Mike T Guest Blogger: Letting the Colors Run

Bouhammer Note- This is a follow up from Mike T’s post back when he was in Afghanistan called “Colors”. A lot has changed for him since March, 31 2008 when he originally wrote “Colors”.

 

There is no easy way to admit that sometimes things get past you. Someone once told me that if a person has to throw a brick at you to get your attention, then you are moving too fast in life. My brick hit and punched a hole through my chest. It caused an awakening that has been teetering in my head and heart for a while. There are so many reasons and causes for things in my life, but I have stood the line many times before and followed my beliefs and this is no different. Maybe I am saving myself or someone is helping me, either way everyone has to be saved at some time. My time is now and I am here with open arms.

I do not blame all my problems on combat, is there a relationship there? Of course, but who I am and what I do is because of free will. The past twelve years of my life and the events that have occurred in that time frame have shaped who I am today. I have struggled to find out who I am and what I want, all this to include distancing myself from certain friends and most of my family. I held to my beliefs and truly felt that I was right, not so much now. I have struggled to understand my parent’s decisions, I have failed to see the views of others and take them into consideration, and I have allowed my aggression and intensity to push people aside and misconstrued it as a passion. I have been overzealous on the matters that purely simplistic in nature and vowed to make them right. I have failed to grasp both the love and friendship languages that many needed to hear. I have caused disruption in people’s lives because I put the war, the military, and my own beliefs first.

I have crawled my way back into therapy with an open heart and mind, I need to listen, need to understand that some of those quirks are hurting people. I need to come to grips with who I am and what I want to change and what I want to keep about myself, let’s call it taking inventory. Not everything will go and not everything will remain. I have told my therapist that I wanted to lighten the intensity inside of myself, what seems to be even keel to me is not to everyone around me, most of the time it triggers apprehension and forces people to deal with issues that they don’t care about or don’t want to talk about. The Doc says to me the other day “Mike you’re a very intense person, but what you fail to realize is that it can make people feel like your attacking them instead of simply talking to them.” I sat back in the chair and pondered that and felt upset, not upset for myself, but everyone that I have made feel that way. I felt this pain in my stomach as if I had purposely attacked someone and failed to realize it. I told him I wanted to focus on that for the next few months, to work on it in my personal and professional life. He agreed.

Some where along the line I have let my colors slip from me, it’s not because I have fallen out of love or wish to be alone. It’s because I lost focus of what is truly important to me, I have held such contempt for certain people in my life that I never gave myself a chance to forgive them and them to forgive me. The day I realized my colors were running I knew that certain drastic and deep changes had to be made for myself, by myself. I am not sure if they will help my situation, but if I don’t do this now, I will never get off this path. People sometimes say that you need a crisis in your life to take stock in what you have and if it is worth losing, if it’s not, then is it worth fighting for? I believe in my heart it is all worth fighting for now. I have never allowed myself to be truly vulnerable, well times are changing. I am not sure how many of you have had to reach out and say I am sorry for the absurd actions you have done, but the other day I did. I spoke to my father; it has been almost two years now. I did not apologize on the phone, he is a man that believes that should be done in person, I agree. We spoke, he told me how he was still angry with me about not inviting them to my wedding or separating myself from my nieces and nephews. He also told me that I had a death wish, that was hard to hear. He did not mean I wanted to go and do flips of the Empire State Building, but my continuing adventures overseas. I am not a soldier anymore, I am accepting of that. He told me, “son you have to be around, your war is over, you have to be a man who is there for your family, provide stability” he also told me that I needed to realize that my life has new meaning and I need to embrace it. To find what I love and be with it, simply stop leaving us what it comes down to.

After an hour of speaking with him, he told me he was not ready to see me yet, but in time that would change. A new color added.

I have taken off the emotional body armor and it feels as if a thousand pounds has been lost. The past few weeks I have enjoyed slowing down, concentrating on my Master’s, seeing some friends and their kids. This past weekend I talked to someone whom I lost touch with. I asked them for forgiveness for my judgments against them. I am eager to speak with my brother and do the same. I miss him; I have missed his life and that of his family.

At work, I have some options, but in the end I am realizing that I do enjoy myself and my teammates. Not everything is going to be perfect and the move will be difficult, but what I have is pretty damn good. I asked my boss, who is a good man; to simply let me take some time to work on my small projects, travel a bit. He loved the idea and asked then what, I told him, well let’s just worry about that when the time comes. I no longer have any interest to move to another job with another agency. It isn’t perfect here, but I have roots and those roots are growing.

Some heed warning that this is a knee jerk reaction; to me it is something more. That brick that hit me, well it was a wakeup call. As I looked at the damage it caused which were minor, compared to what would be the outcome if these changes were not made. As I said, being vulnerable is new to me, and it’s vindicating to say I am scared and I need help. There are no pills, no booze that could fix this all. It is honesty, faith, hope, commitment and that small voice inside that says I love you.

It is hard to hear someone tell you that they don’t believe you or that mistakes have been made. Honesty is truly difficult; I guess that’s why so many people shy away from it. I am neither martyr nor victim; I am alive and awake…now. I have missed a few things, I have said some horrible stuff, but I am remorseful for those. I have no control what will happen in certain aspects of my life, but I will stay the course. I want to, I have to.

Some of my colors have dulled; some have gone away…maybe forever. I challenge you to look at your life, take stock of your colors and to be a better person. We are all casualties from something, but it should not dictate how we live our lives.

As I write this, I am filling out a Mother’s Day card for the first time in three years. I also received a text saying let’s talk from my brother. I admitted that I failed to see the little things that make you happy. All of this can be changed if all who are involved want to. I opened the door with my family and they have asked me to walk through it…time will heal this.

Colors of your life can be as vibrant as you want them to be or as dark ugly as well. In chaos comes clarity. I know where that brick came from and the dent that it has left will remain as a constant reminder for me to live my life with passion, honesty, compassion, love and tolerance.

5 thoughts on “Mike T Guest Blogger: Letting the Colors Run”

  1. What a heart-warming, heart-wrenching story Mike. Bless you for coming to grips with these issues and I pray those you love will be accepting your forgiveness and changed way of life. God Bless you and yours. Always keep HIM first in your life and you can’t go wrong.

  2. You have hit the nail on the head with magnum force. Truth, Love, Honesty are hard, but the most rewarding. I read this when I too am examining my colors. I wish you luck and know, now that you have your heading, you will reach your destination.

  3. Mike, your ‘story’ could be my story, and most likely that of many others. It is honest, and heartwrenching.
    It looks as though that you are on your way to your permanent ‘color’, the one which never fades nor leaves.
    If I may recommend to you that you must not be too hard on yourself; we are all here for a reason, and don’t bother to find out until we get hit by that ‘brick’. Nobody is perfect.
    Let your faith in the Almighty grow, ask, and he will answer, and strengthen you, he will help you to sort out your thoughts.

    May God bless you Mike, and I truly hope that I hear from you again, whether it’s on this blog, or to my e-mail.

  4. Mike,

    The path is long and hard but well worth the trip. I wish you nothing but the best of luck throughout the journey.

  5. Mike, ive known you for 16 years now and coming full circle is the best thing that could of happened to you. you now have good and bad memories but a great future to fulfill,
    Hang in there buddy!!

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