Life is not complicated. We make it hard. We select our battles. We allow people to treat us in ways that are unhealthy. We follow in unhealthy footsteps of our past; whether it is stemmed from our families or our grown up personal experiences. We give too much trust to people even when we see their true selves… and believe me I’m all about forgiving, but sometimes it is ok to cut ties when we are unhealthy. We know when we are unhealthy….
We hold people on pedestals, but fail to hold ourselves on pedestals….I wonder why…? This is sort of like my recent post on taking care of yourself…..
I remind myself daily of how amazing I am. I am amazing, but there are many times that I do not give myself enough credit. This is essential to grow in life.
If you do not think you are amazing or worthy of things, no one else will. It is not about selling yourself to people, but it is about realizing your self worth! I believe that we have gifts. I believe that we know the path that we are suppose to take even if we stray off a bit. I know that we are aware when those puzzle pieces are not pieces that should be in our box (those “friends” are NOT your friends…JayZ and Bey said “…no foes;” that workplace is not where you should be, but it’s easy ….right…)
I always tell people how amazing they are. It’s my favorite word of affirmation. I watch people and I am inspired by many. I am inspired by the friend who gets promoted. I am inspired by the friend who battles medical issues. I am inspired by the friend who just opened a business. I am inspired by that one person who does great on a test. I am inspired by that friend who had an emergency surgery and is always so positive. Each one of my friends are truly amazing. They are astonishing. They are impressive.
There is no better way to describe their bravery as they walk the path of their particular circumstance. They have a testimony. They are on their path. When we don’t always feel our amazingness, then we need people to remind us. We all lose ourselves and that is when we need those reminders.
I am a firm believer that we are all Biblical characters. We are the Martha’s. We are the Jonah’s. We are Hagar and even Daniel. We are given tasks to complete and each task is filled with many things to help us complete our puzzles. I found this article that I was planning to send to “Modern Love” that I wrote in August 2017 and it reminded me of my strength. In four years I have moved four times. From city to city; country to country, state to state, I have put a lot of miles on me and I applaud myself and deem myself as amazing.
Prior to that I was a law school student working a full time job and commuting about 75 Miles one way almost daily to classes. Prior to that I was working several jobs to build my resume, while working on my first masters degree. Before that….I was doing something amazing…and before that I was also doing other amazing things while facing challenges. Each journey forced me to wipe those tears, tie my boots up ( I prefer heels, so gracefully slide in those heels) and walk with grace….
This article that I never submitted sheds light on my amazingness. I challenge you to take a moment to either share a story or write it in privacy about your amazing moment. This moment could be one that might have been filled with lots of emotions, but have helped you to find those correct puzzle pieces. Mine has helped me accept all of the greatness that HE is bringing into my life and has shown me just how #DOPE and #Amazing I am…..
The stories that we read, the testimonies that we give and that we hear are nothing shy of amazingness and you should own yours.
Again, the one i am sharing is timestamped August 2017. I share this ONLY to show my strength and the importance of taking care of self. Take a moment to think of a moment in the last year of two that depicts how amazing you are!
For the two years that we were married I divorced my ex- husband weekly in my mind and via messages that I sent to him. One message reads, “Baby, I wish you could see how your son, your step-son, and those who care about you view your behavior. You have so much good in you, but the drinking and PTSD is clouding that goodness. I refuse to deal with this anymore, so let’s just part ways and divorce.” I loved him, but life with him is not easy. Actually, most of the time it is very hard. Mental issues such as PTSD and TBI are hard alone, but mix that up with what society calls a disease; alcoholism and this is something that many truly do not understand.
This time the divorce is really happening. As a matter of fact its been almost a year, and while my mind was totally jumbled and I felt like a ball of mess, it’s over and I feel great. I do not think it is totally his fault, but even in the “…sickness and in health” vows that we took, I felt miserable and gloomy having to deal with him. It took so much out of me and I prayed and even talked to counselors and other spiritual mentors for guidance. The comments were “you can take a horse to the water, but you cannot force it to drink the water.” This cliché finally made sense, so I finally packed my bags and moved across the world (literally).
We were stationed in Europe and after a long night of prayer following that last incident, I asked God to lead me to a better place. I applied to two jobs that night. Within ten hours , I was offered a job stateside (in a random city that I had never heard of prior to me submitting the application; but the symbolism showed me that having faith and knowing that God is watching you was real!) and I moved. The subject of the email offering me the job was “Answers to Our Prayers.”
I moved back to my country, and I have started a new life for my son and I. The handful of people aware of my situation were wishing deeply that my ex-husband sought help before the papers were submitted, but at that time I responded “I have no clue what he will do and can only pray for peace and hope that he listens to God.”
