Chelle's Mid-life musings

A journey of a middle aged woman...relearning to love life!

MichelleD

MichelleD
Location
St. Charles, Illinois, USA
Birthday
January 17
Bio
I am a career oriented woman, who just retired from 20 years of active duty service in the military. I now work in a civilian hospital, and recently completed my MBA in Healthcare management. I enjoy writing, cooking, running, and above all spending as much time possible with my family.

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Salon.com
FEBRUARY 24, 2012 11:28PM

The War I still need to fight

Rate: 15 Flag

I have spent the better part of my life, over half in fact serving my country while enlisted in the Air Force.  I joined to “Fly, Fight, and win.”  Yet although I DID enlist, I found myself in a hospital job that I did NOT want, or love at the time. 

I joined to serve, to have boots on the ground, and to embrace the blood, sweat, and tears of the war our country has been fighting for nearly as long as I can remember.  My dream was to be on the flight line as an Air Traffic Controller.  I had dreamed of this for years while sitting with my cousin Don in the control tower, watching him command the planes over head. 

Yet I joined “Open General” because I wanted to leave for basic training at the earliest date possible.  I knew I wasn’t ready for college, and I knew I needed to get away and find out who I truly was as a woman.  My parents blessed off my on my enlistment, and I left for basic training just a few weeks after graduating high school.  At the age of 18, I was off on my own, alone, and searching for my goals. 

My orders came out the week before we graduated…Sheppard Air Force Base was listed, and I was appalled.  WHAT?  That’s where the medical Airmen go for training…THIS CAN’T be right.  Yet it was…and I shipped off shortly thereafter for Medical Lab Technologist training.  And although I made dear friends, I can honestly say I hate nearly all of it…this is NOT what I joined to do as an Air Force service member.  Yet sadly the decisions aren’t always ours.  My country needed me, and I decided I would do what I was called upon to do.  I specialized in histology, the study of tissue and cells, and found myself excelling in a field I pointedly had no interest in originally.  

For years, I excelled in the Air Force.  It was the one thing I found myself “good” at…probably because I loved it so much, and also due to pride.  I found myself winning countless awards, medals, and getting promoted at a decent rate.  I was not a “fast burner” by far, but I made rank accordingly, along with very unique special duty assignments along the way.

Yet the one thing missing for me was that I had never deployed.  I never was able to deploy to a foreign country and fight this everlasting war against our enemies.  I watched on the television after a 12 hour blood drive, bodies falling from the top of the twin towers.  And the only thing I could think of, was “Damn, I wish I could be there fighting.”  Regardless if my small part in the blood drive ‘helped’ I sure as hell wished I was fighting, working, and helping the lives that were lost. 

I am now a 20 year veteran…Years stolen, but not without a fight.  I truly try to make the best living possible for my family even if it calls for lack of sleep, fun, or extra activities for me.  My sleep schedule is minute.  I am aware that I probably drink too much, drowning the memories of my past…what I did…what I didn’t do…and what I wish I’d have done. 

I now live through my husband, who joined after 9-11 and has served proudly and successfully ever since.  Yet my war, within, is still a battle this veteran will continue to fight. 

And now, it is time to poor out the wine glass filled fully to the brim in hopes of drowning what I didn’t do…and fill it with crisp cool hopes for the future.  This war.  Will. Be won. 

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I love your writing, Michelle. It is always so real, so honest, so full of emotion. I know you are proud of the contribution you have made for your (our) country. As you should be. I thank you for your service. I know you have regrets of things past, but you are not alone in that. We all can look back with an air of "what if". I hope you (and all of us) are able to reconcile that from within, and know how amazing you are. Thank you for sharing a part of yourself with us, yet again. xoxo
Thank YOU, Jess...someday I hope the nightmares will end.
I love the honesty of this, Michelle. Our lives often lead us in directions other than the one we intended, but we keep on keeping on. If I haven't said it before, thank you for your service, thank your husband for his service, and keep on writing!
Thanks CC, appreciate you stopping by.
You and your husband will see the war within through together; and judging by what I read, win both wars together, Michelle. You writing is inspiring. R
Well, so many of us have been disappointed on the job--me included. I can identify though I was not in the military. I still have good counseling skills but wonder if I will be able to use them again. Part of the problem lay with decisions I made; the other part with the agencies I ended up working for. You are a good writer. Keep at it, as I am doing right now.
That you weren't in a shooting arena is nothing to be ashamed of, Michelle. I served four in the Army and the only shooting I did was at the range. I don't feel the lesser for the duty I was assigned, which I carried out honorably and, I trust, effectively in defense of our country.
A girl in my basic training flight, Nov- Dec 1985, got that assignment and was devastated, too. I often wonder how it worked out. I got the fun assignment working on an ancient plane doing a military specific job in England. And got raped and labelled an alcoholic. End of career. Nothing to translate to the civilian world.

