Wednesday, March 13, 2013

One Day, I Will Be Brave

One day I will be brave.  One day I will greet each day with not only a hopeful smile, but an attitude that shows the world that I can take whatever is thrown at me.  One day, I will wake up and just know that I can handle anything. 

The truth is I am not brave.  I am not strong, I am not anything remotely like that.  I put on a great show of how thick skinned I am, how confidently I move, how sure my voice is.  There is never a falter, never a stutter, never a second thought.  I move with the confidence of a woman who knows what to do, what she wants and who she is. 

One day I will be brave, because I am not a confident woman who knows what she wants, what to do or who she is.  I am a girl.  I am a young girl who’s fingers shake when no one is watching, who’s mind second guesses every confident gesture and decision she makes and who falters, stutters, and questions everything. 

I am not thick skinned.  Beneath the exterior that shows the stones thrown at me will bounce off without so much as a hint that they even landed, lies a girl who is mortally wounded by each hurtful thing said to her.  My heart breaks so easily. 

But one day, I will be brave.  One day, I will face those stones and shatter them before they even have a chance to hit me.  I will truly face the world knowing that I can do anything, I can master anything, I can accomplish anything.  I will not be afraid of failure because I will not fail.  I will learn and grow and master my mistakes and own them.  I will see them as stepping stones to guide my way.  I will see them as paths better left unexplored.  I will see them as a way to show the world that nothing will stop this girl. 

I will be brave one day. 

It might not be tomorrow, but each day that passes helps me gain the strength I need.  I know that someday soon I will be brave and not just pretending.


Monday, March 11, 2013

When Will We Laugh Again?

I sat down the other day and did a short little inventory of my life, our life, all the insanity that this life brings and thought to myself, "Our life has been filled with so much sadness."

I had done this little inventory because I wanted desperately to share a funny story, or at least one that could be thought of as silly or funny after the fact.  I sat and thought about all that we have been through and realized how little we laugh.  It's so rare that we truly laugh.  Just laugh because we can or so hard that our stomachs hurt and our eyes tear. 

There is a void where our laughter used to be.  We used to laugh so much I thought no one would ever take us seriously as a couple.  My mother once remarked at how much we laughed at our wedding and how silly we were. 

We never laugh anymore.

There seems to be so few reasons to anymore.

When each day that my husband wakes up is a day that he must battle this unseen fight within himself, he doesn't often feel like laughing or that life is all that funny.  And each day I have to wake up and tell myself that we are one step closer to a life that WON'T be a constant battle.  It's hard to find much that is funny in a life like this. 

It seems to have been something that was missing, but I was never able to figure out what was different.  He was gone for so long.  I didn't laugh much during the deployment, I had so few reasons to truly laugh, from my belly, with all my heart, at life during that time.  And then he came home, and he was wrong, we were wrong, things were wrong.  We have been so focused on the fight, that somewhere neither of us noticed that gaping void of silence that used to be filled with the sounds of giggling in the middle of the night or loud, boisterous laughing as we made dinner.

All we have is a void.  A gap.  A space that used to be filled with who we were then.  And now that we are no longer them, we no longer laugh.

I don't know when we will laugh again.  Truly laugh.  A real laugh full of happiness and hope for the future.  A loud laugh that lingers in the air after the sound has stopped.  A joyful laugh that can only be laughed by someone who knows that things will be alright.  I hope soon.  I hope that I can say that I am laughing again.  But more than that, I hope that I can say he is.


Friday, March 8, 2013

The Optimist and the Pessimist

I have called myself an odd perpetual optimist for as long as I can remember.  I get down and out, just like anyone, but I can't help but always have hope for the future, I can't help but always think the best of people and I can't help but keep trying.

Some might say that this is a character flaw, and Lord knows I've been burned when giving people second chances, or thinking the best of people that didn't deserve it.  But I still believe in living life with a positive outlook.  Why bother to get out of bed at all if you don't?

My husband is a pessimist.  He didn't used to be, but I chock it up to having PTSD.  It clouds so much of your outlook on life that I know he can't help but never see the good in anything.  He never sees a reason to hope for the future.

The other day, we discovered that we will have a slew of mutual days off of work.  I lay next to him in bed and put my arms around him and told him how nice it will be to see him and spend some time with him for a while.  He responded by telling me that he didn't really know if it would be any good.  All we do is fight when we have mutual days off, so chances are that's all we will do this time around.