“Kiera, you are dope! A man who cherishes his wife knows how to be humble for her. It’s not kissing her ass, it’s letting her know that he don’t wanna live without her. If a man don’t take his wife opinion seriously that’s another problem. I see a lot wrong but it’s not my business,” one of our groomsmen shared with me one evening. “It’s not you, it is him,” they continued.
When I stood in front of the magistrate to marry my ex- husband, I was hopeful that we would grow old together and he would love me enough to change his ways. But I knew it was unlikely. I felt it, I heard HIS voice, but I did everything to force those puzzle pieces. And during the eight months between that date and our actual wedding ceremony we had in beautiful Mexico, I knew deep down inside that he needed more help than I could offer. I still fought hard, prayed, and asked so many for help with just trying to help him realize he needed help. I recorded several of his drunken episodes. I journaled a lot and did my best to talk to him in hopes of him getting himself together. One journal reads, “He is at it again. I have sat and watched him gulp a dozen or so beers. He is going back to the bar. I took the money out his wallet. The group of ladies just asked for the person he is with to come get him because he is out of control.” This was at an event we attended and how embarrassing!
We went to several … actually seven ..🤦🏾♀️counselors. Even after each counselor shared with him his issues; PTSD and being a binge drinker he always decided we did not need to go to counseling any longer. I was prepping for the bar (like the bar …. studying 8 hours a day and still trying to go to counseling for his issue… this was exhausting!!). Once he decided we needed another counselor, so I told him to change counselors. Other times we stopped because of reasons that caused him to look at himself. The man counselor we had (the one he had to have) shared with him if this was my ex-wife, I would have never divorced her. Your wife is transparent and is telling you the truth….. if we didn’t change we just stopped going. This was exhausting!
During my time in law school we had these issues. Three years later during bar prep, we still had the same issues; drinking and behaving belligerently. Counseling, denial, and now I realize my judgmental ways. I am pretty judgmental and I don’t have a lot of patience. I realized that I may not have been the person to help him because I thought about all the crap I dealt with and how I overcame, but I am not him! I’ve never dealt with war and I have no clue what other things he has faced. This was pretty selfish, but my sanity and my son was at risk, along with my health.
My ex-husband has served over 23 years in the United States Army. I have no clue what he saw, but having served three tours in Iraq as an Infantryman I can assume. I can assume that he saw horrific things and he was a part of such dreadful and shocking events, because of his nightmares and even his behaviors. I do know he saw death, but I am unsure of the extent. My judgmental thoughts made me think things that might not have been fair, but in my mind it was. Seeing death should not cause you to be rude….hurt….. yeah…. all of that… but again I have no clue and I was not about to make excuses for anyone…
He sometimes wore a bracelet around his arm with names of lost soldiers. On the anniversary of this death, I left him alone. I watched him drink himself into a stupor many times. His eyes vacant and empty. His mind seemingly uncomprehending his actions. I’ve wondered at times how he was able to leave a bar without killing himself or others on the road. I’ve especially wondered how he has been able to fool therapists who are trained to deal with not just PTSD but alcoholism. And why are there so many soldiers and their families dealing with the same issues? I saw this when we hung with some soldiers. It was bad… real bad…. and these are leaders of our military…. judgmental moment…..I would compare this to my profession which again showed just how judgmental I am. I couldn’t act like that in front of my students or anyone…. #ImJudgmental🤦🏾♀️ I even had his sister text me some excuse…. and my response was NO one deserves to be treated with disrespect…#ImLeaving #ILeft #BeHonestwithHim #HelpHim #AlcoholismIsReal
Just about every weekend there was an issue. It took a moment for me to see this was a way for him to make an excuse to drink. It was a way for him to get into a fight with me so he could leave and go “have fun,” drinking and partying. I am not one to argue, but this annoyed me. It happened so much that I would just sit and write down the excuse he would make; weekend after weekend. I would share at those counseling sessions….
Counseling sessions were always exhausting because each MFLAC counselor we had told him the same thing; he was a binge drinker and needed to seek assistance. A MFLAC Counselor is “non-medical counseling support for a range of issues including: relationships, crisis intervention, stress management, grief, occupational and other individual and family issues” that the military has in place for soldiers and families. I have my opinion on such counselors and why my EX-husband preferred them over those that provided treatment, but hey! They even shared that a lot probably stemmed from PTSD and TBI and even childhood. He did not listen and each session our counselors would challenge him to listen. “Juan, are you listening? That is not what she said.” But they were all fruitless fights and each of those MFLAC counselors said the same thing, “Juan, Kiera is going to leave you.
