Unloading The Negative Stresses To Load The Passions

I’m prepping a new chapter in my life. I am giving the civilian life a second chance after a total ten and a half years of military service.
People would question why I would give the military life a second chance after my experiences in the first round. It’s because I don’t give up easily, even if the flame diminishes in my vision.

I am not perfect, but I am an individual who looses focus once the passion is gone. The fire went out of me years ago for the army life. However, it was the only thing I knew in life, so it was hard to let go for me. Until now.

Well, not until now, but more recently as I put my insecurities away, learn to expose my vulnerability, and tell my story to the world. I realize people from my past will sham me for it. I am aware, but that doesn’t tell you who I am. That tells you who they are as a person. I would never claim as one of the best soldiers in the military. Shit, I consider myself more of an underdog.

I’m not just an underdog. I am a geek. I am embracing it. My passions are my therapy. Photography, writing, kickboxing, horses, dogs, movies, music, all are my therapy. Unfortunately other veterans who struggle with PTSD don’t find their strengths and therapeutic remedies. I have been working to rebuild my strengths.

We tend to be hesitant with coming forward with PTSD, because of the shamming it provides, not just in society, but also in the military. We need to change this stereotypical bullshit. We need to help the veterans find their new strengths outside the military life and let them openly expose their vulnerabilities without judgements.

I want veterans to stop being unsecured about their weaknesses and turn them into strengths like I have as a combat veteran poet. Learn to turn a negative into a positive. I do that with my poetry. My poetry keeps my emotions in check. On paper, it looks like a hot bi-polar mess. Reality, it helps me situate my feelings of what’s permanent and what’s temporary. I want to help and now that I’ve unloaded my military stresses more, I can help others unload theirs. I want to help others. I am tired of seeing the “22 a day…” slogan/statistics. We need to change it. Now!

Navigating with a Notepad (Poetry)

I’m trying to sit in the dark,

Late at night, staring out at the stars,
While sorting out my thoughts to write another poem.
Yeah, it might sound like the same old song,
But the pen and pad are the only things I can depend on.
It’s hard to have family and friends
Who can’t see or understand any of my social problems.
Some days I’m quietly awkward,
Other days I’m rudely obnoxious.
Maybe I’m a good actor,
Or maybe, I just don’t know how to act.
I am sure people think I am just playin’
To get money from the government,
But if I was doing that,
I’d apply for other assistance,
Along with food stamps.
I don’t want any of that,
I just want to live peacefully before I’m dead.
If I was faking my problems,
I wouldn’t have prolonged my issues from 2009,
Or even longer, like…
…my whole life.
I wouldn’t still be walking that fragile line.
People just rather be blind,
To the facts of my short term memory distortion,
My insomnia, and the voices in my conscience,
That transfers through my body, to my fingers,
To the pen to form these words on this notepad.
In my eyes, I don’t see insecurity with my vulnerability.
If that was the case, I wouldn’t have the courage to share my story.
So what if I am a bit sensitive or even a bit pensive,
My depression and anxiety has always been repetitive,
I’ve accepted these anti-socializing traits,
The best of this world’s artists can relate.
I am sure other kids can to, but too scared to navigate,
And get lost deep inside their heart,
Emotions, and words to collate, in return create this art.
So if you’re afraid, just turn to my unique poetic philosophy, Descartes.

I wish people would stop being concern about how the world looks at me,

I’ll be the executive producer of my decisions and consequence,
Revealing the tattoos and scars that live deep down in my heart.
It’s my skin. It’s my ill mind. It’s my life.
So I’ll keep dishing these poems like my pen is a spoon or fork,
Because it seems it’s the only therapy that truly works.
So if you think I am writing to ask for help,
I’m not. By the time this poem ends, I’ll be my better self.
I just want to thank you for reading and listening,
To my rhymes, my provocative conditioning.
2014 ©H.M. Gautsch

Sunday Funday – Unlikely Utopia For All Walks Of Life

Yes, I am failing on a major level on keeping my Sunday Funday posts to strictly restaurant critiques and reviews, but I make sure I keep my weekends interesting and fresh. I have been working on myself to reach out to all sorts of walks of life from my friends in Chicago, and now to volunteering at a roller derby mixer here in La Crosse.

A long story short: I’ve known Yacob: The Swedish Ref, for 3+ years. It took him two years to get me to a bout for roller derby and with the help of reuniting with my dear friend, Hova, it actually happened this past Saturday. No, I did not put on skates, considering my well-being with my Post-Traumatic Stress and the fact that I haven’t had skates or blades on since over 12+ years. I did assist as a non-skating official though and it was fun to learn new things to add to my life experience as a Penalty Box timer and Jam timer. I got to use my “sound off” voice for sure by hollering, “Five seconds,” countless times.

