21 June 2011

Have we really come to this?

I know I could discuss President Obama's decision to withdraw 30,000 troops from Afghanistan, but why? I'll believe it when I see it and what I rather discuss with tell my true feelings on it.

I'm more interested in this article I read about a 59 year-old man who robbed a bank for $1--yes one freakin' stinkin' dollar--so he could go to jail to have a secure roof over his head and health care until his social security kicks in.

What the hell is this?

Is this a case of a dude being lazy and trying to work the system, or is it an elderly guy that has ran out of luck and is so scared of his failing health that he felt like this was the only alternative to get the care he needs?

Either way, this is sad. While I'm out here on a mission to "bring democracy to the poor people of Afghanistan" and instill some proper way of life for them my people in AMERICA is steadily suffering, starving, losing hope in just being able to survive on a day to day basis.

Is this persona of being Team America so necessary that we have to sacrifice our livelihood for it?

But in the same instance we Americans squander things away that people here in Afghanistan don't even know exist. I mean some probably have never seen a cell phone, computer, a IPad?? That's make believe in their minds. The choice of what nasty fattening fast food to get, the ability to travel long distances in a vehicle, to be able to wear what you want, to speak your mind without fear of repercussions...

To wash your funky ass the moment it starts to smell??

So yes, I sympathize with the people here and I wish that we could have done more in the 10 years we have spent here. In my opinion it will take over a lifetime and some reformed beliefs before some real change occurs.
What should be the focus is how to make America better, before we end up a Third World Country ourselves.

20 June 2011

One saved round...

Once I get back home, I intend on being a dedicated blogger, because I realized that it's something I enjoy an am good at, however this "theme" has got to go! No longer will I be defined by the Marine Corps. I have plans to revamp and have something way more bright and pleasant looking...it's easy to see where my mind was at when I created this...sarcasm and anger...but it still looked good at least.
Ok I'm done. Good night people.

Late Night Musings...

This is going to be random, off the top of my head thoughts because I just don't have it in me to formulate something more professional looking I guess, so deal with it.

  • I don't even know how I feel anymore, I have literally went through the grieving process. I'm just on auto pilot to get through the day.
  • To survive the monotony I have still been going to the gym religiously, however I don't know if there are any positive results, except that I know I will never be in danger of looking bad at anything physically challenging again.
  • I'm going to get a personal trainer cert when I get back, just don't know which one...
  • I am finishing up on my college classes with A's so I can't wait to be able to send that up in my record...trying not to think about the promotion board but it's been hard. I'm just trying to stay positive about it and not dwell on it.
  • A Bachelor's looks really good on a resume' with 12 years of faithful service and 4 combat deployments...
  • I start more classes next month.
  • I started going to church, it helps...until some nasty loser tries to talk to me and almost causes me to do something un christianlike in God's house...bless them.
  • I still haven't gotten a relaxer and I don't think I will when I get back...I'm digging the waves. I need to finally embrace after all these years what people have made me hate myself for.  I'm learning more about my natural hair every day.
  • I miss my guy...is he still my guy? Such is the life of a Marine right?
  • I am so full of plans right now for when I get back, I'm just scared that I will fall into the procrastinating rut I was in prior to this "experience".
  • I still don't miss smoking, but I'm so scared about weight gain that if I miss a workout I'm mad at myself all day. I know it's insane. Oh well.
  • I'm sick of eating almost the exact same crap everyday. But at least I have semi-fresh crap and not hardly any crap like my guys that are out in the dirt.
  • I just want blue jeans, a semi offensive tee and my Chuck Taylors. That would be awesome.
  • I am going to burn these cammies when I get home...seriously, they will be unserviceable anyway so they will make a great starter to a little bonfire in my back yard. 
  • I miss my cat.
  • I maybe home before Halloween...
  • If not I may snap...
  • Who am I kidding, I half expect to be stuck here for two years only because that would be my luck, lol. 
  • Still a Sgt...well in actuality a scribe.
  • With a rifle that's way too big for me that ruined my fucking cammies that I will burn. 
  • I want real bacon.
  • I want a real hug, a kiss, some freakin' affection from someone that I miss that hasn't said since I left that they miss me.
  • I'm sadistic, can't you tell?
  • I need to leave work....wish this page would work at the can...crappy foreign Internet provider...
Yeah, told you it was a mess, and this is pretty much in my head the majority of the day, every day.  

05 June 2011

A much needed visit....

Disclaimer:
For my non-religious readers, sorry, this will happen time to time--just take the positive message from this and keep it moving.
Today I decided to attend the Gospel Service here on base...I was a little biased about it because I wasn't willing to walk the half a mile back from work in the middle of the day in the heat for a service that might end up being a hooting and hollering session. Now don't get me wrong, I love praise and worship, but if it crosses over to the everyone singing in tounges on cue then stopping and people dropping to the floor acting a fool and then the second they get out they're cussing and trying to flirt with each other then I can't deal with it.

Fortunately I had 6 people convince me that it's not like that and insisted that I attend...actually it was a fellow Sergeant that said he would beat me up if I didn't go so I felt very happy that he was so insisting that I go get the word.