The day my fourteen -year old told me, “Mom, I like Juan and I know you love him, but no one should treat you that way,” was the day that I really had to self-reflect and figure out my next step. I was a lawyer, a previous college lecturer, a previous high school teacher, and soon to be librarian, so how was I allowing a person to take so much from me?
I have an amazing circle of support and while I love him, I have never been desperate for a man. But this relationship was so different. I saw the good in him, but as I messaged him many times, “you don’t see the good that you possess,” and that is a hard thing for someone to truly see. That cliché’ “God will not put more on you than you can handle” was being reminded to me by those that were close to me and knew what I was going through, but still they really did not know what I saw. I could describe the shaking at night. I could even describe those empty eyes that I saw, but nothing was like being in the situation. Friends questioned whether he had been physically abusive. He wasn’t. He never physically abused me, but I was mentally and emotionally drained and abused.
The moment that I knew I had to walk away was when we visited Prague. Prague was our second anniversary trip and I was excited the day he told me we were going! It was about a month before the actual trip, he shared he was going to take me there. Over the years we had visited many places, and each trip was mainly bitter with a little sweetness to them (yes! Bitter with a drop of sweetness…🤦🏾♀️), but this trip was by far the worst. And I finally let out all of my anger. I hated him I shouted. I hated everything about this relationship; especially, his denial for treatment! I hated all the fucking counseling he had me going to where each counselor said the same thing! I was tired of his denial! I hated watching him kill himself with each drink! I hated like hell looking in his empty, dreadful drunk eyes! I hated all of the emotions and disrespect he put me through! And I certainly hated how he treated his son. I thrusted such mean word and judgment in his face after dealing with another disappointed trip.
By this time, I was reading books about PTSD. I was seeking counseling myself to figure out ways to cope with an alcoholic/ PTSD husband. I even reached out to his superiors, but nothing would change because no one could make him face the realization that he needed help. One of his superiors said “in around him a lot and I haven’t noticed that…” I’m sure you haven’t because you don’t hang out with him on weekends and I don’t think you sleep with him at night….
Even with videos that I took of him and his dreadful behavior, he still saw no need to get help or admit he needed it. Even when my fourteen year -old son shared with him how his behavior made him feel, he was unwilling to seek help, and this was the last straw for me. So, I did condemn him. I did yell and lash out, but with all of the disrespect, the selfish behavior, the lack of compassion, the hurtful actions, the mental and emotional abuse, the blaming, and so many other things, I was weary and I decided this time divorce was inevitable.
The military is a beautiful organization. But sadly, it does not allow individuals to let their guard down without feeling certain that they will not lose rank or receive a note in their file that they are not promotable because they are deemed weak; because they have feelings and are only human. Military soldiers must wear a mask and be untruthful. I learned this one day at church when a soldier admitted she felt suicidal and shared a sorrowful testimony that I’m certain many could relate to. It is easy for soldiers to wear such a mask because they move often and they can become chameleons. My EX-husband has perfected his chameleon costume. Even when they make attempts at being vulnerable, they face consequences. Instead of my EX- husband taking time to see how the counselors and I wanted to help him, he only focused on “You are going to make me lose my career.” So, instead of receiving the assistance you need for 3 tours of Iraq, a broken childhood, and so many other unfortunate life circumstances, you will drink yourself into a stupor?
Military spouses and family members suffer. A population of servicemen and women enter the military with “issues” and try to adjust to an environment, a culture, a group of people who could never understand or embrace where they come from. They silently suffer and grow up feeling like social outcasts and find ways to cope. They remain in the military for years with the military being their family, their parents, their sisters, and brothers, yet they can never really allow their family members to know their true selves. Soldiers are recruited from all over the world. So many enlisted soldiers come from poverty stricken areas and areas where the military is their saving grace to help them “beat the odds.” They come from abusive families, drug-infested communities. They come from love-less families and on top of their past, they add more and more and it becomes a battle with self. Self vs. Self.
Then they deploy and they face additional issues such as the death of battle buddies or feelings of regret for not being there to help soldiers. This dissolves families, have service members feel woeful and dejected. This becomes too much for our service members especially when counselors are not being honest and not truly assisting our servicemen. If a service man has fought on the frontline and comes back and is assessed as “healthy” something is wrong with this. Sadly, this happens. Rushed treatments where the counselors do more talking and reminding the soldiers to be “cautious of their words” and mindful of how to articulate their hurt so they will not be “flagged. “This sickened me when we finally went to treatment. The counselor talked and talked and failed to write things down and often “forgot” where she left off because she “realizes how important his rank is and he is probably up for promotion.” So, his mental health is obviously not important. You realize that he has a problem, but you don’t want to write it down because …?”
