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July Four

 

I spent July 4th this year in Romania and the year before that I spent it at work. I felt a little relief by being out of the country this year for it even though I really couldn’t escape the holiday. In Bucharest, they flew extra Romanian flags in honor of the Fourth of July.

I was asked what I thought of the particular holiday and I gave my honest response as always: “It’s a well developed commercialized long weekend for a lot of people. It’s all about camping, BBQing, fireworks and extra discount sales at retail stores. For a lot of people who have to work, it means getting up earlier for work or having to stay late resulting in lack of sleep or not being able to partake in the festivities.” And if you complain about it, the typical American response is “find a different job”.

Fireworks can be heard from about the middle of June to about a week after the actual holiday. It’s annoying. It’s obnoxious. The way I see things is: the Fourth of July has lost it’s meaning. No one really celebrates what they’re really supposed to be celebrating. And when you get down to the actual nuts and bolts of America, would you really want to celebrate that? People want to be patriotic and claim they love America and say that America is the greatest country in the entire world. I beg to differ.

I travel a lot. I’ve been to just about every major city in America and I’ve traveled to many countries abroad. I’ve been to combat, I’ve seen countries and cities that any normal person probably wouldn’t add to their bucket list of places to see. With all the places I’ve seen, I can already tell you that America isn’t the greatest. There are great things about America just like there are great things about other countries that make them great too. I’ll give you an example. I traveled to Romania recently and I experienced a country with little to no crime. Of course, when you get closer to the big cities like Bucharest, the crime rate increases, naturally. Just like here in America. But America has a huge crime problem. Every time I turn on the news or look at social media, there’s a murder, a rape, there’s drug use to epidemic proportions. When I worked in downtown Seattle, I saw hypodermic needles on just about every street corner. Either there’s a lot of diabetics running around dropping needles or there’s a serious problem with drugs.

In Japan I saw one homeless person. One. Granted, I was only there 12 days and secluded myself to the metropolitan area of Tokyo so maybe if I ventured out further I would have seen more. I can walk to the nearest city closest to my house and count ten homeless people right now. What’s so great about that? We have major schools closing down due to lack of budgeting and crooked politicians who lie and cheat their way into office and take our nation to a $7 trillion dollar war for 14 years based on lies and deceit. They spoon feed Americans this crap and we, as a nation, buy into it. I’m ranting, I know. But do you see my point? If America is so great why do we have people like Donald Trump running for president? Why isn’t Hillary Clinton facing some sort of criminal charges? Why are our schools closing and education suffering? Why do we put sports and Keeping up with the Kardashians as our top priorities over knowing the ingredients in our food and making sure corporations, money and greed don’t run this country? We are the people and the government should fear us! But they don’t because we are a nation of sheep.

The fourth of July is good for foreign countries because we buy all our commerce goods like those little plastic American flags from China. What’s patriotic about waving a little plastic American flag that’s manufactured in China? Why aren’t WE, as a nation, providing for ourselves and having solid trade relations with OUR goods to other countries? We have a lot of Toyotas driving around America. But does Japan have a lot of Fords and Chevrolets driving around their country? We allow our goods to be manufactured in other countries for cheaper labor so we have cheaper prices. Is that the end all to it? We stomp on other Americans, ship their jobs overseas and applaud when we get a good deal on a car? It’s disgusting to me. But we let them do it to us.

I don’t celebrate the Fourth of July anymore. I haven’t for years. As long as Americans continue to post pictures of their barbequed hamburgers and cheap (who knows what’s in it) hotdogs on Instagram and Twitter, and laughing and happy they’re getting “extra time off from work” instead of taking some time and thinking back on what this country was actually founded on…

The public school system does a great job of glorifying America. I spent some time in college and experienced some history lessons that some times I’d like to forget. But that’s what really happened. I encourage all to take some college history classes and find out the truth. But I digress.

In the end, what does it matter. People will always be people and we all will continue to live in our selfish, self-indulged bubble.

 

Memorial Day Weekend

I feel like every Memorial Day weekend is based on sales, BBQ-ing and long weekends for people to travel and do whatever.

Recently I attended a Veterans Memorial and the elected officials that attended made a very remarkable statement. The statement, which by the way I can not recall word for word, really hit home. It surrounded around the idea that Veterans in this nation have sort of been pushed to the way side. We name our streets and plants trees for Veterans and have Veterans Day and Memorial Day and all these special dates, times and events, but all I see on social media are “Memorial Day Sale” and “Veterans Day Sale” and barbeques on sale and travel times, etc.