Anyone who's deployed and went to church knows it's probably in a wooden building, with the basic church decorations...but how this room was built it almost reminded me of the old school churches from my hometown, like the one I went to right before I deployed.
It is refreshing to see many men and women of color, of all ranks and services all together in one room...there were other nationalities as well, but I rarely get to see a lot of black Servicemembers in one place. I know it shouldn't be a race thing, but sorry, sometimes it is. Depending on who the black people are I'm either really comfortable or embarassed--this was extremely comfortable, everyone was so pleasant and nice until--

I almost wanted to leave because I saw the disgusting MSgt that cat-called me when I was going to the gym one night right when I got here--but I learned a long time ago that even the devil is in the church so don't get discouraged and act like they do...so I acknoledged him by rank and went up to the front with the Sgt who threatned to beat me up---at least I know no one will mess with me when I'm with him.

The choir was pretty good, the sermon was exactly what I needed--"The Power of Perpetual Thanksgiving"--Luke 17: 11-19, the story of the Good Samaritan.

I have stated since I been here to others that God meant for me to be here...but I still went around acting angry, upset and just all around unpleasant to be near sometimes.
If I am supposedly grateful to have the opportunity to better myself--Jennifer, not Sgt Jones--shouldn't I not just say it but show it though my actions? I wonder why I've had such a horrible week, a horrible couple of months, because I'm trying to fight this fight myself and do everything by myself when I've always known that I can't and never will succeed unless I allow God in my life completely to handle all the difficulties that come my way. When I do, I am ignoring the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ--He died for my sins, my pains, and my struggles--the least I can do is acknowledge it and be positive that everything will go the way I need them to be. For real, not just as a front to others.
I have truly been a hypocrite and I asked God for forgiveness today and I received Communion asking Him to wash this intense hatred I've had over everything, this doubt that everything is going to be bad when I get back, that the one I really care about will not be there for me and I will be alone again...I gave all that to Him and I feel whole again.
For the first time since I've been here. I truly feel peaceful.  Praise God.

04 June 2011

Week in review.

So I had my very first breakdown of the deployment this past week.
After I did my weigh-in, which I did fine, didn't have to be taped or anything...because of my idiotic decision to start a new thermogenic right after taking one for over 6 weeks, I ended up having the crazy side effect of retaining so much water that my whole body was swollen, including my face for 3 whole days. No, there's no picture for you to laugh at, trust me it would have made my mother cry. So after drinking almost 50 bottles of this nasty water, I completely flushed out my system and almost back to normal. Too bad without the thermogenic I feel hungry every second of the day and I feel weaker at my workouts...oh well, no more of that crap for me for at least the whole month if not more.

But while going through all of this I think my emotions swelled right along with my face because I just felt miserable. I couldn't be positive to save my life, no matter how much people tried to cheer me up. I also felt ugly--yes, I know that's almost impossible for me to feel that way about myself after all these years but I felt almost like I did when I was in school. Especially when I am having issues keeping this hair under control.
I felt like I was drowing from the inside out and my whole body was about to explode.

Someone here did a good job of pulling me out of it...he's a good guy, pretty much the only one here that can make me smile no matter how angry or crappy I feel.
Don't get it twisted, my desert goggles aren't on I still can't wait to get home and straighten things out there but it's just nice to know you have someone that actually cares about your well being and is here. Not back in the states where it's like another world.

But yeah I feel much better now and I will chop this week up as a miss and put it in the past. I have many things to be grateful for and Operation Prison Swole will still go on! I have tweaked my workout a bit and hopefully next week I will have some progress pics...and I will post my current routine. I'm on week 6 of my college assignments and I have an A avg in both of them.
I really should be counting my blessings that I have the opportunity to better myself while I am out here, and I will not take it for granted anymore.
But this place still sucks. A lot.
Peace out homies. If you haven't gotten in touch with me yet, you suck. For the ones I haven't hit back up...I will tomorrow, ok? Love ya!

This is just about hair...

So I've been blogging about my transition to natural on the site naturallycurly.com, mainly because it's one of the only blogging sites that isn't blocked during the day and I have met some awesome women with BEAUTIFUL LONG NATURAL HAIR!! So here's my latest installment:


So I finally brought in pictures of my hair! The power was out in my living area all night all the way until 8AM. So frustrating, it was pitch black in my room, imagine trying to deal with your hair with one hand and a flash light in the other! Good times, lol

Here is my hair wet, this was before I had the TT, so detangling was kind of (very) difficult for me:
I see some new growth, but there's a lot of texlaxed strands mixed in so I still don't know what's going on with it.









Here are some photos of my protective style, simple enough, right? This was the night after my co wash and using the TT for the first time. My hair was so soft and I didn't use any gel either, just water, HS 14 in 1, and coconut oil. I'm loving the waves, lol.
















So ladies tell me what do you think? I think it's a pretty good start. I did order some Eco Styler gel with Moroccan Argan Oil because my hair definitely doesn't look that slick by the end of the 12 hour work day!  But I do keep it from looking absolutely wild by using these mini sprayers from Sally's online:I fill these little bottles with a water, aloe vera gel, and


HS 14 mix, shake them up, and when my hair is getting a little dry and messed up, I spray and smooth with my hands and it's worked pretty well the past couple of days. Especially the back of my hair where it's mostly natural and the edges not protected by my cover.
My male officers have given me funny looks about it but whatever, it's working!

27 May 2011

Pushing it out of my mind...

Just finished my college assignments that I realized had a due date of the 28th...they are usually due on Sundays but I guess it's because of Memorial Day holiday.
Well I will be celebrating Monday in the best way I could think of, being here in lovely Afghanistan.
Yes my sarcasm is thick and so are my swollen fingers from typing like a mad person all day.
I can't really complain, I got to work on my assignments all day and it got my mind off what has been bothering me the past couple of days.

