Excerpt from 4-Hours to Live Memoir of a Female Soldier
It was the summer of 2014, in Raleigh, North Carolina. “Why are you so violent?” A friend and fellow veteran asked in shock, and with a tinge of disdain in her voice. And for good reason. My words and behavior had jolted her otherwise peaceable senses. The question didn’t offend me, though some might think it should.
But it was a valid question in response to an extremely accurate observation. And since I had a tire iron in my hand and I was about to go beat my ex-husband, with it until she talked me down, it was a fair question for a friend to ask. And it wasn’t the first time that she, or someone else for that matter, had asked me that question.
How to have a successful career after the military
Since leaving the military in 1998 I had been busy being a productive member of society.
I walked out of the service on a Friday and began a civilian job in Information Technology (IT), making nearly double my Army salary on Monday. In my spare time, I lead community outreach to provide personal hygiene necessities and warm coats for the homeless and got remarried—to a man whose behavior sixteen years later would provoke me to contemplate assault with a deadly weapon.
In the beginning, my life looked perfect from the outside when I left the military, but in reality, I was coming apart at the seams….
I waited for a half hour outside in the parking lot. The police were never called. On the drive home I thought, “I have got to get some help for this rage before I end up in jail for killing somebody.”
I warned myself that I would never survive jail. I couldn’t stand to be confined away from the outdoors. I would surely have to run, to evade capture at all cost.
That would be easy. It’s not every girl who could say that she has a wilderness survival go-bag, but I can. But just as quickly as I thought the authorities would never catch me, I soon realized how easily they would.
Instructions on how to capture a unicorn
After ten minutes in my condo, even a new detective would ascertain they were chasing a unicorn—a black woman who loves the outdoors. Otherwise known as a mythical creature said to exist but had never been seen.
That’s what one black woman who’s a friend of a friend, calls herself for being a whitewater paddler. The survival books on my bookshelf, the go-bag in my storage closet, the compound bow, hunting knife, and firearm cases under the bed would tell them that I was not hiding out among friends and family.
Interviewing a few people who knew me would tell them where to start looking. And from there it was only a matter of time before they’d have their unicorn in handcuffs.
With evading law enforcement capture no longer on the table, I needed to get some help before someone else got hurt, and fast….
End of excerpt. Section titles are not a part of the book.
Discussion on PTSD
In the above excerpt from my upcoming book—4-Hours to Live: Memoir of a Female Soldier, I talk about two separate instances when I experienced a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) trigger. In the book, I describe an event when a fellow veteran had talked me out of acting on aggressive thoughts.
I also gave insight into how it felt for me to be at a place where I recognized for myself that I could easily join one of two veteran statistics—the incarcerated veterans or a veteran suicide.
I want to hear from you caregivers and loved ones of a person struggling with mental illness, PTSD, or recovering from a physical or emotional trauma. I especially want to hear from anyone who has found their way to their own recovery—and new normal. This is a safe community in which to share your story so leave a comment.