“He’s obsessed with breasts.”

Audio file of this post (improved, but still needs work.  Sorry, I’m learning): 

OP-1 by Teenage Engineering

 

I didn’t run on Tuesday or Wednesday. Long story short, I triggered myself and was unable to eat for a few days. (No big deal for healthy, first world Alison.)  I didn’t run because I have an irrational fear of falling and freezing to death on a winter run. It’s barely irrational (in South Dakota), which is why I’m not even working on overcoming it.

It wore off, and I was able to eat a light breakfast this morning before heading out for my run. It was 9° F, according to my phone. I was warmed up and excited. My playlist includes Perfect Duet by Ed Sheeran and Beyoncè. It’s every third song between Stevie Nicks 24 Karat Gold: Songs From the Vault. (It’s as if Stevie Nicks created the song.)

I was utterly lost in the music, my body a vague avatar on auto-pilot when I fell. I was almost home. I could see my building across the river. I got up and reoriented myself with my body. Then I slowly counted to ten before assessing the damage. Nothing hurt, and the music was still playing.

OP-Z by Teenage Engineering

Aside from an anxiety rush, all systems go. Yay. (Flashback to when I fell and dropped my portable CD player, and it shattered on impact without harming the CD. Panasonic.) I finished my route feeling like my world is right again. Then I got to the stairs, and my hip started whining. Anytime I feel any degree of pain in my hip; my imagination announces I’ve broken it, and it’s all downhill from here.

After I stretched and showered, it was no longer an issue. I just hope I don’t find a bunch of bruises tomorrow. I have my annual doctor’s appointment next week. That tiny bit of potential awkwardness is enough to psych me out of going. I’d better disarm it before it gets me. I’m incredibly distracted of late due to my introduction to synthesizers. Typically, I avoid Virtual Black Holes. Maps, cryptography, metaphysics, quantum mechanics, biochemistry, etc.

FMPlayer by AudioKit

These are points of interest so intense it’s not likely I’ll ever return to whatever I used to give my attention. Usually, I recognize them quickly and run. It’s like saying no to drugs. It’s not that I don’t want to indulge, it’s because I don’t want to trade my legal adult status for an incredibly lonely, narrowly focused, otherwise joyful existence.  It bothers me because I couldn’t tell you why.  I’m off to practice my drums (and think about synthesizers.)

“If you think you can drug me and play with my toys, you’ve got another thing coming, buddy!”

Yesterday was eventful.  I’ll start with the good part.  I had a blast at Sky Zone.  I love trampolines.  I went alone and met some cool people.  They invited me to join them later at a bar, but I declined.  It felt nice to be asked, though.  I came home and set up my new bass pedal.  The difference is astonishing.  I’m a better drummer just from moving to a real bass pedal.  Who knew?

I played along with Stevie Nicks’ In Your Dreams album.  Ghosts Are Gone is a lot of fun to play.  Her music isn’t easy to play.  It forces me to focus keenly, which also makes me play better.  This is good, as I want to progress to playing Evanescence songs.  (I’m stalling because the other end of yesterday sucked.)  Last night, I was laying on the floor, reading.  It was after 1 AM when I heard an awful sound.

I went through stages of identifying the sound.  First, I thought someone accidentally turned up their speakers to full blast while watching porn.  That only lasted about a second, then I realized it wasn’t a recording, someone nearby was making those noises.  My heartbeat sped up, and I felt alarmed.  I went out on my balcony with my phone.  It was a woman wailing.

I dialed 911 and told them I thought someone was being hurt.  It was loud enough the operator could hear someone was in distress through the phone.  I said it sounded like a woman was in labor, or being harmed.  There was also a man’s voice, but much softer and only briefly.  I ended the call with the police and ran downstairs, still carrying my phone.