The message came out for the SSgt board. There are 5 allocations this year.

I guess after getting passed over twice I get somewhat apprehensive about this subject.
I think I've went into it before, and that is why I am here now. I'm too lazy to look for when I did so you're either going to have to trust me or look it up yourself, sorry.

I realized while being here that I beat myself up over it way too much to the point that it wasn't healthy at all. I almost began to hate myself and lose my Crown that I care so much about.
I know that I learned my lesson and I have literally done all I can do to convince a board that I am deserving of becoming a SSgt.
If they still pass me over, oh the hell well...just keep it moving and continue to do all the great things that I have been doing and to focus more on myself.
I feel like I found Jennifer again, yes in the desert.
I have renewed passions that I forgot that I was even interested in.
I now grew an infatuation with physical fitness and nutrition and would like to get certified to help others.
I am becoming stronger than I ever been, inside and out.
I can't wait to go home and just live life for me, and put the Marine Corps in the category that it needs to be sometimes, as just a job.
I can't live, eat, sleep, breathe and shit this stuff anymore.  It gave me diarhea and insomnia and the food is terrible. *Figuratively, not literally*

I'm aware of all of this now, but I have been so hurt lately by the sheer doubt that I will get it this year, after everything that I have done to show that I'm a good Marine. I'm scared how I may react. I'm scared that maybe I just don't have what it takes, that maybe all of what I considered simple mistakes that I have made in my career, really are as bad as the last two boards made it out to be--I'm undeserving of the priveledge to be a SSgt and I should be pushed out of the Marine Corps.
I know, I know, I know. But that's just how I feel.
But I won't tomorrow because this isn't being brought up again until the results come out in September.
God knows I've done all I can do and I have to have faith that things will truly work out the way I need them to be--no matter what happens.
I'm out of here.

24 May 2011

Musings and a Special Request...

So I sit here at least 5 times a day and quietly pray to myself that soon I will hear that I will get to go home soon. I realized a minute ago, well what in the hell am I coming home to?? I don't mean me personally, but there has been a lot of foolishness and chaos going on over there. I feel so terrible for those people in Missouri who has had their lives torn apart by that tornado...these natural disasters are coming crazy at the US isn't it? But wait, we did dodge a bullet--wasn't it supposed to be the end of the world or some shit Saturday?
Uh, no offense Gentlemen, but none of you are who I would like to spend my last day here on Earth with.  -Me saying that to all of my officers at work
Then The Terminator got a kid on the side and Macho Man Randy Savage getting killed?? Oh my goodness.
I feel like I'm on the outside just watching a crazy television show with random plots, twists and turns...then I have to turn it off and focus on my reality here in Afghanistan.

About my hair...well I did decide that I am going to continue to grow out my natural hair and see if I can stand a transition, it's been almost 6 months now so let's see if I can stand another 6...and no, I am absolutely not doing a Big Chop (cutting off all of my relaxed hair). Yeah it's harder to deal with but I will manage...it would be harder to deal with the biased opinions of Marines and me with a short afro...besides, I don't want my hair short, it's at the middle of APL right now...so I'll just trim once a month and let it grow out and once the new growth is at APL I'll get rid of the rest. It's doable I have done PLENTY of research and I'm still not done. Fortunately for me, because of the conditions of this place I had exactly the products I needed to take care of natural hair, lol.

So I am taking college out here and for one of my classes I needed to conduct a survey.

I am currently conducting a survey on the perception of women with tattoos. Tattooing has been accepted for the most part as a social norm in America, however there are still mixed views on women who decides to get tattoos. I personally have tattoos and have received accolades and borderline insults from different people for making the choice to mark my body permanently. I am curious to see the many views on this subject based on gender, age, nationality and religious affiliation (if any).  The results will be calculated and documented in an Inquiry and Argument Essay for my Composition class. All will remain anonymous. Thank you for your participation.

Here's the link: http://kwiksurveys.com?u=WomenwithTattoos 

Please post this on your FBs for others to answer, I still don't have everyday access to that site so please pass the word for me!

That's about it for now, I need to get back to the can, do some reading and get to bed!


.

22 May 2011

Talk about upset...

So after 8 here I can use Blogger on my work computer...FML....well I guess I'll be able to catch everyone up with what's going on with me, lol.

I have done a little blogging on Sparkpeople.com about my workout regimen, but I haven't really written down about anything else that has happened.

To me a little more thorough with my earlier update, the bottom line is that I'm not upset anymore about this situation. I have done a lot of soul searching and I realized that this is where I need to be at this moment in my life.

Now why in the hell would I want to be in Afghanistan you ask? Especially when I'm not doing the job I love and I don't go out the wire and I'm confined to an office all freakin' day?

Well it's here that I was able to turn away from my most difficult vices: eating nasty foods and smoking. During my times of extreme boredom I rediscovered my passion for a lot of things that I used to do and what I always wanted to try but I put it all on the backburner for the "sake of my career." I don't think I have ever pushed myself so physically ever except when I was in boot camp. I am under my max weight and although I am not near my goal of 120 pounds yet, I am loving how my body is changing and I feel freakin' young again. I'm also working on revamping myself, I need to be more optimistic and I just need that oomph to get me going again in life, I have some amazing goals that I intend on accomplishing...so amazing I will dedicate a post to each.

But what about your guy?

I knew that he more than likely wouldn't be able to deal with me being deployed, and honestly I expected too much out of him...not to sound mean but you have to be a strong civilian to deal with a spouse/significant other being on deployment...I think he would of had a better chance if he was in love with me...but he isn't.
And I wasn't in love either...so even though I hope and pray that we can overcome this and keep our relationship going when I get back...at this moment--I have better things to focus on.

