Let’s organize some random thoughts and memories!

Welcome to my cluttered mind!

First, a disclaimer : I am using an alias for all names including my own. (To protect the innocent and not so innocent).

The stories and memories I will share are all true. A chaotic life lived. Some things need to be shared to get out of my head. Others so that maybe some can relate.

I’ve always loved to write so let’s do this! The good, the bad and the ugly. Pay no attention to the random jumping around. Things cannot be in order. Simply chaotic as my own memories are.

Leave feedback if you’d wish. Just always stay positive and kind 🙂

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Losing a lifetime friend

By our 40’s we have all dealt with death and loss.

At the age of 14, I was informed the morning after Valentines Day that my friend had died in a horrific car wreck. This wasn’t just some kid I went to the same small school with, didn’t just go to church with, didn’t just live down the street from… this kid was an annoying bratty teen who picked on me only cause he wouldn’t allow anyone else to. He was the one mowing my yard because I was allergic to the freshly mowed grass. This was the kid who walked the country roads with me, having deep conversations. He was like the big brother I never had. Then he was gone.

Over the years, there was one thing you could count on more than anything. If I needed somebody to talk to, somewhere to escape to, somebody to cry to, I’d be sitting at his gravesite. I moved out of  state for about a decade but you better believe he was the one friend I always visited when I came back. Being there was my ‘safe place’. I could say anything and everything and he would never judge. He didn’t when he was alive either. But, I told him everything. I could actually verbalize every last horrible or wonderful detail.

After moving back, at the brink of 40, his actual sister came back into my life. We had always been friends but we were able to get closer and really talk. I began to feel like I didn’t necessarily have to go to a grave when I needed to talk, but maybe, just maybe, I could trust a living breathing soul! I  wanted to believe it, after all, it was his sister! We ended up being in the same field, so rubbed elbows a lot with each other and others who we mutually knew. I was excited to hang out with her and get to know this adult side better. She was more like a sister than a friend. I let myself open up. She used to love the memories I would share about her brother, just happy that people remember him and carry on his life.

That is until one night I said too much. After 26 years or so, and being super close to someone, you would think you could tell them anything. She still got jumpy over songs played at his funeral. I can understand that. A group of us had went out drinking and trying to have a good time. She got upset over a song and I followed her outside. I think I was more tipsy than I normally would get. We started talking about him and I don’t know how it got to the point where I revealed something I had never told her.

I confessed that another friend and I had snuck into the junkyard to see the car. Something inside me just needed to. What I saw that day burned into my memory and I will never forget. I seen the passenger side smashed from the entire front end, into the back  seat. Pairing that with the fact of what I had learned happened to him physically just almost mesmerized me. I knew his legs had been pushed up into him. I mean just imagine what would happen to a passenger if the whole front of the car ended up in the back seat. To make it worse, it was a flatbed trailer, just the metal of the truck is what was struck. I examined the whole car like a detective or something. I don’t think I even cried while looking over the scene. Then I seen it. Brain matter and blood on the car door. At first I didn’t know what it was. I am not sure when I realized what I had seen. Something just kicked in that day or snapped. I didn’t know what I wanted to do in life yet but I knew it was helping people in some way.

Well, revealing those facts to her even on the brink of 40, made her snap. She was no longer my ‘sister’, my ‘friend’ or anything else. She deleted me and anybody close to me. The backlash she gave me was horrid. I didn’t remember the night but tried to communicate with her. But she was scornful and sour. Very bitter and unforgiving. No apologies could do anything. She only lashed out angry, hurtful things. Showing me I should’ve known better than open up to a ‘real’ person. I don’t know if I can totally understand her side. It wasn’t like I was trying to hurt her or anything. just revealing a fact that was decades old. She reacted like a ticking time bomb.

Back to my safe place. The only friend I know I will have my whole life and will never judge me. I don’t mind sitting on the cold ground talking to an old friend. I just wish I didn’t have to lose another one. This one kind of hurts worse because she doesn’t want to forgive. She just wants to blast insults and push me away. Even though she’s still alive, her brother is the only one I can confide in. She said she would always be there for me. But, Ive heard that line plenty of times. I will stick with the one who doesn’t care if I mess up or have skeletons in the closet.

That is one friend I will never truly lose because he lives on in my heart.

The Main Counselor for a Soldier

Life had left me stranded after a divorce. Not only was my family of five quickly dwindling but I also had to go back to the ‘Civi World’. After getting into the way of Military life, you have a love/hate relationship with it, but the family it builds is amazing.

I was crying in desperation one night, the weight of the world on my shoulders. Please God show me how to do this, I pleaded. Not able to just sit in my lonely apartment one  night, I got in my car and was just going to drive. I had no clue where but I didn’t want to be there and kind of didn’t want to be alone. I got only two minutes down the road before a small sign caught my eye. Sunnys bar, it seemed small and quiet. I thought well thats perfect, someplace I can escape but not be alone. I didn’t know what made me want to go to a bar, alone and in the middle of the night but I did. This was not a well known place, you could barely see the sign. So no surprise when I walked in there was nobody there.

