Full Circle

I graduated high school just a few months before the bombing/attacks on 9/11. After graduation, I began looking into joining the Navy. I wanted to join for many of the same reasons that most people do…to serve, to travel, to learn, to have a steady paycheck after having become an “adult.” 🙂 I was just trying to figure out where in this world my “place” was. The typical things that most, if not all, graduates deal with; “What do I want to BE when I grow up? Where am I going with my life? What kind of “life” is it that I desire to create for myself?”

Just a couple of weeks after graduation, I joined; and my “ship date” was set for mid-July. For what remained of my time at home that summer, you could find me working my part time job or preparing for the Navy. Great Lakes, IL was to be my destination for the next several months for Basic Training and training school.

Fun fact about me: I am a “Daddy’s Girl” through and through. From the time he came into my life, it has been my goal, all my life, to make him proud of me. We had a special bond that not many people understand. We had so many similarities that people often questioned me when they found out that he was not my biological father. The number of people that have told me that I had his smile or eyes is just ridiculous. And, of course, I would just smile, knowing that we didn’t share the DNA that would make that scientifically possible.

Let me say here that we did not always have a great relationship. There were many mistakes made over the years, damage done, healing that had to take place. Dad and I came along way over the years. At this point in my life (18 years old and fresh out of high school) our relationship was still strained, but my goal was still to make him proud. In hind sight, I really do think that I joined the Navy more because HE did. You see, my dad was a “Navy Man” and served our country during the Vietnam War. I thought that by joining the Navy, it would make me even more like him and he would be proud of me. Right?!

Dad’s “official” Navy picture from when he was in boot-camp.

I don’t have any pictures of the day I left for the Navy, but this is one of my favorite pictures of us together.

The day I left for basic was probably one of the more emotional days I have had in my life. We got up early, loaded my things from our home into the care and drove the 15 miles from where we lived, to the recruiting office in a near by town. We unloaded everything from our car, to the recruiter’s car and started the “goodbyes.” I was really proud of myself! I made it through the goodbyes with my mom, my sister, and my boyfriend without crying. I had pushed the time too far and my recruiter was hurrying us along, so my goodbye with my dad was the shortest (are most with dad’s?). He hugged me tighter than I think he has ever hugged me and quickly whispered something in my ear. It wasn’t what I was expecting; it caught me off guard and the tears immediately started to flow. I cried and cried and cried. I ugly cried all the way to Dallas. My poor recruiter! Lol! He was probably thinking “IS this girl going to stop crying?! Like, EVER?!?” It was only he and I in the car for the drive, so it was a little awkward, to say the least.

The thing that he said to me that day, shifted everything for me, although I didn’t realize it at the time. It has resurfaced over the years; like now. It has been close to 20 years now, and I can’t tell this story or say the phrase aloud without crying. He said “I love you, Sis. Do yourself proud.”

“Do yourself proud.” At 18 years old, though, I barely knew what that meant, much less how to execute it. It shifted, however, from wanting to make him proud, to knowing that he was already proud of me. Now it was time to step into MY life that I wanted to create and do something that I could be proud of myself for doing. It wasn’t anything that someone else could do for me; if I was going to succeed in the Navy, or in life, I was going to have to live my life in a way that I would be proud of. Those three words have stopped me in my tracks, they have made me cry at least 100 times, and they have made me pause…think…contemplate, even. Am I living my life in a way that lives up to those words?… Do. Yourself. Proud

In March of 2011 our family decided it was time to transition from our home town to Lubbock, TX to serve with a ministry there called Malta Farms. (You can visit their website, maltafarms.net, to learn more about the amazing work that they do in Lubbock County.)

The annual pumpkin patch for Malta Farm’s fall fundraiser. This was such an amazing thing to be a part of and WHO KNEW that there were so many different types and colors of pumpkins?!?!

I was SO excited to be going to serve the ministry that changed Brian’s life and we knew that we knew that it was supposed to be our next step. Once again, however, anxiety showed its ugly face and made the move extremely difficult for me. It took me months to pack our house because every time I started to pack, I started to have an anxiety attack. Even though I KNEW God’s hand was in it and even though I was genuinely excited, I literally could not do it.

