Glass Hearts

It’s been a while.  Are you still there?  Still listening?

Let’s delve into mind.

Depressionb (1) : a state of feeling sad :  dejection (2) :  a psychoneurotic or psychotic disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies.

 

Everyone goes through one form of depression or another at some point.  It’s human nature for us to hit peaks and valleys as we traverse through our lives.  The problem comes from when we slip into a valley that has unscalable walls.  Where we get so low that there isn’t a way out.  Sure, our friends and family try to throw us a rope, but we snap it with the weight of our thoughts and fall back into our personal pit.

Most people scoff at depression.  They feel that we should just smile and nod.  Trudge forward and accept everything at face value.  This is simply a terrible thing, and proves that people don’t actually understand what it is we’re going through.  We already do smile and nod.  We lie and say we’re fine.  We put on our masks, and try to pretend. Unfortunately that doesn’t change the fact that behind our eyes we are screaming.  Chained to our thoughts of loneliness and worthlessness.

I have gotten so good at applying my mask that most people can no longer see the seams.

I’m that guy who is alone in a room full of friends.  I go out and sit by myself so that I don’t have to talk to other people.  The strange thing is that the whole time I want to be interacting with people, but I don’t feel like I’m wanted around, or that I have anything to add to the conversation.  It’s terrible.  I imagine the worst things before having any interactions, so I decide that not even trying is the best course of action.

I don’t sleep at night, because my mind won’t shut up.  Thoughts of being eternally alone.  Thoughts of being a failure.  Thoughts of ending things.  My rational brain knows that that isn’t a solution, but it still pervades my waking thoughts.  My dreams become night terrors, some nights worse than others.

Finally our society has decided that mental health is important.  Most military and former military fight some form of depression or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  It used to be that men weren’t allowed to talk about their feelings.  It was what women did.  Now, with the veteran suicide rate at the highest it’s ever been, people are realizing that this is a serious issue, and not something to sweep under a rug.

I know that things will get better and that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, but darkness tugs at the edges.

Your Love is My Drug

We spend our entire lives in an attempt to be adults, not realizing that in rightly shredding our childishness and immaturity, we also throw away our child-likeness and sense of wonder. But it is not wrong to be childlike! To lose our child-likeness is to forget to marvel at the mysteries of creation, or worse yet, to claim that those things never happened. What once made us gape in awe and giggle with delight is now seen as childish fantasy, as the same old, same old…

To love in any way is to be like a child– it means to be vulnerable, to be wide-eyed, to be selfless. There is no such thing… as free love; love is the most costly expression in the world…

To experience love–whether love of man or God– we must recapture the wonder we have lost and become as children, wide-eyed, playful, and in awe.

 

Love is an emotion that every person on the planet seeks without abandon.  We are drawn to it like moths to the flame.  When we seek it out and find it, it is the greatest thing we could ever experience, but what happens when time attacks us?  Do we keep the fervor, or do we become complacent with what we have?  I can not dare attempt to answer for everyone out there, but can only endeavor to speak for myself.

Love is a mystery.  That we would dare place all of ourselves, all of our beings, into someone else is a mind-blowing fact bordering on insanity.  To truly love someone, you have to give all of yourself, without any knowledge or expectation for it to be returned to you.  How crazy is that?  We, as people, feel the need to see a return on our investments, and love is no different.  It’s often said that a relationship, be it dating or marriage, is 50-50.  If you into a covenant of any kind with a person, and it’s 50-50, you will fail.  A relationship must be 100-100 if it has any hope of standing on its own and walking with any purpose.

“But Krymzyn, what if I get hurt?” Guess what, buttercup…you’re going to get hurt.  It’s going to hurt.  It’s going to feel like a searing pain that will never fade.  Check this out though, “It came to pass.”  Everything is a learning tool, and you will learn from the pain as well.  You’ll find the best and worst of the situation, and when moving forward, you will be wiser.

