April 7th, 2008


Rules of Engagement

We were talking about the HMAS Sydney on the weekend - something I didn't know much about and hadn't heard all the conspiracy theories etc.

On hearing that it's always been thought that the Germans machine gunned any survivors, my reaction was - well isn't that war? And of course, no it's not supposed to be - and being on the boat at the time, they were like - maritime rules still apply, you have to rescue the survivors and take them prisoner. And I was all like - so wait, it's war, you blow up their ship, and then you have to stop and do rescues? And they were like, yes, courtesy still applies.

And for some reason, that kinda makes me laugh.

I think I have grown up in this post 1980s type world where so often I have not seen proper conduct of the rules of engagement. I've watched the documentation of various acts of genocide. I know at the time what the Germans were doing on the other side of the world in World War II. And I've watched our own wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as stuff in Timor, Sudan, Somalia and Croatia etc.

And I guess I don't really believe that war now still has "rules" - like the Geneva Convention and I guess the Rules of Engagement. The guys were like - well, gj, [this this and this] constitute war crimes. And it's wrong that my brain goes "yeah ... and?" isn't it?

Another awesome day!

Ahhh ... it's just good to be alive! Today I was early for my counselling appointment and I just took a lovely walk in the late afternoon air. I listened to the breeze gently move around and smelled the moist air and just was... alive.

Work was good.

Yoga was great! I'm getting better!!! My instructor said so - well, she actually said, as you get better things come out and look more obvious (she was referring to my lopsidedness). But she also commented that all the hard work (and pain in the days following) last week meant my upward and downward dogs were much better. I predict I hurt a lot tomorrow too.

And then counselling was really good - as in I only have a "let's check back in in quite some time for good measure" appointment. It was really good to be able to sit there and take some perspective on things. I know I have come a long way - especially when I can sit there and say cheerfully "I am optimistic about the future." She said that might feel weird for a while but I'd get used to it!

I learned a lot on this journey. I learned that I am a strong person but that I have weaknesses. And I learned it's not actually about being strong and undefeatable all the time. Bad things happen. Things happen that are out of your control and sometimes bad things happen because you cause or let them. Sometimes things can break you. But it's not actually about any of that. Strength is in how you deal with the lows and the defeats and the rejections. Strength is in how you look around, realise you have fallen into a big dark hole and work out how your are going to climb out of it.

I learned that I like myself and I like who I am. And that I can make myself happy and that I can be happier on my own than with someone who makes me miserable, or wants me to be less than the best I can be. I am a good and kind person. I learned that people have lots of invested reasons for how they interact with you and have lots of versions of "the truth". I learned the difference between "sad" and "depressed" and that I can be sad without it spiralling out of control and that it's good to be sad sometimes. Sad is far better than numb. And I learned that I have boundless energy and enthusiasm and I never ever want to spend time with anyone who wants me to hold that back.

And I have discovered that I am going to be fine.

In fact I am going to be better than fine. I'm going to be happy.