I sat down and asked for the only drink I really knew to ask for at the time. A jack and coke, please, I asked. The Soldier/bartender informed me they were about to close but could offer me water. I was almost insulted but I took it anyway. I felt eyes staring at me and turned to see this older Korean woman eyeing me. She was the owner of the bar and didn’t hesitate to walk up to me and start talking. She asked if I needed a job. Well, actually, yes, very much! Any experience with bartending, she inquired. My heart sank as I said “Not really, just worked at a beer only bar for awhile”. This was fine for her and she said she would help me get my license. Being eyed up and down seemed really weird at the time. I guess she was checking out how I dressed and how I looked. I came to learn that meant something to her. I had a job it seemed out of no where. But, a bartender? Me? Crazy but heck, lets give it a try.

Sunnys was a Soldiers bar. Being just down the road from almost all the gates, the location was perfect. The odd thing was, the only advertising was word of mouth. The small sign was mostly hidden beneath another bigger, brighter sign. The bar itself was behind the building and down, like a basement. After I started working there, I learned it was a certain crowd that would come in. Mostly higher ranking Soldiers, Captains and even a Major. Although you had other ranks, those who were ‘regulars’ here because it was small and quiet. By being not overly popular, it kept the ‘regulars’ keep coming back. It was a home away from home.

I learned quickly that my main ‘job’ was actually more like being a counselor than a bartender. (This is why I’d never bartend anywhere else). The regulars got used to me, just as I did to them. I would learn their habits and routines and usually have their drink as they were walking in the door. They pointed out things about me like I would constantly empty the ashtray, it never had ashes in it. I personally can’t stand smoking so I guess it helped me keep it clean. Of course though, you had your smokers and your tobacco chewers. I catered to their needs. Although the thing they needed most was someone to talk to.

Working with Soldiers on a daily basis, I felt like I wasn’t totally leaving the Military life behind. I was helping them but they didn’t realize just how much they were helping me too. I became friends with my regulars and would hang out with them on my nights off. I guess none of us really wanted to be alone. I enjoyed their friendship more than anything. They were beasts! Some Soldiers were angry and bitter, others were very much into working out and bulking up. Some were sad, others just needed that release and to vent. I heard tons of stories from war, and about family. They were so honest with me that at first I didn’t know how to take it or how to respond. I fell in love with this intense honesty and blunt way of speaking. I wish everybody would act like this and just say whats on their mind. After becoming my friend too, they would help protect me as I entered the dating world. It was amazingly fun having these Soldiers have my back. I could meet potential dates there and know I was in safe territory and had people watching my back. Even having one Soldier take my phone and take care of a guy who was harassing me.

Yes, on my nights off, I would drink with them. I was their bartender, so they took good care of me. They would often buy my drinks and when I drank too much (which happened a few times), they caught me when I fell. Literally. I had Soldiers holding my hair back while I puked, had them carrying me out of the bar because I’d had too much. Then one Soldier whom had trusted me to take him home, would take me home. He would get me on my couch and I’d wake up to find my keys, cards, cash and anything else, close by. Plus he locked the door on the way out. My respect for these men went above any respect I’d ever felt. Although, I knew, through their honesty, that I should very well avoid dating Soldiers. It took me awhile to learn that for myself.

This is only the beginning of these bartender tales. It was the rock bottom of my life where these Soldiers helped lift me up and change my world. I will always appreciate what they did for me and for letting me in their heads, to help them. The best part is I still get to keep in touch with some of them. I check on my Vets all over the country, as we are now spread far and wide.

Who knew, the night I was lost was just the beginning of finding myself?

Learning true honesty

A love story and life lesson in one!

After 15 years of being married to one man (since the age of 18), the very thought of being single wasn’t even fathomable.

Although, this was it. Could not be topped after he cheated while deployed and even refused to quit seeing her. I guess a part of me could’ve fought harder if only he was sorry and said he wanted us. He wanted to wait till he got back to make a decision. I had plenty of time to think of all the ways that could destroy me. Save our base housing for him and her and throw me out? After moving states away for this man! Then I’d basically be forced to get out and leave my kids!? Oh No!!

I started visiting my best friend at the time who was a bartender. I felt skittish and shy just being in a bar without my husband. I knew it was over and I needed her help. I would sit at the bar and just bawl my eyes out.

But how? What? Where? I don’t know how to be single or survive. Honestly I didn’t even want to be in the civilian world. I was a very proud Army wife!

