15 September 2017

When a Narcissist has invaded the White House

Normally, I steer very far clear of political discussions. I find there are two big topics that no one actually listens to one another on: politics and religion. Our current political climate is rife with both.
I openly admit that our current president is not presidential, ever! To say I hate him is incorrect, as I would actually have to care enough about him to have feelings. He is a black hole. He is first and foremost a complete and total narcissist. Now, I am breaking my mandate just by talking about this, but the best way to deal with a narcissist is to ignore him/her. However, in this entire post, the person I am referring to is never given a name. By constantly acknowledging the current president of the United States, we validate him. 
I am so sick and tired of hearing about him every fucking day! “Can you believe he did this?” “Guess what he tweeted today?” I don’t care anymore! I don’t. Yes, I believe everything and anything, because there is nothing too vile for that man to touch it and support it. Why does anyone even follow him on Twitter? Every follower validates him. Every time we mention his name, we validate him. Stop! NOW! You want to talk policy? You want to talk repercussions of current GOP and presidential mandate? I am all for it. Let’s do this! BUT for the love of everyone, stop talking about the current president. Don’t even mention his name. Don’t mention his tweets. Because if you are still surprised by his level of misogyny, racism, complete and utter lack of common sense, elitism, and inability to compose a sentence coherently or even spell correctly, then you should not be part of the discussion anyway. You obviously do not have the mental acuity to participate in the discussion. Sorry, not sorry.

So, I encourage everyone I know and even those I don’t. Spend one week, just one, and don’t even mention his name. You can mention the office, the GOP, the policies, and so forth, but do not acknowledge the man. He isn’t worth acknowledging. Ever!

11 September 2017

September 11th

What were you doing 11 September 2001? 
         I was walking to class at Brigham Young University that morning with my husband. I was a little over five months pregnant with my first child, wearing a red dress. I’m pretty short, so even at five months walking from our apartment up to campus was a haul with all my books, so my husband was carrying both our backpacks. We use to cut through a building to go up, so I could take the elevator at that point rather than scale the multitude of stairs required from where we lived. I remember there was a TV at the top of the building close to where we had to exit, and the first tower had been struck. I didn’t have a lot of time before I had to be in class. I just stood their dumbfounded, and we both turned to each other, and promised to get to class quickly and then meet in the student center afterwards to find out what was going on. I was personally freaking out, because my grandmother had passed away the week before and my mom was driving from Illinois to Connecticut for her burial. I knew that that particular morning she was scheduled to drive through New York. I knew I couldn’t call her right away, I couldn’t afford a cell phone at the time, and knew I would have to wait until I could get to a phone.
         To class I went, German I believe, completely distracted. Half the class hadn’t seen the TVs, so we were all “did you see?” “Do you know what is happening?” Did you see more?” I don’t know if the teacher hadn’t seen anything or just chose to try to get us to focus on class, but we sat through the whole class, and I met up with my husband and headed to the student center. We just stood grouped around the TVs in the store on campus and watched as the towers fell. I was just in shock. I knew I had to try to get ahold of my mom. I tried, but she didn’t answer. So at this point, I am really freaking out. I called my dad, hoping that she had gotten ahold of him. No luck at that point. Trying to go about my day that day was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do emotionally. It wasn’t until that evening that I would hear from my mom. She was safe. She had actually been entering New York on the Tappan Zee Bridge when the first tower was struck. She said that all the signs just started flashing “NEW YORK CLOSED!” I was so thankful she was safe, and so very heartbroken to witness such pointless violence.
         Each and every year we remember the sorrow and strength of that day. We united as a nation. Now 16 years later, where are we as a nation but even more divided than ever before. It breaks my heart all over again. On this day of remembrance, I encourage us all to remember that we are all one people. We may come from different backgrounds, believe in different Gods or no Gods at all, we may speak different languages, have differing skin color, or love someone different than our neighbor, but we are one people all spinning around on this crazy world, and the only way forward is to be united in love and kindness towards our fellow man/woman.