Also I have some WONDERFUL friends and family that have done AMAZING things to support me thoughout this deployment so far...of course my mother and my cousin Monique as always, but I will say that my friend Eddie has gone above and beyond to make sure I'm comfortable, from sending me chicken and tuna so I can have healthy proteins, to sending me a freakin' kettlebell that I can use while I'm at work! I thank God everyday for having a friend like him.

So yeah, my outlook has changed drastically and I know I can get through this deployment, no matter how long it is...
But it will be the last one.

No, I didn't fall off!

Yeah, I know it's been quite a while since anyone has heard from me...
Well WiFi here was a big disappointment, there still isn't any where I live at. And the internet I use at work doesn't take kindly to Marines who want to blog I guess, so this site is blocked. So I'm using a couple of minutes while I load up a video for my college class to give everyone a quick update...

*Yes it sucks here and yes I'm a secretary.
*I have stayed consistent with Operation Prison Swole and has seen major improvements in strength and my body, slowly and steadily.
*I have learned to be disciplined when it comes to my eating habits and now I'm pretty comfortable with turning away from junk food or bacon.
*I haven't smoked in a month.
*I may transition my hair to fully natural while I'm out here, next month I was supposed to relax my hair, now I'm not so sure if I want to.
*I still have no idea when I'm leaving here.
*I should have just came here single because I'm definitely leaving here single, lol. With that, there's nothing I can do here about it so I don't focus on it.

That's about it in a nutshell, I'm focusing on myself to prevent this environment from driving me absolutely insane. If you want to email me and check up it's best if you use this address: shestaysdeployed@gmail.com
Seriously. I know there's no need for email anymore since facebook but I don't get to check mine 10 times a day anymore!! But seriously, hit me up on that because fortunately that's not banned as well.

Until next time...

18 March 2011

En Route...

Well I just made it to lovely Shannon, Ireland...just a day later than I was supposed to. But hey, it wouldn't be a deployment if there wasn't constant screw ups like this hasn't been done before hundreds of times in the past 10 years.

I'm just coming down from a nasty upper respiratory infection that I caught apparently the minute I got on the bus to start this evolution. I haven't been this sick in years. So yeah, I've had to "suck it up" quite literally since my nose is running like a broke down faucet in the barracks. Not to mention the projectile vomit experience I had the first time we tried to board the plane, right before they made us get off because the aircraft had "hydraulic problems".

So once we returned back to the terminal I commenced to curling up in the fetal position for a few hours and then finally asking my friend Darrien to grab some meds and food for my Corporal and I--for those that do not know once we are put into holding prior to the flight we can't leave the area (at that time). So being the awesome friend that he is he hooked me up with some McNuggets and Cold and Flu meds.
Later they put us on base libbo but honestly I was too messed up to go anywhere, I only wished at the time I was smart enough to drag myself from the cold concrete floor so I could have went to the gym to take a shower.
I will make sure to include this in my after action report.
We stayed at the terminal all night, and we departed first thing this morning.
I've had a wave of different emotions hit me, because initially I felt fine, confident even about this fourth deployment, until I got so sick that I couldn't see straight. I called my mother and she said that even though I've tried not to worry or stress about going, that my body's defenses still shut down and allowed me to get so sick.
So yeah I got angry, frustrated, even wishing that the plane would explode on the flightline just so I didn't have to go....
But now I feel somewhat better and by constantly blowing all the thick snot out of my head it's beginning to clear up a bit. The reality is no matter if you're sick, healthy, hungover, negative, or optimistic--this deployment process will suck so just make the most of it.
I feel better already just doing this.
Next stop, Germany.

14 March 2011

Down to the Wire.

No I haven't left yet...

I'm  here in NC, getting myself together, spending time with friends I made when I was stationed at Cherry Point and just enjoying everything about being here. This is the half- assed excuse as to why I haven't been blogging.

If anyone was wondering what happened between Crown and I when I told him I may be deploying for a year, you're in luck because I am going to reenact it right now:

Me: Babe I have to tell you about a change in my deployment.
Crown: Really? What is it?
Me: *Sigh* Alright, there is a possibility that I will be deployed an entire year, we may not be replaced at the 6 month mark and I will get to go home for two weeks, but I will have to go back. I can't tell you anything set in stone until July.
         Crown: *Silence*
         Me: *About to faint*
         Crown: Jen, thank you for being straightforward and honest, I wanted you to do that. Six months, a year--as of now I will be right here when you get back.
        Me: OMGoodness you are amazing babe, that's all I can ask of you.
Crown: I want you to understand that I have never been through this before, and I can't guarantee anything, but I'm going to try ok?
Me: I understand. If we can get through this, we can get through anything!




"AWWWWWWWW"

Yeah, that was right before we said "See ya later..." It rained so hard in VA that day, it was a struggle to drive back.

So I should be relieved right? Pretty happy and feeling extremely blessed that for ONCE I met a pretty great guy that although pretty nervous about it, thinks that I'm worth the wait and is willing to support me through a year long deployment.
Well I am. I just can't allow the typical self-sabotage type of thoughts to play through my head.
I feel like I did so much to keep us together to this point that he is going to have to do alot on his part as well---not really keeping score or trash like that, I mean communication will have to be GREAT between us--and I don't know if he really understands that.
When you deploy, all you do is think about what your friends and family are doing in the states, especially someone you're in a relationship with. If you don't hear from them you start to think all types of crazy things, then you freak yourself out, then when you finally get to speak to them you're pissed off about the whole scenario you created in your brain like it actually happened.
I got pissed off at him already about him taking two days to get some info to me because he kept forgetting--no I didn't blow up on him, I acted like it was no big deal because I realized it was silly to start an argument.
But I still have it in my head if it's hard when I'm still here, how will it be when I'm on the other side of the World?

