Haze Grey and Underway

The first night on the ship no one got any sleep; the berthing was lit and voices were echoing as everyone scrambled to unpack and claim their spaces for their belongings the next six plus months. Space on the ship is tight and competition for the best spots are ruthless. My command was placed in a berthing with ships company women which automatically caused the stench of rival and disdain to overcome the nerves and anxiety of a deployment. I was still in first lieutenant and assigned to work with the ships company first lieutenant to keep our space clean. This actually worked to my advantage in many ways.

I got to know the females I worked with and in return gained their respect. They left my space alone when I returned to my regular shop as an aviation electric technician and helped me when I was in need at port calls. They taught me the secrets of the ship and served as a support system while we were so far away from the ones we loved. Many of the females assigned to first lieutenant in the berthing from ships company were there because they were being separated for things like being a lesbian, reporting sexual assaults or harassments, and mental health diagnoses. I learned that unfairness of “Don’t Ask, Don’t tell” as I watched my shipmates get discharged for commiting the same acts as heterosexual couples. 

It discouraged me to know that my friends were losing their career and their benefits for being themselves. These women were pretty fenemenal in every way, yet the Navy saw them as nusances and troublemakers; shitbags. The injustices I whitnessed during my time in the military highly influenced my decision to not re-enlist. At this point in my life I had many friends of varying sexual orientations and had even pretended to be the girlfriend of a gay man that was not allowed to come out in our hometown. It infuriated me to be a part of an establishment that treated anyone different from the majority as if they didn’t exist. We were just bodies that couldn’t provide enough to meet expectations so we we were cast aside as nusances. 

It was hard to go from an honor student that had my hard work recognized and appreciated to working harder than I ever had in my life and still failing to satisfy my superiors for the most part. The discouragement led to depression that continued to spiral down throughout the deployment. I had very little contact with people although I received packages from my family and letters from my friends but I was very lonely and felt that the feeling it may never go away. There were good times and memories which will come later but overall the deployment caused me to have a major shift in how I viewed the military and its unethical treatment of those that worked as hard as others but we’re never acknowledged unless in a negative light.

Divorce on Tuesday; Couple’s Tattoos on Saturday

The last several weeks have been centered around chaos and turmoil in my home which has sadly kept me from my true intentions by allowing it to do so. After my crush decided he only wanted to be friends, my life began to really change drastically between my husband and myself. The night I got the news and wrote a blog about it and my husband was very triggered and we got a fight after a great night at our favorite bar. 

That night I told him his inability to allow me to do things with others outside of my relationship plutonically makes me miserable. He thought about it for a bit and then decided it would probably be better off if we ended our ten year relationship and got a divorce as he didn’t know if he could stop using his fear of abandonment against me. I stated that was not what I wanted, I wanted him to work on his emotions so that I could also continue to work on healing myself.

A few days later a family altercation on my birthday lead to a week’s worth of verbal abuse over social media between my husband and step brother, I quit my job as my grandmother’s caregiver, and my husband had a miniature melt down that slammed him with depression and self loathing. This lead to him getting a therapist through his health insurance and he has currently attended one session. Due to our fight with family, we missed our first marriage counseling session since December because we did not have a babysitter. I wish now we would have just taken our daughter with us as we cannot get back in again until mid June.

My husband returned to work as normal the next week and I had resumed talking  to my crush now friend fairly often since my birthday. He had an accident on an ATV in his front yard and sustained a concussion. After intially refusing to go to the hospital, he was acting strange for several days. He ended up having some personal issues as a result of his concussion symptoms​ and I had been checking in on him daily because I was genuinely worried about him.

This past Tuesday I asked my friend when an upcoming appointment was and he responded sometime in March. I asked if he meant March, 2018 and he responded “No, March of this year.” I told him that it was now April, 2017 and asked if he knew what day it was. He responded about his concussion and then I did not hear from him at all. I began to get frantic as I read some of the injuries that could form from a concussion and thought I should go check on him.