         What do you remember? 

08 September 2017

The Support of the Family-A Military Wife part 1

A few weeks ago, a friend of me hit me up on a chat to interview me for her education program. Her project revolved around unemployment/underemployment affecting military spouses despite higher degrees, work experience, etc. I was honored that she had thought of me, so when she asked her questions, I took them seriously and put some thought behind my answers.
Before I get to her questions and my answers, I want to put it out there that while I am a former military wife, my husband is no longer with the military, my experience is one of a Guardsman’s wife. My husband served in the Utah National Guard for more than a decade of our marriage, but he was full-time the entire time, which is different than many other guardsmen. We went through several short deployments to Afghanistan and one long one, 16 months, while he was with the military. These occurred when our four oldest children were very little. I will also continue to address topics from my military wife experience. If you have a question or topic you would like to ask or address, don’t hesitate to comment, and I will be happy to address that in a later post. I’m always up for suggestions on topics!
**Side note on this. I was speaking as a military WIFE. That does not mean that there are not men in a similar situation with their wife being the one on active duty or same sex couples who do not endure the same if not more discrimination. However, it’s easier for my flow of thought to use wife and husband in my own context.**
***Those questions and comments in bold are what I received to answer. They are directly copied from our conversation.***
Do you feel that your husband’s military career has negatively affected your career choices?
My husband’s military career has been mainly with the National Guard, and while he worked for them full-time for the time he served, it was different experience from most other active duty wives. First off, I was mainly in the same place for a longer amount of time. His career choice affected me mentally more than anything, because I was isolated. I didn’t have the support of other military wives surround me nor did I know of any resources that may have been provided for military spouse to help in getting a job. Because my advanced degree is in Library Science, not having the option of moving wherever there may be jobs does cause issues. However, that has more to do with the fact that my husband, who doesn’t even have degree yet at all, can make far more money than I can anywhere is the US as a Librarian or any related field.
Do you think the military needs to overhaul its relocation/assignment system to help families establish roots and a familiar support system?
Do I think they need to overhaul how they treat families, YES! For one, ALL branches need to be addressed. Women whose husbands serve in the Guard or Reserves are going without their husbands around the same amount if not more than many active duty wives. However, those women and their families are isolated away from a “home base.” They do not have others as neighbors who know what they are going through. I had so many people always say they were there for me, and let me know if you need anything, while my husband was deployed. One, I am shit all at asking for help, and two, after the fifth woman goes “I know what you are going through, my husband had to go (blank, somewhere safe and within the US) for two weeks, and I thought I’d die.” or “I don’t know how you can do it?” You stop wanting to be around those people no matter how much they may want to help. They have NO concept of what it is like to live a year or more with your spouse overseas in dangerous situations, while you try desperately to keep your house together at home and make sure your kids never sense your own anxiety, because they are already worried about mommy or daddy serving.  These people may mean well, and I don’t think most of them realize how hurtful saying these things are, or how isolating they are. Military wives (husbands,) as a general rule, are stubborn, independent women (or men). They are freaking amazing people, not to toot my own horn or anything, but unless you have endured deployment with children, you cannot understand how extraordinary they truly are, and don’t even get me started on how amazing the kids are that endure being without a parent or parents for months and months on end!
