The First Leaf

I know what you’re thinking, why read this entirely new blog that you’ve never heard of that doesn’t even have any good pictures? Well if you ever find yourself bored and want to read about the really weird things that we humans think about, then you’ve come to the right place! This blog is meant to be my way of putting all the things I think about into something that makes sense.

A little about me, my name is Melissa Hirt, I am twenty years old, and I live in Kansas City, Missouri. Growing up in a suburb south of the city, you get used to telling people that you live in Kansas City. For some reason people can only remember the cities that punch you in the face with their skyscrapers and endless potholes that take months to be fixed.

I had a very suburban, very christian childhood. My mother and father are both devout baptists, so I grew up singing Jesus Loves Me and Bless My Soul, decorating tiny crosses, and handing out endless bible tracks. As I grew older and I realized that Christianity wasn’t for me, I found that there are parts of a religion that (almost) every human being can agree with: love your neighbor as yourself, take care of the sick and the poor, be accepting to all. I think when people leave the church, they can be seen as this immoral heathen reverting back to their sinful ways, but that always seemed a little dramatic to me. When I left the church, I didn’t lose the morals that I had been taught, I added to them. I didn’t suddenly become a thief or a rapist or a liar, I only realized that my values can be different from another’s and still value them as a person. This realization opened me up to an entirely different view of the world. I still keep in touch with many of the people I knew from church, and being able to accept another’s views without having to make them your own was very liberating for me.

When I was seventeen I joined the Army National Guard and reported to a unit once a month for nine months before I shipped out for Basic Training. My older brother had joined the Army three years before that and I had always looked up to him so I decided to join as well. My time in the Army was very strange. I enjoyed getting to know new people and I felt like I could belong to that life. I wanted to succeed as badly as I wanted to breathe. I had made a commitment and I was going to the best goddamn soldier I could be. The first couple of months I excelled. My PT scores were passing and I was improving them every day, I met other soldiers that I got along with, and I was enjoying all the hard work we were doing. I don’t remember when the shift happened, but it slammed into my stomach without so much as a hint. I started becoming nervous, my hands would shake anytime there was attention on me, and I started having panic attacks.  The thing about the Army is that you have to be healthy and mentally fit because your job is to defend your nation, an incredibly important and sometimes dangerous task. So when I started developing symptoms of depression and anxiety, that’s when everything started to go downhill. The drill sergeants talked, or rather screamed, at me differently. The people I had become friends with kept me at a distance because they were focused on graduating. I met with army psychiatrists who asked me hundreds of questions. Eventually they decided that I was not mentally fit enough to serve in the Army, and I was discharged a couple weeks after I would have graduated Basic Training.

This is a very difficult subject to talk about because it was the weakest I had felt in my entire life. I used to tell people that I was discharged for the stress fractures in my hips (which is not a total lie, those ruck marches are a bitch) because I was so ashamed of the reason behind leaving that I didn’t want anyone to know. After I was discharged, I attended college for two semesters before I left to work a full time job and learn how to deal with my deteriorating mental health. It seemed as if I was scrambling for some meaning to my life and there were more failures along the way than I’d like to admit.

I don’t know how I didn’t realize that all of the writing I was doing while all of this was happening was a way to claw myself out of this pitiful grave that I was digging. Writing had always come easy to me, I could cough up a ten page paper in a couple days without really worrying all that much. To think that I could earn a living off of my writing is a completely new idea for me. So I started researching, and reading other people’s work, and I realized that this was something that I could do. My goal is to become a freelance writer and be able to support myself and my future family, and that doesn’t come without hard work. But this is something that could save my life during the times when I feel like there’s nothing left to care about. So if this is going to save my life, I’m going to try to make it sound pretty damn good

I’m excited for you all to join me on this journey!


Author: awholenewlimb

I'm twenty years old, living Kansas City, Missouri, and trying to make a name for myself. I enjoy writing about my life experiences, even if I've only had twenty years of them, and the way they have shaped me into who I am today. It's still a working progress, but it's gonna be a pretty interesting ride getting there.

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