Everyone knows I like my solitude and limit my socials to keep control of my PTSD and not get overwhelmed. Everyone knows, but very few understand. Over this weekend, I met a new friend who understands my position in life. I am working towards this with my life; when I can eventually do what I want and have the ability to social at my choice of events. It’s a long progress on my end, but it’s allowed me to work towards my healing permanently, instead of having my struggles and emotions like a roller coaster like majority of my military comrades who struggle with PTSD, take the medications and call it good.

I was anxious to see what the derby would bring into my life. I remember briefly when it was on television, so I wasn’t sure if the popularity and commodity was still there. At the end of the day, it was nothing near a disappointment. It surely was a good group of people as well. The cool thing was how family-knit the league is as a whole. As the bouts happened, it looked ugly a couple of times, but at the end of the day, everyone was smiling, laughing, and hugging it out at the official after-party, where we received pizza and karaoke. My audience knows my love for both! The roller derby family did win my heart over the weekend. 

I can’t thank Hova and Yacob enough for teaching me and staying patient with my shortcomings this past weekend and a special shout out to a new group of friends that I made this past weekend. Keep doing you, stay unique, and keep shining!

Teaser for "Psychological Demons"


 I will not reveal the part of the story this teaser is from, but here is a sneak peak of one of the novel projects on my list. A suspense/drama about a female combat veteran fighting her psychological war, as she tries to keep her relationship with her father alive. You can find the rest of the synopsis under the “Projects Wall” tab. Hope you enjoy it!
            The alarm clock’s neon light blanketed throughout the bedroom, as it displays 05:30am. The door is cracked open, with a bit of light from the hallway shining through the small space. In a blink of an eye, the alarm goes off. A man’s hand reaches out from the quilts, from the bed, as it firmly presses on the snooze button on the alarm. More features are revealed from the bed as the man slowly makes his way up and stretches to start the day. Superb details of his features rain in like melody with the ashy hair with small highlights of his remaining brunette roots, and the deep blue-grayish eyes. Just as the alarm clock goes off again, the man, known as Joe Sydney, beats to the snooze button and then turns off the alarm settings.
            Joe makes his way across his room, as he heads out towards the hallway. He follows the lights down to a second bedroom, cracks upon the door and peaks in. The queen-size bed has been ruffled, but yet not made as if someone has awoken from their slumber. Joe then turns his head towards the dining room area and hears clashing of pots and pans in the kitchen. He smirks at the productive noise and heads on down towards the racket.
            In the kitchen is a young woman, in her mid-twenties. As Joe turns the corner, he comes to the discovery of the lady attempting to make breakfast. The woman, Eve Sydney, is startled a bit from Joe.
            “Dad! I didn’t mean too…” As Eve tries to apologize, Joe cuts her off.
            “It’s okay, sweetheart. Good morning.”
            Joe makes his way to kiss Eve on the forehead and embrace her.
            “Dad, I’m not a child.” Eve squirms away from her dad’s morning love.
            “You know, if you reserve that love for a woman, you may be able to get a girlfriend in your life.” Eve continues on with a witty comment and a smile.
            “Ouch, that hurts.” Joe replied with a sarcasm remark and a smirk of his own. “So what are you making?”
            “Omelets. Just the way you taught me, or tried.”
            Both look at the pan with the omelets, filled with mushrooms and spinach, but nowhere near the awesomeness of Joe’s craft with his chef skills. Joe notices coffee is made in the coffee pot, grabs a cup from the cupboard right above, and pours him a cup as he also continues on the lovely morning conversation.
            “At least you make better coffee than me.”
            Eve starts laughing and replies with, “Dad, you are ridiculous.”
            “What?”
            “Well, I tried.” Eve continues, as she grabs a plate from the cupboard and dishes the hot mess of an omelet, which by now looks like a scramble of some sorts that’s overcooked. Joe willingly grabs the plate, along with his black coffee, and makes his way to the dining room table.
            “It’s the thought that counts, hon.” Joe replied.
            Eve makes her way to the coffee pot and grabs a coffee cup from the cupboard, but this isn’t just an ordinary coffee cup, it is one that she purchased while being deployed to Iraq. As she examines the broken handle and faded décor, a flashback hits her.
Eve is joy-riding around the Green Zone in Iraq, with a couple of male comrades, on her downtime from her duty shift. As they come up to a round-about, their smiles and jokes quickly turn to blank stares as they spot a local national digging on the side of the road. With no hesitations, the driver pulls over, but keeps the truck running.
“Stay here, Eve.” The driver insisted.
As both the male soldiers slowly make their way, pistols pulled from their holsters, towards the man. The man drops his shovel and starts running away from the two soldiers, but with their speed, the two are able to quickly catch up and tackle the man, cuff and blinded the suspect. As this event occurs, Eve watches from the truck.
As the soldiers and suspect return to the truck, the driver throws the man in the back with Eve and hands her his loaded pistol with the instructions,
“If he moves one inch, shoot him.”
Eve suddenly feels a nudge and comes back to the present day. She sees her father on her side with concern.
“Are you okay?”
Eve shakes off the flashback and puts the coffee cup in the trash and grabs a new one from the cupboard, as she quickly changes the subject.
“It was time to move on from that cup anyways.”
As Eve continues to make her coffee, her father observes her behavior.
“So, you go back to your treatment tomorrow?” Joe insists in continuing on the conversation. Eve replies, “Unfortunately.”
She avoids eye contact by looking down and fiddles with her newly filled coffee cup.

