Change

Posted in friends, life, relationships with tags , , , on November 14, 2017 by me

I’ve talked about this before.  But back when I was going through therapy, the counselor said that I needed to be be aware that if I made a lot of drastic changes, that I should expect to lose some friends.  She said that a lot of them needed something out of me, or relied on my stability, and when I wasn’t that for them, they’d resent it.  I was pretty lucky, that didn’t really happen.  There were some acquaintances that drifted away, but that was ok.  The close friends stayed close, became better friends actually.

A couple of years ago I went on a series of dates with Boobs McGee.  She was a hot mess.  She warned me not to get too attached, that it was just a casual thing, but then she got upset when she thought I was only interested in sex.  If I didn’t call her enough, that was a problem, but I wasn’t supposed to think she was interested in something serious.  I didn’t break it off immediately because when she turned a lot of the crazy off, she was fun and we had some good times and a lot of shared interests.  But I took her at her word and didn’t get too invested.  She was just good company when I needed a date.

After 7 or 8 weeks she broke it off.  She said I said something judgemental one night that she didn’t like, she’d met someone on a dating app the day before and was curious to see what happened with it.  A month later they were married.  A couple months later she was kicking him out of her house and filing for divorce.

She looked me up a couple months ago.  Because of my job and hers, we could talk online or text a lot during the day.  No dating this time, just friends.  She needed a shoulder to cry on.  So this past weekend, she was working a show a couple of blocks from my house.  The day was dragging and she asked me to bring her a cup of coffee.  It was the first time we saw one another in 2 years.

This is a very, very minor change.  Not like what the therapist was talking about, but it was funny.  The whole time we were hanging out, she kept mentioning my beard and earring, how I needed to get rid of them both, they weren’t me.  It was funny, how would she know?  Because we went out five or six times a couple years ago?  Because she’s been complaining about her ex husbands to me the last couple of months and not asking a lot about me?  What she means isn’t that “they’re not me”, but “I’m not the me she remembers and/or needs me to be.”

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I’m a little happy right now…

Posted in family, friends, home, life, love with tags , on November 11, 2017 by me

…  I’m coming back from celebrating Veterans’ Day with some good friends and remembering some people who aren’t with any longer.

It started out a couple weeks ago.  My friend said he had made a reservation for 4 at a local restaurant.  Originally, I’d been planning on going to Meow Wolf in Santa Fe this weekend, taking off after work on Friday, spending the night, then going to the interactive art exhibits today and coming home tonight.  But he guilted be into sticking around tonight.  The weather is looking good, so hopefully I can get a good last long motorcycle trip in next weekend.

People bailed on this weekend, so it was looking like it might be just him and I.  Wednesday I had my meditation class and met with a fellow Vet afterwards and asked him if he wanted to come.  He’s working on flipping a house and declined, saying he needed to crank on some stuff this week.  So my friend and I get to the restaurant and one friend texts to say they’re in the neighborhood and coming.  Then my friend who was flipping the house texts and asked if I want to get a beer.  I tell him I’m going to crotch punch him and tell him to get his ass over there.  Soon the four of us are sitting at the table and then we recognize another vet we were in Afghanistan with, and all of a sudden we’re laughing, texting pics, posting stuff on FB, people are calling, etc.  It’s just one big happy moment.

I wasn’t with some people I originally wanted to be with.  Marla and I texted today, wishing one another Happy Veterans’ Day.  Dates didn’t happen.  I got home and, while buzzed, cut things off with someone who’s been stringing me along.  This isn’t meant to be doom-and-gloomy.  I’m sure things will work out with someone and I’ll live happily ever after.  But if things don’t?  I’ve got friends.  I’ve got my tribe.  And they’ll look after me.  If I go in for another operation and my kid or some loved partner aren’t there to take care of me?  Someone else will be.  Whether it’s family or one of these guys that I’ve deployed with.  And that’s almost as good.

Meditation

Posted in family, life, relationships with tags , , , , , , , , on October 24, 2017 by me

For the last couple of years I’ve played around with yoga and mediation.  Nothing serious, but I knew the value was there.  Last year, after the engagement ended, I decided to take some serious steps towards staying healthy after the breakup, and to continue to stay open minded about things that could help me.

I started taking mediation seriously, I got an app for the phone to help guide me through it.  I got the oil diffuser.  I got the goofy music.  It worked well.  For months I did it daily, whether I traveled or not.  And it seemed to help.  I felt much more centered and it helped me focus, something I’ve been struggling with for awhile, especially since the head injury.

I got an email a couple of weeks ago from the local Wounded Warrior Project team, asking if I wanted to participate in a 4 week mediation class.  How could I pass up?  The app is decent, but knowing that it’s been beneficial to me, why wouldn’t I want to see what I could learn from an actual instructor?  Besides, what else do I have to do on a Wednesday night?  Sit on the couch and watch TV?  I figured there’d be some hints and tricks, and maybe I’d do better at the longer meditations than I do on my own.

