Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Letting People In

Ive always considered myself a home body, though others see me as 'always being out and about'.  The truth is, I am a home body.  This time that my marine is away, I have asked God to give me good people in my life to help me does, to do  the activities that I like to do.  Yes, I had caught myself looking to connect with people in the things they like to do and feeling unfullfilled when those friends dont reciprocate.

For example, earlier in the year I agreed to accompany a friend on a 50 mile bike trip.  I was uncomfortable with the sleeping arragements and accomodations and not knowing exactly where we were going, etc.  I suffered through it because I wanted to learn how to not be in control of the arrangements and to just sit back and enjoy.  Then it came my turn,I wanted to run in Sonoma Wine Country.  This friend backed out on me. I was disappointed and have since distanced myself from this friend.  Sure, I did confront her about the decision and let her know that I was disappointed in her.  She did not appologize (which is what I was looking for). 
Some of the things I like to do are cook, play tennis, golf,run, hike, theatre, movies, read, dine and...  Well, thats a good start.  After praying for God to send me the right people.  Since most people presume I am always buzy, I had to tell them that I spend alot of time at home alone and that I need someone to hang out with.  I tell them that when my marine is away, I feel lonely and need company.  If  people dont know these things, they wont know how to help me.  So, thereafter, I was reaquainted with an old friend and his wife.  She is a great cook and we all plan to go hiking soon.  Then I engaged my other girlfriend to take salsa lessons with me weekly.  I had three lunch dates last week and my neighbor is my new walking/running partner and soon to be biking buddy.  Frankly, with all this new activity... I dont have room for my marine. jejejeje! just kidding. 
My marine?  oh, he called the other night, but unfortunately I had my ringer off.  I tried to get back to him to no avail.  I havent emailed him any happenings all weekend.  I think I will strive for another two weeks with no emails and see if he gets off his rock and decides to call or email me.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Tips for a Successful Relationship

How do you have a successful relationship?  I have read many, many books on this subject to prepare for my relationship with my marine.  In anticipation of his return from afghanistan, I began to read some of the greats: Love and Respect, 5 Love Languages, How we Love, Boundaries, Men are Waffles Women are Spaghetti, Communication books, Necesary Endings, and the list goes on and on. 
My best examples of successful relationships are what I observe from my mom (married for life), my sister (married 20 years), my sister in-law( married 18 years), my friend (married 21 years), and my girlfriend (married 17 years). I have many single, professional girlfriends.  They offer their advice. But I prefer the relationship advice of someone who is successfully IN a relationship over someone who is successfully single anyday.
Mom was passive in public.  She allowed my dad to call the shots and her role was to support his decision.  When she her opinion differed, she would argue in private.  My dad was not perfect, by no means.  Irregardless she forgave his stubborness and harshness and was patient with him. In the early years of their marriage my dad was away for extended periods of time.  He did missionary work.  Mom tended the fort and we never went without.
My sister, runs her home.  She takes care of just about everything relational.  She is a superwoman soccer mom.  Her husband is the planner and takes care of the major finances, although she carries her own weight.  I think she earns a little more than he does, but when it comes to decisions she usually says "Let me talk it over with my husband".  Even when her husband is difficult, she is accomodating and compesates for him. They both live very buzy lives.  He is gone on educational trips and spent a few months out of state on an educational trip.  She tended the home and the kids life did not skip a beat.
My sister in law has her own career and manages the artistic appearance of the home and organizes the bulk of their social life.  My brother, her husband, spent months away doing research and to date he works out of state.  She is used to time alone and she sees the positives in that they value their together time more and get to recharge when they are away from each other.  Sometimes he talks over her and disregards her feelings.  She silences herself and lets him have his moment to speak and control the conversations.  She tidy's up after him and thinks the world of him.  He is brilliant, by the way.
My friend's wife is amazing.  She is a prayer warrior and for 17 years of their marriage she spent time on her knees praying for her husband.  Now he is a model family man and avid churchgoer.  He thanks her  for her prayers and her unconditional love for him.  She was patient when he was rambunctious.
My girlfriend is a balzy SOB.  She is always happy and joking.  Her husband lets her be herself and they have open candid conversations.  They tell each other everything and when they have time off, they love to spend it with each other.  She runs all decisions by him and verifies her calendar with him to ensure she doesnt book friend time in lieu of hubby time.  They both work alot.
The common theme among all these women is this.  They all have to spend significant time away from their person.  They all love their person very much and respect him. By respect, I mean, they partner with him on decisions, they are sure not to disrespect his position or his time.  They value what he thinks and who he is. They are patient with him and support his decision and his ways. None of these women are weak.  Most likely they can stand on their own.  In their case, they chose to submit to the will of their husbands and rest in a role of support and encouragement to them.   Their examples are better than any book.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Battle Scars

