Thursday, November 15, 2007

In Search of Normal

I was thinking the other day about how long it has been since I've posted - and it has been a while. I began to reminisce about how much this little white square on my screen with its blinking black line used to draw me in and consume my thoughts for hours on end. I began to remember how many times I poured myself out here, hoping for release; praying for a glimpse of understanding as the music resounded in my ears. I remembered how for me, this was a form of therapy - the best form of therapy. And then I began to realize why the passion that I once had for the written word has seemed to fade.

I believe that at one time, possibly beginning during my deployment or recently thereafter, I believe that I was on the verge. As I have previously written, at one time over there I lost my fear of death. I accepted and although I've never said this before, was not distraught at the thought of my body coming home draped in the colors-at times even taking pride at the thought. Depending on the circumstances and missions, you almost had to assume a fearless mindset in order to successfully complete the mission. I liken it to mindset that must have been adopted by the tunnel-rats during the Vietnam conflict. Although I've never read anything from nor have I spoken to a tunnel-rat, I think it's safe to say that before they went headfirst into a tunnel that could possibly be a VC enclave (and they did this often), they had to lose their fear of death. How else could they do it? Every door that those Marines and I busted down over there, could have been our last. I remember early on in my deployment thinking as we rode down MSR Bronze, "Please don't blow up...Please don't blow up." Eventually, I stopped fearing that possibility, and I began to accept it as an eventuality. I had to and others had to as well. We fought to live, and we tried to kill them before they killed us. And each skirmish that we won, took me further and further down the slippery slope of apathy.

After I got out of the Corps and returned home to work at a local police department, I asked my Field Training Officer what he would do if someone came from around that corner and began to shoot at us as we sat in our patrol vehicle. "Well," he said, "if you don't throw this thing in reverse and get us the heck out of here, I'll throw you out and do it myself!" His answer caused me a great deal of concern. It was the right answer, and I knew it was the right answer. It was however, the right answer to someone who was still afraid of dying. It took me well over a year to retrain myself to think this way and fight the mental compulsion to envision myself assaulting through the enemy instead of immediately taking cover and waiting for back up - which most times, is the correct course of action. And when I did, (rehabilitated my mind in a sense), my search for understanding began to wane. I became "normal" again. I no longer felt abnormal. I no longer battled with the conflicting thoughts of life and death, and wondering why, quite honestly, I wasn't afraid to die.

So, while I have never been one to make excuses, I think in this instance at least, my excuse for being noticeably absent in the blogsphere will be that I have realized that I am once again a normal person; very much in love with my life. If this all seems strange, weird and you think that I should be institutionalized, please read some posts from the early days of "America's Son" and maybe this will help you understand and see from where it is that I have progressed.

My oldest daughter just started kindergarten this year, so don't fret. I'm sure that I will soon be thrust once again into a search for understanding...Stay Tuned.