Posted by: Judy | April 19, 2016

Follow Up…

It’s important, to me, to note the help didn’t magically show up. I asked, sometimes in a roundabout way and sometimes direct, but I actively sought help. Each person offered different insights.

On Friday, I enjoyed lunch with a friend. Our conversation wove together what had been shared the day before and what I was learning from Rorke Denver in his book Damn Few: Making the Modern SEAL Warrior. No I’m not a SEAL and never will be, not even close. However, I was raised in a “war zone” by people who had no trouble using me as a shield and scapegoat.

I’m deeply ashamed to admit I fear NM more than God, even now. What does it say about my faith? I won’t let go, but I’m badly shaken.

Talking with my friend on Friday, I realized a number of things:

I excel at learning. I gather copious amounts of information and shuffle it in my head. I keep what fits and tuck away what doesn’t for later use.

Though I excel at learning, my ability to apply what I learn is shoddy. I came by it honestly as those who raised me don’t do it well either. I make attempts, but they  often don’t last. I’ve always figured there was something wrong with me. I needed to change things until I figured out how to make it all fit.

Then I was reading Damn Few. It talked about doing 3,000 sit-ups, 7,000 lunges, and innumerable flutter kicks. Thousands? In a single day? No wonder I wasn’t getting it! I expected to make it work after the prerequisite “16 days make a habit.” No, no they don’t. 16 days makes a start to making a habit. I read somewhere else that it takes 5 years. How do I make it 5 years if I can’t make it 17 days?

Thousands, every day. Chatting with my friend, I realized I need my own BUDs. That’s the insane training for SEAL wannabes. Granted, I don’t need the physical brutality. I’ve already been put through starvation, sleep deprivation, and abuse. I’ve learned to push through it all. However, I wish I’d had the encouragement along with the beat down. I didn’t. I do now. I start from now.

On Saturday, I continued my mental shuffling.

I grew up in chaos. Chaos serves abusers. It keeps everything stirred up, so no one focuses, no one sees what’s right under their nose. There’s too much dirt and debris. Truth is obliterated by the chaos, or so it appears. Truth never stays buried.

When prey chooses to step away from the chaos, the predator must stir things up even more or be discovered. Sometimes, the predator uses a false calm. To prey, this false calm can be worse than the whirlwind chaos. It’s confusing, and makes the prey question if there’d been any chaos at all.

I’m constantly changing what I do and how I do it, endeavoring to find the magic combination that works for me. I create my own chaos. It’s what I know.

BUDs is about preparing men to be SEALs, to be the best at what they do. It prepares them for what they will face in the future. BUDs builds a rock solid foundation with constant repetition. The men who survive BUDs all have a good foundation to begin with; they know what they want and will do whatever is necessary to achieve it. BUDs builds on a foundation already there. It builds and hones strength and endurance, both physical and mental. They learn basic physical and mental skills they will use the rest of their careers.

I need to learn basic skills: Sleeping, Eating, Exercising, Spiritual, and Creative. These are the things I need to make my life work for the rest of my life. Everything else is extra.



  1. I completely get this. We had our own basic training, endured and survived. Problem is it did not prepare us for lifes challenges like seal training would. We do need to go back to basics and start over, caring for ourselves, listening to and encouraging ourselves. Eat when hungry, stop when full, rest when tired, reach out to others …. Basics. I get chills reading about the calm in the chaos…I know that all too well. You can do it. Keep going. You can apply what you are learning.

    • We needed SEAL training before we came to this life. I’ve discovered I do a lot of things backwards. 🙄 We aren’t only learning what we need to learn, at last, but we’re also having to unlearn years of brutal training. I keep telling myself that I made it this far; no point giving up now. I don’t know why I never saw the chaos as clearly as I do now. Maybe it’s part of this stepping back into the basics.

  2. I agree with so much of what you shared. With one exception. When you bonked yourself on the head with a hammer, saying that you don’t implement what you’ve learned. I don’t even know you on a personal level, and have no direct experience to draw from in relation to whether or not this statement is true, but I think maybe sometimes you forget to acknowledge the steps you take that are still moving in the right direction, even if they don’t measure up to your own self-enforced level of success.

    In other words, if you are saying that you recognize that you could improve in this area, then I’m all about being supportive and encouraging you to keep exploring this statement. However, if what you are saying is that this is a known fact, then I ask you to reconsider. Stating it out loud as a statement of fact gives it more power. My preference (after years and years and years of trying to figure out ways to improve) is to do my best to avoid calling attention to the negative aspects of my process, and focus my energy on the positive aspects. So I would have been more comfortable with you wording that in a way that alluded to giving yourself credit for recognizing that this is an area where you have discovered you can improve, rather than shaming yourself for your failure to act.

    Did that make sense? I guess as someone who has spent a lifetime beating myself up, I think it tends to send up a red flare when I feel like I see someone doing the same thing.

    “My ability to apply what I learn is shoddy” sounds like a statement of fact, but from my perspective, it is an example of someone stacking blame on top of someone who is already struggling to find solid ground on which to stand.

    “Though I excel at learning, my ability to apply what I learn …..

    … is my best opportunity for growth.”

    … offers me new ways to exercise making better choices.”

    … gives me a chance to see immediate results, if I am able to follow through in putting what I’ve learned into action.”

    Make sense?

    I’m trying (it’s a learning process) to notice the number of times I state something as fact, especially when it is something negative about myself. I’m trying (with some success, but also with some lapses of progress) to recognize how many times the voice in my head sounds just like those people that used to want to hold me down, and keep me under their control.

    I love it that you have chosen to look towards a group of people you view as nearly invincible, and certainly as disciplined and successful, to use as a point of inspiration to help you move forward. And that you are creating a road map, much as any learning exercise might be. Goals? Steps to reach those goals? Measurable growth? And so on. Keep believing in your ability to succeed. We need to hear you recognizing your own strength, because it helps us recognize our own. So thanks for sharing this part of your journey.

    • Yes, that makes sense. Yes, I’ve made progress. I’m frustrated with the number of times I still fall back into old habits. It’s crushing when I feel like I’ve put something behind me and then catch myself doing it, again. I think the shoddy sensation is much more reflective of how I’m feeling than what I’m doing. I’m feeling rather raw after peeling away a few more lies, like admitting how afraid I still am of NM. Thanks for reminding me to change my words. I know how powerful they are. Perhaps it’s another habit I need to work on. I fall into using old phrase because they’re familiar. I appreciate you calling me on it. Change won’t happen without awareness.

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