Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault

This was probably the worst weekend of my entire time at this duty station, but it did bring about some good, so I can’t speak too harshly of it, if I’m being honest. It was pretty bad, though. Instead of just telling you what the event was that ruined my weekend, though, I’ll tell you the whole story.

It was Friday night. Due to the overwhelming number of responses from the friends I polled that I should, in fact, go out and have fun, I had decided to go out for a few beers and then call it an early night, because I’m a responsible grownup. Or boring. Boring works, too. Anyway. Rose had done my hair in two French braids for me and I had opted to go for clothing that was more “me” and more focused on comfort than looking good, because honestly when I’m me and I’m comfortable I’m confident and what is more attractive than confidence? I wound up wearing my Uh-Huh Baby Yeah! t-shirt, skinny jeans, and my slip-on Vans. I was comfortable, I felt more like myself than I had in a long time, and I was in a really good mood, something that didn’t often coincide with going out. As an introvert, more often than not, going out feels like a chore. Well, as I was putting the finishing touches on getting ready, Emmett texted me and asked if I was planning on going out. I told him I was and we made plans to meet up (with Nico, too) and go out as a group. We met up in Nico’s room, I helped him figure out what to wear, (I swear the boy is the most adorable diva on the planet), and then we went out. We went to Dardo first, since it was finally re-opened and we had all been missing Chicho. I had one drink (both of the boys had two) and then who should saunter in but dear sweet Rob Nixon. We promptly included him in our group and he informed us that his roommate was at Brixton. Well, Rob’s roommate is Chris, so I immediately paid my tab and headed for Brixton, because I wanted to see Chris’ handsome face! I adore that man.

Now, two things to keep in mind. The first is that Emmett and I were having a heated and hilarious gif war on Facebook Messenger while we were out, which had kept both us and Nico entirely amused while we were at Dardo. The second is that I had invited CJ to come out with us and he had blown me off on the pretense of wanting to stay in and have a quiet, chill Friday night at home. No one understood that better than me, so I teased him a little but didn’t push the issue.

So. Brixton. We all had a few more drinks (I had one and both of the boys had two), talked with Dave, Chris, and Rob, and chilled out. Well, I got a sudden, intense vibe that I should leave. I texted Nico and told him that I was probably going to head out soon, partly to inform him of my intent but mostly to see where he was at – if he was ready to leave as well or if he wanted to stay out for a while. He replied immediately that he, too, was considering leaving shortly (at which point I remembered that he had a volunteer thing the next day). About fifteen minutes later, as we had decided to wait on our friends to finish their drinks, who should walk into Brixton like he owned the place but CJ. I hid behind Emmett because I didn’t want to deal with CJ and decided it was time to leave. Emmett, who instantly realized what was going on, was leaving with me. I stopped by the bar long enough to hug Chris and tell him goodbye and then made a beeline for the door. Now, according to Emmett, he saw what was about to happen and tried his level best to warn me, but he was just a few seconds too late. As I had turned from the bar and started to walk out the front door of Brixton, someone slapped me on the ass as hard as they possibly could. I froze. I couldn’t even compute for a few seconds. And then, suddenly, I felt a surge of rage the likes of which I hadn’t experienced since the days when I fought competitively. I turned around to face CJ at a slight angle, almost in my fighting stance. His eyes widened and he backed away from me, blurting out, “Oh, God, she’s going to fucking hurt me.”

And then, in what I believe to be the most impressive display of self control of my entire life… I turned around and left the bar. I power walked home, headphones in and blaring music, with Emmett and Nico trailing in my wake, rage pounding through my veins and in my head. As I got back on base, however, the anger started to drain from me, being replaced by panic and terror and tears. I was holding it together fairly well until Emmett, who genuinely didn’t know any better, touched my shoulders to let me know that he was leaving. Now, I love Emmett. Absolutely adore the boy. He is one of the sweetest people I know, which is why I feel so bad that my knee-jerk response to his touch was to pull away like he was going to hurt me. He looked at me, bewildered, and I just shook my head and took off. Nico tried to touch me to comfort me, and I shied away from him, too. I wound up having a full blown panic attack, crying for several hours, and passing out.

 

It got worse during the following day’s conversation with CJ. He had tried numerous times to apologize to me and the previous night I’d merely responded with the information that he was lucky I didn’t want to bruise my Naval career by fighting because otherwise I would have put his ass in the ground and told him to never touch me again. The next day, he had continued to try to apologize but, when I didn’t immediately accept his apology and tell him everything was fine, he yelled at me, causing me yet another breakdown into tears and resulting in me telling him to leave me alone.

