, and accusations. Some are legitimate, most are simply being made in the heat of the moment when passions are high.  Generally speaking you have to ask yourself if Freedom of Speech is unlimited, or if there is legitimacy in silencing certain voices. 

I'm not even going to start talking about the gun issue and the Virginia governor's truly insane statement that 93 million people are killed every day in America due to gun violence. That's basically WWI and WWII combined (give or take). My own take is, if I were a congressman or aid on that field, hiding behind plastic barriers like a rabbit waiting for a wolf, I'd have wanted a gun to shoot back. 

But we really do need to examine what the hell is going on. There are some people that are using "violence" to shut down speech of people that disagree. The term "Social Justice Warrior" is often used with derision, but there are people who truly believe that disagreeing with progressive policies is a form of violence. If you truly don't understand Transgenderism,  and ask questions on the how or why, or if you believe there are only two genders, you are conducting an act of "violence" against these people. In Canada if you refuse to use the person's preferred gender pronouns you could potentially go to jail. 

That attitude is easy to lampoon. Speech is not violence. I don't care what you say, simply speaking to a woman is not even remotely equivalent to raping that woman. Free Speech advocates are right to lambast people why "No-platform" or try to filibuster intellectual debates. The scary thing is that the people who are talking about speech as violence are themselves turning to violence when their speech is not being effective. 

This is where we run into a serious grey area. We have seen the AntiFa (Anti Fascist) group spew truly toxic rhetoric about the "Nazis" that supported Trump. This is a play on Hillary Clinton's words describing Trump voters as a basket of "deplorables." Even Bernie Sanders' own words about how the rich are viciously taking advantage of the poor will create a toxic environment. The problem with hyperbole is that, said often enough, it begins to take on a life of its own. 

Much like the racial situation or the battle of the sexes, one side has found that it is easy to shut down debate by simply throwing out the "sexist" or "racist" label. The problem is that a lot of people, the people who have gotten intellectually lazy because of this tactic truly believe it. If a person thinks welfare is terrible than it is assumed that they hate the poor. In truth there are a lot of legitimate criticisms of welfare, but if you can boil down the debate to "hate the poor vs. want to help the poor" you remove any nuance and turn rational individuals with a difference of opinion into unthinking uncaring monsters. 

We've entered an age of low information voters. Often times the Smart Phones seem smarter than the people holding them. Policy debates have been reduced to tribal squabbles. Democrat Vs. Republican has become a more intense version of Patriots vs. Stealers. As high as passions get during that experience, how much higher do you think they would get when there is the perception that there are actual lives on the line?

Rhetoric can be dangerous. Freedom of Speech is a fundamental value to our society. We also have to acknowledge that at one point Adolf Hitler, and Vladimir Lenin only had rhetoric. Rhetoric has the ability to do a lot of damage when we give that rhetoric power. How do we find a balance? AntiFa is certainly acting like the Red Guards or the Sturmabteilung, and we need to treat them like what they are, a legitimate threat to our way of life. Political violence is extremely dangerous.

More than that we need to acknowledge that the more toxic the rhetoric, the more crazies will pick that up. The shooter who tried to kill republicans, was clearly an intolerant angry man. His clear love of senator Sanders and belief that ending the Affordable Care Act is going to cause actual deaths. It seems clear that in his own mind, Republicans are truly evil, and only by killing them could he prevent a disaster. Our own rhetoric allowed him to pick up that thought and run with it to its sad and unfortunate ending. 

In the end, all we can do is chill the hell out. We need to calm down and act like adults. Stop pointing fingers and start reaching out to each other. Rather than making statements, ask questions, and truly listen to the answers. Unless we can calm our rhetoric, we will soon find ourselves in the middle of an extremely violent experience. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Vulnerability

Don't judge when you see my shoulders sag,
You don't know the weight I carry,
I have trouble opening that bag,
Share my burden? Nothing could be more scary.

There are many things I hide,
I don't know what you'll say if you see, 
The things that have wounded and shape me,
Do you think it's easy to confide?

