“The electric man looks good today” ~ Sheryl Crow

That line was going through my head as I was cheesing like a fool at the attractive new mailman delivering to my house. Although my electric man is a charming wiseass who was probably a looker in his prime, hes also old enough to be my father. But the postman appears age appropriate and therefore fair game. But in this hyper-sensitive social environment, am I still allowed to look? Provided I keep my hands and unsolicited libidinous comments to myself (or anonymous here), of course. I’m horny but I’m not a creep.

It’s Veterans Day and I’m not changing my profile picture to one of me in uniform because that feels self-serving and attention-seeking. A little too “If everyone else jumps off a bridge”. I may very well jump off a bridge but I’ll be the 1st to go and not because I was pushed, thank you.

But back to the wave of exposure on a long tradition of Hollywood raping each other and sexual misconduct as a whole. I kept quiet during the #MeToo campaign until I read a man’s account of being molested in the military which hit close to home. He chose not to push the issue because it would have been an enlisted man’s word against a high-ranking officer’s word. In my case, I  would have been taking on a Navy SEAL who’s entire squad would have called me a liar to protect their “brother”. Yeah, well they were supposed to be my brothers too. I’m not overly sensitive, I swear. I’m not P.C. Sexually explicit jokes…sticks and stones, bullets and bombs, words cannot hurt me. But this was the one situation I could not overcome. And the one I can’t shake. That was not the enemy I expected to face in a war zone. And this is the first time I’ve admitted this publicly.

I suspect a direct correlation between my likeability and my give-a-fuck. At my age, after all these life experiences, I don’t, so I’m not.

“I’d die for you…A bullet for everybody in this room” ~ 21 Pilots

May the alterna-rock g-ds gasp and strike me down but I’m not a 21 pilots fan (nor Strokes or Kings of Leon for that matter but that’s another blog). When one of their songs comes on, I usually flip to another channel but this morning I sat through the song “Ride” and the lyrics struck me. Maybe it’s the timing, maybe it’s just my sentimentality. They aren’t profoundly poetic but he makes a point that I can relate to when he says that it is easier to take a bullet for someone than to live for them. Perhaps that isn’t exactly what he meant but that’s how I choose to understand it.

I sent the lyrics to him. He likes 21 Pilots. He text me pictures of furniture that he purchased for his new apartment. Oh, he’s committed now. Can’t pack his entire life into the bed of a truck and run away anymore. He said he didn’t know if he was running away or starting over. I said it doesn’t matter which one it is. Fear and Excitement are the same emotion; the only difference is how you interpret them.

Desiderata…

I give it a week, to stop hearing from him. By then, his abusive ex, their mutual acquaintances and a handful of new friends will have his attention again and I’ll be forgotten. He treats me like a “stop gap”, someone to talk to when no one else he prefers more is available for whatever reason.

Forgive me if I’m repeating myself here (memory of a goldfish, remember? Nope.) but I made a list about 3 years ago detailing what I was looking for in a man. Long before Oprah began pushing her “Vision Boards” with more glitter and glue than a kindergarten project, the Millionaire Matchmaker suggested a physical written list of the “non-negotiables” of a relationship. To keep things in perspective in the crush-phase, you must remember exactly what your deal-breakers are. I have a fine list, I think, and someday I may post it here but as an exercise in reality, I compare those I develop strong feelings for to this list to see how they measure up and most of them fall quite short. And if it seems that every other blog I write is about some heartache I’m experiencing, consider the dates, and you will see that there is a good year or more between them. Because I don’t meet many men who get under my skin. Or maybe I just let the broken ones in.

But I digress. So I compared my former roommate, friend? I don’t even know what to call him, to “The List” and he failed on every point. That’s not to say that he doesn’t exhibit those qualities at all, but he doesn’t for me. Integrity, steadfastness, loyalty, kinky… there is evidence to support the assumption that he has those traits but they are reserved for those he cares about. And if they do not apply to me, then they are moot.