I knew from his description somewhere close to where I thought he lived and headed there as soon as I got my family fed at my husband’s suggestion. He asked me to just check on my friend and come home as soon as I could. I agreed to his request but soon disregarded it after my arrival and text messages kept coming every twenty minutes. I know my husband has social and anxiety issues, but after ten years of being back in his life and fully committed to him, my normal empathy for his feelings was replaced with anger.

I hadn’t seen my friend since around St. Patrick’s day or interacted with him in any flirtatious manner since the decision to be friends was made. I wanted to make sure my friend was really alright and in all honesty we probably had the best conversation we have ever had this far in our journey; except for my rising anxiety at the angry texts coming from my husband. I was incredibly irritated by this point and decided that if he didn’t trust me enough to even talk with someone I care about after all these years that he never really had and realized this happened every time I left the house for the most part.

I have never cheated on him, and I isolated myself for a decade because he would always have something negative to say about the people I choose to spend time with. When he comes along to something he is not interested in attending he makes me miserable by constantly sighing, rolling his eyes, or tapping his foot. If he stays home, he makes me miserable constantly texting me and demanding the attention still be placed on him by my rising anxiety to check my phone constantly in the hopes to not return home to a hurt or irrate husband. That night I got sick of walking on the eggshells and decided they cut too deep.

I returned home two and half hours after I left my home, admittedly at a very late time. My husband was asleep on the couch where he said he would be and I approached him to speak with him. He was madder than I had ever seen him in the seventeen years we have known one another. He asked me to get away from him because all he felt was betrayal and rage and he wanted to hit me for the first time ever, to cause me pain. He did say he did not really want to physically hit me nor would he hit me so I left and went to the bedroom.

The next morning he was very icy as he dressed for work and left with little to no interaction. We texted and fought all day long and when he got off work that afternoon we sat down and he told me he wanted a divorce. He said he would not be able to forgive me for my actions and that all trust and faith in me were gone. He was infuriated that as a mental health professional I had put another mans welfare before his and that I was unable to understand how far the depths of the feelings he had been holding inside really were. 

I was shocked and immediately started crying. I asked him to wait for a bit, to do more therapy, get a proper diagnosis, and perhaps start some medication before making a final decision about the fate of our relationship. We both agreed to work on things between now and the end of May and reasses where we are both at then. We both love each other tremendously, I would not have stayed with a man I did not love for a decade. I know that if we stay together or divorce I will always love him as a friend, father, and someone I know that will always genuinely love me back. 

We decided that we would continue to get our couples tattoos because of this reason and kept our appointment yesterday instead of cancelling as originally planned after Tuesdays events. I told my husband I no longer give him permission to read my messages but that I was not going to change my passwords. If he reads something now that he does not like, it will not be my responsibility to handle the emotions that arise for them. I will do the same in return and own my actions. This decision was made after stumbling on a post in a poly group in which most advised against this type of behavior in a healthy relationship, especially in a poly one. I also did this at his request to not vent about him to others I know after he stated that venting on my blog would even be better for him, and received this advice from multiple sources.

I need my husband to trust me when I spend time with plutonic friends or even others I love because without it, we have nothing. I need my husband to know that I am level headed enough to take care of myself and although I am still learning new boundaries, I’m stronger than I have ever been in every aspect of my life. I would not do anything to intentionally hurt anyone,  and I know I have areas to improve and my husband does as well. I’ve realized that even if my husband does not care for the people I care to have in my life, that is his problem.

I will continue to work with him on becoming more comfortable with me being away from him and check in, try to be honest as possible, and be realistic in my time frames to the best of my abilities. I would like for my husband in turn allow me the time and respect to do the things I enjoy with or without him, and without intimidating me with guilt or fear of conflict and the barage of negative comments about myself, my decisions, and my loves and intrests. 

