Tidal War

I have good days and bad ones. I lose sight of the target or the horizon. I slip, I fall, I stumble, I screw up, make an ass out of myself. I forget limitations and lose sight of my ability to break this thing’s back. I lose my pride, my strength and my ambition. I end up face down in the mud, with nothing left to do but start digging. And then my favorite part comes…. I stop digging look up and start climbing out. I know that just as soon as I make it to the top I am sure to fall again, but maybe it won’t be so far next time. But who gives a shit anyways… life is always about the ascent not standing at the top enjoying the view.

Face down in the mud, this is where I am most happy. Because it has stopped for now, I can go no further down and only up is left. There is peace and solace in one hand and a wildly unstable and ambitious burning determination in the other. Dig the toes in and push. This is not the last fight, not the last battle, this war will go on and I am built to last through it. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing but expecting different results, I am not insane because I do not expect something different. I know how this will end and begin again. I am not concerned about that. I would rather play the game knowing how it would end than ride the bleachers. And during my ascent I will live my life, find my center, and kick this thing in the friggin teeth and get some damn satisfaction from it. Face it, spit in its eye, and head bud it, then start climbing. You are not a bottom dweller just a frequent visitor, cause you like the view from the bottom, because it gives a you a place to go.
Suck it up, shut up, tighten your belt, cut the eye lid, and beg for the bell or the starting gun to release you to the next round the next race. Leave as if you would never come back to the bottom, but know in your heart that you will be here again because it is as much home as the top is. Screw it, climb, punch through the wall, kick in the door, hit the friggin afterburners. Like holding onto the rocket fins ascend until your neck hurts from looking up. Then get a ladder and climb a little higher, you haven’t swan-dived from this height before, why the hell not!
Inevitably it will ebb and flow and you and I will tumble. Find yourself in the bottom face down and smile with the mudd in your teeth because my friend, it starts again. You can begin your ascent anew.

Happy Climbing


2 responses to “Tidal War

  • Michael Orban

    Daniel Wildman Wilden,
    While I always enjoy your posts and generally agree, I hope you
    don’t mind another view point. This is of course my experience and
    not advice or ‘the answer’.
    For many years the experiences and memories of war, whether
    in flashbacks, nightmares, intrusives thoughts were a source of anxiety,
    anger, frustration, confrontation, confusion etc. These reactions had control over me, THEY (memories) came when they chose, THEY created the intensity and THEY decided how long they’d hang around.
    It was a constant battle and as you wrote, you are going to
    “break this things back”! I know this battle so well.
    After 30years I ran across these common reactions that helped me
    identify what those reaction were. I am adding them here:

    Here is a list of common physical and emotional reactions to trauma, as well as a list of helpful coping strategies. These are NORMAL reactions to ABNORMAL events.
    • shock and disbelief
    • fear and/or anxiety
    • grief, disorientation, denial
    • hyper-alertness or hypervigilance
    • irritability, restlessness, outbursts of anger or rage
    • emotional swings — like crying and then laughing
    • worrying or ruminating — intrusive thoughts of the trauma
    • nightmares
    • flashbacks — feeling like the trauma is happening now
    • feelings of helplessness, panic, feeling out of control
    • increased need to control everyday experiences
    • minimizing the experience
    • attempts to avoid anything associated with trauma
    • tendency to isolate oneself and feelings of detachment
    • loss of intimacy and interest in sex
    • concern over burdening others with problems
    • emotional numbing or restricted range of feelings
    • difficulty trusting and/or feelings of betrayal
    • difficulty concentrating or remembering
    • feelings of self-blame and/or survivor guilt
    • shame
    • diminished interest in everyday activities or depression
    • unpleasant past memories resurfacing
    • suicidal thoughts
    • loss of a sense of order or fairness in the world; expectation of doom and fear of the future
    • anger towards religion or belief system; loss of beliefs
    • Revenge

    Now when I understood what the reactions were, I was able to accept them as logical responses to what I witnessed and participated in at war.
    I was also able to recognize and understand the ‘enemy’that was attacking my mind. Once recognizing, understanding and most
    of all ACCEPTING these reactions I could take their power away
    and take control. Where as in the past I was not able to resolve
    many reactions because they were to overwelming in intensity
    and volume, I’d turn to alcohol and workahol to obilterate
    the memories, annialate them from from mind. This gained me
    a good history of hangovers, loss of $$, guilt, shame etc but no relief
    from the memories, the memories just laughed at me.
    I developed a series of mental response to have on hand to respond
    to each memory/event that occured. As you can see from the list, it would depend on how many reactions an individual has.
    I could understand that some of he reactions required a different
    mental response. But most important for me was to take control,
    understand, accept and take away the power of these reactions.
    hope this makes sense. best, Mike Orban

  • Michael Orban

    I would like to add that it took me years to understand
    that I see life through a different set of eyes than the ones
    i saw life through before war.
    I think I tried in frustration to see life after war through
    the same eyes I had seen it before war.
    I had to accept this new way (filter) of looking at life and the world
    which is very different from the way those who have not been
    to war view it(them). This helps me understand my reactions
    as normal to the experiences of war.
    EX: I see guys trying to act tough/macho and think, “if you only knew”!
    I see people self absorbed and full of materialism.
    I see people who have no apparent concern nor care for what our soldiers are doing and experienceing at war while I know the
    extreme sacrifices soldiers give out. There are others but think you get the point. Ihave learned to accept/understand that I see life through a different filter than most. I also accept this as the wages of being
    a warrior and I embrace my experience.

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