I was shaking and breathing hard from being freaked out.  I found the woman and a man in the parking lot, just out of view of my balcony.  She was on the ground, and he was leaning over her.  Something I hate about PTSD is my fight or flight mechanism is broken.  I don’t react the way I desire.  I don’t react at all in real time.  I freeze when I most need to act.

I’m starting to shake again, just relaying this.  I’m pausing to get it together.  Okay.  Whew.  Better now.  Cut to me sprinting up to some random guy leaning over a wailing woman.  I should have laid on the ground and calmed myself at that point.  There was a moment when this occurred, and I ignored it.  My bad.  (Blatant foreshadowing FTW.)

So many things were running through my mind at warp speed.  I consciously decided to push some random guy as hard as I could because I was terrified he was hurting some random woman.  The sound was so awful.  An actress in child labor is the most accurate reference I have.  The man saw me coming but didn’t move.  He fell back and landed hard.

Then he sprung up and punched me in my left cheek so hard.  So hard.  Keep a few things in mind; I divorced a man who beat me up twice, and I have five older brothers.  I’ve been punched in the face before.  It sucks.  Getting hit in the face hurts like hell, is very disorienting, and it hurts for a long time.

It turns out, the woman was okayish.  I asked her if she was alright, and she said yes.  Then she apologized for frightening me and whimpered for a bit.  In my experience, her behavior last night could indicate severe underlying issues.  I’m not qualified to determine what the hell was up with her.  Then the cops showed up.  They basically stared at us from their vehicle for a while, then drove away after making sure everyone was okay, and nobody wanted to press charges.

The man also has PTSD.  The thing that blows me away is I wondered this just before I pushed him.  The way he reacted was off.  He froze.  Then he responded in a delayed manner while in full panic mode, (exactly as I do.)  Do nothing, then overreact as if you’re about to die when you’re clearly not.  Good times.  Sigh.  He’s pretty upset, of course.  I feel like crap.

I told him we have to blame this on PTSD if anything, at least until we’re calmed down enough to trust our rationality.  Having five older brothers also taught me how intensely it can hurt a man to accidentally harm a woman.  Most men don’t beat women.  (To do something you abhor against your will is torture.)  He agreed, and I can tell we’re allies now.  He’s also an Army veteran, but he served in Afghanistan.

He was an officer, though.  (It’s a different world as far as I know.)  I’m pretty sure it makes it worse for him, though.  The differences between enlisted and officers are similar to (idealized) blue collar and white collar civilians, respectively.  I got the impression officers are held to a stricter standard of military bearing.  So we’re both in a lot of pain today.  I suspect the woman was under the influence of something and had a bad trip.

I’ve spent the day in my closet, having a delayed reaction to a scenario I feared but didn’t take place.  I barely comprehend it, and am irked I have to go through it despite reality.  And my face hurts like hell.  I’m still a little dazed.  I’m texting my new ally every two hours to make sure he’s hanging in there.

I asked him if he had any drugs or guns while thinking to myself how weird it is I knew to ask.  His hunting rifle is in the trunk of his car, and I have both sets of his car keys for now.  He’s been drinking all day, but I don’t know enough about alcohol to do more than babysitting.  (Neither of us is willing to go to the VA.)

He’s in a program for dual diagnosis of PTSD and drug abuse.  It’s sad how normal that is to me.  I don’t know very many veterans who aren’t in that program.  It makes me feel weird sometimes because I don’t abuse drugs.  Then I remember it’s mostly because I’m not outgoing enough to meet a drug dealer since I got out.  Odd how that works in my favor, but I’ll take it.

I can’t think about drugs without thinking about Stevie Nicks.  I wonder if her other fans are affected this way.  It’s fascinating to me.  Reading Chrissie Hynde’s book reinforced my stance.  She’s clean now, too.  She also paid a high price for her past use.  Her journey is different than that of Stevie Nicks, but they reached the same conclusion.  “Drugs are bad, m’kay?” (Southpark reference.  Sorry.)

