How to Treat People

While I was stumbling this evening (If you don't stumble, you should), I came across this. I thought it was very insightful and worth sharing. Whether or not the stories are true, I couldn't tell you, but I think there's something in each one of them we can all learn from.

Five Lessons About How To Treat People
-- Author Unknown

1. First Important Lesson - "Know The Cleaning Lady"

During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?"

Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.

"Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say "hello."

I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

2. Second Important Lesson - "Pickup In The Rain"

One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car.

A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab.

She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home.

A special note was attached. It read: "Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband's bedside just before he passed away. God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others."

Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole.

3. Third Important Lesson - "Remember Those Who Serve"

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10 year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. "How much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked. "50¢," replied the waitress.

The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it.

"Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?" he inquired. By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient. "35¢!" she brusquely replied.

The little boy again counted his coins. "I'll have the plain ice cream," he said. The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left.

When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies. You see, he couldn't have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.

4. Fourth Important Lesson - "The Obstacles In Our Path"

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand - "Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition."

5. Fifth Important Lesson - "Giving When It Counts"

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year-old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes, I'll do it if it will save her."

As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away?".

Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.

I want to work to be a better person. I think this was definitely a point in the right direction.

Also, a lot of people asked where I got the app on facebook to see my past statuses, I hate to tell you but I honestly have no idea. One day, my old statuses just started showing up on the right hand side. They don't show up all the time, usually when looking at my own profile or typing in a new status. I've just recently noticed they are now showing up on other people's profiles as well, showing their old statuses. I know that's not any help to any of you who asked but it's all I've got :-\

Hope everyone fared well through Irene and isn't experiencing too much damage!

We Met, It's a Girl, Year to Year

Facebook has this new thing where it shows you your statuses from the previous years. So far, I've only seen 2010 and 2009, so I'm assuming it only goes back 2 years. It always catches my attention, because so much has changed for me from year to year.

This weekend, in 2008, I met Jonathan. I think the story is relatively familiar now, as I've told it several times. It was at the bowling alley on Aberdeen Proving Ground. He was silly, I was sarcastic. He was wearing a brown tun tavern t-shirt and ugly sandals. I was wearing a maroon and white flowered tank top and my reefs, a staple in my wardrobe since well before 2008. We hit it off right away. I beat him at pool. I gave him and his friends a ride over to the rec center. When he had to go, he asked if he could kiss me and I consented. It was the most magical kiss of my life. My entire body tingled, head to toe. I swear I saw sparks, as cliche as it sounds. My legs literally felt like jelly, and I might have fallen over had I not been in his strong embrace. I was hooked.

Facebook didn't show any statuses from 2008, but I know this weekend was the one I met him and the one where my life changed for the better. My soul mate, who would become my husband. My better half, the man who made me smile bigger than any person had ever done in my life. My heart glowed when I was with him and it all started the very last weekend of August, 2008.

My facebook status from 2009 reads, "Husband is on his way home from the field and will be here for the WHOLE day! THE WHOLE DAY! YAYAYAYAYAYYYY" and later that day, ""Just bought our first little pink outfit in honor of the end of the not knowing days :)."

