Have to be Loved to be Understood

May 2, 2012

I’ve heard that I haven’t posted in a while, so…here’s my post.

I’m currently reading Once Upon a Town by Bob Greene, and let me tell you…it gives me chills every time I pick it up. First, part of the introduction:

Once upon a time – not really so very long ago – something happened in this one little town that, especially on days like this one, now sounds just about impossible. Something happened, in the remote Nebraska sandhills, in a place few people today ever pass through….

…We’re always talking about what it is that we want the country to become, about how we can save ourselves as a people. We speak as if the elusive answer is out there in the mists, off in the indeterminate future, waiting to be magically discovered, like a new constellation, and plucked from the surrounding stars.

But maybe the answer is not somewhere out in the future distance; maybe the answer is one we already had, but somehow threw away. Maybe, as we as a nation try to make things better, the answer is hidden off somewhere, locked in storage, waiting to be retrieved.

The book tells the story of North Platte, Nebraska, and the Canteen that developed as a result of the large train depot where soldiers passed through during WWII. Soldiers would stop for 10 minutes at different depots, but North Platte was different. The people of the town (and surrounding towns) greeted every train with smiles, food, coffee, music, magazines, and gratitude. Every train. There were always people there to greet the soldiers. Soldiers – teenagers – who were traveling across the country to most likely die far away from homes. These people were always there to express their appreciation and to give them one last taste of America before beginning their journeys.

Who does that anymore? What kind of civilians do this for their soldiers? Yes, “it’s a different time,” especially since most people don’t travel by train. But is it really that different of a time? At least during WWII there was a very clear enemy and cause to die fighting for. But what now? And wouldn’t that mean that soldiers need civilian support more than ever?

As all of you know, I have plenty of qualms about the military, but this just sounds like the solution to bridging the gap between the civilian and military populations. I don’t have an idea of how we can implement something like this today, but I think we should all read this book and think about what kind of country we’re shaping for the future.


How Many More Things Can I Save

February 23, 2012

I’ve started a lot of drafts about a lot of different things, but this time I hope to finish this post and publish it.

Currently the top news result for BBC is Obama’s apology for NATO forces burning the Koran. When I first read the news yesterday or the day before, I thought “Wow. That was stupid. How could they be so disrespectful?” But then I thought about all the images I’ve seen from around the world of people burning the American flag. And then I thought about how many people around the world may burn bibles and torahs. And now I think about all the other book burnings and iconic imagery that’s been destroyed around the world. So why is this such a big fucking deal? What is so much more holier and special about Islam?

It’s a question that has been widely discussed in the past decade or so. For example, in South Park’s 5th season, they illustrated Mohamed in the episode “Super Best Friends.” But then seasons later, Comedy Central refused to air another episode with Mohamed. It was in July 2001, several months before the United States invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. Obviously there’s a correlation between the two, but why? What is so fucking special about Islam?

I just needed to put it out there, like so many before me.


Wasted on Fixing All the Problems

November 7, 2011

I’ve been thinking recently (as it usually happens before I write a post) about Battlestar Galactica. I love BSG. I also love my manfriend (as you all already know). I also love the earth. I also love studying human rights. I also have mixed feelings about the army. So I’ve been wondering: can a true hippie really love Battlestar Galactica? (beware: spoiler alerts after the jump.)

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Not Enough Retribution or Decent Incentives

November 4, 2011

My mom and her partner were visiting last weekend (hi mom!), and I had an interesting discussion with them and my manpartner. I feel very blessed that they support me being with this military man, but it was a bit shocking to hear how much they supported the function of a military partnership. I have always felt that, while I support my manfriend, I owe nothing to the military, and they owe nothing to me. That’s what I believe is the benefit of not being married. If the military feels no obligation towards non-married partners, then why should we have any obligation towards them?