It's true, we fight, but it can be hard not to when you never see each other and never talk.  Mutual days off won't fix anything if we can't communicate.  But that's now what he sees the cause of our fights to be. 

So I guess I will just have to be extra optimistic to be enough for both of us.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Things I Can't Say

It's funny, the things I can't say.  I say them all, but only in my heart.

For some reason, the time we have spent fighting this exhausting battle has created a wall that we don't seem to be able to climb.  It's a barrier that prevents me from saying all the things I wish I could.

So each week, I sit down at my computer and I write.  I write about what troubles me, I write about my pain, your pain, our pain and all of the things I wish I could tell you.  I pour out, in an unabashed way the things that keep me up at night, but I never say them to you.

Goodness knows that I have tried, but that wall, that seems so un-scaleable, stands in my way.  You are not able to hear me, or able to understand why I need to say them.  You get angry, or you simply brush me aside.

The things I can't say to you are many, are heavy burdens to carry and things I must cope with on my own.  Someday, I hope we can go back to sharing our lives, but I understand that this is the way it has to be... For now.  For now, I will sit in silence and work towards the days when we are once again whole and able to speak without fear.

Until then, I will sit each week at my computer and write all the things I cannot say to you, but wish I could. 


Monday, March 4, 2013

You Don't Know Stubborn

You don't know stubborn until you've met a military spouse.  And even then, you haven't seen the most stubborn of them all until you have met the spouse of a wounded warrior.  We are a breed all our own.  We are a group that doesn't understand the meaning of giving up.  You don't know what stubborn is until you have faced a spouse of a service member with PTSD, TBI or any invisible wound.

I have days that I want to give up.  I have days where I don't know if I have the strength to keep going.  I have days where I am woefully aware that our journey will be a long one.  But I am still here.  No matter how hard it might be, I pick myself up and grab my husband by the hand and remind him that I am here.

Stubborn doesn't even begin to describe what I am. 

I will not give up on my husband, even when he has given up on himself.  I will remind him that life is never perfect and everyone faces struggles.  Sure, ours sometimes feel insurmountable, but no matter what is blocking our path, I will find a way to keep going. 

I don't know the meaning of give up.  I don't understand why people ask me why I don't leave.  Why would I?  Just because our struggles are tough and unique to us, we are still here and as long as I am breathing, I will fight for my husband.  I will push through our obstacles for him, I will shout his name into the dark so he can follow my voice to find peace again.  I will lay next to him in bed and kiss his forehead when he is having a restless sleep and I will lay in bed and wait, for however long it takes to feel that he is home.

I am still waiting for my husband to come home.  But I will wait indefinitely until he does.  Until his mind is ready to be here.  Until he has healed his wounds and faced his demons and walked back into our life ready to be a part of it. 

I will wait because stubborn doesn't even begin to describe what I am.  Steadfast, loyal, determined, none of those fully encompass what I am. 

You don't really know what stubborn is, until you've met a military spouse of a wounded warrior.  We don't know the meaning of give up.


Saturday, March 2, 2013


Everyone gets overwhelmed.  The fact is it's a fact of life.  There's not much you can do to prevent it from happening.  But in PTSD Land, it can be overwhelming all the time.  I still have not figured out how to prevent it because it always feels like I'm blindsided by it.  One day I wake up and BAM a pile of crap that I have to deal with and I just want to stop time for a bit.

I have been horribly overwhelmed and it's been 100% emotional.  My husband has been moody and I've hit a point where I just don't know what else I can do.  I feel like I have done everything possible for him.  I have changed careers, I have bent over backwards to accommodate him and have asked my different employers to do that too.  But nothing I do is ever right.  Even when it's something he asked of me. 

These past few weeks, I have watched him be angry at me for things that he initiated, asked for, or demanded.  I'm left feeling defeated and unsure of how to make it better.  I'm a failure not matter what I do to him.  It's a lose/lose situation for me. 

My mind has hazed over and I have started to feel apathetic towards things.  Not because I don't want to care, but because I have too many things to care about at once.  And the frustration and anger I feel towards the situation feels like it's always precariously under the surface and about to bust through at any moment.

I find it very hard to not tell my co-workers that their problems are petty, that their fights amongst themselves are stupid and that they don't know what real trouble is.  But I know it's not fair to feel that way.  I know I can't place my feelings and my situation on someone else.  I need to be sensitive, but I can't.  All I can feel is frustration and anger and a feeling of utter hopelessness that I'll ever be able to cope.

But I will survive this just as I have in the past.  I know it's temporary. I'll be ok.


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