Lioness' Literatim

Letter for letter, the thoughts in my head.

New Gear and Unnecessary Sweets

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Fayetteville, NC

Today, I ordered a pull up bar. Unfortunately, there’s not enough room to the sides of any of my doors to get one of the over-the-doorframe varieties, so I’m going to test out a tension bar. I ordered a cheap one, so I’m not expecting greatness, but I want to see if a tension bar will actually stay up before I invest too much in a good one. Also, I finally bought a jump rope! I’m excited to start incorporating that into my new body weight routine. Maybe on leg days? Or perhaps on an in-between day. I’m also going to start stretching a lot more. All of my non-YAYOG days are going to focus on stretching for at least 10 minutes, though 20 is the goal. I’ll be following the guidance of Viperid on Fitocracy. He posted up a blog about some of the stretches that he does for flexibility: How to Become Flexible: A Practical Guide. So, I’m excited. Pull up bar should be here by Wednesday or Thursday, so I can start working on my pathetic lack of pull strength, and I finally have a comprehensive guide by a trustworthy source on stretches for flexibility. This should keep me very occupied for the next week and a half while I’m anxiously awaiting the long weekend where I finally get to go home and see my mom for the first time since I’ve been home from this deployment. I’ll also get to see my little brother, my sister, her mom, my grandparents and my best guy friend. And did I mention it’s Florida? Because that means some beach time! And then, I drive home on Monday and pick up my soldier from the airport! I’m so excited! Wanna make bets on when I start getting the excited jitters? Oh wait…I was talking about fitness gear…talk about going off on a tangent…So anyway – new fitness gear. If the pull up bar is a success I may look into getting some straps so I can do some TRX suspension training, ’cause that just looks fun.

Food:

Oh boy…I should have known it was going to be a rough day when I started the morning by finishing off that damn bag of Whoppers…granted, I followed it up with eggs and toast, and some delicious coffee, but the whoppers were still the start of it all…Lunch was good. I’m proud of lunch. It was a sandwich. Turkey, smoked gouda, and granny smith apple slices. Oh. My. God. The gouda and apple combination was….amazing. It’s like they were meant to be paired together. I will definitely be doing that again. Tomorrow, if I remember to pick up more apples…and gouda…So then I was good until I decided to go to Wal-Mart to look at pull up bars. While I was in there I ended up remembering a few other things that I wanted to get, so between that and spending entirely too much time in the fitness aisle, I was there longer than I had intended. Which meant I got hungry. In my defense, most of what I got is actually healthy. Yogurt, juice and the like. But then I saw the frozen dinner aisle. More specifically, Stouffers Manicotti. Now, manicotti is one of my all time favorite meals. And it was delicious. Not as good as home-made, but it served its purpose, and it wasn’t the least healthy option. At least it wasn’t a TV dinner. What I REALLY didn’t need to get though, were the Mounds ice cream bars and the pack of York peppermint patties. I’ve had one ice cream bar, and actually forgot about the Yorks until I just mentioned them. Crap. Will now do everything that I can to stay away from them. I’m going to the commissary tomorrow for actual grocery shopping, so the fridge will be restocked with fruits and veggies, and I can start up another batch of boiled peanuts, because they turned out SO well last time. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be able to stay away from the sweets….

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25 March 2012 Posted by | Health + Fitness, Long distance love, Surviving a deployment, That thing called Love | Leave a comment

2011; Ready for Review

Well people, it’s that time of year again where I find myself sitting down and reviewing the past year. So much has changed this year. As with every year, 2011 had its ups and downs. There were periods that dragged on and periods that raced by, all culminating with a New Year’s Eve spent sitting in the office waiting/praying for the phone to ring. All things considered though, this holiday season was much less stressful than last year’s, despite my current settings.