In the past three weeks I am happier now than I have ever been simply because I know that I am healing, I’m not afraid to be alone, and I’m tired of living my life according to everyone else’s feelings. I will continue to put my husband and household before my free time, but I will start doing things I enjoy with people I enjoy being with and hope it works to a satisfactory compromise with my husband.

I do not know if my husband has been checking my messages at this point, but I also no longer care as I never had a reason to hide in the first place and I still do not. It feels strange that the week your husband tells you he wants a divorce is the same week you get a couple’s tattoo and write about how you still feel happy about your life, but it is the life I live. I do love my husband, and if he choose to leave, I would be lying to say it wouldn’t be reluctantly on my part. 

He is my best friend and support system, he is the one that has gotten me through the pits and cracks our traumas have caused us and always stood by my side. I know we are very different from one another and it takes so much work for me and him to remain together, but so far it has been worth it and I’m committed to continue working on it until we determine what is truly best for us and our children. I hope he feels the same and that we are able to overcome the obstacles placed in front of us.

The Noose

The beginning of this week started off decently well but was abruptly filled with chaos and upheaval beginning on Tuesday. An ongoing family altercation had me continuously stressed and after leaving from their home rather distraught, I was just ready for the weekend to get started. I quit my caregiving duties because I no longer felt comfortable or welcome with the family members that are home during that time on Wednesday​. 

By Friday my husband was calling to make therapy appointments for himself due to his boss requesting he do so. I overslept for my therapy appointment and I promised my grandma I would bring her the money I owed her for not working my last two days I had been paid for, get her items from the store, and let my kids visit with their grandparents. Things were fine until I got ready to get them to leave.

After getting my grandma settled and the kids mess picked up I was hoitily asked if I had told my grandma that I quit my job. I replied had had attempted to three times and was interrupted with a reply shot icily across the room, “That wasn’t an  answer to the question, did you or did you not?” I glared in silence for a moment before I rounded up my children to head home. They stood at the windows in the dining room in an intimidating fashion as we loaded up in the car. I knew at that point my decision was the correct one.

My emotions were high as I headed towards my home but I had agreed to meet with my father there the following day to discuss the family rift in person. I was almost to my mother’s home in Prairie Grove to check on it when my husband got a text from a mutal friend. She had been attempting to reach me but my phone battery died and it was urgent. She had received a cryptic message from another mutual friend and was worried. As she does not have a vehicle, she wanted us to check on him. 

We kept in touch and made our way to his home after a series of messages to others allowed us to find him. As we neared his street we got texts from him telling us to turn around and not to come. I knew from a previous visit to this residence about a month prior when his then wife took about half a bottle of her medicine​ that he knew I was a mandated reporter. My husband stayed in the car with our children and I made my way to the apartment. I approached and knocked lightly on the door. 

My friend opened it slightly but immediately shut it upon seeing my face. I knocked lightly again and began to write down the address to call 911. He must have read my mind because he immediately opened the door and let me inside. He pleaded for me not to call anyone and I told him I would talk with him before I did anything. He asked for a hug, so I hugged him as long as he wanted. When we separated he sat on his couch and I took a spot on the floor. We discussed how being alone can be so dangerous for a severely depressed person and how I had self medicated for so many years simply to numb the roaring thoughts in my own head.

I invited him to our home several times but he declined saying he didn’t want to be a burden and that we had the kids with us. I finally decided to ask him what was keeping him at home. He sighed and rose from the couch extending his arm to me and stated he wanted to show me something. I got up and followed him through his bedroom and into the bathroom. He fumbled to get the light switch on and stumbled into the counter. 

When I peeked around the corner of his closet I could see a Dremel battery charger sitting on the toilet and inside the shower was a noose made from climbing ropes. I’m sure the horror on my face that I could not contain hit him and he began crying. I immediately remember the pain and agony I had felt so many times before when I felt unloved and alone. He snatched the noose from the shower head, we grabbed some of his belongings, and we made our way to the car.

