I’ve Become “That Girl”

It was brought to my attention that I have become “that girl” at the gym. The one that takes a selfie sometime during her workout. And then posting it on Facebook or Instagram. Why yes, I do. The intent of this blog is not necessarily to justify my actions, but rather to make everyone think twice before acting like total judgmental jerks.

The past year has been a very difficult one. Separation and divorce, depression, injury, weight gain, and then more depression.  I have finally begun to snap out of it, and get released by the doctor to go back to the gym.

I am starting to remember who I used to be. And that person did not look like me. She was not afraid like me. She loved herself. She had flaws, but she embraced those, she laughed at those. This new girl is sad, and cries all the time. This girl is not comfortable in her own skin, and feels badly about herself. And, apparently, this new girl talks about herself in the third person.

I want the old me back. I’m ten years older, so I may never look the way I used to, but I sure as hell can try. And just maybe, I will at least get back to being comfortable in my own skin. Everyone motivates differently. For me, I need the visual. I need to be able to look at myself and smile. I need to follow my journey with pictures. I need to be brave enough, and love myself enough, to post the me that I am, and the me that I am becoming.

I will not apologize for the pictures, or for posting them. This is not a journey to make anyone else love me more. It is not an opportunity for people to find a new way to pick me apart (trust me, I do this enough for all of us).

This is a journey for me, to remember why I loved myself, to regain the self-confidence that was taken from me. If I happen to get that smokin hot body back somewhere along the way, that’s just a completely awesome bonus.

So remember, “that girl”, or “that guy” might have a good reason for snapping a pic mid-squat. Everyone has a reason for being in the gym, and not one is better than the other.

The ReBirthday of a Verbal Assassin

I know, I know- I have been gone forever. And I am sure some of you missed me, and some of you are trying to remember how this blog ended up in your favorites. Either way, yay! Glad to have you here. Now be quiet, pull your chair up, and read.

Let me start of by saying that this is not the blog that I planned on writing for my ReBirthday. I planned on my usual brand of snarcasm, designed to put ALL of you in the why-am-I-reading-this category. But I think that by the end of this blog, you will agree that I chose the right path for today.

Even those living under a rock know what Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is. While most often associated with active duty service members, and veterans, it can affect anyone, of any age/race/religion/shoe size. It can be devastating. Not just to the person who is struggling with it, but literally everyone they come into contact with. It cannot be cured, it cannot be fixed, it will never go away. The best a person with PTSD can hope for is to learn a healthy way to cope, and survive. This is not to say that they are broken people, because they are not- but that doesn’t mean they feel whole. And there may be no way to make them feel whole again- but they should always know that someone, somewhere loves them, and all of their pieces, however scattered they may be.

It is not September, but I am not sure why we only have a suicide prevention month, why not year, decade, or best yet, lifetime. Suicide may be prevalent during a certain time of year, but it always caused by the same thing: Hopelessness. The root cause of that hopelessness may be different- PTSD, mental health, finances, loneliness, whatever- but it leads to the same place. That feeling that all hope is lost, that it will never get better, that love and riches will never come, that happiness is gone forever, that the sun will never shine.

I know this is how it feels firsthand. I have PTSD. I have severe depression. I have chronic illness and pain. None of these things can be cured. I will live the rest of my days with PTSD. With severe depression. With chronic illness and pain. Who wants to live that way? No one, right? I would have agreed with you once upon, no, many times upon a time. And for me, it may not get better, but it will get different. I am both too selfish and not selfish enough to take my own life. And I thank you for your advice, but what worked for you, or even for a million people, may not work for me. Because like so many others that have this same struggle, I feel that I am broken- that something inside of me is broken. I do not want any reassurances that I am not broken, I want you to love me in pieces. I want you to offer me a dustpan and help me collect the pieces. I may never feel whole again, but you can help me make sure that I have all of my pieces.

My point of this whole blog was not to be about me, but to segue into this: that terrible number 22. The average number of veterans that will commit suicide today. And the number 5. The number of active duty service members who will also take their lives today. No suicide is better or worse than another. But these numbers break my heart because these are the men and women who have proven their strength. They already dedicated their lives to the military, to their country, to you, to me. And while they made have made it home from service, most of them left pieces behind. Those pieces are invisible to you and me, but I can assure you that they are felt deeply by the people that left them behind.