So, without further ado, 2011 in a nutshell:

January

After the most stressful holiday season I’ve ever experienced, I made myself get back on a plane to the middle of Nowhere, AZ because I’d signed a contract that said if I didn’t, I’d be in big trouble. I spent most of January rethinking my reasons for joining the Army, debating every day about whether I wanted to quit or continue on. These debates were fueled by the new knowledge that my darling husband, the kid that convinced me to join the Army in the first place, didn’t want me in.

February

Started hanging out with this one guy in my class who would later become a lot more important to me than I ever thought was possible. In February, I got my second tattoo – an infinity cross with rosebuds and butterflies – and that guy I was hanging out with a lot, he was there. At some point during February, he earned himself the nickname Pikachu. I think it’s safe to say that in February I started being more comfortable in my own skin and more confident about who I am.

March

In March I got the second piece of my back tattoo – a half opened rose with a butterfly – and guess who was sitting right beside me, holding my hand. At this point there was no question that he was my best friend. There was hardly a time when we weren’t together. At the end of March I found myself wishing I could slow down time because, although I was anxious to get out of TRADOC and all the bullshit it brought, I wasn’t quite ready to leave the familiarity of Ft. Huachuca and face the real Army. Especially since in the real Army there were things to deal with like orders that placed me halfway across the country from my husband. In March I also had to face the fact that, despite missing my husband, Pikachu and I had a connection that scared me.

April

In April, Pikachu took me out to my favorite restaurant in Nowhere, AZ to celebrate my 20th birthday with delicious Greek food and Baklava. I graduated at the top of my class out of 120 new analysts and headed home, spending my first week of ‘freedom’ showing Pikachu some of my favorite things about Florida life. I was finally reunited with my husband and after sending Pikachu back to his faraway home I made my way to Ft. Bragg, had a very disappointing first night in my new apartment and began settling into the life of a wife.

May

In May I began my work at the 1st Sustainment Command (Theater). It didn’t take long to figure out that the 1st TSC doesn’t function quite like most other units. It’s a beast of a different color. In May I sat my husband down and told him that something had to change, because I didn’t feel he was treating me the way he should. Things changed, for a few hours. A few days later I sat him down again and told him that things really needed to change because I didn’t appreciate him walking all over me and taking advantage of me being there. I was his wife, not his maid. Again, things changed for a few hours, and this time I made up my mind. I deserved better than what he was giving me and if he couldn’t make an honest effort to treat me right, he didn’t deserve me. So I left. In my new Jeep. Which I love.

June

In June Pikachu came out to Ft. Bragg before he deployed to help me get settled into my new apartment. It was a bittersweet visit because neither of us knew what to expect with his deployment. We’d kept in touch pretty well since graduation, and he was the one that was keeping me sane during the initial stage of my separation. He was who I called when the hubby and I decided we wouldn’t be trying to work things out but would instead be filing for a divorce. But, Duty called and he left for that strange place we call Afghaniland. Luckily, we still able to talk fairly frequently, so my sanity didn’t suffer too terribly.

July

In July I drove from Ft. Bragg to PA to visit my sister that I hadn’t seen since my BCT graduation. My dad retired after 30 years in the Marine Corps and I was lucky enough to get time off of work to be there. In July I admitted that I’d fallen in love with Pikachu. In July, we decided to tackle this long-distance relationship thing that neither one of us really wanted to try. You’ve heard them say “long distance never works” I’m sure. We thought we knew what we were getting into. I got lonely and brought baby Kiwi into my life – silly kitten. In July I went through the Army’s Driver’s Training Course to get my license on the HMMWV. Events being what they were, insecurities and jealousies surfaced and we began to realize what makes long distance relationships so hard. But we fought through it.

August

I started going to the gym a couple times a week with some of the guys from work. I reconnected with God in a way that confused me, but I find this connection to still be strong and true. In August I fought with the depression that comes with the territory of being the girlfriend of a deployed soldier. Constant worrying, not enough sleep and increasing stress at work threatened to break me. The only thing that kept me going was knowing he was coming to see me at the end of the month and he’d be all mine for two whole weeks. That and the fresh pain from my fourth tattoo – a scorpion on my ankle.

