Into the Jungle

I will be posting tiny things that have no place, this coming month, as I gear up for the April blogging challenge. This means that I have been trying to write every day, which has gone surprisingly well. Additionally it means that I end up with both useable stories/entries and some that fit into no dialog or larger project. Most of that is garbage but some of it isn’t to terrible. The entry you will find below falls into the latter category. It is also due to having a few people I love, with varying degrees of PTSD. I have spent some time in VA hospitals and clinics, and with veterans. What I wrote below is only my interpretation of some very tiny part of that experience, of conversations and the full body crushes needed to both restrain and show comfort on occasion.  I am not an expert, a vet or anything special. I’m just a friend.

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The woman’s tone was soft and reassuring, like she was approaching a wild animal that just may bite. She wasn’t wrong.

The machines beeped, whirred and the unmistakable sound of metal against itself wove together like a cacophony of sound, each small thing mingling with all of the voices. Some raised in anguished while the softer plaintive ones that soaked themselves into my head were the ones that seemed the loudest. It all streamed together and triggered the situation we found ourselves within. A wheelchair rattled by, and the tenuous hold slipped further. I heard their screams in my dreams but the dream world and todays reality melded together in this moment. It wasn’t the first time by far, but I prefered to keep these breaks with reality a private affair. So close to falling and the damn woman wouldn’t stop talking with her calm calm voice, like it wasn’t all falling apart, like there was time for her inanities.

The floor was made of pale squares made with scuff marks already there, and I focused on the details, trying to distinguish the manufactured from the filth of countless human interactions. It changed and sprouted real dirt and jungle underbrush. Slipping. Slipping. The ticking of the clock seemed amplified, becoming the sound of the trigger on an empty weapon. I felt the pain of my nails digging deeper into my legs. Danger Will Robinson. Danger. A voice cut through the fog obscuring the large elephant leaves, muffling the birds and creatures that rustled with uneasy silence and the woman who became a mother screaming for mercy. GET OUT! GET OUT! GETOUT! punctured the noisy stillness, and some dim part of me heard my own voice. The woman/mother left swiftly and the demons descended.

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Bullets and blades cut through flesh. Life was held in these hands and extinguished, like god or the devil, take your pick. Just following orders. Boots made silent imprints on soft earth. He screamed when he saw his death in me and a part of me rejoiced. We drank and patrolled the edges of the fires reach and beyond. We fought, sweated, slept and took the power into ourselves.  It was everything, every heartbeat, every breath. I understood this place.

Quiet broken sobbing reached the dream and blood streaked my arms and legs. My eyes took in my caked nails and dismissed the self-inflicted pain. Through muck and mire I tried to figure out the sounds and felt the tears pooling in the crease of my neck.  I recognized the drugs in the grogginess and feared sleeping again. Sleep had become an enemy.

This body was failing, this mind couldn’t be trusted and I floundered. I understood less and less of the world I kept moving through like an audience to my own failures. The nurse came back with her calm voice and this time I managed to hold onto some semblance of being a functioning human being. She asked if there was anything I needed. I wanted to say to please let me go back, stop this charade that I wasn’t capable of but instead  I took the drugs and watched the lights move above me as they wheeled me into surgery.

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Challenges, Blogging and Resistance

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After three people (that I highly respect both personally and professionally), recommended it, I thought maybe I should read “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. I thought it was a grand idea quite often, especially when it was brought up. I am not unique in my inability to commit, follow through or you know, start at all, but I like to believe I do it with an arrogance and panache that isn’t often matched. My excuses are excellent, my distractions are hard to argue with. Catastrophe, drama and incidental collateral damage have been friends, my whole life.

Lies

Yet now, that’s not really true. I’m a parent in an equal partnership, I have a stable (if low paying) job, I have an excellent circle of dependable, drama-free friends/family. I actually have a white picket fence in front of my house, it needs a little work but that pretty much sums my life up. I’m running out of excuses to keep myself down.

Two things recently happened to cause some internal house cleaning, or at least a light dusting, to occur. One of my best friends Tom Dheere bought me the book and sent it as a digital gift. apparently he knows me way to well….

“….How many pages have I produced? I don’t care. Are they good? I don’t even think about it. All that matters is that I have put in my time and hit it with all I’ve got. All that counts is that, for this day, for this session, I have overcome Resistance. …..There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t, and the secret is this: it’s not the writing part that is hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write….”  ~ War of Art

The second thing was my discovery of a blogging project that is similar to the Write a Novel in a Month project (or NaNoWriMo). It’s called Blogging Ato Z and they explain the challenge as such:

“…Can you post every day except Sundays during this month?  And to up the bar, can you blog thematically from A to Z?

Most of the time if you subtract Sundays from April, you then have 26 days–one day for each letter of the alphabet.  When April 1st lands on a Sunday you begin on that day which will be the only Sunday you would post during that month’s challenge. 

Using this premise, you would start beginning April First with a topic themed on something with the letterA, then on April second another topic with the letter B as the theme, and so on until you finish on April thirtieth with the theme based on the letter Z.  It doesn’t even have to be a word–it can be a proper noun, the letter used as a symbol, or the letter itself.  The theme of the day is the letter scheduled for that day…”

So with those two things in mind, I have (foolishly?) decided to sign up and try to commit to myself a little bit. Starting April 1st, I will attempt to post something every day, other than Sunday of course. I think my theme will be memoire style, though I had to designate it as “Adult Content” based on the fact that my life has not often been safe for children;) I am going to spend the next few weeks trying to get that going, wish me luck.

This declaration of intent feels much like admitting you are going to start a diet or quit smoking…