I hope Veterans aren’t forgotten. I hope people actually have a memorable weekend and keep those who served in their thoughts and prayers and don’t succumb to the pressures of a capitalistic weekend brought to you by Macy’s, Sears and whoever else. It’s sad that days like these are surrounded by greed.

But I digress.

I’m going to end this short blog entry with a message to a person who continues to leave comments. Or tries to. JHope@Yahoo.com, I’m sure you’ll read this and it’ll give you some sort of satisfaction that I acknowledged you. I even tried to email you but it says your email is invalid. You left a comment stating “I’m running away like a little bitch.” Yet, this is coming from a person who not only has an email specifically for trolling purposes, but won’t allow any incoming email. That to me says “coward”. I understand the internet is a fun place to go to harass people under an anonymous persona. You don’t have to take any responsibilities for the things you say and you can just disappear whenever you want.

This whole recruiting thing is in the past and forgotten about. It happened nearly ten years ago and I’ve let it all go and moved on. You seem to be thoroughly stuck on it like you want to squash some vendetta you have about the whole thing. Or maybe I’m just giving you too much credit. Who knows. I can’t even recall the First Sergeants name whom you’re speaking about; nor do I care what he’s doing or how he retired. If he retired with full benefits, good for him. Anyone who puts their time in no matter how great or poor of a leader they were, deserves such. Comparatively to the leaders in past units I served it, the ones I had in recruiting were extremely poor. When you have a Company Commander state that he hates recruiting and doesn’t want to be there, take a guess what that does to the morale. Recruiting is a tough gig all the way around. That’s all I need to say about that.

I’ve taken responsibility for the things that happened. And again, I was not kicked out of the service. I had a JAG lawyer and I signed a voluntary resignation and left the service under honorable conditions. Now I own a home, I have a good job and that’s that. If you’d like to open the lines of communication instead of hiding behind an email, I’m fine with that. You can also send me your address and we can talk face to face. I’m not hiding or running from anything.

You say you’re a Veteran, well, lets see.

Edit: JHope left another comment claiming he was in the same recruiting company I was in and insists I was “kicked out” of the Army. Yet, JHope continues to keep his emails blocked and won’t identify who he really is. He’s just “calling me out” on all my “lies” during my time in service. My time in service isn’t defined by 2 years and 8 months in recruiting but yet defined by my DD214 that says “General Discharge under Honorable Conditions”. That’s not being kicked out.

One day JHope will stop being so afraid and post his address along with allowing for emails because I have a pretty good idea who this JHope person really is.

 

Inexperienced Junkie

When I got out of the service my life was basically in shambles. If I could fast-forward to what I’ve become today when I first got out of the Army, I’d probably be pretty shocked. Life in general seemed pretty hopeless. I didn’t have a well-structured support system, I didn’t have any friends or really anyone I could turn to. I suppose I’ve droned on about this plenty of times throughout my past blog entries…

Today was one of my more successful days. If you have no idea what I do for a living or you’re reading this blog for the first time, I’m involved in retail security. I’m not sure why I’ve let myself get so deep into this career field especially when there are way more better paying jobs out there. Anyway. It’s what I do. It’s not very rewarding, the pay sucks, the hours suck even worse and I’m dealing with the worst of the worst on many occasions. You know, people who just don’t give a fuck.

There are times when the job is very interesting and exciting though. Early morning surveillance or long-drawn out investigative scenarios where we end up busting someone trying to rip the company off for like, thousands of dollars. Some times the job can be very rewarding. Generally it’s not, though. In fact, in most cases it’s extremely boring and dull. And I often find myself questioning my own motivation, my own willingness to see some of these criminal cases through or even if I have the energy to continue working in this field. Sometimes I feel like I’m wasting my time. Like, the other day. Here I am, a grown man, sitting outside a fitting room in the juniors department of the store waiting on a shoplifter to emerge. People stare at me..you know, like I’m some pervert.

So back to today, right? When things are going extremely smooth in my life whether it be with my love life or with my career, something else always has to emerge and start screwing with my happiness and routine. I left one company to go work for another retail company for more pay and more experience. That’s what I thought would be a good move in my life. It’s always important to gain as much experience as you possibly can to enhance your resume and project yourself into the working world to stay valuable and relevant to employers. I’ve always had a drive to work my way up the corporate ladder and eventually be “the man”.