September

Pikachu was home for the first part of the month, and putting him back on a plane to Afghaniland was the hardest thing that I’ve ever done. I had a bit of an emotional breakdown at PT the following morning, and as a direct result, gained a significant amount of respect for the G2’s new SGM. I learned, about three weeks out, that I’d be deploying to Kuwait the first weekend of October, and so the frenzy began. Packing things up and trying to get everything settled before it was time to leave was a new challenge, but I met it. Barely.

October

We left the first of the month and spent more time sitting on the tarmac than we did in the air. We got stranded overnight in Germany and arrived in Kuwait a full day later than we were supposed to. Training was quick, frustrating and confusing, and then it was over and the old team was gone. It didn’t take too long to get settled into our daily routines. A couple weeks in, Pikachu and I managed a phone call, not knowing it’d be the last time we’d hear each others’ voices for a couple of months. I started working out regularly under the guidance of the boss, and when I wasn’t at work or the gym, I was glued to Yahoo, hoping he’d be able to continue answering my emails. Towards the end of the month there was a rather intense, eye-opening email conversation that spanned the length of several days and sleepless nights. But then we heard that he’d be going home early, and that was pushed to a backburner.

November

The beginning of November was tough, learning that rather than going home early he’d be relocating to someplace else in Afghanistan instead. In November I become addicted to working out – became a true endorphin addict. Now I can’t help but wonder if this would still have happened if Pikachu and I had more regular contact. I know I often found myself heading to the gym after being disappointed by an email that didn’t come or contained only a few short words. The gym became my ‘happy place.’ I had my second Thanksgiving surrounded by uniforms and found myself thanking God for all of the amazing men and women I’d had the honor of meeting and serving with so far. And then immediately following Thanksgiving I fell prey to the depression again, but it was worse this time.

December

The combination of being away from home for the holidays and the minimal amount of contact that Pikachu and I were able to maintain had me in a rapid downward spiral to depression that came within an inch of breaking me many different times. Endorphins or not, I was beginning to question the strength of our relationship and whether we’d actually be able to make it through the deployment. I did my best to make sure no one knew what I was going through. And then we talked – and I mean really talked – for the first time in a month and a half or more, and he made me remember why I love him and helped me rediscover the strength I had hidden away that would get me through the rest of the deployment. Christmas came and went, my first away from home, celebrated with an early morning 5k run.

And now, here it is, New Year’s Eve. Less than an hour until the New Year hits and I’ve spent my evening sitting in the office waiting/praying for the phone to ring (and finally getting to talk to Pikachu!) and writing this post. No plates of snack food, sparkling grape juice or champagne. No Times’ Square ball or movie marathons. No family, no New Year’s kiss since the only person I’m interested in kissing is a couple of countries away. In some ways, it’s kind of a bleak ending to a crazy year. In other ways, it’s kind of peaceful. But maybe that’s just my subconscious comparing the stress of last year’s holiday season with the slightly painful ease of this year’s. Either way, it’s been a crazy year with a lot of blood, sweat and tears, and I can’t wait to see what 2012 has in store for us. It’ll be difficult, with Pikachu changing AOs on me and not knowing how much communication we’ll have during the next few months, but we’ll be home before we know it!

Happy New Year!

31 December 2011 Posted by | Confessions, In the hands of God, Life's what we make it, Sleepless Night Ramblings, That thing called Love, This Army life is crazy | Leave a comment

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29 November 2011 Posted by | Long distance love, Surviving a deployment | Enter your password to view comments.

Just keep breathing

It’s funny how one little – not very surprising – sentence can ruin your entire day.

“Well it doesn’t look like we’re going home early after all.”

