It feels like these first two plus weeks of the year have flown by in a magnificent way. Big things, big shifts are occurring, I miss my quiet, slow pace of last year, but I have been feeling the desire to add more umph to my experience. I’m feeling like perhaps I can take on a little more. Perhaps I can take a step into new ventures, nothing real big, but just a little bit out of my comfort zone. Of course, almost immediately after that thought I start getting calls to do interviews. I got a call to be interviewed for the Chronicle, then to sit on a panel after the showing of the movie, Lioness. Watch the trailer and the movie if you get a chance – its intense.
Then the moderator of that panel, Patricia Grass invited me to be on her local PBS talk show, and then Fox News just interviewed me for a “feel good” piece on my story of recovery and my time in WISER (the PTSD inpatient program for women at the VA Hospital here in Houston). All of the these interviews were about my experience in Iraq and my journey back to my whole self.
me & Patricia Gras
I feel very honored to be able to share my story and have people listen. I believe stories can be so healing and that is what I’m finding in this process of sharing. I’ve trained myself to live in the moments, and take life day by day so I haven’t seen all the progress. But now as I’m stringing it all together through the questions from my interviewers I’m seeing all the progress I’ve made over the years. It has been therapeutic for me.
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ~ Maya Angelou
I’ve also been getting nudges from deep within that perhaps this is the story I want to tell. There are plenty of stories about Iraq but I think what is more interesting is the journey I’ve been on over the past five years since returning home. It feels congruent to who I am today. I think I’ll start writing a book/memoir or something. Does anyone have any thoughts, ideas, connections to share – I’m open to receive.
I find it interesting that this subject would be the one I get so much attention from since it’s the one that still scares me the most. I still fear the scorn of my fellow Marines. I think I need to learn from the Alan Garner character in The Hangover when he says, “I tend to think of myself as a one-man wolf pack.” Besides Larry told me that he would be my “unit” from now on, so I wouldn’t feel so alone when I run. Maybe Larry & I have our own wolf pack now! I like that idea.
“I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself”
~ DH Lawrence
I discovered this dear, little, wild thing resting on my studio door step this morning. She was so peaceful & still that it reminded me of DH Lawrence’s poem, Self Pity. Her presence moved me so much that I had to share her & my ponderings here with you.
I don’t interpret Lawrence’s poem to be about how to die with grace but more about how to live without worry. To live so fully & with such voracity that the end isn’t even noticed. I don’t know what brought the end to this precious bird’s life this morning but I do know that she met the end filled with life. I imagine she was fluttering, flittering & tweeting (not on an iPhone) along doing what she does best when the end came to her without a thought or worry. Death is certain for all of us, so why worry about it, right?
Tears well up from within as I ponder this way of living & I admire her grace & utter beauty. What a gift that she chose my doorstep to rest, so that perhaps I could be reminded to live more fully. Unlike a wild thing, I spend a lot of my day thinking & day dreaming of horrific events. I often imagine what it would be like to have terrorists storm our house, knocking over our furniture, shouting, shooting with such violence as we hide in a closet with our children hoping they won’t hurt us. When I drive I can picture large trucks plowing through my car. I sometimes imagine that other drivers have guns & begin shooting at me. I dream at night of death & destruction in all the ways I’ve witnessed it in Iraq & in other places. I remember those who I knew that were killed in Iraq, both Marines & Iraqis. But I remember their deaths more than their lives. I don’t talk about this with anyone much because it really is a downer. It’s not that I’m afraid of dying, in fact sometimes I long for it. I struggle with PTSD & making sense of all the hate, destruction, & death in the world. I mourn for our lack of humanity & compassion. Remembering & mourning can be compassionate but I need time to live, create, love, savor & enjoy?
Thank you my little, wild, thing for lying dead on my doorstep. Blessings to you & to all the wild things that are resting today & may I go forward & live in a more mindful, present, grateful space.