He teases me. Flirts. He doesn’t need to add the details that he’s naked AND horny to our textual conversations but I’m an easy target, (sexually frustrated is a gross understatement) and he cant resist. Even though he gives no indication that there is or ever was a mutual physical attraction. Maybe he just likes the attention or knowledge that someone out there wants him. Chemistry is #1 on my list, by the way. But the caveat is “mutual, enduring chemistry”.

Over time, however, I came to realize that my friend, nice as he is, prizes extreme beauty above all the other desiderata that one might seek in a partner.

— Adelle Waldman, “‘A First-Rate Girl’: The Problem of Female Beauty,” The New Yorker, October 2, 2013

I also did a walk-in at the VA hospital last Friday morning, based on my mother’s advice. The ironic thing is, I had my bi-annual check up with Mental Health less than a month ago and after a half hour chat, the doctor says “Well, you are in a good place so want to catch up in a year?” Sure, see you in a year. Or three weeks, crying uncontrollably in your nurses’ office. With chronic exhaustion still lingering post-op, what anti-anxiety or sleep medication won’t turn me comatose? She prescribed a mild sedative for sleep and told me she wanted me to consider going back on Wellbutron. I chose to come off it last September because I felt I could cope fine without it. She said “The nightmares and anxiety could be the depression coming back and I think we need to nip that in the bud”. You don’t have to stay on it long-term, the nurse told me. It takes weeks to build up in the body and weeks to ween your body off it so at the shortest, I’m looking at 3 months back on medication.

Listen, I don’t judge anyone on Xanax or anti-depressants but the military judges ME. On one hand, the military urges it’s members to seek help when needed while quietly destroying the careers of those that do. At least, that is my impression. No, we do not have to disclose any form of counseling unless it concerns the intent to harm others but we are expected to disclose our medications during routine and annual physicals. And that is where you could end up in a never-ending “waiver” battle to keep your job and your security clearance because many fields in the military are deemed “incompatible” for those on psychotropic medication. Although last I read, as much as 80% of our military is medicated. It’s inevitable when people are faced with decades of violence. Consider everything you see on TV and remember the Military, law enforcement, and medics may be living and reliving it.

I ASKed my bestest friend (who happens to be an asshole) to suggest an “uplifting” movie since I was in a bit of a funk. He suggested Reese Witherspoon in “Wild” since I am gearing up for a 10 day solo hike through the Highlands for my (gulp…) 40th. Half-way through the movie, I text him to say “WTF.” His response “Well, she doesn’t die.” I did enjoy watching Reese get railed but hey, I’m a bit of sicko in the sexual fantasy department.

On a lighter note, I danced quite a bit this weekend. My stamina isn’t what it was 18 months ago but I did manage to swing dance for nearly 2 straight hours without passing out and/or vomiting. I hang primarily with a group of seniors because the group that is closer to my age-range is “The Scene” and very clique-y (F*ck those guys). We took a picture of our filthy legs and feet when it was over. Then they suggested that I follow them to a nearby brewery to continue the dancing with another live band. I was still panting and thinking incredulously, “So this is what it’s come to: I can’t even keep up with the 60 year olds…” (PS: that’s my foot with the yellow mosquito coil around the dirt blackened ankle)

I also returned to ballet and combatives classes. I’m the fat girl in the ballet class, surrounded by waifs and mirrors. And coincidentally, I’m the only one without a diamond on my left hand. As for the combatives class, it’s led by a coworker of mine; a retired Green Beret. He personifies what it means to be a Green Beret. Perhaps it’s partly generational bias but our Army’s best-of-the-best suffers from “they just don’t make ’em like they used to”. To quote another older G.B. that I work with, “What a bunch of fucking girls”. As a “girl” myself, should I take offense to my gender being one of the worst derogatory slurs one can bestow on another human being? If I did, I wouldn’t survive in this environment.

PS x 2: , “ohhh woah woah ohhh woah woah I’m falling, and taking my time on the riiiiiiyeee eyeee eyeeed eyeee eyeee eyeeed”

Tis the season to kill yourself

Several days ago, I posted a question for thought on Facebook: If G-d is omnipotent and “never gives us more than we can handle”, why is there suicide?