Well enough of that. I decided that instead of focusing on what I don't want to happen, I will use my energy thinking about what I want to happen in my life.

When I deploy, I will be focused on when I'm not being the best scribe I can be (*ugh*) I will be working on my Bachelor's Degree, "Operation Prison Swole" with my Cpl (more to come on this mission), going to church, some ideas I want to flesh out, and this blog. I definitely am going to take the MEF Sergeant Major's quote "Go and grow" to heart. I intend on coming back better than when I left. Staff Sergeant or not. I just want to be a better me--and not get wrapped up in how others think I should be.

This is going to be freakin' insane.



02 March 2011

Women Deploy TOO!!!

Even after a good workout I'm still a little annoyed by something so obvious yet so ignored by the military as a whole that I knew earlier today that I was going to discuss it.

Women in the military deploy.

Now I know you are saying well freakin' duh. Where are you getting at?

My complaint is if you google anything on how to handle your personal life (relationships) to prepare for a deployment, it always goes back to female spouses dealing with male servicemembers.

I freakin' get that female spouses are the majority but seriously....NOT one article about how to talk to your male spouse or significant other about deploying??

Upon my search I found two upsetting articles on how females have a higher divorce rate than males in the military, even though it's pretty crude and I would slap the author if I saw them in the street...but they had a point.  We as women still today are looked at like we should be the ones at home ALL THE TIME, and the man should go off to war...it's just not normal....

Well the reality is this...
We ain't going anywhere...really. "Molly Marine Statue"
So why did this just pop in to my head you are wondering right about now....
Well I have a "significant other"....which is still hard for me to believe, since it has been quite difficult to maintain a relationship. I affectionately call him "Crown" because not only it's the meaning behind his name, but he also makes me feel like a Queen.

AWWWWWWWWWWW. Shut up.

Anyways, he knows about my deployment of course, but he has been under the impression that I will be going for only 6 months...while now it could be up to a year. I honestly have no idea yet. I have told my family and friends to prepare for a year but I have not told him yet. In fact, I never intended to. I planned on telling him half way that I got "extended". Why did I plan on doing that? Fear of losing him I guess.
The reality is that it is most likely for a woman to stay committed to a guy for such a long deployment than it is for a man to. Now I'm not saying that there aren't some dirty skank skeezers out there, but let's be real with ourselves.
Women think that this is an investment and that if they stick my their man the guy will appreciate it and marry them.
Men freak the hell out and dwell on the length of time they will have to go without physical contact...aka "nookie".
Also what others fail to understand that men worry and have the same questions and fears about their girlfriends and spouses getting hurt or dying out there, but they go through those feelings differently and will not willingly seek help like women do. They get ignored because they are "men"--who expects them to stress out and be upset while their woman is gone??
Crown has been quite different though, he did initially freak out, but he has been so very supportive of me and it looks like he's going to stick around....
But I have no idea what is going to happen when I tell him about the year.

I blame my uncle who is a Army Vet, Korean War era, who told me about his first wife and how he hid stuff from her, thinking that it was protecting their relationship.
"...if you feel the need to hide anything from the one you care about, then maybe they aren't the right one for you...if he cares for you, then he will stay by you..."
Because I know that my uncle is the only one other than my mother that has always been right to me in giving me guidance, I will tell him everything.

But it just sucks that there is no step-by-step guidance for this situation...
So after this weekend I will make one, so that no one will feel as confused and scared as I do right now.
I hope my plan works...

28 February 2011

Preserving the Legacy...

Myself, Annie Grimes first AA female commissioned as a Chief Warrant Officer and my lil sis Cpl Candyce Haynes
Although this month has been so hectic for me, moving from VA to NC in preparation to depart to Afghanistan, I felt that I needed to reflect on who made it possible for me to even be able to serve as a United States Marine. So in honor of Black History Month I highlight the Montford Point Marines. These brave men willingly signed up for service in 1942 and unselfishly devoted all they had to becoming Marines, despite the racist and even violent treatment by those who felt that it would ruin the Marine Corps. Hardly ever recognized by Marine Corps history (the treatment of these men is still a black eye to the Corps and this is why it is not taught in Boot Camp or TBS), it is shocking that there are Marines who never even heard of them or don't even realize that if they are stationed at Camp Johnson, NC that was the actual basic training facility for African Americans.  I myself, was unaware until one day as a young Lance Corporal I was curious about the first African American Marines and did the research myself.


So take the time to educate yourself with this well written article: Montford Point Marines:Preserving their Legacy

Pay rememberance to their sacrifices on August 26th with is Montford Point Marines Day

Then reflect on the history that paved the way for African Americans to do great things in the Marine Corps. For that I am thankful.