He grabbed a notebook he called the ugly green notebook and stated it had some things written in it but he never really offered for anyone to read  it. He placed it in our kitchen where it remained and poured himself a growler of dark beer he had brought from home. He eventually told my husband that he had tried to hang himself and there were light red marks around his neck as well as both of his eyes blackened. I told my husband about the noose in the shower. We alerted his other friends he was with us and safe for the moment and commenced to attempting to enjoy our evening.

We decided since everyone had such a shitty week that we would celebrate Saturday instead of being miserable. I was nervous as I waited on my dad to  arrive and texted with a friend who surprised me with a video chat and served as a minor destraction for a few moments as he always makes me laugh. After dad’s visit we bought taco, queso, and cake supplies and our birthday celebration began. We sipped on drinks as we took turns preparing our dishes in the kitchen and enjoyed our meal together. I finally got our cake baked, iced, and just after midnight we celebrated our friends forty-second birthday instead of finding him dead in his shower.

I was reminded how precious life is and that the quietest people often have the loudest minds. I had been checking on his estranged wife for weeks but had neglected to check on him, and I felt pretty shitty about it. I have been in his place before and still struggle to keep my brain from going there occasionally still to this day. I know what it feels like to be a burden to everyone around you, that the thoughts in your own head are so consuming it feels as if the pain will never go away. It’s a pain that isn’t even easy to explain, but I know he felt it because when I tried to describe it he knew exactly what I was talking about.

It’s the pain of heartbreak and despair, the feeling that you will never love the way you loved before again. In a way, it’s right. Pain changes you, it makes you isolate, gaurd yourself more, trust less. I know what it feels like to sit back and watch the person you love not be able to love you back; to leave and move on while you’re still screaming for them to come home. In fact sitting alone after a loved one left our dwelling was the first time I contemplated taking my own life. I felt so stupid for overlooking the obvious but I also had been distracted by my own family problems.

We closed our night down watching a comedy show on Netflix and tucked ourselves into our respectful beds. We agreed to take our friend home that morning and everyone got ready accordingly. We talked about Jurassic Park with our kids on our way and as we parked, I left my husband with the kids to walk our friend home; I had to take the noose down.

He seemed confused as I walked up the sidewalk to his apartment and I told him I had to take care of something; he forgot it was still in the bathroom. That black cord hadn’t left my vision since Friday night however and I could not leave him at home with a ready made noose. I made my way to the bathroom and grabbed the noose. I began to untie it and wrap it back up in the bundle it was still neatly wrapped in. Although I was able to untie it, I had to work momentarily in several spots to get it loose and it was knotted correctly; I hoped this was his first attempt but began to doubt it.

I reached for the Dremel charger and noticed a bottle in the shower when I grabbed the noose. I had to step into the shower to retrieve the alcohol bottle and I saw the Dremel with a screw head attachment sitting next to the bottle. I’m not sure why it was in the shower, and I honestly do not know if I want to know why it was in the shower. My arms got chills as I continued to clean up the bathroom, that feeling of desperation to just make the pain stop flooded me. 

I returned his tools to his closet and was contemplating taking the rope with me. I knew that he could simply go buy another the moment I left, so instead I asked him if it would be used again anytime soon. He assured me it would not be and stuffed it underneath his couch. We hugged again and he laid down on his sofa ensuring me a long nap was in order. I felt relieved as I left his apartment and glad to have celebrated life with him this weekend rather than death. 

I felt more confident in my abilities to be there and hold space for someone even when I am battling my own demons and still have feelings of shame for having neglacted checking on my friend. Most importantly​ I was again reminded why counseling found me even though I have never been paid to be one, and I will continue to work towards opening my non-profit so there is a place for those that feel alone to go. The image of the noose and Dremel are still fresh in my mind, and likely will be for some time. I was able to untie it as an instrument of death this time, but it further tied me to my commitment and refuled my passion to make mental health availability a top priority.

