As I work through a hurricane on the Marine Corps Birthday, I can’t help but reflect on the amazing Marines I’ve served with and met along the way.
Being involved in Veterans organizations has been a passion of mine for the last ten years. I’m grateful to be President of the Heart of Florida Chapter of the Women Marines Association and Secretary and Director with the First Marine Division Association Central Florida Chapter. This involvement would have been impossible without those that encouraged me along the way.
For 247 years, Marines have been first to fight. Marines have led the way. I’m proud to be among their ranks. I raise my glass to all those before and now. May we always love each other as much as we love the Corps.
Today finished off a long term goal of finishing my master’s degree. So in the immortal words of the great President Jed Bartlett, what’s next?
So at this point, I’m not sure. I completed my undergraduate degree in 2004 and at that time attempted to get my master’s degree. With a full time job, and two pre-school age children, it just wasn’t feasible. I even churned through three different colleges racking up credits and debt at Capella University, University of Phoenix and Grantham University. In 2009, I put the master’s degree goal back on my action plan in December 2009. I took the GRE. Entertained attending FGCU, but never found a good fit. After a few years at Disney, I found out that the educational reimbursement was significant and there was an agreement with University of Phoenix.
I am a Phoenix. Over the past 602 days, I didn’t always feel confident that this accomplishment would happen. I once again over-committed myself, and quickly realized my body wasn’t keeping up with what my mind was putting it through. The stress, worry, lost sleep, pain, and anxiety, turned me into a barely functional part of my world.
So where do we go from here? My amazing daughter is a senior in high school. I’m trying to enjoy every moment with her before she’s on her way to college.
Today is a day I just feel broken.
Not long ago, my oldest child expressed to me he didn’t want to speak to me and hasn’t in a few months. There are days this fact just weighs heavily on me. I can’t control his actions, or his opinions. Not only does physical pain wreck my body but this emotional pain stings more fiercely and deeply. It’s a very reminiscent of how I treated my dad at that age though.
When I was 18, I packed every possession I cared about in my car, and intended to pull out of the driveway never seeing my parents again. They fiercely objected to my engagement. I went awhile without speaking to my parents, but they came to the wedding. I can’t imagine the helplessness they felt because I feel it now.
I’m in a situation I can’t control and I just feel heartbroken that I can’t hear my son’s voice or hear about how things are going for him. I seem to spiral in this guilt of wondering what I did wrong, what I could of done differently and how I can prevent a situation like this with my other children.
I still text him daily, I don’t get a response, but I’d like to keep hoping that someday I will.
My 39th birthday came and went and while it was a fantastic day with lots of love, it was extremely difficult for me to receive all the attention I was given.
Over the past few days, I have struggled with tying my success, my failures, my struggles and my constant negativity to how I feel about my physical appearance.
I know, I could do things differently to change my physical health. Part of my struggle with my weight goes back to the extreme amount of pain I’m in every day and using food as a comfort for that pain. This utter disgust for my physical state came to head over the weekend when my bed frame collapsed under us due to the excessive load it was taking on. So a new bed is ordered but my pride is pretty bruised in the interim.
I’ve been going through physical therapy for my back for the past four weeks. None of the pain has subsided in any way, shape or form and am hoping there is a next step to help move forward with a plan to reclaim my health. Right now I hate myself. I hate my body and I hate feeling the way that I do. I’m hoping acknowledging these feelings will help me move past them.
“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.” – Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971)
I don’t know if I am able to determine the things I can and cannot change. I don’t know what I can and cannot accept right now because I feel so mired by over-analyzing and over-thinking every possible situation. I don’t know if I can accept my current physical limitations, which is probably why I have additionally injured myself. I don’t know if I can change what I put in my mouth because I don’t want to and can’t accept that I don’t. I don’t know how I’ll feel about myself for not deciding to make the change. Maybe I need to accept that my injury has to be solved first.
It’s always amazing to me how easily the negative soundtrack plays in my mind. Over and over.
I actually contemplated not posting any more. I constantly thought about how other’s may receive this content. I heard myself speculate “She’s weak”, “Why is she whining?”, “It could be worse you should be grateful”. I recently had a friend send me this video and even though incredibly funny, it gave me some perspective.
The perspective is, this blog isn’t here for anyone but myself. While I’m sharing it publicly, it really isn’t for anyone. I decided to leverage this forum to get it out of my head and written down to release it from being bottled up. It’s been a constant battle to overcome the scrutiny I put myself under. Every failure feels critical, every victory insignificant.
Changing this mind process is one I’ve yet to overcome. It’s impacted almost every area of my life from sleep and health to work and family.