As children we do not fear falling in love with things.  We love waking up.  We love sleeping.  We love eating.  We love hugs.  We love cuddles.  We love kisses.  We love everyone we come into contact with, wholeheartedly.  We don’t trouble ourselves with worrying about possible outcomes.  We don’t fret the small things.  We celebrate life, and those in it.  If we truly want to understand love, we need to understand how we were as children.  We need to let go of the lives we’ve lived, the hurt we’ve found, and the loves that were lost.  There is always an up.  No matter how far down life places us, there’s still an up.  There’s still a plan.  There’s still love.

Love is not something to be coaxed, to be lulled into submission.  It is to be freely given by those who you would have accept it, and if returned, fantastic.  Remember, to be loved, you must love in return.  Open your eyes, open your ears, release your heart from the bindings we often strangle it with.  Live in the moment.  Focus on now.  Love completely.  Love fully.  Just love.

 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

More than Miles

So, here we go again.  It’s been forever since I’ve written anything, so this should be fun.

Human beings are fragile creatures.  The first sign of trouble and most of us run.  I’m not talking about trouble in the sense of men coming at us with guns.  I’m speaking more in the world of emotional stress.  We’re members of the “Have it your way” generation.  If we hit adversity, we either run from it, or we go in with a full head of misguided steam.  We’re ill equipped to handle scenarios that have been a part of life since day one.  My bad, not day one, Adam didn’t have to ask Eve to go to prom with him.

We are so afraid of rejection that we have learned to either reject rejection itself, or never do anything in which we could be rejected.  Some practical examples: not singing karaoke for fear that someone will make fun of you.  Not asking that cute girl out, because what would she possibly see in you?  Not writing a blog, because someone might not like your opinion.

We will go out of our way to avoid being rejected, and we will give every excuse that is possible.  I know this extremely well, as I do it all the time.  For some bizarre reason, I have an unnatural fear of making phone calls, as if the person on the other end is going to come through the phone and attack me.  So, I will go online, spend twice as long, and usually not get the answers a simple call would have produced.  You’re probably laughing, and that’s ok.  I have absolutely no idea where it came from; it’s just something I can’t do.  Another huge issue I have is talking to the opposite sex, breaking the ice, with a person I don’t know.  There’s that rejection thing.  I guess middle and high school broke me on that. You can only be told to go away so many times.  I see this same thing happen almost daily with so many people.  We’re so afraid to go back out of our comfort zones.

“But I like it here, it’s safe and warm.”  I know it is.  Trust me, I live there.  What we all seem to fail to understand is, we’ve ALL been there.  If we get to the point where it just seems better we tuck our heads in the sand, we will miss the opportunities given us by God, fate, some strange aligning of stars and planets, or whatever faith-set you have.   If we never reach out, we will never move forward.  If you don’t know what it is to be low, you’ll never know what it means to be high.  If we decide to hide in ourselves and remain sedentary, we’ll miss all the best that life has to offer us.  I’m not saying to go put yourself into every possible situation where you can be shut down, but remember, your kind word or smile, might be the only act of kindness someone will see today.  Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, to be human.  Revel in the fact that we are flawed, and that through time and knowledge, we become more.  Put some pressure on coal and it becomes a diamond.  Through adversity we are transformed into something more than ourselves.  Open your eyes to what is around you every day.  I promise that life gets better, and not everything that looks scary will hurt you.

If you’re afraid that the pretty girl will say no, why is that scary?  We place such value on the opinions of others that we devalue how we view ourselves.  Not just in dating type scenarios, but in everything.  Not going for a great job, because they may say no.  Not trying a sport, because you’re not Michael Jordan.  Everyone has value, as does every idea, and every case of trial and error.

We are just preprogramming ourselves to fail, and running at the first sign of the failure we expected.  Hell, just look at divorce rates.  Husbands and wives just giving up, and moving onto the next relationship.  Why did you get married in the first place?  Here we run back into the “Have it your way” scenario.  I’m not saying if there is infidelity or abuse, stay.  I’m saying don’t run from little things that are PART OF BRING MARRIED.  My dad gave me a great example the other day about marriage.  He was talking about how people say a marriage should be 50-50.  A marriage or any relationship that is 50-50 is destined to fail.  It should be 100-100.  Don’t give half of yourself and wonder why something broke.

