Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Setting Things Straight About "Burden"- Pay Attention Veterans and Family

  
"The will is a beast of burden. If God mounts it, it wishes and goes as God wills; if Satan mounts it, it wishes and goes as Satan wills; Nor can it choose its rider... the riders contend for its possession.” ~Martin Luther King

After the last couple of posts, it amazed me to see a few of you comment more this time around and to see my posts got shared which led to new readers. Hell, if I had known that....I would have posted more about Tyler Perry's Madea and Dragons since that seemed to spark some interest. Normally, I don't honestly have much time to answer comments especially those that are emailed rather than posted online. After a few minor frustrations this week, kids being sick and the fact I may or may not have called our attorney representing us a few choice names; it got me to reading the comments and publishing them in between. Two things stuck out and, it's always the same two statements that I am asked or stated to. So now it's time for me to set those two things straight and hopefully it will help ease some of the unanswered questions. Here is what is often asked: "How do I speak up? How do I find my voice? How do I get into advocating? How do I get my spouse to start speaking up and fighting? How did you start to speak up? How do I not be a burden to my family? How do I stop being a burden? I am a burden but, don't know how to stop. My wife says I am a burden. My family thinks I am a burden." Since I am short on time today, I am going to set some things straight first in one post about burden. Nothing grates on my damn nerves like that word. Stick me in a room full of chalk and I will give you thirty different words to use....anything but, the word Burden. As my teen son says, "Mom can go from 0 to Exorcist in less than 20. When she starts to turn her head slowly? You need to RUN". The usage of burden and my hearing it is as equivalent of me doing this in this clip that you MUST watch. (plus it tickles the hell out of me every time) This is me, especially when things just piss me off; I even have the head turn down pat. Hey, "behaved women rarely make history" right?



 “The burden of the self is lightened with I laugh at myself.”
~ Rabindranath Tagore



Veterans seem to want to view or label themselves with this word as well as spouses. Media uses the word flamboyantly, casually and easily. I figure and it's probably only because a) they don't "get" it and b) they apparently do not own a thesaurus. The VA uses the word "burden" to the caregivers under their general maintenance terminology, stress scores, and to judge whether they can or can not address their needs. Let's just be honest here....they don't know what our burdens are BUT at the same time, we don't understand their burdens as an overloaded system. We all know there are some shitty systems out there; we are up to what? Twenty-six VA systems now under fire? Yet, no one stops to think about the good people that do work there, do their job and care or how some are Veterans themselves. So back to the word Burden. As defined, it is "something that is carried: load, duty, responsibility, something oppressive or worrisome". "The bearing of a load-usually used in the phrase beast of burden". Also defined as "the capacity for carrying cargo-a ship of a hundred tons of burden". I can see why Veterans use this word to express their concerns about their health and home warfare taking its toll on their family members. However, that word needs to be taken out because its a negative, condemning, deflating word that brings even more of a load that you think you are placing on another person and it's also placing yet another label on yourself. Lord have mercy! We have enough labels as it is. So let's say no go, Ghostrider on the usage of the word Burden and let's leave it up to the Rolling Stones to sing about.  (Lord help the young ones who ask "Who are the Rolling Stones?) 

   “Remember, the burden of sorrow is doubled when it is borne alone.”