I’m a bit surprised how much better I’m feeling now than when I began writing this post.  I’m not shaking at all, and have laughed a few times.  Thinking about Stevie Nicks always cheers me up.  That only used to work with comedians.  Bonus.  Okay, I’ve rambled long enough and got it outside of me.

I’m off to check in on my new ally.  Neither of us knows who the woman is, by the way.  Our training compelled us to respond to her wails.  Nobody else in the complex did more than look out the window.  That’s strange and disturbing to me, but I don’t know anyone else’s story.

Hey! I got the body of a taut, pre-teen, Swedish boy.

I’m going to redesign my blog soon, so this is fair warning.  There’s a good chance the new design will closely resemble the original.  Visual anchors are important to me, so I don’t stray willy nilly.  I’m aiming for visually appealing without being overwhelming.  When you spend as much time on auto-pilot as I do, things flow more smoothly when there are no sudden changes.  I’m at the point where I can tell the Prozac is no longer present in my system at a high enough concentration to work.  I thought I would celebrate this moment, but instead, I’m proceeding with caution.

My intention has evolved to remaining off the drug permanently.  I’m at a different stage in life where my priorities have shifted since my last summer Prozac purge.  Things that weren’t even on my radar then are now significant.  I think this is what’s led to being careful.  I’ve mocked the amount of thought, and energy others spend on arranging for sex.  It’s been an inside joke with myself for years because my complete absence of libido (thanks to Prozac) made it seem ridic and primal.  I’m not laughing anymore.  I’m kind of freaking out.

I’m trying to focus on how thankful I am this is happening now, and not when I was younger, and far, far more gullible and impressionable.  (Maybe just one far.)  M. is more mature than I am.  Shocking, I know. 😂  I’m happy with this fact because he’s a good teacher.  I’m learning how to be in the moment when in the presence of others.  The universe has this lesson on auto-repeat, so I’ve conceded, (finally.)  I’m certain I wouldn’t have survived being a kid with today’s internet.  Zero doubt, because any kid with a debit or credit card is an adult online.

I’m actually pretty amazed I’m still kicking it, to be honest.  (And a little smug because I die hard.  💪🏽)  I just had an urge to create a video game that teaches people how to be safer online.  (Suppresses the urge to begin a coding marathon.)  I’m not very confident with this topic, but don’t know how to dance around it very well.  My libido is back, and I forgot everything about being a sexual entity.  I’ve lived for years without having it, and it’s like going to bed and waking up as a teenager, the sequel.  (Except I involuntarily make a noise when I get up now, sometimes.)

So I’m kinda freaking out, but on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the worst… Kidding!  I’m only mildly freaking.  Memorizing Seinfeld has its uses.  I know the script for the worst case scenario, so it’s all good.  M. has a good attitude about it.  Not many men would continue dating a woman who made him sign a No Sex Ever contract, (on the third time hanging out.)  At least not many of the ones I’ve met so far.  I doubt I’m the only one who uses this method, though.  It’s efficient.

A lot of people just want to have sex and are doing the rest of the date to be polite.  It saves time to know these things up front.  I know about hookups and friends with benefits.  It’s more shit that used to crack me up.  Suddenly, I get it.  I’ve been giggling all day because lots of jokes that weren’t funny (to me) at the time are hilarious today.  I’m tripping on how much of an influence sexuality has on perspective.  These are all the things most people probably noticed when they were teenagers.  Or at least over a gradual transition.

Just one more thing to agonize over when deciding whether or not to take Prozac, I suppose.  Everyone’s mileage will vary to some degree.  It’s solidified my decision to refrain.  I’m tripping and experiencing things I forgot existed, but I’m certain I prefer being the sexual being I was born to be.  I also prefer being friends with The Muse and hated being in exile.  I regret trading my creativity and sexuality for a comfortable, stable numbness.  I realize now it was necessary initially, but not permanently.  Any further use will be for stabilization only, (which is unlikely considering how long it takes to reach a therapeutic level.)