Thirty-five and Finally Alive

On Tuesday I turned Thirty-five years old on what I thought was a typical day, however it quickly turned to turmoil after an altercation with some of my family. Due to changes in budget, my family is currently down to one vehicle. My husband decided to take the car to work and let me stay home with our daughter because I had a headache and she was up all night on and off. I had agreed to go to lunch with my grandmother alone to Red Lobster on my birthday, and I planned on and had been dressed and ready to go since eleven.

My daughter was still asleep as was my visiting mother-in-law so I opted to ask my husband if he would bring me the car and I would get him lunch on the way back. He did not know of my plans with my grandmother and wanted to surprise me by taking off early and offering to run errands with me. I felt horrible bout lying to him but I knew my grandmother had been saving her money for hearing aids. I sent her a text in an effort to make a compromise and offered to pay for my husbands meal. Admittedly by then I was a couple of hours later than I intended to be and it was not the first time it has happened. She stated we would do it a different day and that she was tired.

I felt horrible about missing our lunch date but when I arrived I offered to get her something else after she stated she needed to lay down. Almost immediately my husband was accused by other family members of having previous knowledge and crashing our plans in effort for him to get a free meal; one that he does not even prefer as he hates Red Lobster. A second blow was delivered when it was suggested that our daughter dictates our life and we needed to get control of it.

My husband blew up and went to the car at this point and began honking until I joined him. I left my grandmother visably upset and feeling like my guts had been ripped from me. In an instant my day went from semi chaotic to horrible. The next was no better, as I returned the following morning I was met icely at the door by one member and shared a “Hello” with the other as I exited to do an errand. After returning I was told that my presence was questioned in a sarcastic manner and I then made the decision that I would no longer place myself in the presence of those that have no respect for me in secret.

Yesterday I was told through social media that I used my past and trauma to hold me back. I make excuses about how the world has wronged me, and I need to stop complaining and whining and do something with my life. Although my traumas happened over a decade ago, I have never really processed the information. I drank myself numb and denied for over a decade. The several years I have spent in and out of therapy have helped me tremendously, but I am still processing.

I get stronger every day, and I try very hard to manage my life to the best of my ability. I do make mistakes, I do have irrational thoughts and beliefs. Most of these relate to myself and sometimes I misconstrue the thoughts others have. In this case I feel I have yet again opened up about my past to people who do not care to hear it. Instead of being empathetic, I have been told that clinging to my past is my crutch and I use my mental health issues and others to survive in life.

I disagree with this, however I also know that I cannot change the feelings others have about me; those are in fact their perceptions and misguided conclusions that they allow themselves to be deluded by before making and expressing rational thoughts. In fact simple definitions are not common knowledge among them, so I honestly do not know why I expected them to be any different from what they have finally shown their true colors to actually be.

I find it extremely hurtful that I have extended myself to them both emotionally and one financially to continue her habits and then they use my past against me. It’s my crutch I cling to in order to not progress my life and I take advantage of my loved ones. The last one hurts the most but I suspected that had been the mutaul feelings of many people for quite some time. 

I find it ironic that the one that called me out for being lazy has not even yet applied to multiple jobs in our area since relocating and living rent free and smoking and drinking off of cash he makes from the same said family member I supposedly take advantage of for the last four months or the money that was sent in effort to support him across country when he went to school. I am hurt more so than I have ever been in my life by my immediate family and I’m not sure how it will be fixed.

I’m mad that after living a life separated from my family by divorce and missing one event or another during holidays I am again forced to pick and choose sides to have a relationship with my family. I do not feel as if I can trust them again if they honestly feel that way about my past. I already knew from previous discussion that my work ethic is not anything to be proud of and that me and my husband needed to be taught a lesson and take control of our lives. This would supposedly make us proud.

