Tag Archives: challenges

Counting Days

Well, I had a nice post written. Then my computer had a heart attack and for some reason WordPress hadn’t autosaved like it usually does. So the SparkNotes version:

My husband is coming to Korea!!!

I’ve been busy with unit stuff.

I went to the DMZ, to Osan, and to a wildlife park not too far from here.

Did I mention MY HUSBAND’S COMING???!?!? πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

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Stronger Together

It’s funny how life doesn’t work out how you planned, sometimes. Or in my case, like ever.

A few years ago, I was newly separated from my then-husband, recovering from a relationship that had turned negative and poisonous. I was determined to take some time to pursue my own life, to be me and not be ashamed of who I was – be that my body, my personality, or my achievements. That required starting at pretty much ground level. Ground level if an improvement when you’ve been sunk in a pit, you know?

I lived with my best friend for awhile, while I tried to get financially on my feet enough to get my own place. Somehow during that time, a guy I had known from work became what I thought was my summer fling. He was fun, he had a boat and a truck, and the sparks flew. He knew I was planning to join the military and we both agreed our relationship was just for fun and companionship. He had spent 9 years in the infantry; he knew exactly what was going to happen if I did sign up. We were just enjoying each other until life took us our separate ways.

Best laid plans of mice and men.

It took quite awhile for me to stop hemming and hawing and get all the papers signed, but it was almost time for me to leave. We talked a lot. I won’t go all mushy on you. Long story short, we decided we had something special, something worth working and waiting for, and we decided to stay together. When I graduated AIT, then we’d decide where our relationship was going to go from there. He came with me to see my parents that Christmas. They loved him. My dad loved that he could talk military stuff with him. My mom loved that he would talk to her, period. My 14 year old brother thought he was the best thing since sliced bread because obviously infantry = badass. They all loved that he treated me with respect, that he worked hard, and that I was so happy.

I went off to basic training, and things went to hell in a handbasket (as detailed in this post). At least with the military. I really seriously considered going home, and our relationship was one of the reasons both that I wanted to go home, and that I eventually stayed. I wanted SO BAD to be back home with him. Back where I felt safe, and loved, and comfortable. At the same time I had to be true to myself. I’d turned my back on myself for a guy once and swore I’d never do it again. Yes, relationships require sacrifice, but that has to be balanced with being true to yourself. I learned this the hard way. If you don’t love yourself, you’ll never be able to fully love someone else. So this was what I felt I had to do, this is where I was supposed to be, even if it was so hard some days I thought it would kill me. If our relationship couldn’t survive this, than it wasn’t what I – what we – thought it was.

When I came home on convalescent leave I was really worried how things were going to go between us, but it was like I’d never left. He’d taken care of everything while I was away, even my crazy (really crazy) cat. He had taken care of ME, even though I was over 1,000 miles away. He’d talked to my family. He’d written me letters. Even when I couldn’t talk to him for weeks at a time and he had no idea when I was next going to call, he never once missed a phone call. My cat was fat and happy. All was right in my world. Amazingly. Blissfully. We talked. A lot. Decided we were in this for the long haul. So at the end of my 28 days I went back to finish training. Came home for Christmas. Finished AIT.

And 2 weeks ago, we got married. Now I’m in Korea. Hopefully he’ll get to come join me before too long, if all the paperwork gets approved. If it doesn’t, I’ll get 30 days of leave in about November and then come back to finish out my year here. We’ve been apart a LONG time. I miss him like crazy. But we’re in this together and every time something gets thrown at us, we get stronger. Sure it hurts. But he’s worth it. We’re worth it. I love him so much and can’t wait to make our home together, wherever that ends up being.

249

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Army Strong.

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The Struggle

Is real.

It’s compounding physical on top of mental now. Which is supposed to happen. I just feel this constant looming dread of going to my duty station and being so far away from my family. No, it’s not a deployment. But by the timeΒ  I finally get back to them, it will have been over 2 years since we’ve lived together as a family.

I don’t know how to describe the way I feel except dark. Just dark. I’ll graduate, I’ll make it. But for what? I don’t give 2 cents about experiencing another country if I can’t do it with the people I love. I guess that’s the wrong attitude but I really just don’t. Someone asked me the other day what I’m going to do while I’m there if I don’t go out and party and have fun. I told themΒ  I’d probably work as much as I can and just stay in my barracks room the rest of the time. I guess I need to pull my head out of my fourth point of contact but at this point I don’t even know how.

My paratrooper other half says you have to learn to turn the feelings off. That you have to know that you miss the ones you love, without feeling it. I guess I can see the wisdom in that, but I don’t know how to not feel something. It hurts. I miss him, I miss all of them. I don’t understand why things fell out this way and I desperately want to change it but there’s not a damn thing I can do.

Getting Through

7 more weeks. Just 7.

Excuse me a little moping right now. Because frankly, I’m tired of everyone (with the exception of a handful of people I can tolerate) here. The immaturity level is through the roof. I swear it’s like being back in high school. Even the few people I do go places with – oh the woes of the necessary “battle buddy” for everything except taking a shower – are at least 6-8 years my junior, and it shows. Not to insult them in any way. It’s ok to be 18, 19, 20 and going through that part of life. I’m just over it. So even the mature 20 year olds…have a perspective so far removed from mine that a lot of times I end up just shaking my head and listening to them. I miss being around people that I can relate to. There are a few of us “older” folks here (which, by the way, means 25-30), but most of them are a lot like me – nose to the grindstone through the week, to hell with any chance of getting disqualified or recycled. Free time spent on the phone with family, trying to make sure nothing falls apart. Even then, they’re not on my team so we see each other in passing. Kind of hard to get to know two or three people out of 90. Yep, my platoon has – or had – almost 90 people.

