Saturday night I posted a status update on Facebook, and Sunday morning a friend mentioned she thought I was awfully bold by putting up that update. It got me thinking about how much we do or don’t reveal online.
So many times I’ve almost put something up, even had it all typed out and at the last second, instead of “Share” I hit “Delete.” I have many and varied reasons why I might choose that backspace key and it’s usually because there is no “Undo” key for Facebook. Yes, granted, you can “x” it out of your feed later, but you can’t “x” out a friend’s hurt feelings or revealer’s remorse. Once it’s out there, it’s out there.
But on the other hand, I better not be doing anything I would be ashamed of putting up on Facebook. For instance, you’ll never see “just stole a t-bone, a mouse trap, and a box of birthday candles from HyVee! SCORE!” or “have the sinking feeling I probably shouldn’t have had chat sex with that married guy from Idaho. Good thing you can erase logs!”
But on the other hand, which is actually a foot, how much have I NOT shared that I SHOULD have or just COULD have shared? Oh, look at me, a blogger pontificating upon where that line is, I’m SURE no others have done THAT before!
How much do you REALLY know me? For reals, dude. I’ve told you here all about my new business selling “Sensual Products,” but hardly any of my friends that profess a mutual religious belief for fear that they would judge me. I checked with The Big Guy in the Sky and between Him and me, we’re good with it. But I still fear judgement from others who follow Him. I’m pretty clear with everyone In Real Life that I have a very strong faith in God and seek to be like Him every day. But I still fear judgement from my online friends who have living rooms set up on the Internet (why did iPhone insist upon capitalizing Internet but not god? Interesting.) that the second I mention God, I’m instantly a Jesus blogger and that they’ll subsequently quit reading me?
So I guess the purpose of this post is to lay out my cards on the table, and then have a panic attack, sure that now EVERYONE is going to flee in terror. Or worse, wander off bored.
Here I am.
In vague order of importance…
I’m a capital B Believer who sometimes says “shit,” rarely drops the f-bomb, regularly drinks but seldom gets drunk, smokes a half a pack a day and considers quitting at least once a month but then doesn’t, and hopes you won’t judge me for it and tries my damnedest not to judge you, and whether you’re gay, lesbian, bi, questioning, straight, single, shackin’ up, hitched, white, black, brown, purple or polka dot has absolutely no bearing upon my love and acceptance of you.
I’m a passionately, desperately, deeply in love wife and best friend of Tom, and well aware that I’m making a choice to be every single day.
I’m a sometimes proud, sometimes exasperated, completely bewildered mom, and I don’t see that bewilderment lifting anytime soon.
I’m Deaf but I’m still learning ASL so I have the passport but it’s not stamped yet, and I wish that everyone signed and that I could sign better than I do.
I’m an artist who is too impatient to create with pencil or paint and instead prefers pixels and Pantone. I use typography and copywriting and kilobytes to share my vision of beauty with you. I’m a graphic designer and feel I am just as much of an artist as any other that chooses a different medium.
I’m a photographer who embraces The Rule of Thirds but is not afraid to ditch it to convey an image in an unconventional way. I tend to find straight-out-of-camera more aesthetically pleasing than over-editing, and shun heavily shopped and over-processed pictures as just another way of polishing a turd. I have rarely liked an image processed like a polaroid but am not afraid of trying it on one of my images just for poops and laughs.
I’m a patient who struggles with depression, anxiety disorder, and attention deficit disorder but strives to not allow it to define me nor turn me into a victim. I use the bad parts of these afflictions to make me and others who struggle with the same problems stronger.
I’m a daughter, a sister, and a damn good friend. But I recognize that there’s always room for improvement. I’m one of those annoying people who refuses to give out a 10 or an A+. Including to myself.
Here I am.
I am a veteran.
I have a hard time writing that.
In January 1992, The GirlBeater decided to sign up for the Army. He wanted to be an airplane mechanic. While we were filling out his paperwork, the recruiter was making small talk and said, “Have you ever considered joining the Army?”
