Pandemic Reflections & Moving Forward

It has been a minute since I have written in this blog and I sincerely apologize to my readers. There was plenty of soul searching within a very uncertain time in my life between relationships, life, and goals I was and are pursuing throughout the pandemic. Obvious life taught me I had the wrong focuses in my heat and mind. Lessons were still valuable though. Instead of focusing on other people’s goals, I had to focus on my own and search for what I wanted mostly from within.

The stress of the pandemic, hardships that came with finances and relationships, changing of jobs throughout the past year, going back to school for my Bachelor’s, therapist moving away, etc… has been rough emotionally for me. Trying to avoid it and fill it with work from freelance and my regular Joe job, as well as, school, has back fired ten fold on my mindset. Having loved ones being scared of their lives with the turmoil that ensued within the last couple of years with the BLM movement and the MAGA cult made me feel like I did not know my country anymore. Questions day in and day out. Who are we? Who did we become? How did we become as such?

The pandemic forced me in a way to sit my ass down, work on my patience and healing with my time in therapy, reflect on what I was born and raised around and what type of human being I wanted to be, work on my boundaries, and reflect on the life I was living and what life I wanted to live. I also had to search within and stop hiding from the past that built and formed the heart within me. I was tired of hiding from my truth, since I was waking up (soulfully) from assumptions of me that were not factual. Rarely do individuals see me as a human being or even what I offer through my heart. I’ve learn the hard way, and I mean with a lot, that most folks only will fuck with you when one, it is convenient for them and only them, and two, only if they can benefit from your talent/gift that you offer to the world, but fuck everything else that comes from the package that comes with it. It gets exhausting and I am very vulnerable, usually at the wrong times with the wrong people. The trauma and the triggers sometimes feels never ending.

However, my motivation was to not return to the suicidal mindset I had since 2019. So, I put words into action as I have been working to focus on my therapy treatments, work on a Bachelor’s for Graphic Design, as we a minor in Creative Writing to get back to my first love, started to sing and rap and record my own music (even if its not for everyone), find a job that works for me as a person, as well as, gives me an amazing schedule of two on and two off, making sure I keep up to date on my medications, and adjust myself to focus on my present, as well as cut ties where shit didn’t align with my morals or ethics and was extremely unhealthy for me.

Sacrifices sometimes need to be made for your own happiness, but when it comes to healing, it does not happen overnight. Pain, anger, frustration will still linger during the process of healing. I finally learned though that I need to stay away from those who attempt to derail your work with your own personal healing and your own techniques with managing it. Only you know what’s best for you to be the very person you are meant to be at the end of the day. In some aspects, it seems it’ll always be a work in progress. Overthinking is hell. But, I was reminded today that mental health is a practice, and it just doesn’t get better after a treatment session or therapy session. You have to work day in and day out to keep your mindset to the place you want it to be without jeopardizing who you are. At the end of the day, life will keep throwing shit your way, you just have to learn how to handle the shit and move on in a healthy manner. Just don’t give up.

Yep. That’s where I am at during this moment while I crank out these rusted formation of words. After plentiful of mourning lost loved ones the past two years… Vanilla (08-2020), Aunt Cecelia (10-2020), Grandma Benedict (09-2021), Aunt Sheila (09-2021), & my dad, just recently in the past month (07-2022)… I am learning that resentment and being on bad terms with loved ones aren’t worth it in the end, forgiveness is what matters. Most importantly love is what matters.

My twin flame tried to teach me that himself, but didn’t listen and now I am alone grieving and growing regret with the feeling of not spending more time with them throughout my life. Others will have their opinions, but this is just my honesty and vulnerability I am working through currently considering avoiding it and faking being fine over the past year has sincerely backfired completely on me. If your mental health isn’t in a regular practice for yourself, be mindful and very careful with these types of relationships… and learn to deviate what’s worth walking away from and what’s worth fighting for. The mind can play many tricks when it comes to those soul mates and twin flames that come within your life. Of course there will be other distractions also put in place. At the end of the day it could be just the person you need to challenge you, to be uncomfortable with, as well as, give you the space to grow, at the same time, not be afraid to grow with you, to heal with you, but you are just finding them at the wrong moment in yours and/or their lives. That’s the worse type of love to break from, but at the same time the best type of love to learn from and go forward with. I have been blessed to have met and grow from two of these types of love within my life and I continue to grow and be a better person for it.

Thank you for taking the time to read the tribulations I have dealt and am learning from recently. Now I shall continue to grow and put in the work to reflect as such. I am just thankful my furry companion is stuck with me and puts up with my shit. I write this while she gives me endless kisses and comforts me to show me it’ll all work out in the end. Or maybe she just wants a treat. I never can tell. Ha!

