Category Archives: Veteran

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.

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The One About Ghosting

There’s this piece of PTSD that’s haunted me for years, long before I even considered there was something “wrong” with me. I disconnect. It’s hard to pinpoint the moment when it happens, but like today, I wake up and realize that I’ve distanced myself from everyone again. I can’t really feel anything. Like I’ve wrapped myself in some industrial plastic sheeting. I can noise the polite noises, smile the polite smiles, but the care’s gone.

I can’t touch it.

This is when I ghost.

I know that I want to be included, to see friends and family, be social, but that’s all preprogramming. Under that, I’m on emotional lockdown and want to be alone. That’s not what I need to break this pattern though. Left alone with the lizard brain, it just becomes harder and harder to cut my way out as the layers get tighter and thicker. And I do know that eventually I’ll want out.

Just can’t care. Just not right now. It’s fucking comfortable in my plastic protector.

So I’m here, but not here. I might even be in the same room with you, but you’re alone.

Just like me.

 

The One About Anticipation and Anxiety

It’s a weird and jagged line I walk between anticipating something exciting and anxiety about  it. I don’t worry so much that I’ll say something that brands me an idiot among geniuses, that’s a given. And I’m OK with that because I’ll turn it around. I don’t worry that someone’s not going to like me any more. I’ve lived enough to know that I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. I don’t have a lukewarm personality and  probably don’t care for those that do. Casper Milktoast would not be my bestie.

The fade from anticipation to anxiety starts when I pack my suitcase.

We were blue-collar poor growing up. My father was a fireman and my mother stayed home. That meant my clothes consisted of hand me downs from my cousins (one was a female and rail thin and the other was male that outweighed me bout about 50 pounds), garage sales or shift stores, and for special occasions Sears. As a kid that suited me just fine.

In high school I discovered that I didn’t have the gene or eye necessary to put an outfit together. I lied to myself that I didn’t care.

Then there was the Army. I didn’t have to worry about what I wore. But it fed into the idea that I didn’t know how to dress myself like an adult type person.

Back to the anticipation feeding into anxiety. As I’m packing for my trip on Thursday (it’s Sunday now) I realize that I’ve been buying pieces here and there all year for this conference. There will be people from everywhere – all walks of life and incomes. And I don’t want to fit in or stick out. What’s that about?

It’s ridiculous that I am so excited to be heading to Denver for Sirens, but freaking out about something so banal as clothes.Especially since I know that it doesn’t matter how much I’ve spent on everything, I’m probably just going to wear jeans and a t-shirt. It’s what makes me comfortable.

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The One About Prepping

Attended FenCon, a Dallas science fiction convention, this weekend. There was an author discussion about preparing for the zombie apocalypse. Someone brought a BOB (bug out bag) and added a respirator and face shield because of the threat of contamination. It was interesting enough. Though someone in the audience set up a camera and tripod to record it without asking anyone involved. Rude much?

This is National Preparedness Month. Bug out bags have always made sense to me. You prepare in case something happens: hurricane, tornado, fire, break in, and zombies. Why not? The zombie aspect could make it a fun little shiver instead of crippling panic.

Taking care of yourself and helping your neighbors prep for disaster would free up some resources in case of a local area emergency. I’d rather be the one with a little control of my situation than rely on the hospitality of others. But that’s just me.

It’s SEPTEMBER, folks.

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The One About Feelings

It’s not like we’re all wired differently. But, you know, some of us just are. It’s OK. We wind up confused or angry at things that normal folk don’t blink twice at. That’s OK too.

I’m having a hard time today. My normal hard time is a gentle paranoia that bleeds into anxiety. It’s like a whisper in your ear telling you the reasons that you suck and that safety is a mere illusion.

Anxiety can make me feel out of control and afraid. I fear for myself and society at large. I wonder what that guy is hiding under his sweatshirt. I wonder why that woman looks so angry and what she has in that giant purse. I won’t sit in the middle of the room because I don’t want anyone to walk behind me. I don’t want anyone too close.

Today is not that day.

Today I’m pissed.

Just under the epidermal layer of my emotional chitin shell is full blown anger. I’ve already ranted at my sig-oth for no reason that my logical side can fathom. And instead of feeling like I’m spending these feelings, emptying the rage-well, it’s building.

Today there is a deep and rising tide of anger. My jaw is clenched so tightly that the muscles hurt. I am fearless. I am fucking tired of other people’s shit. Even if I can’t fucking put my finger on what that shit is.  So, I’m going to go run errands instead of be angry with my family for no damn good reason.

Growing up with a brother and sister, we fought on the regular. My father used to tell me it was because we were too familiar with one another. When he’d had it with our squabbles, he’d say, “Ya’ll treat one another like you’ve never met. You’re kinder to strangers than you are to each other.”

So, even today, he’s right.14224822_1172209372818043_2819946695618234321_n

TL;DR: Anger is a part of PTSD. Don’t let it burn down your relationships. Also, everyone loves Girl Scout cookies.

 

Another One About Surviving a Broken System

Went to lunch yesterday at a very crowded burger joint with a coworker and took the only open table. That’s right, I sat in the middle of the room with no clear line of sight to either exit. My back was to the walk way.Wasn’t my best dining experience, but I survived without incident. Yesterday was a good day.

Read about the VA again. Maybe I shouldn’t do that. It’s so broken that nothing sort of a total strip and rebuild is going to fix it. All I can do is be glad that neither I nor any of my family has so far ever needed a transplant. Cause the VA is going to make our life hell if we do.

There are restrictions that private hospitals don’t have. They don’t take organs from non vets. What? Yeah. You’re top of the recipient list and ready to get that new heart, but Transplant Joe wasn’t in the club, so fuck you and your years of service.

Does that sound even remotely right?

Took my info from The Military Times article. There isn’t much info on the VA National Transplant page, but that’s not shocking.

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*injuries

TL;DR: Take the VA apart and reassemble using logic and compassion. If you’re stuck with the VA, do your research and don’t take them at face value. That would be a rook mistake.

 

 

The One About Night Terrors

It’s more than a nightmare.

For me it’s total paralysis with open eyes screaming. Sometimes it bolts me awake. Sometimes I don’t quite reach consciousness.

Sometimes it’s the total certainty that someone is standing over me in the dark.

Sometimes it’s a memory replayed in a thousand different ways that I am helpless to change.

An adrenaline dump in the middle of the night can keep me up for hours, or not let me sleep again. Panicked, angry, and frightened, I’ll roam my house trying to talk myself down. “It was just a dream. I’m fine. Everything is fine. I’m OK.  Nothing is wrong.” It’s a mantra.

It also upsets the household. Thankfully, my son has always slept like he was in his own personal cocoon. My sig-oth isn’t so lucky. I know it’s a helpless situation for him as well. But there is nothing he can do.

Add guilt to the mix of anger, panic, fear because I’m causing sleep depravation for him, too.

Fuck all that.

This kid , Tyler Skuzacek in Saint Paul, MN,  is a freaking genius. He and his team created an app.

It hasn’t made the clinical trials yet, but he’s working with the VA and sleep experts.

It marks the symptoms leading up to the terror and interrupts deep sleep with a vibration to take the sleeper just this side of consciousness without actually waking them.

Sign me up, Tyler.

MyBivy App

It’s never hopeless. Someone’s always out there working on ways to make it better. They don’t give up and neither can you. That would be the worst Rook mistake.

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I know the pic is sappy af, but this time it fits.

TL;DR: Tyler’s dad came home with PTSD. After watching his dad suffer, he chose to do something about it. There’s an app in the works. Don’t give up. Help is coming.