What they fail to realize that everyday I make it out of my bed, breathing, and working towards getting out of the house does make me proud. That every day I fight myself on my worthiness to live in this world and the burdens I place on others, especially my children. I struggle to concentrate through tasks that used to take me minutes while battling anxiety riddled emotions my brain randomly spurts at me throughout the day. I make it to most of the places I am supposed to and I try to be the best mom and wife I can be. This makes me proud.

In the time I have left the military I have earned my bachelor’s and Master’s degrees​, I have worked multiple jobs at once, and I continued to work when I was staying home with our children as a nanny and caregiver until this Tuesday. I got a DWI and stopped self medicating, I realized I had mental health issues and I asked for help, I continue to use these services when available, and I strive to make everyone in my life as happy as possible to a fault.

Recently I decided that my life is my life and mine alone to live. I will do what I and my husband feel are the absolute very best for our family and our children. We both remain committed to that and are going to attempt every effort to be as healthy physically and emotionally as possible from present. I will face things that are uncomfortable and I will continue to grow as a person in my own way and in my own time. While my birthday may not have been one I will remember as being a good day for obvious reasons, it will be memorable in that for the first time in my life, I am living it for me and I finally feel alive.

A Week Away

As soon as the second leave period began I jumped in my red Saturn and headed out to Arkansas. I drove all night only stopping for gas and bathroom breaks, popped yellow jackets to stay awake, and chugged mountain dew followed by a ciggeratte every half hour or so. The trip took about twenty four hours but I wanted to leave my car in Arkansas for my cruise, so I knew the flight home would be no big deal.

I finally got to my driveway and hurried to my room to drop my gear. My dog greeted me and I made my way to the back den to snuggle with him on the couch, it was our favorite pastime. My mom joined me and we visited for awhile. I knew my friends were in town and decided to seek them out. We left that night for Monroe to eat and catch a movie. It was nice catching up but I immediately fell asleep upon arrival at the movie theater and I snoozed the rest of the evening. I realized how disconnected I felt from the women I had known since the first grade, but I couldn’t explain why I felt this way.

Their conversation topics were so different from the ones we had in the military. Their wild nights would have been rated G if they had been a movie compared to what I had whitnessed and experienced. I felt so uncomfortable with my thoughts I did not really speak much unless asked a direct question and felt so alien listening to their small talk. Our lives were so different; law school, grad school, marriage, babies, while mine consisted of work, drinking, and smoking cigarettes while attempting to not get raped and preparing for an upcoming war none of them were allowed to be told about due to security. It made me avoid them the rest of my leave period; I needed people I could relate to.

I hadn’t spoken to my first boyfriend in over a year or more at this point but he knew I was in town because of our mutual best friend, Zach. We arranged a meeting of sorts and I made my way to visit him. We discussed how things had been since we last spoke and he confessed he missed me. He was getting ready to graduate college and wanted to join the Navy as an officer so we could get married. I knew it was too good to be true the moment the words left his lips.

We did not reunite and that was the last time we spoke. I left the next day to return to Virginia in preparation of our next detachment. My parents drove me to the airport and I had forgotten about a sex toy a friend bought me as a joke for my upcoming deployment that was in my bag. Embarrassed, I had to tell the poor old lady working security what was in my bag. She looked horrified and processed me through as quickly as possible. I finally landed in Virginia and caught a taxie home. I was the last stop and was very comfortable until I became the only female in the vehicle.

He  started asking me questions and I tried my best to calmly answer without him hearing the panic rasing in my voice or my pounding heart and gnarling stomach. Upon arrival to my home, he asked to help me with my bags. I tipped him generously and quickly replied that I could get them as politely as possible. I ran as soon as I saw his car pull away from the curb and felt like exploding once I entered the entryway of my building. I had never experienced that before with a man I was alone with for no reason and it made feel stranger than the night I spent out with my friends. I threw my belongings in my apartment and called a friend to get a ride to base to check back in off leave. When I got home I finally passed out on the couch with the sounds of the city lulling me to sleep.

