I am the master packer.

I’ve calmed down since my last post.  Yep.  I still can’t stay angry or hold a grudge for shit.  I know something about myself that frustrates me sometimes.  I’ve already faced impending murder at gunpoint.  More times than I allow myself to think about.  I’ve spent a good chunk of my life living in a violent world.  I discovered it doesn’t matter how I feel, I react the same way every fucking time.  I only play defense.

I don’t think everyone is wired this way.  I think there’s someone who reacts in every way I can imagine.  We’re well over 6 billion individuals, so it’s a fair assumption.  I’m a protector.  I’m good at it because I’m mission oriented.  I can take a hell of a beating while still managing to focus only on my objective.  (This is why I play a tank in MMO video games.  It’s so perfect for Ms. Literal.)

My adrenaline surge is automatically directed at a single objective, regardless of damage taken.  I’m compelled to stand between (some random) child and danger.  Except, I’ll keep protecting that child no matter how much damage I take until unconscious.  I have no off switch once in combat mode.  I think a non-doofus would stand there until they got shot.  Then they would freak out about the pain, and forget their mission.  This seems a reasonable way to behave if you want to continue living.

In my case, the pain won’t distract me.  I’ll be in combat mode until I either lose consciousness, die, or enough time has passed for me to exhaust my energy.  It’s an all-consuming state.  It’s a rare time in that I don’t think about anything.  It feels like hysteria to me, except my alertness is heightened and my reaction time quickens.  I hear everything as if I’m wearing surround sound headphones that muffle distracting sounds and amplify signals.  It’s not a pleasant feeling, but it has a dangerous appeal.

I thought I’d never go there again when I took off my uniform.  I thought my time as a soldier ended when my service ended.  Few things can trigger this in civilian life.  Between war games in 29 Palms and my ex-husband, I’ve spent a lot of time in combat mode.  I’ve had a chance to analyze how I react.  I’m pretty good at surviving, I suppose.  But it usually surprises me.  Probably because I don’t understand how other people think.  I used to think I survived because there was a god who protects the righteous and punishes the wicked.

I wanted it to be true, so badly I live like a Christian, even after I realized the righteous are unprotected, and the wicked are wicked because they know there is no god.   I’m not hedging my bets.  I believe my will can affect change in this universe.  I just don’t always know what actions I need to take to get from point A to point B.  If I want a box to move from point A to point B, I know I need to apply force in a particular place, until it reaches the desired spot.  It’s rarely that simple, unfortunately.

I feel like I’m grieving the loss of the god concept, in a way.  It was like a bad habit I was clinging to until an intervention forced me to reconsider.  I also feel like I should have gotten to this point within seconds of discovering televangelists.  They’re literally a huge neon sign that says, “There is no god, fool!”  In my defense, they were completely off my radar.  I’ve never even watched a TV station that would broadcast such crap.  The closest I’ve come was when I started watching Carnivale on HBO.

It was way too scary for me to hang in there for long, but I thought it was extremely well done.  (I wish it were a novel so I could find out the story.)  I’m not going to shoot anyone because I’m not a thief.  All any of us really have are our lives.  Stealing it from someone is not something I do.  Even when it means losing my own life.  I’ll stand between any kid and danger every time.  I’m almost sure protecting children is coded into our DNA, but I’m okay with it.  It’s a non-weird thing about me.

I’ve spent a few hours talking with M. and deciding how we’re going to approach going off the grid.  It’s going to take time for both of us to work out all the logistics, but we have a plan.  I can’t wait to start the labor part.  I’m good at things like filling sandbags and digging bunkers.  (My proclivity for pointing things out and asking questions guaranteed I’d dig a lot of holes in the Army.)  When I was in the desert, people would ask me to trick out their bunkers for them.  I used to add shelves and built-in storage and crap like that.  (I needed them to keep track of my stuff.)

My accommodations turned out to be ideal for everyone because knowing where to grab some rocks to throw when the coyote start howling nearby in the desert is useful.  I used to tie a rope to the nearest climbable tree and drag it to the bunker in Germany so we could find it fast and climb it when we smelled a wild boar nearby.  (Those things can fuck you up.)

I remember watching a group of them go by in the opposite direction while we were running PT one morning.  Needless to say, we picked up the pace.  I’ve been working on canceling credit cards and closing bank accounts so far.  Cash and barter only, with the goal of being barter only.  I took a course on hydroponics a few years ago.  It’ll come in handy when we grow our own food.  I can’t help it.  I’m excited.

I purchased some land in Colorado a while back to plant trees to help offset my carbon footprint.  We’re going to go down next weekend to plant more and bond with nature.  I’m planting them so one day they’ll look like a smiling emoji from the sky.  Plus, it’ll create a semi-sheltered (from the wind) site where I can plant a wildflower garden or something.  Last winter, I built an awesome snow fort with those snow brick molds.  It was the perfect sticky snow.

I think this next phase of my life, regardless of length, will be calmer.  I’ve always dreamed of living like Laura Ingalls Wilder, (with several caveats.)  I crave the simplicity.  But I’m bringing my new bass and the rest of my instruments.  My cat will also be moving with me.  And my CD’s.  I might miss all the new music, but what I have now makes me happy.  I’m already playing some of my favorite riffs on the bass.  I need to work out which finger I’m going to pluck with first, and it’s bigger than I expected.  I have to use different fingers to reach the lower notes, but it still feels natural.

I figure if Sheryl Crow can reach, I can reach.  (I think she’s barely taller than Stevie Nicks.)  Plus, I’ve seen kids do it, so I just need to practice.  I ordered a strap on Etsy earlier.  It has new strings on it, and I haven’t had any issues with fret buzzing.  Yay.  I love it.  I’m going to go play it now.