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March 20, 2011

From unfunnyme with love

by K. Tsetsi

–by Kristen Tsetsi and TMarie

New LIFT co-admin. and Army Wife TMarie runs unfunnyme.com, a website you should really see for yourself. In a way that’s somehow not at all overwhelming but perfectly balanced, TMarie offers an irresistible blend of blog humor and interactive fun. Because I wanted to know more about it and because I also hoped I could encourage you to visit her website, I asked TMarie if she would write a guest post for LIFT. She agreed, but not before telling me that it was time for LIFT to be “lifted,” if you will, to a higher level. Thankfully, she’s the one who did all the “lifting” for the new page we’re moving over to. I hope you’ll come over, too. (Click the ‘new page’ link in the last sentence to make the hop.) - K Tsetsi

***

I grew up mostly overseas in a military family. I went from military brat to enlisted soldier to Army Wife. I have been part of the military family since the moment I was born.

For me the military isn’t just a way of life, it’s the only life I’ve ever known. I can’t navigate a civilian grocery store without getting lost. I can’t hear our National Anthem without crying, even when it’s sung badly. And I can’t get two feet inside Arlington National Cemetery without feeling as if my heart is being ripped from my chest.

But there is something that I CAN do:

I can celebrate the American Soldier and their families, LIFT them up as the incredible people they are, and try, in some small way, to give them something back.

This morning I read this blog post at DailyKos, written by LIFT founder Kristen Tsetsi.  In her post, Kristen responds to inflammatory assertions made by author Zoe Winters.  Winters states that she doesn’t watch the news because, “I’m not magic.  There is nothing I can do about an earthquake or war or any of it.”

Kristen counters Winters’ thoughts on the media coverage of war, of fallen soldiers, and of Japan vs. the media coverage of celebrity nonsense. She tells us that via our own empathy, people ARE motivated to help, and they can and do help, even in the smallest of ways.

What stands out the most for me in Tsetsi’s post is this:

Claiming to have no “power” over a war or a tsunami and using that as an excuse for shutting out the bad news is a cop-out. I’ll add here that it’s lazy. People make a difference all the time. That one person can’t do EVERYTHING doesn’t mean one person can’t do SOMETHING.  …All you have to know is that you can do your small part, and that in doing that small part, you’re doing the best you can do. And that’s something pretty incredible.

Like Winters, I too shut out the bad news, and I freely admit that I don’t even watch the news.  But unlike Winters, I don’t do this because I don’t care, or because I don’t believe that I can help.  I do it because I’m the kind of person who is incredibly sensitive to the images and loss depicted in the news.  The pain of others stays with me; it haunts me, and it doesn’t let me go.

When my husband was deployed, I was glued to the television.  Other than making sure the kids were bathed and fed and got to and from school, I was virtually non-functional.  At night my dreams were full of the horrors I saw on the news.

When I finally got my first phone call from my husband, he told me that every time he had to put his gas mask on he wondered if or when he’d ever be able to take it off again. That night, I was physically ill.  All the pictures in my head, combined with the words he said, left me shaking and vomiting on the bathroom floor.  The next day I turned off the television, and I haven’t watched the news since. 

That was eight years ago.

I still read the ‘big stuff’ on the internet, even if it means just scanning the headlines.  I don’t want to live in a magic bubble where I pretend that nothing bad ever happens; I’m just careful about not letting myself be inundated with it.  And for every article I read that makes my heart ache, I find some little piece of fluffy nonsense to make me laugh.

Reading both points of view in Tsetsi’s post drove home for me why I contend that the world actually (desperately) needs both types of media. The ridiculous and inane has, and always will be, a healing balm for pain. There is a reason the television show “M*A*S*H” was one of the most celebrated series of all time: it explored with compassion the deeply affecting tragedies of war, but also lifted us with periods of hilarity and absurdity.

Laughter is part of what makes us human, and laughter can give us the strength to continue to function, to do what must be done, even amongst the most horrific devastation and loss. While the articles I read this morning have left me with a million thoughts churning in my head, there is one that is louder than the rest:

What can I do for the tremendous military family that I love, the soldiers, their families, their loved ones? I’m  just a busy mom, just another Army Wife. I can’t add one more thing to my plate right now…

The more I thought about this the more I wondered if I could somehow use what I already do every day to help make a difference.  I get on Facebook every day, and it took just minutes to “Like” the LIFT Facebook page and start promoting it on mine.

Inspired by the LIFT efforts, it took me only a few minutes more to email page admin “Ktsetsi” and tell her I have some amateur web design skills and I’d like to help however I could.  Since I also write a blog called unfunnyme.com, I wondered if this could somehow help as well. 
The site is the (un)funny tales of just another mom, just another Army Wife.

(Note: It isn’t called unfunnyme because it isn’t funny. It’s called unfunnyme because I’m an incredibly serious person who strives to find the funny in life.)

Since launching the site two months ago, I’ve come to realize something.  Because I think of the military as my family, they are often the audience I have in mind when I’m writing.  I can’t help wanting to share it with them, and I can’t stop hoping to give a chuckle to a worried military spouse, or to the soldier with a broken heart or body who could use a laugh to help ease the pain. If you’d like to help, here’s how:

Photos for the creation of this image are courtesy of Liisa Roberts Photography http://www.liisaroberts.com

Visit LIFT on Facebook and Like it.
Find a post on the LIFT Facebook page that interests you and Share it on your profile.

If you would like to share a laugh as well, visit:
http://unfunnyme.com or on Facebook and share it with our soldiers and their families. Like it, share it, email it, or even print out an (un)funny that you enjoy and mail it.

Let’s give ‘em something to laugh about.
– TMarie

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Please click here to visit on Facebook and “Like” it for TIME.

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