Now, I realize this may sound like an overreaction to some of my readers, but here’s the thing. The incident that I just described to you is sexual assault. A part of my body that is inherently sexual was touched without my consent. And the worst part, for me personally, was that it was someone who knew that I’d been sexually assaulted before – someone I trusted. It’s been two days and I’m still not okay yet. I’m still shaky and avoiding physical contact and feeling nauseated. There are no words to describe how violated I felt, and am still feeling today. It put me in a depression tailspin a little bit, but thankfully I had friends ready to pull me out of it and be there for me all day Saturday. I’m working on moving forward and I know I’ll be okay, but things like this are why I try to raise awareness for the reality that is sexual assault.

 

Until next time, stay frosty, nerds.

Inspection Week

It’s Monday and holy hell is it ever Monday. So this morning, I woke up and, as consciousness slowly came to me, I found myself thinking, “I feel really well rested!” So, of course, a sinking feeling of dread sinks in and I check my watch and sure enough… it’s an entire hour and forty-five minutes past when I normally wake up for work. In a complete and utter panic, I throw myself out of bed, wash my hair over the tub, throw on yoga pants and my blue Corpsman undershirt from last year’s Naval Hospital Rota Corpsman Ball fundraiser, stomp on my Vans, and basically run from my barracks to the hospital. What an excellent start to my day/week/etc. Here’s hoping that this isn’t indicative of how the rest of the week is going to go, because I have way too much riding on this week for the whole week to be as much of a disaster as this morning was.

That being said, I ordered a new phone that I will be getting at the end of the month, and I’m going to the NEX after work to buy a freaking alarm clock. I haven’t owned an alarm clock… actually ever. I got a cell phone when I got a job, as was my parent’s policy with all of us girls, and before that I just woke up when I woke up, or my other family members would wake me up if there was something I needed to be up early for. Perks of being home schooled: I normally didn’t get up until around eight and school usually started around nine. (Plus I was almost always done by noon and I got to do school in my pajamas.) But I will be buying an alarm clock, and you can bet it will be one with a battery backup, because we have been known to have occasional power issues in the barracks. The Seabees normally get them resolved fairly quickly, but still. I have duty days and other nonsense coming up and I cannot be having alarms not go off. Hell, if I’m late for duty I go to DRB! (Disciplinary Review Board, for my non-military readers. Essentially, a bunch of chiefs get me in a room and yell at me and tell me what a terrible sailor I am and inform me that if it happens again I’ll go to Captain’s Mast.)

Anyway, this morning’s insanity aside, I’ve already been pretty productive today. I’ve hand-delivered a few sets of glasses to some of my more important/favored patients (I’m not going to make Command Master Chief come to Optometry for her glasses, that’s just ridiculous), gotten four pairs of glasses prepped to get mailed off at the end of the day, taken care of several patients, talked to my career counselor about my lack of orders and set a time to call my detailer together, and overall just beasted out. I have to say, I’ve recovered pretty well. I still have a few more things on my to-do list, but so far I’m on a roll. One of the coping mechanisms I’ve learned over the years to deal with stress is to take a second, breathe deeply, tell myself the old cliché of accepting what you can’t control and being strong enough to change what you can, and use my stress as motivation. It’s taken me almost twenty-six years to figure that out – which is kind of sad, when you think about it, but I’ve always been stubborn and had to learn things the hard way – but now that I’ve learned it, I think it’s been good for my blood pressure…

This week is going to be interesting. The two most important inspections the hospital ever goes through are coinciding this week: The Joint Commission, who handles hospital accreditation and can shut us down if we fail, and the Medical Inspector General, which is probably even more serious than it sounds. So, as I’m sure you can imagine, the past few months have been nothing but pre-inspections, stress, mandatory training, and other absolute insanity. Now, though, with the inspection just a day away, things are starting to pull together and shape up. The clinic is spotless, all of our required signage is posted, my new kid has been studying his TJC handbook, and my Chief and I did a last minute fog-walkdown and made sure the clinic was squared away and ship shape in preparation for the inspection. My biggest “UGH” for the coming week is the fact that we have to wear NSUs for the entire rest of the week, which is one of the more uncomfortable uniforms we have. (Plus it restricts movement to a degree, which can make patient care a little more difficult. Unfortunately, most female Navy uniforms are not tailored with the concept of broad shouldered women being taken into account.)