Whew.  Okay, I’m calmed down now.  This is no big deal.  Aside from a slight decline in productivity, I see no cons.  I’ll be glad when I can go for more than ten minutes without realizing another new implication.  I can’t really afford to be more scatterbrained.  Also, it’s occurred to me that Stevie Nicks probably has lots of fans who lust for her.

On Prozac, this information wouldn’t have occurred and probably would have led to my feeling concerned for her safety.  Off Prozac:  Duh!  See what I mean?  I’m more adulty today than I was yesterday, (it is now.)  Yay.  And because I’m a kind person, I’m going to stop tripping out loud.  You’re welcome!  I’m off to beat my drums with sticks.

Did you just roll your eyes at him?

Butterfly

I’m home for the weekend.  I knew I wouldn’t make it the whole two weeks uninterrupted.  S. stayed in Denver to visit with a family she knows.  Now that I’m home, I feel like I exhaled after holding my breath for too long.  I like the energy in Denver, but I don’t know how to relax there (yet).  I had fun this morning on our nature walk.  I asked them to notice any patterns.  The kids found some incredible examples.  Then we discussed beauty.

They’re going to think about it more over the weekend.  It’s fascinating to hear a child attempt to articulate complex ideas with a limited vocabulary.  I’m so familiar with that excitement mixed with frustration, and can’t help but stand on my tippy toes to try and meet them halfway.  I think they sense I want to understand them, and it encourages them to keep working at it.  We finished our day early by playing with our lunch.  I ordered a fruit and veggie platter, and we made patterns on our plates with cherry tomatoes and grapes, etc.

I forgot how spending time with kids reminds me why I love people in general.  Children are unshielded by default.  I think they can sense it about me, too.  I might have a touch of fascination overload, (and I love it.)  I talked to my doctor on the phone this afternoon.  We decided four hours of cardio per day is too much, and why.  Instead, one hour of cardio, and three hours of using different coping skills, (music, art, puzzles, etc.)  In other words, variety.  She was funny about it.  She asked if I’m training for a marathon.  Then she spelled out the correlation between body chemistry and exercise, and how too much of anything isn’t a good thing.

I’m glad as I was having a hard time getting in three hours in Denver.  The book I was reading all this week:  The Long Walk by Stephen King (under a pseudonym) is a hell of a story when your legs and feet are tired and sore.  I finished it last night and enjoyed it.  I predict his books will be studied in the future.  Same with John Irving and J. K. Rowling.  And Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss, (stopping short of my full list.)  I don’t know if people fully grasp what they’re doing.  I don’t think so.  I just know it won’t go unnoticed forever.  In the meantime, I appreciate the shit out of their work.

I’m reading Hearts in Atlantis by King next.  I haven’t seen the movie yet.  (I’m still on the first season of Glee.)  I’ll catch up when it snows.  Better Things starts soon.  Yay.  My cat has decided I’m done typing, so I’m off to play with her.

Quick! Everybody under the desk!

CW: Aftermath of SA, related triggers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fuck.  I haven’t pinpointed for certain what I did wrong to cause this round of hell.  Deep down, I suspect I know, but the reason pisses me off.  I had a birthday last month, and I ate like someone who doesn’t have autism or PTSD.  I thought once a year was sufficient moderation.  I was wrong.  Hence, pissed.  Welp.  Maybe this means I’m going through The Change, (still only once since The Election.)  That would be fair.  I guess.

I’m hiding out in my closet.  I’m trying to convince myself I’m safe.  I’m self-mothering so Siri will tell me when my time is up, (30 minutes.) This is the first time I’ve ever thought my closet is too big.  I know there’s no such thing as safe, but I’m willing to negotiate an understanding.   I live in a secured building in a community with security, in a smallish city with a reliable police force, in a flyover state, in the Midwest.  I don’t need to install motion activated anything in my apartment.  Besides, I don’t want to know too much about what my cat does when I’m asleep or away, (I already negotiated an understanding with my germaphobic tendencies.)

