Pause, Listen and Reflect

There comes a time in everybody’s life when we must sit down pause, listen and reflect.  Gawsh to think I’ll allow the world to pass me by in a second or even a minute. It kind of reminds me of a music video I once watched where the person was sitting in a chair and everything was moving around them, I don’t think it was a music video I think it was part of the Twilight series, Eclipse or New Moon. Yep, when Edward leaves Bella and Bella sat in her chair in her room.  Well it was the most boring part of the movie! And no I’m not talking about allowing the world pass by in that overly dramatic sense. Or am I? HAHA Well, I guess I could compare it to that scene… in a way.

For so long I’ve lived by my motto, my code the being a Marine that I have forgotten who ‘Regina’ really was.  I have to admit, being the Marine is so much easier than seeking my true self.  That part of me, the Marine is strong and true but it can be so exhausting.  For those of you reading this, I hope you understand.

In the Marine Corps we have a set of rules we must follow but I found even then they were hard to follow, hence the saying “Adapt and Overcome” we must be flexible by bending the rules in order to get the job done.  Even then, we Marines don’t take in a count that we are Marines when we are drinking and having fun or spending time with family.  Sometimes we do some crazy fucked up shit that ends up blowing everybody’s mind or we are viewed as a Mother or Father, that softer side of us.  Isn’t it funny how when we do some crazy stuff we tend to blame it on the Corps or say because of the Corps I am a better Mother or father?  “Oh it’s because I’m a Marine, I act this way.”  For some it’s hard to own up to how we are acting and it seems so much easier to place our actions on something else.  We all know that saying, an acronym of the USMC, Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children plays a huge roll in how Marines act. But to get back to what I’m trying to say, we tend to forget how pain feels and we keep on going, even when we drink too much or when someone close to us betrays us.  Or how we do some crazy stuff to lose weight so we don’t get assigned to pork chop platoon, oh my, that is only part of it.  So many rules so many Marine Corps sayings.  I feel like a dang tight wad just thinking about it.  No offense to my brothers and sisters out there, I’ll always be a Marine.  “Once a Marine, Always a Marine” only a select few earned the title and I’m damn proud of it.  I’ll never let go of the strength and wisdom the Corps taught me.  I mean, during basic I was pushed to my limits then again in the fleet… Being the Marine helped me overcome trauma in both the Corps and in the now civilian world.  But lately, I’ve been questioning myself if being the Marine really did that or if it was wired in me the whole time to adapt and overcome since birth.

I mean, aren’t we all wired in a sense to thrive and overcome by learning from our mistakes and when to reward ourselves after a job well done?  I guess as I journey down this path to ‘self’ I am finding it hard to give all credit to the Corps.  It was mine the whole time, I should be giving credit to myself and patting my back for a job well done and pausing to take in a lesson I’ve learned from my own mistakes.  Not the Corps.  The Corps will always be a part of me, an accomplishment I could hang on the wall and say “Yes, I did serve in the finest branch of our Armed Forces” then move onto another subject like being a MOM.  I thank the Corps for adding to my bank of wisdom but in all fairness, it was me the whole time.  To make it clear, the Corps helped build me and it was not a mistake but an experience I will never forget but I need to move on as a civilian and as a mother.  After all I was a civilian prior to the Corps and I need to get back to that so I can be part of something bigger, a duel life as a civilian but as a veteran. It’s like having this dual citizenship in America but as an American who served to protect bottom line, I’m a civilian with another notch of wisdom on my shoulder which so happen to be called a veteran. I’m a mom, a woman, a student of life. There is this softer side of me that I want to embrace by allowing myself to be the Regina I once was but only better and the cherry on top of it all, a mommy too.

I’ve paused and realized by listening to those around me on what it is I need to focus on.  I want to thank a few people who I’ve allowed into my realm of ‘Regina’.  To start off, I’ve kept one person who knows the true me through the years, my school nurse.  Every time we talked she always reminded me of my softer nature.  I didn’t quite understand why she would do so but through the counseling I’ve been receiving I finally get it.  Last night after talking to her, my school nurse, she told me how she wanted to reach through the phone and shake me because I am not just a Marine.  I am Regina, the one who always listened, the one who always cared and took into great consideration of others.  She reminded me how I enjoyed poetry and the arts and how I always wanted to be a mom someday when I lived with her.  She reminded me how I was always strong and confident.  To come from a family of abuse, the family who threw me aside and forgotten about me I forgave them and continued to live happily.  I was always optimistic about life which she found fascinating.  It was a strength of mine from the first day we met.  I would walk around the halls in school with a great big smile as if nothing bothered me.  I guess, even though I didn’t have a home to go to at the end of the day nobody really knew except my high school boyfriend. Ms. Burke, my school nurse is like my mother.  Heck, she knows me better than my own parents.  To me, she is my mother.  She took me in when I was on my last knot I made in a rope I was hanging on for dear life when I came into her office that day.  I was so exhausted.  Living in a homeless shelter and going to school was stressful.  At the homeless shelter I had an option to receive my GED or attend school. I never wanted to text out and get a GED certificate.  No, I wanted that high school diploma so I chose to still go to the school I was attending at the time I was thrown out of my house. There were some nights I had difficulty falling asleep due to the craziness of living at the homeless shelter.  But I still made it to school,  I took buses and trollies,  I fought to understand what I was learning and to make sure my assignment were done on time.   For the majority of the time I stayed to myself because I just didn’t have enough time to spend with my friends.  Gawsh just thinking about this brings me to tears.  Before I lived with Ms. Burke, I would go to her office just to take naps during lunch.  Instead of eating I just wanted to catch up on sleep.  In time it started taking a toll on me.  One day when Ms. Burke sat down with me before taking a nap she asked me if everything was ok.  I kind of hesitated to tell her because I was afraid if the school knew where I was staying they wouldn’t let me go anymore.  I really wanted my high school diploma and was trying so hard.  Shaken inside, through tears I finally told her.  I mean I finally told someone and she asked me if I wanted to live with her.  I will always be grateful for Ms. Burke, she helped me achieve a goal of mine and I will never forget how easy it was for my mother to sign away her parental rights over to Ms. Burke… That was painful in itself.