I try to be strong,
But this trial is so long, 
I wish this pain would cease, 
So I could know some peace.

I let my jokes hide my sorrow, 

It's better if you think me witty, 
If I'm honest it's hard to maintain,
Because most of the time I just want to cry. 

Sometimes I only continue hoping for a better tomorrow, 
It keeps my going even when I'm feeing shitty, 
Please excuse this lamentable refrain,
Let me go on with this burden, It's better you not pry. 

I tried to show my pain to another, 
But they left me so now I deal with it 
alone, even when I want nothing more than to quit,
Sorry to be a bother.

Please don't ask me to show you my hurt, 
I couldn't see pity in your eyes, 
That would make me feel lower than dirt,
Please let me tell you "I'm fine" and other lies.

A friend suggested the title after I'd texted her the first stanza. It's been a long time since I've seriously done any kind of poetry and after the last few days, especially after I decided to put up my last post I've been feeling open, raw. I hoe you like this. 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Trauma I Don't Talk About.

A few days ago I had the rather odd experience of going through a screening for a study for a medication for PTSD patients to help them get to sleep. During the process I had to list the types of traumas I had experienced. The ones you might think we're there of course. Natural disasters, death, dismemberment and the like. For the first time I checked the box "unwanted sexuality advances" and "unwanted sexuality experience."

It was the first time I ever have admitted about an experience that happened while I was in the WTB  that I have tried very hard to forget. You see, I was raped.

Even now it's hard to write these words. Am I lesser of a man? Am I throwing gas on to a needless fire? Do you really need to know about this misadventure? I can almost hear people that would line up to provide me with sympathy or conversely tell me I'm full of shit and taking attention away from real rape victims. At some point I need to stop trying to anticipate what everyone else will say, and just say what happened.

So what happened?

I had a friend that was in Rear D with me (after I had been CASEVAC'd for Pancreatitis) that wanted me to come with him to hang out with a friend he'd met. He wanted to get with this girl so I was an unofficial wingman. I was all for it because it got me out of the barracks, and if I'm being honest I was starting to feel some of the negative effects of the anti-depressants and anti-psychotics that the mental health department at Irwin Army Hospital had put me on. One of those effects was a grey dull sense. Like I was living in a fog. Part of me was starting to rebel against that fog, and I was at the beginning of a self destructive spiral that damn near killed me.

It should be stated that there were very clear warnings about drinking while on the medications I was on. You really should not drink at all when you're on drugs like that. I, rather foolishly drank. I thought at the time "it's beer. it can't be that bad." Unfortunately for me, the combination of having been in a dry country for almost a year, and the medications I was on had an unusual effect. I couldn't feel my face after three beers.

My friend was annoyed with me because this girl who he was trying to impress had eyes only for me. I had no clue of this. I was about as observant as a blind man waiting for a street crossing light. As the night wound down it was clear that all three of the men were too drunk to drive back. Somehow sleeping arrangements were figured out. I was about to pass out on the couch when the woman brought me into her room.

I can't honestly tell you what was going through my mind. I was trying to be a wing man, but a part of me thought there was another bed or something. I'm not sure why I followed her. I wasn't thinking at all to tell you the truth.

Then we were on her bed. Then we were naked. Then she was on top of me. I know we had sex, and I also know that she wanted to go again but in my state I was unable to get an erection. I can't honestly tell you at any point I agreed to have sex with her, and really didn't want to have sex that night, I was trying to be a good battle buddy for my friend.

The next day still in a daze I woke up, and vaguely remembered that I'd had sex. I was still not clear in the head. She wanted to confront her ex who she told me was violent. I agreed, and sat there as she had an argument with a man I didn't know, then pointed to me and said "This is my new boyfriend."

Uh. . . what? I had my buddy take me right back to the barracks as soon as he could, and began to have a slight freak out.

