Easy vulnerability

Tonight I got to spend an hour and a half with my friend Peel and I realized so many things because of it and don’t want to forget them.

  1. That hour and a half felt timeless. I was surprised how short the time was and honestly would not be surprised if some beings gave us a nice little time bubble because we talked about a lot of shit in that short time!
  2. The initial purpose, besides genuinely enjoying our time shooting the shit, was so I could talk to her about her experiences growing up as a military kid, joining the military while being an openly gay black masculine of center woman. I was looking for insight into my character who is all of those things except latinx and more feminine. I did come away with a character insight – that she’d be ridiculously prepared to play the military politics game. But more importantly I learned some amazing things about my friend’s life.
  3. We were both in the military at almost the same time, yet our experiences couldn’t be more different. Part of that is our personalities, which are so different but complimentary. Part of that is the nature of the Navy vs Marine Corps. And part is just the differences in soul journeys. I can say that my life would have been infinitely more interesting if we’d known each other then!
  4. We both have recently gone on a journey to understand ourselves more and just happened to have our awarenesses that opened up our hearts around the same time. So the last two times we’ve hung out it’s been incredible intimate and vulnerable, which sounds weird to write. In my younger years I would have been very confused by this, but this is very clear to me that it’s just an easy friendship. It’s super easy to share our experiences with each other. And yet, two years ago when we met, I wasn’t this comfortable. I knew I liked her and thought she was a ridiculously cool person, but this ease is mindblowing to me.
  5. I have never used the word ease to define me. But today has been just that, ease. I feel comfortable in my skin. In my head. Confident. It’s amazing. It’s also funny because I need to write a character that is the exact opposite of this right when I’m finally leaving it behind!
  6. And finally, it dawned on me right before I got home. The other reason I love to hang out with Peel is because we don’t have a history so we just take each other as we are. Anyone who’s known me for any real length of time is so used to treating me with kid gloves when it comes to feelings that they haven’t figured out they don’t need to. That I can talk about a lot of things since the big healing with Susan. And I want to talk about it. I want to be closer to people, but it feels like most are still keeping me at the distance I preferred before. I don’t exactly know how to bring that up yet, but I apparently will have to.
  7. Finally finally, I love having Peel as a friend. She totally laughs at my indecisiveness but she’s also my champion and supports my endeavors. And I think she’s an amazing business person and all around badass who just gets shit done. It feels amazing to have a friend like this. Who knew two lone wolves would get along so well?

Nerves at the VA

Today I had my first appointment with physical therapy at the VA. I was rushing because I left the house late but still had time to sit for a few minutes. While there I wondered how I would be called. In my head I imagined hearing Lance Corporal Meyer again and it felt so weird in my belly. That’s not normal. But it’s the first time at the big hospital since doing the emotional purge in January.

Is this a sign of how much I have changed since then? A message to not go back to that time?

The appointment itself was fine. I was called as Ms Meyer and he asked if I want to be called by my first name. So that was fine. The appointment was interesting. Seems my back issue might be a core stabilization issue.

After I went to work at Bed Bath and the music is all 80’s and 90’s pop, with one of the first songs being Madonna’s Ray of Light which is now 20 years old. I clearly remember listening to it over and over while in A school (first training after boot camp and combat training). It’s a great album and was one that kept me sane while trying to hide my sexuality.

So today is turning into an interesting day that is likely going to process subconsciously. A reminder that things have changed. I am a new person and won’t go back to who I was 20 years ago, or even 1 year ago as a result of what I dealt with 20 years ago.

Thoughts after reading Strong by Natalie Debrabandere

I’ve gone down the rabbit hole of lesbian fiction, which is wonderful and new for me. It started with a post on twitter about the top 100 lesbian books to read, or something like that. That brought me to Bridge Essex and fun romance novels. That also brought me to this idea of lesbian book bingo – https://jae-fiction.com/lesbian-book-bingo/ It’s a way to explore genres I wouldn’t otherwise explore and keep reading.

Jae posted a list for Women in Uniform, the first square. I chose a book called Strong. It seemed like one that would be interesting and not annoy me with inauthentic military references and I was right. What I didn’t anticipate was all the old memories and emotions it stirred up. I spent so much time lost in thought last night, apparently I need to just let it out. Feel free to ignore this, as it may not make all that much sense.