I guess we’ll see how things go. In just a few short weeks, I’ll be boarding a plane home, and looking forward to that has carried me through the past few weeks.

 

Until next time, stay frosty, nerds! Excelsior!

Gooooood Mooooorning, Vietnaaaaaam!

Okay, I would just like to start this off by saying that this weekend… this weekend was absolutely insane. Some poor decisions were definitely made but, overall, a good time was had by all, and the shenanigans were legendary. That being said, I’m glad it’s Monday and I have five days before I have to do it all over again.

As a writer, I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if my original plans for Friday night hadn’t fallen through. So, if the ER hadn’t temporarily moved Rose to a different team, and if Chris and Damien hadn’t gone to Ireland, and if CJ hadn’t insisted that Edward and I accompany him to Shamrocks, and if the Martins hadn’t been at Shamrock’s, and if CJ hadn’t been oblivious and insensitive, and if I hadn’t decided to cope by drinking way too much…

The original plan for Cinco De Mayo had been for the squad – Chris, Damien, Rose, Tony, Emmett, Nico, Liz – to go Villano’s in Puerto, one of the only restaurants in the area that serves actual authentic, tasty Mexican food. But, as previously stated, plans changed. The ER rearranged the teams to support manning so that a sailor could take leave, which meant Rosehad to work; Chris and Damien had decided at the last minute that they wanted to spend their weekend (as they had a four-day weekend) in Ireland; and I had forgotten that my best friend/ ex-corps-school Air Force bae, Edward, was coming into town, so I had tour guide duties anyway. As you can see, things had already started to go sideways. Well, on Friday morning, I saw CJ as a patient in my optometry clinic, and he informed me that we would be going to Shamrock’s for dinner, as they were doing a special menu for Cinco De Mayo. I told him I had a friend in town, and he responded that I should just bring him along, so I asked Edward and he said he was down. Further sideways we go.

When we walked into Shamrock’s, I saw the Martins and I waved cheerfully in passing… except that Jaime bossed me into going over and actually talking to them. At this point, I think I had accepted that I had zero control over my Cinco De Mayo evening and I just gave up. We wound up sitting together as a group and over the course of our conversations, some nasty personal stuff from my past with CJ came up and I found myself getting progressively more and more upset. Edward did his best to buoy my spirits – he really is a phenomenal friend – but it wasn’t working too terribly well. So, after CJ left because he had to work the weekend and wanted some sleep, I did something stupid. I got hammered drunk on a cocktail whose ingredients I didn’t know, which is stupid anyway but especially when you take into account that tequila – even in very small amounts – makes me violently ill. I don’t remember much of the night, but I know I vomited in the bathroom for at least an hour before my friends managed to get me home. I have an alter-ego who only makes appearances once every few years; my friends and I have dubbed her Lola, and she is normally kept in an adamantium cage at the very back of my psyche but, for the first time in four years, she made an appearance this past Friday night. It was terrible. I swear I spent 65% of Saturday apologizing to my friends.

Again, if only things hadn’t gone quite so sideways with my original plans… I can almost picture it: me and my squad (plus Edward) sitting around the tables in Villano’s, eating Cali style burritos and drinking cervezas and horchata, bs’ing and talking about life and just generally enjoying our Cinco De Mayo. And then I think back on what actually happened and cringe. Again.

 

That being said, Saturday was actually quite pleasant. I didn’t have a hangover, I got to spend the day with Edward (who had taken care of me all night and then slept on my bedroom floor), and we took the dog I’m taking care of for a long walk around downtown and then on the beach. Edward is my ex-corps-school-bae, as previously stated, but he’s since come out of the closet and now he and I are basically gay best friends. It’s wonderful. He just a fantastic person, so his presence seriously improved my weekend – especially Saturday night, which was terrible for a completely different reason.