Peace be with all your hearts and mind today. With love.

The Film That Saved Me From Myself

Taji, Iraq 2007

My life has been filled with various darkness throughout. The cards I were given aren’t usually the ones that anyone would just take willingly. The lowest, darkest, and most irresponsible point in my life came in my early 20s.

It wasn’t until after my tour in Iraq that my life would be crashing down. Failed relationships after failed relationships, alcoholic abuse, and surrounding myself with invaluable individuals who used me for my money and popularity.

Post-traumatic stress got the best of me as I failed to mentally prep for my second deployment to Iraq. I was sent home early with no direction. I was working minimum wage at Subway and almost got evicted from my apartment due to rent not being paid. Then a blessing that turned into one hell of a life test. As I am just starting my treatment for post traumatic stress for the first time in my life, I got long-term orders to work in Fort McCoy at the Wisconsin Military Academy. However, I would fail the test.

12191521_1522539561393832_469534560345391429_n
Fort McCoy, WI 2009

Even when I found a decent job as a federal employer at Fort McCoy, I would just throw that hard earned money away to partying across the Upper Midwest. I was empty. I had no purpose. I was reckless. I didn’t realize the gift I had with my expressions and writing. I had nothing to live for. I went on years of this lifestyle until I got the call from my mother.

“Kenny is in the hospital…”

One of the few father figures I had in and out of my life (possibly my biological father), was sick. I don’t mean with the flu or even with cancer. Kenny had decades of this reckless lifestyle ahead of me, however the illness he lived with was covered up over the years for my protection, until that very moment in my life. All that was revealed was from a fall from a fucking ladder. A fucking ladder.

With heartache, confusion, and revelations, I turned to my best friend at the time. It was 2010. We both agreed it would be best if I would stop my bad habits. He took all my liquor I kept at his place and hide it. Quitting cold turkey with the drama that ensued was another failed test. My life, the same patterns, but with different faces. Something had to change. However, that was the time I was going blind, yet again, for love.

A lot of people who’ve come and gone in my life don’t know that I’ve tried quitting my party habits in 2010, however it was short lived, as my old habits resurfaced over the next two years. Even as I somehow completed my first college degree. Not sure how, as my days were either filled with drinks or hangovers. So how does this story even relate to any kind of film you may ask? Let’s just say I shook hands with the devil during those years of irresponsibility.

Roy Dupuis as General Romeo Dallaire

2012 came. Curiosity grew. Still struggling without structure in my life. I took a year and a half away from the uniform at the time (still on contract though through the Inactive Reserve), and decided to join the active Army Reserves in McCoy. I wanted to be a different soldier. To find new motivation, I gave into another La Femme Nikita marathon, but nothing was biting. I was urging for something more. I was seriously outdated with every cast member’s work, so I researched and what did I discover? General Romeo Dallaire’s (ret.) story:

This project really spoke out to me as a warrior with Post Traumatic Stress and having Roy Dupuis to play General Dallaire drew me to the project even more. Why? Roy gave up drinking and the party lifestyle prior to filming the television series, La Femme Nikita. This film project had me look up to him even more than I already had growing up. It was the ticket to my next chapter. To actually live life to my fullest ability, but first I had to work through my unsteady roller coaster after years of learning to not feeling a damn thing outside of alcohol.

12108257_1519355855045536_3855446441733944125_n
Sterling: Trinity Equestrian Center, 2015

Today, I may be a work in progress after decades of untreated chronic PTSD piling up in my life since the age of four, but I wouldn’t be where I am today with the perfect ingredients that have helped me along the way. That includes my military family that got me into and helped me with equestrian therapy and my medical board process to be retired from the military, the advisors and mentors that assist my needs when it comes to my mental health, and the friends that allowed me the opportunity to meet the biggest role model in my short complicated life. Most importantly, Roy taking on the role of General Romeo Dalliare (ret.) wholeheartedly.

With all of this and how my life sorted itself out, I do not use my PTSD as an excuse to fail in life, but as a motivation to keep my purpose alive. Without these struggles, I wouldn’t have resorted to storytelling, and discover art and entertainment as part of my therapy and passion. I know exactly what my triggers are for my anxiety and stress disorders. I know exactly what hobbies and interests I can benefit to improve my behavioral habits. I am more of myself today, because of watching Shake Hands With the Devil and admiring Roy Dupuis’ career. He’s one of the main ingredients in my survival and being as successful and courageous as I am today.