Ted Talk Tuesday – Relationships; Letting Go of Expectations

I could have spent the week taking supplements and seeing if it helped my brain not be sad. I didn’t.

Look, omega 3 pills are expensive, so mostly I just ignored this week’s Ted Talk and continued to gain the bad kind of fat. In summary, the talk was about a study involving mentally ill individuals and taking supplements…in a nutty nut shell, those who took certain nutrients had a drop in depressive episodes.

That’s the thing about episodes. One minute you’re at Meijer, shopping for the week’s groceries, all normal, the next you’re crying in the wine aisle because you couldn’t find the strawberry jelly.

Seriously, that was me.

It was a Sunday afternoon and I was trying to stock up on the staples at my local grocery. I had finished my very last drill with the Army after almost 12 years of service. I would never put the uniform on again. I had waited for it to end for so long. Twelve long years, three deployments later, and It was finally over.

There was no fanfare, hell, most of my unit didn’t know it was going to be my last day. It made me remember all the years I’d spent with the strongest people I’d ever known. People who had formed me, and made me a stronger version of myself. People who had supported me no questions asked, simply because I wore the same uniform. People who joined me outside of the service, trying to navigate a world that didn’t play by the same rules. It also reminded me of people who where no longer in my life. People who had passed in and out just as often as I’d passed through places during my travels. People I missed dearly.

Final formation happened and I wasn’t even forced to say some fleeting speech no one would remember. Usually, during a Soldier’s last drill, the leaders pull them out in front of the formation to give some words of wisdom. I didn’t give my leadership that chance, as I ducked into the shadows before they could catch me, I don’t need the accolades, I just needed the quiet. I signed my name on the alphabetical sign-out roster, and walked out of the Reserve Center, alone. It was sunny outside, but snowflakes fell on Indiana ground.

In the Army, you’re never alone. Battle Buddies are only ever a step away.

I went home, and tore my uniform off, including the ugly green socks I’d hated the moment I put a pair on. I drove to the store, walked among the choices, and stood in the cereal aisle.

The lanes were packed with people not paying attention. Multiple mouth breathers left their carts in the middle of the aisles as they looked for granola. Without my boots on anymore, I felt meek and insignificant. It hit me that I had most likely already done the most important thing I was ever going to do in my life, and it was now over.

The crowd at the store pushed into my personal space, blocking every avenue out. Before I knew what was happening, I started hyperventilating. Tears welled in my eyes and I lurched out of the area, looking for an empty space, panic wedged deep in my chest. I JUST WANT TO FIND THE FUCKING JELLY!!! WHERE THE FUCK IS THE FUCKING JELLY!!!???

“Get your shit together Laura,” I whispered to myself. My face started to crumple, the the fear of the shame of someone seeing a stranger sobbing among the grenadine and wine coolers made me steel against all the feels.

“Stop it!” I yelled a little more forcefully. I flapped my arms because for some reason that helps me get my shit together, and I wiped my eyes. If there was a security guy watching me on a black and white screen, he was probably asking what was wrong with the weirdo in aisle 5.

I then picked out my beer and found a stock guy. I tiptoed up to him, and made myself ask him where the jelly was.

“Ex…excuse me Sir, where is the jelly?”

“Aisle 15,” he blankly told me, not even bothering to look at me.


Seriously, would it have killed the guy to crack a damn smile? I wanted to punch him right in the dick, then snatch the damn Buddy Holly glasses off his face, hold em’ under my ass and put forth a fog of fart right on the lenses, then throw them into the toilet paper aisle. I may not be the rule of civility, but I do certainly try to smile at strangers despite circumstances.

After the episode I thought, maybe I do need some more vegetables in my life, and less chili. I’m just going to stick with my Wellbutrin instead of fish oil for now.

I don’t have a point to this story. Except I’m trying. Everything feels a little disjointed, mismatched and hanging on a thread. But again, I’m still here, trying.

I’m not going to just wake up, with no plan and succeed. I’m going to keep trying with the Ted Talks. That Sunday I didn’t simply leave the store, without jelly. Despite going to actual war, It took everything I had to ask a grocery store employee at home where the Smuckers was. I don’t have a security blanket anymore. I don’t have rank that officially makes me powerful in someone else’s eyes.

Something about body armor makes you feel like a chihuahua on steroids.

My last tour in Afghanistan, I was in charge of only two Soldiers. But that was two more than myself. It was my job to see their needs were met, it was my job to see they accomplished everything they were supposed to. Here at home, I can barely get my cat to listen to me unless I have cheese. I guess I just have to figure out a way to make it work in civilian clothes.

One of my favorite Army quotes: Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. I will have to keep planning.

Now to switch tracks just a little. Actually, it’s a pure 180. I have to focus on something outside of myself.

On to the next week’s video:

Manfriend and myself just celebrated our one year anniversary. When a lot of things in my life felt out of whack, he was my constant. Being with him was one thing I didn’t have to worry about.

Anyways, he is going out of town for the first time away from me. I’ve done Army stuff, but it’s always been me leaving him. Now he is going away. I guess this is as good a time as any to delve into the Ted Talk: Relationships – Letting Go of Expectations, given by Heather Marshall.


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