 

I know that this whole blog is disjointed and jumbled.  It happens when you write your thoughts out.

 

At the end of the day all I want to say is this: don’t be afraid to be who you are.  Put yourself out there.  Get hurt.  Learn who you are and who others are.  Do something good for yourself.  Don’t fear your life.  Embrace it.  Run forward instead of retreating.  Go out of your way to feel uncomfortable, if even for a second.  The more you press forward, the more you will become and the more you will enjoy the finite time given us in this life.  Enjoy the day.  If you’re married, go kiss your spouse.  If you have kids, go hug them.  If you’re single, get to know someone and try your luck.  If it doesn’t work, don’t beat yourself up, they weren’t ready for your awesome.  Want that awesome career?  Make it happen.  Want to be something you thought you could never be?  Put your coal under some pressure.  You’ll be amazed at your new facets.

Dark is the Way, Light is a Place.

*As a quick side-note, my new blogs will all have names from whatever song I am listening to while I write*

 

I know that it has been a long time since I have been able to write, but I am back, and here we go…this blog will be very free-form, as I am still fleshing out the wording as it comes to  me, unfiltered.  I apologize for the disjointed nature, but this is more a look at personal philosophy, rather than a “this is what I have observed in Iraq.”  I hope you enjoy, and that my message will be understood.

Being a soldier deployed to a warzone conjures up so many different emotions: pride, anger, fear, hate, happiness, just to name a few.  We all feel so many different things while we are gone, that many times we confuse even ourselves.  Which way is up?  Am I moving forward or back?  Will this ever end?  Am I truly making a difference?

Most soldiers find it hard to find the positives in being in a war torn country, trying to help people who want to kill us.  This is the way it has always been, and the way it will always stay.

We keep in contact with friends and loved ones at home, to try to stay relevant and to stay connected.  The fear of being forgotten in often the underlying current that drags most soldiers out into the sea of depression.  I say this with some authority, because I fell out of the boat some time ago, and many times I have been unable to tread water.

The dictionary defines emotion as:

