(Little Man) and I in 1999. Immediately following 9/11, typical of modern warrior families, this scene would be repeated several times. My choice to pursue the warrior life came with the cost of our family. We are NOT victims, we knew exactly what we were getting involved with.
We’ve since recovered our new shared life together as father and son. In relief, proving we did the right thing as a family, at 16 yrs old today, Little Man has grown into a remarkable young man.
Little Man, you’re now 16, officially becoming a young man.
Hold on for the ride, life gets fast, furious, frustrating, frightening and fucking incredible from here on out!
Days and nights of the past, today and tomorrow, yet so fast. How could they be?
Words fail to express, how Little Man you’ve made me proud. ”Decide what to be, and go be it.”
How else do I say this?
Give me the fucking woman!
She is all I ask for. Nothing else, no other demands. Not just any woman, but that woman. Her. The fucking girl who did it all to me. I’m after who she is, what she means and what she gave me. This woman wounded me nearly compromising my manhood where I beg for more of her. What does a good man have to do to get a good woman? For God’s sake, I’m a man. Patient. Resilient. Focused. Driven. Frustrated left clueless, I’m a fucking man without the fucking woman. Simple as that. Give up the resistance and come to me, life will change for the good forever. She is all I ask for.
1st collector for Linkin Park: When They Come For Me
“Yeah, I’m not a pattern to be followed, the pill I’m on is a tough one to swallow. I’m not a criminal not a role model, not a born leader I’m a tough act to follow. I am not a fortune of fame or the same person telling you to forfeit the game. I came in the ring like a dog on a chain and found out the underbelly is sicker then it seems. And it seems ugly but it can get worse. There’s even a blueprint, it’s a gift and a curse. Once you got a theory of how the thing works, everybody wants the next thing to be just like the first. And I’m not a robot I’m not a monkey I will not dance even if the beat is funky. Opposite of lazy, far from a punk, not the type to quit. Ya all better start talkin try to catch up mother fuckers!” Linkin Park, 2010
A gentleman, a true gentleman isn’t only one who is well-groomed and dresses well. A true gentleman doesn’t only enjoy Johnny Walker Blue Label or poker with good friends. A true gentleman leads his household. A true gentleman loves and respects his woman…
Through hard work and discipline comes children, a house, perhaps a new car or kitchen of her dreams. Communicate, communicate, communicate your way through conflict, all will be well. Surprise flowers here, a kiss there, everywhere are smiles even tears.
While at home, it’s dinner for two or more. Away with your boys, she gives the space. All day away at the stores, whether it’s purses or shoes, she too gets her space. While at home, your time is shared
While on the town, date as if it’s the first time together. If ever she is physically disrespected, or hit on in unwanted ways even treated less than kind, in no way over react. Separate her from the conflict..address the individual and move on. If bad enough, send her home, soon enough you will both be together.
Returning to the scene…with patience, simply wait. In silence, observe for other signs and focus.
Perhaps, it was only immaturity…return home. If any other way, be aware.
If he is far, draw near. If near, drag behind far. When the moment is right, swiftly seize your opportunity…
When returning home, she is well, safe and near.
Just like your grandfather, are ways of a gentleman. Through your Dad’s good friends, are ways of a warrior. A true gentleman loves and respects…while a true warrior defends.
Growing old without Jojo and Little Man is disturbing. Time doesn’t seem the same and life isn’t the best without them. The sun does not set or rise. What was beautiful before is a passing thought today. What I valued before has little to no meaning. Without them, the day doesn’t arrive new and the night doesn’t come soon enough. Watching how fast these past eight years have passed concerns me. Why do lessons learned have to be so costly? Are all these challenges meant for a purpose where so many losses and failures happen for a reason? I ask these questions because from the very start, when forced to make a choice eight years ago, I chose to pursue a good life with Little Man and Jojo, finally new warrior responsibilities. After all that I failed at, I’ve come to believe that the unhealthy thinking I may have been pursuing the next warrior life. Fact is how I couldn’t have all three. Little Man, Jojo and that life.
Today, I seriously look at life different, but I don’t. To read more, please click this link: Spitting Teeth
I did everything I could to sleep with her.