 ~Goran Persson

 I don't know about anyone else but, life burdens me at times. Sometimes the kids are too damn much; hovering around and asking "what are we having for dinner?" when it's breakfast time when they know that at the first cup of coffee, there is a line of "Do you have a death wish" written in imaginary ink clearly written on the very top of the mug and clearly across my face. Then there is "Mom, mom, mom, mom" and then "Dad, dad, dad". Bills when the eagle flies? Holy crap, burdening it is because you realize how much of a broke ass we are and it is worrisome. I have a female dog and, she got pregnant because the wreck happened. I had to put things aside like spaying because well, we didn't think our infantile Chihuahua would be such a stud muffin. Yeah, its an issue. Life happens. So does shit and Murphy's Law. Shit happens all the time to me and, that can be a burden. Dealing with the VA, Military, family, weird people in Walmart, the thought of having to You Tube tutorial on how to deal with newborn pups, and the scary, creepy guy at the produce market can often be a burden but, you know what? We deal with it. We are Military. There is a reason why the term FUBAR and BOHICA came to be. EMBRACE THE SUCK. What made you think being out, disabled, retired or anything else would be different? For the record? I have been frustrated enough to graciously admit that there are times where I want to stick a fork in the back of my husband's head and scramble his brains but God help me, I love him. There are times where my husband in anger has said "I wish you would just go to sleep and never wake up". Well, we have to watch what words we use in war because some can never be taken back and can wound deeply. However, in ANY relationship you can love someone and not like them. There are days where I get on my own nerves and piss myself off. Taking care of my Veteran would be the same as taking care of my children or elderly parent, or like my guys that I often take to the doctors just so they aren't alone. I have never used that word burden referring to my husband and, never will to describe ANY Veteran. It is a blasphemous word in our home, in our car and anywhere else that you can use it.

After being around Veterans and listening, watching and paying attention; want to know what I think why they want to lean towards the term of Burden? Because once you take away hope from a person? There is nothing left. Imagine having to lose all they did, coming home with beasts upon their back and demons chasing them through the night. Feeling lost, struggling living with a world that time didn't stop for them while gone? What is facing them is one door after another closing in front of them, hardships, financial struggles, guilt and so much more. Once you take that hope away, they are simply left for the birds of prey to pick apart. Does it mean it's the end though? Absolutely not! I am a huge quote and history buff (can you tell?) but, one of my favorite military members is General Douglas MacArthur. He once stated brilliantly "We are not retreating-we are advancing in another direction." I try to use the mind of a warrior and their way of thinking to navigate this life we lead and in all? I have learned a lot; a lot more than I ever got from anyone's book, words of wisdom or training. So how did our family navigate this life? We didn't retreat, we didn't throw the white flag of surrender; we simply went another route. We did it together. If your spouse, whether it be male or female, ever refers to you as a burden? Say something. "Hey, that word bothers me". If you say nothing, then they go on and keep doing it. If you feel you are a burden....it's a good day for an exorcism

Once you realize as a family, or as a single individual that you can't focus on the "can'ts" but the "cans"? You are going to be able to lift any burden or weight that you have. I think it's a cop out excuse because in war? Hell yeah, that was burden. Every day, walking in moon dust, and wondering whether this was your day to die? Burdening. Trying to get through the day of warfare, death and troubles all while trying to block out thoughts of home, family and safety? Most definitely a burden. Here you are though....home and, it's time to unload some of that weight. You aren't dealing with this by yourself and by calling out your best energies with a little help? That's the only way you will ever be able to step away from that word. If you feel you are a burden as some Veterans wrote in, in regards to how they feel they are on their families....what CAN you do to help out? Let's take a moment to chew on that shall we? Let's look at what you can do. Can you roll and match the ungodly amount of socks? Pick up your glass or newspaper and put it away? Unload the dishwasher? Listen to your spouse if she is venting? How about taking the trash out or reading the kids a good night story while your spouse takes a bath? How about stepping in and saying "hey, let's talk a while or play some cards". Little things can make huge differences. The only way to battle the feeling of burdening is to see the reason, compromising and working as a team. I know you Veterans see that reason too. If you didn't, you wouldn't think you were a burden. For the spouses? You need to learn how to use the right words. Be smart, educate yourself, research, trial and error, realize that when a man's ego is deflated and all is taken away? The problems become so much larger than they really are. As for the VA, well I know many read this blog. Let's hope they take the hint. 




