Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Strangers' Secret

As I finally finished packing for tomorrow's (or I should say today's) trip, I settled in and did what I usually do to relax and end my day. I turn on music, and chat and help mod a site called TeenSpot

Now if you don't know what TeenSpot is, it's well basically a place where teens (they accept users up to age 25, with good conduct of course) can come together either to chat online or go over to the forum and talk with other users. Aside from the username and their custom profile, that's pretty much it when it comes to learning who each users are.

Anyways, tonight, as I am finishing up Trauma (good show, by the way, if you haven't seen it, I'd really check out the series) on Hulu, a bunch of people over at the site decided to talk about secrets. No rules on what to say, just type "Secrets:" and share what you want. And of course, no one there was judging any of the secrets that each user said...

As I sat there reading each and every line, I started to wonder if sharing secrets with strangers would be the best way to go. As one user said it, "What can be better than sharing secrets with strangers?" I thought it would be easy, as I see the number of users constantly writing their own secrets in the chat room.

So I wrote something also. I said,

I am not as strong as people think I am. I laugh about it, I joke about it but it's what hurts me and kills me the most, not some days, every. Single. Day.

I lay awake in bed thinking of that day and I wake up from nightmares of that day. Just to do it all over again.

Someone in the chat then told me how depressing that sounds and I thought to myself, it does and it's true...of which made me thought how hard it was for me to type that, even in a room full of strangers. How much it hurt for me to type it and read my own words on the screen.

It's not a secret, it's just something I try to hide from those around me. (Including my parents) I am not a transparent person at all and though I wish to be one, my fears and worries tend to keep me from being so.

And sitting here at this hour, with a few hours before we must leave for the airport, I've decided to write some of my darkest secret down in this entry and as much as it hurts me now and probably will in the future, I need to vent. I need to some how let this heavy burden out knowing that it may still be inside of me for the rest of my life. I guess you can call this the first step to something better.

At least I sure hope it is.

I am not as strong as people think I am.

1. I laugh about my injury, I joke about the chair but it's what hurts me and kills me the most, not some days, Every. Single. Day.

I lay awake in bed thinking of the day my life changed forever and I wake up from nightmares of my Mom crying, Coaches staring, and my brain telling me to get up, but I just couldn't. Like a movie, my brain is playing the events over and over again. And right now, I can't stop this movie. It's a horror film and I am sick of hearing and seeing it but I don't know how to make it stop. This movie's been playing for 3 years now and like a child, I still get scared, no, horrified of it. Every. Single. Time.

2. Whether is on-line or in person, when I see, talk to, or meet a person in the military or a Veteran, I hurt. Hurt to a point that I am physically in pain. When people are talking about going to Afghan soon or going to basic soon, it eats at me slowly. It's a cruel and unusual punishment.

It gets worse when I hear people bitching about their MOS or how much hell a deployment was. I want punch 'em in the face, break their nose, and most likely scream at 'em with tears in my eyes telling 'em how much I want to join, how much I would love going over there with my unit, with my battle buddies, and no matter how much "Hell" it is on a deployment, I'd love it anyways because it's my job. And fuck, I love this job.

But I can't. And seeing pictures of my friends (and even strangers) in uniform, I hurt. My soul is being eaten away because this is not me. My heart and soul is elsewhere. It's at basic, at AIT, OSUT, my new duty station, my deployment, and Posts all over the world.

3. Saturday/Sunday/Monday are usually the worse and best time of my week. Why? Football. A true football player will tell you how much he loves the game even years after he last played it himself. A true football fan be a fan of football forever, even when he is 80 years old. For the joy, for the action, the thrill, whatever it is, we love football.

I love football.

"Everything I love is killing me" as Mr. Alan Jackson said it best in his song Everything I Love. And football sure is one of 'em. Like the one I talked about before, I envy and am extremely of those who still gets to play football. And when they bitch about how crazy practice was, I want to scream the same thing.

At least you can go out on the field with your teammates. At least you can go out and put that helmet on. At least you can put on 'em cleats. At least you still get to play.

At least...

4. Last year, during junior year, I went through a child scare. Meaning, this girl I got with told me she's late. If you know something about SCI, your chances of conceiving after the injury is dramatically lowered. While I was in rehab, they told me about it and though I never thought much of it then, I was thinking hard about it when the girl told me she was late. Could it be possible? Out of the chances, that I might have actually made something like this possible?

