I am trying to. But it is more difficult than you can imagine. It haunts my dreams. It is the monster under the bed and in the closet. Yet, if I don't surrender, I risk losing everything.
I need to get this out of my system. It is not a cry for help. It is not a temper tantrum. It is my barbaric scream in defiance.
I am hurting. I am angry. I am sick of it all. By my calculations I have applied for over 65 different jobs (Federal/State/County and private sector) in my new hometown since the beginning of February. I actually started applying for work back in late November when I knew that I was moving. So that number is even higher. Not one single interview. Two applications have been "referred" to the next step. I have been working with Veteran Reps at the local job office on tweaking my resume as needed. Hell, I even have been seeking out the transitional mental health services of my local VA, just to have the tools of dealing with the loss of a career and transitioning back to the civilian world. By the way, I am about halfway through the grief process according to the therapist. I have sought to be honest with her. I am not hiding anything, but I am measured in what I say.
I have sought the counsel of my father (Vietnam Vet) and have listened to his experiences of having to start over time and again. To be fair, those men had it rougher in their collective return home and in the following years. He was spit at. I have not been.
I have been accused of not doing what it takes to take of my family. Guess what? I have applied for those "survivor" jobs in order to bring in something to the table. Nothing. These are not the days of walking in and negotiating on the spot. It is all done via the internet. Faceless, ones and zeros. But you know what, I have walked in and talked with folks, HR managers, face to face and without appointments. Still nothing. Rejection. Try Again. Rejection. Try Again. Rejection. Try Again. Too old, too experienced, not enough specific experience, ad nauseum. I know that I will have to start at the bottom. Due to my non-combat injuries, there are some things I can't do (construction/roofing/warehouse lifting, etc.). "But, but, McDonalds, Burger King, or Walmart (which I have applied to via their veterans website)..." Nothing. If you want me to swallow and defecate the last bit of self pride I have by flipping burgers, then you can share in the aftermath as well. I would rather be deployed. But you know what. I will go back AGAIN, and try AGAIN.
So here I am, seeking work in fields that I did in the Army not related to my MOS. Yep, I am fully aware that I will be taking a paycut. But again, something is better than nothing right? We are in no position to move again, and right now we are limited to particular geographic region of the country due to health concerns. You can never really go home. You may want to, but it is never the same. Ever.
"Be willing to surrender what you are for what you would become."
This is frightening. Sometimes fear leads to paralysis, especially for those of us who enjoy analysis. Right now I would much rather be analyzing the likelihood of CW2 in this country than be analyzing my situation.
Be willing to surrender what I am for what I may become. There is no guarantee there. There are none in life. It is a risk. I still could lose everything whether or not I surrender or not.
Be willing to surrender...Dreams, Desires, Hopes, Possessions, Pride. Sometimes, all of these are not separate, but are enjoined together. Which makes it even more difficult.
I have done this before. I vowed never to have to do it again. I worked hard so that it would not happen again. Yet it did. So here I am. Again. Screaming the silent scream of defiance.
Does envy play a part in this? To be honest, it does. I do not dwell on it but it is there.
Does faith play a part? Yes it does too. Full disclosure: My faith is not what it should be in a time like this. This is a big regret.
Does this mean I am a failure? I have been assured that I am not. But certain bars of measurement would definitely say that I am. Early middle-aged, indebted, careerless. But I am still here. Trying again and again. Being yelled at over and over again for things not in my control. Swallowing the anger and rage and disappointment. Tucking into the back of the file cabinet of my mind. Taking care that the bulging file folder does not spill over. Always trying to stay positive for the wife and children. But they see my face. They hear it in my voice. I have never been a good poker player.
So, where does this leave me now? I have had several kind notes of encouragement from readers. I appreciate those very much. At one particularly low point a few days ago, I received a text from an Army buddy that floored me with his sincerity. It was what I did not know I needed at that precise moment. I got to thank him face to face for that.
Am I being emotional? Yes. Damn it, this whole thing is personal. So yes, it is going to be emotional as well.
Can I can be rational about it all? Yes. I would rather be (and strive to be) employing wisdom. That state where rationality and emotions fire in perfect combustion and create energy.
*****I am not a "name it-claim it" guy, but there is a necessity for writing down dreams and plans. Here goes nothing:
-Find a job that pays well enough to live while we (my wife and I) finalize the debt we have. Plan to be debt free in 3 years. Even if it is not my dream job or career.
-Be grateful for what we have and the experiences we are going through now. Find and share the wisdom gained. Find the joy and love in each day.
-Be in a place financially that this does not happen again. This I know I will need help on.
-Lose weight and get fit again.
-Appreciate and support my wife with her endeavors.
-Attend and compete in one of the local 2 gun competitions. Do it for me. Not for the placement in the final tally of the points.
Dreams: (Do I even dare?)
-Be able to afford land and a home in the country with enough room for a short, medium, and long distance target range.
-Be able to take classes with instructors that will challenge me and that I have respect for.
-Work in the firearms/accessory industry and be able to make a difference in customer's lives.
*****I have not given up. I am just beat down, bloodied, and tired. But I have not given up.