So how did we get around these stigmas, labels, terms, "media sensational duct tape words" to stick and trap America's readers for ratings? I embraced the hell out of them. Veterans use the words "expendable", "trash", "cast away", "used up", "broke dicks", "no good for Uncle Sam", and so many more. I hear so much of this not just online through social media or emails etc but, in person too. It's sad to hear those words of someone who just needs the way to change their thinking and coming from someone who had the courage and the guts to sign that dotted line. Not everyone chose to take that job. The Media recently referred to our children of families like ours as "Collateral Damage". Yeah, at first my head began to spin just slightly. However, I started thinking about that. Collateral Damage....it's the damn sad truth. More labels, more titles, more stigmas. We have wasted so much precious time fighting them. Why not use reverse psychology? "Hey, don't blame me for forgetting; I have brain damage!" Bet many of us have used that joke or heard it a time or two. Better yet "Hey haven't you heard? I'm crazy. Got VA papers stating so". Am I feeling the nodding going around the room?

 We used our sense of humor which ALL of us have still in us, we just forgot how to laugh. If you have been through the sewage system of life and all that floats, pass us by; the should haves, the could haves, and the crap that we waded through......you have a sense of humor. So we created that family motto I previously blogged about and, we use it daily. I put a sign in my bathroom that states "Changing the Toilet Paper Roll does NOT cause brain damage", we created teamwork by splitting chores among the kids and my husband and I. It may be small tasks for my husband but the word I haven't heard from him in a long time? Is the dreaded word, burden. I use the heck out of a fridge magnetic/dry erase board for my husband because he needs to do things for himself. If we do it all for them? You are impending them just as much as the rest of the world views us as useless. Make yourself a plan of warfare, sink that battleship, learn to focus on the goal and set your path based on those goals and those only with the knowledge you are NOT in this alone. Laughter is truly the best medicine, music is therapeutic, changing the way you think about things is just well, amazing and most important of all? Sticking with it to see it through together, as a team. Burden is merely a word that you can either use by mouth, or use by example. Which will you choose? 


We Chose This and Proudly So
 
 








Take hope from the heart of man and you make him a beast of prey
Read more at http://quotes.dictionary.com/search/beast+of+burden?page=1#HR6Oz1KlG6UqJamf.99
At the root of all these noble races, the beast of prey, the splendid blond beast prowling greedily in search of spoils and victor y, cannot be mistaken.
Read more at http://quotes.dictionary.com/search/beast+of+burden?page=1#HR6Oz1KlG6UqJamf.99
At the root of all these noble races, the beast of prey, the splendid blond beast prowling greedily in search of spoils and victor y, cannot be mistaken.
Read more at http://quotes.dictionary.com/search/beast+of+burden?page=1#HR6Oz1KlG6UqJamf.99
At the root of all these noble races, the beast of prey, the splendid blond beast prowling greedily in search of spoils and victor y, cannot be mistaken.
Read more at http://quotes.dictionary.com/search/beast+of+burden?page=1#HR6Oz1KlG6UqJamf.99
At the root of all these noble races, the beast of prey, the splendid blond beast prowling greedily in search of spoils and victor y, cannot be mistaken.
Read more at http://quotes.dictionary.com/search/beast+of+burden?page=1#HR6Oz1KlG6UqJamf.99

25 comments:

  1. I may or may not have been responsible for the added readers, because this shit is definitely getting shared far and wide by me. <3 LOVVVVE this post and you are SPOT ON. The back window decal is definitely icing on the proverbial cake. Keep rockin' it, Linda Blair. Keep rockin' it.

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  2. I'm a first time reader and I just fell in love! I am totally against the negative and am doing all my best to find the positives in every situation....no matter how small. I had my darkest hour last year, feeling alone and like no one understood. My husband hated himself for being that word. I have never, ever used that word to describe him and never will. I need to remember this post and the next time he calls himself that, remind him that if I ever considered him a burden, it would mean I stopped loving him. <3

    If you ever get a chance, I am writing through my emotions of being a caregiver on my own blog, hoping to help others not be in that dark place like I was.