I found out later that she was in fact, pregnant. As I lay in bed one night, I was filled with all sorts of emotions. I was scared, worried, and in ways, excited. Just like the first time I had sex after my injury, it opened up a new doors for me that I can still do things despite this injury. That I can still have kids some day. It is not to say that I didn't worry about the girl, about what her parents think, what my parents think and whether or not we should actually keep the baby. It was crazy time but in ways, I was truly excited.

I never got to tell the girl what I think. I never got to tell her everything I know about my injury and conceiving. She told me later on she went and had an abortion.

I cried that night.

What if that was my only chance to conceive? What if something like this don't happen again? How could she have done it without talking to me? There was a lot of anger that night, though more sadness than anger. I sat at my desk and wrote a little note of which I eventually burn.

I'm sorry, whatever you'll going to be. Boy or girl, I'm sorry you never could be. I'm sorry I didn't have a chance to tell your Mom what I thought. I'm sorry I don't have the chance to show you how good of a father I can be. I'm sorry I let you down. I'm sorry.

So now...I may never know what happens. Whether or not I can have a kid some day is still unknown to me, but this incident will forever be in my mind and heart. And some day in the future, if I am being told I can't have kids, I'd look back at this incident and hating myself even more than I do now. Hating myself for losing the only chance of having a kid, a family, and a real good Dad.

I miss you, kiddo, and I'm sorry.

5. Sean's death hit close to home just how crazy cancer can do to anyone, let alone a kid. And I think it hit me harder than I expected.

The image of him gasping for air and asking for his parents are forever embedded in my mind. I've already had several dreams of Sean crying to me asking me why I couldn't help him, why I couldn't make him better.

I don't want to forget his face, his smile, and his laugh. But in turn, I don't wish to hear him cry every time I turn my head, I don't wish to see his shadow behind my chair, wondering why I can't make him better.

6. I truly hope this will never come true.

As a child, I would have nightmares of my Dad getting hurt while at a deployment. As I got older, those dreams faded and eventually came to a stop. Just before my injury (and still happens occasionally) I began having dreams of my family members getting killed in combat.

It was as if I am standing right next to them. And it scares me. Having this much family members (whether blood related or not) deployed right now, it scares me. I truly hope they stay safe and the dreams will never come true.

7. I love Sarah but I am deadly afraid of her, already.

I might have said this before on a lighter note but I am as serious as I was before. She is no more than 3 weeks old and I am already deadly afraid of her.

It's not her cry that gets to me. It's not her tears that gets to me, it's her. Or maybe it's me. It's a fear that one day, carrying her the wrong way will trigger a spasm or spasm just happens to kick in when I'm holding her. What if I drop her?

Don't get me wrong, I love her, I really do, I think she is the most adorable thing ever (and I'm not saying that because she's my sister) and I love holding her close. But I am still deadly afraid of dropping her.

If I do and something happens to her, I would never be able to live with myself. I wouldn't be living at all.

I'm not a transparent person at all and telling all this haven't even began to show transparency. But at least I'm trying...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Baby Busy Life

For those of you who have been wondering why I haven't blog as often as I used to, sorry to disappoint you, my life (our lives) have been pretty busy lately with Sarah and other things going on in our lives.

School have been pretty busy especially with the semester coming to an end. So there are homework that needs to be done, tests that need to be studied and not to mention the SAT subject tests I'm taking in December.

So, yes, my life is been pretty busy right now so I won't blog as much as I did before, but I will always try and squeeze in a few tweets here and there :)

As far as Thanksgiving plans go, though our family tradition is to go to my grandparents ranch and enjoy Thanksgiving dinner, sometimes, they like to mix it up a little. Like this year, the grandparents decided it would be great to fly out to California and spend Thanksgiving there! (If you think I sounded sarcastic, I am) I love my grandparents but really, sometimes I can't help but wonder about how crazy they truly are. So the plan is for everyone who can be home for Thanksgiving (sorry to those who are deployed, we love you guys, really) are flying out to California and we are having our dinner there.

That plan sounds great but wait...we have Sarah, she'll be 2.5 weeks old next week. Is she really okay to fly? According to Mom, she should be okay (other than the crying during air pressure change) but at this point I am truly wonder what my grandparents were thinking (or weren't thinking)

I manage to get us tickets to fly out to California so hopefully it's going to be a good Thanksgiving.