What followed was her trying to get in touch with me and me trying desperately to hide from her. It's not that I wanted to hurt her feelings. Far from it, but I had not intended to sleep with her, or get drawn into her life like that. She wanted a hero with dog-tags. I was not that man and never was. More than that I had had no control that night. That scared me more than anything else. Her constant calling and attempts to get in touch with me only made the situation worse.

Eventually I had my buddy tell her I'd gotten committed to a mental institution because I was suicidal (the lie was sadly not too far from the truth). That had the desired effect and eventually she stopped calling. Almost a year later I ran into her again as I was about to get out of the Army. She had unfortunately contracted HPV, and suggested I get myself checked. I'm almost certain that night had not included condoms. Thankfully I came back clean, but that was just another reminder of what COULD have happened. A very scary reminder.

I'd like to say I dealt with this incident in a healthy way, but in truth. . . I didn't even remotely deal with it. It, eventually, became one of the many reasons I swore never to take any such medication again, however in a lot of ways the damage has been done.

I am sure my view on this incident won't be typical. I don't want this woman hurt, and I'd never tell her how I saw that night. I wouldn't want her to be charged with a felony for something that was my mistake. As traumatic as that loss of control was, as terrifying as suddenly being someone's "boyfriend" and not having a clue how it happened, I genuinely do not want this woman hurt. She's had enough hurt in her life, and I am sorry I added to it.

There is also the small mater of proving that I was completely incapable on consenting, and moreover the stereotype that guys always say yes to sex. How could I have gone to my command and said "I drank while on medications that say not to drink, and a woman raped me." I can almost guarantee that if I'd pressed charges there would have been an Article 15 waiting for me. There is no such thing as a rape kit for men (at least not for vaginal sex).

I know that my experience and the way I view it is not nearly the same as most female rape victims, or males that were anally/orally raped. I know that in some ways the fog the medications had me on kept this event from being more traumatic, despite the fact that they were the cause of the situation in the first place. Most of the time I don't even think about what happened, and have generally speaking moved on.

Still, the trauma is there, and for the first time in my life, I'm admitting to it. That counts for something.

Monday, October 10, 2016

One year later

I just recently got an award for working one year at my new job. That's given me some time to reflect on things. It's been one year since I returned home. To say that I did anything more than flee from Michigan and my ex, Becky would be an overstatement. I fled in complete and utter shame. In this past year, I've had a lot of time, perhaps too much time, to think about everything that went down. To think about the future and where I go from here.

One week before Becky told me she couldn't marry me, there was no outward sign that we were headed for the end. Sure there was trouble, and things were stressful but from my point of view things were looking up (if only slightly). We sat together and watched a sunset on her parents' property on Dixon Lake. Her neighbor even commented on how in love we looked.

I think the matter of fact way she said it, or maybe the way I became a non-person afterward is what made this whole thing the most difficult. I don't know when or how but she had become the center of my world. Everything in my world revolved around her, and my ambition was directed at trying to make her happy.

I can't say for sure if they were panic attacks but in the time between the break-up (August 25th), and the time I left (September 3rd). When I returned, I was broken. I tried talking to her a few times. Tried to keep it up. But it just hurt so badly. Plus her responses grew ever more exasperated that I wasn't getting with the program. The one question I want(ed) answered is why?

In the year since then, I've come to the conclusion that if I got an answer that was satisfying emotionally, it wouldn't be satisfying intellectually and vice versa. I wish that I could have answers. I wish that I could call a mulligan. But if wishes were fishes no one would go hungry.

The thing that has brought this in sharp relief is the workouts I'm doing with a gal, we'll call M. M wants to be a LEO, but is worried about the entrance exams. I can sympathize. M is also a lesbian who just broke up with the only person she ever dated. In trying to console her some of my own issues came out. How can I ever trust a woman again? How can I ever feel comfortable enough to ask a woman to marry me? How can I trust that it's not going to end with little or no warning? I'll constantly be looking for the slightest sign that it's ending and I'll constantly be on guard. I tried to tell M, then I still don't have this stuff figured out. Really, no one does. The best advice I could give M is that the only way to cure the pain is to go through it.

