Side Note:

Side Note:
For those who haven't figured it out, or haven't been here: The titles of most of the blogs here are song lyrics. If you google them, it should take you to the song and the song is good to listen to before, during, or after reading to help set the tone of the blog. I find music to be very cohesive with reading and writing.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I Found The Reason For Me, To Change Who I Used To Be, The Reason To Start Over New...And The Reason Is You...

I openly and earnestly admit that I am far from perfect. I will be the first to admit this to anyone. I'm pretty fond of myself, however. I have a great personality. I tend to be pretty damn hilarious. I love people and I love to make them smile and laugh. I love to do things for other people. My counselor says this makes me a people pleaser. He says contrary to it sounding good in theory, it isn't. I have an inner need that, though it is to please others, is also self-sacrificing and self-harming. I bend until I break. I fold to others in order to make myself not have to deal with hurting, angering, upsetting, or even slightly displeasing the people around me.
Or atleast I did.
Don't get me wrong, I still do, however, a new me has emerged with this one. I'm not as fond of her, but its a truth I must admit that she is there.
I have no trust in men now. I've always been far more trusting of the male friends and family in my life than the females. Women turn on one another so quickly and over such petty matters, that I was always more comfortable with the men who, if they had a problem with you, told you. Women were nice to your face, then cut you to shreds behind your back.
But now? No. The new part of me that is blossoming has her own views on things, and she will express them now:
Men aren't to be trusted. Men lie. They want you for selfish reasons. Sex isn't necessarily the only selfish motivator as one might assume. There are others. Some men want mothered. Some want spoiled and pampered. I'm not here for those things. I'm not here to do that anymore.
Men will get what they want from you, and then they will move on to bigger and better things. (Or atleast what they perceive to be bigger and better.)
Sure, on rare occasion you might even find a man who likes you a lot and does sweet things for you and appreciates all that kindness you show, but eventually, it wears off. The newness of you wears off, and all that you do for them is taken for granted. You're no longer a hot commodity, you're an indentured servant and its expected of you. When you don't do those things you do out of love, gratitude and kindness, you'll be interrogated, belittled or beaten down emotionally. You'll be deemed useless and no longer of need to them because they'll decide you aren't doing anything that special anymore. What used to make them feel adored and show them how dear they are to you, they now feel entitled to.
So its easier to keep them away. Hold your arm straight out and keep them at your fingertips. Does it make you cold? Yes. Does it make it easier? Nope. Does it allow you to heal? Not really. But does it hurt less? Hell yes.
That's the new me. The one I've been fighting to keep away. That's how my heart is trying to harden itself, and part of me feels it almost make sense. The logic is there. The words make sense when I see them and reread them and hear myself in my head saying them. Hell, I can even feel my heart saying "No pain? I'm down for that." But I know better. I know not all men can be that way, don't I? I know men who are good men. They're married and still love and care about their wives. They might slip up and make a mistake every once in a while, but clearly they aren't these monsters I keep finding right?
I'm in a battle with myself all of the time trying to find a way to heal, trying to stop hurting and trying to keep from hurting others. I want to remain true to myself and to my heart, but sometimes the easier road with less bumps and bruises feels more like the decision I wish I'd take.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

I Am Enough.

I will never be tall,
But the right man will love me for my shortcomings.
I will never look hungry,
But the right man knows the way to his heart is through his stomach.
I will always have scars,
But the right man knows that the bumps and scrapes in life have given me experience and made me who I am.
I will never have perfect teeth,
But the right man will always make me smile.
I will never have straight hair,
But the right man will like that my unruly hair matches my personality.
I will always have a heart that forgives too easily, loves too quickly, and is leaps and bounds ahead of me,
But the right man will chase it and me until he catches us both and never lets us go.
I will always be me,
And for the right man that will always be enough.

Friday, February 24, 2012

She Told Him That She Believes In Livin' Bigger Than She's Living Now...