Hope everyone is well and I shall blog whenever I can. Truly hope December gets here quick, I need to get this SAT and finals over with. (Not to mention the result of those college applications too)

This week's football:
Winning team is in bold

USC- Bye Week
Washington- Bye Week
Navy- Bye Week

Ohio St at Michigan, 21-10
Maryland at Florida St, 29-26
Duke at UMiami, 34-16

Chattanooga at Alabama, 45-0

Florida Intl. at Florida, 62-3
Oklahoma at Texas Tech, 41-13

Virginia Military Institute vs Old Dominion, 42-35

Air Force at BYU, 38-21
Baylor at Texas A&M, 38-3
LSU at Ole Miss, 25-23

Army at North Texas, 17-13


Oregon at Arizona, 44-41, 2OT, freaking amazing game!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thanksgiving Tradition

We, as a family, tend to do something crazy every Thanksgiving. And well after a long day today, I've determined that the crazy thing this Thanksgiving is that we actually made it to California okay and actually turned out to be a pretty good Thanksgiving.

Dad, Mom, Sarah, and I got to California yesterday afternoon. After we got to the house, we were welcomed by a few family members who were already there. We gave each other hugs and kisses and hung out all afternoon. And as the night moves on, more and more family members showed up.

For dinner, we had home made Chinese food. It turned out to be the only dinner we have as a family sitting around the dinner table. (We have a huge family, if you didn't already know) We prayed first for our family members who couldn't make it back stateside for Thanksgiving and pray that they will not only have a happy Thanksgiving, but a safe one also. We then prayed for the safety of our troops overseas and all over the world, because we know when one family hurts, we all hurt. Lastly, we prayed for Sean and thanked God for giving us so much happy moments with Sean. And at the same time we thank God for taking care of our little buddy, after all, we all know that his 2nd favorite holiday was Thanksgiving.

After dinner on Wednesday, all the little cousins got together and had a backyard football game. (Family tradition, first night is kiddies football, second night is adults football night, and last day is usually when everyone joins in) As we sat around and watching the little kids play, I couldn't help but see myself from years ago. The way I would make the strangest and craziest catch by fooling around. And at the same time, I couldn't help but saw Sean. He sure love playing football during Thanksgiving.

We spend rest of the night planning our Black Friday routes, listening to Grandpa's story from when he was in the Army, playing poker, watching the city lights from the porch, and of course, enjoying each others company.

Thursday morning, I think everyone slept in and didn't eat much at all for breakfast or lunch. We sat around watching football games and talking football, the world, and of course, our military lives. After a long day of waiting, it was finally dinner time. We didn't sit at the table this time, but instead grabbed our food and sat right in front of the TV as we watched the Texas and A&M game.

And as Beasley took that hard hit, trust me, the entire family was thinking of the same thing I was. I think we as a family all held our breath.

And we all let go of that breath when Beasley gave the Hook 'em sign:

At least we know he didn't hurt his spinal cord. That's one good news. Anyways, after eating and having many different types of dessert (my favorite is still pumpkin pie), everyone went in their car and drove out to a secret spot that Uncle Jeff picked out.

An empty parking lot. (For the last two years, I've sat out playing football with everyone, I just can't get around the grass, it's hard on myself and the chair, so trust me, I was excited to see the parking lot)

And just like that, we used the lights on the vehicles and played good old fashion football. I caught a few passes that was pretty cool and even scored a TD. It was a great game.

I just couldn't stop smiling, feels good to be playing again, even if it's a family football game, it felt great.

We drove back to the house and sat on the porch listening to another one of Grandpa's story and drinking hot chocolate. As we sat on the porch and look down at the city lights, we said a last prayer of the night.

Pray for the families of all those who are deployed, of the ones lost at Ft. Hood, and most important, for Veterans who make all this possible.

Sure is a great Thanksgiving if you ask me.

Tomorrow's Friday and well, most of us are going to take part of the Black Friday shopping events. Some of us went to bed early while some of us (like me) is staying up playing poker, watching TVs and so on. Strangely, it is also my Dad's birthday tomorrow. (I haven't got him anything so...hopefully I can pick up something shopping around tomorrow) So we'll be celebrating his birthday before he flies home.

Hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving week football!

Texas at Texas A&M- 49-39

Alabama at Auburn, 26-21

Oklahoma v Oklahoma St, 27-0

Maryland v Boston College, 19-17
UMiami at S. Florida, 31-10
Florida v Florida St, 37-10

Texas Tech at Baylor, 20-13

Washington v Washington St, 30-0

LSU v Arkanas, 33-30 OT

Notre Dame v Stanford, 45-38

USC v UCLA, 28-7, poor UCLA, they were pissed! Haha

Navy at Hawaii, 24-17

Friday, November 13, 2009

Dream that Hurts

It's been a busy week between caring for Sarah, doing school work, physical therapy and of course, studying for the SAT 2 I'm taking in December (Not the entire SAT, oh Lord, no, just taking the two subject tests and what not so I can give the scores to the colleges I applied to- and for the people who are wondering if I submit 'em applications yet, I did, just need to wait till March/April to hear back from 'em)

But I guess busy can be a good thing, maybe, I'm not so sure yet.