That's what I have done. I've gone through it. The pain was horrible. I wanted nothing more than to just check out, but as a guy, I just don't ever get that luxury. I am needed. I am not still resentful about that. It's annoying that somehow if I don't do it, it won't get done, but I've come to accept that that's just the way things are.

I'm in a better place now. I can't lie, I still feel like I'm trapped in that empty room in the barracks. Perhaps even more so because I am surrounded by the wreckage of my dad's failed ambitions. I'm still incredibly, soul-crushingly lonely, a state given my extreme trust issues isn't likely to get better any time soon. But . . . things are looking up if only slightly.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

15 Years Later 9/11 Still Hurts

I know at some point we, as a nation, will move on and forget.  I was presented evidence of that today as my work tried to have everyone dress in Red White and Blue, and then served up a cake.  I'm not really certain they appreciated the optics of that.  When I left work I went to the beach to run, because I really needed to clear my head.  Judging from the amount of people dashing in and out of the water, the children at play and the ungodly amounts of weed I smelled, most Americans have moved on.

 But, I haven't.  I'm not going to whip myself into a frenzy or sit in a corner and cry.  I'm not going to try to be the one forcing other people to be respectful.  I can only say for my own part, 9/11 is always emotional.  The visions of people falling to their doom on live TV.  The horror of watching UA 175 barrel into its target.  The smoking crater in Shanksville PA.  The Pentagon facade collapsing. These are images that I can not get out of my head no matter how hard I try.

Was the Global War on Terror that followed justified?  Yes.  Was it well prosecuted?  No.  There are a lot of assumptions that have been made about Iraq and Afghanistan by media types and the public at large that are either wrong or are just plain silly.  I've seen why you shouldn't just use nukes.  There are good people worth saving.  I've also seen why you don't pull back and let the situation fester and hope a few drone strikes will win the day.

I've seen people tortured.  I've seen decapitated bodies.  I've seen good boys become old men shockingly fast.  I've seen those same men turned to so much hamburger meat in the blink of an eye. There is evil in the world and September 11th is a strong reminder of what happens when you are not paying attention to that evil.

I don't want you to feel shamed into showing faux displays of remorse or patriotism.  If you genuinely feel that,  then I want you to express that.  I really don't care if you wear ribbons, special shoes, force yourself to watch United 93.  I want you to genuinely honor the best qualities of our people that were on display that day.  When you feel overwhelmed, think of the firefighters who prepared to climb 70-90 floors to fight a raging inferno.  When you feel like you've been defeated remember the passengers of UA 93 who refused to go down without a fight.  When you feel like all is lost, remember the FDNY, PAPD, NYPD and EMS, who, imediatly after losing so many of their brethren immediately turned around and did all they could to try to rescue anyone that may have been left behind.

Most of all, I want you to remember this one thing.  This is America.  We have seen hard times before.  We are amazingly resilient.  When we look to each other, when we trust in our own abilities as a people there is no calamity we can not weather.  Things may seem bleak now, but all you need to do is light a candle, and light a candle of the person next to you and suddenly the world isn't so dark anymore.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

WTF has happened to 2016?

At the beginning of the year I was somewhat hopeful. It was hard at the time to be hopeful because I'd just gone through a break up that crushed me, and I had moved back home, which further crushed my spirit, but I was still slightly hopeful.  But now that the year is almost 3/4ths done I've got to ask What the Ever Loving Fuck?

First there's the deaths, a SCOTUS Justice whose opinions are a real joy to read (and I HATE legalese), David Bowie (the Goblin King), Alan Rickman (Hans Grueber), Kenny Baker (R2-FREAKING D2), Anton Yelchin(Checkov), Prince, Nancy Reagan. . . the list goes on and on.  It's incredibly depressing when so many talented people suddenly up and die.

Then there's the bullshit that was the primaries.  On the Democratic side, an actual honest to God Socialist very nearly became the DNC nominee for president. His main opponent was someone who has almost certainly violated federal statutes that should have landed her in a courtroom if not in jail. In fact one sailor who did far less than she did actually tried to use her as an example for leniency in his case.