In all honesty, there’s absolutely no reason that this should have upset me. For the past couple of months he’s been telling me of the possibilities his leadership was talking about for his unit. For the past couple of months it’s been a back and forth and back and forth three way tennis match between leaving early, moving AOs and sticking it out for the remainder of the deployment. I was preparing myself for the worst. It became apparent fairly quickly that they couldn’t just stick it out. There just isn’t enough room for that much testosterone in one AO. A few weeks ago he told me they finally made a decision: they were changing AOs. I can’t say I was particularly happy about this decision, especially when I heard where they would be moving to, but it wasn’t the worst that could’ve happened so I started trying to warm up to the idea. A week ago, he told me they’d changed their minds. He’d be home in January. The order was out; it was official.

Until today, when the General decided he didn’t want to send his troops home early, so they would be overwriting the order to go home and continuing on with the relocation mission.

It shouldn’t bother me as much as it does.

Either way, I won’t see him until April at the absolute earliest. That hasn’t changed, and if it does get pushed back, by God I swear heads will roll.

But, if I was already getting used to the idea of the relocation and coming to terms with where he’d be, why does it bother me so much that that plan is back on? I could understand if revoking the order to go home early resulted in yet another relocation. But it’s not – at least as far as I’m aware. And yet, this simple fact threw a shadow over my entire day, and I don’t have an explanation.

If anything, he’s the one that should be bothered. After all, it’s his head they’re messing with. His life and frustration. But, in the brief time that we were able to talk (via facebook, since there’s no telling when we’ll be able to coordinate a phone call) he didn’t seem phased by it one bit.

Now, maybe I’m just an easily upset, emotional girlfriend that isn’t cut out for the indecisiveness of the Army lifestyle. But then again, maybe I just worry too much. Either way, he asked me to try not to think about it too much – to focus on my own deployment and try not to worry about him too much. And I told him I’d try. So, this is me trying – recognizing that I shouldn’t be as upset about this as I am, because in reality, it’s exactly what was going to happen before anyway.

16 November 2011 Posted by | In the hands of God, Life's what we make it, Long distance love, Sleepless Night Ramblings, Surviving a deployment | Leave a comment

Confessions about: flirting

I have a confession to make:

I’m a bit of a flirt.

I’m aware of this and have absolutely no problem admitting to it. I think it started in high school. Most of the guys that I hung around were older and single. They were also in ROTC with me, so we spent quite a bit of time with each other. It’s kind of inevitable in ROTC that you end up flirting with almost everyone of the opposite gender. It happens. In fact, it’s practically expected. In my group of friends, flirting was a form of friendly banter that meant you were welcome to stick around – you were part of the group. As such, I’ve always considered it to be a completely harmless and fairly acceptable form of communication with members of the male species. Even from within a relationship, a small amount of outside flirting was still accepted.

Which is why it came as something of a surprise to me when Pikachu told me how much it bothered him.

At first I didn’t understand. I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I wasn’t crossing any lines. It was harmless, so long as I knew when enough was enough. I tried to explain that to him, and I think he understands that I meant no harm by it, but it still made him uncomfortable. It boiled down to him asking me to take a step back and look at it from a different angle – reverse our roles.

There’s more to that story, in the form of a rather long, in-depth and emotional email conversation, but the exact details of that are extremely personal so I’ll leave them out of this.

So, long story short, I told him I’d work on minimizing my flirting. I understand where he’s coming from now because when I took that step back and reversed our roles, I didn’t like what I saw. And so, for the past month, I’ve been doing my best to cut back on my flirting. Hence, the real reason behind today’s post.

