On PTSD awareness day, I had 22 butterflies tattooed on my neck and left shoulder. 22 veterans a day commit suicide. This has haunted me ever since I discovered this tragic statistic.
I have been where the 22 have stood. I have fought the same fight. I am heart broken that I could not save them.
I chose sunrise colors for my tattoo, because I want every veteran to fight for one more sunrise. I chose butterflies because to me, butterflies symbolize transition. I asked for a watercolor style tattoo, because I wanted the colors to bleed and run. I got this tattoo, because I understand the struggle. Perhaps I should have chosen a more somber example of how I feel.
I spent 8 years in therapy, and I always took my meds and did what I was asked to do. It just didn't help.
Every time I had a glimpse of hope, it was snatched away from me mercilessly. Nothing I did was ever good enough.
The horror of 22 a veterans a day committing suicide has haunted me. I never wanted to be one of the 22. I always wanted to help others, and was never successful. If anything, all I ever accomplished was hurting others. The tragedy that has played out for years in front of the public's eye, has long been overlooked. I have no delusions that my voice will make any significant impact on the world. There are a few, perhaps, will reflect on my words with baffled sadness. It's okay. I came to terms with the fact that my life is insignificant long ago. I wanted to make the world better for the sake of others, believing always, that nothing could salvage my life. History is full of broken hearts.
I am forced to the conclusion that my life will never be what I once hoped it would be. I resisted this fact for years. It's okay though. I hope that whatever mysterious purpose God had for my life has been served. I tried. I really did. I gave everything that I am to the idea that this world could be changed. But people are by nature, cruel, selfish, and arrogant creatures.
The world is full of people who cannot fathom true suffering. Shallow, heartless creatures with no concept of what it means to think beyond their own petty life. Maybe that is our true legacy to the universe. The philosophy of selfishness.
I have spent years trapped in the lonely solitude of my own mind. I have never been able to trust anyone with what truly goes on in my mind. I wrote a diluted version of what I have experienced in my blog. I haven't written much in it, in the last few years. So much has happened, and I simply could not find the words. It is rare that I find myself at a loss for words. I have struggled to add my voice to the chorus of veterans crying out in outrage against a heartless system. My voice was drowned out long ago, by other, stronger voices.
I'd love to say that I am a activist. Sadly, there is no one willing to stand behind my cause. There is no one willing to revolt against this system of inevitable failure. Our nation is a machine, chewing through veterans for it's fuel, feeding off of our constitutionally protected rights, and shitting out it's hapless citizens as it's by-product.
The clever slogans of social media, designed to raise awareness for various injustices committed throughout the world, cannot sum up this tragedy in a simple, easily repeatable phrase by the ignorant, attention deficit citizens of our world. This is far too complex a problem for marketing genius. This is life and death for thousands of our citizens on a daily basis.
I fought for you. I fought hard. I gave up my personal safety and ignored my own personal catastrophe when I refrained from reporting my rapist. I did that for you. I believed that the war was more important than I am. I believe that still.
I do not condemn the 22 for their choices. I stand with them, among them, and I shout their stories as loud as my frail body will allow. I stand tall. I may no longer have any pride or dignity, but I cannot continue to allow this world to strip me of my intrinsic values. I survived, but that is all I was able to do. Healing was a pipe dream promised to me by dozens of VA bureaucrats. Healing has not yet come.
In my life, I have been accused of many things. Being a liar. Being weak. Being a traitor. Of the many accusations leveled against me, the judgment that stood the harshest in my mind was that of liar. I have never used a lie when the truth has always been so much more painful. The army taught me many things, but they were most successful in teaching me to show no mercy to the enemy. Right now, I am my own enemy. Right now, I stand alone, reflecting on my life, and realizing that I was doomed from the very beginning.
It was always going to come down to this. Choose: Live or die.
For those who knew me well, they always understood that I appreciated a good fight. There is something cleansing in a good fight. Fighting is some fundamental necessity in our nature. We rage against each other, we rage against God, we rage against nature, and we rage against ourselves.
There has been a chant in my head for the last 3 years. Suicide. Suicide. Suicide. It was the answer to every question that I asked myself. If I felt happy, then I thought “My life will never be better than this moment, so I should end it now, on a moment of pure happiness.” In misery, I thought, “My life will never be good again, I should end it now and save myself the suffering.” In confusion, I thought, “There is no right answer. I should kill myself and stop wondering.” I don't know why I didn't, except that I could not bear to let the bastards beat me.
Gratitude was something that has been preached to me many times over. I have felt gratitude. I have felt gratitude to small moments when the violence of my emotions was abated for the briefest interludes. I have tried to feel gratitude for the briefest surcease of violence in my life. I have tried to feel gratitude for the small things in life, like my cat, who saved me from suicide many times over. I have tried to feel gratitude for the ones I love, who never loved me in a way that I felt made up for the constant fear, anger, confusion, and sheer hopelessness of my life.
In the end, life is what it is. It is filled with uncertainty and regret. I do not believe that God will punish the 22 for seeking the only peace left available to them. I have always believed that someone, some day would hold God accountable for the atrocities that He has allowed on this world.
What then is left to me, but to live, on my own terms? What is left to the world but to continue it's everlasting struggle for redemption in thousands of years of bloodshed and tyranny?
It has been years and years since anyone truly listened to me. I do not resent this. It gave me the power to introspect as I never would have done otherwise. In the end, all we have is ourselves. We are the sum of our experiences, and our choices. That being the case, I am desolation. I am abandonment. I am loss and grief and terror. I am betrayal.
I am a kitten abandoned in a cardboard box on the side of the highway, left for dead. I never asked to be brought into this world. I was born with so much potential. I had the potential to bring smiles to the faces of others. I had the potential to explore the world. I had the potential to bring sunshine and happiness to others who would otherwise, never have had the chance. I did my best. I wanted to wreak vengeance on those who contaminated this world with cruelty, injustice, and heartlessness. Unfortunately, to my dismay, I was unable to accomplish either goal.
I do not claim to understand why I was born. I have wondered myself many times. Was I the result of selfish parents seeking to reach their own independence, whether or not they were ready for it? Was I the result of some divine plan, unknowable to the minds of men? Was I an accident, born of chaos and destined to sow the same? Perhaps I fulfilled my purpose, unknowingly. Perhaps my destiny was some small step in the grand design of the universe? Perhaps I set in motion some fantastic event that will cause some other event, and some other event after that, until some unspeakably beautiful or terrible fate comes to pass.
I only know that I am weary. I am weary down to my very soul. If there were a benevolent God, I would like to have some peace now. I am begging, as I have never begged before. If I am praying to uncaring universe, filled with random events and random particles colliding with particles, I pray that you create more goodness in the world to compensate for the bad. I pray for balance. I pray that in this world, good things happen to good people, and bad things only happen to those who are irredeemably bad. I pray for order in the chaos. I pray for peace amidst the war. I pray for hope, in the never-ending void of infinity. I pray for life worth living. I pray for younger generations to solve the moral riddles that we have left for them among the rubble of our many, unforgivable mistakes. I pray for forgiveness. I have not led a perfect life. I fly by the seat of my pants and hope that my choices harm none.
If love were wealth, then I would be a wealthy woman. I have never run out of love to give to others, and I have always had some small measure of love returned to me. Even if it was only from my cat. ^^
I hope tomorrow is better than today.
I hope that there will be resolution to conflict.
I hope I find the will to go on, in the face of so much despair.