It’s been almost 20 years since I went off to boot camp. And almost 18 years since I was discharged. During those years, Don’t ask Don’t Tell was in full force, tainting an experience that would have been very different in today’s military. The daily fear of being found out. Of being constantly guarded. It all came back reading this story of two women in Afghanistan. But it wasn’t all the bad either. The massage, which was one of the ‘safe’ ways to have physical contact without getting busted for anything. Granted, the day my short term roommate walked in on Holloway and I giving massages still raised red flags for her, but it wasn’t enough to worry about. Besides, we really needed them. But, it was also part of the feeling out phase, since people couldn’t be all that out. I’m still not sure how that all happened. I just can’t remember. I think it was all a careful dance of feeling things out and then, once we were totally alone, just going for it. It’s odd what I don’t remember…well, normal for me, but I suspect other people remember a lot more of these details. So even once we were together, there wasn’t enough communication about it. It wasn’t dating. More, friends with benefits. The benefits of comfort, not sleeping alone. And that’s another thing I really related to. As the characters just shared a bed, without sex, that’s an experience that I think others will miss the depth behind. When you are constantly on guard, having that private space to just be touching and comforted means the world. Though I still don’t know how we got away with that. Perhaps the Marines on guard duty at the end of the female wing didn’t put it together, or didn’t care. Either way, I’m grateful. It made things more bearable through that time.

Another thing that stood out was including the guitar. There’s usually someone with a guitar at some point. I spent a lot of time in Pensacola learning to play the easier Indigo Girls and Melissa Etheridge songs. It helped me cope with all the challenges of being hidden. And it turns out, it’s what brought me and Sara, now the godmother to our daughter, together. I never knew at the time, but she would sit outside my door, studying and listening to my awful playing. lol But it made her feel better too. It’s so odd what comforts us. But while she is bi, she was dealing with so many demons of her own, including, I’m sure, flying under the radar. So for both of us, music was that rebellion. My favorite memories of her are hanging out in her room listening to Ani DiFranco, which felt so brazen to me.

It was such a complicated time. It was worse in the fleet, losing my friends, losing a fairly liberal command who didn’t really care what we were doing. Having to be even more closeted and not even knowing if anyone had my back. Then, that one respite, the month of CAX training where I was away from my unit on mess duty. Where again, people didn’t seem to care all that much. They were just cool. Getting to know Susan for far too short a time. Once again, not knowing how that happened. I’m just so oblivious to girls and flirting. So it’s mostly brief moments, always coupled with fear of getting caught, especially as a butch in the Marine Corps. I mean, everyone had to assume, so I was always careful. Unless drinking. And then it was only after I drank a lot. I’m grateful to everyone who didn’t rat me out. I have to remember that. But what was interesting is how less careful the more femme girls were. Susan asking me to walk to the bathroom with her, and taking my arm as we walked. It didn’t seem to occur to her at all, but I could only think how ballsy it was. At the time I thought, only straight girls thinking nothing of this. But a week or so later I realized she wasn’t actually that straight. And god, how different would it all have been if all of us could just be out, without fear of reprisal? To have all the fear and stress be about whether someone liked me, and not whether I would be busted, charged, and discharged. To not fear physical assault. I know it doesn’t matter, because what happened is what happened. But so much of that stress is still in me.

I’ve always been more repressed, more closed down. This didn’t help. I still don’t trust people easily, especially if they served. I don’t know if they’ll totally reject me. It’s stupid, I’m a grown adult with an awesome family. But the fear, it’s there. The fear of the judgment. All of it just pushed away, partially dealt with but never fully. Still shying away from even holding hands with my wife in public. Damn sure never kissing in public. It makes me a worse wife for it.

In my ritual I asked to release judgment. I had no idea it would show up like this. That’s how it works though, doesn’t it? Never how you expect it. Not always very fun. But maybe, just maybe I can open up more now. Can be a more present wife. Can live with less fear.