I’ve been fortunate to have friends who’ve reached out and have always been there. This brings on a whole different set of panic. I’ve never wanted to be a burden and that’s exactly what I’ve turned into. There are so many people I care about that carry their own burdens and worrying about mine is a situation I’ve never wanted to create. The cycle is vicious, it’s relentless, and I can’t seem to find a way out. Each encounter creates its own cycle and I feel trapped by my own mind.
I have the honor to be your Obedient Servant,
Being a Marine Corps veteran is one of my greatest sources of pride. Yesterday was yet another indicator of my over-commitment due to that pride and fear of disappointing others I care about. We hosted a military care package drive at work to send to troops deployed to Turkey. Because we had never organized an event like this, we tried to keep it small scale so we could assess how we can execute drives in the future.
Clearly, we exceeded the amount we thought we would get. I had to enlist the help of my husband to get everything transported home so all the paperwork can be filled out and these boxes taken to the post office. A task I put solely on myself.
Supporting deployed service members is something I find as a great honor to do, but I didn’t always feel that way. I spent many years after my divorce unable to muster empathy or support for military members overseas. The dynamic of infidelity abroad and at home left a sour taste in my mouth and didn’t want to continue supporting in my opinion, the destruction of families that military deployment inflicted. I felt so disgusted with some of the behavior that I felt ashamed to be a military veteran during that time.
My passion for veterans and the military was reignited when I started working for Disney. I was very fortunate to have a manager that submitted my name to be involved in the first Veteran’s Institute where I got to stand on stage with Michelle Obama.
This event led to the formation of our military diversity resource group at Disney Parks and Resorts. I’m very fortunate and grateful to work with a pretty incredible group of people.
This is an older photo of the team, actually the first photo. Since December 2014, I worked with this group and only a few faces have changed and a few new ones have been added. Working alongside these folks is something I truly enjoy but again I have to force myself to take a step back and look at how all these activities are impacting me. With the three year anniversary of this group coming in December, at what point do I pass the baton? How do I empower others to want to be involved and continue to support this group in the future?
Contemplating this puts me into almost an immediate panic attack because I worry about how I will be perceived if I step away, and how I will feel about myself if I do. The thing is, I want to keep doing it, I do like it and truly enjoy everything and everyone involved with it. Something I will have to continue to work on, work out and work with as time goes on.
I have the honor to be your Obedient Servant,
Today was a doozy. I started out with waking up late and rushing to work due to a rough night’s sleep again. Coffee save me!
I started out the morning attending the Creative Couch session at work. This is an overview of marketing and sales activity within the company and market. Pretty good information until it got to a particular campaign at Shanghai Disneyland which is now celebrating it’s one year anniversary.
I’ve scoured the internet looking for it but unable to find the exact commercial that was shown. The video clip showed a Dad that was a taxi driver in Shanghai ferrying families to and from Disneyland. You see him working hard, eating lunch in his car, and missing time with his children. After losing my dad just 19 months ago, it left me as a puddle on the floor.
You see, my dad was that hard worker that took us to Disneyland in Anaheim.
Coming to grips with my dad’s death is something I still struggle with. Part of this is due to the fact that I lacked remorse when it happened. I actually felt a sense of relief. And I’ve pretty much punished myself everyday for it since. My dad was a big pain in the ass and there are many people reading this near and far who will whole-heartedly agree with me. He took it as a personal mission to inflict malcontent on almost every situation he came across. He would switch sides to argue the opposite and be a constant negative force. I never really forgave myself for the relief I felt and it’s been this constant anvil I’ve carried around since. While my dad was an SOB, I loved him. We fought, argued, laughed and spent countless fun times together. I still can’t stop myself from the instant tears that form when I think about how I should feel now that he’s gone.
I do miss him. I do feel awful that I ignored his final call to me the day he passed. But when I see those family heartfelt moments portrayed in movies or commercials, I can’t stop the lump that forms in my throat or the tears that follow. My dad was a P.I.A. S.O.B. and I have to be O.K. with feeling that way. He was also a great dad that worked hard, taught me how to hammer a nail, change oil on a car, ride a motorcycle and hike a mountain. Oh and he took us to Disneyland too.
I’ve decided to revive this blog after careful consideration to the state of balance in my life that pushed me to assess how I’m feeling, what I’m doing and where I’m going. My health has generally been declining and the emotional toll of that has been a bit more than I’ve been able to handle.
Twenty-one years ago, I stepped on the yellow footprints at Parris Island scared and unsure of the decision I had made to serve. I was extremely fortunate to serve my whole fours years, but it came with a price tag. Recently, I was granted service-connected disability status from the VA for the injuries I incurred while serving. I’m grateful to have this option to get the healthcare I’ve needed for outstanding problems that date back to a botched epidural during delivery, and lingering tinnitus and TMJ as a military musician. I’ve now been able to start physical therapy, and get pain management needs met.
