Therapy By Abe Lincoln

Sometimes the best outings are the impromptu ones. Last night I just looked at Ken and said “Let’s go out.” Not even hesitating, he nodded and said “yeah, let’s do it”. Just like that we packed my camera bag, hopped onto the metro at 7pm and headed into the city. After one transfer and some metro reminiscing we ended up at the Smithsonian station, where we just started walking and photographing the National Mall. My DLSR gave out around the Washington Monument, and I had to iPhone it from there but whatever, we were having fun. We walked the Vietnam Memorial, and ended it with sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

The Lincoln Memorial is a special place for me. I’ve spent a lot of time there day and night, sitting on those steps. Thinking about my life when i was happy, sad, anxious about things. Staring at others doing the same. The tourists, the solo people, people eating lunch on their lunch breaks. Its just one of those places where you can people watch every type of people imaginable and yet be lost in your own mind all at the same time. (and no one thinks you are insane if you run down the steps screaming JEN-NAY!!!!! and racing toward the reflecting pool. However security frowns on trying to get IN the water to meet up with the imaginary Jenny from Forrest Gump.)

We got our fill of sightseeing and tourist madness, (even met a couple willing to take a rare picture of us and is emailing it to us later!) and decided to walk to a different metro station to soak up a little more of the city before getting our grub on in Chinatown. Basically in Chinatown you just walk into a place and start eating and the place we chose had the usual chinese and sushi fare, and was pretty decent. We even went all out and split a bottle of sake. What’s nice about the city, is that kitchen’s are still booming at midnight so you can pretty much get a full meal anywhere on a Friday night, depending on what you want. We also discovered a THREE STORY WALGREENS with gourmet food in it, in case that’s of interest to anyone out there, because we were fascinated.

The impromptu night out was just what I needed to pretend I wasn’t in the pits of depression for a few hours, maybe even help me climb out with a little inspiration. That I can always come home, see my happy places and things can be ok for a few hours, when I can muster up the energy to get it together and try to get to them.

Move it Along

I’ve been confronted with a situation lately where I’ve been given an ultimatum, “change who I am so we can maybe kiss and make up on THEIR terms” or just keep moving on. It was actually tough for me at first believe it or not, because when that situation involves someone you considered a best friend things just get complicated. I peice of me is emotionally attached to this person and wants nothing more to apologize, forget the whole thing, and do what it takes to rectify the situation. I miss them in my life, because they were around for so many years, and there are good memories to be attached to that. Upon taking some time to collect myself however, I have to stop and think rationally, and what’s emotionally healthy here and what the reality of the situation is. It wasn’t always what it was cracked up to be. And now this. This person already self righteously cut me from their life for two years without so much as a word to me all the while making it known to others that she had a fundamental problem with my lifestyle. Which apparently means, since I don’t believe in god, I’m against him, and I also actively hate her religion and try to pull others out like I’m a stop on some underground railroad. Which couldn’t be further from the truth, as I have close friends still involved in the church and we have very clear understanding of one another’s beliefs and do not try to change each other. I have my suspicions her issues with my “lifestyle” have deeper meaning as well, that I’m not going to get into here, but if thats true its a 100% no go in my book for things I can tolerate. That’s a subject you DON’T get to make me choose or feel bad about in my life because you will lose EVERY SINGLE TIME.

What bothers me the most is the simple act of the one promise that was made to me was broken that our entire friendship was based on. No matter what our differences, I would just not be dumped because god has instructed her that unbelievers are beneath her in her position in life. Because thats happened to me with several friends since leaving the church, friends I grew up with since I was a toddler. And that’s exactly what she did in the end. My trust issues have taken a huge leap backwards, in both trusting people who profess that faith helps them do good works, and in people who pretend to be interested in my friendship altogether.

I still hold the few near and dear to me in the same position as before this happened. I’m not losing trust in them, because that wouldn’t be fair when they have done no wrong. If anything, I’m grateful to have such friends and family in my life left that have stuck around me through my illness, my crazy times, the hard times Ken and I have faced, against the odds, and the times when the clouds have broken and we have caught a break every once in a while. That accept me when I fall down onto the sucky friend train, and wait for me to get myself right again, because they have faith that I will. It’s those friends that I want to keep around, not the full of one sided conditions, walking on eggshells, constantly making me second guess myself for the wrong reasons types of friends. So thanks guys for enriching my life with your intellectual conversation, everlasting attempts to understand me, and always willingness to offer your ears, even at 3am.

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Aside

Are We There Yet?

It’s been awhile eh? (i’m feeling Canadian in honor of my friend Laurie today.)

Move 2014 has been successfully executed. This is mine and Ken’s 8th move since we have been married in all of 5 short years. Between Army duties, deployments, moving, school, health issues and regular marital stuff, our marriage is really really exhausting. I feel like its been an uphill battle the entire 5 years, and I’m with a partner who loves me and who grins the whole way. This move was no different. He put up with my neuroses of starting to pack 6 weeks ahead of time. Though color coding and labeling all the boxes. He helped me purge the extra items for a 15 box donation to Purple Heart. On move day our pep talks went a little like this:

Him: “Deep breaths, we will make it. We are already there!”