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Don’t Bother None

August 24, 2011

A phrase I’ve seen discussed recently in “civilian vs military” blogs, posts, and articles is “It’s what you signed up for.” It’s essentially a fuck you to military servicepeople and their families, kind of like “You knew what you were getting yourself into.” And I’ll admit it, I’ve said it to my man buddy. It’s a mean thing to say, but to be honest, it’s how I felt. When I considered doing ROTC, I truly thought about what it would mean, and eventually I decided not to join because I knew it would be a load of bullshit and I wouldn’t truly get to fight for what I wanted. (Yes, there was a time when I considered ROTC, but then realized that any photographs I’d take would be property of the government, and I’d essentially lose my copyrights.)

My manfriend has to do the stupidest things, like stay awake for 24 hours to do nothing and then go straight into work. The day before 4th of July weekend he had to run a poorly planned ridiculous obstacle course for 6 hours with no food or water. If there’s ever another debt ceiling debate that goes on too long, he has to work without pay because he’s considered “essential.” I agree that things like this, yes, you can absolutely be angry about and things that shouldn’t happen. But as I’ve said to him, did you seriously not expect this absurd bullshit from the military? No, it’s not “what you signed up for,” but was it not expected with the territory?

To me, this is different from the hardships that aren’t outlined in the job descriptions or the common-knowledge adversities (at least, what I would consider “common knowledge”). When military partners and families struggle with the emotional impact of deployment, of moving from place to place, of isolation from the rest of the population…no. No one signs up for these things. But from what I can see, the military blogging community tells similar stories to each other, and although it’s on the internet for everyone to see, no one’s looking for it.

And this is why I desperately want (need?) to start my photography project. I’m not very experienced with the military lifestyle, but I also wouldn’t consider myself a typical civilian either. I feel very in between the worlds, and so I believe that I am in the position to bring both worlds together. Not that I’m going to single-handedly bridge the ginormous gap, but I believe I can contribute to it in a way few people can or will.

Anyway, maybe I’ll include some of this in my grant proposals. But first, I have to make some work. That’s the worst part about all this: I can’t ask for money until I’ve gotten started on the project, but I can’t really start the project until I have money. Oh, the vicious cycles of applying for grants and loans…


Set to Drain

July 8, 2011

Something else I’ve had on my mind lately is marriage. With all the gay marriage up in NYC and some of my friends getting married, it’s just been weird. I guess the main thing I think about is how conflicted I feel about potentially being married to the military. My manfriend can testify to how much it freaks me out – pretty much every time I get really drunk (due to tequila), I start crying about how I don’t want to be part of the military.

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Someone Like You

May 10, 2011

It only seems appropriate that I start typing this blog post at the same moment that Michelle Obama appears in a commercial for Joined Forces.

This is my first experience in my boyfriend’s apartment alone. I’m waiting for him to come home from a little pow-wow dinner with his little army buddies. I will be live-blogging this experience.

20:10 I had a nice conversation with my boyfriend’s friend’s wife on my ride to the apartment. From what I can tell, she’s my age. She’s cute and friendly and pregnant. She tells me she sits at the house most days, partly because she has morning sickness and doesn’t want to do anything when she’s puking her guts out. She reminds me a bit of Laya in the sense that she sits at home all day.

20:23 Watching NCIS on tv and cooking myself some dinner. Not really exciting stuff. Frozen ravioli. If my man had actually gone grocery shopping, I’d probably be cooking something amazing and I’d feature be regularly updating my cooking blog. Also, I would completely rearrange the appliances in this kitchen.

20.40 Drinky drink drink. I wish my man were home already. I’m bored. I’d like to think that, if I lived here, I would cook and bake all day, and I’d sell what I baked and donate what I cooked. I’d donate to shelters or families or disabled people. Also, I wish my man had cookies. I want something sweet.

20:57 My friends from NYC call me to catch up while drunk. This ended up taking up a lot of time, and by the time our conversation ended, I had a few minutes before my manfriend came home. Case closed?

Maybe this wasn’t the best time to try and live blog an evening in the life of a military partner. These next 16 days, however, my manfriend will be frolicking in the woods with his tanks, so I won’t be able to talk to him or see him. Maybe I’ll have something to say about that. But in the meantime, this is all I got.