I remember this day clearly. Jonathan had been in the field, the battalion was doing a lot of work ups getting ready for deployment at any time. We had found out he was going to be gone during the anatomy scan the doctor does, so when I found out when he was getting out of the field, I called Womb's Window in Wilmington and booked a 3D scan for us, so we'd find out what kind of baby was baking away in my womb together. It was one thing I definitely didn't want him to miss. He was so tired from the field but as soon as we got home we got ready and took the 45 minute trip to Wilmy to find the place. I remember being so excited watching him sign the father's spot on the consent form. I took pictures of everything, ate a lot of sugar so baby would be moving around a lot, and the sense of excitement to find out who was in my belly. We had gone back and forth for the months since we'd found out I was pregnant, I would say things like "Oh SHE'S kicking" and Jonathan would go with "HE sure is active today." I knew she was a girl the whole time ;) I remember when we found out officially she was a girl, it was more reality that we were going to have a child together, a little girl. Jonathan's jaw-dropped a little in a "Crap what will I Do with a GIRL?!" way but he was sooo excited to have a princess. He said there'd be no boys left in 10-12 years because he'd take care of them all before they could get to her haha. We called our families and closest friends on the drive home to share the good news. When we got back, we headed to WalMart to pick out the first pink outfit (she already had tons of green and yellow, it was time to get something PINK now that we knew), a little gray and pink striped hooded shirt and pink pants. I took a picture of her tiny clothes on top of Jonathan's cammies to show how small she would be compared to her daddy. It was magical and I was beyond happy that he was there to share that; that we could find out together.

My status from this day in 2010 reads, "
"In a very weird mood after waking up from even weirder dreams. I miss you so much babe, so very very much..." A year after meeting, we found out we were having a girl. A year after finding out we were having a girl, he was dead and all I had left were dreams. So much changed each August. Every year, it's almost like a completely new life, with only memories and photographs to prove the other life even existed at all. And the most important proof, my little smiling diva girl. At least I know for sure the lives in the years passed have all been real, and all been mine.

This year, my status has talked about people's milk buying habits in preparation for a hurricane and registering for the BlogHer Writer's Conference. I'm at my mom's in Maryland (just like 2008), watching my little girl run around like a crazy person. We spent time outside and took silly photos with Photo Booth. I have a countdown on my phone for when my boyfriend will get home and am looking at different trips I want me and Ari to take in the mean time, and for all of us to take once he's home. There isn't much direction anymore, just trying to figure things out. It's all changed year-to-year and some days I don't know how to handle it. I suppose you just take each year, each day really, in stride.

Well, I'm off here to go write more 2011 statuses (lol) and see if my diva girl will go take a nap yet. Here's to hoping 2012's statuses on this day are good ones!

Celebrating Life, Love, and Sisterhood

Woo, what a week! It has been busy but well worth it! One of my very, very good friends and widda sista, Mandy, came to visit last Wednesday. We had a celebratory "RPYP" or yard party to welcome to her to North Carolina Porto and friends style. We had a great time, and I've got to say Mandy is one hell of a beer pong partner! Thursday... hm what did we do Thursday? Maybe we just hung out? Mandy, help me out here! Friday we packed up and headed for DISNEY WORLD!

We got in around 4pm and my sister in law picked us up and dropped us off at the cabin, where my mom and dad were waiting. They were super excited to see their grandbaby and sent Mandy and I, as well as my sister and her friends into the parks for the big kid rides. Magic Kingdom was open until 2am, so we did Hollywood Studios first and then Magic Kingdom. We got in pretty late (we didn't stay til 2 though!) and went to bed for an early start. Ariana woke up really early on Saturday, much earlier than normal, but grandma was more than happy to spend time with her. We got ready a little later and headed into Magic Kingdom, the whole gang along with my sister in law, her husband, and her son who is a couple months older than Ari. Ariana wasn't too keen on the rides. Granted, she'd gotten up much earlier than normal and it was very hot so I think that might have played a big factor on her discontent. We did Snow White, and as soon as it got dark she got scared. We did the Dumbo ride and she seemed to be okay once it was going. Both of those she chose to do with grandma (I'm telling you, she always goes to grandma or grandpa when they're around over mommy!) We did Pooh and she actually did that one with me. She held on tight and I could tell she was exhausted. Headed back to the cabin for some lunch and naps for the kiddos. I ended up napping too! We went back out into Hollywood Studios and rode the Toy Story ride, of course Ari wanted to ride with gram again and she didn't do too bad during that one.

