running towards the fire

The reasons why I decided in 2008 that I wanted to join the military are long and varied. I wrote a lot about them at the time in my other (non-public) blog, and I may copy some of those writings in here sometime, as I think it’s a good story.

But there was one memorable event from my childhood that I recently have come to believe influenced me as well. I’ve never written about this anywhere before, but the story has been bouncing around in my head for a week now so I figured I should take this chance to break my stretch of non-updates.

When I was about 12, I was skating on our backyard ice rink (yes, my Dad was awesome!) with my siblings and a couple other kids who lived in the house behind ours, when we saw a big cloud of thick black smoke blowing across the backyards of the houses on one side of us. My Dad was outside with us (I don’t think he was skating though?), and he was the first to go to the front yard, and I remember him yelling to us, as we followed him to see what was going on, to “go tell your Mum to call the fire department!”

As he said this, I remember I was at the side door of our house and as I looked left I was shocked to see bright orange flames reaching above our next-door neighbour’s house. (This is one of those images that is burned into my brain forever. Heh, “burned”…) It turned out that it was the house two doors down that was on fire.

My brother and I ran to the front door and shouted to Mum, only to be scolded by her to be quiet as she was on the phone with them already.

We all went inside the house, and took off our skates. My little sister was really scared, and wanted to go hide under her bed. (She would have been about 8.) I, pretending to be brave, told her that she needed to be ready to get out of the house if the fire spread. But I also told her that wasn’t likely. Really, I just wanted to go hide under the bed with her. I was terrified of fires when I was young. Our house being on fire was a main theme of my nightmares, and the thought of losing all my toys/possessions was devastating to me.

My Dad was still gone — he had run down to the street to where the fire was. I was too scared to go outside and watch, despite the crowd forming across the street from the spectacle. I made myself go take a look only hours later, when the fire had taken pretty much the whole house and they were just putting out hot spots.

I had many more fire nightmares after that.

Anyways, so how does this relate at all to me and the military? Good question, I will answer it for you now.

The next Saturday, in the newspaper, there was a photo on the front page. The photo showed my Dad standing outside a house, helping a girl climb out through a window.

The family that lived in the house two doors down from me had two daughters – one was a year older than me, and the other was my sister’s age. On that particular day, the parents and the youngest daughter were downtown, and the oldest daughter and her friend (who also lived in the neighbourhood) were babysitting some children in the house. Apparently they were all in the basement and had no idea about the fire until one of them went upstairs and saw the front door in flames. The fire had started in the garage. I believe what happened was the friend called her father, who came over and, along with others like my Dad, helped them all get out of the house safely (including the family’s two dogs).

I didn’t know how any of this had happened until I saw the picture and it occurred to me that my Dad had seen the fire and gone towards it to try and help.

Back then, I had bought into a lot of what society taught me about gender roles and such, and I believed that going to help people out of burning houses was a “man’s job”. It was ok for me to be scared because I was a child, but mostly because I was a girl. But as I grew up, I found that I was much better at “male” subjects in school like math and computer science, and I decided that I was just as good a programmer as the average guy, so I went to university for that… and thus I eventually began to understand that despite being female, if I wanted to the be the type of person who runs towards the danger to help others, then there was no real reason I couldn’t.

That’s how I found my courage. Slowly. There were other factors to consider and issues to work out, but effectively, I decided what type of person I wanted to be — modeled so well by my Dad when I was 12 — and went ahead and followed through with it. Applying to join the military was the bravest thing I have ever done, and I was, and am, extremely proud of myself that I broke myself out of my extreme social anxiety ‘bubble’ and made it happen.

I wanted — and still do actually want the chance — to do something that protects all the scared 12-year-old children out there, or the wonderful non-violent people out there who want to change the world, from everything and everyone who might cause them harm.

Am I your ‘model’ soldier? Absolutely not. My brain is, and always will be, much stronger than any of my muscles. And I’d be a lousy firefighter if I can’t physically carry people out of danger. But I am good with technology. I can get radios working and fix computers. I can improvise solutions so that the people on the front lines can communicate with their commanders who are able to send them help if they need it. I am willing and wanting to be the one to stand between the bad guys and someone who can’t defend themselves.

I joined the military because it seemed to best way for me to have the chance to do what I want to do. I am still waiting for my chance to really make a difference. It’s possible I have already… but I don’t know it. I want to have a time where there’s no doubt in my mind that things worked out better because I was there.

So I am staying.

good things!

So I discovered that alcohol is quite good at temporarily alleviating social anxiety, but it really does nothing for introversion.

Had an awesome work party last Saturday night. Lots of fun, again I managed to get “good drunk” but not more… and drank lots of water so no hangover! 🙂

Well, no alcohol hangover. Socializing hangover? Yeah, like crazy. Did absolutely nothing but sleep and… I don’t even know, lie around and watch TV and play games on my phone?… on Sunday. Still tired today, didn’t want to do work at all. And deal with people? No thanks. I’ll stay at home alone with my cat for the next week, thanks. (If only!)

Anyways, it was fun being at a party where people were drinking but no one did anything really stupid and no one beat the shit out of eachother.