Me: “Please don’t punch my dad when he says/does something infuriating.”

Outcome? I didn’t die, and he didn’t punch my dad.

Of course over all the people that came to help were pretty extraordinary to move all our shit that fast and pretty cheerfully at that. I am thankful. After everyone left Ken and I still made another couple truck runs for last min stuff and to clean the house, before we were able to fall down and do nothing last night and survey the disaster that is the new house.

My hips ache. I can barely keep my eyes open and the nausea is pretty constant, and the fibro fog is getting the better of me, but other than that, I came out in one piece. This is going to be a pretty short blog because I am passing out at the computer as I’m typing. I just don’t have it in me to bust out some Pulitzer Prize stuff right now.

(Wo)Man In the Mirror

I have a confession. On this lovely blog here, I have been pretty open about some things. In my other social media sites though, not so much. I have a really bad habit of molding myself into this compliant person that doesn’t want to lose friends or family in the internets simply because I have opinions or thoughts of my own. Yet I sit here every single day and be accosted by the opinions of everyone else I chose to be online connected with, without a word most of the time. It feels unfair. So let’s set the record straight shall we?

I’m a bleeding heart liberal. I believe in gay marriage (gasp) and that the LBGTQ community deserves EVERYTHING everyone else is entitled to. It is NOT a lifestyle choice, and it’s not against nature to love whoever you chose to love. And no, it’s not going to divulge into pedophilia or bestiality. These are ridiculous arguments, for neither party can give consent, quit being dumb and bringing them up. Also, the Christian church does not hold the patent on marriage, people were getting married 1000’s of years before Christianity was even a twinkle of an idea.

I believe in this country helping the downtrodden and those in need, and everyone lending a helping hand for those who are willing to try to rise out of their own situations and make themselves a better life. I believe there are men and women that serve this country under good intentions, and while their orders my not always be what we agree with its our responsibility to recognize they are not to blame for doing a job none of us will willing to sign up for. I want better healthcare for our nation. I’m sick of the disabled being cast aside, and the less fortunate being buried under medical bills no normal person could afford. I’m tired of having my uterus legislated. If Obamacare is what we have right now to ease some of that, I intend to give it a chance.

And now religion. I’m an atheist. For those who need a clear definition of that, it means I reject the idea that a god of any sort exists. It’s not a religion, there is no dogma and I’m not some scary person that eats babies in my spare time. I recognize evolution as fact and I rely on science and logic and reason to expand the knowledge I have, not a book that cannot be proven to be real, but ultimately taken on faith alone. I do not feel like organized religion is very healthy, nor do I agree with it’s practice as a whole. I understand that this is my opinion, and there it is, and I’m always willing to talk, but never there to “preach” or “convert.”

These are things I don’t discuss a lot except with a few close friends. But that is about change. If I support these things, I should walk the walk after all shouldn’t I?

We’re Still Having Fun, And You’re Still the One.

Five years ago today woke up next to my best friend. We got dressed, ate breakfast with my roommate, she went to work like it was just another day. It wasn’t for us however. We proceeded to do the scariest thing I’ve ever done. We went downtown and got married. Yup, just like that. There was a moment of cold feet in the courthouse elevator but other than that the story was short and sweet.

In five years, we have moved 8 times, were separated the first 4 months of our marriage, been though the countless struggles and issues with my illness, craziness of the military, spent almost 3 years as a poor college couple and survived a deployment. I came to realize that though all of this, we have never fought, REALLY fought not even once. Mind blowing. I was raised in an environment where knock down blow out fighting was the norm, and taught that early on and throughout a marriage it was to be expected and for 5 years I’ve been waiting for that ball to drop. I realize now, this warped expectation of relationships has caused me great anxiety when really I have the healthiest relationship right in front of me. We are being our own example and I didn’t even know it.

So, today, I’m still waking up next to my best friend. And we are going to get dressed, eat breakfast, and celebrate today the best thing we ever did in finding each other. Committing to it long term.

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Some of you may remember this, but for those who missed it, here is my wedding story.

I feel like we are that couple that no one ever knows quite what to do with. It’s marvelous. He’s this super nerdy nice guy who’d jump in front of a train for a total stranger…..or a puppy. I’m a headstrong sometimes bitch who will cut you if you dare abuse the niceness of my husband, or try to legislate my uterus, whichever. We were brought together during such outwardly mundane circumstances (work). He was a small town boy (LIVIN’ IN A LONELY WORLD….sing with me!) who joined the military and ran into me, a city girl (WHO TOOK THE MIDNIGHT TRAIN GOING ANY-WHERE!), working at the Pentagon. We clicked, and that’s all she wrote.