I know there are younger folks who still face this, growing up in really homophobic families and areas. It seems like far less of a problem though. I hope it is. I hope they can just live and love freely. But maybe they will also, someday, start to understand why the older generations can be so guarded. Can be more cautious. Because having all of your dating life occur under intense scrutiny is challenging. It wears on you. And to a person already so guarded from the world, it’s so much harder to release.

I had no idea until I read this book. And now, maybe all these tears shed and thoughts written out will allow for a new start. I wish Sara was out here to talk about this with. It will require beer. Perhaps a lot of it. I’m not sure I could actually open up still. But I think she could fill in some memory gaps. Maybe she can fly out before my parents arrive for Melody’s birthday. Or I won’t have the need by then. Emotions are complicated. And now, as I listen to my almost 3 year old rage downstairs over who knows what, it’s time to get it back together and take care of her.

CD4 injection 2

Just a note to say tonight was easier. I still found it hard to actually do the poking, but I spent far less time wrestling my brain.

My wife offered to do it but I refused. I want to do this. I need to face this fear and I don’t often push myself with fears anymore because they don’t come up. And without a drill instructor yelling, or the threat of yelling and punishment, I have time to overthink, which causes hesitation. Therefore I view this as training. Phase 1 was giving my cat insulin injections. Phase 1.5 was donating blood monthly. Phase 2 was giving my wife insulin injections. Phase 3 is giving myself injections. Phase 4, if I can get to it, is learning wilderness medicine including starting an IV. If I don’t reach that phase it’s ok though. I’ll see what opportunities arise.

Updates

In the pregnancy side of things, I met with the doctor yesterday. We’re going to try a different drug that’s significantly more expensive (follistim). I’m hoping my new VA coverage will help with it since I don’t want to spend possibly $500 on just the injections. However, they double our chance of pregnancy, while also doubling our chance of multiples (still only 20% though). I am getting enrolled with the VA and will ask about all this stuff (since in theory they cover IUI which would save us some money). I just need to figure it out by next cycle. There’s also discount programs that I can try for, but my income was pretty high last year thanks to the relocation so I’m not sure if we’ll get any help, but hey, what else is possible? 🙂

I just glossed over this, but I got my letter Monday that my disability application was approved for my shoulder, rated at 10%. That officially makes me a veteran, no matter how long I served. It’s been a long journey, I’ve been out 14 years, but it’s worth it. I don’t have to decide what the context is when someone asks if I’m a veteran (or a form asks). Now the answer is simple. Yes. And now I can use these benefits to balance out what was taken from me, like years of education benefits that would have made my life and education much better, rather than having to work throughout college when I should have been studying.

Hmm…anything else? I have a lot I want to do, just trying to get caught up so I can. Oooh, I got some cool stuff lately. An bracelet with an elephant and an infinity charm. It’s to remind me to be big, and bold, and sensitive, like the elphant. And that I’m infinite. 🙂 I also got an awesome red jasper elephant. It’s happy! And I got a venus carved from red jasper attuned to the crystal skull synergy. It’s super energetic! I figure, it will help me stay aligned with fertility. And anything attuned to Synergy is nice to have around. My three wolves are from synergy. My wife has three dragons as well. 🙂 (You can check them out on ebay. http://stores.ebay.com/Blue-Star-Traders?_rdc=1)

I’m getting back into some stone work again. My cousin asked me to make her a triple bracelet to support her new life. I have it planned out tentatively, now I just need the time to string it together and see how it looks. Tomorrow night Divergent comes out (fangirl scream) and I need to swap out the headlights on my car. Since the one went out, I bought the upgraded lights so I need to change them both. Then Friday after work I’ll drive us the 3 hours or so to Glenwood Springs for a speed vacation. Perhaps I will bring my beads so I can work on them at night. I want to make myself a fertility necklace because I can and it can’t hurt.

I better get myself ready for bed. It’s late and I have a lot to do tomorrow.

Moving them on

Today we visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Angel Fire, NM. I wanted to go out of curiosity, and it was in an area of canyons. As we were driving I realized it was farther than it looked on the map, but the drive was beautiful. At the memorial my wife got re-acquainted with the Huey which felt like an old friend. Past life memories are interesting. Then we went to the chapel. We had all of our guards with us, and there were earth bound spirits in there. Because of our presence we helped one soul return home to be reunited with his father before his father reincarnated. And because of our guards there are 10 souls considering moving on. Many times soldiers become earth bound because of their sense of duty. Now that they see another option to serve without staying at the memorial they will likely move on. It was a very emotional experience. I saluted them all, and saluted the soul as it returned home. Apparently that helps, for them to see a living human giving them that respect and recognition.