So I go to the class, and the teacher started lecturing after the initial mediation.  I was surprised to learn that meditation doesn’t only work on the higher functioning brain, it also works on the lizard brain.  But I was blown away by the example she gave.  She said if someone had a traumatic childbirth, say the mother died, they were breech born or c-section?  Even though the high functioning brain wasn’t fully developed, the trauma would be imprinted on the lizard brain for life.  And the baby/person might have their reptilian brain trapped in a fight/flight mode for most of their life.  Easily triggered, in survival mode, putting up barriers to protect their self.

The behaviors that she went on to describe all struck a nerve, it was like a checklist of all the behaviors I became aware of in myself over the last five or six years.  Especially right after the breakup with Marla.  So the funny thing?  I was almost still born.  My mom knew something was wrong and rushed to the hospital.  They didn’t want to believe her, but she wouldn’t take “no” for an answer and finally they listened.  When they tried they couldn’t find a heartbeat.  The umbilical cord had wrapped itself around my neck.  C-section it was.

That was just week one.  Can’t wait to see what happens tomorrow night.

 

Posted in life with tags , , , , on October 19, 2017 by me

I’m going through and slowly buying all the Travis McGee and Spenser books in e-format so I can have them with me.  I’m on “The Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper” now and read this passage at lunch today:

She was of that particular breed which has always made me feel inadequate.  Tallish, so slender as to be almost, but not quite, gaunt.  The bones that happen after a few centuries of careful breeding.  Blond-gray hair, sun-streaked, casual, dry-textures, like the face, throat, backs of the hands, by the sun and wind of the games they play.  Theirs is not the kind of cool that is an artifice, designed as a challenge.  It is natural, impenetrable, and terribly polite.  They move well in their simple, unassuming little two-hundred-dollar cotton dresses, because long ago at Miss Somebody’s Country Day School they were so thoroughly taught that their grace is automatic and ineradicable.  There are no girl-tricks with eyes and mouth.  They are merely there, looking out at you, totally composed, in almost exactly the way they look out of the newspaper pictures of social events.

Originally I was sucked in by the first line, taking solace that one of my child-hood heros was intimidated by a certain type of woman.  As I’ve e fbeen dating, I’ve come to the realization that long ago, when I was convinced I was unlovable, I was also convinced of my lack of attractiveness to the opposite sex, so I’ve always felt that a significant portion of the female population was off-limits to me, out of my class.  I’ve been working on that.  But I was planning on writing a different blog post today, and as I re-read that passage, I saw a tie-in in my mind.

When I was on active-duty at Ft. Bragg, I was a communications guy for a combat engineer brigade.  This was 1995-99, so for the most part, we were an Army in time of peace, so we did a lot of training or “going to the field”.  Ft. Bragg is one of the largest military bases and we’d also deploy people for humanitarian missions.  We’d build runways and schools and help with hurricane cleanup, etc.  When we were in the field, we’d have units spread all over Ft. Bragg and Camp Mackall.  For Brigade exercises, the commo section would support all the IT/Computer needs as well as radio needs for the entire Brigade.  At that time, one of our primary tools was FM radio, which is only line of site (LOS) communications.  Planning range was 30 miles, but in reality, it was closer to 15-20 reliably.  Because of the size of Ft. Bragg, we’d end up having to set up a retransmission station (retrans) to make sure people could talk.

I don’t know why, but for some reason, most of the other commo guys struggled with setting up retrans.  We had some senior guys who were good at it, but the young guys sucked.  I don’t know if it was a training thing, or the way people processed information, but it was easy for me, while it was really hard for some of these other guys.  When I first got to the unit, we had tons of guys who could do it, and I was focused on the IT stuff, but for some reason, we went through a major staffing change in the commo section, and all of a sudden, I was THE ONLY GUY who could make everything work, AM/HF, FM, SATCOM and IT.  And I was expected to ve everywhere at once.

We had one long, painful exercise where I did 8 hours in the “head shed” or the tactical operations center.  This was basically the office building, supporting the officers.  So I was there during the main day shift, then I had 8 hours “off”, where I was supposed eat, shower, shave, do laundry, sleep, etc, then 8 hours at the retrans site, training people and pulling a shift.  It took an hour to get to the retrans site and an hour back, those came out of my “off time”.  So I’d sleep some during the night shift at the retrans site.  What I would do if I was alone, was I would set an alarm to go off at the hour.  I’d wake up, set the alarm to go off in 15 minutes, turn the HMMWV (Humvee) on to charge the battery, make my radio check, and go back to sleep.  The alarm would go off, I’d turn the truck off, and set the alarm to go off at the next hour.  When I was sleeping, I’d sleep with the handset tucked under my ear, and I’d wake up if someone called me over the radios and take care of whatever needed to be taken care of.