I’m only allowing myself to use old coping skills for a day.  I’m allowing myself to be afraid, and remember today.  The overwhelming shock felt like desperately needing to inhale, but my lungs were already filled to capacity.  I got stuck there for a while.  My internal music stopped for the first time in my life.  The silence was so loud, it wailed.  For a long time, I wished I died.  It’s figuratively the night I found out math isn’t real.  The night the music stopped, and I forgot how to breathe.

I’m angry I was forced to give up my beloved false sense of immortality while still young.  I was fucking using that.  I wasn’t ready to let go.  I was so ambitious and motivated.  It still stings to remember how much I’ve changed because of one night.  I liked who I was before, and barely got to know her before I became me.  I can’t find her anymore.  I think she’s dead.  I still remember her.  She wanted to help end war for good.  She had brilliant plans oozing with logic.  But she’s gone.  I’m what remained plus what I’ve since gained.

I miss her fearlessness.  Her eagerness to volunteer and assist.  To try new experiences, and take significant risks.  I’m far more cautious and careful.  But I remember.  I’m better at accepting the changes these days.  Some would likely have come about in time, regardless, as they’re more prevalent in youth.  I’m angry my time as Alison 1.0 was cut short.  Sigh.  Alison 2.0 cracks me up sometimes.   Fucking silver linings (made of Doublemint wrappers.)

I’ve finally figured out how to accept the fact I was naive as well as the fact it wasn’t my fault.  (It was fucking rocket science.)  Based on the long pause I just took, I’m going to add, barely.  I guess I better go back to sticking post-it notes everywhere that say, “It wasn’t your fault.”  Usually, they make me think of Good Will Hunting, (at which point I smack it lightly and say, “how ya like them apples?” in my best Boston accent.)  It’s a note to my subconscious, so taking them seriously while awake isn’t necessary.  It’s such a good movie.

Okay, my time is probably going to run out soon.  I’ll just ramble on about the film until it does.  I’ve seen it several times, and M. also enjoys it.  He’s not bad at speaking in movie quotes, but a lot of my favorites are what he calls chic flicks.  (We mostly intersect with blockbusters and sci-fi.)  My favorite line in GWH is, “Because fuck him, that’s why.”  I should get it on a t-shirt.  I’m hitting the treadmill next.  Listening to Annabelle Lee by Stevie Nicks on repeat while I run is incredibly comforting.  Then a soak with an herbal bath bomb, and finally, starting over with The Dark Tower series by Stephen King.  (It’s fucking outstanding.)

If they have individual personalities, I’m not sure we should be eating them.

I’m Alison Wonderland.  (It’s what my family often called me when I was growing up.)  I embrace it because I recognize it’s accuracy.  I do live in my own world.  It’s the only way I know how to be.  I connect with people who can accept me as I am.  Usually, it’s individuals who are steady enough within themselves to come a bit closer.  Close enough so I can hear their song.  My wonderland is a bit slower and calmer.  In my world, I look with my ears because they never lie.

I’ve been watching more Stevie Nicks: Live from Chicago, after wrestling with nightmares.  It helps yank me out of the post-nightmare dread quickly.  It’s a far gentler solution than flashing light in my eyes.  (That has its own miserable aftermath.  It works, though.)  I’m super unwilling to linger on bad dreams.  They can only fuck with me while I’m unconscious, dammit.  And only then because I haven’t yet figured out how to annihilate them once and for all.

It’s been a rough few days.  My nightmares have brought background fears front and center.  I’m using paranoia level security in my apartment again.  Nobody’s getting in safely without my permission.  M. knows the drill.  He finds something else to do when I’m fighting a skirmish with PTSD.  I like that he understands my need for him to be scarce exists, and my need for him to comfort me does not.  I did a horrible job of expressing my wishes, but he still got it.  Whew.