I cannot pretend to understand what our veterans are going through, but knowing that 27 of them feel that degree of hopelessness should be disturbing to every single person in this country. I have seen the numbers. I had the training when I held a civilian position within the Army. I have read the heartbreaking stories of those left behind. I have grieved for veterans and their loved ones, whether I knew them or not. But now that includes someone that I knew. Someone who recently left the Army, honorably. Someone that served with B Daddy. Someone in our little Prime Power family. This was not a number, not a faceless statistic, this was someone we shared barbecue and beer with.

Somewhere, somehow, he was failed. To those who argue that he made that final choice- did he? Did he know that it was his choice? Or did he feel that the choice did not exist, that it was not an option? The reality is that we will never know. His brothers and sisters in arms will forever feel the loss. They will forever grieve him. What I can hope for now is that those left behind do not allow pieces of them to be lost with the loss of their friend. The blame game has no winners. Instead, I ask you this favor- that piece of you that you feel was lost with dear Bishop, hang on to that piece. Keep it for that day when you may come across someone who is missing a piece of them. Share it with them. Let them know that you may not be able to make them whole, but that you hope this piece of you helps. And offer to hold their dustpan to help them collect their pieces.

To those struggling with anything in life, I cannot promise that it will get perfect, but it will get bearable. Because you are not alone, and I can promise you that. You have me.

The Birth of A Verbal Assassin…

This is the first in a series of papers that I have been writing for school.  For my English class, I was required to write a paper about a positive change in my life.  For me, it was this, my blog; it was you, my readers; it was my voice.

 

The Birth of a Verbal Assassin

            It was a day like any other.  For most people.  For me, it would be remembered as the day that it all changed.  I grew up as a daydreamer.  My parents would tell me I was lazy.  My teacher’s would say I had potential, if only I would use it.  I would stare blankly, letting their words bounce off my invisible force field, never reaching their target.  While they were diagnosing me, I was writing my stories in my head, page after page, book after book.

It took me years for my stories to make it out of my head, and onto paper.  I started small, a creative writing essay, maybe a poem here and there.  When I was in grade school, my stories would always have a big star on them when they were handed back by the teacher.  Once I got into middle school, my teachers would look at punctuation and dangling thingies, by high school, my stories came back with more criticism than praise.  The final straw didn’t come until college.

As a college freshman, I was so excited to see creative writing offered as part of the curriculum.  I thought I was finally at a point where my stories would be praised and revered and quoted and used as examples of excellence to the students that came after me.  I knew I was a literary genius, and finally, someone else would realize it too.  I could hardly wait until our first assignment.  Little did I know how wrong, and right, I would be.

The year was 1993.  The home computer was in its infancy.  College papers were either hand written or composed on a typewriter.  If you were lucky, maybe even a word processor.  Mine were written on a typewriter, and not even an automatic one.  Since was the going to be the paper of all time, I was careful.  I typed slowly, determined not to mar my genius with correction fluid.  I labored for days to make it perfect.  I read, reread and read some more.  Finally, after a week, I was ready.  It was time to turn the masterpiece in.

At the time, it seemed like months before the papers were graded and returned.  I was probably closer to two or three days.  It didn’t matter, because when I got it back, time stood still.  A “D”.  I got a “D”?  The hastily scribbled note from my professor read “Poorly written, terrible content, be thankful accountants don’t need imagination.”  My eyes teared instantly.  I was devastated.  Were my parents and teachers right in the beginning?

I would get the answer almost a decade later.  They were wrong.  And so was that English professor.  But I wasn’t angry, because thanks to that professor, I would launch my dream, in the form of a blog, The Verbal Assassin.  I developed a sharp tongue, a sharper wit, and my voice.  My voice, my rules.  As a parent, I should say the best moment of my life was when I held  my first child.  Yeah.  Whatever.  I love my kids, but eventually, they will grow up and they will find their own voices.  Not the Verbal Assassin.  That was mine.  It will always be mine.  I give it life, I make it breathe.  I am its voice.

That is my legacy.  I learned to write for me, the real me, not the person my instructors thought I should be, but the person that I actually am.  And nobody can grade that.

 

 

A Verbal Assassin Grows Up…

I know, I know, say it isn’t so.