Pikachu, I love you. And I’m sorry. I didn’t realize just how much I actually flirted until I tried to stop. I promise, those guys never meant anything to me. My passing smiles are now friendly but as flirt free as I can manage. There are no coy glances across briefings, no “harmlessly” flirtatious emails between 2-shops. Now, if I meet a guy, it’s either business or friendly. If they flirt with me, I don’t return the action and so far, they’ve all backed off fairly quickly once they’ve realized I won’t take the bait. A conversation can be friendly without flirting. Who knew? But perhaps the most important thing for you to know in regards to this situation is that even with the significant decrease in male attention, I don’t feel at all attention deprived. I can now confidently say that I wasn’t flirting because I was unhappy with you or the amount of attention I was getting from you. It was simply just what I was used to doing. But no more. I am yours and yours alone and my flirting is reserved for you.

Just thought you should know.

10 November 2011 Posted by | Confessions, Long distance love | Leave a comment

Love and Hate

I love you.

Sometimes it hits me so hard, how much I love you.

And how much I hate you, for being gone.

I know it’s not your fault. You were called to do exactly what you signed up to do. You were called to serve your country. To save lives, and fight for freedom. And I’m so proud of you. Every day I wake up knowing that YOU are defending this country, and I feel safe. But sometimes, I wish you had told them something to make you non-deployable.

I know there’s no honor in that, and I know it’s wrong.

But I hate being away from you. I hate worrying about you constantly, and I hate not knowing when I’ll hear your voice again. I hate the insecurities that come from being apart. I hate you not being here when I need you and I hate feeling alone all the time.

I love you with all of my heart, but sometimes, I really hate you for this.

11 August 2011 Posted by | Letters Never Sent, Long distance love, Surviving a deployment | Leave a comment

Let it

Sometimes

It just hits you

Hard as an anvil

Falling from the sky

Like in the cartoons

And all you can do

is let it

1 August 2011 Posted by | In the hands of God, Long distance love, Surviving a deployment | Leave a comment

Damned Distance

A test of trust.

A test of sanity.

A test of fidelity.

A test of understanding.

Distance does crazy things to people.

Thoughts that would normally be ignored are instead dwelt upon. Feelings normally kept in check are allowed to run free, but not necessarily by your own choice.

You begin questioning things. Everything. You’re not picky. If it’s there, it’s subject to questioning. End of story. You don’t need a reason to suspect anything, you’ll find a reason in not having a reason. You’ve heard the saying, “If everything is going well, you’ve overlooked something?” It now becomes your motto.

If you live a busy life without much free time, your productivity and motivation is subject to a drastic decline because your thoughts are elsewhere, far far away. What little free time you have is often spent tossing and turning in an increasingly uncomfortable bed, unsure of whether restless sleep would be welcome or not.

If, however, you possess a great deal of free time, you may find yourself lying on the floor, staring at the ceiling. No, there’s nothing wrong with the ceiling. You just can’t currently think of a better place to stare. And it serves its purpose – plain, no distraction from the thoughts that haunt your mind – depressing and helpless thoughts, if you’re anything like me. And if you’re not staring aimlessly at the ceiling, you’re likely engaged in some other brainless task. Something that doesn’t require a whole lot of thought or concentration. Something fairly difficult to mess up in your distracted state. But you will mess it up, because that’s just how you are.

And in the event that you do find a reason to suspect something, however small the reason, you latch onto it. All of your energy is focused on that one reason. Your mind runs out of control and your stomach churns. You don’t want to think about it, but you can’t help it. You live in that reason. You eat, breath and, maybe if you’re lucky, sleep that reason. No amount of words can reassure you.

~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~

They say that distance makes the heart grow fonder. I must say, I disagree.

Distance does nothing for your heart, except make it hurt with the pain of missing a loved one.

Distance does, however, give you space to see all the things you took for granted when the distance was shorter.

Distance gives you time to realize your true feelings for someone – for you never truly know how you feel until that person isn’t a constant part of your life.

Distance gives you an opportunity to better your communication skills.

Distance doesn’t make the heart grow fonder – that just happens to be the side effect that people focus on because it’s more pleasant than saying that distance can kill or strengthen a relationship.