On Sunday, we went into Animal Kingdom. I think that was Ariana's most favorite time. We did the safari there and she was so cute. She was laughing and pointing at all the animals. She waved and blew kisses to the elephants. Of course I forgot my camera but luckily my mom had hers. We walked around Animal Kingdom a bit, then everyone else headed back to the cabin but Mandy and I stayed to do the 2 big kid rides there before heading back. We had a cookout for lunch at the cabin and my mother in law, 2 sisters in law and their kids, and one's husband, and some friends of the family came up. We ate delicious food and just enjoyed being in each other's company. After a break, Mandy and I went back out again to get the most of the last day in the parks, mom wanted to keep Ariana with her. We did Epcot and attempted to do Disney Quest but it closed too early so we ended up going to downtown Disney for pretzels and heading back to the cabin.

On Sunday, it was Mandy's 4 year anniversary of her husband's angelversary. Many of the nights we stayed up talking late. I feel like I really got to know Dan during this vacation and it was great hearing so many of her stories. I love how she lights up when she talks about him. We shared stories, some sad, many happy, and I just enjoyed being with a good friend who really gets me. On Sunday night, we got on a bus and it was full of guys named Dan. It definitely felt like a sign from Dan, letting her know he was near. The driver was a cool guy named Jimmy who gave everyone stickers and the kids little presents. Of course I can't speak for Mandy, but I think it was a nice end to a not-nice anniversary.

Ariana headed back with grandma to Maryland because I will also be headed that way tomorrow, so we are only apart a couple days. Mandy and I flew back to NC to have two more days of adventure for this week of widow time. On Tuesday, we went ziplining in Fayeteville. We had SUCH a blast. I can't wait until I find my camera cord (or get a new one) so I can post photos. We did 8 ziplines, 3 aerial bridges, and 2 (or was it 4) tree staircases. It was exhilarating, and fun and even peaceful being up in the tree tops. I know we both had a great time.

Today we went on a trail ride at a farm down the road from my house. One nice hour with horses in the woods. It was so peaceful. We did a lot of nature connecting this week (even in Disney we stayed in cabins in Fort Wilderness!) and had lots of other little things that seemed like signs from Dan, just little hellos to his wife. After relaxing from the ride, we went and saw One Day, which was pretty good but definitely sad. We enjoyed a lunch/dinner (linner?) at O'Charley's, one of my favorite restaurants here in Jacksonville. And then, a few hours later, sadly and against my wishes, it was time for Mandy to head out. Back to Chicago and reality. BOOO!

I really hope that Mandy had a good week and found some joy in sharing her stories of Dan and being with someone who understands. I know I enjoyed time being with her, she is always a breath of fresh air and an inspiration to me. I feel like I know Dan much better now and I love getting to know my friends' husbands even if they aren't here on earth for me to meet them. It's amazing what representation the widows I've met give their husbands, and how much you can learn about a person through stories and photos, and just seeing the love in their loved one's eyes when they're telling the stories.

Well after a long, fun, and busy week, I should probably get some zzz's and get ready for my long drive to Maryland tomorrow to be with my baby girl and my mommy and daddy and sis! Hope you all had a great week as well!

Who am I?

