When I heard the statistic that 22 Veterans were committing suicide a day I was shocked at the number. It is clearly too many. But then… the more I’ve experienced life after the uniform, life as a Vet, I wonder how it is so few.
I try to keep things positive, and be a common voice for many. But this time, this is just raw honesty – for better or worse. Every day I ask myself if I will ever be worth something the way I was when I was a Marine. The one place I felt like I fit in, and I had a purpose worth sacrificing for, I will never be able to go back to. But I also lose hope every day that I will ever find a place to fit in like that ever again. So now what? Does that make me spoiled? Maybe.
Now – maybe I’m tainted, maybe I have too high of expectations of people, or maybe I’m just broken. I have lost my ability to cope with persons in positions of leadership who fail to lead; People in the world who will sacrifice others for their own gain. I can’t stand to see people in positions of leadership being falsely led to believe they are leaders – but just aren’t. But worse, that they have been placed in that position and NOBODY has given them an honest education, expectations, or development on/with leadership skills. So – is it really that person’s fault?
I was drafting my next post to be about the leadership failures within the NYPD, highlighted some of the tragedies that happened at the hands of the NYPD officers. The cliff-note: There is leadership at the top, and cadets get leadership training during the academy – but nobody is qualifying the leadership between the very beginning, and the very top. And that lost leadership is costing NYPD their own lives, the lives of NYPD Families, and the lives of those whom they are sworn to protect.
I can type until my fingers bleed, I can speak at college campuses until my face is blue and my voice is shot. But the situation is not going to resolve. It is not going to resolve for me, and I am still lost. I’m still left wondering where, if I’ll find my place of value – and that hope diminishes daily.
Every day I look at my accomplishments since I’ve been a “Veteran”, and every day I am not happy with them. To some others, they may see some as actual accomplishments. But, I’ve lived beyond that – and to me, I question if I am meeting the minimum requirements.
It’s true, and I’ve poured countless hours of my own time, my work time, and the time of others I’ve asked to help me – to figure out why the population doesn’t understand Veterans. They don’t, and won’t. But – maybe the bigger fix is correcting how Veterans don’t understand the rest of the world. Before the 9/11 attacks 13 years ago, only 3% of the U.S. population was made up of Military Veterans. Currently that population has increased to 10-12%. It is expected to move back closer to the 3-4% mark after we move beyond a post-conflict era. So – why should we work on educating the 90% + population for the sake of the less than 10%? Maybe because the 10% have been enlightened in a way the 90% haven’t, and that enlightenment came at a cost that the 10% bare on behalf of the 100%. I can only think back to the book, “The Giver”, and the strife that was brought to the one chosen to be the “Giver”. Maybe not all of us can handle being enlightened, and still live among those who are not. Maybe that is why the “Giver” lives a life of an outcast, and away from those who will never have the capacity to know.
The problem is – even though their cost, the cost of the 10%, was at the benefit of the 90% – those who stand to lose the most in all of this confusion, are the “Givers”… the 10%.
#22adayistoomany – but I can only wonder how it isn’t so many more.