unable to love and addicted to war?
-My friend saw more blood, sweat and tears then I did...but we both came back bitter and untouchable. I’ve been home over a year and I still don’t understand why we were so irate…and what pushed us so far away from how we use to be. While she was overseas she finagled her way into a couple of beds…one man was married. Marriage held no weight, even when his wife found out about the affair. My friends defense was, “I didn’t make the commitment to her…he did. So it’s not my problem”. I always thought, but you’re a women…you should realize what you’re doing. It didn’t matter to her. My friend also knew how to make a quick buck. She had a female friend who was known as the official whore. My friend would ask around to see if any guys needed a blowjob…she’d point them into the whores whole and when the mission was complete, my friend would walk away with 50 dollars in her pocket. It was about getting your nuts off and the cash. Clever but sickening. For her that was acceptable behavior in Iraq but how do you go from that state of mind back into being a civilian? Not just a typical civilian…but a female who now had blood on her hands, a horrific perception of love and who did not trust anyone. Allowing herself to feel again was not an option. War left us numb to the idea of love…but love should’ve taken a backseat but some of us wore it on our sleeves…it was a death wish.
-A year had passed and she still cursed more then I did, she complained more then I did, she talked about Iraq more then I did and she still would not allow anyone into her life. Everyone was kept at a distance. She’d make you laugh, she’d annoy you, she’d shock you, she’d challenge you but that would be it. She was in control. She proclaimed she was “fucked up”, and I agreed. Every time she got into my car, I’d hear all about her life. Her family was a mess, her job was horrible, she moved again…nothing seemed to ever be going right…and she always ended her rant with, “Man Iraq fucked me up”. I got so sick of hearing the word “Iraq”, come out of her mouth. I wanted to stab myself in the ears, just so I never had to hear that word again. She was completely stuck but everyday became easier for me.
-The one thing we had in common was that the relationships we had prior to Iraq were over or were on their way to being over. No matter how hard we tried to make it work, it just didn’t. The pieces didn't fit like they use too. We were comfortable before, sweet, in love and content. Now our love needed more...any amount of innocence we had prior to deployment was gone...content didn’t exist in our world...we were anxious...curious and wanted more…not just from our lovers but from ourselves. The past was comfortable. Maybe if we tried a little harder, had more sex with our vintage significant others, somehow we’d be ourselves again. For months we were restless, attempting to make things exactly how they use to be…because we believed that’s how it was suppose to be…and if our cookie cutter relationship didn‘t work out as planned, somehow we were the ones to blame. Through all of this we were expected to be with someone who completely ignored the past year of our lives…Iraq almost had to be a figment of our imagination. Now we stood before our family, friends and lovers...out of love, our minds racing.
-I remember my ex-boyfriend calling me "crazy" when I first got back. Crazy? Crazy to me is a girlfriend who checks their boyfriends cell phone, freaks out when he talks to another girl, throws a fit if they don't get the right amount of attention, who doesn't get exactly a dozen roses because anything less is unacceptable...that’s crazy...I wasn't crazy. I was crazy for him to understand me...to attempt to understand what I went through, to listen when I wanted to talk, to hold me when I wanted to be held...I was crazy for thinking that would ever happen. After flirting with the idea that somehow I’d move forward from my mishap of a year, I realized I carried a piece of that year with me every single day…a man could not change that…and he shouldn’t. I could not conform to his ideas of how we should be…or how I should have been or how I should have felt. I was unable to love and be loved by someone who could not acknowledged all of me now.
-My friends personal life consisted of a few fucks here and there. She did not trust any male. The lifestyle she took part in in Iraq, now caught up to her. Her view of love was shadowed by infidelity. The blood on her hands made her numb. All she talked about was Iraq. I chose not to love…she was completely incapable of loving. Iraq was eating her alive…she was addicted. Her mindset consisted of situations that happened over a year ago. We were in a sea of people who were in relationships, who dragged their feet from day-to-day, who worked nine to five jobs…everyone was a blur. We seemed to move freely between them, attempting to just fall into place…there was no place for females like us. Everyday started out the same. We woke up to thoughts of Iraq, we wondered around hostile and resented everyone, we tried to mesh with our friends…we pretended to care about going out to bars and getting drunk and shopping…when the day came to an end, everything had been forgotten about…the jokes we laughed at, the people we interacted with…nothing registered. The only thoughts that made us feel alive, were the ones that were killing us.
-Its now August 2007. We have been home almost two years and I still find myself writing about Iraq. My friend finally unleashed her heart and gave in…she had a boyfriend for a year. Her relationship ended abruptly when she found herself back in bed with a married man. She works two jobs to make ends meet, Iraq is still her most frequently used word, and she just reenlisted. I sit in my room with a brown robe on…freshly showered…my hair pulled back…I have diamond earrings in…two diamond eternity bands that cradle a vintage diamond ring…my nails are painted a faint pink…I keep applying chap stick and drink hot tea. In the morning I’ll wake up at 8:30 and go to the gym, then I’ll go see my father at the nursing home and give him a birthday card to sign for my mom, I’ll come home and shower, and then I’ll go to work. At work I’ll answer numerous phone calls from hospitals, doctor and law offices. Everyone is pissed and wants something. Every now and then I’ll get a total wacko who will ask me about the weather, the price of oil and whatever else they want answered that no one else will bother to tell them. These are my favorite calls. After work I’ll shower again…pretend to pick up my room…maybe eat and hang out with friends…call the one person who might actually understand me…and do it all again the next day. This is nothing like my year in Iraq. My life now seems insignificant and wasting away. I don’t know if we are “fucked up…unable to love, addicted to war, etc” but we aren’t the girls next-door.