There also needs to be a major overhaul in child care when it comes to military families (well, all families actually). 99% of my career choices, were made solely based on the fact that no matter what job I took, I would be making no extra money for my family, and actually would have lost money with the cost of child care. Some bases I know provide child care, and I am not sure how much it costs mostly, however, I was never offered those services, or they weren’t available where we were stationed at the time, and/or we were too far away from a base for those services to be of any use even if they had been offered/available. I believe, there were some papers I could have filled out for some relief during his big deployment, however, I had no resources to figure out how to fill them out or what they hell to do with them.
Again, we need to remember ALL branches of the military, and the military does need to remember that while the one spouse may hold the actual enlistment, they are not the only one who serves. And those who are left behind have far more complicated needs than the soldier. My husband would always tell me, deployment was easy, coming home was hard. It wasn’t that being away from home or his job overseas was all unicorns and rainbows. However, when he was deployed, he had ONE thing on his mind: his job, and part of that is obviously staying safe so he could come home. However, when he came home, life got infinitely more complicated. He not only had to deal with his job, but his feelings about what happened while over there, his wife and her needs and feelings, his children and their needs and feelings, his home, car, life, future, etc. While a spouse is deployed, the one left behind gets to handle all of that alone. Without others who are going through it too, it is an experience I would not wish on anyone. I love that my family made the choice to serve their country, but I admit it has taken much out of me. I feel like they are not willing to really help lift up the families that are left behind.
How has volunteering/working helped with your sense of fulfillment while your husband has been deployed or away on Army assignments? My paper is largely a feminist-driven one with accounts from military spouse who are highly educated and dealing with military demands.
         Volunteer work gave me something to do, something to keep my mind off of where my husband was. However, it was a luxury that was only afforded to me once my youngest, at the time, was finally in preschool at least. It’s also good to note that the volunteer work I could engage in was limited to their schools, so that I could always be on my children’s schedules when it came to volunteer work. Again, this was because as with any job, volunteer work being simply work without pay, and having a child in tow is limiting, and not the way to get a job done up to my own personal standard. You can play at getting things done, but you don’t actually get things done the way they really need to be or at least not in the time frame that is ideal. You can’t pay for childcare because then you really have no money. I did love volunteering. I loved working when all my kids were finally in school full time even though the job was not really in my field of study, I was grossly underpaid for what I was doing especially  as a person with a Masters degree, and yes, my choice of job was dictated by the fact that said job allowed me to have the same days off as my children, which was largely more cost effective, and more stable for my children’s mental health while their dad was in service overseas.
         I will add this. Those spouses that are serving at home by keeping their families going, need to understand too that we are all going though the same thing mostly. Yes, there are nuances within each family that are different, but we should try to pull together to help each other get through. I am now stationed overseas with my family. My husband no longer is with the military, but has found employment outside of the US. We live in a closed community. Not everyone here works for the same people or even speak the same language. However, most of us are experience living away from our homelands, and still they allow petty shit to divide them. Plus, the ones who offer to help all the time make me laugh, because it’s always the women who also work outside of their homes, that offer. They aren’t home when I actually need help 😊. When a man or woman enlists or chooses to serve his or her country in a myriad of different ways, the system must remember that it is not only that person enlisted who serves when they have a spouse and/or children. It is the entire family, and the goal should always be to make sure that family comes out the other end not only intact, but healthier and happier than ever. You want happy servicemen and women? Make sure their families are happy too. That takes one very big stressor off their already considerable shoulders.