I believe we need to make the effort to visit other memorials, just in case there are spirits who could use our assistance.

Addressing pain and Nerdfitness Update

Boy am I tired. It should say a lot that I’m already in bed and doing my journal before 10pm! This weekend the struggle has been with pain still. The guides are concerned because it seems to be ligament inflammation since it feels better after a half hour in the pool. Based on this tiny insight I’m making a new strategy. First, at yoga I eased off a lot! I rested when I needed rest and only pushed to the point of discomfort instead of super challenging. Until the pain eases up I think I have to do that. I have learned about the powerful anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric and had some in the house for my wife. We haven’t had time to have her try it (don’t want to add too many new things at once) so I decided to give it a try. I have to experiment with the dose but since it doesn’t require too long to feel the effects I will be able to see how much it helps soon. And I went swimming again today. I do a lot of stretching and floating, along with some swimming. After 30 minutes or so I feel pretty darn good! And now I have two anti-inflammatory patches on my back and ankle to hopefully speed this along.

One thing that I’ve learned while swimming is I have no endurance. Getting to the end of the ~40 foot pool is a stretch unless I’m on my back. So today I decided to try to relax more. Swimming is very stressful for me, so this isn’t a minor challenge. It was helpful though. I’m challenging myself to realize just how little I have to work. Heck, even in boot camp swim qual was terrifying and challenging. I barely passed the second time through the survival floats. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t remember how to do them now. In time I need to re-learn survival swimming, but just enjoying recreational swimming would be nice.

This week has been really hard energetically. Part of it is sleep, which has been very broken all weekend. I’m hoping if I focus on sleep first everything else will fall into place. I have done a decent amount of cooking which should help as well. Yesterday was fried catfish, fried squash, and coleslaw. I rarely make fried food so that was different. I also roasted figs in the oven and made pico so I can get my chips and veggie craving fulfilled. Today I baked chicken breast, with stove top stuffing and more coleslaw. I also refreshed our salad stuff so we’re ready to go this week for more salads. I also got more indian simmer sauces to use up other veggies and the other chicken I bought. I don’t like too much chicken, so I’m hoping this green sauce makes it fun! Especially since I picked up some naan to cut the spice with. 🙂

And now, my nerdfitness challenge update.

1. Yoga (+2 str, +5 dex)
Summary: Attend class 3x per week
Attended last saturday, sunday, wednesday. 100%
Also today (new week).

2. Stretching (+3 dex)
Summary: 2x am, 2x pm at work. Non-yoga days stretch in the evenings
This is very challenging due to my new work assignment. I set the goal before I know what it was going to be like, so I have to keep working at it. Last week I stretched 2-3 times a day at work. So I’m giving it a 50% for last week. I didn’t stretch as much as I’d like at night either.

3. Healthy Eating (+3 con)
Summary: 5 healthy dinners a week
This last week I remember making catfish and salads and meatloaf and indian stir fry. And the other days I still ate well. I need to document it better in the future, but for last week I completed this goal.

Side Quests (+2 wis)
Since we’re in the midst of paper pregnancy, I’m doing a lot of research and preparation for adoption. Therefor my side quest focuses on that. It’s a constant movement toward this goal of adoption which includes:
1. Completing the home study this month
2. Reading about parenting, foster care, adoption, and autism among other special needs
3. Researching the requirements in Colorado for adoption and taking any initial steps.

This week I’ve started another new book – The Happiest Baby on the Block which has useful information. I don’t agree with it all, but I can see how he came to these conclusions and look forward to testing out the techniques. The home study is still in progress since the lawyer and social worker have to research how to do the home study so it works for colorado. I doubt it will, but we’ll see. And it looks like getting certified to adopt from foster care is a lot of work, but I need to talk to people directly.

Life Goal
1. Declutter.
I did a little every day and it makes a difference!

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