She looked over the records where her notes collected over time from our weekly meetings. Dark brunette cut shoulder length, glasses, with tattoos hidden under her blouse. The artwork spread all over her shoulders, and down her back wrapped around her thin frame. She was strong-willed with a mind like a steel trap. It was the details she craved. With severe back problems from childhood, she pushed through her hidden pain. Every month she took injections to cut the pain, only once a month would she be forced to rely on a cane. Younger than myself, I could never understand how something so irritating could happen so soon to a woman.
Posted on the walls behind her were diplomas for a Bachelors and Masters degree in social work and medical policy, a Molly Pitcher award for leading military wives at Ft. Bliss, Texas. It wasn’t only how cute she was; some of it was her intelligence, most of it was how she rebelled against the mainstream. She was a pistol, and no one fucked with her. Being the lowest pay grade on the scale, she didn’t have high-profile responsibilities.
To read more, click on this link….The Only Exception.
For her, here is Paramore’s “The only exception.” Enjoy.
Adults can manage what life throws at us and will. Children new to the experiences of extreme losses, deal real-time. Few things if any overwhelm parents more than the children. One repeated lesson I’ve learned is how our children are resilient. What was daunting as a child is forgotten as a teenager, yet it never fails to stay seared deep in the minds of the parents.
My son, waited for me to leave the military and return home. He was seven years old the day I arrived. He jumped in my arms shrieking with joy and shared all the plans he had for us. To read more, please click this link: Let me fall
Bear with me, there is a point somewhere in this post. Rarely do I play a musician’s videos twice in a row. For some reason, Jay Z‘s video “Young forever” has me thinking about growing old and dreams. Because I’m right in the middle of being young and being an older generation, go with me on this.
What do you expect out of people? They could be family, friends or people you’ve never met before. Respect comes to mind, respect for people’s boundaries, privacy, property, feelings, their past and most importantly, their dreams. No matter if you are young or old, they both demand respect from each other. Those who have walked their own path’s much longer, demand respect. Meanwhile, younger generations feel there will be no time for tomorrow may not come; their dreams are just as important.
To read more, go to this link: Forever Young.
Fuck time. I’m still going for what I wanted years ago. There is no doubt in my mind I will win it.
Standby for a hundred questions.
What makes a relationship with a man or woman so important? Why can’t we go alone and explore living a good life alone? There are plenty of women out there. Date one here, sleep with another there, hide from the others. No, if men stayed alone, not only would we lose our mind, we wouldn’t only be unhappy. Your average man would become immature, fat, dumb, poor and out of shape. Or does that happen after you get married? Do the same things happen with women?
What I do know about men and women is when they are in their 20′s, life is proof how both men and women turn into…well, they are complicated. To read more, please click here: 20 Something, Zen and a woman.
Pay attention to the video when you listen to the song. It slowly unfolds. Thanks to XD Photography Blog for recommending this song.
I’m no longer trying to figure out why things happened. Moving forward with my son’s hand in mine, in search of a bike and a woman like Jojo.
I can’t do the talk. I can’t do a love song like the way it was meant to be. I can’t do everything but I’ll do anything for you. All I do is miss you and the way we used to be. All I do is kiss you through the bars of a rhyme. (Dire Straits)
Jojo was a good strong woman then, she’s only better now. Only once did I watch her cry. Then a second time. A third time too many. The first was not because of me. The others were. I just don’t understand why. Was it when I approached her? Did I do it wrong or was I wrong? Where did I fuck it all up? We didn’t have an argument or yell at each other. It was time pulling us apart from each other. To the point we didn’t say a word.
This is the way I understand things. Just tell me I’m not off in my own mind creating this sense of drive for each other. I felt it. I felt all of it and more and wanted more of it.
On the final night I spent all night writing my last words to Jojo. I left her behind a message telling her not to give up on me. What I couldn’t say to her face, I was forced to write in that letter. It was everything I simply couldn’t say. Telling her that no matter how long it takes to not once ever quit. As I wrote that note, I saw that approaching storm on the damned horizon. I was fucked from the beginning. No matter what happened, I wanted her to know that I had to leave. When I did, when the timing was better, I would find her again. What I could not tell her was how I had to first end the failed marriage I had with her good friend. Little Man’s mother. At no time did Jojo ask me to do anything like that. It was me. All me. At the time of that note, I made my choice to find Jojo again. The pursuit just wasn’t the right time.
