It was the summer of 2005 and I was deployed to Iraq for the first time. I feel we’ve all been overwhelmed by stories from those who have been a part of this recent conflict. I’ll spare you as much as I can. I was immersed in a world where egos ruled, women were scarce and the general mantra was ‘suck it up.’
Porn, video games, junk food and Internet kept most of us occupied when the socializing got old. You’re disturbed by the ‘porn’ word aren’t you? It’s a fact. On my second deployment I administered the satellite internet system for the unit. I saw what came through the pipeline and clogged up our bandwidth over and over. Women were just as guilty about it as the guys. Moving on.
As might be expected, I was flooded with all sorts of crazy thoughts and feelings. It was hotter than (insert really funny analogy here) and I missed my… uh, I don’t know what I missed. The hottest day over there was something like 150 degrees. The helicopters couldn’t even fly because of the air density/fuel ratio.
My friend Amanda played a big part in saving my life whether she knows it or not. Before joining the Army shit got real and I was forced into taking charity simply to eat. It was my own fault but my pride found a way to avoid acknowledging it. Amanda and her mom brought me several bags of food to sustain the sorry excuse of an individual I was. I gave her my computer when I left for basic training. I wish I could have given more.
A few months into the deployment I started feeling anxious about things. It wasn’t about the mortars or random IEDs exploding. It was about something more. What the hell was my purpose? I started writing in a journal. It was all handwritten and I’m sure they make absolutely no sense. Amanda used to write quite a bit on Xanga. I used to really enjoy reading her daily ramblings and watching her progress from a cutesy teenager into a beautiful young lady. She suggested I take up writing on Xanga. I did and it was awesome! With barely any effort people started following me and even began sending gifts to our unit.
It seemed that as I wrote, some people actually enjoyed what I was writing. The more people read it, the more I wanted to make it better. Though my Xanga days wore thin, I found something that lit up my world quite a bit more than anything else had in a long time. Though my presence in the ‘blogosphere’ has dwindled to nothing more than being featured on page four thousand of any search result, there has been a spark inside me that is hoping to get the fire burning again.
If I can make someone laugh, cry or even take a moment to pause and reflect on their life then I will have succeeded. Enjoy!