July came, we celebrated Baby Girl’s 8th birthday and the 4th of July with family and friends, and then on July 10th, we loaded the U-Haul and left our hometown for Lubbock. Once again Dad’s “goodbye” was short and sweet; he hugged me tight, told me he loved me and handed me a card. I read it and immediately started crying. Ugly crying, ya’ll. Sobbing. I’m sure that he intended it to mean that I could do the move to Lubbock and be okay (which I did, mostly), but there have been many times since then that I’ve read those words and felt peace wash over me.

I’ve come to realize that it was exactly 10 years (July of 2001 to July of 2011) from the time he first said “Do yourself proud” to when he gave me the card. I have it hung on the wall in my bedroom. It seems to catch my eye at EXACTLY the perfect point in time every now and then. I often find myself saying “I know, Dad. I know I can face this.”

I still need these reminders every so often. “Do yourself proud” and “Keep going! You can do it! I know that you have what it takes to do this!” While I have come a long way, and I do want to live my life in a way that I can be proud of; and even though he has since passed away, I hope I am making him proud, too.

I pray that any one reading this finds hope and truth in these words. “Keep going!” “You CAN do this!” “I KNOW that you have what it takes to do this!!”

Forever In His Grip

LB

She’s in therapy?!?

This is my third blog post, so if you’ve made it to this one, Thank You! I hope you have enjoyed being here thus far.

Let’s talk about irony, shall we?! I am one of the most introverted, anxious, people pleasers I have ever met. A few months ago I said to myself “Self, we should start a blog.” Self, of course, said “UMMM…Let’s not!! People will read it (or will they?!?!). people will ridicule, people will FIND something negative to say,” and on, and on, and on it went. (I can’t be the only one who has inner conversations with “self,” right? Lol! ) It was at that point that I created a little snippet of a blog on Blogger, through Google. I wrote several blogs, but I never published them. I still wasn’t ready to put myself out there.

Fast forward a couple of months and I had the worst anxiety attack experience of. my. life. Brian and I were going to the grocery store to grab 5 things that we needed for dinner. Literally, 5 things. If I wanted to think hard, I could probably tell you what they were. I was already having some of what I call “middle level” symptoms of anxiety; feeling short of breath and tingling in my hands/forearms. But we only needed FIVE things, so I decided to “push through.” I kept telling myself “You are fine. You have zero reasons to feel anxious right now. You are fine.”

Here is the thing about anxiety, though: IT IS NOT LOGICAL

Even though I didn’t feel threatened in anyway, I wasn’t scared, I had my husband with me, and I KNEW that I was ok, my body did not seem to care. The shortness of breath got so bad that by the time I reached the front door, I had to get a handicapped cart because I could not catch my breath. But, again, we only needed 5 things and I was FRUSTRATED beyond belief with anxiety and it’s nonsense. I got on the cart and off we went to get our 5 things.

By the time we got to the first item on the list, the tingling in my hands and arms had spread to my chest and face. By the time we got to the third item, the muscles in my hands clinched up and I could barely control the cart. We got the last two items and got to the checkout. Every muscle in my body was clinched; including my jaw muscles (I could not open my mouth, no matter how hard I tried). I could no longer control the cart at all. My hands were clinched so tight that I could not open them, even enough to grasp the control. Brian did the checkout and he controlled the cart to get us out to the truck. Everything was clinched (Think labor contraction, long and HARD, all over your body, and IT. WILL. NOT. LET. GO.). The way my face looked, with my tight jaw, yet drooping face, Brian thought I might be having a stroke. (Maybe some day I can get him to tell his side of this experience??)