The pursuit for Jojo continued through emails after emails month after month. It appeared after each email, I only got worse. Then it became a year, and another year. Jail, hospital after another, six months here, a few there. Before I knew it six, seven and now eight years have passed me by. My son grew older, so did Jojo and myself. However we all grew years apart. The two most important things in my life could not be brought together with me.
After experiencing Jojo the way I did, I wanted to give the same thing back to her. I wanted and still want to share things with her where life is mutual. Where we both give and take from each other without saying a word.
Not a “woah be me” song. Just a great song by a band that broke punk into mainstream music. I think you will relate to the lyrics and enjoy this song. When I say they broke punk into popular music, I’m not referring to punk who stayed punk or punk who started punk. By no means is this considered a punk song. Green Day just originated as punk. Regardless, Green Day, just like Metallica went viral if you would and took their genre to the public making it big leaving a great impact on music.
This song reminds me of what it’s like to have friends and family drop like flies while you pursue what you are after. Failing throws curve balls at you, yet, just before the dawn is the darkest hour. When life is so damned frustrating, just when it is about to expire, that is when it starts and the good comes around. Simply put, no matter what you never fucking quit.
To love is defiance. Go against the grain, opposite of the world around you. Call it being stuck or too focused, I don’t care. It is what it is. She’s on my mind everyday all day. These thoughts are motivating one moment, down right upsetting the next. Meaning I find myself wanting to talk to her again sharing with her the good things in life. Next, I’m realizing how far removed we are from each other, there appears no chance we will reconnect. Regardless, I choose to take this path. It is my decision to want to have feelings for Jojo. More than once I’ve tried to give up, naturally within myself is something that refuses to quit.
Knowing she is not married yet is nothing less than inspiring. There is a chance. A chance for anything in this world. Why so many people have gone off and pursued things in this world that were impossible to others. I knew from the beginning it would be next to impossible to retrieve a new relationship with Jojo. The odds were stacked against me. Had I chosen to stay with her, she would have witnessed me as a married man try to start a life with her. Later, in the worst of times with Jojo, she would have seen me as less of a man lacking loyalty. The effort would have failed.
Tell me not to want her. Tell me to go away, to return to my home and start a new life. I will tell you in return to piss off and take the high road. My intent was to recover remnants of a past life with a purpose to recover my son and build a better life with someone new. Someone who earned my trust and respect. Someone, at the end of the day, I simply fell for.
Had I…ah, the past doesn’t matter much. Only for the lessons learned will the past matter. That’s exactly what I’m trying to convey, is how if I had done anything different, I would have compromised myself and everything I believed in. Going after my son first is, was and will always be the right thing. Had I not done that, I would not be here typing. Instead, I would be dust dissolved in some far off waters or found crumbling in mud within some hidden dump. If a pistol to the temple or dextromethrophane to the kidney did not take me, the great man above would have found a way.
All I can relate her to is … beauty. Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. When you experience Jojo, you will certainly feel the same way. You want to be a part of her and share something with her. She is dynamic, alive and a giving woman who carries herself with confidence. Being so attractive, she’s confidently able to walk everywhere with her head held high.
This woman is that impressive…she would endure rides on the bike for over 12 hours. Not complaining or whining wanting to go home or stop. She wanted to live life to the fullest. To the point, I taught her how to ride the Harley on her own. Watching her learn was amusing and fun. She took control of the bike, let out a shriek scream and went with it. On that abandoned runway, she commanded that 600lb bike and took off pushing through the gears where the transmission begged to be shifted higher and higher.
For now, rarely when I look up do I see women who capture my attention and set off the internal fire of attraction. If they are attractive, then they lack personality, even intelligence and humor. Or, too dramatic, whine even judge others.
I don’t know, they simply are not this woman. The woman I”ve chosen to love, respect and pursue.
