Thursday, November 17, 2005

17 NOV 05: What's on a soldiers mind

Those of you who know me would probably say not much. But those who know me really well know that the depth of who I am will often catch you off guard.

So in an effort to help people in this country understand what it is like to be here I am going to attempt to tell you some things you don't know. Hopefully never have to worry about.


Most of the time over here people will notice that you have become a different person. One of the biggest reasons has to do with your mind. In case you forgot your mind plays tricks on you. An off hand comment from a family member or loved one has an affect. You may have been joking when you said it; In fact, you may be pretty sure that your soldier took it as a joke at the time.

But time is the enemy here.

Think about all the distractors you have back home, your phone, T.V., stores, movies, malls, fun, anything you can think of. So if you remove all the distractors you have what all those above things take up. TIME! The one thing you are losing and you won't get back. That has an effect.

Your soldier will replay the conversation over and over again and analyze it probably to a point where Interpol could not make sense out of it anymore. But hey you don't get as frequent contact with home so we dwell on the last contact sometimes for our detriment. Then we project our insecurities into that over analyzed last contanct and then it all becomes something that it is not and was probably never meant to. That has an effect.

Now add the little things like being away from home for the holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, births of family members and deaths also. yeah you feel guilty because you want to be there for you real family but the military one needs you more now. This is especially hard if you have never missed any of these before. That guilt combined with the loneliness gets to you. It changes you. It strips your of your securities and most times leaves behind insecurities. That has an effect.

You make friends over here. Because your lonely and no one person is an island and people need human contact. Those friendships have varying effects on your loved ones back home. I imagine your loved ones back home feel guilty because they can't be there for you and that they are not involved or they feel left out or afraid you will leave them out or not need them when you get back because of these new friendships. That creates problems and things sometimes get said that shouldn't. Sometimes the soldier gets hurt; sometimes it is the family members. Now go back and inject that first pargraph in after this conversation. That has an effect.

Then your friends leave and God be willing it is just cause they are going home and not leaving the other way. As SFC Smith (MOH winner) wrote "there are only two ways to come home from War. You walk off the plane or you get carried off." But you know you will miss them cause they have become like a new little family for you. But you feel guilty for wanting them to stay; just so you won't have to miss them and be alone. But on the other hand you don't want them to stay one minute longer then they have to. So your lonely, sad, and little happy and resentful cause your not going home all at the same time. That has an effect.

But you wonder will you still be friends when you get back home? Life back home has multitude of distractions; sometimes a friendship needed in a war zone is not needed back home. In some cases you remain friends and in some you do not. So that unkown is there. It has an effect. When the reality is of friendship that disappears when your gone; well that just hurts. Cause losing someone you care about always hurts. That has an effect.

Now lets factor in all the changes your family went through that you were not there to experince with them. So you are returning to people you don't really know. You think you are returning to your memory but you never do. Then throw kids into the whole mix; who change even more drasticly over the time your gone then the adults and you are quickly on the outside looking in. That has an effect.

So it is hard no to be over sensitive as you attempt to try and anticipate it all. Not to mention you finally get to let your guard down and show some emotion. You still have to deal with all the new revelations that you will come home with. That has an effect.

Experiences like War tend to show you alot about what is important in life. Sometimes you get back and realize your whole life you have surrounded yourself with people you don't really need. Sometimes you mix them all up in an effort to make a change. Get rid of some people you did need. That has an effect.

Fear is the enemy and it is always on your mind. You try not to let the expectations get out of had. But it is hard not to after being gone for a year in a place that totally sucks on the good days. Also roll into all of it the let down your gonna feel when home doesn't live up to your expectations cause everybody knows the fantasy is never as good as the real thing. But then sometimes it is better! All that has an effect too.

Now think about having to try and explain to your signaficant other why you were feeling around your bed in the middle of the night looking for your weapon. Or how the sound of one of your children trying to get into bed with you int he middle of the night wakes you so violently from a deep sleep (one of the first you have had in so long that you forgot what deep sleep was) that you move from the prone position into a fighting stance so fast that it scares everyone involved. Not to mention confuses you as to where you are and why your kid is there looking at you like you are monster and your significant other is wondering why you suddenly jumped out of bed throwing the covers all helter sketeler. Or why every so often when you walk around you keep checking for you weapon and you feeling naked cause every time you reach for where it hangs you can't find it. So that makes you feel uncomfortable. That has an effect.

Pile on top of all that crap people who want to see you and all the demands that they will make on you and your time. How they won't understand how what you really want is to be alone and let things slow down. But you won't tell them cause you don't want to hurt their feelings. How do you tell them you just want to have some privacy somthing you have had next to none of while you were away. But at the same time you want them all around cause you miss them all so much. That has an effect.

just so you know what is running through most of our heads right now. Everything effects everything else. In ways you can't even imagine.


Blogger Robyn said...

Wow, I wonder if that was directed at me? I get it now, and I am sorry. Hopefully, you can still remain friends with the people you want to remain friends with when you come home.

It doesn't matter if you are female or male. People in general can not read other people's minds. Thank you for letting me know your thoughts.

3:10 PM  

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