Sunday, May 6, 2012

Back and forth.

This past week we took a Veterans Airlift Command flight to attend the EOD Memorial and Ball in Destin, FL. I could wax poetic about what it felt like to be there and hear all the names of EOD technicians fallen in battle, but it isn't about that. All that mattered is that Aaron's name was not one of the 18 new additions to the memorial wall. I am eternally grateful every moment of every day that he was just another technician in attendance to honor his fallen comrades. The only part I absolutely couldn't handle were the video montages of the fallen. I left the dinner area both times it happened. After the ball, we drank entirely too much, danced on stage, and stayed out too late. The pilot and plane owner (and therefore donor of the flight) had us over on Saturday for jet skis and barbecue. I am so grateful for what these people are willing to do for wounded warriors. Also, the jet skiing was literally the first normal thing Aaron's done since he was injured. No adaptations, no having to figure it out; legs just weren't necessary for him to completely control the machine. It was pretty moving. I also truly, wholly relaxed for the first time in well... I can't tell you when. Even one of the other wives took notice of my calmer demeanor. It was such a blessing of a weekend.

I've been around a lot less lately as I've been thinking about my life, who I am, and what is going to happen next. I feel like my entire life has been one transitory, temporary situation after another with little to no stability. For the best several years I have managed to forge a few stable friendships and determined which college (and older) relationships are worth attention now and beyond. I'm a crazily loyal person and used to think that yearly visits were in order to maintain best friendships. Now I know that isn't so, but there a few folks I have to see every so often to keep my sanity in check. As with most people, my circle of friends does keep shrinking as the quality improves. Military life is counter-intuitive to this since every few years you have to start over somewhere, and my whole "adult" life has been like that. I left my hometown at 20, left the college town five years later, left Atlanta three years after that, stopped over in Germany for less than half a year before my year-long stint at Drum began and then ended rather abruptly. We've pretty much decided to settle here in the DC metro area and now I have to figure out how to navigate that. At some point I need to forge some friendships outside of this hospital. I won't be part of the military life for very much longer (if I can even call this hospital life part of the military lifestyle), so I should incorporate more civilian aspects of the world around me into my personal existence.

Turning 30 become a lot more introspective than I thought it would be. I don't usually think a lot about getting old; in fact, my birthdays in the past have been marred by depressing events in my life, from dead dog to heartbreak in various forms. I suppose the entry into my third decade colliding with the single most life-altering event of my life most likely has more to do with my current self-reflection than actually turning 30. Thirty is the new twenty, but I would be remiss to not mention that "the youth is wasted on the young." I've always known a bit too much about all of the world's worst offerings for any age without possessing the social skills that seem to get most people through the "next stage" of life. Whatever that means.

Eventually, I'll get over all the mistakes I've made- especially within the past year- and learn to live and let go. No one is ever going to be harder on me than myself. As I begin to process exactly why I've been difficult I have also come to the conclusion that holy shit, life really took a shit on me, my husband, and everyone who loves us. I felt like I couldn't control anything in my life so my natural reaction was to be as pissed as I wanted needed to be at everything that wasn't just in our world. I also tend to hold a grudge and keep a short list of People I Will Never Like And Will Question Anyone Who Is Friends With Them, and that list grew this past year. I'm ridiculous, I know, but it helps me to add a name (or two or four) to the list and move on. I'm getting better at that part. I eventually make myself sick of it.

My feelings are ultimately the only thing I've ever been able to claim. I saw and experienced violence and abuse so that I eventually learned that no one can make claim on who I am (whoever that is). It's my mind, and I'm not backing down. I suppose this is why I've kept a diary of sorts since elementary school. All this tragedy with Aaron has definitely spun my emotions out of control so for a little while I couldn't control anything in my life, except maybe anger. At the end of the day it's better to lose control of my adoration and appreciation of the best kinds of folks, from the endless love I feel for my husband to my mad respect for the true friends in my life.

I also turned off the Nine Inch Nails and started listening to one of my favorite albums again, Tom Petty's Wildflowers. I've figured out the edge is always there, so I need to introduce softer things into my life more often.

Have great weeks, everyone! I'll be drowning in school work and probably still won't finish it all.

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