I had passed word down to the squad at the beginning of the week that Saturday night we would be doing dinner and pre-gaming for those of the squad that planned on going out, so from about six in the evening until about nine thirty in the evening, I was cooking for nine people. Katharine, Tony, Emmett, Nico, Liz, Mitchell (last name; she’s one of my friends I call noodle, my most serious term of endearment), Edward, Sarah, and Jackson entertained me while I cooked and bartended for them, slinging cocktails and epic burritos until everyone was fed and contently tipsy. When I finally finished cooking, all I wanted to do was take a nap… but everyone wanted to go to Feria, which is similar to a county fair in the States, but moreso. So, we went to Feria. After several hours of wrangling drunken twenty-somethings, I finally decided it was time for us to call it a night and put everyone in cabs, sending them back to base. I took Edward home, then went home myself and passed out around three in the morning, sitting down for the first time since before six PM the previous day. It was rough, man. My feet STILL hurt. But, everyone enjoyed themselves and after I’d dropped Edward off at the airport in the mid-morning, I got to take Sunday as a day for myself, and that was really nice. I went back to the house and did the dishes from Saturday night, cleaning the kitchen top to bottom, then did the same thing at my own house, plus laundry and general tidying up. It was about a half day’s worth of work and I realize that to most people that would sound daunting after that kind of weekend, but for me it was basically therapy. I love to clean, especially doing dishes, so it did nothing but soothe my soul. I blasted my favorite Punk Goes Pop playlist, scrubbed dishes, drank coffee, and just let myself reset for the coming week. I spent the afternoon, once all the cleaning was done, hanging out with my two mini-mes, Liz and Sarah, took care of Sarah for a few hours after she got ill from stress/ dehydration/ lack of food/ lack of sleep (poor kid, I swear), and wrapped the evening up falling asleep while How I Met Your Mother played softly on my TV.

 

This week at work is going to be an experience, given that my docs are both in a clinic manager’s course from Tuesday until Friday, which means we won’t actually be running a clinic. We’ll be handing out glasses and manning the phones and occasionally dealing with emergent walk-ins; it’s actually good, because that means that my boot corpsman can get some training time in and get to practice with some of our specialty testing machines. Hell, I may even let him dilate my eyes, if I’m feeling charitable enough. We’ll see.

Either way, that means that once I get through today, this will very likely be a quiet (if slightly long) week.

 

Until next time, stay frosty, nerds! Excelsior!

Stress

Three blog posts in one week?! It’s like Christmas!

I mean, it’s Cinco De Mayo, so close enough? Who doesn’t love a holiday that gives you an excuse to eat Mexican food? I mean, I personally don’t feel the need for an excuse, but some people… I’m thinking leftover tacos and maybe some tasty nachos for dinner tonight. Cinco De Mayooooo!

Anyway. There’s a point to this post, and it is this: in my ripe old age (of almost 26), I seem to have gotten a pretty good handle on coping with stress. I’m definitely better than I was, considering the amount of stress I’ve been under this week has been steadily increasing but I have yet to meltdown, have a panic attack, or even cry. It might seem ridiculous how proud I am of that fact, but given that I used to cry at work every day due to stress, it’s a monumental improvement. It really is. (To be fair, I did have a panic attack during my PRT, but that was due to not being able to breathe.)

This week has been pretty insane. Between my collateral duties at work dumping unexpected workloads on me, struggling to deal with walk-in patients with an already-full schedule, still coming to terms with my PRT failure, and numerous other stressors, I cannot believe I haven’t already fallen apart.

And yet, somehow, I’ve managed to keep calm and carry on, and do it well, if I may say so myself. The whole PRT failure thing aside, let’s talk about the rest of this week. It really wasn’t all that bad, but it would have been so much better if everything hadn’t all cropped up at basically the end of the week. If I had found out on Monday or Tuesday how much extra stuff I was going to have to do this week, it would have been completely copacetic. But, being that this is the Navy and we excel at last minute “by the ways,” it all happened on Thursday.

 

Being the TPO (training petty officer) for Optometry is normally a pretty chill gig, as my coworkers are normally pretty on top of it when it comes to getting their trainings knocked out. However, when the fiscal year reset and all of our annual trainings became due, they didn’t automatically get assigned by SEAT (Staff Education and Training) like they have for the past few years and no email went out, like it always has. This time, it fell to the TPOs to disseminate the trainings… but no one told us. So Thursday afternoon I got a polite email from the directorate TPO and my good friend with a list of delinquent trainings and a request to get them done ASAP. I also received a nastygram informing me that if my entire department didn’t have their trainings done by Friday, we would have to come in as a department on Saturday, regardless of who wasn’t finished with their training. Again, this normally wouldn’t have been that big of an issue, but our Training Thursdays (afternoons with no clinic schedule specifically for training) recently got taken away AND we have a brand-new boot sailor on-board who hasn’t gotten ANY of his trainings done because he’s been in face-to-face classes literally since he got here. I spent literally all day Thursday trying to get everyone’s trainings assigned, complete my own trainings, help run a clinic, and keep the stress from affecting the way I treat my junior sailors. It was definitely a tense day. Add to that the four walk-ins we had to squeeze into a full schedule yesterday and you start to get a picture of what my week has been like.