My friend was the all business type. A real problem solver. No time to sit around and whine. She took me shopping first and gave me tips to dress ‘not married’. This pushed my comfort zone a bit but honestly I needed the help. The biggest thing she did for me was help me get off base housing without him knowing. She helped me find an Apartment and even paid for a storage building for his stuff. Against her furious thoughts of burning his things, I wanted them packed and saved. Even packing a box of his ‘typical everyday’ clothes and putting up front. Yes, I was hurt but I also had to set an example for my girls.

We managed to get off post and get moved and start moving on. She even gave me a job where she was working.

One night that I wasn’t working but crying at the bar something unusual happened. This cute blonde haired, blue eyed, country boy Soldier came up to me. ME!

“That condensation on your bottle means your drinking to slow or I’m drinking to fast”, he said. I was still in shock he was talking to me! I was used to avoiding a mans eyes. I kinda laughed while he continued to play pool. Although, his next drink was sat next to mine as well as the pool cue when he wasn’t using it. I had no clue what to say or do and I was a mess.

After the cute little flirting, he asks what’s wrong. I couldn’t just open up so easily. Then he asked me to dance. That was probably one of the best dances of my life. I don’t know how he did it but he did get me to open up. My deployed husband and the cheating… I cried on this young Soldiers shoulder. He surprised me with his response. Blatant honesty about guys and Soldiers in particular. Told me how hey acted over there and some basic Soldiers ‘rules’ for living. I wanted to be mad but I looked in his soft blue eyes and knew he was being more honest with me than anyone I’d ever met. I enjoyed it more than I ever thought possible.

Over the next few weeks and months, I learned he was always 100%. Honest, without regard of feelings for the truth. This became something I admired with all my heart. I have tried to adapt it into my own life.

Pure honesty. It can hurt like the dickens but it can also make you feel curled up in a Soldiers hug on the dance floor.

Relationships and Epilepsy

It is a struggle living with seizures, period. What Is harder is handling productive relationships while dealing with the inevitable.

Every relationship in my life has been impacted by my seizures. Just like every decision I make is impacted by my reality.

I believe anybody who has a debilitating disorder worries In the back of their mind how others will handle your reality and If they are strong enough. Of course, we have no choice but to handle It however we can. The blessed ones have people that stick by their sides through all of it.

Anxiety is a huge part of my life for many factors. Never knowing when a seizure could strike and ruin my day and possibly others or ending up in the hospital.

I was married for 16 years. The man never raised a hand to me and rarely yelled. Although, the words he supposedly joked about at one Doctor appointment, will forever haunt me. Being slapped or yelled at would’ve hurt much less. Regardless, the gut punch I received that day was the beginning of the end. He jokingly said, “Maybe I should find someone younger and healthier, a ‘newer model’.” Laughing, he said just teasing. That was when I learned there is truth behind every “just kidding”. He had indeed already found his younger and healthier person, while deployed. I just didn’t know this for a little while longer. Divorce was final within a year.

My three daughters have basically grown up watching me shake and bleed (from biting my tongue). Although, they didn’t have a choice about dealing with it either, they did great at stepping up to the plate when momma had a seizure. They knew what to do and always respected my wishes of keeping it low key. Often in public, they would find a way to hide me from others so nobody had to freak out. Like one time in Gatlinburg, I had a seizure while standing in line for an attraction. We had just left the Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum. They knew exactly what was happening when their never cursing momma accidentally said a cuss word. They banded together and tackled me against the wall. Not only to hide from others but also to keep me standing. Not an easy feat for a full blown tonic clonic seizure. When it was over, they took charge of everything I had been planning. The girls made a plan of how to deal with our tickets, money, food and getting me back to the hotel to rest it off. Always supportive, they have become great at working as a team. They were all teenagers at that time.

After the divorce, I constantly was being told to move back to my home state so Family could be close. Being the strong, stubborn, independent woman that I am, I refused (for a few years anyway),

I wanted to ‘show them’ that I could take care of myself. Yes, this caused some bad Incidents where I had nobody to help me. Then trying to date was like always having a bombshell to drop before they got too close. Most people were understanding and helpful. I had a few relationships, including a second failed marriage. His gut punch to me was saying he could maybe give me fiveteen years (after we got married). Of course I was shocked and confused. Why get married then? His biggest fear was growing old and not being able to take care of each other. I understand the fear of where my seizures will lead and how bad my future could look. I don’t hold It against him.

It sure feels nice to be in a relationship now where he is quick to cover my eyes and quickly notices my actions or words. Even after being together over a year, he has only seen a couple of bad ones. Although, they scared the crap out of him, he adjusted to it. He thinks with each one, he will only get better at handling them. It really is a lot to ask of someone to watch your violent body movements, hear scary sounds of teeth grinding, gurgling and stopping breathing. I can’t even imagine wiping the blood and sputum, then documenting everything, while hoping I wake up afterwards.

I think the fear and anxiety will forever be there. Wondering when someone cannot take it anymore. Wondering when another person will give up on me. That underlying fear keeps me humble and strong.