Lately, I've been having the same dream and waking up in the morning, I realize some of 'em aren't dreams, some of 'em are just from my past.

Dream started out something like this:

Way before Sarah was born, my parents and I would be sitting at the dinner table, talking about our day, our highs and our lows of the day and everything in between. And out of random, I said out loud, "Mom, Dad, I want to enlist." And remember both of their mouth just froze. After a couple minutes, Dad said, "You're 14, son, let's talk about it later on, shall we? You got at least 3 years to go before I can even think about signing that paper for you."

But for some reason, I didn't want to stop talking about it, I answered, "Well I know Dad I got a few years but I already know what I want to do. Go 11 Bravo and I don't know maybe I'll get to join the Rangers or even SF!"

I remember that sad look on Mom's face but she still said with a smile, "Want to be just like your Daddy, don't you sweetheart?" I answered yes.

Dad said again, "I don't think you are so sure, son. By telling me 'you don't know' I know you're not sure what you want to do. You're 14, really, think about it and we'll talk later on, alright?"

Then time seemed to fast forwarded to when I was 17, I never got hurt, I never went to rehab, and likely, the chair never happened.

"So Dad...can you sign this?"
"This is what you want to do?"
"Yes, sir."
"Go tell your Mom you love her and head to bed, you'll get the paper back in the morning."
"Yes, sir. Goodnight, Dad."
"Night, son."

And before I knew it, I was kissing my Mom goodbye on the way to basic, my Dad never said much but shook my hand and told me to take care of myself and don't be a smart ass. I nodded and went on the bus.

Time fast forward again and I was home on leave after getting assigned to my new duty station, Ft. Campbell. The place reminded me so much of everything, after all, I lived there when I was a kid. All my friends and I hung out, we had fun and of course, I spend the time with my parents and Sarah (who was born when I was in basic)

At the end of the leave, I told 'em I'm getting deployed to AStan, neither of 'em were happy but they said they were proud of me, they told me to keep in touch and keep my head down.

I gave Mom and Sarah a kiss, gave Dad a hug and shook his hand then left the house.

I woke up with some what of a cold sweat and just minutes before my alarm goes off. There were few dreams just like this one but I was at Ft. Sill for AIT. I wouldn't classify this as a nightmare or bad dream, it's a good dream and truly, I'm glad I keep on getting the same dream over and over again.

Only bad thing about it is after I get up, I feel so good about the dream that I physically hurt. Because I know it won't ever happen to me, not in this lifetime. And even if I try to hide the hurt from my family and friends, my parents always seems know what's up. And I think in some ways, they are hurting with me.

I wouldn't change my life for the world but sometimes, you just can't help but wonder.

This week's football schedule/scores:
Winning team is in bold

Virginia Military Institute at Army- 22-17
Michigan at Wisconsin- 45-24

Maryland vs Virginia Tech- 36-9

Stanford at USC- 55-21
Washington at Oregon St- 48-21
Delaware at Navy- 35-18
UMiami at North Carolina- 33-24
Iowa at Ohio St- 27-24 OT
Florida at S. Carolina- 24-14

UNLV at Air Force- 45-17

Texas A&M at Oklahoma- 65-10
Louisiana Tech at LSU- 24-16
Arizona at Cal- 24-16
Alabama at Mississippi St- 31-3

Texas Tech at Oklahoma St- 24-17

Arizona St at Oregon- 44-21

Friday, November 6, 2009

God Must be Busy but I Saw God Today

Every time I hear the song "God Must be Busy" by Brooks&Dunn, it tends to stop me where I am and make me think. Of all the things that happen in the world, really, this song is amazing.

Just listen for yourself:

That being said, I think this is just the week when everything in the nation gone wrong. With the tragedy at Ft. Hood, I'm sure no one thought would be worse. But just next day, there were another tragedy at Orlando and really, while there were craziness, panic, and fear, all these incidents made me think of the song. Made me thought of the lyrics:

God must be busy.

God really must be busy this week.

My hearts and prayer goes out to the families involved in both incident. We are still trying to find out if two families we know are doing okay. Truly praying that they are.