Kicking Motivation In People’s Ass With A Steel Toe Boot

Courtesy of Veteran’s Today

The clock is ticking. Fifty minutes before I have to be where I seriously don’t want to be. I barely have any motivation for my current employment at the moment anymore, but I have a job. 

I really hate publicizing my personal life. I do. I am not writing this out of pity or asking for sympathy, because I feel I made the choices that got me here. Could employment be better? Yes. Could the economy be better? I fucking wish. 

I do feel my life sucks, but I know it can always get worse. Even though I am on a brink right now, I keep pushing with whatever strength I have. I should be finishing up training in Virginia right now, with a second pay check from the military to take me to my vacation spot in Florida for another week. But, I am not. I am stuck back home in Wisconsin watching our first snow fall and watching our seasons change for winter rapidly. Rent is late this month. Because I work for a corporate that doesn’t feel like increasing their minions’ wages to be able to help them make a living. The corporate doesn’t even want to function with the government with the raise of minimum wage and yet they are the most successful corporation in the world.

Am I doing anything about it? Yes, I am applying at other jobs, all the while, continuing to try to per sue my dreams in writing the best I can right now. I had a goal to be moved out to California by my 28th birthday in June, but that opportunity seems to be getting throwing out the window. 

Courtesy of Stylez Fine Arts

I don’t hardly socialize anymore, unless I am able to afford to go out for dinner.  I am tired of the bar scene and that’s all this society I currently reside in are all about. I even stopped going to karaoke. We have the largest six-pack in the world at our local brewery. Every year during Oktoberfest, college kids feel it’s beyond cool to flip cars and go fucking crazy. Sad, but true.

On to better news, I am also swallowing my pride and seeing if I can get assistance from the Veteran’s Affairs to assist me to get back on my feet, permanently. It’s frustrating, because I am one of those struggling veterans when the rest of the people I surround myself with are doing amazing, whether it’s with finances, families, friends, fame, etc. So it sucks that I need all this help and I can’t sense to find anyone who has the same issues that I do when it comes to life. 

Regardless of all my current issues, I am still blessed. I got two best friends that are furry and weighs less than twenty pounds. I still have my hearing to embrace my music inducing moments. I have my eye sight to embrace my movie inducing moments as well.  I still have a roof over my head even if rent is late from time to time. Shows how supportive my landlord has been during my struggles, past and present. I may not have a companion to share my life struggles and success with, but I also am not a single mother stranded in this world with welfare. I have a mother, stepfather, two brothers, their girlfriends, & three nephews, who are all healthy as healthy can get. I also have a vehicle, with a monthly payment of course, and not of a GEO Spectrum kind. Do they even make those things anymore?! Anyway, if I do lose my apartment, at least I have a place to stay warm, especially for this winter… And that’s in my truck.

All kidding aside, I could be sitting worse than what I am now, no matter how much my life sucks. Did I mention I can still manage to pay my internet bill, so I can write this for you, my audience? A lot is going on in my life at the moment, but at least I am not sitting on my ass feeling sorry for myself. I am trying to take as much action as I am able too. I learned from the Army life of, “Hurry Up & Wait.” That is at every aspect in life. 

So if you feel like life isn’t feeding you sugar coated candy, think of me or better yet, think of a homeless vet that is trying to get the help that I am able to receive at this moment in my life. Life is all about perspective of things. It does suck to try and think of positive outcomes when your emotionally drained and washed up with depression and anxiety. I deal with that shit on a day to day basis too. What isn’t right with me, I often ask? What the hell motivates me to not give up? The hope and prayers that I can be one who makes a difference in enough peoples’ lives to save theirs like my heroes has saved mine in more than a couple times in my life’s testaments that God has given me. Roy Dupuis & Romeo Dallaire. Look them up. My inspirations on an every day basis, no matter how many tears are shed or how many things get thrown in the house.

Until Next Time…

2013©H.M. Gautsch