African-American Marines Timeline

1942: Alfred Masters, first enlisted African-American Marine
1943: Privates First Class Charles E. Allen, Arnold R. Bostick, Mortimer A. Cox, Edgar R. Davis Jr., Edgar R. Huff and Gilbert “Hashmark” Johnson, first African-American Montford Point drill instructors
1944: SgtMaj Charles Anderson, first African-American sergeant major at Montford Point
1945: 2dLt Frederick Branch, first African-American officer
1949: Annie N. Graham, first African-American woman enlisted
1952: LtGen Frank E. Petersen Jr., first African-American to become general and first black aviator, commissioned
1955: SgtMaj Edgar R. Huff, first African-American sergeant major after integration
1965: First Montford Point Marine Association Meeting, in Philadelphia
1968: Annie L. Grimes, first African-American woman commissioned as chief warrant officer
1974: Two years after Gilbert H. Johnson’s death from a heart attack, the Montford Point facility at Camp Lejeune, N.C., was renamed Camp Gilbert H. Johnson, the first military installation to be named after an African-American.
2001: Opening of the Montford Point Marines National Museum



COMPLETE List of Hair Products for Deployment

I think I have gathered everything that I'm going to take to keep my hair growing while I'm deployed.
Before I go into this list that I'm pretty darn happy about, I will explain the question that I already know is going to come up:
Why is this Marine creating topics about haircare when she's about to deploy to freakin' AFGHANISTAN??
Well it's like this: I have deployed three times to Iraq, and what has suffered most from those deployments is my hair.  I have learned so much over the years on how to take care of it and to make it grow and I have seen too many of my fellow black women struggle with their hair and I want to prove that with simple techniques and the right products (not necessarily what I use but what is best for you) that you can grow your hair and maintain the length. Because if I can do this in Afghanistan, then no woman will have an excuse!
Then it's the simple fact that not only can I not go in depth about my job because of the clearance, I don't freakin' like it, so why would I discuss it?
What will be discussed is current events, haircare, fitness, nutrition, and other random stuff that I find interesting. If you want a military fix I will provide every now and then, but if you were looking for some moto hardcore OOH RAH stuff, this isn't it.
Now, back to the topic at hand.

So this is what I have to bring so far, yes it is a simple list because unlike all the women that I watch on YouTube, I will not be able to carry or store 100 hair products so I'm just going to stick to this regimen and if necessary add or subtract:

 





  
Organix Pomegranate Green Tea Shampoo/Conditioner: I am in love with this shampoo and conditioner because not only is it sulfate-free and has no chemicals that will strip my hair, my hair felt so soft and clean--even cleaner than when I used Wen.








Optimum Oil Therapy Moisturizer: I use this moisturizer very sparingly, for my scalp and for my hair. I like that it has coconut, olive, avocado, and jojoba oil included, since there will be no way I can carry vats of this stuff with me.











Organic Olive Oil Relaxer: This is the only relaxer I use and I go more in depth about this HERE.








 Aphogee2 Step Protein Treatment: Definitely bringing this stuff and here's WHY.

This is the Remington Ceramic Pearl-Infused Professional 1" Straightener. I dig it because I only paid 32 dollars for it and it goes up to 450 degrees, has floating plates, and I don't have to go over my hair 3 times to get it straight. I know that there is the Chi and other "better grade" flat irons...but this one is dual voltage and I refuse to bring a 200 dollar flat iron on deployment. Not gonna happen.



I also will be bringing the necessary hair tools and satin wrap. I did get a ionic hair dryer but I forget the name and I don't feel like digging it out of my seabag. So if anyone has any suggestions please let me know, like if there is something I really need to make space for send me comments! 


















11 February 2011

At Home and Feelin' Fine

Well I'm at home in Georgia and I feel so much better. I'm spending some good time with my mom and I hope I can see some more of my family before I go. Since I'm still "recovering" from the mass dose of bad things that has happened, I started brainstorming on topics that I should write on for my blog. I started my hair kit for deployment list before I left, I also wanted to tell my little why I love being a Combat Camera Marine, why is a Marine blogging about non-military stuff, and goals to follow. Now I would love to get right on this but there's one problem...
I'm doing this on my Crackberry, and this is a pain in the butt.
"What, your mother doesn't have a computer?"
Yeah, too bad it's freakin' dialup. DIALUP. Yes, they still have that. Some pages won't even load it's so slow. Unfortunately there's nothing I can do because she lives so far out into the country she can't get cable.
Thank God for smart phones!

08 February 2011

My Mom wrote a BOOK!

Since this is the first post primarily about my mom, this is a very momentious occasion! My mom and I can be like oil and water, like night and day, but no matter how much I fight it or how wise and intelligent I think I have become, she will always be right and I will be wrong....98% of the time...ok who am I kidding, 99.9999995% of the time. Anyways. There are a few things that I did pick up from her, like my extremely beautiful features:
I know right? I'm too lucky! 
and the other thing is my love of writing and telling stories. I like telling my stories of things that I have been through over the years, and I've been told once or twice I'm pretty good at it. My mom on the other hand is great at giving advice, even when you may think it's not necessary...then you realize it was what you needed to hear all along.

Life, Keep on Living is apparently just her first installment on her inspirational writings. Here is her description:
"One of my purposes in writing this book was to provide the readers with unique ways of looking at life from another person’s point of views. I am a Georgia Licensed Nurse who has had lots of experiences with people and their lives due to 33 years in the field of nursing, and experiences in my own live. I am a graduate of Waynesboro High School of Waynesboro, Georgia, and a graduate of The Lawton B. Evans School of Nursing formerly of Augusta, Georgia. I reside in Waynesboro, Georgia. My greatest accomplishment was my daughter (Sgt. Jennifer L. Jones) of the USMC who has served our country well for 9 years and continues to serve. My first attempt at writing was in the 1990’s when I began writing poems. One of my poems (This Feeling) was published in The America at The Millennium, The Best Poems and Poets of the 20th Century by the International Library of Poetry in 1999 and again in the year, 2000. This is my first attempt at writing a book which started in the year 2008"
Since my mom kept this under wraps, I'm reading it right now as well, and yeah...it's like she's talking to me through the pages, definitely make you think on a spiritual level.
So please take a look, and if inspired please purchase it....all proceeds go to buying out my USMC contract...
JUST KIDDING!

