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It seems as though I have “started over” more times in the last 3 years than I can even comprehend at times. Between moving 3 times, switching jobs and my whole romance with Mark, it’s enough to make anyone’s head spin. For 2011, here’s what is on the agenda as far as I’m aware. Keep in mind it’s only the middle of January: settling in in Montana and starting my new job at a hospital in February. Mark will be returning from his TDY in March. After that, we’ll see what happens.  I am excited about my new job, though I don’t have experience working in a hospital pharmacy. I look forward to learning new skills and meeting new people. It will also help the last month of Mark’s TDY to pass a lot faster for me. I miss him terribly and it’s lonely here. I only know one person here in Montana, which would be our landlord. He’s nice, but I don’t really see me hanging out with him.  So starting my job is going to help me to focus on something other than Mark being gone.  Now that I’m reflecting on everything that I’ve been through, I do not regret one choice I’ve made or one change I’ve made. I’ve said before that I believe we’re all on a path that leads us to our destiny and for the last few years, I’ve been learning to enjoy the ride.

I’m noticing a trend…

I move, Mark goes on a TDY. This happened when I moved to Alabama, except that TDY was only 5 days. This TDY for Mark is 9 weeks. 9 long weeks. He’ll miss Valentines Day and we’ve only been in Montana 2 weeks, so I’m not sure where I’m going yet. I guess it’s safe to say I’m feeling more than a little down. But, I’m desperately trying to keep myself busy. Lots to do yet with the house, and as soon as we get reimbursed for all the PCS costs, I will be visiting my family in Ohio. I’ve applied for a few jobs, will be applying for a few more and got a few crafts to do and books to read. That’s really going to be the key, is keeping myself busy. Wallowing and moping will get me nowhere.  The great thing I’ve noticed among military wives/girlfriends is there is an almost instant kinship. We all know what the other is going through and we band together quickly to help each other out. My “military friends” stretch from my hometown in Ohio to Alabama to Florida to Colorado to Germany to California and all over the world thanks to the worldwide web. And I am so very grateful to all of them. I will need their love and support these next several weeks. When you’re “just a girlfriend” you can’t always find out as much information as a wife can, so these people become my lifeline in the event I can’t reach Mark or if there’s something I’m too embarrassed to ask him.  Military wives and girlfriends certainly do form a sisterhood of sorts, and we’re some of the strongest women you’ll ever meet!

Doubt

There are times I do not think I am strong enough to do this. This is one of those times.

Sacrifices

We all make sacrifices in our relationships. Lots of people may say I’ve made quite a few in my relationship with Mark, but I’ve received so much from him in return. Yes, I gave up my job, apartment and left my friends and family behind to be with him. But he’s given me a home, love and treated me with more respect than any other man before. The man drove 13 hrs each way to see me when I lived in Ohio. I am not going to complain I had to drive however far it was to pick up his Subaru when his first one got smashed up. I won’t freak out about picking up and moving every 3 years. If you do that, to me it says you just can’t give your whole self to the relationship and he deserves all of me. There are 2 people in each relationship and you’ve got to think of both of them, not just yourself.

Last post from Alabama

… and it will be a short one ( I think). I’m inspired by music this time around. I cannot tell you the last time I actually listened to Linkin Park. I know they were in heavy rotation when I was dating my abusive ex. But listening to their song “Waiting for the End” and a couple of lines really standing out: “The hardest part of ending is starting  again”.  Talk about appropriate right now… especially for me and Mark going to a new location, and getting over some extreme tension and hurt feelings. The second line is “I’m holding on to what I haven’t got”. How many of us are doing just that??

Reflux…

it seems like the past is just the theme of the week for my posts. Ironic, what with Mark and I packing everything up, I guess. With my most recent posts discussing some things I have gone through in my life, the one thing I’ve survived that obviously had the most impact was being the victim of emotional/physical violence. I kept it hidden pretty well. At the time it was occurring, I lived with my parents and even they weren’t aware it was happening.  They just thought I fought with my boyfriend a lot but weren’t aware of how bad the fights were. My ex was (and may still be) an alcoholic drug addict, and compulsive liar. I excused his behavior as he had me convinced that he had been sexually and physically abused when he was young, and therefore didn’t really know any better when it came to interpersonal relationships. I was completely within the battered woman’s mindset of  “if I love him enough I can change him”. Well, a word of advice to anyone in that situation: that will never happen. Fortunately, the people I worked with were aware of what was going on, as my boyfriend and I both worked at the same place.  They wound up creating a network of silent support around me, helping me to see what I didn’t want to admit: that I was in an abusive relationship and I needed to get out. They didn’t preach, they didn’t stage an intervention. They simply stayed friends with me, took me out and in certain instances, put themselves in harm’s way when things got a bit out of hand. I was really in no position emotionally to be a decent friend back to these people, and I’ll always regret that. The only thing I could do was to get out of the abuse and live a life that was true and fulfilling. If I could go back and tell them how much I appreciated what they did, I would. Instead, I just continue to live the life they all helped me to have: a life filled with joy, love and respect from a man who deserves me.  Sadly I do not talk to any of these people any more. You could say we all grew apart- we were in our 20’s and some going to school, etc. But I’m sure it was hard for them to be friends with me, having seen me at the absolute bottom. I pushed one friend away entirely, being drunk and completely emotionally unstable- the one friend who gave me everything of himself. I miss him terribly, but every day I can enjoy with Mark, every day I can enjoy free from terror and violence is the gift that he gave me. I wish we could move past what happened so I could thank him, but that will probably never happen. I suppose he will always be with me, always being the voice in my head that speaks up when I’m being disrespected, that demands to be treated well.

I know I spoke a lot this week of letting the past go, about moving on when people have hurt or disappointed you. Would this instance be different? Do I need to let go of someone who helped me (and continues to help me) have a better life?

I’ve had time to review my previous post and I’ve decided I want to add a bit more to it. Instead of just editing it, I’m adding this post as a sort of post script or addendum. Trying to keep all the thoughts separate to make sure they’re all included.

So, I was pondering what I had written regarding my previous experiences making me the person I am today. Does that make me grateful for having gone through some truly horrendous things? Yes and no. Yes, because it makes me appreciate the beautiful and simple things. No, because there are things that people should never have to endure.

I’m going to say something that people may be offended by, but hear me out: everyone needs to experience heartache. I don’t know why people think they should be exempt from it. Why do you think you can pass up a fantastic opportunity/person and then not be disappointed when it isn’t still there when you finally get around to realizing you should’ve taken the chance? People like that drive me insane, and they’re usually the whiners and blame everyone but themselves. Yes, there are a few people I am thinking of, but I’m going to be kind and not make any direct references.

I guess what I’m saying is I definitely feel we’ve all got a path we’ve been put on. Whether you want to call it God’s will or Karma, whatever. You can cry in your cereal all you want about oh boo hoo hoo why didn’t I go out with him when I had the chance or you can accept the fact that that particular ship has sailed and you really need to get on with your life.  We cling to things too much, we brood, we stew. I’m just as guilty as anyone else. I told Mark once we get to Montana, it’s a new start. The past is the past and it’s being buried in the red clay of Alabama. I’ve been through things good and bad, I’ve survived. I feel I came out a better person.

In summary: your heart will break, people will disappoint you, things will go wrong, let these things go and you will survive.