On the other side, you had a field of 15 decent candidates and one joker who was just there for shits and giggles it seemed. You had Governors, Senators, a doctor.  By any standard many of the people who ran in the GOP primary would have made an excellent president.  But because there were so many, the joker won.  His main selling point is he doesn't seem to give a damn about political correctness.  Actually, his main selling point is he is making the Left absolutely lose their collective shit, which has the people they've been maligning and alienating for so long tickled pink.

In the last two days I've witnessed conversations of deep conviction in the gym locker room or around the pool.  Most of the time this is a place to share technique, catch up, or encourage others.  But yesterday in the midst of my swim I heard this long drawn out conversation about how you just couldn't  vote for Trump.  The black man responded the democratic party left him behind and he just couldn't vote for Hillary.  It was astounding.  Then I had a long drawn out conversation with another man today about the current crop, and two passers by felt the need to jump in and pitch in their two cents.

Let's not kid ourselves Gary Johnson says one or two things one side might like then veers sharply and says some truly bone headed things.  That's why Ron Paul could never get elected anything higher than a Representative, despite throngs of avid followers.  Johnson at best will draw votes away from Clinton and Trump, I generally think he's going to draw more away from Clinton, but with the hard edge to the Democratic party I'm not so sure.

One thing is for sure, 2016 will go down in the history books as one bad year.  I just want it to be over.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Thoughts on Memorial Day

Memorial Day is hard for me.  I am always assaulted with conflicting emotions when it comes to Memorial Day.  I am alway unsure of what the "right" way to "celebrate" this day is.  I am not sure what is proper.  Do I remain somber, and aloof?  Do I join in on the "festivities" and traditional BBQs?  Do I commiserate the losses, men I knew like SFC Doster, and PFCs Craig and Harrelson?  What about PFC Max L. Bailey who is still missing somewhere on the east side of Chosin (Changjin) Reservoir in North Korea?  I don't know how I'm supposed to feel.  I want nothing more than clarity here because I need some.

Memorial Day has become festive almost.  People gathering and grilling and generally celebrating the end of the school year and the beginning of summer.  There are parades and obligatory flag waving along with token gestures acknowledging the sacrifices of the Soldiers, Sailors, Coast Guardsmen, Airmen, and Marines of the United States.  From Lexington green to Helmand Province Americans have fought everywhere and paid a high price for the freedoms we enjoy, what's more, we unlike almost any other country in the world will fight for the freedoms of other nations.  We haven't always done it perfectly but Americans seem ready willing and able to fight when freedom is on the line.

Perhaps the festive air is a good thing.  America's ideals were not meant for doom and gloom.  The horror of constant Chinese attacks over 4 days in -30 degree weather are not something it is a good thing to dwell on, yet I can appreciate some of the terror my great uncle Max felt before he died.  I don't want people to dwell on the gruesome injuries I saw Craig suffer, or worry about the dreams of Harrelson maybe burning to death in a humvee.  Maybe it is better that people know in some vague intellectual sense that these sacrifices are happening so that they really appreciate those burgers/steaks.

But for me, it is different.  I remember well the sheer terror of "putting my shit on" and climbing into the death trap humvees.  Driving on roads that could hide bombs of incredible and pants shitting size in piles of trash that are literally everywhere.  I can close my eyes and feel the heat as 2-2 burned, rounds cooking off mere meters away.  I can still feel that eternal moment after the AT-4 blew when I wasn't sure if I was still there or not.    Reading of SFC Doster's widow's struggles after his death, and the sheer heartbreak she continues to feel at his loss, a heartbreak I understand all too well, how can I feel any sense of festivity?

What really bothers me is that there are times I don't want to remember.  I want to forget it all and go back to a time when I didn't carry this burden.  Am I dishonoring these men and women by that thought?  Do I owe it to them to carry this weight?  Am I, by virtue of being a witness, bound by honor, and duty to carry the memory of them like an invisible rucksack weighing me down?  Is it wrong to want to be free, and to feel the same sense of ease that so many other Americans feel on Memorial Day?

