Thank God

Yesterday was stressful- I thoroughly Good Fridayed. I felt like I had a lot of loose ends for an event I was supposed to be planning. I rear-ended someone in the course of running errands (minor-everything was ok), but everything went fine. The event was a blast, and not the miasma of confusion and ruination I projected it would be.

At the end of the day, it was good. Kind of like hiking, when about halfway through you doubt your decision-making faculties and elucidate on all the ways you were sure to die, but at the end, all that doubt and anxiety was really getting your hackles up over nothing, and hiking isn’t the worst thing.

We have three chickens. My favorite is Beyonce. The other two were being all Mean Girls and not letting her hang out. They’d venture across the yard without Bey, and hog the food. I made a point to petting and scratching her as I tucked them in every night for a few weeks. At first she was resistant, and did not appreciate me being in her space. Now she lets me pick her up and carry her around. Bella has started hanging out with Beyonce, and leaves Alice Walker to do her own thing. It’s very interesting, but Beyonce doesn’t need fairweather friends.

My whole family has been sick, and I really hope I don’t get it. I had a cold from November to February. The main reason I don’t want to get sick is because we’re doing a lucha libre (Mexican wrestling) event at jiu jitsu on Monday. We all bought masks. I am really looking forward to it, I know it will be a blast. I’ll take a million pictures.

Speaking of pictures, I watched a documentary on Netflix, Monk With A Camera, about a Buddhist monk who was also a photographer, as the title would suggest. It was more than that he came from a family high fashion, his father was a diplomat, but still, apt title. I enjoyed it, and I am looking forward to a photography class semester after next. The Dalai Lama was in the movie. I’ve seen him in a lot of things, and I’m always taken at his big, genuine laugh, which he is quick to share. He has deep joy and peace, even though he constantly deals with ameliorating intense suffering. His laugh is effective medicine.

The best medicine for me right now is sleep. Adieu.

 

Manic Maundy

I had an interesting assignment in mythology-apply one of the 17 stages of the Monomyth as described by Joseph campbell to my own life. I did 5- it correlated so well with my first year in the military.  It was fun and challenging. I waited so long to start my education because I wanted it to be like Dead Poets Society. Now I’m in my mid-thirties with my highest conferred document a GED. I do like going to school online. It’s more rigorous than I thought it would be, and school is better when I don’t have to worry about being stabbed by Crips.

I helped Selah with her posterboard for her science project about electric guitars. We used pictures of all Black guitarists-Jimi Hendrix, Lenny Kravitz, Gary Clark Jr., Bob Marley. It was fun and a bit subversive, because I know her school will be too afraid to say anything about it. Black folk invented rock and roll, and this fact can use some positive reminders now and again.

Maundy Thursday, as I touched on yesterday, is resonating with me this year. For the first time in years, I’m proactively pouring in to new friendships, because I need friends who aren’t just on the internet. Jesus had himself a squad. Jesus sometimes got annoyed with them, and they were impacted by group dynamics, but they were there, for the most part. I need that. I need brothers and sisters (but mostly brothers). I need friends who will teach me things and challenge my ideas, tell me when I’m being foolish and when I’m making wise choices. A good group of friends will be essential as I transition to civilian life-I’ll lose a lot of the sounding boards and people I’ve bonded with over lunch in the break room. I’ll need to remain tethered, and be invested.

Willa, our Goldendoodle, is about 2 years old. She’s finally stopped being a jerk. She curled up next to me as I started typing this post, and I’m typing this article because its comfy and reassuring, and I don’t really want to move. But I have to, because I want to go to bed.

 

Do-Over!

If I’m writing everyday, I’m going  to write about everyday things. I’m not Elizabeth Aquino (one of my favorite bloggers), able to write long, great pieces everyday. Maybe with much more practice and diligence I can deliver the goods. That’s what this is about.

Yesterday was another one of those days in which I felt alive and was incredibly productive. Good days are thankfully becoming more frequent. I’ve got to figure out the recipe.

