A Soldier Returns to Afghanistan’s Combat Zone

Irregular sleep pattern. Anxiety. Sadness. Motivation. Relief. These are just some of the emotions and actions I have been experiencing since my return to Afghanistan. I have been back for two weeks now and I finally feel back to normal… well as normal as I can be in a combat zone.

From the day I left America to the end of my first week back in Afghanistan, it was very difficult for me to readjust to my combat environment. On the plane ride coming back I cried, thinking about my father who weighed less than I did when he was released from the hospital a few months ago, who is now recovering at home and getting his strength back daily. I thought about my tweenage sister, who doesn’t have her big sister nearby to help her prepare for her final year of junior high school. I thought about my mother, who is a single parent working two jobs trying to provide for my little sister slaving at the job or in the kitchen. Then I remembered my friends and their parental, financial, emotional (a.k.a boy drama) woes and it hurt that I can’t be there for them at moment’s notice. I miss the convenience of UberTwitter on my phone, good eating, summer hot spots like Brooklyn’s Habana Outpost and going to Manhattan lounges with my girlies for drinks and deep conversations about… shoes. I just worked the red carpet at a movie premiere and now I have to exchange a microphone for an M-16 rifle?


I am so ready for this deployment to be over! The first few days after I returned, I would be asleep by 8 p.m. and up by 2 a.m. This went on without fail for four days. Now I am back on my normal sleeping routine of six to eight straight hours, unless I have one of those annoying bathroom visits, which requires me to go outside because the bathrooms and showers are in stand-alone metal containers on my Afghanistan army base. But after almost seven months, I am used to it. However, I recently had a self-revelation. We will be going home soon and there are still some things on my to-do list that I haven’t accomplished. I have gotten so used to my daily work and lifestyle that I’ve become complacent with my personal ambitions.  So to start, I am signing up to take the GRE in October, so I need to get serious with my studying. I would like to tone up my body more, so the gym is calling my name. I need to start applying for jobs for when I return home, so I need to get out my camera and produce some stories here so I have something to send to prospective employers. As a result, I have this burst of energy that says ‘you’ve been out here for almost one year, let’s make this deployment count… for you.’

I have seen many moons come and go over the mountains here in Afghanistan. I have been on top of my professional work, but I have neglected my personal work in the process. I can’t let another moon go by without asking myself, ‘What have I done for me lately?’ and not have an answer.

Last 5 posts by Soldier Girl