I don't have answers.  I know it's wrong of me to try to explain to civilians that Memorial Day is not for me.  I know it's wrong to shame well-meaning civilians (including my mom) thanking Veterans today.  I don't want to tell people about Craig and the sorrow I feel that he only saw his daughter once before he died.  I don't want to explain the life Harrelson seemed to have laid out before him.  My own life is such a mess I don't feel I've done these men justice.

Memorial day is hard.  I am not sure how I should feel.  Because I am so conflicted I often avoid festivities.  I am not sure what the right thing to do here is.  I hope one day I'll have answers.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Dyslexia

I came across this website which supposedly shows you what it's like to read with dyslexia.  I'll give you a moment to try to read that.  Did you go?  Were you able to read what was said?  The funny thing is that's almost exactly what happens to me, except to a much lesser degree.

Often time when I'm looking at words I'll see the absolute wrong things written.  Sometimes it'll be something so obviously wrong that I have to reread the words.  Once at work, I thought that there was a very obvious sexual phrase in a credit card brochure.  That there's no way the brochure would suggest customers ingest penises, I had to reread the sentence only to realize it was an extremely innocuous sentence.

For my entire life, I've been having to deal with dyslexia.  It's not reading backward, it's more like having everything jumbled up into a confused mishmash, but thankfully it's not so extreme as it used to be.  More than once in my life, I've read books or articles and come away confused.  Landmark school did a lot to teach me coping methods, and you have no idea how much it relieved me to actually know what it was that was causing me to have so much trouble in school.

Worse, trying to read aloud is nearly impossible.  Reading, then speaking, even my own work, seems to be just too much.  There are constant starts and stops and I back up because I read a word wrong.  It's beyond frustrating and makes me feel stupid.  The imagery I am trying to convey with my words sounds dull and the stumbling of my words, to my ears at least, completely destroys whatever good I accomplish with my writing.

My whole life people have remarked on my intelligence.  I tend to downplay it.  Perhaps it is because of the speaking.  Perhaps it is because I tend to have so much trouble translating the knowledge I have at hand to actual practical effect.  I can not tell you what specifically makes me feel like I am a bumbling idiot.  Whatever it is, it's plagued me almost my whole life.

Learning disabilities can drive you mad.  You see your friends doing things that you struggle with.  The thing is I've come to learn that when one thing is taken from you, you're often given something in return.  Often there are connections I can make, and my memory for the things people say is truly remarkable.  I'm often able to understand difficult concepts, even if I am not able to relate the same concepts to others.  Dyslexia isn't all bad.  True it can frustrate the hell out of me at times, but I know no other way of thinking, and I have to think I'm this way for a reason.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Mourning A Relationship

After Becky broke off the engagement, someone told me that I need time to mourn the loss.  At the time that comment seemed odd to me.  She's not dead.  Her life will go on, only without me.  I went back to my grief and depression.  It is only now that I really think about it that that friend was right.  Mourning the loss of a relationship really is like mourning a death of a loved one, but if anything in some ways its worse.  

I miss the way she used to smile at me.  Often times my goofy nature would make her laugh, and she would give me a smile that showed she genuinely took joy in my presence.  Once, sadly two weeks before it ended, she and I were absolutely punch drink with exhaustion, and the two of us sat there giggling then uproariously laughing at something.  Her parents, brother, and sister all looked at us like we were crazy.  That just made us laugh harder. 

I miss the way she gave me hope for the future.  She could be blunt, and direct, sometimes brutally so, but when we talked about the future the worst of my past just disappeared.  I miss the dreams we'd share.  The plans we'd make.  The sense we can do anything if we're together.

I miss taking care of her.  When she got migraines, or was horribly ill, I miss sitting by her bedside, getting her meds, water, ice packs.  I truly miss the ability to make her misery just a little bit better.  If she was unstable on her feet, I'd support her.  If she was puking I would sit by, and hold out a glass of water so she could wash the taste out of her mouth.  I miss the weak but grateful look she'd give me.  I genuinely miss worrying about her health, and trying to track all her various medications.    

