Presenting today at a division w/in the Dept of Defense was an honor…but it was also a great learning experience.
With visits like these (for someone who can’t shut his yapper at times), it’s hard that I/we can’t share the specifics of such visits. What we (I brought along former NBA referee, Bob Delaney), can share, is some perspective gained.
While Bob has been a member of our alliance for some time now, this is the first session we’ve done together that involved military/first responders/govt. Ironic, especially when you consider the Bob was an undercover NJ State Trooper who infiltrated organized crime, before his NBA days, & that he, himself, now tours the world talking abt trauma to members of the military. He was doing that well before we ever started SameHere.
Bob’s story is not my story…my story is not his – & yet, even in saying all that, they are very much the same. How can that be possible? Isn’t that a statement a contradiction? It’s not. And it’s why Bob & I can get in a room & present to an audience of any bkgrnd – & still be speaking the same language. Still come from the same core beliefs.
Bob developed trauma over time, having to “act” as someone he wasn’t, for his job. He had to play a role. He missed holidays w fam. He has his life threatened more times than he can count. He had to have security detail.
I on the other hand went through 15 yrs of my brother being severely sick w every ailment & malady under the son. I lost 3 close friends in my 20, back to back to back.
You’d listen to our stories & you’d say – there’s NOTHING in common. And that’s the downside of bucketing in this space. The origins of the traumas described above are/were uniquely our own. However, the impact of those traumas on our brains/bodies are/were the same.
The dullness, the cognitive dysfunction, the sleep disturbances, the exhaustion. Ok this may not be so new to you all. After all, the “body keep score,” right?
But here’s the thing when it comes to military/first responders: We’ve called what “they’ve” uniquely gone thru, & then how it’s all played out for “them,” so many diff things… like “shell shocked”…or “unable to assimilate.” And the truth us, while we civilians may have different lived experiences, TRAUMA underlies all of it. The accident w a friend, the loss of a loved one in front of us, the frontline worker who is taxed by the deaths they’ve seen, the child who grew up around violence. These are ALL traumas & the human condition dictates that we can’t & don’t escape traumas. They are an inevitable part of living. And so while presenting to military may be hard – it’s not SO diff than presenting to civilians. There are common threads as to what we live through.
When we talk about our “stuff,” we open up & give permission. Can’t wait till one day, it’s “normalized” that the guy or gal w the VFW hat, is having lunch at the bagel shop w the everyday person, & they aren’t separated by their diff experiences. They are connected by their common vulnerability abt their struggles.