Search This Blog

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Harsh Reality of Life

It has been many months since I took the time to blog.  Initially, at the time of my last post, I had just returned form my annual training with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard and my civilian job, as a neurosurgical physician assistant, created demands, and I created projects, that took time away from expending energy in any other venue other than work related and family related ventures.  I lost focus on this release, this avenue to allow for thought and to explore the depths of my conscious, and to release the tension bottled up inside me.  This is not the only avenue for which I release, I spend four to five days a week pushing my body with what the average human would consider intense physical activity (yes, it is intense and painful, but feels good regardless).  This is a way to release the physical stress, but not always the best avenue to release the mental and emotional stress, hence, writing.  Whether what I write is poor, or poetic, that matters little to me, until I go back and read what I wrote and realize that it either looks like it was written by a 3rd grader, or that even I, the writer, cannot follow the thought.  However, it will matter to the reader, but this isn't always about the reader.  Sad to say, but why do writers write?  To create worlds, to spur imagination, to define life, for the reader, right?  Yes, in most cases, but often the writer writes to fulfill his needs to release the consistent bombardment of words, phrases, and voices consistently babbling inside his or her mind, to release the schizophrenia before it manifests in that exact diagnosis.  I guess as long as you only respond to the voices and thoughts with internal voice and thought, well, you are not crazy.

3rd of the 103rd Armor Medical Platoon Leadership
Pennsylvania Army National Guard
Over the last few months I have internalized much, and externalized little.  Especially over the last two months, I do not necessarily like to share my personal struggle with those around me, I feel that personal battles are just that, personal.  I am a resilient person, for God's sake, I have spent over seventeen years in service to my country, progressed through the enlisted ranks, private (PV1), private (PV2), private first class (PFC), specialist (SPC), Sergeant (SGT), Staff Sergeant (SSG), and was the third phase of the basic non-commissioned officer course from promotion to Sergeant First Class (SFC) and could have had it back in 2006 when I was deployed to Iraq if it wasn't for red tape.  Instead of attending that last phase, I commissioned as an officer, yes, a direct commission.  I was commissioned as a 1st Lieutenant, only to have that rank stripped over a month later due to administrative failure on the part of the Army Medical Department (AMEDD) recruiters and maybe my own ignorance, in trusting people to do their job.  None-the-less, I went to the Basic Officer Leadership Course (BOLC) at Fort Sam Houston in Texas, was placed in the senior leadership role as the executive officer for the reserve component rotation, and was evaluated as "superior" in leadership skills, and eventually advanced back to 1st Lieutenant in May of 2011.  I've complied with all the Army has asked of me over the years, praised my experience at almost every level.  Of course, when my promotion to Captain was imminent, I left the process, and the packet, in the hands of what I expected to be capable fellow soldiers.  However, after the needed 2 years of time in grade, and another seven plus months on top of that I am still waiting for that promotion.  The reasons, again, administrative and out of my control.  Yes, someone other than myself, failed, but I reap the backlash for those failures.  First, my security clearance, expired in June 2013, unbeknownst to me, and now I must resubmit the painful packet of info and await an investigation.  FYI Army, I wrote a book, want to know anything about me, read it, there are no secrets within those pages, literally my life until the date of publishing is, well, a freaking open book.  Now, there are changes, which I will get into shortly in my personal life, but let me mention the second issue with getting this promotion. 