Still missing my sweetheart.  I will continue to miss him daily for the next 3 months.  Nonetheless, I went to visit a co-worker for lunch.  This co-worker happened to have been raised by a Marine, Special Forces. 

On our way to lunch, I shared with him a story of my childhood, of when I was little my dad moved us from a Hispanic neighborhood riddled with Cholos (aka gangsters) to a middle class, white neighborhood.  Being the only 'Mexicans' on the block we were succumbed to ridicule and discrimination.  I and my siblings would hear racial slurs and comments such as being called ‘ tacos’ and ‘beaners’.  My co-worker related and said he was called “Kung Pao Chicken”, by one of our customers.  As if that wasn't bad enough, the kids in the neighborhood had these full lives with their families that we didn’t.  By saying, full lives, I mean to say that they would have conversations with their parents and real vacations.  Their dads would come home from work and ask them about their happenings and their feelings.  Their dad would hug them, and be genuinely interested in what happened during their day.  Their dads would remember their birthdays, holidays and school events. They would take vacations to Hawaii; the Colorado River... their grandma's would pass and leave them inheritance. 

My life was quite different.  My dad came home and barked orders “pick up your socks!" “Turn off the TV", " Eat your vegetables".  My dad didn’t express that he care about our feelings.  He would say things like “Don’t baby yourself" “You want to cry? Go to your room".  My dad worked a lot and was not present for many of my memorable experiences, such as school plays, parent teacher night, graduations.... yes, even my college graduation. He was always working. Our vacations consisted on visiting our relatives in Mexico ( wooptydoo!).

My co-worker then shared with me that he could relate.  His dad was stern and showed no emotion.  His dad's dad passed and he did not shed a tear.  I recalled that when my dad dies, I didn’t share a tear either.  I went back to work afterward. I didn’t grieve my dad's death until over 10 years later when I was in a HOW WE LOVE seminar.
My co-worker went on to say that his dad said "Son, there are three times a man cries; when he is born, when his first son is born, and when he is about to die".  He shared that growing up in America was a challenge.  His parents didn’t speak much English and he had difficulty in school at an early age.  He said when then teachers counseled him with his parents, they just smiled in agreement without understanding a word that was said.  When he was 18 years old, his father told him that he would pay for the first tuition of his school, thereafter he was on his own.  At that age, he moved out and found a job.  I was impressed by his story, relating to it in some ways.  Especially the part where he said " My dad always wanted us to do better than him".  My dad said that to me often. My dad wasn’t a marine, he was just a hard ---s.

Finally, he shared, that he would see his dad with his shirt off and see scars and wounds of battle.  His dad would never talk about what he did in Special Forces.  He never shared the stories of the things he's seen.  “ My dad is the toughest man alive”, he said.  I then asked a retorical question “ Does that make you tough? to not share emotion and to hold it all in?.”   He shrugged his shoulders and said “ I dunno, Im a crybaby.  Im not like my dad at all”.
He then asked how was my marine.  I had shared a photo of my marine with him on a previous occasion.   I got to share with him that my marine was away, for a while.  Amazingly, he understood. 

