When I was a child, I was told that I could be anything I wanted when I grew up.
Most of us were, but my family tried to ensure that I was raised in an environment where I knew it in essence...where it wasn't just words.
My grandparents always made sure that I had the opportunity to do martial arts, ballet, theater and soccer. When at the age of 12 or so I decided I wanted to play hockey, too. They encouraged me.
After their death, I lived with an aunt and uncle. They were Mormon, but also owned a bailbonds in a small town in Nevada. My childhood looked like a Sons of Anarchy episode if half the cast were played by characters out of My Name is Earl. There are stories from that time in my life that as an author, I could never hope to be talented enough to transcribe with due justice. To put it briefly, when I told my aunt that I wanted a tiger for Christmas, she got me one. Donations were made for me to a wildlife foundation where I spent part of the summer cleaning and working. At the end of my time there, I decided I did NOT want a tiger anymore, but did discover that exotic birds and reptiles were interesting.
There is a scarlet macaw in my aunt's bail office to this day.
I watched her hatch. I fed her from a syringe and held her to keep her warm. She's going to live longer than me, and she's a creature that I literally raised and cared for based on the education that was provided for me just because I was a little girl that fancied a tiger. My aunt encouraged me to be a vet if I wanted. She encouraged me to seek out a career in animal husbandry or marine biology. I disappointed her by going into the military as an enlisted class. I didn't even shoot for officer school.
Military didn't last long. Without going into too much detail, I learned a great deal of valuable things there about survival, myself and how I see the world. I also learned that my country was a beautiful, fragile thing. Amazing what we take for granted.
From the military I decided to take a few courses at the local college until I got bored. Freelance writing was working out well enough as long as I could supplement my income by bartending. When that got boring, I moved to Thailand. Just like that. I was there on a two week vacation and decided I liked it. Instead of returning to the U.S, I sold my house, my car and had the money transfered to a foreign account. I lived there for three and a half years while I learned to scuba dive. That got old, so I started to scuba dive with sharks. That got old, so I decided to become a technical diver and go to depths that normal humans can't survive without a whole lot of hardware. As of yet, this has not gotten old, so I think I'm going to go break a few world records at it. I'll let you know when I do. Look for 2014, I think.
Asia was fun, but it's crowded, noisy and....not home.
I still don't know where 'home' is, but I'm looking.
England and Scotland were fun, but it's expensive there and can be really dreary.
Tucson was a great time, but we can't survive the summers.
The San Francisco Bay Area has been....eh. I've got a good paying job and weed is basically free and legal. There is a ton of snowboarding, great white shark diving and mountain climbing to keep me occupied for at least a year. If I get really itchy, I might do Ropes that Rescue or something to add on to my commercial diver medic. Seriously. My rescue resume is getting absurd. I swear I'm not training for the End Times or anything. I just like it. The skills are useful in everyday life, too. It makes me resourceful.
So it's clear that I've got a pretty good handle on stress. I'm also pretty well grounded for things like danger assessment and prioritizing emergency duties.
It also takes a ton....
I mean a whole hell of a lot to scare me.
But this shit?
This really stresses me out.
I have this feeling of dread. It keeps growing and coiling and turning inside my stomach.
Technological progress has allowed us to globalize and polarize at a rate that we have failed to predict a scenario for. Sociologists of the future are going to have their hands full with this particular day and age.
This country isn't near so free and civilized as we'd like to think we are.
I realize that people die every day. That's just a fact of life. And I realize that political assassinations are a part of the world.
But I REALLY realize that now.
Shortly after I left Thailand, one of the major players of the warring political groups that had crippled my city was sniped by a government soldier while giving a public news interview. That's the first time I've ever experienced the concept of assassination and felt connected to it.
Dr. Tiller was another death that made me open my eyes a little. It felt personal. It WAS personal.
And now Arizona?
You know..I lived near that Safeway. I used to walk my dog to it.
This project I'm working on...this book on atheism.
I honestly don't know if it is worth the risk of publishing it while we still intend to live in the U.S.