The company I left has now called. They want me back. But not for a low man on the totem pole position. They want me to be the man. At this point, my life couldn’t get any brighter. These phone calls aren’t always going to present themselves. These opportunities aren’t always going to fall into your lap. It’s not every day someone gets a phone call saying “hey, we’d like to promote you even though you left us for a competitor.” I mean, are you fucking serious?!

I don’t put a lot of stock into my accomplishments. I really don’t hold a lot of self value and confidence. I’m always worrying about what others thing of me and if I’m fucking up or not. And when people don’t tell me I’m not fucking up, I’m constantly thinking I am fucking up but they’re just too afraid to tell me so. Does that make sense? I’d like to think I’m doing a good job at work but I have this constant nagging feeling that people aren’t pleased with my work. Like, they aren’t really appreciative of what I’m doing. Like, I’m lacking. It’s frustrating to feel this way and it’s not very motivating sometimes. Am I doing the right thing? Am I doing the job they’re paying me to do? Am I doing a good enough job to warrant this kind of pay? Am I failing?

But I just keep smiling. I just keep smiling.

Well, they must’ve seen me coming, ain’t this life so fucking great!

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Burning Bright

I promised myself that I wouldn’t cry tonight. I promised myself that I wouldn’t let the emotional trauma or the physical pain get to me. It’s all too greater of a self promise. I got drunk and wept in near-silence. The tears that rolled down my cheeks were cool on my skin, and hyrdating at the same time. I felt a need to cry. I felt as if I didn’t, something was wrong with me. I felt safe with my tears. I felt safe looking around my empty apartment and feeling that enormous void of nothingness that was there. It felt normal. But at the same time..it scared me.

Lately, I’ve been having realistic night terrors. Again. Oh, it’s nothing new, friends. I’ve been living with these things since my deployment to Iraq in 2005. Some nights are better than others. And some nights I get about three hours of sleep because of them. The last several nights it’s been quite a problem. I see this faceless being haunting around my apartment looking to steal my television. When I wake up, I see the figure slink down behind the Tv. I get up, throw a few curse words around, and approach like I’m going to do something about it. No one is going to steal my Tv and get away with it! When I get to the Tv, the figure is gone. I wake up to this happening three or four times a night.

I slink back to my bed unloading my pistol I had on my counter top. What a dangerous scenerio, right? Some whacked out former soldier living alone, loaded for bear, having night terrors. Seems like a recipe for disaster. For years, I’ve been able to keep my emotions under control. I’ve never went after these “night terrors” with a vengence or with some kind of attitude like I’m going to end them with violence. I do, however, grab my pistol, load a magazine, and search the apartment unit for said “night terror” figure.

The thing that scares me the most is the fact that the “night terror” figure reminds me of me. I can see what it’s wearing. I can see and recount for everything except it’s facial expression. It’s face is emotionless. Like, what the fuck is going on here. You’re here to steal the fuck out of my Tv but you can’t tell me if you’re sad, angry, or fucking happy? That doesn’t make any goddamn sense.

I’ve hated night terrors ever since I started having them. The doctors told me it’s just something you’d have to live with. Great. This bullshit will forever be in my life? I get to stay awake at night, afraid to sleep because I’m worried some faceless asshole is going to waltz into my apartment and steal the shit out of my fucking television set or start creeping around the kitchen or slink into my bathroom? Shit, that’s not even the worst of it! I remember when I first started having real night terrors.

I was at Fort Riley and we had just gotten back from Iraq. I was sound asleep and I remember my right arm going completely numb. I woke up and saw this huge fucking Boa Constrictor wrapped completely around my arm! I fucking freaked the fuck out! I mean, I freaked the fuck out! I scrambled out of bed and bolted towards my door! I hit the door with so much force that I woke up my roommate in the next bedroom over. When I finally got the door open, I found myself in the bathroom common area sweating profusely, gripping my arm, and looking back into my room like, “what the fuck just happened?!” My roommate was a bigger guy with obvious weigh issues and he started grilling me on what had happened. His initial thought was I was on drugs. Acid to be specific. Then he urged me to call the charge of quarters sergeant or the military police because he thought I was really fucked up. Somehow, I talked him out of it.