The last few days in town and at the command were hectic but flew by. I was miserable being alone at the apartment, especially with no car, but I ordered take out and spent time with my neighbors each evening until time to load up the ship. My last night home I ordered Chinese, drank, and laid in the nude until I knew I had to get my neighbor to take me to the ship. During the process I accidentally knocked the cherry of my ciggeratte down my throat and singed my espoughous.

My throat was throbbing by the time I made it to the ship, but I grabbed my sea bag and linnen bag and manuvered the catwalks to get checked in. After my bags were cleared through security I climbed the ladderwell to my berthing to unpack and get my rack ready for the next month plus. I had a bottom rack this time and it made falling asleep easier, but I found I constantly hit my head on the light provided and I was right in the lounge area where the tv and very loud women spent their off time. I hated the ship, but I was determined to make the best of it.

Loosing my First Crush in a Decade

On Valentine’s day I met a man by responding to a post in our local Facebook poly group. We began cooresponding and we met the following Friday when he arrived at my home. We visited with one another and it led to us becoming intimate while my husband was present. We chatted quite a bit the first couple of weeks and the second weekend we spent together was equally as satisfying as the first. 

Quickly communication began to deminish as the weeks progressed. We continued to see each other about once a week or so plutonically until this past week when he decided he did not want to be in a relationship with anyone. It hurt when I read the words but it felt good to finally get an actual form of communication from him. I shed a few tears at the stop light on my way to my therapy appointment and reflected on what I have learned in the few short weeks I have known him.

I remembered what it felt like to be excited to see a message​ from him and how giddy I felt in his presence. I felt comfortable with him, but I sensed he was gaurded about something. I looked forward to his presence and the things he said that would happen that never did but I always felt I was more interested than him the entire time and that he wasn’t always truthful. I initiated the conversation, the meetups, extended the invites, and made an effort to talk to him. He did say it was overwhelming at times to have attention from a woman and I tried to give him his space.

I hoped for something that was unrealistic to obtain from the beginning but I allowed the feelings to override my instincts because to be honest it felt really good to feel good after not feeling that way for so many years. I loved that he made me laugh endlessly when I was with him, but I also disliked the disconnect I felt growing between us. The last​ night I went out with him alone I struggled to spend time with him and the night ended on a very bad note when he irresponsibly drove drunk in what I perceived as his efforts to get away from me rather than staying at the venue he had admittedly slept at before. 

He didn’t talk to me or respond to my messages for a few days and told me his phone had been shut off but in the next breath told me that he talks to his ex every morning. I was advised by more than one person to not get attached, but that is easier said than done when it comes to humans and emotions. I felt a connection with him that I had not felt with another man since Andy came back into my life, and of course not of the same calliber, I barely knew and still barely know him. I once again let my guard down and opened up too soon.

The last time he came out with me and my husband unexpectedly and returned home with us but refused to do anything besides snuggle, I knew it was the end. He left the next day and we did not speak for about a day. I messaged him to let him know I had started my period, as I thought it may be a relief for him, and possibly the reason he had been avoiding my advances. I got no response, and after a medical incident I alerted him to on Monday went unanswered I really started to get the hint. 

Yesterday I went to the VA to get my IUD inserted and as a person in an undefined relationship, I decided to tell him. I also told him how I really felt about our situation and current lack of communication. I finally got a response today and although it was not the one I wanted to hear, it is the one that I knew was coming. My husband was hurt by his actions and had been encouraging me to let go of the relationship for weeks at this point, but I held on for some reason. 

I responded as honestly and heartfelt as possible to his statement and I got my true feelings out. While I would like to remain friends with this man, my husband feels he doesn’t deserve my time or energy and has stated he is not welcome at our home. It saddens me that what I had hoped would be a great start to a friendship ended so abruptly, but I also know that part of this process involves my husband and his feelings about those involved in our lives as well.