I really want to stay working with this group of people! They are all so cool. Oh yeah, so I never mentioned that I found out the door to me staying isn’t actually fully closed, like I thought it was. 😀 I’m not sure it’s a smart idea to have hope… but I am excited. Hopefully will find out if there might be a spot for me this week. Then interviewing/testing/trying to convince them that they want me!

My husband comes back on Saturday! He’ll have been gone for almost 6 weeks. I need to get laid so bad. ;P

drunk post ftw

I totally should stay off the internets when I’m semi-drunk… but I’m not that smart.

I don’t drink much anymore, but I had a few rum & cokes tonight to “practice” for tomorrow night, when I have a work party that I am super excited about. (The last thing I wanted was to get a headache after a couple drinks and be miserable.) I am so beautifully drunk right now. Not too much, but enough that I feel great about everything. 😀 (Err, for the record, 4 drinks. Ha.)

I watched ‘The Longest Day’ tonight, in honour of D-Day. I do this every year. It is one of my favourite movies. Soooo good. My parents were watching about the same time and we kept texting lines to eachother. It was awesome.

I miss my husband and I miss sex. It has been a month since he left and that’s my limit; when I start to go crazy. (Especially when I drink, lol.) Need sex sooooon. Vibrator isn’t quite cutting it anymore. :/ But only one more week and then we will be the sexiest people in the world together. ❤ I love him.

I am really going to try writing here more often. I tend to think that I am boring and my blog is dumb… but really, I am actually kinda awesome. I am a chick in the military, how cool is that!? (Answer: pretty damn cool.) So I need to get over my feelings of inadequacy and just type it all out.

Found out yesterday that my chances of staying at the unit I’m at are not actually zero. I was all prepared for that and was resolved to do what I had to to get back here. And now it turns out that that task is going to be much easier! Still not guaranteed, but I am happy. And hopeful. So glad I decided to not let this break me. It appears I have learned a thing or two!

Anyways, time to drink a shitload of water and then fall into a beautiful semi-drunk sleep.

BTW, the only thing in the world better than drunk orgasms is drunk post-orgasm sleep. ❤

thrown back to the wolves

I feel like I may need to change the name of this blog soon, because I just got some awful news: when I’m done my tasking in July, I have to go back to my old unit. I won’t get another tasking where I am now and my application to stay here “isn’t being supported” by my chain of command over there… probably due to my mental health ‘issues’.

Which is stupid, because I only became fully better once I got out of that toxic, emotionally abusive environment.

But I have no choice. So after much crying and discussing and soul-searching yesterday, I decided I have to try and make the best of it and do everything I can to protect myself so I don’t fall down that hole again.

If I have to, I can leave the military in June 2015. I hope I don’t have to, because I haven’t done all I want to do, but if I have to get out for my own sanity, that’s when I can.

Anyways, this blog might get a whole lot less amusing (yes, I know it wasn’t ever that amusing) so I will have to think of alternate titles. 😦

Arg, this is so frustrating. I found where I fit, finally. I was going to be in a position to make a real difference. And now I don’t know if I can ever get back here, or somewhere else with the same impact. I don’t know why Hell is so desperate to hold on to me.

This sucks. 😦

apparently, food gives me energy

I like to think of myself as a smart person, generally, but the truth is that I can be incredibly dumb sometimes. (As we all can be, I suppose.)

Example: Last weekend I spent the better part of four days at home and by myself. It was a nice time of relaxation, but I also hoped to get some work done around the house and in the yard. However, I found that I didn’t have a whole lot of energy. I was sleeping 10 or 11 hours a night (which is more than sufficient but isn’t “too much” for me) and mentally I was feeling fine, but physically I was exhausted.

It wasn’t until Sunday that I figured out that maybe it was because I was only eating two meals a day. When I’m doing any sort of physical labour, that really isn’t enough. Even when I sleep in till 11, I still need both breakfast and lunch.

For some reason my brain had decided that I only needed two meals because “all I was doing was lazing around the house”, and then it wondered why I didn’t have energy to do anything but laze around the house. Duh.

This is why I need my husband here, lol – he reminds me that I do indeed have to do things like eat. 🙂

I don’t like stopping to eat a meal because I have to interrupt what I’m doing. When I’m alone, I have a much greater tendency to get “in the zone”, and thus I don’t always even notice time passing. If I do notice, I still don’t want to stop, or I tell myself I will stop soon and then get more involved in what I’m doing and it can be hours later when I actually finally stop.

I also don’t like the decision aspect to eating. Deciding what to eat, whether it’s healthy enough, whether I feel up to cooking anything, and how much I should eat is just a lot of decisions that drain me. Also, I’ve been trying to lose a few pounds, and thus have been tracking what I eat on MyFitnessPal.com… well, when I’m feeling lazy, I find myself not eating something simply because I don’t want to record it. That may work for weight loss, but it doesn’t work for overall health and happiness and energy!

This past week I took a break from recording my food, to try and encourage myself to eat better. And guess what? I’m still losing weight, slowly. I have more energy. Things are pretty good.