I’m also attempting to get myself and my clinic thoroughly prepared for our upcoming hospital-wide inspection in a week and a half, when The Joint Commission (TJC) and the Medical Inspector General (Med IG) come through. TJC handles hospital accreditation, so if we fail their inspection, our hospital gets shut down. It’s only the most stressful time of year, and combining that with the Med IG is making things really interesting. Unfortunately, we only recently got the hard dates for their arrival, and my only experience junior corpsman will be on leave, leaving me and a boot to try to make it through the inspections unscathed. That should be interesting.

And then there’s this morning – the final straws that might actual break this poor, tired, stressed out camel’s back. I have chosen orders not one, not two, but THREE times, and I still haven’t gotten selected for orders. On every single one, there’s been a flag that reads “PFA STATUS 1” which is the code for PRT failure. Unfortunately, I can’t help but worry that this might keep me from getting orders at all, much less getting sent anywhere I’d want to go.

Add to that having a huge discrepancy crop up with another of my collateral duties – I swear to God, if my old ALPO had just done a proper turnover, this would not be happening – which has added one more thing to my plate. I refuse to let this make me freak out, though. Thankfully, I remember all of my martial arts training, including the centering breath that helps me shed stress and focus, and also ADHD meds. I may have to work late today, but so help me God, this is going to get done. Just because the person who used to have my collaterals was a total dirtbag doesn’t mean the tradition needs to carry on.

 

It’s been a long week, but it’s almost over. I can do this!

Until next time, stay frosty, nerds!

And Now For Something Completely Different…

Given that this month – and the approximate next rest of my life – is going to be dedicated to self-improvement in every area of my life, I went ahead and tacked one more thing onto my list: taking care of my spiritual health. As I’ve told people time and time again, I would have to be… well, as stubborn as… Honestly, I can’t come up with an example – even a Biblical one – of how stubborn I would have to be to deny the hand of God in my family’s life. I’ve witnessed first hand what faith can do and where it can take you and I would have to be… I don’t even know. I still can’t even put into words what kind of person I would have to be to deny the existence of someone who is so clearly involved in my day to day life. And it’s not like God is some fairy godmother who just waves a wand and fixes everything and then your life is perfect, and I think that is where a lot of people get hung up. For me, personally, any time I start to get frustrated and feel like my prayers aren’t being answered, I think back to a conversation I had with my dad back in the day. I still remember with great clarity all of our father-daughter trips to Lowes and Home Depot and the subsequent lunch dates and how we spent the entire time talking about stuff that actually MATTERED. I mean, sure, there was the occasional “who would win in a fight, Lion-O or Batman?” type talk, but it trended more to politics and religion/spirituality and REAL talk, and that’s one of the things I’ve missed the most since I’ve been away from home. But. I am getting off topic. I remember the conversation I had with my dad about God and prayer and how, first and foremost, we need to remember that God doesn’t work on our timeline. He works on His, and that’s okay. But it was the second point that my dad made that day that has really stuck with me, and that was this: if you pray for patience, is God going to grant you patience? Or is He going to give you opportunities to be patient? If you pray for wisdom and discernment, is He going to give it to you? Or opportunities to be wise and discerning? And that just blew my tiny teenage mind. I had never thought about it in those terms, but once I had, I couldn’t STOP thinking about it in those terms, and it really did change a lot of my life. So, when I went to work and prayed for patience and then immediately bumped up against a difficult customer or that one coworker that just really got under my skin, I realized it was an opportunity from God to practice the gift I’d been praying to Him for.