    Jamie Dement (LadyJai)
    Caring for My Veteran
    Be Positive in Life and Writing

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  3. Well done well done. Now this is the shit we talk about. I know I've said a time or two I felt like a burden but you always saw through me. I have to say this post impressed the hell out of me. I am sending to other brothers cause I think the same too and you just shoved a boot right up our asses. You need to send this to the VA so they can also eliminate the word burden. Dianne Sawyer said we were burdens. It's hard but your post got me fired up today. Hell yeah! Love you sister!

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  4. I got this passed on to me via fb. Where have you been that I have missed this blog? Loving it and now on Madea one. I learned a lot already and the dragon one just made my heart swell up. Truly you are an inspiration and hope you know this. My husband calls himself a burden and I, have called him one. I didn't honestly think about it until today and really how demeaning that phrase is. So thank you for teaching me and husband says he appreciates the fact you get it. I just need to learn more. Thank you again!

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  5. You're ghostrider shit thrills me. That clip you posted in here could NOT have been any better placed than here! Yeah I've seen that look. Remind me not to piss you off! Written well and hoping to pass this around. Good job teaching others.

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  6. DesertcoloredglassesMay 21, 2014 at 3:35 PM

    I love your fucking car stickers! You holding out on me or what? Kicked ass in this blog today! Blew me away. Chomping at the bit for the wife to get home to read this. You nailed it and no worry, won't say burden! You rock sis.

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  7. Where has this blog been? I so needed this type of humor and sarcasm. I am now back reading. You are a fantastic writer!

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  8. It's nice to see a blog with both spouse and husband in it. Ashamed to admit that I use burden a lot. I learned a lot today. Way more than a book I'm currently reading. This is awesome and the way you put things into perspective like the trash and broke dicks? My husband says that means you know your vets. He told me today that it did worry him that he was a burden. We both got a huge lesson today.

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  9. I work for the VA as a nurse. This got passed on to me today and thinking you were spot on about burden. I debated whether to show my boss tomorrow. I just wanted you and yoir readers to know that I do care and love my vets. Thank you for pointing that out and yes, we do use burden way too much. This is a fantastic blog post. Gonna stay around to see what else you say next! God bless you.

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  10. Purple hair, music, laughter and car stickers? Why the hell is the VA NOT paying attention to you! I don't know where you're located but sending you an email. If close I'd love for you to come to our group and guest speak. You are ballsy, unconventional and fun. I LOVE IT! Its what is needed right now. Tired of the same old bullshit. Got to admit though that even though not my style of music, I fucking love that song and reminded me of going outside the wire. Got anymore suggestions? I felt a ton lifted and when my wife walks in shortly? She is gonna see I cleaned the baths and the kitchen. Painful but I did it. I was a burden I thought but after? I honestly feel better. Are you a social worker or therapist? You need to be hired on. Point is, until today I didn't do shit. I'll be honest. Been a bonebof contention with my wife. I'm wheelchair bound but as you said, not dead. I was so fucking proud that I did this stuff and changed that one thought. You get us though. You get our losses. How come just you though? I read through others and its bitch moan gripe and bitch some more. You today bitched but you stated reasons why and how to stop thinking this way. You're right. Its a cop out excuse and I know sometimes i'll admit I've used it. Don't know who you are but you're amazing at this. You got this broke dick to see the light but its because you know deep inside. Much respect.

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  11. "USM" is a lot more than you think. I wish others could see her in action. She took me to VA and this old bastard was kind of scared. She walked in that place with air of god damn authority. She did it with respect to the workers there. Had I gone by myself? I wouldn't have been seen at all. She doesn't like the light she sees it as her duty to her country. She may be in the shadows watching she's got the skills of a damn soldier. Shenis smart. She queationed everything but she had the staff laughing. They jumped when she stood up and it wasn't fear it was because they respect her. She goes by many names. Many know her as mama bear. Shenis fierce and protective but while she kicks your ass she's telling you she loves you at same time. No saint. No hero. No masked crusader. She's just herself and i love her dor that. But will she save you? Yes. If you're hungry there is always a meal. She's a good woman and am proud to call her my adopted daughter as many of us Vietnam Vets do here. She'll take the cussing and anger and say lets talk. I've never mealt anyone like her. She is an example to be followed by. She has a charm about her and she doesn't even know it. She can walk in a room and immediately spot the worst, the posers and the ones who need her the most. For that, she needs a damn medal for thebshit she's been through and trust me. It ain't all positive sunshine bullshit. Lead on Mama lead on. I love you for walking in my life and saving me from my own self.