I did something new today! I love days where I can do something new. It's not even anything that exciting. As a matter of fact, it's something I don't desire to do ever again (although I'll have to). I ...drum roll please... mowed my own grass! Ok, ok, those of you who do this on the reg can quit laughing now. I know, people whose husband's are deployed or other widstas or single ladies, a lot of you are used to this but look, the first (and only) house Jonathan and I had together, there was a lawn care agreement. It was included in rent and we didn't have to worry about mowing. The most we did was trim the hedges (with scissors, mind you. I'll have to post the link to that). Then, I moved into the new house on the.. what was it? the 3rd? something like that? anyway... of January, and NC well, there is no grass on the 3rd or so of January. By Spring time I'd met Zach and by the time there was any grass to think about I knew him well enough to ask him to cut my grass for me. So, today, Zach's been gone what? 3 weeks? Something like that? (Gosh, my perception of time is awful, huh?) and there were these patches of grass. Because that's how it works down here. It's not like it all gets out of control. It's little jungley patches. So, I bought a lawn mower at WalMart, a nice little weed-eater push mower. Totally standard, nothing fancy, least expensive in the store. And after Ari went to bed I got down to it. It definitely wasn't as easy as I remember from the couple times I helped mom and dad as a kid. It was hard work. I broke a nasty sweat. And let me tell you, I don't like to sweat. Then I had to fight with the wheels with the damn thing because I was apparently cutting too short (I did have to call dad for assistance because I filled it too full and gas started spilling out... my bad). And of course the people in the neighborhood are giving me a smile and a wave but do any stop and see if I need help?? 'Course not. So I fought, I only swore a minimal amount, I smiled for the most part, and I sweat through it. And guess what?! The front grass is cut. No more patchwork jungle. It's far from the prettiest yard in the neighborhood, there's a lot of weeds left to deal with, I won't be winning any awards on it, but I MOWED MY GRASS!! Woo.

Overcoming a new challenge is most often rewarding. It can be frustrating, but once you've overcome it, well, it's an awesome feeling. I don't know how this all really ties in with the lawn mower story, maybe I just thought it was funny, but I'm embarking on a challenge that is both new and old. A challenge that is ever present but I'm choosing to face it again with more vigor than before. The age old question - WHO AM I? There are some things I know. I know I'm Rachel Porto. I know I'm a daughter of my parents, E and B. I'm the wife and widow of Cpl Jonathan D. Porto. I'm the mother of Ariana Ralyn. I'm the current girlfriend of Zach. I'm a blogger. I'm a student. I'm a writer (at heart if not by profession), I'm a friend, I'm an enemy (apparently, didn't mean to be), I'm a talker, I'm a photo junkie... I am all of these things and more but WHO AM I? I have taken some time lately, since I've been sick (that's a whole different story...) to start really thinking about who I am and what I want out of this life. Since the last post really, things have been stirring up in my mind. I want more. I want to figure this life out, and where I'm supposed to be. What's my niche? So, I think it's time to do that. Explore a bit. I'm still young, even though I feel like I'm 60 some days. I've got time. I'm 97% sure I'm going to drop beauty school. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it. It was fun, the people were cool, and I was decent at it (I think so anyway) but... I just don't think being a hair stylist is my calling. I definitely wanted to learn and I'm glad I did. I've walked away with techniques I am so thankful knowing and I would still love to do people's hair if asked (I just can't get paid for it) so it wasn't a total bust. But so much has changed with the class this semester, including the hours and honestly, I just feel kind of chained down. Almost like I've been suffocating. Anxiety about making my hours and not being able to take time to do the stuff I really want to do. I just don't feel my heart's in it. I think I wanted it more as a hobby. To have a successful career as a stylist, it's best if you stay in one place long enough to build clientele. I just don't see myself doing that, at least not right now. When Ari starts school, that's a different story, but for now I'm young, Ari's young, I want to be able to explore, not chained down by mandatory hours at school. Maybe it will just be a pause. But right now, there are other things I want to pursue and work on. Other career paths my heart is in that I want to see where I can go and what can blossom if I take the time to follow them. Maybe I will find my true calling and can be happy and successful. Maybe it's a bad decision. Honestly, I can't tell ya, I won't know until I'm done. At least I know, it could just be a break. I could go back if I want and finish. But right now I need time. Me and Ari and Zach when he gets home, but for now me and Ari taking some time to just... be and explore and not feel pressure to do anything but what we love and just... take time. Ugh that doesn't make any sense does it? Well, in my heart it does, I guess I can't really fully explain it on here but I figured I'd share anyway. Since I've started making this decision, I've felt freer, I've felt less weighed down, the anxiety is lifting, and I'm ready to... explore. I just feel like since Jonathan's death I've kind of bounced from one thing to the next. I haven't really taken that time. Sure, I've gone here and there but I've also enrolled in this school and that. I need to stop, look, and listen to my heart. I need to do what my heart's telling me to do. It's been whispering for a while but it's shouting now and I need to let it lead.