Don’t worry.  I will still act like a 2 year old in some circumstances.

Lately, I have been in kind of a funk.  A funk that I put myself in.  It all started when I got my feelings hurt. I have had them hurt before, but this time, I realized a few things.  I learned that I was tired of crying.  I learned that I deserve better.  And most importantly, I learned that sorry is merely another word in the dictionary, unless there is sincerity behind it.

I am not perfect, heck, most days, I am far from it.  But I am a good person.  I am a good wife.  I am a good mother.  And I am a good friend.  I don’t make anyone compete for my love and attention, I give it freely out of love and friendship.  I don’t make anyone beg for my attention.  I don’t make anyone justify why I should care about them.  I just do it.

At least that is the sort of person I always thought I was.  I always thought I was fairly low maintenance.  I always thought that I was a good enough.  I always thought I was worth standing up for.

And I am.  I am good enough.  I deserve to be cherished as a wife, mother, and friend.  I don’t deserve the tears, or the heartbreak.

To quote Eleanor Roosevelt, “No one can make your feel inferior without your consent.”

Well, no one has my consent.  Whether the intention was to hurt me or not, saying sorry doesn’t give anyone permission to do it again.  I am taking my life back.  From this moment on, to stay in my life, the relationship becomes a two-way street.  I am not giving my heart anymore.  I have spent my life trying to earn the right to be in people’s lives, but never requesting it in return.  

Those days are done.  

The Verbal Assassin and The Bus Monitor…

The following is my opinion.  You are not required to share it.  Heck, you are not even required to keep reading.

I am sure everyone has read the recent drama, involving a 68 year old bus monitor, and several middle school students.  If you don’t know what I am talking about, simply Google it, or do a search on YouTube.

The upshot is this.  A 68 year old woman in Greece, NY was working as a bus monitor, when a group of middle schoolers were taped harassing her.  The students called her fat, called her names, and even poked at her.  The video has been viewed by almost as many people who watched Tommy Lee and Pam’s home movies.  Once the video went viral, a fund was set up for her, with the intent that she get a good vacation.

Did I donate?  Nope.  Do I have anything against anyone who did?  Nope.  Do I have an opinion on this?  Natch!

First of all, let me say that the little brats involved would not have lasted 3 days in my household.  Because once I found out that one of my spawn had behaved this way, the outcome would have been different.  Basically, once my son (or daughter) woke up from the withinaninchofyourlife beating that he or she received, said spawn would then be required to sit next to the bus monitor for the rest of his or her school career.  Yes, my child would be that bus monitor’s bitch.

That part of my opinion always gets cheers.  The next part, not so much.

This video did not sicken me.  It did not make me feel horrible for that bus monitor.  It made me angry.  It made me angry that children would behave that way.  It made me angry that not one child on that bus stepped in.  It made me angry that the bus driver didn’t notice what was happening.  And it made me VERY angry that the bus monitor just sat there, and let it continue.

Yes, I said it.  I place some blame on the poor, elderly bus lady.

I don’t need to justify why I am a cold hearted bitch, but I will anyway.

To save time, the role of our bus monitor will be referred to as BM.  The children will be playing the role of LB (Little Bastards).

First of all, BM had been a school bus driver for 20 years.  She has been a bus monitor for 3 years.  You do not have to have been around teenagers for more than an hour to realize that, with the rise of child abuse laws, and political correctness, teenagers these days are little shits.  Not every one of them, but the majority of them.  This was not BM’s first rodeo.  She had been driving a bus back when the Columbine tragedy occurred.  She had been driving a bus during an unfortunate era, one that has seen the rise of self importance, and the decline of, well, most things.

I understand that BM is 68 years old.  She works part time.  She is, for all intents and purposes, a public servant, which means she is also underpaid.

But (and I know you were waiting for that), she WAS paid.  She was paid a crappy salary to do a crappy job.  And at that, I feel that she failed.  She did not do her job. Which was to get up, have the driver stop the bus and make the LBs call their parents and explain why they needed a ride home.

For those of you still reading, those who have not indignantly scrolled to the end to leave an undoubtedly nasty comment, I shall explain.