I said, “Actually, yes; there was a time that I talked about traveling with the Army Band.”
“Reeeeeally?” he asked.
An hour later, we were doing my paperwork, witha promise for a $1500 bonus upon completion of boot camp. I dreamed of going to college on the G.I. Bill and not having to worry about student loans.
I took the ASVAB and we went to MEPS together. The only part I was nervous about was the hearing test. I knew that my hearing was degrading, but as we did the hearing test, I was relieved to realize that they were sending in six people at a time. I watched the girl next to me, and when she pushed the button, I did too.
The GirlBeater went into the job counselor’s office and came out visibly upset and dejected. He had not been approved for the mechanic job. He had to settle for infantryman.
About an hour later, I was put with a job counselor who told me, sure, I was approved for the Army Band pending the audition. But something else had popped up that he thought would be intriguing.
“Your ASVAB score is fantastic and you passed the physical with flying colors. How would you like to be an MP?”
My jaw dropped. Literally.
“Wow.” was all I could say, at first.
I came out of that office walking on air. I shared my good news with The GirlBeater. He was happy for me, but still quite sad about his results.
He went off to boot camp right away, and I wasn’t scheduled for boot camp until September. I was to start my warrior weekends right away, in February.
Somehow I made it through him being gone for boot camp and AIT. I continued my Weekend Warrior routine in Jackson, MI. I was part of the 303rd Military Police Corps, and I was absolutely loving it. I realized that I initially went in mostly for the G.I. Bill and the signing bonus, but I discovered something much deeper than that. I was proud. I was truly proud to be serving my country.
The GirlBeater came home from boot camp and AIT to do his Weekend Warrior bit, and I shipped off to Ft. McClellan, AL for my boot camp and AIT .
Right away, they said that I had to do Fitness Training Company. I was sort of bummed at first, but quickly realized what an advantage I was going to have over the other recruits going straight to boot camp. I was in FTC for five weeks, and then we were moved across the base to boot camp.
I loved my new life. I was quickly made a squad leader, and got a really healthy dose of good self-esteem and confidence. I asked about switching from reserves to active without consulting The GirlBeater.
I was doing great with the physical part of Army life, but I was having a hard time keeping up in class. If I was fortunate, I’d get a good spot up in front of the classroom and be just fine. If I got a spot in the back of the room, I had to rely on other people’s notes to keep up, as I couldn’t understand the instructor’s lecture from back there.
Then I did something that would change the course of my life. I asked one of my drill sergeants if I could move up to the front of the classroom from the back row. She got a puzzled look on her face, and asked why. Nonchalantly as I could, I just told her I could follow the lesson better up there. She said, “Ok, but you’re going to Noble Army Hospital tomorrow morning to see the doctor. If you have an ear infection, I want it cleared up right away.” We were going on our long march in a few days and she wanted to make sure I had meds before I left.
What could I say? Besides, “Yes, Drill Sergeant!”
Long story short, the doctor found my hearing loss within the first 15 minutes of the appointment, and did lots of testing. At the end, he said, “You can’t be an MP with the level of hearing loss you have. You have two choices. One, you let us choose a different job for you. Or two, you go home with a general discharge.”
I didn’t want someone just choosing what I would be doing for the next six years, so I chose door number two. I was crushed. I was devastated. I cried and cried and cried. Two of my drill sergeants did, too.
One week before boot camp graduation, I was Pulled From Training. It only took a couple weeks for the rest of the paperwork to go through and I was home by Thanksgiving.
One good thing that came out that experience was that I found the courage to stand up for myself and confidence that I deserved better than The GirlBeater. I left him January 20, 1993.
But I guess what I’m trying to say is that I am technically a veteran, but I have a hard time saying it. When I think of a veteran, I think of a person that has been in combat or in a police action or similar service. I think of a person that gave their life for their country. I think of a guy in the desert that’s seeing his child for the first time via webcam. Not someone who did seven warrior weekends and about 12 weeks of training.
I am a veteran.
I just wish I could have been a better one.