         **Anything to add?**

03 September 2017


***This is a long one, but I admit, they probably all will be, and in all honesty, it could have been A LOT longer ;)

Today let’s talk about judgement, and the consequences of being judgmental. All of us do it. Even in the experiences I will share here, I am making a judgement about how I was treated because NO ONE can know really what another is thinking. However, I will say that we all take are personal life experiences or perhaps are influenced by others and we allow that to color a judgement of another and that judgement has an effect, and on and on. This is a ripple in the water that never ends as we interact with one another.
I have been the brunt of many a judgement. So many have impacted my own personal world view. Let’s start with one of the most significant and one of the most impactful. My family moved from Connecticut to Illinois when I was 11. The first town we were in, we were there for such a small amount of time, that it felt like a glancing blow rather than the full-on knockout that moving to Macomb, Illinois was to me as I entered 6th grade. First off, I was the newbie to a bunch of kids that had been together since they were in diapers (or so it seemed), and second I was a professor’s daughter, so naturally I had to be a smarty pants know it all or something. Before I moved to Illinois, I had no idea what a clique was. Seriously, no clue. I have always tried and wanted to be an all-inclusive type of person. I never imagined that people would only spend time with a singular group of people just because the other was different? I still have no idea why cliques exist. To me, everyone, well almost everyone, has something about them that you can like or relate to. There are a small portion of our society that has oozed up and populated the society since certain political choices were made over the last year or so (well, it’s been growing for a lot longer than that, but has been more “news worthy” as of late), that I will admit I can find no redeemable qualities in the people that choose to align themselves with these groups of hate. However, that is a small proportion of our society, and quite frankly, I don’t recall anyone in my school being that drastic. I just didn’t understand why or how other fellow students would want to hurt one another. One of the first people, I wanted to call friend, was a sweet girl. She didn’t develop as quickly as some of us other girls. She was also quiet and kept to herself, but I remember getting so angry as other students teased her about being “flat as a board.” She was nice, and smart, and so I didn’t understand what on earth any of her physical attributes had to do with how she was to be treated. She and I would remain friends throughout high school and such, and she was always one of the nicest people I have ever known. I have never been one who discounted someone on their physical appearance. Believe you me, some of those kids in high school that everyone thought was so gorgeous, to this day, I still think they are some of the ugliest people I have ever known. Know why? Because of the way they treated others. Yes, that is my judgmental side rearing its head. No matter what you look like on the outside, how you treat others shines through your outer skin, and either makes you beautiful or shows the world the ugly little person you really are. You see, looks can be altered, but behavior is the real tell of any person.
Now by the time I was in high school, I had a good little niche of friends. They weren’t the most popular, but I believed they were the most genuine. However, high school was not a place I wanted to be. The place felt like a prison to me, so I worked my ass off to be able to graduate early. I wanted to graduate a whole year early, but the school nixed that a could of years before I could graduate. However, they did allow for early graduation, in which you only had to attend for half a year of your senior year. I had to get out of there. I felt like I was drowning, and so I graduated early and went on to the local university. All of a sudden, most of those “friends” didn’t much want to talk to me. They said I had abandoned them. Seriously! What the fuck? I hadn’t abandoned them. I was still there. I would have done anything, dropped everything, for them if they had asked. But there are some things in life, we must do for ourselves and our own personal growth and health. I thought, as my friends, they would understand that. First time I learned a very harsh “friendship” lesson. Let me tell you, after this making friends was not going to be easy. I knew I would have serious trust issues after this, but I tried very hard to move on.
I would also have to deal with growing up Mormon which caused some lovely situations for me, but that is a whole other bucket of worms that we can get into latter.
The third-time others judgement really affected me was when I finally left Illinois behind and decided to come to Utah for college. Now, due to some seriously stupid decisions in the men department all in a search for something that I was never going to find outside of myself, but that’s another story so, I was going to school with the idea that I would like to date, because I enjoy the company of men, usually because I found them to be better at the friendship gig than girls, but also because I wanted to just date and not fall into a relationship right away. However, I was 21 years old and attending BYU. The boys I went to class with and attended church with just assumed because I was “so old” of course I was there for a husband and they weren’t too keen on the husband gig yet, so no one would date me. It would also be the first time in my life, but most definitely not the last, that I would be introduced to the line, “you intimidate me.” Apparently being strong, smart, and projecting confidence means I intimidate people. Who knew? This sense of being on the outside that this whole situation put me through was difficult. I made one friend. One really great friend. She and I did everything together, I mean when she wasn’t off with her boyfriend. Funny thing there, because her boyfriend who I could not stand, yeah, I married that dude (and we have been married for 16 years now). 