As hoped and expected-because this is a sincere question I have—it prompted a flurry of responses; And a few phone calls from concerned friends asking if I was okay. I reassured them that just because I broach the question of suicide doesn’t mean I’m also sitting behind the keyboard with a barrel in my mouth.

Yes, the holiday season sucks for me as they do for a lot of people. I’m unsure if it’s because the holidays just happen to be when the majority of lives traumatic events take place or if it’s theme of the holidays—Peace, love, joy, family, G-d—only exacerbate our sense of loss and loneliness with its irony.

But to answer to the question above, the concensus between the majority of my faithful friends is it amounts to “free will”. But there was some debate as to the part about G-d not giving us more to bite off than we can chew. It’s not in the bible. I knew that. But I wondered if it was insinuated somewhere. You know these modern translations get looser and looser. Next, the “New Jimbo Edition” or “G-d’s Word As Quoted on Pinterest” will get published and I’m sure that inspiration saying above will be included. It’s a comforting thought but is it TRUE? Did G-d say it?

Comments from friends and family included:

“I hate that saying. It’s not in the bible. It’s about Free Will and people are free to dish out as much shit as they want on others.”

“Because suicide is easy. And it’s all about free will with God. So the moment people do it or think about it GOD has nothing to do with it”

My favorite response, the one that comes close to truly answering my question is this:

“The phrase isn’t in the bible… I asked this question many times as a kid. Here’s the actual phrase. First Corinthians 10:13: No temptation has seized you that isn’t common for people. But God is faithful. He won’t allow you to be tempted beyond your abilities. Instead, with the temptation, God will also supply a way out so that you will be able to endure it. I guess you can deduce that they mean the same thing. But, the way I see it, there’s a heaven and hell, a God and devil. Suicide is one of those things similar to drug addiction. Sometimes it over powers the flesh and the devil gets a victory.”

And from my mother (even though I argue that the old testament stories she cited below may be allegorical):

“He gives us all the power to do everything successfully. We just don’t claim it. There were many people in the Bible who were deeply depressed- David, Elijah, Jeremiah to name a few. But what kept them from ending it all? In their despair, they cried out to God and He was faithful to give them strength to hold out for another day. And another. And another. Keep in mind God only gives us Grace for each day. You have to renew your strength by drawing close to God every day and asking for the grace to keep going that day. It’s very easy to say “I’m done. No more.” and end it. I certainly will never point an accusatory finger at anyone for a weakness that many know all too well. But yes, the devil knows when you’re down. He runs to whisper in your ears lies and words of discouragement. You can choose to listen to the lies or you can listen to the voice of Truth and know that God will walk you through the dark, carry you when you’re too weak to keep going and too tired to pray.”

And from a friend whose husband committed suicide due to chronic depression:

“We make our own choices not always God’ s choice for us. And do not think that suicide is the easy say out. Those who commit suicide just want the pain to stop. Often they see only darkness and sadly too many people in the world add stress and pain upon the person in trouble. I know this firsthand”

“ I think its cool you shared your thoughts/concerns about this. Depression is all too close to me and I’ve seen both sides of its effects. Oddly enough, I never link depression and suicide with faith. In my experience it’s all too complicated to judge, I mostly spend my time thinking about being my brother’s/sister’s keeper.”

“depression is an illness, mental illness has nothing to do with a book-the Bible. Good things and bad things happen to everyone and every family. There are answers and there is help for people suffering. This time of year tends to bring it out more than others. be compassionate and patient with those suffering-it can be a long and winding road for many..but, again, there is help.”

To this, I agreed with my friend. I know depression is a psychological illness caused by physical imbalances to which every sufferer has their own, personalized variety of ‘triggers’. But for me, the idea that there is no G-d or He is not listening to our prayers is devastating. That is not the G-d I grew up believing in. I pray (a lot!) out of habit rather than faith but if I stop to really consider that there is no one on the receiving end of those prayers, then I just lost my strongest Life Line. G-d—or the Hope of Him– is the seatbelt that holds me together during a crash.

And when the seatbelt doesn’t catch, I have a support system of friends and family that act as airbags.