I miss the way she knew me.  I there were so many things I confided in her that I haven't told anyone else.  Many more things I didn't have to tell her.  She had instinctual knowledge.  She had just as many sleepless nights as I did.  I wonder now, if I'll ever trust a woman enough to tell her some of those darker things, and if such a woman might be rare, rarer still is the woman that's been where I've been, and seen what I've seen.  

I miss the quiet moments.  This stolen moments when we could just be together.  Her presence was a balm on even the worst anxieties.  In calm moments I felt such peace as I have not felt in well. . . most of my life.  We didn't have to talk about anything.  Sometimes just sitting in silence holding hands was all we needed.  

Far more than that, for me, I have a really overactive imagination.  I could live in the worlds I imagine.  Often times I've gotten lost for hours and days even exploring worlds that don't exist.  Even with more terrestrial matters, I can imagine possibilities, and see them almost as clearly as if they were happening, or recent memories.  

For a very long time, I willfully prevented myself from delving in such thoughts.  But with Becky I began to dream those dreams.  I could see the moment I proposed to her.  True in reality it didn't remotely match reality, the fact that I saw it in my head at all. . . that let me know this was it for me.  I saw myself lifting her veil at our wedding.  I could see the tears of joy she almost but not quite held back.  I could see her after our first child was born.  The exhaustion clear on her face along with a look of sheer joy and wonder at the small life she held in her arms.  I saw a curly haired precocious child that was an absolute terror, running around full of laughter.

I saw so much more.  A whole life.  When she said "the way things are I can't marry you." it was like watching all those visions be painfully ripped away and watch them circle past an event horizon into a singularity.  I don't doubt the pain of her death would have been in that moment just as bad.  But unlike a death this pain lingered.  

While my psyche fractured and I tried to find refuge in my rationality, one question kept screaming its way through my head. . . why?  Why?  WHY?  What had I done wrong?  Was there hope?  Is there anything I can do?  Can't we find a way to fix things?  What if. . . ?  What if. . .  ?  Finally a piteous plea.  Please.  

Each time I tried to talk to her I felt the love she'd once had for me die a little more.  Finally. . . we might as well have been strangers.  I asked her what we were after she said she couldn't marry me, she said "very good friends."  I wish we were.  If you didn't check my Facebook timeline you'd never have known we were oh so close to marriage.  

I will probably never know why.  I suspect if I was given a rationally satisfying answer it would hurt my emotional side horribly.  If I were given an emotionally satisfying answer it would offend my rational side.  Despite the fact that even now there's a part of me that would do anything she would say if it meant we might be together again, I suspect there's another part of me that would never be able to trust her again.  I'd always be on the lookout for the next flashpoint that would end things. 

I've never told any woman I've dated, but the litmus test for me as to whether I would wish to marry a woman came from the nightmare that was the WTB.  I saw relationships and marriages end because of the wounds of war.  I also saw just how battered a human body can get.  I would ask myself, "If I ended up back there, and was really hurt, would she stay?"  I don't think I could go through that kind of hell alone again.  With Becky right up until the moment she broke things off, The answer was an unqualified yes.  I think the fact that I thought the answer was one thing when it was really another adds another level of hurt.  It also makes me terrified to realize even if I think the answer is yes, I might get paralyzed in a car crash tomorrow and whatever woman I might try to be with might not wait for me to wake up before hitting the road.    

I have come away from this knowing I'll never meet another woman like Becky.  I'm not sure I want to.  As amazing, and wonderful and beautiful as she was, I don't ever want to fall so deeply in love again.  I'll mourn the death of the love we had, and in time, I'll hope she finds the right man for her and has the life she hoped for.  I fear that she'll get in her own way, and I tend to think very few men will be so persistent as to ever break through that high wall she erects around herself.  Whatever the case for myself the path ahead looks a little darker.  The desire to drive toward a goal is a little dimmer.