1.an affective state of consciousness in which joy, sorrow, fear, hate, or the like, is experienced, as distinguished from cognitive and volitional states of consciousness.
2.any of the feelings of joy, sorrow, fear, hate, love, etc.
3.any strong agitation of the feelings actuated by experiencing love, hate, fear, etc., and usually accompanied by certain physiological changes, as increased heartbeat or respiration, and often overt manifestation, as crying or shaking.
So, emotion is the agitation of feelings.  So, this can be taken for the good ie: joy, love, happiness; or for the bad i.e.:hate, anger, or fear.
Emotions can change at the drop of a hat, based solely on the reaction to outside influence.  These feelings leave little room for maneuvering, and can be destroyed much faster than they began to form.
I propose a different idea for feeling, stripping down the veil to our primal nature, to the very core of how we were created.  Without trying to go into a religious debate, hear me out.
We as a people are meant to be happy, we are called to find joy in all things.  Even science has pointed to as much.  The chemical reactions in our brains when we find peace are like a narcotic (one which is completely legal, therefore I shall partake).
But we fight our nature because we do not stop to understand that there are really only two feelings in this world, hope and hopelessness.  Confused yet?  Good, I was too.
First let me define hope, and why hope embodies all that is good.
Hope: 1. the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.
Hope, the feeling that you can achieve what you want.  That encompasses joy, happiness, success, everything good in this life.  If you can dream it, you can do it.  Sure, that sounds too good to be true, but who are we to argue?  The only thing that has ever stopped someone from living their dreams, has always been that someone and a lack of hope.
Will hope alone get you to where you need to be?  Of course not.  Hope must be combined with action.  You cannot sit on the couch and simply hope that the television will turn itself on.  You have to grab the remote control, (or for those of you who are more athletically inclined) get up and turn the television on.  You have the hope that the action you take will result in outcome you desire.  This may seem like a very dumbed-down example, but that just shows you how much of life we take for granted.  You have hope in so many daily things, but we take them all for granted.  Think about it, you hope your car will get you where you are going, you hope the chair will support your weight, you hope your paycheck will clear the bank.
Hope is magnified by faith, contrary to the belief that these words are the same.
Faith is defined as:  the obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement, etc.
So when you temper faith and hope, you create a stronger emotion, capable of so much more.  With faith and hope you can literally accomplish anything you can imagine.  Huh.  Imagine.  Faith and hope require imagination.  Now there is an interesting concept.  Without imagination, what good would either of the two be?  There is nothing we do on a daily basis that does not require imagination of some sort.  While it may not seem like it, it is all around us.  You imagine that sticking a brush inside of your mouth with a minty paste on it will somehow clean your teeth, and you have the faith and hope that this will work, because it is what you imagine the truth to be.
In his book, A Long Obedience, Dr. Eugene Peterson says:
Hoping is not dreaming.  It is not spinning an illusion
or fantasy to protect us from our boredom or pain…
It [hope] is imagination put in the harness of faith.
We can do all things through our imaginings, resting in hope and faith.
But what happens when our situation gets too tough to bare, when we have had enough, and our light turns to dark?  We fall into a depression, otherwise known as hopelessness.
Hopelessness is the absence of hope.  It goes completely against our natures, but it is so easy to fall into.  When things do not go our way, when there is change we cannot adapt to, when a relationship fails, or when someone close to us dies.  It is hard to see hope in any of these events.  We let them control and destroy us, we shut ourselves down at the first sighting of pain, and we try to hide in our “happy place”.  We fail to look for the good in the bad, and there is always good, no matter how horrifying the experience.  We cannot allow ourselves to wallow in this self-deprecating loathing of the world around us, and the events we live through.
An old quote comes to mind, “What doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger.”  Stop just for a second to consider the truth in this statement.  We as human beings will go through ups and downs, from the highest mountaintops to the darkest depths of the ocean.  We temper our resolve based upon how we come to look at these events.  If we see life from the bottom of the ocean, it looks out of reach, and ultimately impossible to escape.  This is where hope comes in.  If you imagine yourself on top of the mountain, and place your hope and faith on reaching the mountaintop, you will push yourself to leave the murky depths and ascend hand over fist to the place of your desire.
Another thing that we as people need to grasp a hold of, is that someone has been through the valley you may find yourself in.  These people will go out of their way to show you the path up the mountain.  We need to accept the footholds they blazed for us, and heed their advice for our own ascent.  We are never alone, no matter how we may currently feel.
I have found myself in many valleys, and a few mountaintops in my short life on this earth so far.  I have always managed to find a way to push forward and upward, through faith, hope, love, and a lot of imagination.
Currently I find myself stranded in a chasm of fear.  Why?  I am abnormally terrified to return home.  Seems strange, doesn’t it?  Here is a soldier ready to be released from a deployment in a foreign land, and I find going home scary.  I fear the changes that have occurred since my departure, the lack of a steady income upon my return, and the business of connecting with old and new friends.
I guess you could say my true fear is my lack of relevance to the new world I find, as opposed to what I knew in the old I left behind.  I have the faith and hope that I will be able to reintegrate myself into that life, and that I will achieve more than I have before I was deployed to Iraq.  Fear is a good emotion, most of the time.  It keeps you safe from dangerous situations, but when you allow it to control all of your actions, it can be crippling.  I will have to rely on those close to me to help me up this cliff, so that I can once again face the next mountaintop.
I have a few challenges for you.
The first:  when you see someone in a valley, help them to rise up to the mountaintop.
The second: when you find yourself in a valley, look up to the mountaintop, and move forward.  Ask for and accept the help of those who have come before.
The third:  Use your imagination to shape your future.  Do not be afraid that you cannot accomplish your dreams.  Through imagination, hope, faith, and action, the world is yours.
The fourth, which is more of a practical exercise:  I want you to imagine your greatest dream.  Whether it is as every day as to have a beautiful wife and children, or as extraordinary as to be the CEO of a huge company.  I want you to look towards that mountaintop, and identify the footholds you need to achieve it.  Then I want you to take that first step, and tell me what your goal is.  There will be no judgments, because this is the first step to achieving the future you desire for yourself.  In fact, I will start it off, so you can see what I am talking about.
My biggest dream is to wrestle at the WWE Pay-Per-View, Wrestlemania.  In order to get to that point I have to train my body to take the physical demands of the business, lose weight, practice, and continue to improve and put myself in a position to be noticed.
While this may never fully come to fruition, no one has ever gained anything by not making the attempt, and I am sure that along the way I will find new mountains to stand atop, and new valleys to forge through.
Life is a journey, and only hope and faith will get us to our destination.  With the faith of a mustard seed, we can move mountains.