So, this morning, I did listen to my DNCE playlist a little bit and shimmied around my room to “Danza Kuduro” by Don Omar, sure, but once I had gotten to work and had to run out to my car to get my wallet, I set foot outside and heard the birds singing and “This Good Day” by Fernando Ortega popped into my head. I started to sing it, which just made me think about my dad more, because he loved Fernando Ortega. So, I’ve been playing my worship playlist ever since and I gotta say, between my conscious decision to have a good day and be in a good mood and the introduction of Jars of Clay and Bleach and Delirious into my morning, I am in a great mood and I feel like I’m ready to take on the world. Which is probably good, considering that my PRT is this afternoon. I know I probably won’t pass, but instead of having a bad attitude and saying “screw this” and refusing to even try, I have decided to give it my absolute best because, again, work as unto God and not unto man, and why shouldn’t I? I let myself go and let my depression overwhelm my life for too long a time while I’ve been here in Spain and now that I’m starting to fight back with medication and getting closer to God again and every other way I know to combat the monster that hides under my bed and stalks me throughout my life, I see no reason not to start remembering the sailor I was when I first joined the Navy: motivated, squared away, determined to do the Navy, the United States, and my family proud. That is who I am, and the fact that my depression ever made me lose sight of that breaks my heart, but also motivates me and makes me that much more determined to be that person again. I want to make my parents proud. I want my family to be able to show pictures of me to their friends and say “This is my Sailor. She has done so much and we are so proud of her.” I want the God who created me to look down on me and smile and say “That’s my kid. She’s doing my work and making me proud.” And if that isn’t the best possible motivation, I don’t know what is.

Expectations

Nothing stands to make a girl feel as good about herself as finding out that she’s meeting (or even exceeding) the expectations of people whose opinions she respects. After a year plus, I finally got back in touch with one of my favorite instructors from Corps School (training for corpsmen after boot camp and before we go into the fleet). I told him what I’ve been up to and thanked him for his help, mentorship, and advice throughout Corps School, found out that he picked up HM1, and had a good long talk that culminated in him telling me that he’s proud of me and that I’m a “hard charger,” a high compliment in the Navy. It made me feel so good about myself to be making an HM1 like him (multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, highly decorated, and just a generally good person both on and off duty) proud.

I also got a random “I love you and I’m so proud of you” type text message from my sister this morning, a sincere apology from someone who owed me one, and a continuation of my flirtation with a cute MM3 I’ve known since boot camp. Overall, today has gotten off to a really good start. I know it can’t take full credit, but I’m at least partially attributing it to my waking up and making the conscious decision to be in a good mood today. Attitude isn’t everything, but it accounts for a lot more than I think people realize.

Now, with what is going to come for the rest of this week, I think that having this Monday workday start out so well was really and truly necessary. I have my PRT tomorrow afternoon and I likely won’t pass but, again, I’ve made the conscious decision not to let it bother me. It is only due to some physical illness as well as mental health issues that I got to be as out of shape as I am, and now that I have a handle on it nothing is going to stop me from achieving my goals. I’m telling you, this whole positive attitude thing might be the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. I’m sure it will annoy my coworkers a little, but they’ll get used to it eventually. That being said, as much as I might have to potentially worry about this week, I have even more to look forward to. I have a big family dinner planned for the squad this Saturday evening, I should find out on Friday if I got selected for orders or not, and this is yet another week that I get to go home to a wagging tail and some aloof appreciation of my presence (dog and cats, respectively).

On another note, I’m so grateful to have gotten referred to my current psychiatrist. He is excellent at his job, but he’s also one of the few providers I’ve ever seen who treats me as a patient and not as a corpsman. I’ve had so many healthcare providers dismiss requests, talk over me, and ignore my input simply because I’m a low-ranking corpsman who worked for them at one time, when they would never do that to any other patient. On the flip side, my psychiatrist values my opinions, listens to me, and takes my opinions into account. He sees my being a corpsman as a good thing, giving me more say in my treatment than he might for someone without medical field experience. It’s nice, too, because we both know that I do research into medications and treatments before I talk to him about them, so it’s not like I’m one of those “I Googled my symptoms and I have cancer” patients or, heaven forbid, the “well, my sister/aunt/uncle/friend is a nurse and THEY said…” type patients.

He and I both agreed that aggressive treatment was best for me – especially given my mental health history and history of suicidal ideations/suicide attempts/self-harm/etc. – and the routes that we’ve taken so far seem to have been helpful, exponentially improving my mental state. I am so blessed to be in a situation where I have access to good mental health care and I’ll say again, as I’ve said many a time, that I am so grateful to the Navy as a whole, because it literally saved my life, not to mention introduced me to some of the best people I have ever met in my entire life.