We were “phased up” recently, which means on the weekend we’re pretty much on our own except for first and last formations. Yay for civilian clothes. Yay for free time. And…no one to hang out. No one I really feel comfortable with. A couple girls on my team I go eat with, even went out into San Antonio with…but in the end, I felt tired. Trying too hard. Wearing too much of a mask. I don’t pretend to be someone I’m not. But the gap – dare I say generation gap? – is almost too big to breach.

Another kind of gap I keep seeing is the difference in mentality between those of us that are active duty, and the National Guard or Reserve (no disrespect meant to them). Because, like it or not, they’re weekend warriors and a lot of them enlisted because their recruiters sold them on that idea. Over half of my company is Guard or Reserve. They want to train and go back home to party. Go back to school. Go back to their lives. This army stuff doesn’t mean jack to some of them. It’s an extra paycheck. Something to get through for a few extra thousand a year. Ok, that’s fine. But most of them – especially the younger ones – give no thought at all to what it means to dedicate the next few years of your life to the military. Most of them don’t care if they get in trouble here, because their units at home will never see those papers or if they do, won’t care much.

Maybe if I didn’t have a family too, it wouldn’t be such a big deal. Maybe if my focus wasn’t on getting back with them and making a home for us again, wherever it is.

Maybe I’m just old. πŸ˜›

Short Night Long Week

It’s 1:30 a.m., I still haven’t been to sleep, and I have to be up at 5:15. Perfect. I knew I shouldn’t have had that coffee when we went to get pizza. Oh well. I reviewed for the test, talked to my love, and read some of a new book. And at least it’s 5:15, not the normal 4:15, and we don’t have PT (which makes the entire day feel like a day off, to me). Not a good way to start off this very long week, with the final exam tomorrow, skills testing the next 3 days, and then the national board exam on Friday.

I’m reading Becoming Odyssa, by Jennifer Pharr Davis. I love books about journeys, real or imagined, but as I’ve grown older the real ones call much louder. The Appalachian Trail has fascinated me since I was just a little girl, as my grandparents lived “over the hill and through the holler” from where it lies on Peter’s Mountain in West Virginia. I’m only on the 3rd chapter of the book, but I already feel like I can relate to Odyssa in this journey of my own.

Which reminds me – Carolyn from Taking One Stitch At a Time nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award! Thank you very much Carolyn, it’s very sweet of you. I’ll fulfill the rest of the list for the award later, but I wanted to say thanks before too much time went by. πŸ™‚

Now if only I could get some sleep…

Keep Calm

Well, I learned something else about the army this week. Something I probably should have already known, but some of us have thicker skulls than others. πŸ˜› Basically, the bottom line is: don’t attempt to plan ANYTHING remotely similar to a normal life while you’re at the beck and call of Uncle Sam. Times change, places change, and to the people making all the changes you really are just a number. I can’t even really fault them for that, because with so many people and places how else could it be done and still be even halfway efficient?

So yeah. I got my orders. To the very last – and I mean bottom of the barrel out of all the dozens of places I could go, dead last – place I would ever want to go or live.

I’m still kind of in shock. Of course you suck it up, deal with it, and go on. I’m far from being the first or the only person to be unhappy with their orders. I just feel like my life has been on hold for a year and now it’ll essentially be on hold for another two. Nothing I can really do about it though.

Keep calm and carry on.

No One Ever Drowned in Sweat

GodoPT

That’s what I keep telling myself. Every morning, when I drag myself out of bed at 0400 to go kill myself running, or with squats or some other form of physical torture.

The army is obsessed with PT. Especially running. Apparently I’m the only person that was unaware of this, but I got a hell of a rude awakening when I got to Basic last January. Even before the knee injury I struggled with PT. The only thing I was even halfway good at was situps. When I got to Basic, there was no flipping way I could’ve passed the PT test, even as low as the standards are for Basic and for women my age.

I’ve never been very physically active. At least not by army standards. Sure I like to hike and bike, stuff like that, but run? No, thank you, move along. I despise running. Still. And now especially because afterwards my knee hurts like hell for the rest of the day. By the end of the week, just the thought of running is almost enough to put me in tears. But I’ve learned a few things about PT, and about myself.

  • Just because my best isn’t as good as someone else’s best doesn’t de-value my best. I watch guys fly by me like I’m moving backwards every run, and they’re not even breathing hard. Meanwhile I’m dying, gasping for breath, feeling dizzy and heaving by the time the run is over. Sure, it’s embarrassing. But guess what? I gave my all, my 110%. Some of them weren’t even giving 75%.
  • Not quitting will get you further than you can imagine. I want to quit every single time. I want to stop when it starts to burn, when I feel like either my lungs or my knee are going to give out. But I keep pushing. It’s only an hour, I always tell myself. It sucks, but it can only suck for a certain amount of time, because we have too much other stuff to do today for the sergeants to keep us out here any longer. I keep going, even when I’m barely moving and my muscles are giving out. And surprise, surprise…I’ve gotten stronger.
  • You do get stronger. Sometimes, like when I compare myself to the 300+ PT scorers, I feel like I will never get any better and that a 300 is out of my reach. But then I have to remind myself of where I was in the beginning. And that I’ve already passed the PT test. Improvement is always something to strive for, but right now I have to be content with the last score and just keep pushing.

It doesn’t get easier, you just get STRONGER.

Army Strong.