While I disagree with my husband’s thoughts about my judgements and how I treat others he deems as being unworthy of my affection or kindness, I also know that to continue to grow with my husband I have to be willing to compromise with his feelings and actions as well. While I wish my crush had been more open and honest with me about his feelings, I did learn that my unhealthy patterns of beliefs about myself did return when I was unsure of where I stood with him. It made me anxious and almost nauseated at times to remember how scary it is to be in an undefined relationship.

I realized in my own time that I needed clarification on where he stood and I asked for it when I felt I couldn’t continue to move forward with him without communicating further. I learned that I am capable of  having  positive experiences with people away from my comfort zone, which I have been unable to do in over a decade. I remembered how much I enjoy going out to hear my friends play live music. For a short time, just feeling wanted or desired again was nice to experience as well, even though I know I am by my husband still after ten years. 

Many emotions I had been numb to for so many years were able to be felt in a little over a month, this let’s me know that it is possible I can feel a lot more, and I can feel them about myself for the first time in my life. I may have gotten bruised, but I learned and I grew. The bruise will heal too, in time, and I hope that one day he does find what makes him happy, I wish him well, and hope he gets his life in order in a manner he sees fit. I’ll continue to be in the picture however it plays out and although the outcome was not what I wanted, I was reminded that there were two other people involved that wanted different outcomes in the end. 

A Christmas Alone

Two or three weeks after returning from Fallon, our command detached on the USS Roosevelt to begin our shipboard training for cruise. During this time we were told that in the two weeks we had off after the training excercise we would be given a short leave and opportunity to go home within reason before we would possibly deploy early in support of Opporation Iraqi Freedom. My roommates had already left for their deployment and I drove myself to the shipyard after cramming myself full of my favorite local Chinese food.

Our three weeks out flew by for the most part, and I signed up to take the last leave period since I had no children I wanted to see wake up on Christmas morning. I knew it would be lonely being my first Christmas away from my family, but looked forward to my week I would have with them shortly thereafter. It was strange with half of the command gone at one time and the nights at home were even lonlier. As Christmas Eve approached I had no plans and was assigned duty but no watch for Christmas Day. I drank myself to sleep on the couch in front of the tv and woke up to “A Christmas Story” playing for the annual twenty four hour marathon I always demanded we keep on until​ someone else finally fought back. This year there was no one to fight with though, just me. 

I knew my family was together, waiting on me to get home to celebrate, but also enjoying my mother’s home cooked meals I treasured because nothing in our small town was open on Christmas Day. A light snow began to fall, and I watched it out of our third floor window as it covered the walkway with a glittering mist. Although I had duty, I decided to start drinking anyhow as I figured it would be my only hope at getting any sleep that night as well. About four or so that afternoon a friend called and asked me what my plans for the evening where. I responded I was staying in. He did not give me that option.

He was at my house within thirty minutes and taking me to eat with two other mutual friends in Richmond. When I arrived I was nervous but I enjoyed our evening together and was thankful that I was not completely alone for Christmas. We cooked lamb and other side dishes and drank and played with pet rats. I learned that Christmas that family is who you make your family. From that date on, every holiday I did not return home for leave, which was often, I would prepare a meal for anyone that wanted to join us for the evening.

It became a tradition we all loved and looked forward to. I would prepare the traditional dishes my family taught me to make and others would bring their favorites. Usually someone bought a turkey for me to prepare, and always a keg of beer. I would cook for three days getting our masterpiece ready and then we would enjoy our weekend eating as much as possible. We always took the watch plates of food at the command, and tried to include as many as we could feed or fit into the house. 

While we had our ups and downs at the command during our time, we really did bond as a family. The connection I still have with many of the former shipmates I was stationed with will never be broken, we will always have each other’s backs and help or be there for them in any way possible. For so long I was afraid to be me around my former service member friends, but the more I am myself the more support I get from them.  They​ encourage me to be a better person and friend and I will be forever grateful for the time I had with them and the relationships we still have today.