Allow me time to collect thoughts. This way I won’t publish less than the best in posts. For now, I’m doing what I said I would do. Let things go and move on.Well I’m here to tell you how that is easier said than done.I’m just going to sit back and enjoy this classic tune from a great 70′s band called Marshall Tucker Band with their song “Can’t you see.”
Listen to the lyrics and try to understand how this is going to be harder then it appears. I will kick back tonight and relax thinking until I sleep.
Allow a man time!
Prepare to Crossover
Memory has me sitting at the dinner table late at night doing college homework. She stood in the living room with Little Man in her arms. Rocking him to sleep, Little man’s mother would stand there alone with Little Man listening to this song in repeat until he fell asleep. Every night, same routine, same song. Consistency when our world outside of our home was chaos and unpredictable. His mom did a great job keeping things sane.
This came at a time when our marriage was rocking up and down from bad to good back to turmoil. A fact of life for most families. However his mom and I took it to another level. We didn’t physically hurt each other, however, we beat the hell out of each other verbally.
Meanwhile, at one point it appeared she was simply putting him to sleep. While I concentrated on the work, the more I listened to the song, I couldn’t help but wonder if she was trying to communicate a message to me. As she played this song every night, it was as if she was quietly telling me I was the one …killing her softly.
This article is from 1927. Spending time in hospitals, here is a note about the experiences.
Being in that hospital was one thing, being away from my family tore at me where the anxiety ripped my brain apart. It was the reality that pulled into a mental ward, it was all over with. I entered a place I feared worse than warfare. We all fear mental wards. Its forced on us by culture. In this case, I was a special operation’s warrior still in the community about to experience termination of my livelihood.
People were not only labeling me as insane, they treated me like I was crazy and a threat to the world I loved and defended. What hurt the most was how mental health issues are unacceptable where I had come from. Because of this fact, in a matter of minutes my warrior life would come to an end. A purpose in life I believed I was born and raised to do. Something I had wanted as far back as my memory takes me
From the start, I wanted to find these people. People I knew would be there for me and my family when we are most challenged even threatened. For us, a code of silence protected our community and still does. The purpose is to protect national security, for us, most importantly, this silence defends our families and preserves our way of life. Would these individuals be there for my family when they need help. As far back as I can remember, I knew I would do the same for those people.
The very dedication and loyalty I hold for my own family, I would give to them as well. To the point, if one of our family become threatened or worse, hurt, in the worst case scenarios, we would go as far as finding those responsible and bring them …justice. No matter if it took a day, weeks, months and yes, even years. We are that focused and patient. Taught in selection and training, we are capable of setting a task, goal or objective in our minds and not let go until it is completed.
What I mean is we wouldn’t carelessly go out and kill an individual. We would find them and everyone associated with them bringing them back to authorities. I repeat, we wouldn’t kill first. Instead, we would put the fear of God in them where they wished they were dead. Proof of this is how we are part of the groups who have hunted down Al Qaeda capturing or killing 80% of their leaders and people.
To understand more, please go to Warriors…unspoken truth, silent code..
Not afraid of the past, after ten stays at VA mental hospitals, I’m driving forward. Today, I’m going to share some experiences.
Combat mental illness or PTSD is a difficult subject, embarrassing, complicated even too difficult to explain.
As you read this blog, not only do you need to understand Jojo and Little Man, you must understand the path taken since 9/11. A personal journey.
Allow me some time to put thoughts on paper. This post will be a page, not a long post. I’ve learned my lesson in posting. For now, I’ll leave you with another song and brief note. Keep this in mind. When I post songs from women, they make me think of Jojo. I’ll post only songs that I believe feed into this post. If they only show one image and not a video, the purpose is to listen to the lyrics describe Prepare to Cross over.
Prepare to cross over
He waited for his mom and dad patiently being the warrior son he is. The anxiety of …separation of the family and how young he was. A symbol of innocence from a boy who never whined, complained or pleaded for his parents. Just like every other kid in America, at 5 yrs old our boy knew what his mom and dad and their friends were doing and why. Eventually, being in the arms of his grand parents (Both sets) we were able to focus on the mission. His mother eventually made it back to America. The day she arrived she dumped her gear in our empty house. Fueling the truck, she departed that day driving 12 hours to recover her son.