That scenario ended up being somewhat common over the next year or two.  I’d get stuck out at a retrans site during hurricane operations, exercises, etc.  When we deployed, if we were out on an extended mission, I’d do the same thing, sleeping while listening to the radios.  When we weren’t on a mission, the radios would be in my sleeping area, as well as the phone, and they’d be going off all night.  People would show up at the flight line and need a ride, Red Cross messages, Situation Reports, commo-checks, etc.

About 6 weeks ago, I spent the night at a woman’s house.  It was the first time we’d slept in the same bed together, and the next day she mentioned that it was one of the weirder experiences she’d had.  She said that I snored, a lot, and that it always seemed like I was in a deep sleep, but that any little toss or turn she made, any little sound in the house, and I was awake, checking things out, then back to sleep almost instantly.  She was up most of the night, because she couldn’t get comfortable because she was scared to move too much and wake me up again.  But she said she’d never seen anyone, even little kids, drop back off so quickly, so soundly as I did.

There was a young guy at work earlier this year.  He moved onto a new job, but he was impressionable and easily impressed.  One day he needed something out of a locked room, so I dug my keys out of my pocket.  “You’re not left handed are you?” he asked.  “Nuh-uh.”  “So why do you carry your keys in your left-hand pocket?  That seems awkward.”  I pointed my right hand towards him and made a trigger squeezing motion with my finger “It’s my gun hand.  Have to keep it open.”  I didn’t really think about it, it was just habit after so many years.  I wasn’t trying to impress him.  I was just responding.  A lot of time went into figuring out how to assemble my gear in a way that made sense in combat.  How to put my spare mags on my belt to facilitate quick reloads, etc.  But he was blown away and asked a million questions.

I’ve written about some of this before.  Wondering how long these behaviors were going to stick around, wondering if I was always going to be a little “weird”.  Over the years I came to accept the differences, but it still felt wrong.  Reading that passage reminded me that we’ve all got those behaviors that are a cultivated into us.  I’ll always say “sir” and “ma’am” because of my parents, I drive a stick shift a certain way, have habits when I ride my motorcycle because of lessons hard learned.  Not sure why, but that realization just felt like letting out a big breath I didn’t realize I was holding in.

 

The Script

Posted in life, love, music, relationships with tags , , , , on October 10, 2017 by me

A friend invited me to go see The Script with him in concert tonight.  I’m kid-free, so why not?  But who’s are they?  I figured I better youtube them and remind myself what they sing.  It’s funny, I knew the name sounded familiar, but the title “breakeven” jumped out at me.

Duh!  When I was getting divorced, that song was on almost continual replay.  She was going off to be with another guy and I was left in our old, run-down house, alone until the kid came over again.  At that time it was almost impossible to believe that things would be ok.  Then Marla came along and for a bit things were awesome.  When Marla and I broke up, I went back and listened to this song again, to see if it’d resonate and it didn’t, it was just a song.  There were other break-up songs for her.

I heard this song years ago on the radio, I think I even wrote a blog about it.  I couldn’t even listen to the whole thing, it just wasn’t my style and seemed so melodramatic.  And now, I didn’t even recognize the band name.

It’ll be interesting to see them in concert tonight.

Sleeping With Other People

Posted in friends, life, love, Movies with tags , , , on October 9, 2017 by me

Just watched this movie tonight.  I’m not claiming that it’s the greatest movie ever.  But it was pretty good.  There were a couple scenes in it that resonated pretty well.  One about being a late bloomer, waiting for sex so it will be special, and it not being special, so having a lot of un-special sex afterwards because of it.

The movie had a “When Harry Met Sally…” vibe to it, might even kind of be a modern version of it.  Can men and women just be friends?  It’s something I’ve struggled with, on multiple levels or in various ways.  I’ve had close female friends, with no romantic entanglements, but jealousy has set in with women I’ve been dating.  Or I’ve been friends with women and some type of feelings have been generated on one or the other side but not reciprocated, or with both, but the situation wasn’t right.  Whatever.

Anyways, nothing too important.  Just making a note to jog my craptastic memory later.  There’s a couple of things in there to think about later.

Trivia?

Posted in life with tags , , on October 8, 2017 by me

One of the bad things about breaking up with people is the stuff that sticks in your head that you don’t know what to do with.  If J’s husband hadn’t died, tomorrow would be their 13th anniversary.  What do you do with that after they aren’t in your life anymore?  Contacting someone like that, knowing they’re in a bad spot in their life, isn’t appropriate.  We all know birthdays and anniversaries of bad things.  And some good things too.  Likes, favorite songs, preferred drinks and other things.