You just never know what life will bring. Your husband is still active. Can you get on at a place that works parallel to the military and continue your service that way? I don't know what they are, but there should be something. You have your pension so I see you as having tons of options in front of you. Chin up. Take care.
I hope too that your nightmares will end. All we can ever do is our best and it sounds like your best was in the category of excels at whatever she does.
rated with love
Your writing is raw, gritty yet beautiful.
Dear friend we are all fighting something.
We all have our methods of trying to cope.
You’re not alone
~R~
There are thousands of veterans out there who need your compassion and knowledge. I know you are disappointed with what was, but think about what can be. Again, we thank you for your service. The fruit of the vine is not an answer. Writing is a wonderful way to deal with life's sorrow and disappointment. Excellent post.
Beautiful....Yet painful. :-( I have known you 10 plus years and had no idea...Wow. Love you.
Thank you all, for taking the time to read and comment on this piece...probably one of my truest, and you all have aided in my realization that today, is a new day!
You may know I have a big weakness for any woman with a name. Especially:
`
Michele.
I saw you comment.
Comments are fun.
I came to read you.
No worry. I am safe.
I must be a monkey.
Monks walk in woods.
goofy . . . It's windy.
Michele has no 2- 'l'
`
(one 'L')
no hell's
She say
?
hush
`
okay

I saw an old Michele yesterday.
She is forty-six. She was wooed.
Her wooer and Michele came by.

Michele still has a big giggle,
Her excuse for stopping was:
a wooer need a wood-clamp.
`
She knows I have a wood-shop.
Her wooer tries to act stinky.
He's a wee bit a loafer dude.

She use to help me make chairs.
I make her walnut Pout-Chair.
I did make a cedar Lawn Chairs.

She has them on her front Porch.
I made Michele cherry Dovetailed:
Gift Box for her private dill-stash.

I have 8' long metal wood clamps.
I may not tell `but her bio-farmer.
She ran off with a wooer for money.

She's looking disheveled and pale.
She wore bib overalls with woolens.
She wore red long-johns with a flap.

She gave me an identical pair once.
I ask her if they had a behind flap.
She giggled and a wooer snarled.

I mentioned red-flap make flops.
Her behind appear a wee bit big.
She still has a butt that wiggles.

I swear I come to Open Salon:
Then - I rush-off to Play `gin.
Michele's an old farm Partner.

We just giggle and snicker`gin.
If we see each other we giggles.
I hope her wooer goes to hell.
Art,
your Michele has missed out
if she hasn't allowed you to woo her.
I too love wood working
coming from a woodworker's daughter
I'd love a pair of your chairs
on my front porch
Michelle ~ You can stop over and chairs are fun and easy. I make Shaker
Settee
Honest
I should "show-off" a few. Once you make one you make two.
Serious
Every thing we learn should be credited to our `Teachers.
A West Virginian and Vietnamese taught me little I know.
I do yearn to spend time in the Wood-Shop. I will soon.
Michelle
`
If you have 2- L's in your name that don't mean your hell.
I harbor
memories
Life goes on
`
I'd be greedy,
I know...and want four...
I love certain types of benevolent `
`
'greed'
The kind that we give away freely . . .
I sit on a beanbag and show how . . .
Then you can sell and place ads here.
`
Wood Pout Chairs made from NuTzy.
tease . . .
I saw her on the feed. jOhNNy iS nUtZy.
She always crack me up. She a gOOd nUt.
We'll snack on `Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.
`
sMiLe
What a brave, honest post. i wish you the best in working this out.
Thanks, Trilogy...appreciate you taking the time to read/comment. xoxo
First of all let me thank you for your service. Secondly, thank you for being so candid. While we can never undo our past, we can forge ahead to improve our future and you certainly have taken the steps to do just that.
Michelle, I admire your honesty and determination to succeed in a field you had no interest in. I hope you are able to find peace with your past and know that what you did was important. ~R
Thanks, Dennis/shutterbug...I've always been very candid (too much so maybe)...I can't help but to be honest and up front at all times...just who I am! :-)
A sincere thank you to you and your husband for your service. You writing clearly depicts your frustration for not being part of a large plan, but for those of us whom you and your husband serve, there is no frustration, only gratitude.
May your husband be safe always, and may you find peace with your regrets.
R
Thank YOU, Annie...xoxo
You have marched successfully through one phase of your time here, now it is time for the next. Even at 63 I see possibilities on all horizons. Loved this peek into your life.