22 March 2012

June 1st: self-imposed deadline to get a life

I made the decision that June 1st I’m coming home!  I originally signed up for 1 year and said okay friends and family see you in September!  Then, umm alright see you by Christmas!  Definitely by my year and half in March!  And…I’m still here.  So, I knew I had to make it official with a date or else I’d never leave. 

When I told my mother that I was coming home by June 1st her response was, “oh.”  Not exactly the response I was looking for.  While my parents’ completely chill persona was awesome in my rebellious teenage years (okay so I really didn’t have those minus that one freshman year birthday incident), now it left a little something to be desired.  In one word, I was underwhelmed.

“Your baby is coming home from war and your response is just oh!” - (my reaction to my mother's chillness if of course to over react in a dramatic fashion to hopefully warrant a more spirited response, this has mostly never worked)
 “I’ll believe it when I see it.” - my mother still completely chill
 Touche, mother.  I’m guess I am the little boy that cried wolf/I'm coming home.

Anyway June 1st is quickly approaching and after applying for 7 jobs, I have heard a rejection from a whopping 1 and a lack of response from the other 6.  I feel like I’ve found my niche working with troops, and I want to use my public relations knowledge.  I’d like to live somewhere on the coast in VA or NC (close enough to home, but not too far).  There’s just this one nagging feeling, what about writing?  I love writing.  Right now I’m in a horrible mood because of some rude people, so after some impulse Amazon purchases, I started writing.  It’s what I like to do, and I think I'm pretty good at it.  I mean I chuckle when I read it back to myself, and I'm pretty uptight about grammar.  (The fact that I typed the number instead of spelling it out when these numbers are under 10 is secretly annoying me right now).  People have offered me advice to getting started in a writing career.  I even bought 4 books about getting published from another Amazon spree a few months ago that sit untouched on my Rubbermaid container.  What am I so afraid of? (ahhhh dangling preposition!)

Here’s an abridged version: embarrassment, failure, becoming penniless, having people tell me I’m not good enough, and being slapped in the face with the harsh realization that this is just a hobby and will never be a career

I’ve been watching this show, Surviving the Cut.  It is a show about the different military schools and how difficult they are.  So far I’ve watched 6 episodes, and I’ve concluded I wouldn’t survive more than 5 minutes at Sapper School, Ranger School, Combat Diver School, Special Forces Selection, and Air Force Pararescue Extended Training Day.  What they emphasize in all of these schools is: it’s mind over matter.  Sheer determination and force of will is the only way to survive and ultimately succeed.  You have to have confidence in yourself because out there in the cold harsh world no one else will do it for you. 

Well not only can I not complete a single push up, I do the struggle dance with the whole mind over matter ordeal.  Yeah, friends and family have encouraged my writing and I’m extremely grateful for that.  But all it takes is an episode of American Idol to shake me to my core.  I’m that girl.  I’m the girl whose whole family is there, and a few friends saying that I’m the best singer since Celine Dion, but then I open up my big ol’ mouth and sound like a cat that is suffering a painful and slow death.  (I’m trying to make an analogy about my writing ability, but if you didn’t get that without this parenthetical notation, then I’m just about as horrible of a writer as I worry that I am).

There’s also this one other little worry that all single ladies my age have…what if I move to a new city and have no friends?  Once you reach a certain age at all the places you could meet possible new friends – gym, church, work, they are married and/or have children meaning they have next to no time for “hanging out.”  Sitcoms lie people!  There are no groups of late twenty-somethings who meet up every day at a coffee shop to hang out.  There are married late twenty-somethings who are busy with work, and houses and children, and their lonely single friends.

I currently live with 2 other females (4 others if Army billeting asks) in a room, in a building with approximately 30 others who all share a bathroom, and I share an office with 8 others, and work at a place where 1,000 people walk through a day.  I’m NEVER alone.  The thought of living alone both excites me and terrifies me.  I’m currently helping out at a FOB in northern Afghanistan, and I hate that I don’t know anyone.  I eat alone; I work out alone; I hang out alone.  If it’s this sucky for just a week, what about when this is my new life?! 

I’m also going to attempt a Tough Mudder on June 9th in Colorado with some of my USO crew.  So there is some major worry going on there as well, what if I suck, what if I let down my team because I have zero upper body strength?

Basically, I’m a big ol’ ball of worry right now.  I just try to keep one thing in mind, the only reason I have this much worry is because I have this much opportunity.  I live in a time where as long as I’m awesome at what I’m doing I can pursue whatever job I want, and live wherever I want.  I’ve been given a blessed life, and it’s my turn to live up to it.  We’ll see what happens.  First step, keep working on that push up.

08 March 2012

Kony 2012

What if one evil man could be brought to justice not with years of war and thousands of dead, but with one year, and thousands of outspoken people that donate a few dollars?

I watched the Kony 2012 video like many others, only I already knew his name.  I already know his children.  I already have seen the crimes he has committed in the faces of women and children who have been raped, had their families murdered in front of them, and forced to live in the wild or fear capture.  I visited northern Uganda in January/February 2011, and I will never be the same.

Me with one of the children from ChildVoice
I visited my friend Natalie (her blog) who volunteered for an organization, Child Voice International that hosts a center for young women and their children to attend to learn life skills so they may provide for their families.  They stay for a year or so and then return to their villages where they can hopefully get a small loan and start their businesses.  (At the time I visited they were working on the last part).  These women and children were all so happy and joyful, it’s hard to believe that they had been tortured just a few years prior.

The “mother” of the center told me a story of how she had to run from her village with just her twins and no supplies because the Lord Resistance’s Army was coming to kill everyone.  She saw many murdered.  She told me of not knowing who of her family and friends survived and who died.  They lived in the bush for years wondering if tonight would be the night they were discovered and killed, or kidnapped to become a sex slave. 

Many of the women have children, not because they are promiscuous, but because of rampant rape in the bush.  I could write for hours about these women’s absolutely horrific stories, you could fill pages with their suffering, but what I want to talk about is their hope.  They WANT a better life for their children.  That’s why they are at the Child Voice center, to work hard for a way to provide for their families.  But Joseph Kony and his LRA are still a threat.  What if everything they have worked so hard for is destroyed and taken from them over night?  This is why Kony needs to be stopped.

Some of the kids from ChildVoice
What’s the best way to stop Kony?  I’m not sure.  I honestly don’t know if blanketing cities in posters is the best idea (sounds like an environmental hazard actually), but it’s the first idea I’ve heard that puts the power in the hands of the citizens of the world. 

Not everyone can afford to fly to Uganda and volunteer at Child Voice, but everyone can afford to post a video to Facebook to raise awareness.

There have been many critics to the Kony 2012 movement, but what good movement hasn’t?  People have issues with Tom’s Shoes and even the Red Cross, but for me all three of these organizations do enough good to justify my donation.

I’d like to imagine a world where an evil dictator can be imprisoned with the power of millions demanding it and a few highly trained people executing it.  No need for massive wars, bombs, or deaths, just a couple hundred troops of the country where the evil man is residing with some additional training and help from others to capture a man that has spent his life capturing others.  This world I imagine can be real.  I’m going to at least try to help make it happen.