Along with physical impact of service, I’ve never fully grasped the emotional one. Being a Marine is a difficult standard to live up to. You have to be stronger and tougher than anyone else to show why you are considered part of America’s Elite Fighting Force.
A short video of the Commandant expressing that ideal here.
When I left the Marines, I never lost that sense of perfectionism. Always needing to lead the way, say yes when asked and take on everything I could. I grew a heavy anxiety whenever I did the opposite. Never really stepping back to say, can I do this or am I compromising something else in my life to say yes?
About a month ago, I got to walk graduation for my Masters Degree. This was a really proud achievement for me since I will be the first in my family earn a masters degree and it will help elevate my career.
Photo credit to Andrew Griesemer
While I have 95 days remaining in my program, I never once questioned in the last eighteen months if this is something I should do with my other ongoing commitments. Full-time job, PTA President, and Veterans Resource Group Co-President, my constant worry grew on was I doing enough, what would people think if I stepped away, and would there be a struggle for the people I cared for now had to take on this extra responsibility?
Everything came to head about six weeks ago.
A situation I did not think would occur did, I found myself going through a miscarriage.
While I had make proper precautions to prevent that from happening, it did. There were no major complications and the full event completed a few days ago.
This created a great deal of perspective for me. I had to stop, I had to take care of myself, and I had to give others the opportunity to participate in the different activities I was involved in. Not one person criticized me for stepping away except me. Through this I was able to reflect internally on how poorly I was taking care of myself. I couldn’t get out of bed or even walk to the car without struggle or pain. I couldn’t sleep due to the constant worry. I couldn’t enjoy time with my family or anything I was doing. Every public event, I wanted to run and hide. I didn’t want anyone to see how much I struggled to do the simplest task. I didn’t want to talk to anyone and I avoided public situations.
This is still a daily struggle. I’ve been operating in this mindset for so long, I catch myself back in it more than acknowledging when I’m not. I continue to work on it, but I’ve been able to identify that bottling it is not working so I revived the blog. Taking time to write it down and get it out is part of taking time to do something for me.
As I continue on my journey of achieving my masters degree, Dealspotr.com is offering a scholarship giveaway that I have created this post as my submission for consideration.
For those who’ve been visiting my page for some time will know, saving money was born out of necessity for me. Seven years ago, I found myself homeless, pregnant, jobless and struggling to feed my family. From that experience, I learned how to maximize my purchases, budget, and share my tips with others who also wanted to save.
Couponing can seem overwhelming. There is so much information available, it is difficult to know where to start. Planning is key. Mapping out meals for grocery shopping will help keep your shopping list in check, and prevent overspending on food that you may not eat. Utilizing grocery store circulars can help determine the type of meals you will want to prepare. If ground beef is on sale, maybe a meatloaf that will provide leftovers for lunches. There are websites available that can also help with food planning like Emeals.com.
There are many websites for grocery store coupons available, and also print coupons in the newspaper. With the advent of everyone having a mobile phone, there are now mobile coupons available for both retail and grocery store purchases. Apps like Ibotta, Shopkick, and Coupons.com, can help reduce grocery costs. Retail coupon apps like Retailmenot.com, CartWheel, and SavingsCatcher can help prevent over spending for your everyday items.
The number one consideration to always keep in mind is planning and preparation. Whenever a purchase is to be made, research is important to ensure you aren’t overpaying for an item. Online shopping sites like ebates.com can help with online shopping discounts and rebates back on purchases. Any search engine can also be a great tool for searching for lower prices on an item you may be looking for. There are also countless websites and blogs like DealSpotr.com that can help investigate savings both in stores and online. These communities can also connect you with other people who also want to save and be frugal. Getting the information word of mouth is sometimes the fastest way to be aware of the latest promotion or savings opportunity.
Subscription services can also provide deep discounts for everyday items you may buy regularly. DollarShaveClub.com can be as low as $3.00 a month for razor blades. Amazon.com also has monthly subscription services for everyday items like toilet paper or shampoo. Some of these items can even be delivered the same day.
Overall, regardless of the savings method you use planning and budgeting are the key. Impulse spending can be dangerous and should be kept to a minimum, or set a planned amount accordingly as “blow” money. Setting a spending goal and working within your means will provide a less stressful experience. If your juggling work, school, home life and personal time, these skills will become crucial to your well being. There are great courses available to help with financial planning and budgeting like Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. This course was extremely helpful for me in getting on track with spending. I started out using the envelope system and operated only with cash. It taught me how to stay within my means, even when emergencies came up.