The dollar. It is quite the motivator of the lives of each and everyone one of us in everything we do each day.
Whether we see it that way or not, it's the truth. Our lives are motivated by the necessities we have, and those necessities are only attained through monetary means. Being born is free, but from that moment on, everything we do, even dying, costs us money. (And technically, being born is only free to the person being born. It's still costing other people money!)
I say all this because I am unemployed now. I wasn't, but with my divorce and relocation, unfortunately my job had to be given up. During the last year, I attained my training for my Medical Administrative Assisting certification as well as a certification as a Medical Coding and Billing Specialist. Tacked in with those two certifications comes training towards certification in the use of Microsoft Office, which seems silly to most people since probably the majority of Americans with computers use Microsoft Office, but the certification in use of the program can make you more desirable to an employer.
Humorously enough, however, I've found that some of the people in the positions working the jobs I'm trained for are not trained in what they're working as! At the clinic I previously went to, one of the women I spoke with said she had graduated high school and simply applied for the job and gotten it. Then at the clinic I most recently visited, the woman working as a medical assistant had no front-medical-office training, but was instead a laboratory technician whom had been asked to fill in with some of the administrative work and trained on the job.
My question then is this:  Are college degrees really as necessary as they seem? Can you work a job and still live life without one?
I won't use examples of the famous, multimillion dollar executives or inventors of various companies who came up with a brilliant idea and excelled, nor will I use actors, actresses or musicians. Let's look at real life people.
I know of a couple who, when both were working, lived well withing their means and still had very nice things. The wife worked the same job since she was sixteen, rose in the ranks and was making nearly twelve dollars an hour with absolutely no college degree and actually, no formal management training. Her husband had no college (has since attended but not yet completed) and worked his way up through the ranks of the military. Even now with her no longer working and him being sole financial supported, they're still fine AND they have a child now. Rock on, guys.
For a non-military example, since so many civilians seem to be under the impression that military members are paid well (FYI: Gross Income on our taxes for 2010 was around 17000,) I will use another couple. With the income of one adult working for a cable and internet service provider and the other as a stay-at-home mom to their teenage child, a family lives in a three bedroom home, renting to own it, live on approximately .3 acres of land, has a work vehicle as well as a family vehicle, have been able to afford home improvements (cosmetic and otherwise) and still afford all of their personal needs and have money to go and have dinners, lunches or slip the teenage girl spending money for movies, the mall or the skating rink.
I understand that not everyone is this blessed, the economic outlook is bleak and unemployment is at an all-time high. However, my question is, is going to college necessary to aide in finding a career? And if college is something you have always wanted to complete, then is a traditional four-year school the only option? Can the training you desire be achieved through a vocational school (averaging degree completion in two years versus four) or perhaps even a certification program (which can take anywhere from six months to a year) or must it be the four year route? For certain degrees, a four year school is non-negotiable. If your goal is to be a teacher, expect to put in the time, effort and money to attend a university for four years. If your goal, however, is to be an RN or LPN, then there are other methods to achieving that goal in a faster way.
For me to be a medical assistant, there were 2 and 4 year degree options. I had previously attended a traditional private university and completed all of my core classes (the humanities, English, Science, Math and History) and was working on the classes of my major at the time. However, when my soon-to-be ex-husband and I were working on getting our own place and getting married, the idea of dropping out was presented, I did so, and was out of school for two years. When I decided to go back, I wanted to just get my degree, and when researching, decided that an accelerated program from an accredited university seemed the best option for me. (Please note the word" accredited." Jose's College of Kokomo calls and offers you a degree, politely take their information, then give it to your nearest Better Business Bureau!)
I use all of the same books as a student in a four year college, I studied, I had professors, I had quizzes, tests, and exams! It was just like college, but faster. I worked at my own pace, I got help when I needed it, and I'm very well versed in my material. My schooling cost a total of $2650.00. That's nearly 80% less than the average loan debts of a college graduate right now. Additionally, my schooling held no out of pocket costs, whereas in addition to student loan debts, the average college student's credit card debts have been even higher than usual at over $3000.00.
Meanwhile, those grads with nearly $30,000.00 in debt are still part of the increasing unemployment rate. The rate of unemployment for college graduates has risen percentage-wise in equivalence to that of those without a degree, so in this case right now, I don't see the advantage.
I want to be clear that I, in no way, am telling people they should or should not go to college, but what I am saying is that not going to college isn't something to be ashamed of. It just isn't for everyone. And debt up to your eyeballs isn't something that sounds appealing to me, so I took the road I felt was best for me. I am happy with my choice. I am happy to be debt-free and done with a certification that is practical for me and that didn't require me to take a class doing trigonometry when it would be irrelevant to my job.
Besides, I like Wal-Mart, and uppity college grads who think they're too good to work there aren't who I want helping me find the Sour Punch Straws at 2AM anyway.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Spinning 'Round in Circles...