It is always easier to play armchair quarterback, Monday morning quarterback, whatever you would like to call it.  It is much easier for me to say “If it had been me…”.  Maybe BM felt safer just sitting silently.  Oh, wait, she didn’t do that either.  In the video, you can see where she plays in to the LBs, thus dragging it out.  And then one of the LBs actually pokes at her. What the hell?  Once one person has touched another person, in an unwanted manner, that is ASSAULT.  Period.  And STILL she let it go on.  She failed to do her job.  Which, in part, was to prevent or stop such behavior.

Then there is the ‘vacation fund’ set up for her.  Does she deserve it?  I don’t know, that is not for me to decide.  Nor is it any of my business.  It is not MY money, and if everyone out there wants to give her THEIR money, yay for them.

Here is why I did not, and will not donate.  What happened was unfortunate.  It never should have happened.  Even more unfortunate is the fact that it has happened before, and it will happen again.  Heck, it is probably happening as I type, and as you read.  The cries of outrage sicken me more than the act itself.  Every day, someone is bullied and someone is bullying.  Why are we all shocked and sickened over this one incident?  Because she is an elderly woman?  So what.  And by so what, I mean so what?  Does her age make bullying worse?  At what age is it OK to be bullied?  At what age is it better or worse?  I am almost 43, and I still get bullied at my age.  Is it OK for me to be bullied because I am too old for the kids menu, but too young for the seniors menu?

What the LBs did was inexcusable (or if you are the school district where it happened, it is uninexcusable).  Should they be held accountable?  Ab-so-fucking-lutely.  They should be taken to the nearest senior center and sat down with a large stack of bed pans to wash.  Should I give my money to BM because someone was not nice to her today?  Maybe.  But I am not going to.

Bullying is a disgusting part of life.  It should not exist.  But it does.  And let us all be honest, it always will exist.  As long as there are differences in age, sex, class, salary, social standing or anything else, there will be a form of bullying.

I really wish, to the center of my heart, that this was an isolated incident.  But it wasn’t.  It wasn’t the first time.  We know that because we already have thousands of anti-bullying campaigns going on around the nation.

It wasn’t the last.  We know that because we already have thousands of anti-bullying campaigns going on around the nation…

The Oatmeal and The Army…

I have always said that I have seen and heard it all. That nothing could amaze me anymore. Surprisingly, I was wrong. Even more surprisingly, the source of my amazement came in the form of an attorney, and a Sergeant Major.

Let’s start with the attorney, but to do that, let me first introduce the players. We start with Matt Inman, the creator and artist behind The Oatmeal, mix in a little FunnyJunk, stir in the possibility of a lawsuit, and viola! What you end up with is a Kool-Aid that tastes good, and is very entertaining. I highly recommend you head to Popehat, and read Part I, Part II, Part III, and finally, Part IV.

If you are still reading this, you have had a giggle or two at The Oatmeal’s response, you have been amazed at the amount of money that the Bear Love Good, Cancer Bad campaign has raised, and you have been floored by the reaction of the potential plaintiff’s attorney.

This has been a learning experience for me. I have learned that not all lawyer-at-the-bottom-of-the-sea jokes are that far off base. I have learned that, contrary to every history class I have ever taken, apparently Walt Disney was the root cause of World War II.  I have also learned that no matter how hard you try, sometimes douchebaggery trumps philanthropy. Hopefully, that last thing is a lesson short lived. So far, Indiegogo is standing behind The Oatmeal and not removing the fundraiser like opposing counsel had requested.

Carry on Matt, may your Oatmeal will continue to feed us, long after the dust settles.

As promised, there is the Army…

Recently, the new Sergeant Major of the Army released the proposed changes to the Army’s grooming standards.  Some of the changes are common sense. Women can’t have talons on their fingers. Soldiers cannot have mutton chops. Blue and green hair is out of the question. Want to gauge your ears in the Army? Too bad. Don’t even get me started on the proposed regulation that would prevent soldiers from growing any facial hair, even while on leave. B Daddy has a very strict no shave policy while on leave.

And then there are tattoos.

Let me get this out of the way by saying, yes, joining the Army is voluntary. Yes, it is an employer and there are rules. If the SMA wants a regulation stating tattoos cannot be visible while in uniform, okey doke.

HOWEVER.

