Sunday, July 5, 2009

More Strength

Strength is a funny thing.

We men are conditioned to be strong and tough. Don't be a puss, don't cry. While the women are supposed to be weak and emotional damsels in distress.

It was almost a year ago when I first wrote about the Strength card. I was pretty proud of that one, and still am. Mostly because I have come so far, I have made progress, I have gained strength.

But not Arnold strong, or John Wayne strong. The weird kind that's difficult to describe. The peaceful strong. I have been "battling" Post Traumatic Stress Disorder since the day I got home.

Its a hard and scary thing to fight against, just like Iraq. We're were not fighting a uniformed army across the battlefield. We were fighting one single civilian with a grenade, within a crowd of hundreds. You never knew who. You never knew when. But you knew it was coming. You could never drop your guard.

That's how PTSD works. You never know whats going to set it off. You never know whats going to set you off. Not having any control over something like that is terrifying when your trained to react with force. You can never drop your guard.

So I learn and remember what to watch out for, keeping my finger off the trigger.

I have used Witchcraft to heal myself, I have made my own magic, developed my own craftwork. Not just for me, because sadly, I am not alone. But what I am doing is working, on me and those who use it. And she is with me, and she works her magic too.

We live next to the city baseball park. She keeps the schedule on the bulletin board and highlights the nights they're going to set off fireworks. She keeps a close watch on me and the clock and always finds new and creative ways to occupy my attention. She talks about how good popcorn would taste and how bad she would love to have some straight out of the microwave all hot and steamy. Can you hear it?

I don't hear AK-47's anymore, I hear a bag of Orville Redenbacher's kettle corn.

Tonight, the first time in five years, I celebrated the 4th of July.

For the first time in five years, I wasn't hiding, I was outside watching.

I did good, I had fun. She held my hand, and I was strong.

Yeah, strength is a funny thing.


43 comments:

Oliver said...

Joe, I feel bad that you fight with that. I am SOOOO happy to hear it is getting better!! While watching the fireworks last night E and I thought of you, the joyful Ka-booms that we heard may have sounded a little different for someone that once needed to interpret that as sounds of get the hell out of the way. I cant say I understand, I can say I have an image of what you went through. Its what I reference my prayers for you on. BBB.

Freysson said...

I always warn my guys a weeks or two before July 4 and New Years to find ways of dealing with the fireworks. So many of them don't think about it until they get caught in the memory.

I am glad you are getting better. You are on your way. Take all our blessings with you.

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