One of the first ones to reach out to me out of concern was an Army buddy I met in 2009. At the time, he was going through his own personal hell and I held him and stroked his head while this grown man wept in my arms. I try to be The Rock, like G-d. I try to love like G-d. I seek to be His Conduit and spread positivity, love, kindness and comfort to those around me. I don’t do it because I’m trying to earn brownie points with Him, I do it naturally because it is what I was designed for or as Jane Austen put it (pardon me if its off, I don’t have the quote in front of me) “There is nothing I wouldnt do for those who are truly my friends. I dont know how to love people by ‘halves’. It isnt my nature.” Perhaps its enough to be put on this planet for the sole purpose of caeing for others. Im copying my friend’s message here because it is easily in the Top 3 Nicest Things Anyone Has Ever Said About Me and I don’t want to forget it. I want to have it here so that I can come back to it and re-read it when I’m collapsing under the burden of my own life. He wrote:

“I can honestly say to you, that you’re one of the sweetest and kindest people I know. I believe that you have a pure heart and you do the best that you can to live a life without a drop of malice running through your veins. I look at you and think of you as someone positive and I have even based decisions on how you would judge me afterwards. I said that so that you understand this: You have a purpose to the people that know you. And you have a unique way of infecting people with positive energy. Please don’t be hard on yourself. Take time for you everyday to meditate and clear out the fog. And be sure to take inventory of all that is right in your life. Look at where you want to go and just keep walking forward. And ask God to guide you the journey will have a way forging a proper relationship with him.”

“I’m not alone cuz the TVs on yeah…”

“I’m not crazy cuz I take the right pills everyday…”
One of my favorite songs from one of my favorite bands. When Jimmy Eat World released their album “Bleed American”, it was a week or two before 9/11. Heightened sensitivities of the American public after that led the band to pull the original album off shelves and immediately re-release it as self-titled. My copy still says “Bleed American”.

The Veterans Administration has a Vocational Rehabilitation program to help vets either separating from the military prepare for the civilian sector, help vets who are struggling to find work in general, or help vets find a different line of work which does not ‘aggravate their disabilities’. I have been saying for years that I need another ‘do over’. I’ve had the fun jobs, the rewarding jobs. The first doesn’t pay and the latter gives me nightmares and none are what I call ‘stable’ work. So I showed up with DD-214s, resume, and a stack of VA jobs that I have applied for over the years through usajobs so that I could ask why I never got so much as an interview from any of them. But first, the eligibility screening…

The Career Counselor—I suppose that’s what she is although she’s really a Social Worker—had access to my VA medical records and reviewed them prior to our appointment. Fine. She needs to ask some questions to determine my eligibility so she asked about my back, my knees, my neck…let’s face it, no one who served more than two terms of service walks away without bumps and bruises. By our 30’s,m ost of us have the back and knees of someone twice that age. She asked about my asthma, she asked about my history of depression…now here is where it starts to go downhill: She’s looking at my medications. “Are you still taking the Wellbutron?”

Yes.

When was the last time you were seen by the psychiatrist?

Last year.

Why so long?

Because she said I was doing fine and to come back and see her whenever I needed to. Otherwise, I’ll check in once a year. I was going to ask her about stepping down off the Wellbutron too.

But I see here you are also on Xanax. She didn’t prescribe that to you did she?

No, my civilian doctor did.

Why?

Because I told him I was heading back overseas and I wanted to make sure that if I needed it, I would have it.

Why woud you need it?

Because it’s AFGHANISTAN.

“Xanax is just a band-aid”

I just look at her.

She continues, “You stopped going to counseling a few years ago. Why?”

Because when my original therapist left, I was transferred to someone with whom I didn’t…click.

Why didn’t you ask for a different therapist?

Because I felt fine UNTIL I came for counseling and then I felt like shit for days afterwards. It was an emotional blood-letting and I was tired of it.

But that’s what it’s about. Talking it out. Eventually you feel better.

I felt better without it.

But now youre on Xanax.