I tried to tell him I became my own mom after my mom died.  I meant it to be a gentle way of telling him I don’t need him to comfort me;  I can do it myself.  I strongly suspect he quickly decided he’d rather go play video games alone than wait for me to explain what I meant to my satisfaction.  (Good call, M.)  He works long hours and could sleep through a tornado.  I info dump while he falls asleep, (and long after, of course.)  It’s amazing how much he remembers.  It’s fun to quiz him sometimes.  I think surgical residents are also human tape recorders.

I realized today I’m tensing around men again.  It feels like I’m going backward after so much progress.  It’s unbelievably expensive to my energy level to be wound so tightly at work.  I’ve never worked in a field that wasn’t male dominated, (but I can’t think one that isn’t ATM.)   When the nightmares stop, and I catch my breath,  I’ll worry about it.  Right now, the fear I typically keep in check is kicking my ass.  I’m hyper aware of my vulnerability.  I hate The Fear so much.

I know I can beat it back, but right now I feel whiny about it, and there’s no fucking whining allowed.  I want The Fear to be tangible so I can ask a Republican to come over and shoot it.  (No, wait, they’d want to take it home and feed it.)  Fuck!  I hate being irrational!  I want to go for a run, but…  Whoa.  Almost went there.  I’m going for a run.

How big a look did you get?

I got all my chores done early this weekend. I canceled the Twilight marathon because I don’t have any shields when I watch movies, and it’s super emo.  I can’t go there right now, but perhaps soon.  I’m too hyper to sit still for long, anyway.  I watched Stevie Nicks Live in Chicago, for a bit instead.  It’s awesome.  (Nobody is screaming, fainting, or rushing the stage.)  It’s a pretty big crowd, but not rabid.  I like the band, too.  The lead guitarist, especially.  There are three women singing back-up, but they do it like Fleetwood Mac.  It’s not a lead singer with a few voices in the background rounding out the sound.  It’s multiple voices becoming one by blending together beautifully.  It gives me chills when people can pull it off this well.

In a way, watching it on DVD is better because it’s seamless and well recorded in Dolby 5.1.  She did a duet with Vanessa Carlton, who also played the piano.  It. Was. So. Good.  I held still for the whole song, barely breathing.  That good.  I’m starting to hope I get to see Stevie Nicks perform live someday.  I know she’s not done writing music.  She’s probably working on a song right now.  I know because she’s alive.  I’m familiar with The Muse;  We’ve hung out.  I’m pretty sure The Muse has Stevie Nicks on her home screen.

I’m afraid to go to sleep tonight.  If I stay up all night, I won’t have nightmares, but I’ll be overtired tomorrow.  Being overtired has a distinct drawback:  Once I do finally sleep, I sleep too hard to force myself awake from a nightmare, and I get locked in for the duration.  I hate playing chicken with myself.  My cat usually wakes me up, but sometimes she just goes somewhere else to sleep.  Welp.   I’m going to get it over with tonight while I can still easily awaken at will.  I’ve been having flashbacks all day, so I know I’m in for a doozy.  There’s nothing I can do about it now, so I’m ignoring it until I can’t.  I just wish Anxiety would get the fucking memo.

I only have one hard thing to do this whole week.  I’m already calling the victory because it’s happening, dammit.  I might even tack on another hard thing because my anxiety can only rise so high.  Worst case, I have a panic attack in public.  I’ve never died from a panic attack.  I’ve wanted to, but it can’t kill me.  The most it can do is ruin an hour of my life.  Shit.  I’ve spent more than an hour wedged (stuck) under a missile while on guard duty in the desert, (It was the only shade.  Desert.  Shutup. 😂)  I can take the hit.  It’s worth having two hard things out of the way.  I’m off to beat my drums.

It feels like aliens poking at my body.

