I can’t remember the last time that I wasn’t struggling with how I feel now. It’s seems like I am always a mere moment away from blowing up or making my family feel on edge, and that’s not fair. It’s not fair to them and I really feel like it’s not fair to me either. Most of our familial difficulties seems to come from cleaning the house. And I know that’s not really the reason that we are having difficulty…my children are afraid, my wife is frustrated…heck, even my dog is confused. They don’t understand what is going on with me and to be honest, most days neither do I. I feel sad; I feel angry; I feel disappointed; I feel hurt; I feel weak; sometimes I feel nothing. This last tour I had so many days where I was just focusing on getting through so that I could come home. So why don’t I feel like I ever did? I truly feel like I need to have a good cry, I can literally feel the emotions behind some kind of wall that I can’t seem to break. It’s the same with my sleep. I am so tired at night, but I just can’t seem to turn off my keeping watch. I sleep so lightly all night because I can’t seem to allow myself to just relax. As soon as the sun comes out and the family is up and around, I finally fall into deep sleep…for about an hour and then I have to get to my day. Seriously, most weekends now I sleep wonderfully from about 7am to noon.
I don’t know what will happen but I know that I want to be here. I want to enjoy my family and I want to sleep at night without feeling like I need to be on guard. I want to fix my plumbing and build a shed with my boys. I want to laugh with my daughter and play legos with my youngest. I want to be romantic with my wife without her thinking I just need some. I want to spend time with my parents and fix my truck. I want to start running with Layla again…
I haven’t figured a lot of things out, clearly, but I do know that every hump starts with one step. Back in my grunt days the first step was never really the hard part for me. I had no problem in moving out. I never had difficulty in stopping either. I was never tempted to fall out or quit, I was too scared of what my brothers around me would think. No, the area that I struggled in was in the mental preparation BEFORE we actually stepped off. My platoon would have a forced march every Monday morning so I would spend all weekend worrying about how much it was going to hurt and how there was no way I could make it. I always made it…even that one time where I partially dislocated my shoulder. I suppose I should take that into account with my life journey now, but I have never had so many things going on at the same time. Life back then was simple. March there, set up position here, report there, etc. Now, I not only have to figure out my own confused responses to everything, I have to do it with fragile emotions, little sleep AND take into account the feelings and lives of 5 other people. I don’t want to run my family like a squad in a platoon, but I keep finding myself falling back into those habits. It’s just that when my teenagers do something half-hearted, or talk back with disrespect, or just shut down, my first instinct is to lock them up and begin to go NCO on them. And it doesn’t work. It just makes things worse but I just don’t know what else to do.
I wrote a paper in seminary that had to deal with the stages of belief in Christianity. When you first begin your walk you tend to be very self-centric and think very little of others. After time and growth, you should move into a more other-centric stage that eventually should find you being God-centric. Right now, I feel like I have become totally self-centric. Like all of my symptoms, aches, pains, and struggles are all that I and my family focus upon. I have spent so long dealing with others issues that I feel like I need to be a little self-centric, but I know that I have taken it to a terrible extreme. I just don’t know how to change it.
I know that this entry is very disjointed and doesn’t seem to have format, and that is probably appropriate because that is exactly how I feel.