(I’m getting angry now) “The VA prescribes pre-Vietnam era formulary and refuses to equip Veterans with anything better. My civilian doctor gave me a 2 month supply of Xanax. That was the first week in February. It’s November 20th and I still have at least 12 pills left.”

Good so you aren’t abusing it. Do you drink?

(No, but I’m going to start after this, I thought) Yes, usually a glass of wine at night.

That’s all?

“That’s all” I smiled “Try not to look surprised.”

I still think you need to come off the Xanax and consider rturning to therapy.

For what?

To finish what you started.

Are you a therapist?

Yes, actually I am but not so much in this job.

(Then why are you practicing on me? I wanted to ask)

She continues “Tell me a bit about why you were in counseling and why you are on WEllbutron.”

I stared “You have my medical records in front of you”

Yes but I want you to tell me.

That’s not what I came here for. I don’t want to talk about it.

(She gets a bit red in the face) Well, you have to tell me something. This is part of the screening. You don’t have to get specific. Just in general.

I take a breath…”Death, abandonment, betrayal, guilt and the burden of taking care of everyone else except myself.” I paused. “And loneliness. A great big cake of burden frosted in loneliness.”

She writes all this down and to my relief, moves on to the next health question. The pituitary tumors. Yes, Im still on medication, will be the rest of my life, MRI’s twice annually, bloodwork every three months…then she hits me again “I see in your records that this condition can affect your ability to get pregnant. Do you want children?”

I almost choke! I just HAD this conversation with someone about how I wanted kids and probably couldn’t have them. Instead of answering I asked a question in return, “Why did you ask me that?”

Because it’s in your record…

No, I mean why did you ask me if I want children?

As if realizing she has no good excuse, she backpedals and says “Sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you” and moves on. Didn’t mean to upset me? Too late!

My next stop was another woman who reviewed my resume. It was to her that I handed over the stack of VA jobs that I had applied for and asked “What am I missing? Do I not qualify?” She studies my resume and the jobs and determines that although I may have to ‘dumb down’ my resume for some of the non-military types reviewing it, she says I am more than qualified. I said I just wanted to get my foot in the door. “Oh your Counselor should be able to help you with job placement.”

“She said they don’t do job placement.”

The woman looks confused, “Why would she say that?”

(Because I’m on Xanax and she hates me) “I don’t know”

“Maybe it was a misunderstanding.”

“What is there to misunderstand about ‘we don’t do job placement’?”

So! Another score for the VA! To my doctors, Nurse Nancy, my mom who goes to great lengths to take care of her patients and those like her… I thank you! To No Names Mentioned Wanna Be Therapist Pushing Paper in the Vocational Program, go to hell. Do not pass go, do not collect $100.

“I am getting older. And it’s starting to show” The Broods

“I don’t want to wake up lonely
I don’t want to “just be fine”

A line in this song made me think of my father. My dad passed away in 2004. Just before Christmas. Suddenly. Three days after his 45th birthday. Ten years and I think I miss him more than ever. That was the mark of a real blow to my faith. Because I BELIEVED my father would be fine! Faith that should have moved a mountain, according to what I had been told.

My father reminded me of what I deserved. Better than what the men I had been settling for were willing to give. I try to keep his advice in mind but…

There is a new guy at work. Special Forces type of course bearing the mark of the recently retired: mandatory facial hair and a haircut that was now brushing the ears. He made himself known immediately. Alpha-male type who is looking for an in, like ‘him’ when we first met. I feel his eyes on me in meetings. And when we do talk in passing, there is an intensity—a predatory challenge in his gaze. It’s blatant to me. Does he sense the passivity and vulnerability in me? He doesn’t wear a ring but neither did ‘he’. It means nothing. With or without the ring, it means nothing. He remarked that he liked my ‘rockabilly look’ which I found odd because it has been months since I wore crinoline and victory rolls to work (too tired to bother in the morning these days). So I dress conservative out of laziness but he picked it up somehow. I laughed and told him he had a ‘look’ too. Pale blue collared dress shirt the same shade as his eyes, pushed up the forearms to reveal full sleeve tattoos. You can take us out of the uniform and dress us up but we’re not fooling anyone. He was exiting his truck when I rolled into the parking lot with the new Gerard Way album playing so loudly that his teeth were probably rattling like mine. He waited to open the door for me and in the span of a short conversation said (not asked. Said.) “We should go to lunch sometime”. I said “Not unless youre talking a sandwich from the base gas station. I only get 20 minutes for lunch.”

