All posts by Rook Riley

Combat vet, writer, game enthusiast, and linguistic badass. Stateside for 15 years, but have the occasional struggle with civilian, parent, and/or sig life. Rookie mistakes? I still make them.

The One About April

Historically April is a bad month for me. All the reasons are sitting on my shoulders, leaning down and whispering in my ears. I do not need anything, I do not need help, I am absolutely physically fine.  I just want say some pretty stupid things. I want to do some pretty stupid things.

I have a deadline for an anthology on the 30th and I don’t know if the pressure of this month will let me finish anything. I don’t know if I can make myself move, let alone be cognizant enough to write.

And still I think, what the hell do I have to be sad about?

I’m still alive.

Right?

According to Wikipedia April is for:

The One About Bloody Noses

Looked down this morning to find my nose was bleeding. It happens occasionally. I overheat and then there’s a gusher. Been dealing with it since I was a kid.

But it’s been a long time – years even – since it’s happened.

Now instead of racing my bike up the hill by my house, instead of sliding across the goal into a post face first, instead of sprinting towards third – I’m not a kid any more.

Bloody noses are my first husband. They are his whispers in my ear, the sharp crack snapping my head back, the twisted image of myself that he gave me.

But…

Really, it’s just blood on a tissue tossed and gone.

Like him.

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The One About Slipping

I’m a talker. I will carry conversations. Lately, all I’ve wanted to do is sit in silence watching Netflix or sleep.

I know that’s not me.

So my sig-oth said to me awhile back that it might be time for me to seek some treatment (again). That’s his way of letting me know that I’m regressing. I can feel it. I think it’s the great divide between the forward thinkers and backsliders that’s going on in the States. There’s not a safe space here. And I’ve looked at all the cat videos I can stand.

I’ve done cognitive therapy. You sit and talk with the therapist who assures you that you’re living a guilt-free life. That works for awhile because logic. Problem is that the tangled brain/emotion/thoughts come back and, for me, it’s hard to hear her voice. Sounds crazy, right?

Right. Mental health issues. Crazy. Labels are great.

There are other options: meds, family therapy, group therapy, and exposure therapy. Fucking all the therapy makes you talk and I don’t want to do that. Feeling like a little chicken-hearted punk because I know I need to go, but it’s sure comfortable in my little zoned out spot on the couch.

 

The One About Saying No

As a chick and a parent, I’ve said no somewhere in the billions of times. I’m talking about this:

Bugger bugs.

“Stop.”

Bugger continues, upping their game and laughing.

“No, stop. I’m serious.”

Bugger kicks it into high and taunts.

I raise my voice, lay hands, force a stop.

Bugger gets feelings hurt and accuses me of overreacting.

Brothers, boyfriends, friends, coworkers, even my dad. It’s been omnipresent in my life.

Never really thought much about it other than to be annoyed. Today, being home sick and bored to tears, I watched a couple of movies. Guess what they both had in common.

Scenario One: The woman tells the man to stop because she doesn’t want to get into the water. He chases her, corners her, forces her over his shoulder before throwing her into the pool. The whole time she’s screaming for him to stop. She’s MAD when she gets out of the water and the man stalks off because he thinks it’s NOT FAIR that she’s angry. She runs after him and apologizes.

Scenario Two: The woman has had a traumatic past that has not been disclosed to the man. He puts on a mask and stalks her around the dark house. The whole time she’s backing up, trying to get away, and screaming for him to stop. When she slams the bathroom door on his hand in an effort to lock herself in, he’s pissed. She apologizes to him and explains her traumatic past as a way to make him understand her reaction.

No means no. All the time. Every time.

No, don’t want to go out with you.

No, I don’t want to be tickled.

No, you can’t have a hug.

No, I don’t like to be scared.

No, I don’t want to have kids.

No, I don’t want to get my extensions wet.

And no I won’t apologize to you for the response your actions wrought.tumblr_naqc5foddz1rxmno2o1_500

TL;DR: Stop making this normal. Reject it and don’t fucking apologize for asserting yourself. Thinking men are too fragile to be told no is a Rook mistake. Let them deal with it.

 

 

 

 

The Other, Other, Other, Other, One About the VA

It’s not enough that we have maggots. The Other Other One About the VA

Google auto fills “vet suicides at” with:

  • Phoenix VA
  • VA
  • Denver VA
  • Attempts per day

It doesn’t tell you about the one that happened in Albuquerque on the 22nd. Just like no one reported on James Ingram III setting himself on fire in a VA parking lot (The One About Ending It All) because apparently people pretend like none of this is happening.

All I know is what was reported by disabled veterans.org because there’s nothing else to find. I even checked the Albuquerque Journal‘s obit section and none listed the cause of death as a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head while standing at the doors of the Albuquerque VA hospital .

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Reach out. I didn’t seek help – it was thrust on me. A friend made the appointment at the VA for me. It wasn’t my answer. Compartmentalization will break down. Seek help and/be the help. Anything less is a Rook mistake.

The One About Rogue One

Growing up, Star Wars was my thing. Had the action figures and  basically played pretend for years. Cut the head off of a blue mop handle and a green broom one. Got in trouble and SWORE never to do it again. Then endured the grounding that followed when Mom brought home red handled replacements.

Broken fingers. Bloody knuckles. Lumps to the head. Lightsaber duels were my first secret fight club.

Even made up my own character because Leia wasn’t badass enough – plus there was that slave girl thing. Ugh.

Saw Rogue One and LOVED it. Loved the story. Loved the homage to the 70s. Loved the set dressing. Loved the settings. Loved the characters. Loved that it was dark. But even with all the love, there was just something missing.

Chicks.

Group of evil scientists – all dudes.

Crowds – no chicks

Military /Rebel Base – Mon Mothma

Wait … no.  That’s it. Mon Mothma.

Squad of assassins, saboteurs, and spies – DUDES.

In the Star Wars universe, there are only moms, displaced princesses, Mon Mothma, and Jyn. Even the droids are male.

I’m not even looking for more female speaking parts. But can’t we just be part of the regular everyday Star Wars background?

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TL;DR: There are females in the world. When you exclude us completely, it’s distracting. Some of us are even FANS. Ignoring us is a Rook mistake.

The One About Exit Strategies

Have one.

Not just from the room you’re standing in right now, but from your current situation. Know how to extract yourself from a busybody, a toxic relationship, an insensitive friend, and that one guy you were mistakenly nice to that won’t go away.

Know how to change a tire. Know the basic functions of engine parts. Do not rely on the kindness of strangers, friends or family.

Know how to leave a job that no longer fits you. Know how to leave any relationship that no longer fits you.

Shake yourself awake and look around. Do not let rote activity lull you.

Stop and think. If there was an active shooter in my location, where would I go? What would I do?

Paranoid? Maybe.

But have you thought about it?

Then maybe we’re just paying attention.

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TL;DR: Know your escape routes in life and use them as needed. Don’t become too complacent, that would be a Rook mistake.