Knowing is Half the Battle…the Other Half is Violence

The American Soldier is an interesting animal.  They can not simply be put into a category, or defined by mere words.  Many have tried, and failed miserably.  Now it is my turn to try my hand, and to try my words.

The American Soldier, first and foremost, is the best that America has to offer.  I’m sorry, Mr. Average Citizen,  but you do not compare.  Only the best of the citizenry is able to take up arms and to move forward in the defense of this Nation.

The first thing a person that answers the Call to serve this Nation does is swears an Oath to Defend Her.  It is not some absent-minded promise that is easily put aside.  It is a deep commitment, wherein a man or woman decides that the Ideals of this Nation and Her People are worth fighting, and even dying for.  I know many men who claim they will die for their friends and family, but how many people, when faced with adversity cower and hide?  A Soldier is expected to Never Accept Defeat, even if you must lay down your life for those you Serve.  The Oath of Enlistment reads as such:

“I, ________________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

Soldiers are then sent to Basic Combat Training (BCT), where they are trained both mentally and physically.  They are taught how to survive, how to shoot, how to fight, to obey all orders, to be selfless.  They are also taught how to trust, how to manage fear, how to plan, how to follow, how to lead, and how to leave being a civilian behind.  The last easy day any Soldier has ever had, was the day before Basic Training.

Drill Sergeants, specially trained Non-Commissioned Officers, are there every step of the way for these young Soldiers.  These men and women typically have combat experience, a vast knowledge of the Military and its History, and the desire to keep Soldiers alive when they have to see combat.  Drill Sergeants are also in charge of taking the bodies of young civilians, and molding them into the bodies of Soldiers.

Don’t know what a Soldiers’ body looks like?  Ask a woman, any woman.  She will know, and will be able to elaborate more than  I ever could…

During a Soldiers’ initial training they are taught Military History, and are taught to have a deep respect for Our Country and its Flag.  Training events at BCT are named for various military operations of the past, and before every event, the stories of these operations are told.  The operations show how normal people, when acting as Soldiers, are capable of amazing things.  Read any story of any American Soldier in any war or conflict, you will be floored.

After BCT, a Soldier then goes to Advanced Individual Training (AIT).  Here they learn their Military Occupational Specialty (MOS).  The Army truly is amazing.  Think of ANY civilian job, and I bet you that I can find a MOS that correlates.  A Soldier can truly be anything that they want to be, from a Doctor to a Journalist, a Scuba Diver to a Satellite Operator.  During this training the Soldier becomes an expert that their chosen profession, rivaling any person doing the job in the civilian world.  Also, what takes years in the civilian sector, takes Soldiers mere weeks to complete, from learning languages to repairing vehicles.

After job proficiency is achieved, a Soldier is assigned to a Unit.  These units operate all over the United States, and within several other countries.  Soldiers are assigned based upon the needs of the Army for particular MOSs.  A Soldier then moves to the Military Installation that their Unit operates from to begin their job.