I hurt my lower back a LOT on Thursday, and got Friday off work with the instructions to avoid sitting or bending, and lie on my stomach a lot to stretch out my back. I found this very frustrating, especially since my parents have been visiting and this is one of the very few times I get to see them in a year. They offered to help clean up the house and yard, but I was limited in how much I could do. Still we did get some stuff done this weekend. And my mother has been so great with cooking and doing all the dishes for me, it’s been so nice to get a break from that!

My back is a lot better now too, though I start to feel it when I sit for more than half an hour. Work tomorrow should be interesting; I guess I’m going to have to find creative things to do to get me away from the computer!

Three more weeks until my husband gets home. I miss him so much. 😦

energy

I haven’t had a lot of energy lately.

It’s been about 6 months since I feel I got over my depression, and that’s just long enough for me to start expecting I can come home from work and accomplish something productive in the evenings. Rather than have a nap, grudgingly get up to eat supper, and then watch TV or play games for another couple hours before going back to bed. So it seems rather disappointing when I find myself back at the ‘taking a nap after work’  stage, and feeling like it takes so much effort to go shopping, do laundry, or do the dishes.

I had a very busy and stressful month of work in April, so I think I burned myself out a bit. And now I am killing myself with worry over whether I will have to go back to the extremely toxic work environment that caused my depression in the first place. Right now I am working in a much more positive environment and it has done wonders for my mental health (like, literally made me a healthy deployable soldier again!), but my tasking ends in July. I have an application in to stay here full-time, but right now that is out of my hands and I feel extremely frustrated and powerless.

Anyways, I started having a nap after work every day a couple weeks ago and the habit has stuck. I get really tired in the mid-late afternoon, even on weekends when I sleep in a lot. Right now I’m in the middle of a 4-day weekend, and since my husband isn’t around and I really have no social life outside of work, I am spending it alone. (Well, other than the cat! Who is excellent company.) It’s hard to make myself get up and get dressed and leave the house, especially today. Doing just one thing seems to tire me out.

On one hand, this is a nice relaxing weekend. On the other, my to-do list keeps growing and I wish I could be a normal person and actually DO stuff on it.

So to make myself feel more positive, I am going to write an “I Did” list in here… rather than focus on what I didn’t do or what is left to do, I will focus on what I actually have done. (I read about that somewhere, don’t remember where, but it has worked for me in the past.) However, what comes along with that is a need for me to show other people my list saying “see what I did!!!”… and since the husband is away, you dear readers are it. 😉

Tulips

“I Did” list – Friday:

  • Raked front lawn (the part that needed raking the most, anyways).
  • Dug up half the front garden; ready for flowers now!
  • Had a shower.
  • Cleaned up food/dishes I used.
  • Texted with the husband.

“I Did” list – Saturday:

  • Walked to the drug store.
  • Actually cooked dinner! And did some dishes.
  • Wrote this blog entry. 🙂

Both days I got dressed and went outside the house, so that is good. I want to continue this trend tomorrow and Monday.

My therapist once told me that I “use a lot of energy worrying about whether I have the energy to do things”. Haha, true. Am working on it…

my ‘background processes’

Yeah, so last entry I lied. I’m not ready to talk about sexism in the military. This is too active a topic in my mind and I can’t really express anything coherent or in any way final at the moment.

So instead I thought I’d give a short intro to how my brain works.

My brain is always ‘on’, always busy. The only time it isn’t is when I sleep (not counting dreaming, which is a different kind of thinking)… which is probably why I like sleeping so much, the only time I can actually relax! LOL. (I am working on that, but it is not in my nature to relax. :x)

Now at any given time I have a number of issues I’m currently thinking about, considering, or experimenting with. Each item stays in my head until it reaches some sense of resolution, and then it moves aside to make room for new issues.

I like to think of these topics as ‘background processes’, each requiring a certain constant amount of ‘RAM’ (the total of which can’t exceed some limit) and a more sporadic amount of ‘CPU cycles’ (which allow progress to actually be made on the issue).

Yes, if you haven’t figured it out, I am a computer nerd. 😛 The analogy is very apt though.

(I love the word ‘apt’.)

Here are some of the things that have been receiving a lot of CPU cycles recently:

  • Sexism/sexual assault in the military, specifically in Canada – especially due to the recent Macleans article
  • “pet parenting” – how my relationship with my cat is similar/different to a parent/child relationship, and how/why society judges people who choose to only have children of the non-human variety
  • Aspergers, especially in women, and especially relating to executive functioning and the concept of ‘inertia’
  • Leadership
  • Diffusion of responsibility, especially in strict hierarchies (ie. military)
  • the roles we play in life vs genuine self

Here are some of the things that have been in RAM for a long time:

  • Women in combat
  • Women in sports
  • Gender vs sex
  • Sexual orientation / sexual fluidity & the differences between emotional and physical/sexual attraction
  • Gun ownership/laws/attitudes

That’s all I can think of at the moment. But it’s likely that I’ll be pulling from those lists, especially the latter, for future entries. Anything you particularly want to hear my take on, please comment!

I am going to try and update this thing more often – my husband is away for the next month and a half, and I really should do more than play video games… 😉