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  12. I met USM at our VA. I had to admit she was just right there and talking like you're old friends. She made that visit enjoyable and I never forgot her or her husband. She's the kind of crazy we need and man does she get it. I was met by their service dog and he seemed to know I needed that attention. She bent down and said "you know if you try to blend into the wall here like you're doing? Don't wear black shirts". Hell I thought she worked there! In two years I'd been going there, her and Sarge were the only two I've ever spoken to. She's like that old shitty tshirt that is broken in, fits right to you like secondnskin and you don't want to take ot off. She knows her shit. It's been a while USM but still reading. Thank you for this post. Gonna make the wife read it.

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  13. I don't agree with this. I didn't marry my husband for him to come home this way. He is a burden. I like some of your posts but burden is the truth and I'm not ashamed to say it. I thought when he came home we'd live our life but he forgets me. Brain damage isn't an excuse to miss birthday or like Mothers Day. I'm tired of trying all the time and he's a burden that needs to be someone elses prob. I know he lost but what about me?

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  14. I am at work and laughed so hard I choked on my sprite! Good lesson today and learned that I shouldn't use this word. I loved Teaching Mrs.Tingle and that scene. Perfect post, perfect lesson and perfect you!

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  15. Wow. Just wow. This next to several others have been the best posts. It's been amazing to see how mich you have changed and grown. I always say now what would USM do? This post was funny but a lesson needed or a reminder. I appreciate as always your candor and words. Much love

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  16. I am a Veteran and a Doctor at one of the VA systems. I know they are shitty as you plainly stated and yes, we are under fire. This got passed to me by another co-worker and by end of day we all had read it. We did not realize at OUR facility how much we use the word burden. You are absolutely correct that we use the burden score for caregivers. I guess I never really thought of it that way in a defeating, condescending way that hurts our men and women. I have been a reader for a while now and I myself have learned a lot. I actually just casually mention you as a reference point. I wanted to post this once and let you know that there are some good people who care like me. No one understands that at the end of the day? We go home with stress, some cry and some are frustrated. After a few years? They begin to quit. I have seen them come and go. We have veterans yelling at us, cursing and family members are worse. They need to understand the amount of red tape we are under. Some of it is completely out of control. I read a post a long time ago and you asked "How do you sleep at night" in reference to the VA and the Army issues you were dealing with. The answer Ma'am, is very little. At the end of the day I try to shrug it off and say its just a job but, these are my fellow brothers and sisters. I took the medical oath and stick to it. There are some doctors in this system who bend to every rule and then there are some of us who are good but don't behave by not following the rules. Some of the responses yesterday about this post were of the nature of she sees us, we are appreciated, she brought up the clarity for us not to use that word of burden but, choose one that is more positive. Sometimes we are both at war with the same enemy, the government. Sometimes it feels as if we are at war with each other. VA vs Veterans. There have been days Mistress that I have gone home and hung my head in shame at some of the things that I have seen that I know wasn't right. My family says quit. Yet, like you we need the money and if I leave? What would the good that I do for my veterans become? Replaced by a wet behind the ear intern that doesn't care? I appreciate your blog and have been an avid reader for a while. We are paying attention and listening. Keep up the writing and thank you for pointing out those of us who are here and doing good jobs. We aren't all the enemies. V/R, a VA Veteran Dr