~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~

P.S. Did you know that I think about you every second of the day? Ofttimes during the day I find myself staring off into space (and quite often towards the ceiling) with thoughts of you running through my mind when I should be focusing on trying to save the world as we know it. Somehow, I still manage to get my work done (miracles do happen, apparently!) with no complaints from those superior to me. But I’ve found that it’s nearly impossible to focus on anything else. Occasionally, I can get myself caught up in a good book and forget the pain of missing your for a few moments (my record, I’ll admit, is about fifteen minutes. It was a long chapter), and every once in a long while I find myself engaged in some odd activity that allows me to be temporarily pain free. And then those short moments of relative comfort are over and the pain comes rushing back in and I miss you more than I did before. Everyday I find myself looking for a new activity to take my mind away from how long it’s been since I’ve last seen you. So far, everyday I’ve failed. Every night I lay awake, trying not to cry for want of you by my side. So far, every night I’ve failed. And sometimes, at random, unpredictable times, the physical pain of missing you hits me so hard that it’s all I can do to keep my composure until I can escape the sight of those that might look down on me for showing “weakness.” But they just don’t understand. The physical distance between us only means that we have to fight harder against these poisonous thoughts and feelings. The physical distance between us does not at all reflect the emotional distance between us. In fact, I like to think that, while you’re over there and I’m over here, the physical distance is the complete opposite of the emotional distance. As far away as you are, I feel so close to you. Perhaps that comes from our increasing communication skills. All I know is that I can’t wait for you to come home. I can’t wait to be done with the insecurities of being so far apart for so long. I can’t wait to hold you in my arms again and feel your arms around me. I can’t wait to see you. I can’t wait to show the world how strong this perpetual distance has made our relationship. Because, baby, distance is just a test, and tests of this caliber can only make us stronger.

25 July 2011 Posted by | In the hands of God, Letters Never Sent, Life's what we make it, Long distance love, Surviving a deployment, That thing called Love | Leave a comment

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27 March 2011 Posted by | In the hands of God, Life's what we make it, That thing called Love | Enter your password to view comments.

And it won’t be long, ’til I get on back….somewhere….

I don’t know why I left
But I left on my own
And it won’t be long
‘Til I get on back home.
Back home, back home
Back home where I belong,
And it won’t be long
‘Til I get on back home.

That is, if I can figure out where ‘home’ is. How do you define ‘home?’ Is it where you last lived? Where your stuff is? Where the majority of your family is? Or is it truly where the heart is? What if the answer to each of those questions is different? Where exactly is this place they call ‘home?’

The last place I lived before I left for basic training was at my mom’s house. Most of my stuff is currently at my mother-in-law’s house. The majority of my family isn’t concentrated in one area. My heart, right now is in Georgia. So, in an effort to help myself determine where ‘home’ is, I asked myself, ‘Well soldier-girl, where do you FEEL most at home?’ I’m sad to say that I wasn’t able to answer that question.

My mom’s house was home for so long. Yeah, the house may have changed a few times, but the fact that of that matter is that the actual structure didn’t matter so long as it was mom’s place. But then I met this guy that I kind of fell in love with and moved in with. And then that became home. Yeah, mom’s house was still “home” too, but it took on a little bit of a different meaning. Mom’s house became the place I could go when I needed something or someone, if I needed advice, or just a comforting hug. But the place I lived, the place I spent my days and the place that felt like ‘my’ home, wasn’t mom’s house anymore. And then, after my husband left for basic training and I went back to my mom’s, I felt a little displaced. Not that I didn’t feel at home at her house, just that, well, it wasn’t ‘home.’ But, neither was my mother-in-law’s, where I had been staying with my husband. Which leads me to believe that maybe home really is where the heart is, which would make my home in Georgia – soon to be North Carolina – but how can ‘home’ be someplace that you’ve never been? Never seen? When you’ve been displaced so much, how can you really call anyplace ‘home?’

5 February 2011 Posted by | Life's what we make it, That thing called Love, This Army life is crazy | Leave a comment