Everyone told me going into this job that “being a Department Head is the hardest job in the Navy” and they were right.
I turned over my duties last Monday and though I feel mostly relieved that it is over (and that I came out alive), I reached my limit long before I reached that particular ending point.
I’ve been at sea for the last 3.5 years (half of that time on deployment) of my life and I’ve been through the gamut of everything from assault to racism to crazy-making coworkers. I’ve never been this exhausted before. I feel like I just ran six marathons, several triathlons and an ironman back-to-back. My flanks are sweating heavily and I am so winded and exhausted that crossing the final finish line barely registers. I just want to lay down for a very long time without a phone waking me in the middle of the night or dealing with broken equipment or broken people.
I am in dire need of both. Not just sleep but soul rest.
I’ve cataloged the last few years here in this blog and in excruciating detail in my private journals. These were my “Dispatches from the Sea.” My way of bearing witness to a life that was more often than not set adrift and rudderless, I know that the way forward is to look back once more, to make peace with this soon-to-be-past. But I can’t find the
energy courage to revisit these years just yet. Even writing about it is difficult.
Writing is self-reflection — it’s looking at myself in a perfectly cut mirror without any distortion. I don’t know that I’m ready to face the black eyes and bruised skin that is most assuredly present. I’m not ready to see the busted lip and swollen nose that I can feel. I’m not ready to estimate the total damage that was done. Mostly, I don’t want to look at the girl who is still standing.
Don’t get me wrong, she’s much braver and more full of courage than she used to be. She’s wiser and knows what she wants. But, she’s hardened like molten clay — borderline brittle. She of fury and indignation and so much hurt is likely to break apart. I’m not ready to be witness to that type of fracture.
I have some much needed time off over the next couple of weeks and I intend to refill my soul tank with loads of sunshine, prayer, self-dates, girlfriend time, daily prettifying, and writing. It’s time to wrap up my last dispatch before starting a new journal.