CW:  suicide, PTSD symptoms (Skip it if you’re not positive you’re up for it. 💜)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today has been rough.  I had the math isn’t real nightmare again last night.  It fucks me up every time.  It usually means my sleeping mind has penetrated my defense system, and it’s going to get worse before it gets better.  Yay. /sarcasm.  These are the times I wonder if testing medical cannabis for PTSD might be a good idea.  I know what’s coming and I’m trying not to wig out.  I’m trying not to let four letters defeat me.

When I first entered mental health services at the VA, I was told the only way to overcome PTSD was to talk about what caused it.  It sounds simple, but talking about it means thinking about it.  Thinking about it means visualizing and reliving it mentally.  Reliving it mentally means willingly stepping into the hell that fucked you up so badly, it altered the structure of your brain.  And do this with whatever mental health professional you’re assigned.  Side note:  You won’t see the same provider more than once for the first five years of your recovery.  Good luck!

I read an article in Wired magazine suggesting the retelling of traumatic events that caused PTSD retraumatizes and worsens the condition.  I gave it to the nursing staff on the mental health ward at the VA.  It aligned with what they concluded for my situation.  They weren’t surprised.  There have been visible changes at the VA since then, many improvments.  For example; the VA now acknowledges the fact women also serve.  (I mean more than just saying they do.)

They still have a way to go before the number of veterans who opt for suicide goes down.  It’s around 20 suicides a day right now.  It makes me sad, but I understand it.  When you’re the one who gives everything you have to the military, and suddenly you find yourself in a hospital, being told you’re no longer fit to serve, (because something that happened while you were honorably serving your country was more traumatic than your brain could process,) it makes a lot more sense.  It made perfect sense to me when I was told I had to go through hell again to get out of hell.  Everything within me said, “Fuck that, I’m out of here.”

I came very close to succeeding at offing myself.  My memory of the event is spotty.  I won’t go into detail, but what I remember most is the suicide prevention counselor telling me the police were surprised I survived.  It stuck with me and helped shake me out of my tunnel vision.  I was (final) acting on only my initial perspective of my situation.  It was bleak as fuck, don’t get me wrong.  However, I tried to bail before going through the entire mental exercise.  It didn’t cross my mind I might be playing tag with PTSD.

My perspective broadened, and my situation stopped appearing so black and white.  I remembered I’m a survivor;  Of course, I can handle whatever PTSD throws at me.  It’s sometimes painful, I’m rarely well rested, I startle like the calls are coming from inside the house, and I can’t watch anything with suspense or would frighten a five-year-old.  Additionally, July 1-July 10th, I have to wear noise canceling headphones all day, and earplugs all night.  I used to love fireworks.  Now they’re torture.

It’s also best for me to get out of town when the airshow is going on.  I was in Air Defense Artillery for the first five years of my service.  Nothing moves in the sky when I’m outside without my noticing (and identifying it as friend or foe.)  Probably for the rest of my life.  I used to participate in wargames at 29 Palms, California.  It’s basically the most incredible game of laser tag on earth, (tracked vehicles, copters, aircraft, huge teams,etc.)  While it’s easily in the top five most exciting things I’ve ever done, it also scared the shit out of me several times.  Let’s just say showoff pilots who do flybys of ground troops who are under camo are assholes of enormous proportion.

I know what’s coming, and part of me wants to curl up in a ball and cry.  Sigh.  Instead, I’m going to dig deep and find what I need to get through, even if it’s by the skin of my teeth.  (Who thinks of these?)  I have my Wanda Syke’s: I’ma Be Me DVD if things get too bad.  I’m going swimming with some neighbors soon.  They’re Muslim and wear suits that are quite modest.  They gave me one when I asked where to get them.  I have super nice neighbors.  I have it on now, and I like it.  It’s too humid to run outside, which sucks.  But swimming is better for me anyway.  I’m off to focus on fun like there’s a prize.