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  17. I wrote in once and told you I felt like I was a burden to my family. Man did you eat my ass up. I was smiling when I saw this landed in my email account since I signed up for notification. This was a very good post but, all yours are. This one though. Meant something to me because you spoke to me by phone and told me that if I felt like a burden and wanted that to change then get off my ass and do it. I just wanted to update you and tell you how much I appreciated that. I dont think i ever said thank you but, got into voc rehab and I have been sober now six months. I am doing AA for drinking. My wife leaves me a honey do list each day for small things that i can accomplish. After I saw that I could so some things and that someone was there who got it? I didnt feel like that burden. my wife? She says just having me say thank you is taking a load off. Wanted to say you are the fucking best and wish more people had you in their lives. I still have my bad days but we pull through them and they are expected. not every day can be good but thats ok right? Anyway thank you Ma'am and this post is being shared with family, friends and brothers.

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  18. I am a caregiver coordinator and wish to remain anonymous because of my job. Just wanted to let you lnow this hit our VA and it made an impact. We appreciate your thoughtfulness and wisdom. We have our meeting tomorrow and want to read this and pass around. Vets don't understand our struggles and frustration, the fact we are bound by rules, changes and red tape. We aren't ALL bad as you said. I love my job but it's stressful and am ready to quit. Your blog made me realize I am where I am supposed to be. Will continue to be a reader just so I can learn more and help in better ways. Thank you for being so brave.

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  19. I'm a VA MH Dr and I don't know who you are but, thank you for this lesson. I read this when it hit my email account and was totally taken aback by your honesty which is refreshing. We had meetings today and burden was used. I spoke up. I couldn't believe here I was quoting an unknown source but, you had a valid point. I saw 45you vets today and even corrected a few who spoke of being a burden. All I could think of was your words and thoughtfulness. I wrote down this blog page for them to read. Frankly I have a degree in Psychiatry and have to admit you know and recognize a lot more than I do. Veterans are hard core and tough; this they did not teach me in school or internships. I will continue to read and often so I may learn. You are the window into ehat we need to see and for this 42 year old professional, that's hard to admit. Thank you for teaching me.

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  20. Kristiana MartinMay 27, 2014 at 6:36 PM

    Love your blog!

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  21. I normally am not supposed to say this but, it is my home and going to leave my name off. I am an Federal Recovery Coordinator and our system is overloaded. I am honest. Some days are good some are so bad I want to quit. I get yelled at, cursed and much more. I want to say thank you for this post because I don't like the word burden either and nor do my cases. However, I know many at the VA use this term and I cringe. Just wanted to say I have learned quite a bit from you and hope you continue to write. I am passing this along as a reference point to all my cases because your Madea post was funny and this one was even cute with your humor embedded into such a term that sets one off. Keep up the good work. We are reading and learning. I read some of the other comments and the VA people are reading because we are passing it around. Hopefully, one day we can get the red tape off and do our jobs for once. With that, we will need help. Want a job? Haha! I think you need to do speaking engagements at our facility and just lay it out there. There are some who are just here for an easy hour job and don't care. Many are here but burned out. We need to be revitalized and revamp the system. God bless you and thank you for the education.

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  22. Hell yeah we are not burdens! Can't stand that word but man am loving that sticker! Expendable we are. This was a good read.

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  23. I absolutely adore your writing. It is always spot on and I know I may come and read with someone who understands what I am going through. I read this and cried because I didn't realize how much I did refer to my husband as a burden. A mistake I will never make again. Please keep teaching us and while I don't always comment, I am one of your Australia readers with whom we email. I just want to say thank you for your words and lessons as it is true and I am continuing to learn as you learn. God bless you and for supporting all of us.

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  24. I am a caregiver and my spouse just called himself a burden two nights ago. He'd never said it before but it bugs the utter living hell out of me and I told him so. Glad to see I'm not alone in hating that word!
    I found you via the website for the WoW Retreats at Quantum Leap, btw. Love your blog!

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  25. NotyourbeastofburdenJuly 25, 2014 at 5:25 PM

    Man, where have you been? I read other blogs and they're okay I guess but this? This was well said! Thanks!

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