 

Seeing as how today is the first day of a new month AND a Monday, and given that I spent a good solid chunk of the weekend re-evaluating my entire life, I’m making some serious lifestyle changes. I refuse to participate in the whole New Year’s resolution thing because the fail percentage of the average person to stick to their resolutions is super high, and thus I also reject the label. Lifestyle changes it is. That being said, I do have a rather consistent history of being kind of a flake, which is something that I am actively trying to change. My focus in the coming months will be in two areas: things that I’m trying to turn into daily habits (writing, going to the gym, eating better and tracking my calories, etc.) and big lifestyle issues (getting a better handle on my finances and getting out of debt, losing a significant amount of weight and keeping myself overall healthier, taking a more proactive stance on my mental health, etc.). A big problem that I’ve always had in my life is that I have a tendency to give excellent advice… that I fail to take myself. A good example of that would be the innumerable times I’ve counseled friends and loved ones to take time for themselves/make sure they schedule self care/etc., which is something that I never do for myself. So, moving forward, that will be another thing on my “work on this” checklist.

 

Well, that’s it for this week’s Monday update. Until next week, stay frosty, nerds! Excelsior!

Karaoke, Brunch, and Shenanigans

Not necessarily in that order. This weekend was a repeat of the best kind of weird humanly possible, with an added factor that made it all the more unbelievable that I actually enjoyed the outing. Same story – my coworker (Tony; names have been changed to protect the innocent and the guilty), our new kid (Emmett), and a few of our other corpsman buddies (Nico and Liz) all went out – but this time the shenanigans were slightly more legen – wait for it – dary. During dinner and drinks at Brixton’s (tied with Dardo’s for my favorite bar in Rota), we bumped into an old friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in ages, Katharine. She informed us that she’d recently started working at the karaoke bar next door and told us that if we came and sang karaoke with her, she’d buy us a round of shots, so we headed over after dinner. We spent a few hours singing, drinking, and generally just goofing off before Tony expressed interest in going dancing. I informed the group that I was entirely too sober to dance, so Liz suggested we migrate to the next bar and change that by the time we got to Diamonds. We hit most of the other bars on what we call The Rota Crawl (Los Arcos, Pier 5, O’Grady’s) and, finally, made it down the strip to Diamonds.

I am not, nor have I ever been, a club person. That being said… holy crap we had fun. Emmett had informed the entire group that he didn’t dance, so I told him we could stand awkwardly beside the dance floor holding drinks while our friends danced but, by the time we got to Diamonds, I was tipsy enough that being wallflowers together turned into me teaching Emmett to dance. The poor kid is an unapologetically tall, skinny, lanky white boy, but he did his best and it was adorable. My best friend CJ wound up being there, too, so he and I demonstrated the appropriate method of club dancing/bump n grinding and Emmett wound up sort of figuring it out. We danced for at least an hour before I decided that I needed fresh air and, recalling that Emmett had expressed interest in seeing the beach, I asked him if he wanted to go to the small beach inlet right up the road from Diamonds. We bailed on the club, went wading while singing country songs, and talked about life for a while before finally heading back to meet up with the squad so we could taxi home together.

It was an amazing night, and it just got better when we rolled into Sunday morning and everyone (Tony, Emmett, Nico, Liz, and Katharine) came over to the house I’m currently watching for some friends and we made epic breakfast burritos for brunch, accompanied by Bloody Marys, Irish coffees, and screwdrivers. We listened to music, played with the dog, ate good food, and just generally enjoyed each others’ company before we all scattered and went our separate ways, but not before we decided that brunch was going to become a weekly thing for the squad.

I’m also pleased to report that I’ve finally gotten my ass in gear with the whole going-to-the-gym-and-getting-fit thing. I’ve resumed my walk to run program (I got up at 0500 Monday and 0445 today) and of course I’m dog sitting, so I’ve taken to taking Luna on long evening walks after work. I’m planning on a some time at the pool and maybe a bodyweight workout after work today, and of course one of my nightly walks with Luna. I probably won’t slay the PRT, but at least I should pass (not that it matters, grumble grumble grouch grouch.) The thing is, though, I’m more interested in building a healthy lifestyle than just training to pass my PRT. I’m working on making bigger life changes now, largely due to the realization that I am, as of this year, closer to thirty than I am to twenty. It is officially time for me to get my shit together. MY goals for this year are to get a handle on my finances, get myself back in shape, and focus on improving my overall health – mental, spiritual, emotional, physical, etc. I’ve only got one life and I need to take care of myself as best I can.

 

Well, that’s all she wrote for today. Until next time, stay frosty, nerds! Excelsior