I worked with my hands all day, and had time to think. As I said yesterday, I’m probing my defense mechanisms, and the areas that hurt, and those that feel nothing. As I transition out of the Air Force, I’m getting a clean slate.

I am declaring a do-over.

I understand I have a tremendous privilege, and I’m glad to have experience doing something I love, and can waltz into another career without much turbulence. I feel a part of a community, and I’m finally making friends.

In that do-over, I get to demilitarize my thinking. I was talking to a friend and said I was thinking about getting an engineering degree after I get my BA next summer. That’s not my thinking, that’s USAF self-preseervation/career advancement/boxchecking thinking. I never want to take another math class. I don’t want to study at night what I worked on all day. I don’t want my career to be my life. I want to do good work pursuant to becoming a master technician, and not have to write performance reports at night. I might eventually become a manager, but I want to make sure I’ve gotten about as high as I can technically before becoming a supervisor again. I don’t have  to do standard career path things. I don’t think studying engineering would fit in to that. I wouldn’t enjoy it, and I can support the fam with my current skillset. If I have to spend time away from my family, I get to choose how I will invest that time. I’m going to study social justice and writing if I decide to keep going to school.

This is liberating.

I also won’t constantly remind people I’m a veteran. This doesn’t have to be my identity- it hasn’t been the whole time I’ve been in. I’ve wanted to get out for almost 10 years, I’m not going to cling to it. I am going to do some stereotypical veteran things, like grow a hellacious beard, but that’s about it.

I am excited. Yeah, sure, the tide may turn, but it’s looking good for me, and my head’s in a good enough place to recognize it.

So here’s to good days, to do-overs, and getting strong and honest and supported enough to handle the bad days.

 

 

 

Math

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Math has always been difficult for me. I’ve briefly written about how I can think mathematically, but in the past I had difficulty remembering the rules. It’s as if I was forced to pick a tribe, and I picked the language group instead of the number group. I walked in this identity for more than 20 years.

I wouldn’t have a problem with washing my hands of math if I didn’t LOVE science. My job is real sciency, y’all, with maths and junk. I consider myself a scientifically-minded person, who places more credence in observable facts than emotion/opinion.

So back to math. I’m taking statistics as my last class for my Associate’s Degree, because I didn’t get it when I was 20ish like everyone is supposed to. For my current degree plan (Creative Writing-Fiction), it’s the only math class I need. I’m glad, but here’s the thing- it doesn’t suck. This is huge for me.

I’ve never experienced math in such a way before, where it’s more like solving a puzzle (yay!) than trying to escape from a septic tank with a broken arm (dislike). In fact, I’m getting 100’s on my homework. I’m enjoying going back and making sure I’m being precise and exacting. Such behavior isn’t typical for me.

College is idealized for me, because of books and movies. One of those ideas is it’s supposed to shake you up, and you see what settles. It’s a time of trying on different identities to find elements which best suit you. As I’ve learned about myself this week: I don’t hate camping or math.

That’s a lot. I’ve gone long periods just surviving, not growing or learning. In my neighborhood, if I had to walk by a bunch of goons, I’d put my hoodie hood up, eyes on the ground 5 feet ahead of me, and keep walking. As long as I kept moving, I was ok, most of the time. If a group of people drove by, threw a big gulp at me, and shouted “FAGGOT!” (which happened at least once a week. Sometimes it was beer bottles), as long as I kept my eyes down and kept going forward, I would make it home.  I walked by a lot of flowers that way.

I don’t have to do that anymore. I can look around and be present and enjoy my journey. I can consider the Earth and her topography. And I don’t have to be shackled with old ideas about myself which no longer fit.

Wasted Time

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The band Wasted Time is awesome. Buy everything they put out for eternity.

Life is exhausting. I never get enough sleep, and I come home from work numb. Sometimes I have been challenged, and seized opportunities to make things better. This is rare. Most days are spent drinking too much coffee, sending email, and updating various reports and spreadsheets, which are to be emailed. While doing so I feel like I’m wasting investing my youth.
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