During the first Afghanistan trip (Oct 2001-March 2002) I chose not to take pictures of Little Man or my ex-wife. Also, I chose not to bring “moleskin” journals. Concerned if we were caught, I chose to go into Afghanistan stripped of memories. For fear, what we carried would enable people to track down our families.
This first trip to Afghanistan was different from any other deployment I had been on. One difference was the immediate loss of American warriors. While overseas, Daniel Pearl, a Wall Street Journal reporter, was in Pakistan working on a story/mission about Pakistani extremism and the source of the “Shoe Bomber.” On his own, Mr. Pearl finally started to crack the code of Al Qaeda. With his work, researching alone, he was hot on their trail.
The pen is mightier than the sword. Mr. Pearl’s pen had active impact against Al Qaeda. Soon enough, when they caught on, his mission came to a halt January 23, 2002 after being kidnapped by the very terrorists he hunted. The kidnapping occurred within 150 miles of our site, making the event more sickening. While ground zero in New York City and the Pentagon still burned and smoldered, over international TV, Al Qaeda took Mr. Pearl, dressed him in an orange jump suit. In front of the world, they slit his throat killing him.
Within weeks of his death, Daniel Pearl’s wife Mariane would later leave a legacy of Daniel Pearl through their first-born baby warrior son. Giving the world a gift, a new symbol representing what Daniel Pearl and his mission meant to this world. For his son, he will always be in good hands.
Returning to America alone from war in Kandahar, Afghanistan and Iraq found me home without a house and family welcoming me home. Six months remaining in the military. throughout the days and nights, I became resentful of everyone I had worked for. Angry for failing to take care of my family, both accepting responsibility yet blaming others, I became furious at my ex-wife for choosing to leave and putting me in a position I would have to decide on the mission or my family. Angry at her because our marriage was about to fall apart anyway. She took my son with her.
Choosing to get away, I spent my days and nights purposely avoiding work, riding my motorcycle for up to 12-16 hours at a time. I didn’t care, no one else cared.
Riding along the gulf coast of Florida, I met the new Jojo. By accident, unexpectedly, at 16, the new Jojo grew and matured while I was away to welcome me home. To be brief, over those six months we rode together everyday and night…
To read more, please click here: War, PTSD and Metallica Unforgiven 3.
Imagine having the honor of being one of the first to go forward and defend this country. There are so few, you find the little things to be a luxury. Like toilet paper, cigarettes, coffee, magazines and newspapers and most importantly, letters from home.
Imagine you took over a city, it’s airport and the surrounding area. Your team secured everything now waiting for replacements. One night, just before Christmas, you wait for the Marines to arrive. Over the horizon from the surrounding desert, you see the rise of dust as the oncoming armada of “Devil Dogs” approach the city. Leading them into your area, you release this group of warriors to take over. It’s here you finally find a break to catch your breath and rearm/refit.
Christmas 2001, weeks following 9/11 at Kandahar, Afghanistan. On the brink of divorce, my son’s mother and I overcame many infidelities, barely holding on to our marriage. That year we left our son Little Man (Age 5) behind in America with relatives and separately made our way to Oman and Kandahar, Afghanistan. As a surprise for both of us, other warriors set up a trip where my ex-wife met me in Kandahar. We shared Christmas where she brought with her this Enya song. A bizarre mixture of Irish music with scenery of war in Afghanistan. I will never forget this song. It rings over and over seared in my mind. Memories of war seem frozen in time forever carried in your brain.
I remember Christmas night she and I shared a dinner of Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) of Spaghetti and hot chocolate/coffee. We found ourselves talking all night long about our Little Man.
That night at the Kandahar, Afghanistan Airport, we cleaned out a bombed out building at one point laying in the middle of the night on top of broken glass from a window. Despite the crunching and crushing glass, we found ourselves alone for the first time in almost six months. That night we stayed together making love all night. After weeks of fighting, that night was our first source of peace in months.