To The Army Times, SMA Chandler made the following comment. “…the Army says you are part of the same organization. We all generally look the same. And we do not want you to stand out from the rest of the Army.” Really? While he does go on to say “Yes, we want you to set yourself apart and do great things and so on, but that does not mean tattooing yourself or doing other extreme things that draw attention to you, the individual”, it is a sentiment that I disagree with.

Let me take on the role of conspiracy theorist for a minute. It may start with tattoos, but where does it end? Why should we stop there? Let’s have a cookie cutter army. Let’s have Hitler’s blond hair, blue eyed army. Wait, if we are going to have them all identical, then we can do away with promotions and awards. No more ASVAB tests, because everyone is the same. No more performance evaluations. Wait. Will the women be gone? Or will they get their own army of cookie cutters?

I know that I sound extreme. And I am sure most people think it is simply because I have so many of my own tattoos. But it isn’t. I am not in the Army. And when I start a new job, they either hire me with the tattoos, or they don’t. However if they DO hire me, and I excel at my job, I don’t expect to have to defend being the person that they hired in the first place.

Basically, the Army opened the door. They let people in with tattoos. They held the door open as soldiers got tattoos after they joined. I just don’t see how the Army will be able to close the door at this point.

Let me close with one last rant. As an Army wife, there are a few things that people say that completely irritate me, and unfortunately, SMA Chandler said one of those things. In his Army Times interview, he said “You chose to join the Army, …The Army didn’t choose to join you.” To me, that is just another way of saying “Just suck it…”

Maybe I should just get The Oatmeal to cartoon my response. Or maybe I should ask that wonderful attorney to sue for me. Better yet, maybe I should just grab my husband and go check out our new counter tops… Yeah. I pick that one too.

Plz Read Mai Blog. K? Thx. Bai.

Today I was at the local shoppette, waiting in line and browsing the magazines to see if Brangelina was adopting a 73rd baby, and lo and behold, there was a book that caught my eye. TXT-pedia – Your Guide to Understanding Texting – Guaranteed to Help You Send a 300 Word Text in 100 Characters or Less.

OK, I am not sure where to start here. The fact that you have to read a book in order to learn how to read a text message. Then there is the fact that if you send me a 300 word message, I am fairly sure that I don’t care how many characters you use. As a general rule, I usually see something shiny out of the corner of my eye and by the time I have read the first line of your text, I have lost interest in whatever you have to say. And my final WTF (see, I can be taught), why the hell are we selling books that teach people how to spell incorrectly?? I see a whole new line in the “…For Dummies” series.

I should have realized what the world was in for when I started chatting online, and saw for the first time “A/S/L”. And then we started to amuse each other, which caused us to LOL. And then you could play wavs in your private AOL chatroom, and that caused us to ROFL. Then we realized we could play nasty wavs, and we started LMAO. Well, I LMAO. You laughed your own off. And if anyone out there says they thought that it would end there, STFU, are you kidding?

Because someone decided that just jumping on the internet at every waking moment was not enough. Now we needed to have electronic social media leashes. It wasn’t bad enough that you couldn’t prove that you were home with the flu, because your boss could GPS your phone, no, now we had to learn a whole new way to type poorly.

And it isn’t even just the acronyms. We actually change the spelling of the words. “You” became “u”. “Your/You’re” became “ur”. And IDK know if it even matters if you meant your or you’re because apparently the Laws of the Interwebz don’t require you to actually use the word that you mean. Now, those examples are one thing. They sort of make some sense, since it is kind of like an abbreviation. Kind of.

But we have yet to cover my pet peeve in the world of texting. IMO, it is just stoopid to change the wurds by simply spelling them wrong. Especially if it makes the original word longer! “My” has become “mai”. Not only that, but now LOLs have been changed to “lulz”. FFS. Really? Does it really surprise ANYONE that autocorrect spits out some really random crap? Some programmer made it so that if you were going to text like a moron, then you probably wouldn’t even notice that you just asked your MIL if your FIL still used bondage. And for the record, that one was really not my fault. Vonage. I meant Vonage. BTW, if you want to laugh until you cry, you really should check out http://www.damnyouautocorrect.com.

In the meantime, I am going back to the tried and true acronyms that actually make sense and don’t look like a SNAFU. We already know that our kids are FUBARed, so BOHICA people…

But first, I am off to text my BFF Rose.

Kthxbai!

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