Category Archives: In My Experience

It’s about power.

Okay, so I stole that line from Buffy, but it doesn’t make it any less true. I’ve realized something in reading the blogs of my research participants–it’s about the power. The people who’ve harmed us want to take our power. They see power as “power over.”  I believe in “power to.” That’s where my power lies, and it’s part of my strength. This frightens people, and they want to take our power. They want to have power over us. They want power over me. But I don’t give in easily because I’m strong. I’ve dealt with the trauma of abuse, the pain and loss of physical illness, and the alienation imposed by those who want to take my power. Reminding ourselves that it takes strength to simply live when you’re dealing with issues like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and clinical depression is essential to our survival. This doesn’t mean that we have to define ourselves based on our traumas and diagnoses. These are part of us, but we are more than just “the traumatized.” Writing about trauma demonstrates strength. Writing about it in a public forum, such as blogs, demonstrates courage. As bloggers we have the power to expose the violence that we’ve been told to keep silent about, to help others who’ve been traumatized, and to teach those who haven’t been traumatized.  Our silence does not protect us; our voices do.

conversations with soldiers

Today I met a man who will be returning to Afghanistan in a few months, and, as with many of the veterans I’ve spoken to or otherwise communicated with, I learned a little more about the experience of being at war.  This particular gentleman is on the front line, infantry.  We started talking because I noticed his tattoo, which reads ‘STRENGTH.”  He told me that he and his buddy got those prior to leaving for Afghanistan for the first time.  I asked him if it was a reminder and he said “yeh” that he wanted that there as a reminder when he wanted to shoot something

“It’s like a mental game you have to play with yourself.  Otherwise, you’ll go crazy.”