The Things We Do For Money

My marine shared with me that he is in a place that is hot and sticky.  By the end of the day, with his bullet proof vest on, he is drenched with sweat!  He works long hours and doesn’t get much sleep.
I know he said he is going to make alot of money on this assignment.  That is something that is important to him.  I think, if you do the math, he will probably make a little over minimum wage.  If you compare the value of his life to me (priceless) then they are grossly underpaying him. 
However, I know that he is doing something that he loves and knows how to do.  He is doing something that makes him feel good about himself.  As much as I tell him that I don’t need his money and I don’t need him to risk his life... he needs it.  My role in this is to understand and to love him for who he is and how he is. 
I try not to think about his conditions too much.  I do, from time to time worry that  My poor baby is working such long hours, he is tired, and I wonder if he has eaten? I wonder if he needs me to rub his feet... they are probably tired and sore from walking and standing 12-16 hours.  I wish, in a way, I could shelter him from all the bad people who are trying to harm him.  I would punch them! How dare they shoot at him! I also think about how he must feel with eminent fear of getting shot. He tells me he is not afraid, of course not.. He is a Marine after all.
He assures me not to worry about his safety.  He says he has a good partner. 

Daily, I say my prayers for him.  My prayer for him has been for my God to send a legion of angels to fight with him and that His angels’ wings cover and protect him.  I pray that he finds favor where he is and that everyone treats him well.  I pray that my God change the hearts and minds of those around him so that his success can unfold easily in his path.  I pray the Holy Spirit guide his every step, to keep him in a safe and good path, to march him into victory.  I pray that all negative spirits, thoughts, people, and things stay far from him.  I stand against any negative forces and any enemies that come against him.  I thank the Lord for his everlasting love and thank the Lord for pouring his love out over my marine and his team. I thank the Lord for giving my marine this experience and bringing him home safely.  I thank the Lord for protecting him and keeping him from harm, and also for giving him a little fun while he is away. to allow him to enjoy the people, the culture, the environment and the experience.  I rest on the promise that God gives me that if I delight in him; he will give me the desires of my heart.  This is what my heart desires... that God extend his grace and love that he has for me... onto my marine.  In Jesus name, I speak prosperity, love, and wellbeing into my marine's life and I trust He will deliver this.   AMEN =)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Making the Best of Time Away

Here we go again.  I have had three days of sulking and missing him.  I haven’t figured out why I feel this way.  The closest logical reason is that I love him and I feel the distance.  I know he will be ok.  I know he will come back. In the distant negative ideas lurking way in the back of my head there is that notion of ... “maybe he'll meet a little Asian girl there and fall in love".  I know that is not a healthy idea, I shake that idea off.  If he were to find love out there, I am happy for him. He deserves it.  We all deserve to find that feeling of love.  
The delay in hearing from him is deafening. It’s not uncommon for him to take a week or two to connect with me.  He needs time to arrive and get situated, connected to the internet... his computer might have gotten lost or damaged in transit.  Things and conditions may have changed and he can’t call me. During this time I try to stay buzy, get my emotions straight and keep a positive and optimistic attitude.
I understand, the work he does is challenging and his focus needs to be on his work and saving his life, not on whether I need him to call me so that I can tell him about the silly things that happen during my day. 
The day before yesterday I sulked when I got home from work.  Going to an Asian fruit store made me feel better.  My marine is Asian.  Yesterday, I went to lunch at a Thai restaurant.  That made me feels better.  Today, I am meeting his cousin for lunch.  I don’t know her that well but I plan to get to know her better.  I think it will help me get to know him.
Some say, why deal with this? why not just find a guy at home, with a regular life, to spend time with you, blah,blah,blah. I say, in my head, who wants that? That's boring? Something about this man attracts me.  Something about him makes me want to understand him better. Besides, there are no boys at home who are expressing interest for the moment.
So during this time away, I am redirecting my focus inward, at things I need to get done.  I need to do home repairs, career stuff, exercise and I am trying this new life style of "gluten free living".  I'll let you know how it goes.  I’m interested to hear what others do during time away?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

This Time is Different

Separation is always been difficult for me.  This time, it was different.  In the past,my marine would isolate before deploying and he would not see me or call a few days before he leaves. I have yet to see him off on his trips. His parents do that for him.  They take him to the airport or base and I am left on the outside, at home.  It sucks, I know but he doesnt want me there.

