Friday, September 19, 2008

Identity... Explained... a bit... more

Dang it.

I'm not a cute-overload type of person. I don't remember playing with dolls (except the day I was playing cannibal feasts and had to stop because my mother refused to keep sticking the limbs back on the plastic baby torsos). I do not have, and do not anticipate having, a big-eyed kitten photo as wallpaper on my computer and I have never, ever, used SQUEEE! in a non-ironic way.

But your emails and comments have just possibly left me a little runny nosed. And you're welcome for the image.

But there were a couple of questions - good ones - that can be answered (I know it's a little weird given the context, but I won't post names just because I don't know if people want their names out there)

I've been reading you for a while and I even went back and read alot of the "Kirk" things you wrote so I would know what you were talking about! What made you change your mind about using your name?


Honestly I'd like to say there was a well-reasoned instant where I thought through everything and weighed it all logically and carefully and then wrote up the post but... well, that's not how I work often. Instead I found myself writing up this mini-essay and there were phrases I knew I wanted to use and words that strung together just right and I realized that I was writing up something that had swirled around in my semi-conscious mind for... well weeks at least, but more likely months.

This whole blog has been the slowest, most glacial effort towards acceptance ever seen - ever. When I started it, a little over two and a half years ago, my mother asked me about the choice of names: Missing In Iraq. I would probably attract some attention, she warned me, given that title. And that was the whole point. At that time we didn't know what had happened to Kirk (we still don't, not entirely, not really and probably never will). We didn't know if he was alive or dead and it seemed we never would. I was under a lot of pressure to get the story told (some of it from another family that was equally devastated by a loss connected with Kirk's) but I had resisted it for all sorts of complicated and ultimately selfish reasons.

I honestly started it because I came to realize that the CID (the military investigating people) were going to have incredible power over Kirk's story. Because the investigation was having to be conducted the way it was, because much of it was (and is) invisible to me - not sure if I should use the term "classified" which has a very specific meaning to me, but certainly the information is controlled - they could make their conclusions and have enormous power over not only what I believed about Kirk's death but about his life as well.

There was more to it as well. That one event - a few minutes on the side of a road - had swallowed up everything else and I didn't want Kirk to be defined by those moments. Of course, I didn't want to be defined by them either.

What I've slowly - very slowly - admitted is that although I am not totally defined by the fact that Kirk went missing the way he did it has inevitably shaped me, changed me. I have tried my best to make that change... it's difficult to say good... difficult because all the language is loaded, but yes, I want it to be positive. I want to be able to say more than "this did not break me." Accepting that I have been changed - that this event is an important part of my life - is part of that.

Have you had any problems with people because of the blog? I've read some blogs that attract some real trolls

As I said, I haven't really had that problem. There have been a few people who want to express a political view and seem to think that I will agree with them (although what's funny is that I've gotten this from both - often extreme - ends of the spectrum). I have had some emails that basically state that all contractors are carpet-bagging, greedy bastards who are trying to capitalize on a humanitarian nightmare and therefore deserve all they get. This shows an amazing lack of understanding of a complicated situation and frankly I don't think it's in my best interests to try to educate anyone. Not that they sound like the sort of people who wish to be educated! However, this is a very small minority and I happily delete the messages. I'm not happy that this particular view is out there - but there are so very many black-and-white type opinions floating around that I find equally distressing! Purposeful bile is just that. Fortunately the few trolls didn't find me until well into the life-span of the blog - I think early on I would have been far more sensitive.

Do you regret being anonymous for so long?

Yes and no. It's possible that if I had really worked the media and tried to get huge exposure for the story right from the start things would have been easier for us. Maybe we would have been able to find things out sooner - there might have been more pressure on the CID to get things answered right away. I would hope not. I would hope that they did everything they could because that's the job they had to do. It's also possible that it would have made things so surreal that we would have had even more trouble coping than we did.

Remember, we were the first family to lose a civilian in this way - Kirk was the first American to go missing. It would have been pretty easy to get a spotlight on the story (once it broke the problem was to turn the spotlight off). But it would have meant answering unanswerable questions over and over again (how do you feel? What do you think happened? What would you say to the people who have him if he's been taken?) and turning over a large amount of our time (or my time - I would still have fought to keep the Children out of it as much as possible) to being the victims - to publicly accepting that rather simplistic and, at least in my view, potentially dangerous role. I don't want to be a victim. I don't want to be the person something was done to. Naturally this is a bit of a problem since, quite frankly, I AM someone that something happened to, but I think that it is a terribly seductive sort of thing - that being the victim can become a calling. People want to be nice to you which is fine, but... I suppose I'm concerned about how easy it would be to lose independence or to become too reliant on that kindness - in fact to begin to think of myself as that person this thing happened to. Back to the definitions I suppose...

Lots of waffle to say... well basically that I made the best choice I could at the time and everything else is might-have-been. It seemed the right thing at the time to keep the story suppressed. Later it seemed the right thing to begin to own the whole story by telling it here. Now it seems the right thing to accept all of it, including my part of it - my name.

Phew.

Next, back to important things - like the over-due birthday post for Child 3!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

.....wow......Child 1 brought us cookies that day for Child 3's birthday. -Cadet

child2 said...

she showed up....and it was wierd...and slightly surreal. all of a sudden there was the sound of an approaching moped........

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