And by the way, I'd still recommend getting your hair/nails/face done at the Miller-Motte Jacksonville Cosmetology Clinic. They still have such talented people there and I plan to go there to get my stuff done (while I'm in the area). And of course, if we're friends and you want me to cut your hair or do an updo for ya, it's still cool. I don't want anyone to think it's because our clinic sucks or anything, I would definitely promote their services and encourage friends to go there!

Also, in other news, I'm watching So You Think You Can Dance. Melanie just won and I've got to say she was my favorite. I love how she moves her body. That is dancing. I feel like the way she moves I can feel the emotion of the piece. This is completely irrelevant, but you go Melanie! Get it Girl!!

Ok totally weird post over.

One Plus One Equals 2 Hundred Billion

It's hard loving two people at once. Ok, so we love lots of people at the same time but I mean loving loving. Ya know, like, "I love you." The three scary words kind. It's hard. I have no idea how people cheat and those people that maintain two families secret from each other or that kind of thing because it's tough enough loving someone who is here and someone who is not both at the same time, I couldn't imagine doing it and hiding it with two people who are both alive! I find myself extremely fortunate though, that I have two people who love me right back at the same time. I don't know how rare or normal that is, but I know that I'm lucky to have it. What's even harder though, and what has brought me to finally blog now that I can (I've been in a nasty funk) is missing those two people at once. Missing one person sucks. A lot. Missing him on deployment was awful and missing him after he died, well I thought that pain would eat me alive. Now the other person is gone. Ok, he's not gone gone (don't freak out) he's just away on Marine Corps stuff but... I miss him. Then I find myself thinking Oh I miss Zach... and I definitely miss Jonny. GOSH I MISS THEM BOTH! It's definitely a different kind of miss but I miss them and the loneliness of them both being gone is super icky and has admittedly put me in a funk for a couple days. I feel like I'm being a big baby. Zach is not deployed he's just doing his work elsewhere for the minute, in the United States. I shouldn't even be worrying. And it's not the worrying, it's just the missing. I barely get to talk to him due to his work demands and after having him in the house all the time I realize how lonely lonely really is. Like I said, I feel like I'm being a baby, especially with so many people I know wish spouses or significant others deployed but some days it kind of just brings me back to the before I met Zach. Well, not right before, long before I met him. Right before I met him, I had started to grow accustomed to the loneliness. The doing every single thing on my own. All of it, it had finally started to become second nature. And then there was Zach. And then there was hardly ever being alone (in fact I had to make time to be alone because I missed it). And then there was help that after a while I finally learned to accept and just let happen. This just kind of transports me back to... oh about the 8 month mark when things were pretty bad for me. When the realness of my loneliness had set in, Jonathan had been off the earth for 8 months, friends had gone back to their normal lives (or just leave completely) and I was alone. Thank God for baby girl. She keeps me from ever being truly alone but I must admit, having Zach around to take some of the pressure off me, of all things I have to do by myself every day, was so nice. I didn't realize it until now when I have to do it all on my own again, but he had been so helpful and things had been so much easier and smoother with an extra pair of hands. And he was here when I was sad. And he was here when I was angry. And he was here at night when I'm still not ok. And he was just... here... and I miss him. He'll be back in a couple months but shock of being alone once again was rough and I sunk in a hole for bit, I'm just now clawing my way out. I don't like to admit it. But it's true, it's there, and maybe if I come to terms with it, I won't be clawing out anymore, I'll gracefully climb out and forge on until he's back and I'm readjusting to having to share time and space with someone else again. I wonder if this is what people feel like with multiple deployments? I wouldn't know because we only had the one. When they go again, the loneliness from the last deployment hits so hard and then just as you're adjusting to them being gone, bam they're not anymore and it's time to adjust to sharing space and time again. Yeah, I'd imagine it'd be something like that.