This was so oxymoronic of what I thought the military stood for. We send soldiers over to fight for our “GREAT” country, but we do not do anything to assure they are able to come back unscathed?
You have soldiers that have spent so much time in war zones and research and common sense shows they need therapy, but there are never any follow ups. This is hell for families. And I am sure more money than just allowing these soldiers who have risked their lives, see their friends and families die. I have encountered stories from spouses too embarrassed to share until they realize they cannot hold it in anymore. I have held women and have even been held. Life is not fair for these soldiers. Life is not fair for the children and even the spouses. While progression is happening, more can be done to make soldiers feel secure about still having a job after they share and express themselves. Life gives us so much to bear. It sometimes seems impossible to take on, but as a military soldier, fighting for your country while trying to suppress feelings that are only natural can and are hard.
I remember a few years ago when I lived in a small city and weekly I had coffee with a homeless vet. I was in my last year of law school and sitting with him was my enjoyment. His story hurt my heart, because I was living the life his ex-wife lived. He came home from a war and could not cope. He didn’t understand why he had even been fighting in that war. He was from the projects of that city and only joined the military to help his family and make attempt at “becoming” something, but ironically, he is sitting on a bench with only a military sleeping bag and nothing but memories of war stories as a medic and the fear of getting help. He was not angry, but during our weekly conversations, sometimes I could hear the hurt in his voice. His wife left, mom died, son does not want anything to do with him. He blames himself and told me thanks for listening to him. That was the least I could do, right? He fought for me, us, Americans and who has fought for this man and so many other soldiers like him?
As an overtly educated Black woman, I hold several degrees. My degrees do not make me, but such degrees enhanced the confidence, the tolerance, and the critical thinking skills that I have applied when situations are crass. I was asked by a good friend after my first divorce, how did I have the confidence and even the funds to walk away. And the answer for me, which is probably a lot different from another person is prayer, total faith in God, and the support from loved ones. I am a true critical thinker. Those that know me know that I rationalize everything. I have to write the pros and cons of just about every situation and once I do, I listen. I sit back and pray and listen to the direction that God tells me to go. I am not that Christian that goes to church every Sunday and is a part of every single group. Whether its listening to someone or praying with someone or contributing to …
I am in no way perfect. I have sinned just like everyone else. I have hurt just as I have been hurt. I have lied just as the next person has lied and I can claim justification, but it’s still a sin!
The one thing I cannot stomach is one who constantly makes excuses for their actions. I cannot stomach to see a person always making the same mistakes over and over.
Prior to the divorce, I went through a series of emails and texts between my second ex-husband. And I find it interesting that nothing has changed. Even with all seven counselors, friends, family members, children, and videos to show that alcohol consumes him on the weekend and that he is a binge drinker; aka alcoholic with PTSD and most likely TBI he still makes excuses. And the hard part is he will not change for anyone. And as five of the seven counselors have shared, “it’s going to come to him falling miserably to change.” Even a supervisor of his shared “I just hope he changes before it is too late.” But until his friends stop talking about him and then allowing him in their presence to do wrong and never saying anything, nothing will ever change. We can’t be amazing if friends talk about us, but then smile in our faces…. to be amazing we need amazingly honest, trustworthy people in our life!
I didn’t understand the harsh words of his ex-wife. “I hope he chokes on a chicken bone…and I hope he drinks himself to death,” after asking was he still an alcoholic.” In life, I was told not to allow a person to tarnish your thoughts of another person, but here, I should have been “woke” and I should have allowed this to help me rationalize each time I wrote a “dissertation” explaining to him how bad he hurt me. With each email, I would get a short email back saying sure or something extremely immature which showed that he is not taking blame. Even that one time my Magistrate friend shared, “Kiera, walk away fast because he is not worth your time. It didn’t matter what he did, nothing was ever his fault. When I initially wrote this, it still stung, but now it doesn’t and my take on life is it affords us a repertoire of lessons to make us wise and to offer to those that happen to make similar or closely related mistakes.
This was my journey to get me to see my potential. And once I fully let go and allowed God to lead me….I received that all the blessings that HE promised HE would give me. I shared with someone special that “I am happy that I went through that storm, I had those wrong puzzle pieces, because without that experience, I would never appreciate what I have.” And I would not be as amazing as I am right now!!
Be good to you and applaud yourself for how amazing you are!