I’ve decided to revive this blog after careful consideration to the state of balance in my life that pushed me to assess how I’m feeling, what I’m doing and where I’m going. My health has generally been declining and the emotional toll of that has been a bit more than I’ve been able to handle.
Twenty-one years ago, I stepped on the yellow footprints at Parris Island scared and unsure of the decision I had made to serve. I was extremely fortunate to serve my whole fours years, but it came with a price tag. Recently, I was granted service-connected disability status from the VA for the injuries I incurred while serving. I’m grateful to have this option to get the healthcare I’ve needed for outstanding problems that date back to a botched epidural during delivery, and lingering tinnitus and TMJ as a military musician. I’ve now been able to start physical therapy, and get pain management needs met.
Along with physical impact of service, I’ve never fully grasped the emotional one. Being a Marine is a difficult standard to live up to. You have to be stronger and tougher than anyone else to show why you are considered part of America’s Elite Fighting Force.
A short video of the Commandant expressing that ideal here.
When I left the Marines, I never lost that sense of perfectionism. Always needing to lead the way, say yes when asked and take on everything I could. I grew a heavy anxiety whenever I did the opposite. Never really stepping back to say, can I do this or am I compromising something else in my life to say yes?
About a month ago, I got to walk graduation for my Masters Degree. This was a really proud achievement for me since I will be the first in my family earn a masters degree and it will help elevate my career.
Photo credit to Andrew Griesemer
While I have 95 days remaining in my program, I never once questioned in the last eighteen months if this is something I should do with my other ongoing commitments. Full-time job, PTA President, and Veterans Resource Group Co-President, my constant worry grew on was I doing enough, what would people think if I stepped away, and would there be a struggle for the people I cared for now had to take on this extra responsibility?
Everything came to head about six weeks ago.
A situation I did not think would occur did, I found myself going through a miscarriage.
While I had make proper precautions to prevent that from happening, it did. There were no major complications and the full event completed a few days ago.
This created a great deal of perspective for me. I had to stop, I had to take care of myself, and I had to give others the opportunity to participate in the different activities I was involved in. Not one person criticized me for stepping away except me. Through this I was able to reflect internally on how poorly I was taking care of myself. I couldn’t get out of bed or even walk to the car without struggle or pain. I couldn’t sleep due to the constant worry. I couldn’t enjoy time with my family or anything I was doing. Every public event, I wanted to run and hide. I didn’t want anyone to see how much I struggled to do the simplest task. I didn’t want to talk to anyone and I avoided public situations.
This is still a daily struggle. I’ve been operating in this mindset for so long, I catch myself back in it more than acknowledging when I’m not. I continue to work on it, but I’ve been able to identify that bottling it is not working so I revived the blog. Taking time to write it down and get it out is part of taking time to do something for me.