So I know I've mentioned him before, but for those who don't know, I'm an avid fan of Philip DeFranco. His sarcasm, cynicism, intelligence and brutal honesty are refreshing and, to be honest, remind me of myself.  Plus I think he's sexy...
But moving on. Philip DeFranco is known fairly well among his fanbase for adamantly disliking Chris Brown. Now, for those of you who do not know, here is a little back story. Chris Brown is a musician (as I say that word, by the way, part of me cringes) who,  circa 2009, was in a relationship with the musician Rihanna. The two were dating seriously, had recorded and performed together. February 28, 2009 these pictures of Rihanna flooded news stations, internet and tabloids:

These pictures are not the works of a man. They are the work of a monster. Chris Brown beat Rihanna so badly that she was hospitalized.  The reasons behind the argument that accelerated into this are still unclear, though its been highly speculated that in involves Rihanna's confrontation of Brown over his all-too-friendly relationship with singer Leona Lewis.
The reasoning, however, I don't find to be very important. What I find far more important here is that, according to both Brown and Rihanna, she never raised a hand to him. He flew into a blind rage that "is a blue" to him and beat her profusely and slammed her face into the window of his automobile. Rihanna was noted to have lacerations on her face, temples, her lips were split nearly to gum/bone and her hands, where she tried to defend herself by pushing Brown away, were marred with bite marks. Bite marks from a grown man. Are you kidding me?
Regardless, after being arrested and charged with domestic assault and criminal threats, Chris Brown had the balls to plead not guilty. Finally, on advice from his lawyer, he took a plea deal and ended up with 5 years probation, 6 months of community service and on year of domestic violence counseling.
For those who don't know, domestic assault is a FELONY. It isn't supposed to be solved with a slap on the wrist. This spineless animal should have been in prison getting pounded on by men much larger than him, but instead picked up garbage for a few weeks along the highway.
Regardless, I am getting off topic. The punishment for Chris Brown was far too light and set a terrible example for people. His fans are loyal supporters who scream "Leave Chris Brown alone!" and say he's served his time, but has he? Two years after the event, he was set to be on in an interview with Good Morning America, but the second the issues with Rihanna and what had happened were mentioned, he stormed off to his dressing room, ripped his shirt off, started screaming and throwing things, one of which broke a window over Times Square in New York City. Oh yeah. Sounds like he's all better to me!
And most recently, and coming full circle now to my point, he was scene out publicly and is supposedly recording new music with Rihanna.
Is that a joke? Did I read that right? Oh. Wow. I did. WTF, over?!
Philip DeFranco and his fellow comrades over at SourceFed  have a pretty clear opinion on Chris Brown and his disrespect and irreverence for women. The light tone of their videos still make it very clear how they feel about what he has done and the fact that he was in no way properly punished for what he did. And my disappointment with him, his fans and Rihanna was made fairly clear in my comment on PhillyD's Facebook post about it:
"You are being more than fair to Chris Brown. (Who beats women, btw.) The fact is, he never had to truly be sorry for what he did. He's still making millions off the morons who support him and believe he is changed, but his childish tantrums on television or on his twitter just further justify the beliefs of those of us who feel he's in no way reformed. And I am digusted by Rihanna spending time or making music with him again because all it does is reinforce cyclical relationships and the cycle of abuse and show women that its ok to go back to their abusers. I am disgusted by both and plan to no longer support Rihanna's career by purchasing her music either."
Domestic Violence is a serious issue. Abuse of any kind is to be taken seriously, however, because an abuser is rarely one type of abuser. As time goes on, without help, the abuse becomes more severe,  not less. Lenore Walker, during the 1970's, created a diagram to demonstrate the "cycle of abuse." Though not always the same with each relationship, this cycle is predominantly accurate and with each revolution in the cycle, the incidents tend to grow worse. Breaking the cycle is not easy, especially because it first requires that the victim admit that they are just that: A victim.

It is very hard for anyone to admit and come to terms with the fact that they are being abused, especially when admitting that means admitting the person we care about is the person who is hurting us. If you feel you may be a victim or domestic abuse, whether violent or otherwise, The Hotline is an amazing website to help you. They even have a page to help you ask yourself "Am I being abused?"
Please do not let yourself become a part of a cycle that can have detrimental effects on your life, your health and your emotional well-being. If you need help, do not be afraid to seek it.
In closing: If you ever had any thoughts of playing Chris Brown's music in my car, I recommend against it. I find that they make lovely highway reflectors, so I throw them out the window. Maybe he picked up a few of them while he was "serving his time?"