The next morning, shit was all a blur, more or less. I ate my breakfast in my barracks room with a concerned look on my face, silent, but thoughtful. Shit happened last night and I wasn’t really sure what to do about it. I buried it. I buried all of it. Every last episode of night terror that came my way. I buried it. I was put on medication at one point. But that shit seriously fucked with my heart. “It’s incurable.” said the doctor.

I was finished at this point. Scared and afraid. As the years traveled on, my night terrors cleared up. Every once in a while, they’d flare up like a bad case of herpes. I’d bury them, move on, forget, battle on…they’d go away. I fought for many years that alcohol was the answer. What a waste. What do you do with a problem that has no resolution? You self medicate.

Forever Alone

Have you ever felt tired? You know, like exhausted when it came to certain things? Like, you just don’t have the energy to do something about it because the outcome always plays out the same? That’s how I felt last night when I was talking to my cousin about a love interest. I wanted to explain how things were going. But..as I was trying to formulate the words in my head, my brain just shut down. It was done. Exhausted. Tired.

I wanted to throw my phone in frustration. But what would that solve? I wanted to cry in sadness. But I’ve already cried all I could cry. I wanted to pound my fists on my head and scream and yell. But my voice is soft and weak now. I just want this sadness and feelings of being alone to end. I’ve tried so hard to love and be loved.

When Megan left, I told myself I wanted to change the way I do business when it comes to women. It seems the only real entity in my life that’s really causing so much emotional turmoil in my life is that of the female gender. It’s hard to find a person that genuinely cares. Or someone who will stick with you through thick and thin. We all know relationships take work. They take energy and determination to see things through. But when one party is dragging their feet, it forces the other to work harder than they really should be working.

I worry about shit. I worry about a lot of shit. In fact, my biggest fear is waking up the next morning and seeing a text or a hearing a voicemail or getting that phone call that my love interest has decided to call it quits. Why do I worry about that all the time? Because that’s what Megan did to me. She turned my world upside down. She ruined me. She caused so much heartache than I have ever experienced in my entire, pathetic life on this planet. Now when I get into a relationship, that’s all I think about. Why isn’t this person calling me back? Why isn’t this person texting me? Why is this person blowing me off?

Well, as it turns out, the same scenario sort of played out in the short-lived “relationship” or whatever you call it these days, with the last girl I was seeing. I’m finding it more and more common that people sort of just hang out with each other, act like they’re in a committed relationship but make it very clear in the beginning that it isn’t. It’s kind of strange. But I went with it despite how I was really feeling about the whole thing.  Anyway. For five days I don’t hear from this person. I consulted with many family members and friends over the whole thing, and everyone sort of came to the same conclusion that I should roll with my gut feeling; my gut feeling telling me to bail. Pull the rip cord. Chuck the deuces.

So I did.

Ultimately, I’ve given up on seeking love. I’ve given up on wanting to be married and spend my life with someone. A best friend of sorts. You know, all that happy shit. I suppose I’ve dated some pretty amazing women in my life and for that I’m grateful and proud to have shared moments with some wonderful humans. Forever alone, is something I’m going to just have to deal with until I can overcome some of these horrible feelings and behaviors caused by past relationships.

Ode to a Broken Heart

 

As I sit here thinking of the past.

I know not of what the future will bring.

All I know is that I love you so.

I always wonder what you’re doing, near or far.

My thoughts are jumbled, confused, and thoughtful.

But I can not seem to put it all together.

The thing is…I missed the opportunity. Will everything in the future turn out for the best? I’m in a doubtful stage in my life. I’ve seen this all before. And how cliché, “it’s not you, it’s me.” plays out in my head over, and over, and over again. My world is over one more time.

This time I wanted things to be different. But for a difference, change had to happen on my part. I tried. I really did. But with this I learned one sad fucking reality. I’ll always be alone as long as I’m who I am. A sad, sad existence to nothing. I need you now than ever. Tonight would be a good time to make things different.

My tears stream down my face, not for you, but for me. For my ultimate unhappiness. For my thirst for love unquenched. For my sadness and loneliness. My heart beats for every opportunity to see your smiling face. And all I can imagine is the happy times with you while you repeat all the miserable times I’ve caused with my changed persona. I’m not the man I once was, and for that, I cry in darkness.

My sadness and my pathetic character gleam through with a hint of forever.

There is no one to blame but me. In the end, it’ll work out, I’m sure. For you.

I walk with a sturdy, broken step. Broken in a way that most will never know.

 

Happiness is a warm gun.