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Deployment Soundtrack: Torn

   Natalie Imbruglia, 1997

            Preview Song

Today, I broke my cardinal rule of deployment: never have a meltdown in front of your husband while he is deployed. As a side note, that is the rule that I impose on myself not a rule that I impose on others. But let’s go back and see where it started.

Yesterday, apparently, I was wearing my heart on my sleeve and didn’t realize it. I went about my normal day. I went to a meeting, I went to another meeting, I went home to run, I went to the commissary and I made it home in time for the bus! Seems normal enough, right? But when I was sitting in one of those meetings, suddenly, I felt a throbbing on my sleeve. It was not like someone was coming “off the top turn buckle” as we say at my house, but it was more of a “we don’t need you” feeling from the other attendees. All of a sudden, I realized that I was angry and I felt another throb on my shoulder! ‘How dare you not need me,’ I thought. ‘Can’t you see that I have valid input?’ ‘Don’t you understand that this is not my first rodeo?’ 

Then, I came home to a personality conflict among friends.  There it was again ... throb ... throb ... right on my sleeve. The bickering continued. “She’s talking about you ... she’s talking about them ... she’s talking about everyone!” Sweet Heavenly Father save us! The ship of my soul is about to go down! Once everything was talked out and cards were laid on the table, things were better. Then, throb ... throb ... throb, goes the heart on my sleeve as I sat and thought about the day’s events later in the evening.

“Nothing’s fine, I’m torn. I’m all out of faith. This is how I feel. I’m cold and I am ashamed, lying naked on the floor. Illusion never changed into something real. I’m wide awake and I can see the perfect sky is torn.”

Throb ... throb ... throb goes the heart on my sleeve as I email my husband the events of the day and how I feel about them. Luckily, I had the decency to warn him, ‘I think what you are witnessing is my deployment meltdown,’ I wrote.

After sitting with my feelings, what I realized was that it was not about what this person said to me or what that person said about me. It was about me and how I felt! I was taking things personally and I was allowing the pin prick in the heart on my sleeve.

Well, I am the only one that has control over my heart. I can put it out there for people to step on or I can guard it with my life! I learned a long time ago that I can’t control what people say or do, I can only control how I react. We can say that we are sorry, and we can try our best to be better, but the truth is, those pin pricks will happen again despite everyone’s best efforts.

So what can I do? I can either go on medication, which is a discussion for another time, or I can decide that I am going to not take things so personally. I am going to be the “big girl” that confronts head on not only my feelings, but the person who hurt them, intentionally or unintentionally. I am going to decide to do those things in a respectful manner so that the person I confront does not feel threatened, berated or belittled. In my experience, during deployments, 95 percent of the time, people do not wake up in the morning with the intent of hurting their sister (or brother) in arms. But if we don’t decide to make things better for ourselves and our friends, we will spend our deployments lonely, heartbroken and torn. What do you decide?


Strength and Courage ... sby

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