A typical day for a Soldier involves Physical Training in the morning, a full day of  work and training, and various times of accountability.  (I will go into normal operations both while deployed and at home in more depth in a later blog).

The Unit becomes a surrogate family for Soldiers.  Camaraderie is stressed to max within the Military.  A Soldier must Trust, Respect, and Genuinely Care for other Soldiers.  Without this close bond, a Unit can not function properly.  When all of these attributes come to fruition, there is nothing that a Unit of Soldiers can not accomplish, be it during peace or at War.

This Bond between Soldiers is also gravely important for the morale of the Soldier.  We are asked to leave our families to Serve and Defend this Nation.  This is heartbreaking for everyone, and if anyone tells you differently, they are lying.  Sons leave Mothers and Fathers.  Fathers and Mothers leave their children and each other, all to be able to complete the mission asked of them.  So, by becoming a family with the other Soldiers around, this pain is mitigated in a healthy way.  It is not a stretch to call this Bond between Soldiers, Love.  My testosterone will not hinder me from telling you that I love my fellow Soldier.  (I will talk in another blog about what support there is for the families of Soldiers).

Soldiers are also asked to Deploy to war zones, to Defend the United States, and to bring relief to Foreign Nations.  Soldiers are placed into Hostile environments, and face danger on a daily basis.  Many disagree with this happening, but read Our Oath of Enlistment.  We will Defend our Constitution, the very Backbone of our Nation, against ALL enemies, both Foreign and Domestic.  That means that we will go to War.  It means that we will fight, and it means that we will Win.  The American Soldier Does Not Accept Defeat.  What cause is greater than that of saving Human Life, and Defending Freedom?  There is no greater calling, Period.

American Soldiers make sacrifices every day.  From the day we Raise our hand and swear an Oath to our Nation, until the day we hang our Uniforms up for the last time.  These sacrifices are no different now than they were when this Great Nation was formed by extraordinary men and women, or when we stormed the Beaches of Normandy, or fought in the Jungles of Vietnam, or braved the Winters in Korea, or now, when we deal with the Summers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We have answered the call of our Nation and Her People for as long as there has been These United States, and we will continue to Answer the Call as long as Freedom, Truth, and Justice still Reign in this Nation.

So, what is a Soldier?  A hero?  An extraordinary person?  Ultimately, yes, but in all reality, a Soldier is a Citizen of the United States that believes in this Country and Her Values enough to lay down their lives to Defend and Promote the Freedom we are offered herein.  The American Soldier is a Man, or a Woman, above all others.  If you Love this Nation, find a way to Serve.  Earn the rights given to you as your birthright.  Without the American Soldier, who will protect us?

I am Proud to be An American, but I am more Proud to Serve Her, for I am An American Soldier.

Undetermined, Undefined (via douglasrhutchison)

This is the new blog from a fellow soldier stationed with me in Iraq. He has just released a book on Barnesandnoble.com, which also includes some photographs from my photography endeavors. Give it a read, and check out his book. Thanks.

Undetermined, Undefined is finally released!!!  It is a collection of poetry and song lyrics over the past few years, with pictures by Krymzyn Rayen Photography.  Get your copy today at <http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Undetermined-Undefined/Douglas-Hutchison/e/2940012201423/?itm=1&USRI=undetermined%2C+undefined#TABS&gt; (Copy and paste into your search bar and it will take you right to the book page) !  Here's a sneak preview!   Los … Read More

via douglasrhutchison

Incredible world (via Conservative Blogic)

This is my fathers most recent blog post, and I thought I would share it with you, while I work on writing a new one of my own. Be sure to subscribe to his blog for interesting reads from the right side of the road.

We live in an incredible world, and I don't mean that in a good way. Driving home from work tonight I heard something on the news that made me angry and made me question the sanity of our world. The report said that Secretary of State Clinton was on her way to Geneva where the United Nations Human Rights Council "might" vote to throw Lybian Dictator Ghadaffi off of their Council. MIGHT?!  How out-of-touch and irrelevant is this organization that … Read More

via Conservative Blogic