“We’ll figure something out” was his confident, off-hand reply. I almost want to tell ‘him’ about it. I tell ‘him’ about my other dates sometimes like “See? I’m not waiting for you” (WIN!) and then in the same email, admit that none of them stand a chance because he’s all I can think about is him (FAIL!). The SF community is so small, they probably know each other. So no, I wont mention names. Although I would love to say “You have some competition”. Except that he knows it’s a lie. I pray for the day that it’s the truth.

Because my dad told me I deserve better.

Unhappy Birthday

I awoke at dawn today. Got up, made coffee in an old, chipped Japanese dragon mug, and sat down at my computer. The Facebook ‘birthday wishes’ were already pages long. Acquaintances come out of the woodwork when they get that reminder and if they take a moment to write on my wall to wish me a happy day, I appreciate the thought all the same.
But within an hour, I was sobbing uncontrollably. I shed no tears for 30 years until I hit a wall and now Im the most dehydrated person I know.
I could handle coming home to a house full of cockroaches and ants and which reeked of cat urine. I cleaned for 10 hours. Even the backed up garbage disposal and broken dryer, I could handle it. My car which had not been driven in months sat with a dead battery. Fine. The yard looked like jungle so I mowed. But when I woke up this morning and the toilet handle broken off in my hand, I put on my shoes and added a note to the laundry list of chores: Home Depot; fix toilet. That’s when I lost it.
I dont want to be here. I look at my clock still set for Kabul time: nearly 5pm there. Everyone would be headed to dinner soon. Friday night was “Surf n Turf” or what I deemed “Suck and Suck”. I could have anything I wanted for my birthday dinner tonight but I wanted nothing more than to be sitting amongst the people I just left behind in that smelly, hot chow hall.

Prepare for the trail to grow cold, my friend Z warned me. It was the first thing I read upon landing back in Tampa and the last thing I could handle. The closer I got to home, the heavier my heart. Prepare to be forgotten.

I am not proud to lean on the crutch of Xanax but considering I can milk a one month supply for 18 months, I am by no means dependent. Still, there is a nibble of shame that comes when I split the pill in half and swallow. I just need help getting the emotions under control at times like this.

In the nights before I left, we spent hours talking. Aware that time was running short, there was a sense of desperation, a need to ‘get it all out there’. He saw a strength in me that I havent felt in years and I didnt want to correct him. No, I didnt want to disappoint him. Even now. It would be easy to slip ito a drug-induced coma and crawl back into bed but that is not what strong people do.

My mother asked what I wanted for my birthday and I replied “The American Lie”. She looked at me quizzically. “Oh it’s okay, mom,” I shrugged lightly, “There’s always Santa.”
It doesnt help that my friend is in a full-on panic mode because her husband is in Iraq and unable to come home to participate in the next round of in-vitro. It’s hard to stomach because she is three years younger than I am and married. If her odds are bad, then mine are infinitely worse.

I fell in love with a married man once before. In 2007, in Iraq. It was another one of thse “Stay together for the kids” types of marriages. Still, we didnt touch each other until the night before he got on the plane to leave, he kissed me. I cried hard alone in my room afterwards. My question to G-d is, what was His intention? Was it a test for us both? Did I pass in 2007 and fail in 2014? It feels no different. Loss is loss. And was it ‘wrong’ for Bryan to leave his wife of 20+ years in order to marry my friend Leah? Was their marriage not sanctioned or blessed because of that? I have a hard time believing that. Bryan’s first wife did not abide by her duties as a wife; didnt keep up her end of the bargain. I have read that G-d abhors divorce but in certain circumstances, will allow it.

For months, I kept him at arms length. I knew I couldnt keep him as he was never mine so the heartache was an inevitability that I eventually accepted. But better to ache for what I can’t keep than regret what I missed. For a few days, we were happy.

