(JaiChai) Once a surviving warrior, always a mixed bag of volatile emotions…

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Once a surviving warrior, always a mixed bag of volatile emotions…

If it weren’t for my late father (a shrink), I’d really be a f*ckin’ mess.

You see, I truly believe THE ONLY REASON I receive a military pension is because I came home standing up instead of supine in a box.

And every time someone says, “Thank you for your service” to me, I have to tell myself that they are most likely sincere and honestly mean well.

Let’s face it, what else can they or should they say?

I usually nod, smile and softly say “Thank you”. But in my mind, I see the faces of every friend who wasn’t as lucky as I was; meaning, I’m alive and they are dead. And only their lifeless bodies came home.

Many times, I was the one tasked to present their burial flag to their surviving loved ones. Believe me, that sh*t really sucks.

To this day, if I ignore my nutrition, exercise, rest and stress levels, my PTSD can usher in another cycle of survivor’s guilt, irrational anger at my dead friends for “abandoning me in this sh*tty world” and the subsequent anger at myself for being mad at my dead friends!

It’s like a f*ckin’ Hamster wheel!

But I know me. Before I get to that point, I take a breather and remember that for whatever reason or non-reason, I’m still here. I’d better make the most of it.

Knowing that I can easily withdraw into some pretty deep and nasty depression, I use my best mental defense; that is, I use my fallen comrades as an inspiration and source of positive motivation.

I dishonor them if I waste a minute of what they all desperately wanted, but can never have again — life with loved ones. For me, feeling sorry for myself is loser mentality.

And it helps that I became a Buddhist later in life.

For all non-veteran out there, I truly hope you never understand what I’m talking about.

Suffice it to say that intrinsically, all things are neither good or bad. It is the individual that ascribes positive or negative connotations to it.

I was a delinquent. MY choices were clear.

It was either the military or in a few months and another bust, it would be the “Big Boys” detention camp (county); the place where I would have to seriously hurt someone immediately or I’d be Ugly Bubba’s boyfriend!

Time to stop this rant. Thanks for reading my ramblings. May you and yours be well and love life today.

In lak’ech, JaiChai



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I'm retired (U.S. military) and living on an island paradise with my girlfriend, teenage daughter and two dogs.