But seriously, maybe you're losing focus on what you want out of life, and you know that to get back on track you have to be on the same page with God, to allow Him to enter into your life and take a step back. To breathe in and realize what you really have and appreciate it. Then and only then you can start living life the way He wants you to.  If this has been the case (Lord knows it's been for me as well) then what do you have to lose?
Life, Keep on Living

6 Month Stretch Completed!

So I relaxed my hair on Friday, which made it actually 6 months and 2 weeks since my last relaxer. I don't actually do a complete relaxer (letting it sit on my hair forever) I actually Tex-lax, which I basically apply it to my hair and leave it on long enough to straighten the natural out, but there's still a little wave to it.
This is the tutorial that I follow to Tex-Lax my hair!

Now my hair came out really well, I have been very pleased with the results ever since I changed relaxers. I used to use the Pink new growth relaxer kit--I mean it worked when I had really short hair, but when my hair got thicker and more unruly it wouldn't do anything except make my hair really dry and I had to double deep condition to moisturize my scalp afterwards.

My momma was actually the one who put me on the relaxer that I use now:

Olive Oil Built-In Protection No Lye Relaxer Normal

Now I love the heck out of this relaxer, it is easy to use, it mixes flawlessly, and I love all the extras like the wrap creme and the heat protectant that you put on your hair to blow dry and/or flat iron. My hair is so soft and has absolutely no tangles after I go through this relaxing process. The cheapest I found this is only $5.45 at the Post Exchange on base (all afro-american hair products are super cheap on base...good for me!). But for those who can't get on a Military Installation I think it's like 7-something at Wal-Mart.

I will post a pic really soon, I forgot to right after I straightened it (getting ready to go out with my Crown, lol) and my hair as poofed back up kind of.

Question: What in the heck can I do to prevent my ends from poofing back up? It is always the first thing to go after I straighten my hair and a little bit of water gets on it. Thanks!

What the HELL happened to me?!?!

Well, after 3 weeks of absolute hell in NC for training for this upcoming deployment...I think I'm actually feeling better...
It just took me shutting out everyone and almost causing my guy to give up on me for me to realize that I'm not in this alone...

I know that this probably goes against some USMC "code" but I will let y'all in on a lil' secret...
I DON'T WANT TO GO ON THIS DEPLOYMENT!!

Now, before you allow your stereotypes to lash out unjustly hear me out....
1. Instead of doing the job that I LOVE (COMBAT CAMERA) which would put me out the wire and into the fight, as much as possible, and I will document history and all the wonderful things our Marines, Sailors and Soldiers are accomplishing out there...
2. I will be a fobbit. What's a fobbit you ask? Well I'll tell ya. I will never leave the wire, I will never see any action, my cammies will never get dirty. I'm stuck on a base.
3. But why should I be upset? Lots of Marines would love to have that opportunity...well those bitches can switch with me any day...
4. What's worse...I am a secretary...what Marines call a "Scribe"...I take notes, I plot PowerPoint slides, I try to put input into this whole Information Operations thing (which is a whole other blog post to explain what the hell that job is) and maybe 10% of the time what I said even mattered.

Now for the longest, I fought, I cursed, I cried about being stuck at having to do this. I mean this shit is BENEATH ME. I kept replaying in my mind how I ended up in this situation...and it all goes back to January 2010--I'll go into that another day...

What I'm getting at is that I can't allow this to eat me up inside anymore because it's not only affecting myself pretty badly, it's hurting my family, my friends, and my guy.

After Saturday night, I have a lot of making up to do...when I should have been over the moon to see him and spend so much time with him after not seeing him for almost a month...I let my sad feelings of when I go I will probably lose him ruin our time together. The jacked up part is that I didn't even say anything--
he read it on my face.
Then he proceeded to go off on me, stating that while I'm here miserable and being negative I'm missing out on all the good times we could be having together...that the only time he thinks about us not being together is when I initiate the thought...and 6 months isn't a long time at all...

Little does he know...

I will admit. I am hard headed. I am stubborn, and yes, I need a kick in the butt to wake up.
He woke me up. Finally.
I just gotta also accept the consequences of taking so long to get out of this funk. Lord help me.

17 January 2011

Only in Fairytales and Music Videos...


First of all, this is why Common is my favorite hip hop artist of all time. He looks as music as an art, not a way to be a thug or a womanizer. One of my favorite songs by this wonderful person is this song Come Close. I have always dreamed of having someone express what I mean to them in a way so beautiful and poetic. Because of recent events, I am slowly getting back in touch with repressed feelings that I completely forgot that I pushed away...one of those feelings is love.
Not just love for a man...I mean that true love for everything, for God, for life, for my friends and family.
I mean today I had to say goodbye to my cat Echo (my friend is taking care of her while I am deployed) and I started to cry, which startled me because I mean, it's just a freakin' cat!
But I love her, she is more than just a pet, she has been my comfort, fulfilling my desire to be needed, and I know that she loves me too. I have never left her for so long and now I understand when people say that pets are like children, I miss her so much already.
So yeah, what does the cat have to do with a love song?

