Death is nonexistent. Our existence is measured by making the most of the time we’re on earth by creating something that outlives us.Read More
A lot of people may have been to war, but not in combat. Marines have always seen combat. Im one, amongst the brotherhood. Once a lost soul, found-created; sharing experiences through art. Fighting words for hope into the hopeless.
You still get to me.
I didn’t think you would because I-we, have come so far from that day. Seven years is nearly a decade. It is true though, time heals. Yet we still have the scars that remind us of the pain, staring licking the wounds. Today is not supposed to be a day on anger. But still. I’m uneasy.
Around this time a year ago, we met. We met back on that same roof in the bazaar. I never really shared it with anyone . A newfound brother recommended guided meditation, it was self-care much needed at the time. As I fell into space watching the earth take deep breaths, I found myself in a field. At the end of that field was that small building where id positioned myself seven years ago. But this time there was silence. No screaming. No blood. No horrific scenes. only Peace.
Sounds of children laughing, turned me around and there you were. But not you alone, joined by those two children, Doc Qi, Sgt. Smith, and lcpl. Kane. We all sat together in a circle atop of that roof. Tears of relief and peace rolled down my cheeks. It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever felt. The universe telling me im at peace and no longer will you bring sadness to my life.
But you do.
Every time someone gets hurt in a movie.
Every time I hear of a suicide bombing.
Every time I hear a woman cry, a heart break.
Every time January 23rd comes around. You’re still there.
I have beaten ptsd, slayed depression, hopelessness And taken control of my life. I fought my way out of hell, where the fight was lonely and long. I no longer fight. I write. Wheres so every set of eyes who read my words and hear our story is shoulder to shoulder with us in trenches.
Now in 201, its been seven years since that day, where i felt ive been haunted by humanity. Its not until now that ive learned the significance of A JOURNEY..... the number seven. In all cultures, myths and legends seven represents...completeness and totality, where humanity connects with the creator. Interesting, right?
SO I TELL YOU THIS: I hope you found your 72 virgins. I hope the families of my brothers have found some type of peace. I hope the mourning mother whom was left childless because of you has brought more lives into this world. because its not all bad: we are living proof. i am living proof.
I’ve learned to trust my struggle. And all things do indeed happen for a reason. Ive learned time heals all wounds but we must give our wounds enough time to heal. i will continue working on being the best man i can be. for the ones we lost, for the ones who still carry hate, above all- for me.
Some sounds you never forgot, especially in a silent movie.
360 degrees of real. With a birds eye view on top of a roof. Eyes only focused on the streets below, filled with rumble, panic,dust and Marine Corps camo soaked with blood. Camouflaged soaked stains of brotherhood. Breaking the barrier of silence was an unfamiliar sound, a sound which pulled me to the edge of the roof.
What eagerly awaited was death, life , love, hate. I was greeted by 13 year old sonya, with her baby brother clenched tightly to her chest.
Bloody. Burnt. Lifeless. Young innocence echoed by a horrified loving mother. Deep screams from her soul, and HEART shattering wales tore through my body, heart..imprinted in my mind forever.
Some sounds you never forget
This was war. Combat..complete disregard of human life. A Suicide bomber,
Aftermath is something you read about or hear on the evening news. This was my reality. This was what the recruiters never told me about.
Jan 23 2010 I was haunted by humanity. Several warriors shed blood that day, but every marine there was wounded not all wounds can be healed with a pressure dressing and stiches. Causalities of war do not end on the battlefield. Its something ive learned to call the 8,000 mile sniper shot
Between 2005 and 2011 49,000 veterans died by suicide. The very next year, 2012 Suicides out numbered combat deaths, 349 to 295. Marines are trained to adapt and overcome.
We adapt to situations in life, The more you can adapt to situations in life, the more powerful your highs will be, and the more quickly you’ll be able to bounce back from the lows in your life. All of us have a toolbox of life skills. some tools we use during certain times in life, some we leave on the bottom among other tools we forgot how to use.
2,136 Days: I was willing to sacrifice to bestow to warrior hood.
712 days: to war
10 days: of transition assistance into civilian life
Warrior hood trains to take a life, It does not train us how to deal with killing and loss. Coping with grief was not a tool acquired during initiation into warrior hood. Wearing the mask of dehumanizing and disconnecting from what we know is true.
My mask protected me from the fog of war. It was my savior in a place where heros are taken. It allowed me to survive combat but nearly the cause of my own demise internalizing hate towards myself.
I was one of the lucky ones. the mask decayed with unconditional love form those around me. Some aren’t so fortunate.
Warrior-hood is a life long journey. A journey that doesn’t end unit we ourselves become healers. 10 days to unlearn 2136 days of conditioning.
1424 Days more I’ve finally learned the needed skills. Blessed to be able to create the social contract that once was. A bridge of community if you will. A bridge held together by compassion, tears, sweat, love; empathy
It was a tool needed for a warrior and the community to move from absurdity to meaning, isolation to inclusion, being haunted to witnessing, angry to forgiving, and rejecting to affirming.
My time at csun as taught me the most basic human nature. EMPATHY. Education has taught me the importance of a tool many of us take for granted. I’ve learned love. Unconditional love. I’ve learned what words for strangers can mean the world of gratitude. I’ve learned acceptance in the Greek community. Ive learned humility.
Ancient cultures from the Plains Indians, Vietnamese, to South African communities teaches that preparation, social and spiritual support, moral and homecoming rituals are central to the wound.
I moved from ignorance and innocence to experience with wisdom. My wounds are blessing that have led to new visions of who I am. New dimensions of honor and service.
Listen, nobody likes to talk about war, civilians don’t and veterans don’t. But we have to do it. Because the people who can make the change aren’t watching.
We must not only help our veterans through support but also educate nonveterans on their responsibilities if we allow our leaders to continue waging wars.
See it doesn’t matter who you are or what your trauma is, if you connect with someone who understands, hope is created, you, I, we can make it.