😉 I did have a few other friends that I spent a lot of time with as well. It was nice to have friends again. However, this wouldn’t last. Because, as soon as I was married, not a single one would talk to me anymore. Now I know some may say, well you did marry your friends ex. However, I’d like to point out, that she broke up with him, and by the time they had I would consider him a friend as well. I don’t just stop being a friend because two friends break up, that’s just not me, especially when the break up was really beneficial to both parties and it’s obvious to everyone that that is the case. Anyway, when I started to have not so much friend’s feelings towards the man, I was heartbroken and determined to NEVER act on said feelings. I talked it all over with my friend, and she actually encouraged me to go for it. She said that it was fine with her, because she was in love with someone else and wanted to focus on that. You want to know how long that lasted? Right up to the moment he asked me to marry him. Then she wanted me to dump him. By then, I loved the man obviously, and I wanted to spend forever with him. I looked at it like this, if the roles were reversed, what would I have done? Full honesty, I would have supported and been happy for my friend rather than sabotage someone else’s relationship just because I was feeling petty. Needless to say, none of my so-called “friends” would talk to me after I was married. Thus, ended my ability to make friends. I am the type of person that gives EVERYTHING to people I care about. You are my friend, I will move heaven and earth for you, and silly me, I have always expected that my friends give me back at least half that. I have yet to find one that does or will. And now, I find being myself doesn’t get me very far, and I refuse to be anyone else.
         Now, when I got married I was happy, but then I again found nothing but judgement around me. My husband and I got pregnant with our first child right away. Now this was not the plan, but it happened and we had to deal with the consequences of that. I got really sick while I was pregnant and wasn’t able to work at the job I had been working at before. I tried to get jobs that wouldn’t require so much heavy lifting and dangerous work, but I was not successful. Then I had Hyrum, and still everyone expected me to work. After all, Joe was working two part-time jobs and going to school to keep that roof over our heads, and I should have done more to help. But to me, I was doing what was best for our family and my husband was in full support. However, certain family members made me feel lower than low, because how on earth could I be so selfish? This concept of putting me down because I chose to stay home with my kids when they were little would be a constant thing throughout my life. I am not an uneducated woman. I am also extremely capable and could do any job I put my mind to. When we first started out, I was consumed by this need to be the perfect mommy, and part of that was influenced heavily by the faith we followed at the time, and good mommy’s didn’t work outside of the home. However, as we had more kids, the idea that I was selfish persisted, rather than understanding that no matter what job I took, I no longer could afford to work. Day care is disgustingly expensive! So now I was stuck at home. I didn’t have any friends and I was always stuck at home with little ones and no support. Family gatherings I was largely ignored, I mean after all what could a woman up to her ears in diapers with no outside job have to contribute to an educated discussion. I was shunted to the outside, to the point that I hate family get togethers. I go for my husband and my children, because I want them to have  relationship with their family, but me personally. I have always felt like I didn’t belong there and I might as well not be there. I live in silence at home. My kids have never been great conversationalist (and while now that most of them are older that has changed a lot, they are at school most of the time), so when I would finally get out of the house thinking “yeah, an adult is going to talk to me!!!” And you get there, and everyone ignores you. Yeah, you learn to shut down very fast!
This concept of being intimidating would follow and frustrate me through life. However, those these above situations are broad reaching and there are many more factors that have effected my life as a whole, and it has taken me a long time, I actually like myself. I have no interest in lies and pretty deceit. I want real. I want people to be real around me, and I want to be able to be real around them. However, I have learned to draw within myself, because I have never found anyone that I can be completely real around, except my kids. They love their mom no matter how crazy I am. We no longer belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we no longer live near family, and I no longer have friends, not real substance friends that talk to me all the time. I have lots of Facebook friends, and while I appreciate them, I would love to find that friend that actually likes talking to me all the time, and will let me talk to them about everything and anything. My kids let me, now that they are older, but some things are still not children friendly topics.