The 1/6 (Jonathan's unit) are deployed again. There's only a minimal amount of people I still talk to from the unit. There'd been so much drama, so many rumors, so much crap that I just kept close the ones who I trusted (and even then certain people surprised me), but I still know things. They did a Miller-Motte gives back week at school, where spouses of 1/6 were 40% off to show our appreciation for their service. Of course it had to be 1/6. Of course it had to be put in my face that this was our unit. That this should be our deployment. That I should be coming in to get my hair and and nails done to keep my mind off my husband being gone again. Of course it had to be hard. I did fine though. I blocked out the unit and deployment talk. I dealt with people I didn't want to see, who'd betrayed me and still haven't apologized (ya know, people who promised they'd be there for me but if anything came between us they'd still be there for my daughter and then wouldn't answer me when I tried to find out what was going on and wouldn't return the $200 dress I had loaned them or several other things they had even when I was trying to trade for some of their stuff that was still at my house from the days we were friends that abruptly ended without my knowing). None of that really bothered me while I was working. The "who"s didn't bother me - Who the ladies were that were in the clinic, who their husbands were, I don't think it even bothered me that said ex-friend was there. It's whatever now and that's my place of "business" for the time being so I go ahead and do my business. What did bother me was the "should, could, woulds." This should be our deployment. I would be doing xxx. Ya know? The what-if's that don't go away. And then the fact that there was no Zach to go home to get it out to, to cheer me up with some stupid joke or dance or... whatever it is he does that always has me smiling. That's when it bothered me. But hey, I got through it, and in the end I think I may have come to a realization. A conclusion I've been putting off for the last year and 4 1/2 months. I think it just might be time. I think I need to get the hell out of Jacksonville. I think being here is keeping me too connected. Keeping me from moving as much forward as I could be. Do I want to leave Jonathan behind? No. Do I want to leave our memories and our life behind? Absolutely not. I've learned though, like I did with the material things, that a change of location will not do that to me or to us. He will follow where I go. His memories will be with me always, he lives forever on in my heart and in my daughter. But it may protect me from falling to often in the shoulds, coulds, woulds, and what-ifs. The watching of people having the life I'd expected, wanted, anticipated. The life of a Marine wife, in a Marine community doing Marine family things. No, I don't want to leave behind my friends and their families that have become my own family, but I don't have to be right here all the time to keep them, either. I know wherever in the world I am or they are, that these friends I have now will also be with me. I think it might be time, soon, though, to move away from the reminders that I don't have what I used to have. I think seeing it day in and day out leaves scorch scars on my heart that my life will never be what I had anticipated when I met and married Jonathan. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. Maybe it's time for me to move, literally, onward, and find what else is in store for me now that I am on this new journey.

I guess you may be able to guess that Zachary is getting out of the Marine Corps. At first, it really bugged me. I'm a Marine wife, how will I be a civilian's girlfriend?! But the reality is, a relationship shouldn't be defined by a person's occupation. He was a Marine and will always be a Marine. And I will always be a Marine wife, with or without Zachary. I was and still am married to a Marine who now guards the gates of Heaven, that doesn't change my status. Not being with a Marine will not change my ties to the military, will not change the person I have always been. It was scary at first, but I think I'm starting to look forward to it. Toward the new possibilities. Leaving Jacksonville. Zach's new career, whatever he chooses. I don't know, it's all confusing and I was really down about everything, but now I'm letting my optimism rise. Maybe it's time for a new challenge in my life, supporting Zach in his new life as well.

Maybe this post makes no sense. Maybe it's a bunch of loosely connected things I've thrown together, but it's the things that have been setting in my brain pushing me down into this funk and maybe, just maybe, getting them out will lead me towards the graceful walking out of the hole I mentioned earlier.

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