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I've Been Keeping My Eyes...Wide...Open...

So. For those who can't read dates, its been...hmm... over 8 months since my last post. You see, somewhere around the time of my last post, my life began to slowly fall apart. My (soon-to-be ex) husband, Erik, lost his second wedding ring since we've been married. He began accusing me of cheating on him. He began making me feel bad over anything he could whatsoever. I refrained from throwing back accusations at him. I refrained from holding up the "Hello, second wedding ring lost?"-card. I even caught myself before the "May I remind you that you have only called me -once- your entire deployment?" slipped out of my mouth. I essentially tried all I could to take all the blame. I separated myself from my male friends. I dove further into my studies and the constant verbal chastisement from the person who was supposed to be building me up began breaking me down. I finally broke down and sought help. I began to see an MFLC (Military Family Life Counselor.) It was the first time in my life I'd opted to talk to someone about how I was feeling. When I was in middle school and high school, because I was in the gifted programs, they'd sort of just spring them on you. But this time, I was the one making the call. I was the one admitting I felt like I was drowning.
So I went.
Two sessions in, I had uncovered our relationship from beginning to end. All the things I kept wrapped up. All the things I pushed to the back of the closet in order to remain loyal, faithful and loving to him and to keep people from thinking anything of him other than that he was the perfect husband. I found out, though it hurt and was hard to swallow, that I was in a cycle of emotional abuse and controlling behavior. I found out things about myself as well. I am a people pleaser. I bend and bend until I break or someone breaks me, and even then, broken, I still try to pick the pieces of and bend them too. My MFLC, Dave, was very worried for me because apparently my personality and that of an abuser often lead to cyclical relationships where I would repeatedly take my abuser back no matter what had happened because I would want to believe they had changed. I realized very quickly this must be atleast partly true because the longest relationship of my lifetime was with someone who had these same qualities and I did just that. Repeatedly bent to his will, took him back, and did whatever he wanted.
The problem with wanting to see people happy is that sometimes you forget about yourself. You forget that you also need to be happy and healthy. I recalled through counseling, the deeper we dug, the times I'd forgotten that I'd given something up or turned something down in order to appease. I forgot all of the times my feelings were disregarded and I was told I was being ridiculous or over-emotional even when I wasn't. And suddenly all the signed pointing to huge issues in my marriage were becoming all too clear. Why didn't the man I loved take time to call me when deployed? Why did he have time to reinstall WoW and play, but not to Skype with me? Why was I sending 3-4 boxes a month, sometimes more, and yet still being told I was doing nothing to show I care?
I admit, even now, I still ask these questions. I wonder many times, if I could have done something differently, but I realize in my heart it was not me. It was his dissatisfaction that led to what happened next.
I will spare you the gory details, but after 17 hours in a car, then 2 hours of sleep, I awoke to find out that the person I'd been with the last three years, married for 2.5 of them, had been cheating on me. More and more women were piling before my eyes, more and more evidence, and with each one, I was more sick to my stomach, more angry, more tears burns in my eyes and more hurt was building in my heart. Finally, I snatched the dogtags off my neck, the ring off my finger and I hurled them across our house.
Blatant lies, excuses, and a flood of nasty emails came my way, then they'd follow soon after with apologies and "I Love You"s and I'd realized it was all happening. The cycle. I wasn't going to put myself through it. I made one offer: See your family for R&R. I can not see you. I'm hurt. I'm angry. Go see them, and then when you're home for good, we can go to counseling.
"If you can't see me over R&R, then we're done."
And so we were.  I have not seen Erik since November of 2011. I hope never to again. I am thankful we have no children, and I am thankful it happened before I wasted anymore time with someone for whom my heart was not enough. On Valentine's Day, February 14th, 2012, I filed divorce papers. I sold all of our personal belongings and some of the furniture and things we had accrued together in the marriage in able to afford to move away from the home we had shared and to file for divorce. I am thankful I finished school before this happened, and more thankful that I have the support of friends and family. My heart breaks when I realize I am 24 and already going to be divorced. I have added to a statistic that I feared all of my life being a part of. But at the same time, I find happiness and release in knowing that somewhere in this world someday I will find the person who needs and wants me as much as I need and want them.
This was a life lesson and a stepping stone.
I am not broken. I am not damaged goods. I don't have baggage.
I am human.