And even in the mist of all the craziness, there is miracle and peace. Mom gave birth to Sarah Jadira (meaning deserves touch) around 1730 on Thursday. Truly in the mist of crazy news about Ft. Hood, we are extremely glad (and happy) to have Sarah join our family. And seeing Sarah with Mom and Dad (who got home late Wednesday night, I didn't see him till Thursday morning. I love my Dad really, but starting to be sick of all the mystery his job entails) reminded me of George Strait's "I Saw God Today" This truly is the miracle of life.

Sarah is a healthy baby (weighed at about 6lbs at birth, small but we love her anyways) and cute little girl (though I must say all babies look the same to me, ha) so far she's been pretty quiet and sure hope she keeps it that way, haha :P

Thanks for everyone's congrats wishes and those who offered to make food for our family. If you really insist (and live nearby, really friends from Twitter, we appreciate the offer but that's too much trouble for you guys who live miles and miles away. Appreciate the offer though :D) please drop the food right outside our front door. We can't thank you guys enough for thinking of us during this crazy yet wonderful time :)

This is the start of a great and long journey, Mom's glad that she "popped" and well, Dad and I are both glad that both her and Sarah are healthy and well. Mom and Sarah should be home Sunday or Monday and then it's onto the sleep deprived moments of life!

If I haven't mentioned it before, majority of the nights will be my job to take care of when Sarah is hungry. My parents are in charge of the diaper duty- since I can't exactly reach the changing station- and during the day my parents will be taking care of Sarah while I'm at school. Dad will be home till his paternity leave (thanks Army) ends and most likely couple days after that before heading back to work. While Mom will be home for her maternity leave for I believe 6 weeks? We're still not sure what to do after that but I'm sure my parents will come up with something soon.

I will post pictures as soon as I can. There are craziness in the family between the birth of Sarah and finding out if our family friends are ok at Ft. Hood. So it might take awhile but hopefully some times soon.

Thanks again everyone :)

This week's football. Sarah's "first" football weekend! Note: Winning team is in bold.

Texas Tech- Bye Week

UMiami vs Virginia- 52-17
Michigan vs Purdue- 38-36

Maryland at NC State- 38-31

Texas A&M at Colorado- 35-34

Navy at Notre Dame- 23-21

Army at Air Force- 35-7 Can't believe how bad we got creamed :(
Washington at UCLA- 24-23
Alabama vs LSU- 24-15, BAMA!
Ohio St at Penn St- 24-7
Oregon at Stanford- 51-42

Virginia Military Institute at Liberty- 54-14
Cal vs Oregon State- 31-14

Florida vs Vanderbilt- 27-3

Oklahoma at Nebraska- 10-3
USC at Arizona St- 14-9

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Car Birth?

I never get why people hate school so much. I think if everyone just take a look at school in general, they'll see how great it can really be.

True that I, at times hate school and wish to skip it but overall, I think I just like (and even love) school. There might be a good reason for it also. After I got hurt I missed months of school to spend the time in hospital and rehab. I couldn't wait to go back to school. And as I live out my SCI, there are times (like the most recent visit) I need to stay in the hospital and well, that means missing school. It might seem kind of cool to miss school at first, but trust me, staying at the hospital is no fun. On top of that, after awhile, you get sick of the nurses, no matter how hot they might be.

So, after being gone for two weeks, I was truly glad to be back at school again. Even with the amount of tests I have to make up, I'm just glad to be back.

Today, over all was a good day. Friends were glad to see me and I sure am glad to see 'em. It really is good to be back.

After school, there were few errands (more like many) I had to run for Mom. While doing that, for the strangest reason, I swear I heard Sean's voice. Again, I know I'm going nuts. I didn't think much of it, really, at this point I know I'm out of it with lack of sleep and so on.

I manage to make it to physical therapy on time today, good stuff! Sure is good to be back to some sort of a regular schedule. Sure tennis is fun but hey PT still is pretty awesome, haha. :P I thought PT went alright, but right now, considering how different I feel, ya I know I'm out of shape!

Better lose those lbs that the doctor wanted me to lose, haha.

I got an email from Sean's Dad when I got home. He told me he saw a kid that looks just like Sean when he went on patrol days ago. I didn't say much to him about it but truly, we're all trying to recover and in the same time remember in our own little ways. Even if everything reminds us of Sean, I think and really hope he's still with us (if not watch over us) doing what he does best, goofing off and just ball of energy (whether he's on meds or not!)

Mom's doing well (for those who have been asking) she really is ready to get this baby out of her. Me, at the same time, is getting really nervous just to get her to the hospital in time.

And like my Mom, she said, "Don't worry Matt, worse comes worse, we'll have a car birth!"

Great...a car birth...
Why not just call her Saab then?

Thanks Mom...thanks, way to make me more nervous than I was before.