What I really wanted to get across with all this, is that judging others to the point of ignoring them, has consequences. Sometimes you don’t see those consequences or simply are not aware of them, but they are there. They can seriously damage another person’s ability to interact with their fellow human beings. I stay home now that we have had another little one, and isolation can do lovely things to one’s brain. I encourage everyone to remember the person on the outside. The one that looks so strong and put together, and remember that what we see isn’t all there is to a person. That person could be your bestest and truest friend in the world, and they may just need you more than you can possibly know. Don’t limit yourself to the friends you already have been blessed with to the exclusion of someone who may truly need you. Remember always that we are all together on this crazy roller coaster we call life, and what we really need to be is each other’s safety net. Don’t assume or presume. Don’t think that the woman who appears “intimidating” and doesn’t talk much, doesn’t actually want to talk. Remember she could have just had dreadful friend experiences and has learned to stand tall regardless and to be quiet so as not to “offend.” Doesn’t make him or her “cold,” “intimidating,” or “unfriendly.” The quietest person in a crowd could be the one that is screaming the loudest on the inside for someone to really see them. 

01 September 2017

A New Beginning

Well, I haven’t done this in some time, and it will take me a while to get back in the flow of things. However, I had a friend who was doing research for school, and for some crazy reason 😉 she wanted to interview me. The interview was based on my experiences as a Military wife, and my answers actually sparked her to tell me that I write well and should blog about my experiences. I really am not quite sure I have much to add to most conversations, but since most of my conversations occur within my own mind, I figured what the hell. Maybe getting it down will at least help me.

So I begin this blog again. Now I considered just making a whole new one, but honestly, I am a bookish woman, and I don’t think I could have come up with a better title for my blog, so my solution is to begin again here. To morph what was once just a discussion and listing of the books I’ve read, into something far more encompassing. I encourage discussion on my page, however, there will be no hate allowed here. Everything I write about, I may feel very strongly about, BUT what I write is PURELY MY OPINION! Yes, there will be facts to back up that opinion, but it is mine, and if you want to have a discussion on that opinion that is fine, but judgements and hate will not be tolerated. You will not be engaging in a discussion if that is the path you take, and no one will listen to you, most of all me.

A little about me now. My husband and I have been married since 2001. We have five children. Yes, five children. Three boys and two girls. Our oldest is almost 16 at this point, and the baby will be 1 at the end of September. I choose to stay at home to be with my little one, largely in part because I was when my older kids were little, and also because that cute little hellion is a serious momma’s girl with serious attachment issues, and I don’t wish to traumatize her. I have a B.A. in English Literature and my M.S. in Library and Information Science. I really hope to be able to go back to school before too long and pursue a second Masters degree in Literature, and eventually do on to get my PhD in that particular discipline as well. I LOVE to read. I enjoy crocheting and cross stitch as well. I tend to live in my head far too much, and have a difficult time putting myself out there to make friends, too many poor experiences in the past have gotten in my way in this particular department.

We are currently living in Pristina, Kosovo. This is the first time in my life I have ever been out of the United States. We have been here for about six weeks as of today, and it’s definitely been interesting. I love the area, and the people seem very nice. I can’t speak the language, and I am shit at learning new ones even when I really wish I wasn’t, so that is definitely a challenge. Oh, and we won’t even get into driving around here (well, not in this post at least). We are still adjusting. My kids are going to school, and we are still waiting for our primary personal vehicle so that we can get out and explore more. There are certain cultural differences that have been interesting to navigate, however, I have to say that overall, I am very happy with our choice to live here at this time in our lives and in our children’s lives.

What this blog will entail. Everything and anything. My mind jumps to all sorts of subjects and while I am not old by any means (I am only 38), my life has added to my experiences and my opinions of many subjects. These are things I usually do not put on Facebook or discuss with a lot of people, because while I feel passionately about them, I prefer to avoid arguments and other peoples judgements. Everything I write will be something I feel strongly about and/or have very personal experiences with. I encourage you all to join in the discussion so that we may all lift one another up, or perhaps help someone out there who struggles with the engagement. As I said earlier, the only thing I ask is that you leave hate and judgement elsewhere, because it has no place here, EVER! Have fun, and join me on this merry go round called life. Share with your friends and engage! Thanks!