When we arrived at the truck, there happened to be an ambulance blocking us from getting out of our parking spot. Brian picked me up and put me in the truck and then went to get the EMTs. They checked all my vitals. Ya’ll, my blood pressure was perfect. My O2 level was perfect. My heart-rate was perfect. Yet, every muscle was STILL clinched and wouldn’t let go. The EMTs called another ambulance to come get me. I was taken to TMC, checked over by the doctor and nurses, given a strong anti-anxiety medication intravenously, and observed for a time. Once the anxiety attack had passed, and everything else came back perfect, Brian brought me home.

I spent the next week in the bed. Unable to function. Exhausted. Sore. At my wits end. On the verge of suicidal, not knowing what to do next, but knowing that SOMETHING had to be done. I knew that I just couldn’t live like that. I followed up with my family doctor, after the emergency room visit, who sent me to a psychiatrist. I made the appointment with them immediately. This doctor referred me to a therapist, who I actually didn’t make an appoinment with right away. It was close to three weeks later that I went to see her for the first time. Turns out, this lady probably saved my life…No, she really saved my life.

Therapy is one of the best things I have ever done for myself. I highly recommend it. Literally. Every. One. should go to therapy because Every. One. has LIFE on them and LIFE is hard sometimes. Let’s lean on each other instead of stepping on each other, shall we?

Forever In His Grip

LB

Like a Boss

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.

What does that mean, anyway?! “Like a Boss”?? This phrase started being pretty widely used a few years ago. Everyone was doing everything “like a boss.” There are memes for days that have the phrase, accompanied by pictures of everything from reading books while doing a handstand to sleeping at work; all being done “like a boss.” To everyone else, it probably means something to the effect of “like a pro.” Maybe?! I don’t know.

I can only assume, that like most things, it means something different to different people. In my little corner of the world, the family I married into has Boss as their surname. This particular family of Bosses have not always taken the “easy way” in life. We have made poor choices in life, we have struggled with all kinds of “bang ups and hang ups,” we have let ourselves and each other down. BUT, we have always pushed through and came out on the other side better than when we started. We have always been able to count on each other and we are all striving to do things differently; better, for the young ones we are now raising. Bosses don’t quit, sometimes to a fault.

I have officially decided that my “Like a Boss” means that I will not let anxiety (or the other host of issues I deal with) control my life. It is a part of my life, maybe forever, but it will not control me or keep me from living my life to the fullest. My “Like a Boss” means that I will invest my time, effort, energy, resources, in the people and the causes that are nearest and dearest to my heart. I will do my best to live this life in a way that empowers my children to grow into THEIR calling, their future, their own life.

So, I guess that means that “Living This Life Like a Boss” means never quitting, recognizing how far you’ve come, overcoming your “bang ups and hang ups,” doing better for the next generation, and not letting LIFE make you quit.

Forever In His Grip,

LB

Welcome!

Hello Everyone!

Thank you for stopping by my blog! My hope and desire for this blog is that each of you find something that you can relate to in such a way that it makes LIFE just a bit more bearable, because LIFE is hard sometimes and at least you know someone who has been “there” too; wherever “there” is.

I’ve started this blog as a series of “late night musings” about my life with several health/mental health issues. I have been writing “journal style” since I was a teenager. My very first therapist recommended it as a way to “process my trauma.” She gave me a suggestion that went something like this; “Just sit and start writing. Write every. single. thing that enters your head. It doesn’t have to make sense, it doesn’t all have to be about the same topic, etc. It doesn’t even matter if the first thing you write is ‘I think this is stupid, I have no idea what to write about.’ Just start writing.” She was right, you know. Somehow, writing seems to help unscramble all of the feelings/emotions/thoughts/etc. that come with LIFE, and make them a little more bearable. Sometimes, just sometimes, I will write something that is almost divinely inspired, that I don’t even remember writing. When I look back on those things I don’t even know I wrote, I find healing in my own words.

I am a 30-something woman who has been happily married to the love of my life for just short of 16 years. We have three children, the oldest of which is 22 years old. We also have a 15 year old and a 12 year old. Our family has two precious doggies and they are entirely too spoiled. I am a teacher by trade and training, but quit three years ago to become a home-school mom.

Forever In His Grip,

LB