This time, he called me and we spoke during the last day.He called to see how my weekend went and how my workday was flowing.  When he did, I spouted out all this craziness that I am dealing with right now, financially and at work.  He listened, empathized,listened.  I continued to speak for a while.  He listened, then he said " Are you sad because I am leaving?"  and I told him the truth.  " yes".  It is not that I am afraid he will not be ok or not return.  I know he will be fine and he will come back.  He always comes back.
I told him, I just dont like him being away.
He assured me that he will be fine and that we can communicate via email. He said I can tell him my problems or happy occurrences and he will respond when he can,daily if he could.
He is always so good at listening to me (babble) and settling my spirit when it gets stirred.

I will miss this man.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Here We Go Again- Separation Anxiety

I am happy to report that our relationship is taking a turn in the positive direction.  We spend more time together, have more sex (that's always good right?) and through that experience we get to know one anothers "ways".  He invited me to his house and gave me a tour.  I smiled inside as I saw many similarities between he and my dad. 
I love my dad.  Though I didnt always feel that way, I admit.  My perception of my dad was that he was touch, non affectionate and I didnt really know him.  My dad had tons of fruit trees around the house.  Figs, peaches, apples, avocados, lemons, plums, and guava.  So did my marine.  He has persimons, pomegranates, etc.  He gave me a bunch of peaches during my stay.  I made peach cobbler the next day from the peaches... yum, yum!
The last time I was over he showed me his town and told me that I need to know my way around his town.  He knows his way around my town.  He showed me where the store is, and the best hole in the wall restaurants.  Then.. dun... dun dun...
He asked my opinion about a decision he is contemplating.  The decision was ( probably already made) he just wanted to know what I thought, I beleive.  He is taking a security job oversees and he will risk his life at the exchange for alot of money and a potential career opportunity..... oversees.  
Lord, please help me.   So,I deliberated with him and helped him think through it.  I beleive he will go.   It didnt hit me until I was at work later.  I thought, having slept on it that I had my response to him.  Then, I called a friend.  I told her what I was thinking and then I broke.  Yup, I cried.  I dont want him to go.  I dont want him to risk his life.  I am reminded, by my friend that that is who he is.  He is a man and he has ingrained in him, a desire to protect and care for.  I am sure that he wants to be able to take care of me and his parents and he sees this as an opportunity to get money (that necesary evil) to do just that.   Last night, I tried my best to reason with him and to let him knwo that "we" can save to travel, that he had other long term options for investments, etc. 
He shared with me that when he dropped his parents off at the airport he saw a ferrari and his dad commented " I know you want one son, and I know you will get one one day".   With that, he made his resolve to make money as quickly as possible.  So, yes, I beleive he will go.    I dont want him to go.
I called him later today to give him my answer.  I told him I care for him and I dont want him to put himself in harms way.  I told him that for me, his life is priceless and I would be distraught without him, should anything happen to him.  However, I did tell him that the decision is his.  If he decides to stay, finish school, work his PT job ( at a severe cut from military pay), that I would support him through it. ( Not financiall, I meant emotionally and he knows that).  But, if he wants to go, and do what he knows to do and risk his life for this opportunity.  If he beleives in the cause and feels that he will risk it, then, I will do my best to support him through the next several months while he is away.   (  this means I spend the holidays ALONE!!!!!! CRAP!!!!!). My heart is so heavy today.  I played praise and worship music on the way home and cried when I got to my driveway. I dont want him to be gone from me again.  I dont want him to go. I would be happy to lay in bed in his arms and eat canned tuna the rest of my days.  I dont want him to go!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Dealing with the Distance

