Remember, Remember, The 24th of September….

We all have one…

The day we can’t forget. The one we can’t take back or rewind, no matter how hard we try. 

We can’t forget the way we felt when the phone rang… 

The way the daylight was barely even starting to break.

The sound of panic on the other line from your mom. 

The pure pain and tears you could hear break through her words.

The chill that ran down your spine as she spoke.

The sickness that filled your whole body.

“Vanessa, your brother….”

Please God, this can’t be happening. There has to be something the doctors can do. What do you mean he’s already dead? 
Time literally stopped….
Dead in it’s tracks. I couldn’t breath or think or move. Maybe if I call his phone? He HAS to answer because there is no way in hell this is happening in real life. 

We are talking about my rock. My brother. We aren’t talking about someone who can just be gone. We aren’t talking about someone who won’t call me in the middle of the night anymore.

We are talking about Jeremy. 

He is 22 years old. Remember? A whole life ahead of him? The world at his fingertips?! 
The 24th of September is just another day of the year. It sure as hell is not special enough to take away someone like him. 

Maybe if I call his phone again and leave a message. He HAS to call me back because he ALWAYS does. 

In my head if I just kept calling then maybe it wasn’t real. Maybe if I just keep calling! Maybe the 24th of September, wouldn’t be the day that my 22 year old brother took his last breath on earth. 
Maybe it was just another cool morning with the sun shining and all of this was just a nightmare. Maybe for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t dread this day, as the day that took my brother away from me.  

As the time of the year when I Remember looking at caskets thinking about which god damn casket my 22 year old brother would have liked. You know what my brother would have liked? To live the rest of his f*cking life. That’s what he would have liked. 
As the day where the seasons were changing and I couldn’t call his phone and hear his voice anymore. 

The time of the year when the sun is warm but the cool breeze hits my face and I’m struck with the memory of sitting outside at his funeral waiting for him to be buried. Staring at that spot in the earth, knowing I would never see his face again, hearing someone mumble meaningless words when all I wanted to hear was another one of his jokes.
Do I let it destroy my every day? No. Do I let it keep me awake at night? Sometimes. Do I continue on about my life with a gigantic hole in my heart? Yes, it’s always there. 
              & I always Remember….

             The 24th of September… 
Every year. As THAT day. And even when I realize 9 years have gone by, This day remains with me like it was yesterday. The day the phone rang, my heart sunk and my life changed forever.

The day we wish never happened but will never forget. 

Just Another Warrior Princess.

Just an introduction… I don’t know how to introduce myself properly. You see, I’m not a fan of being shoved in a box or labeled as one thing or another. As a matter of fact, I hold a deep disdain for labels. (Though I use them because how else would I let the world know that I’m not just a blob of energy floating around this so called universe)
I’m female. A rather unique, sarcastic, and ridiculous one I might add. I grew up in a small town, known for well, having one stoplight I guess. It’s a blip on the map, but I had an eventful 18 years there. I’ll share more about that later. I left soon after I graduated when I joined the Air Force. I felt like a super hero! Right?! Because what little small town blonde chick doesn’t want to parade around in combat boots and learn how to shoot badass guns? I know I sure did. Hello!! I went from cheerleader of a losing football team to an actual warrior princess! Of course I felt above the world. Plus, I look great in camo, duh. Not to mention… There was the pesky little issue of that small town, not only introducing me to friends, enemies, parties, carnivals, high school crushes and heartache, but it also gave me a lesson in the real world. It taught me about assault, rape, and small town crooked politics. So of course, I needed to feel powerful in an otherwise vulnerable and powerless shell of a small town girl body. I mean, what better way to combat my own inner demons, than to fight the worlds?! Hip hip hooray! I was on the way to a new, better, and braver me!
Little did I know, how long of a road, that would be… How many hurdles, obstacles and big ass rocks would be thrown right at me before I could get anywhere that even remotely resembled being a human being (again, those damn labels). I had years of battles to fight that had absolutely nothing to do with saving my country or the world, but saving myself. I had no idea that the enemies I would be facing were not so literal, but metaphorical in the sense, that they were right there, inside of me. And they were at every Damned corner too. Oh, and they came in all shapes and sizes. From invisible thought shaped enemies, whiskey bottle shaped, fist fight shaped, the insomnia shadowy type, the type that masqueraded as marriage but was really just arguments and jealousy, the brothers in uniform just waiting for your drink to be set down at the bar. They were everywhere. The anger I felt towards them was overwhelming. But how do you fight so many enemies when they all seem to be on the same side?! God, it’s soooo much easier just to cave and join them! And you feel a lot less too. Right?! I’m a damn warrior princess! Fighting for my country! I don’t have to feel anything that I don’t want to!
If only, it was that easy. I was sent down a spiraling tunnel that seemed to have absolutely no light at the end of it. Hands were grabbing, pulling, bruising, voices telling me what to do, what not to do, where to go, how to speak. And out of all of those voices, I never heard my own. After a while I realized I buried it. Along with my past and with every bad decision, I just kept throwing more and more dirt on top. When you’re stationed in a different country, you can make a new voice and forget all about your old one. Why the hell would I want to listen to some whiney victim cheerleader voice when I could be a badass?
I’ve got a secret. Most badasses have walls. They’re built up so high, you really would need an army of extremely disciplined soldiers to break through it. And even then, the enemies they’ve joined forces with will meet you with zero fear. And heavy artillery. You know what their weakness is? They don’t realize that it takes one person to remind them, that they don’t have to do it alone. That’s how you break through.
It took one person to remind me that in a world that hardened me to my very core, that I was still HUMAN. That no matter what, I could still be loved, and that I didn’t need to listen to the cheerleader victim, but understand what she had been through, and learn from it. I didn’t have to face it alone either (so crazy, I know) do you know, I didn’t even need heavy artillery? I am just as shocked as you are right now.
So I began this long journey that I call life. The ups and downs continued, but I found a new, less victimized, but also less ammo carrying warrior was inside of me. One that I could be proud of, one that isn’t perfect but continues to live life without gearing up for war at a moments notice.
Maybe this isn’t the best introduction, but as previously mentioned, I’m not great with first impressions. I’ve been so many different things at so many different times that I find it difficult to truly explain who I am with a few words. I am everything, and nothing all at once. And if just one of you can relate to that then it’s nice to meet you.

I’d also like to credit whoever made this image (I can’t see the name well) but they have put about 15¬†years of my life in one image. Thank you for that!