Now if you will excuse me, I have a toilet to fix.

“I’m alive. Hooray.” ~Queens of the Stone Age

Only I, with my special brand of malo suerte, would get ill days before a scheduled surgery so that it would have to be postponed.  But I looked at the bright side: maybe it was G-d’s way of giving me one last beautiful day at the beach. Except that by Saturday, the winds shifted and it was cold and rainy. Still, I danced my ass off all weekend, loathe to admit that the one thing I look forward to in life was about to come to an end for somewhere between 6 weeks and 6 months. Why the wide gap? Because if all goes well, the surgeon will bless me and take the neck brace off at the six week mark. That would be a Wed. In theory, I may be able to dance that veery night, unless I still feel at risk of my head rolling off my shoulders. I deploy to Afghanistan 2 days later and I’d bet my life, I wont be swing dancing while there. Actually, I’d rather not do any betting on my life while I’m there. But it is with some nostalgic irony that I learned to swing dance on my first military tours back in the mid 90’s. It was Operation Southern Watch and we were in tents in the middle of Nowhere Saudi Arabia after the bombing in Dhahran drove us out of the cities. The Red Horse engineers dropped huge sheets of plywood on the sand and hooked up lights and a sound system to a 10k generator and we danced in the desert under the stars.

I know I will eventually dance again but what worries me the most is my voice. I think it got to the point where I was doing too much research on my procedure and learning about every little thing that could potentially go wrong, no matter how remote the possibility. This particular procedure, the surgeon goes through the front of the neck and squashes the vocal chords off to one side in order to get at the discs he needs to replace in the spine.  Yes, my voice will be raspy for a while. Weeks, maybe months but in a handful of cases, people lost their singing voice permanently. My surgeon is supposed to be one of the best in the country. He has performed something close to 20,000 of these procedures. All the same, I am going to tack a note to my hospital gown that asks him to “Pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease be extra careful with my vocal chords because if it came down to ever singing again or ever feeling my right hand again, I can live without my right hand”.

And I’m behaving like a woman on the verge of dieting. Tell me I wont be able to eat solid foods for a week post-op and I consume EVERYTHING in my house that doesn’t qualify as soup. Chips, crackers, lettuce, pineapple, olives, ice cream…okay, maybe ice cream falls in the same genus as soup. But I hate to let food go to waste. Comes from growing up po’.

By the way, and I almost hate to mention it and youre probably hoping I wouldn’t, but it took more than a month before I stopped looking at his Facebook page everyday. I suppose it would have been easier but more painflonul to right-click-save his photo. Plus there are fphotos from the wedding but those aren’t back yet. In fact, I was thinking it was taking an awfully long time for those except that it feels like it has been multiple months since “him”. In the meantime, I got to chatting with a friend who moved back to California recently and is in a boat very near to mine. She decided to return to school for her masters and a change in career. I not only need a change in career but location as well. I was looking at Raleigh, NC but having someone I could room with in California while I return to school was looking more and more attractive as we discussed it. She wanted to move to San Diego at the end of the year and I figured I was ready to flip the hourglass on this town and job anyway. I’ve grown into an unhealthy co-dependency here. Plus, I have other friends in San Diego so at the very least, I could take a week off after returning from Afghanistan to go check it out. Of course, the thought occurred to me: How far is San Diego from him? In traffic, just over an hour. But between you and me, he is NOT a consideration in this decision. Until my friend tells me several weeks later that she has, at least temporarily, relocated to Huntington Beach. What are the odds that in a state roughly the size of the African continent that she would move to the exact same city where he lives? My inner witch was itching at this: a sign or a test? It’s too uncanny to be coincidence so I believe it is the latter. As he has made no effort to keep in touch and he is no doubt, planning on showering his current sucker of a girlfriend with romance this Friday to celebrate the love that he is not in, I conclude that I need to stay the hell away from that train wreck of a man. Miss him and wish things were different? Sure. But stay away nonetheless and certainly not get tempted into making a decision based on anything less than what is logically in the best interest of my career.

You’d have better luck getting the moon not to rise.