What I always found a challenge with my marine was the distance apart.  In distance, I not only mean physical distance when he is deployed somewhere in a far off country or place, but also physically when he is up close.  My marine does not show alot of PDA and he is not affectionate. 
Some of my friends happen to have partners that are more accessible. They have regular jobs and are available to spend alot of time with them.  In my past relationships I was able to enjoy alot of face time with my partner.  Granted,my partner was an beta male and didnt work half the time.  This is why he was available to hang out with me.  My best advisor, good old mom, told me once ( about my marine) " you want a man who is accomplished you need to understand that he will be buzy at work and doing his things so he wont have alot of time with you... but if you want the other kind of man, a lazy one... he will have plenty of time.. and you dont want that right?"  Although she imparted very wise wisdom, I still had a hard time with his being away from me.
Somewhere along the line, I felt he was an avoider and I questioned why I would want to persue someone who doesnt have or make time for me.  I pursued nonetheless,and someone told me "you seek closeness with this man who is unavailable because you seek the relationship you never had with your father".  Those words resonated in me.  I gave alot of thought to the question ' why wait and whine and pine over this one... that's right, I never knew my dad, I never had a relationship with him'.
My dad was not a military man,though he served a few years in his younger years in the military, as was customary for people in his country.  Growing up, there were too many kids competing for Dad's attention.  Dad spent most of his time at work, at school, at a part time weekend job, in ministry and the remaining time, from what I remembered was that he slept.  I remembered growing up thinking that my dad didnt make time for me.  He didnt attend my school events, my recognition ceremonies.  He didnt even attend my graduation from high school or college. He was buzy working.  At the time, I thought he was insensitive and inconsiderate. Now I see that he was showing his love for me by working to provide for me.  Poor guy had a low paying job and so many mouths to feed. When he was done working, he would work some more and learn some more.  He would get home so tired and frustrated he would bark orders at us then go to sleep.  I see that now, but at the time,when I was little, I thought 'Gosh, Dad is home... better make sure we arent breaking the rules... he will spank us!... eeek! no hugs and kisses, just do this, do that!' So it makes sense that growing up, I pursue a man who doesnt show alot of affection.  It makes sense that I am needy.  I never thought that I felt the love of my father, that he was proud of me or that he cared for me much.  I never knew him.  
Now as I am older and spent the past few years reflecting on my past hurts and why I am the way I am, I also learned that my dad did love me.  He worked and worked to provide for me.  He was protective over me which resulted in his strictness. He was tired from the day and didnt have much flowery words to give me. He wasjust tired. 
Similarily, my marine,pre-deployment was very buzy with his training and checklists and assessments.  His days were filled with stress.  He didnt have a regular job where if he overlooked something or did it half assed a widgett would be made wrong or shipped to the wrong place.  No, if he did something wrong, someone could lose their life. After a long day,he doesnt have time or energy for a lot of fluff and flowery things, let along to tend to my neediness. I understand where he is coming from and I needed to be sure that I got my love from elsewhere, friends and family, so that there is not such a burden on him to fullfill every need I had.  Now, when I talk about love here,it is not sexual. Its love as in, attention, time,things, and acts of service. 
It helped that I reconciled my feelings about my dad so that I can continue to love my marine without resentment. 
In my last bout of lonliness and longing for my person ( my marine), I told him about how I felt.  He assured me that now that he is transitioning out of service, things will get better.  I also told my mom that I really like this man and that sometimes I feel alone.  My mom said " even though there is a distance apart, the love we have for others and the love they have for us, its still there..." Then she confirmed the feelings I had in Faith about knowing that despite my fears of the future, God is with me.
Since my talk with my marine, he is making efforts to connect with me more.  He lives far from me and he is buzy with work and school now,but he is making efforts to talk more and see me more and to be part of my life. This relationship with him is teaching me alot about, Faith, patience,understanding, sharing my heart, and communicating my needs.  I love it!