Nothing. I just miss Echo. Moving on.
Tonight is the night for "the deployment/relationship" talk with my guy and I. I know how I feel, but he's the one that will have to be back here without me.
I have never been in this situation--either I went out there single purposely to not have to deal with stuff like this, and last time I had a boyfriend that deployed with me...and uh, yeah that worked out not in my favor at all.
So I'm scared, nervous...hoping for the best (unexpected) and already prepared for the worst.
But I will take into account what my momma says about situations like this:
"God places people in your life for a Season...they were not meant to be in your life forever, just a short time to guide you where you need to be. So don't be upset if you have to say goodbye. If they helped you make your life better then thank them then thank God."
So if this is the case....winter will forever be my most hated season ever...but I will still thank God for the time I had with him.

15 January 2011

As opium prices soar and allies focus on Taliban, Afghan drug war stumbles


Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, January 14, 2011; 12:00 AM


KABUL - After several years of steady progress in curbing opium poppy cultivation and cracking down on drug smugglers, Afghan officials say the anti-drug campaign is flagging as opium prices soar, farmers are lured back to the lucrative crop and Afghanistan's Western allies focus more narrowly on defeating the Taliban.
That combination adds a potentially destabilizing factor to Afghanistan at a time when the United States is desperate to show progress in a war now into its 10th year. The country's Taliban insurgency and the drug trade flourish in the same lawless terrain, and are often mutually reinforcing. But Afghan officials say the opium problem is not receiving the focus it deserves from Western powers.

To read more,  Carry on.

12 January 2011

I'm tapping out...

I give up.

I'm sick of fighting about my current situation.

Tonight I have been going through my things so they will be ready for the move next month since I will be leaving for NC next week for some training exercise, and I have been so reluctant to do so. This is the first deployment that I have a very uneasy feeling about.

Without going too much into what my job is...what I will say is that the role I will be playing in is more like a secretary (or in USMC terms a "Scribe") and that is a major demotion from what I have been in the past. No, I didn't do anything wrong, well I trusted that senior Marines wouldn't lie and set me up to go to a place where I will not get to do Combat Camera, which I love.

But that story is for another time.
The focus of this entry is to come to terms with everything because I have allowed myself to lose focus of everything that I have been working so hard for the past year. So here it is:

1. I'm going to Afghanistan as the only enlisted in a team of 3 officers (I'm not going to even start with that issue)...
2. It may very well be a year cause no one still can give me an answer (my last deployment was a year, but at least I was a leader and I loved my job and my team)
3. I'm losing my house and if I do not get promoted, I will end up in a tiny apartment or have to get a roommate (I HATE roommates)
4. I got to let my guy go because there's no way I can expect him to wait for me, especially if it is a year deployment.

So for those who have been wondering why I have been so upset, so negative, so dismal about everything--it fucking sucks to have so much on your shoulders and have pretty much no support, to get everything thrown onto you at once and you don't have anyone to turn to--well professionally at least. The one person that has helped me maintain sanity, someone that has made me smile when all I wanted to do was cry...I got to let go.
But hey, this is the life I choose. Suck it up or get out right?
I can't be happy right now, but I have to at least stay frosty.

10 January 2011

Hair during 6 month stretch from relaxers

Well, after taking forever to do my hair, here is the result:

My hair length is right at APL (Arm Pit Length) but I know it could have been longer, because I haven't been strict on wrapping and moisturizing my hair like I should be doing everyday. My hair was kind of tangled too, which is totally my fault. I gotta keep up this regimen because I've seen great results but it's been difficult with so much that has been going on.

But hey, this is a luxury to me, that I am focusing on my beauty and taking care of myself, especially when I feel like no one else is trying to right now...well maybe.

09 January 2011

Afghan women speak out on abuse from behind mask

"I had so many dreams for my life, but when I saw him, they just disappeared." Saraya spoke softly, her hunched-over body and nervously twisting hands testimony to all she says she has had to endure.
"I told my father I didn't want to marry him: 'why are you doing this to me?'" She continued: "My father said 'you are of an age to be married and this is my decision, not yours.'"
Saraya says it only took three days for her to realize she had been married off to a madman.
Emotions and turmoil she never dared publicly speak of tumble out freely -- concealed, along with her face, behind a mask.
Half the mask is pale blue, the color of the "chaudari" or burka, symbolizing the oppression of women; the other half white, representing innocence.
This is Afghanistan's new revolutionary TV show called "Niqab," meaning "The Mask."


http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/01/03/afghanistan.mask/index.html?hpt=Sbin

Hair Products for Deployment: ApHogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor

Well today I need to give my hair a good wash and condition...and I was thinking about what products am I going to bring with me to Afghanistan that will keep my hair in good condition. I intend on sharing on this blog the challenges of keeping all of my hair from falling out while on deployment. I will not lie, I lost so much of my hair on my first deployment because I have never taken care of my own hair myself--I always had a hairstylist. On the second and third one I cut my hair really short and kept it conditioned and was still self relaxing every 8-10 weeks. Well since I am leaving this time with much longer and thicker hair I will admit that I'm a little nervous.
One product I know I will bring with me is the ApHogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor--I learned about this stuff from a YouTube video review last year and I love it. It stopped my hair from breaking off and it is definitely stronger and easier to manage, especially with the new growth during my stretch.
I am thinking of trying all the other ApHogee products, so if I like them then I can just buy in bulk all the same products, which will be easier to ship while out there.