The following morning, as she lay asleep, I remember having head phones on listening to this song. Staring at my ex, I had hints of falling back in love with her. It appeared from our view point, the experience of 9/11 and our work brought the two of us back together. Despite all the conflict, arguments and hatred for each other, we always loved each other. Watching her sleep, I was alone to contemplate what the future was bringing our family.
What was supposed to be an overnight visit turned out to be six days together. For just a year afterwards, we enjoyed a return to a strong family. However, follow on deployments led us to barely hold on until two years later we eventually divorced. The final straw, our marriage ultimately collapsed under the strain of war. We screwed ourselves going into battle, yet we worked hard to make it work. Due to our choices we became a casualty of war.
How do I lead you? Don’t walk my path. Look out. Watch out for this, that or the other. Making the choices I made, you cannot keep up. You’ll only get lost. Look, listen, watch me. Soon you will ride alone.
Who am I?
Why the fall?
I’m a Dad. A warrior. A Father. A man.
Silence does nothing but drive and motivate me. Searching day and night for a response. A sign.
Away too long, know me no more, or what I’ve become. Writing is all I have, with no response.
Only meant to find Little Man and myself. Wanting to be with you. To give you a reason to wait for me.
Look what I’ve overcome. After eight years endured much you don’t understand. The experience changed me, yet I’m the same man you met. Different yet better. Stronger today than when we were together. Fail to communicate. My actions and behavior speaks for itself.
Proven to be a good father to my son. I’ve recovered and created a new life. My son returns to me. The boy you care for. What do you want? Little man is back. Everything except you.
All I’m asking is to start from new.
Give me a chance to show what I’ve become. A reason to try again, new beginning is all I have.
Jojo is a 25-year-old Thai-Asian-American woman who once cared for my only son. I met her when she was very young watching her grow and mature where she became a part of our family. Jojo was there for my family through thick and thin enduring both good and bad times. Jojo witnessed our family depart on combat tours overseas going away for six months and longer leaving our son behind. She watched our family be successful. Yet, over time we became stressed, strained and challenged to the point we collapsed destroying everything we had built. At one point, it reached levels where I returned home from war alone to find Jojo welcoming me home. A sight I couldn’t believe or comprehend, Jojo had grown and matured becoming a woman. A new woman I had never witnessed before.
Jojo stands about five feet five inches tall, brown eyes with a thin frame, brunette hair that has been both long and short. She’s very athletic and disciplined where she has played basketball, softball and volleyball even ran long distance races. She’s a college student who wears glasses from time to time and works hard at a full-time job. Jojo’s outgoing where she has many many friends all over the country. She enjoys going out with her friends and traveling. Jojo is intelligent, very attractive with an amazingly powerful disposition to the point she overtakes you. Any interaction with her leaves you wanting more. She carries herself with confidence and displays or shares a funny sense of humor. She is polite, positive with a bright beaming smile that is infectious. She’s overwhelmingly beautiful where her Asian roots stand out to combine with her caucasian background to form into this amazing woman any man would want. Carrying a natural beauty and aura about her, if she chose to, she could become a successful model.
Treated like a red-headed step child, Jojo grew up disrespected by her own father. What remained of her family, I’m not certain the relationships, but she loved or loves her sister and mother. She loves her family and is loyal, concerned about others. She naturally cares for children very well and loves animals yet is allergic to cats. Jojo is an amazing person who offers so much to the world she lives in. She is someone you want to share life with. She has overcome a great deal to grow on her own becoming successfully independent. Her potential is limitless where my hope is she pursues her own dreams and aspirations, not those of others.
Little Man was only seven when I left Florida. He was born and raised in the gulf coast to become independent, curious and adventurous. Little Man’s mother and I were Air Force stationed at a local military base, Hurlburt Field Air Force Base. Rarely home, I was always on the road operating with the teams, while his mother rotated on TDY trips supporting the mission as a professional contracting officer. He was born with the mission emphasized and would grow with it prioritized.
While either of his parents were away, his next door neighbor, Jojo, would come over to care for him. No matter what day of the week or night, Jojo was there to fill in for either his mom or Dad. Jojo brought consistency when there was none. A bridge when the tides were unsteady and the times became unpredictable, the house settled when Jojo filled in. For Travis, while he lived in Florida, that meant Jojo became a source for peace.