Last night while talking to Ms. Burke, she told me how easy it was for her to have me.  She wasn’t sure how by taking me in would affect her, she was nervous in the beginning because she never took in a student but she explained to me how she never had a complaint about me once I was there.  She reminded me of how I would cook for her (how I loved it!) one of her favorite meals was fresh potatoes I sliced up like potato chips and serve it with fresh salsa.  I would always clean up after myself without her reminding me, how I was always ready for school and even took care of her when she was sick.  How I always had my homework done and I never gave her any problems.  I took care of myself and I took care of her.  We both needed each other.  She needed a friend and I needed her.  She helped me understand even though there is injustice in the world how we needed to stay true to ourselves and continue being happy, grateful for being alive and to stay kind.  She shared with me an experience she will never forget.  How one day at a swimming pool she was working as a lifeguard on a hot summer day a black boy wanted to go swimming.  Shots were fired and she almost got shot.  She stood up and told everyone this black boy deserved to swim just like everyone else and under her watch she allowed him to swim with everyone.  She told me how most forgot about him being black and swam anyways the others just left and how they missed out on a day of fun at the swimming pool.  I remember when she told me that story, I wanted to be just like her.  Last night over the phone she reminded me again how a simple act of kindness goes a long way.  How people will always remember the kindness of strangers surrounding them and it dawned on me.  It’s not the strengths that I have but how I am able even through difficult times I am still kind to those around me.  Deep down inside I was angry and sad but I always stayed kind and true to myself. Always protecting those who needed protection.  Much like a Marine in a sense but being strong and combat ready somehow masked that side of me.  To those reading this,  It’s so easy for everyone to see the Marine, Soldier, Sailor or Airman in us, we all earned that title but to dig deeper we all are kindhearted and in doing so being tough made our kindness look vulnerable. Ms. Burke reminded me how she always viewed being kind was strength in itself.  Kindness is being able to accept what we do not understand but helping others see in another light versus making people understand or forcing them. Only then are we allowing ourselves to live life fully.  That meant being happy, living life and opening ourselves to live freely by exploring what it is that keeps us from holding ourselves back.  Much like what my counselor been explaining to me. I will explain and give examples this in another blog. But till then, I’ll share this one last thought.

I have many passions and one of them will always be the Marine, it is a part of me but it’s time for me to set the Marine aside and allow myself to live freely.  All the rules and regulations, the code I lived by that I give so much credit to the Corps was always wired in me before I earned the title Marine.  It was just easy to say the Corps gave them to me when in all reality I was born with them from day one, we all are.  I just had to live life and continue to live life to embrace them.  This Veteran’s Day I am not only celebrating my time I served in the Corps but I want to reflect on being a veteran in another sense.  From surviving childhood abuse, graduating high school under my circumstances, serving in one of our nation’s finest of branches but also the past 34 years of living.  I am a veteran of many things, I am a survivor of many things armed with wisdom and I’m still learning and I hope I am able to teach those around me especially my children the wisdom I have learned and continue learning through the years.  I am going to celebrate life on Veteran’s Day and continue to celebrate because after all, life should be celebrated.

Thank you for taking the time to read my newest post.  I apologize if I sounded as if I started rambling on.  I have those moment when deep in thought so much comes rushing out and I just have to share them.  Have a blessed day, share a smile.  You never know whose life you just lighten up by simply sharing a smile. It could be your own…

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~ by Reconciling Within on November 5, 2013.

2 Responses to “Pause, Listen and Reflect”

  1. Brilliant! You are so good at what you write. It makes me rethink my entire life. I love you, Sister!!!!

  2. Reblogged this on Ramblings of One Weary Soldier and commented:
    Everyone must read this.

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