In July, in anticipation of a promotion, I took a PT test, and updated my DA photo.  At this time I would suspect my packet would go forward, and within 3 months or so, I would be promoted, right?  Well, not really.  It wasn't submitted until November.  By November 2013, due to receiving my fourth Army Achievement Medal in September, my DA photo was not "up to date."  Yes, I said "November," not August, or September, in which at least my DA photo would have been up to date, but now the board reviewed my packet, and rejected it due to one, tiny, oak leaf cluster missing from my army service uniform.  Not because I had a ribbon I wasn't supposed to have, not because I looked like a total turd bag, but because I was missing one tiny oak leaf cluster.  So, you are telling me, after all these years, I'm being judged for missing an oak leaf cluster?  Well, someone up top, looking at these things, is literally misguided and not making decisions in the best interest of soldiers.  Do me a favor, look at all my Non-Commissioned Officer Evaluation Reports, and my Officer Evaluation Reports, and make a decision based on the whole picture, not one, tiny, ribbon device that is missing because my packet was not submitted in a timely manner.  Yes, I am just a little disturbed by this, I have worked my ass off to get to this point in my military career, and now I am subjected to the need for a new updated DA photo, with the addition of that tiny device.  Well, that is great (as in every case, I will comply), but my civilian job does not allow for the leverage to just bebop down to the nearest DA photo lab (Fort Indiantown Gap - 1.25 hour trip) at any given moment.  It takes significant coordination to get down on one of the two days they do DA photos, Tuesday or Thursday, due to my clinic days (which are always booked solid) being those same exact two days.  So the Army National Guard continues to ask more of me, electrically signing over 600 physical health assessments, monthly reviews of profiled soldiers, all of which I need to do during my own time, but they certainly do not feel like going the extra mile for me.  That's okay, I'll continue to do what is medically necessary for the soldiers of my battalion, but someone needs an integrity check, look at your Army Values.  I'll skip complaining about the lag in receiving my provider bonus that is months overdue also.  Frustrating, but not nearly the most frustrating part of my life at this point.

Youngest girls
So, moving on to the personal life.  A series of cascading events has led to the pending implosion of my marriage.  Now, I could simply point fingers at someone, and blame it all on them, but hey, I'm and honest guy, I have faults, read the book, it is all in there.  That being said, not one person in any relationship that dissolves is totally at fault.  But there is always a cascading series of events that leads to the termination and eventual demise of any relationship and the inability of anyone involved from stopping those events.  These events did not start nearly three months ago when all went south, but they started years ago, with an initial climax as mentioned in the book, but we salvaged things and drove on, but those events lingered, and were always there, not on the surface, but underneath, waiting for a time to surface and rape me of dignity and leading to the final climax.  That is mainly my fault, I put myself in the situation to allow this to happen, but continually living like that is not possible (yes, I am being vague).  Now, in the book, there is plenty of praise for all that we as a couple triumphed through, little mention of struggles, the book was closure for me and meant to be a constant reminder for those in my life that I made a mistake and was genuinely sorry about that mistake.  However, not all stories have happy endings, and the end of this story was not written when the book went to print, it was simply waiting to be written.  So where does this leave me at the present time?

Oldest and her little man
Currently, I am coming home to an empty house (most of the time), and trying to put the pieces back together to move forward.  My family is now split between Pennsylvania and Utah, my oldest daughter, with my grandson, left for an extended vacation with her mother and sisters in Utah yesterday.  Her mother and my two youngest have plans to make that move permanent.  The separation from the children is the hardest part, not being there for them when they might need me, luckily, technology has it so we can communicate instantly, via text, facetime, or other means of electronic communication.  But that does not compare to the ability to hold them, and tell them to their faces how much you love them.  There is no winner, only losers in this situation, but, the only direction one can move, is forward.  Onward, adapt, overcome, and persist through life.  Life is not overly difficult, but it's harsh reality at times stings and brings even the strongest of humans to their knees.  For me not to be grateful of the life I have, would be inconsiderate considering what I see daily in my civilian job, families destroyed by cancer, trauma, and other intracranial disease.  Hey, I'm alive and well, as are my kids, and for that I am thankful.  So it would be ignorant for me to complain, too much, about my issues, but it is simply human nature and biology rules the day.

So now, the new book begins.  But just like the last one, the end is a mystery, and I am not sure what will be waiting when I get there.

Chapter One....

Personal satisfaction is a simple matter, it is a matter of happiness, to redefine happiness in my life, I took a hard look at my weaknesses and my strengths, and reflected on all the good and poor choices I have made through the years.  That reflection led me to.....

To be continued......

No comments:

Post a Comment