Actually, that’s not “all she wrote.” We actually have one hell of a story of an evolving friendship and quite a backstory to go with it that’s led to this incredible thing we rightly and proudly call a not so traditional marriage we have today. (DON’T WORRY INTERNET, IT’S TOTALLY LEGAL AND NOT PERVERSE, AND THERE ARE NO ANIMALS INVOLVED, RAND PAUL).

What I love the most about our story is this: IT’S OURS. Some people know the abbreviated version of events. Our closer friends know more of the intimate details. However, there are only two people on the planet that know some of the most important memories of all involving how everything came to be when we started legally sharing the last name of Woodland, and that’s Ken and I. I intend to keep it that way, because I’m complicated like that.

But I’ll tell you this. Our original wedding rings were purchased by hopping off the Red Line of the Metro at Union station and bought from a street jewelry vendor. We took a cab to the courthouse in Arlington and were legally married in a law office underneath a Jerry’s Subs and Pizza. No one mentioned God, nor did we bear any vows to a religious nature. (Gasp! No! Those Atheists have gone and ruined the sanctity of marriage!) We promptly had 5 shots of Jameson at an Irish bar to celebrate after. There were no witnesses. And I was married in my sneakers. Hell yes. I love the city.

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From the Favorite Granddaughter, with Love.

Recently we lost a very dear member of our family, my grandfather. It’s hard because he is the first grandparent I have lost while I have been alive (my other grandfather died before I was born) so a part of me has no idea what to say about it.

I know he’s been sick and struggling for a long time. Now, I’m a very rational person, and my first thoughts are, I just want his pain and suffering to be eased. It might emotionally hurt us, but we have to accept what is meant to be for him. I think of my grandmother and aunts and uncles and how they are going to cope and I’m upset for them. My father has tried very hard to be there through this whole ordeal and its been hard on him. My grandfather was a good man, a kind man, and deserving of everyone coming together to show him the love and time he needed when he needed it the most. I’m only sorry I do not live close enough to have the means to be of more of a help myself.

I have thought about death and what it means to me. Because of my position of not having a belief in a god, I also do not believe in an afterlife. I am ok with that. I do believe we all participate in the cycle of life, that we originated from stardust like everything else on our speck of a planet in this vast universe, and we function here within each other’s lives for the time we have. And afterwords we go on to continue to feed the cycle of life, and that’s beautiful. We leave behind our accomplishments, our memories with our loved ones and a legacy through our families that is never really forgotten. My grandfather had his own faith which he was very strong in, and perhaps he is right, what’s after death is certainly something no one knows for sure. Anyway I look at it however, a man with that much love to give deserves nothing but the most beautiful it has to offer.

So, here’s to the man who used to call me “boy” when I was 4 just to hear me squeal “BUT I’M A GIRL GRANDPA!”

Here’s to the man that I used to fight my cousin over trying to determine who was his favorite granddaughter.

Here’s to the man that always had PB&J and, barrel drinks and slices of American cheese in the house for me.

Here’s to the man that was always there, watching the family chaos, but genuinely happy to sit back and embrace it all. He never forgot a grandchild’s name, which is amazing considering there are 19 of us, and for me, knowing my grandpa was at a gathering, somehow made it complete.

And here’s to the man that brought a huge family together and made us all better people for it.

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Even the GREAT grandchildren found him to be something to smile about.

A Toe In The Water.

So here is a small rundown of my life the past couple weeks.

We got a Kuerig machine. I may have mentioned this already but I’m going to talk about it again. It’s like my most favorite appliance ever and I have a serious K Cup addiction going on. Ken and I have been making up excuses to brew up coffees, teas, and hot chocolate 5-6 times a day each. We really need to lay off this thing before I send myself through the roof. (Actually this has made no difference on my sleep pattern at all because my health just sucks like that but anywho….)

I’ve been cutting cutting cutting back on our expenditures to try and save money but we are still bleeding from the arteries with new things that keep cropping up. Cest le vie, right? But we did get rid of several of our cable boxes and rearrange our plan a bit and now just have Apple TV on the downstairs TV, I’m LOVING it so far, I spent more time in the living room now than when I had cable! Worth the investment, totally.

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Ken was recently promoted. Finally, I can announce that his sergeant rank is official! We have been crossing our fingers for so long on this, knocked down so many times, fought for YEARS for this through several really tough setbacks and situations. I’m really proud of him, and I think he can do this well. If it doesn’t drive us both crazy….you know the military, same shit different day, no matter what day, and let’s say, shits stirring already this holiday season.

And in bizarre news, last week we had a domestic violence incident that the cops got involved in. By cops I mean, 20 squad cars, 30 cops, full riot gear, weapons drawn. They negotiated the release of the wife and child, then entered the house in all their gear and guns, ended up subduing the husband, taking HIS SNIPER RIFLE, and arresting him. This was my next door neighbor and I was in my living room with a front row seat when it all went down. Turns out the family was military as well. Needless to say, they are now being evicted and we can’t wait till our lease is up to vacate this place.