Spiritual Work and USA Veterans

 ***The writer of this post is aware that she cannot offer counsel or call herself a Counselor as she is a citizen of the Uni8de0f7569be828e3bc39ff5566e85ab1_20100228195808_110ted States and does not have a counseling degree from an accredited (or unaccredited for that matter) institution. To do so could lead to jail time, and that is not productive or efficient in use of her time.  She also does not have a piece of paper from a University saying she knows how to properly have congress and conversations with the Divine.
(Bachelor’s degree in Jewelry, Masters degree in Public Art)

She has always done this work, and has been a practicing energy worker and interfaith Pagan(ish) spiritual guide consciously (because you all know this tortured my parents…) for about twenty years(ish) She learned from people and experience both wise and unwise. I do work with medical professionals in tandem for certain clients. I don’t hang a shingle out, people find me when they need me.

Every story shared I have received permission to share. I will not divulge any more personal information that you see no matter who you are. Permissions have been granted based on privacy protection and their belief in the work I do.

This ENTIRE post must be read with the phrase IN MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE throughout the entirety. Please insert these words where you need to hear them. Typing them repeatedly would be tedious. Also read serviceman/men stands for service people of all genders and sexes. Thank you.

If you find what I do to be dangerous consider the effects of people who don’t trust the system or fall through the cracks with no one to catch them.***

This post is going to be very hard for me to share with you. I don’t really want to share it with you. I want to hoard my experiences and examine them as a secret runic alphabet that enables me to understand my journey, where I have been and must go next. But the horrible thing about secret runic alphabets is they often, and with disturbing regularity, also shove the people who do the work on the margins of the world into the spotlight.

I am a …words. Shaman is a good one, although not strictly accurate. Wise woman comes my way occasionally, but I can’t say it with a straight face. Witch is also a frequent visitor, but I am neither a scientist or an herbalist or a follower of any specific Pagan/Heathen path. I take on a great many titles to comfort the people who find me for various work whether it be advice, healing, sacred objects, specialized rituals, or transformation work. If asked I will tell you I am a Blue Lady. If I like you I will tell you of the vision that gave it to me. If you ask what work I do, well that is varied from Personal Quests to Ordeal Path workings. The words are not really important to me, but I do like things that fit well. I help people when I am TOLD to help people and turn them away or set them on a different path towards what they seek if I am not the Worker for them.

I help a variety of people from all walks of life.

I have a specialty and it is veterans and servicemen. Specifically veterans and servicemen in the BDSM and Kink world, but they find me no matter what the context in place or circumstance is.

I come from an Armed Forces family, but I myself have never served. My paternal great grandpa is apparently a legend in the world of United States Customs. My maternal grandpa was a Sea Bee, my paternal grandpa He was the only WWII veteran to be honorably discharged from the United States Navy, Army and Air Force, and was a highly decorated war veteran. My father’s brother was a career Navy man during Vietnam. His first cousin the USMC during the Bay of Pigs. My brother, of whom I am stupidly proud of, serves in the Air Force currently. My husband/partner Ryan is a prior Marine who did three tours in Iraq 2003- 2005.

I showed my support for the troops by actively campaigning against Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and raising money for charities that helped the families of servicemen who died, but because they were queer, received nothing from the government. Not even a flag to remember them by. My father shows his support by setting up many charities one being Heroes for Heroes that sends comics to deployed troops. Let us not discount the spouses and partners of my family who have and continue to support them. Military spouses are bad ass. Nuff said.

This is my family. Because of them I have a great outside understanding of the culture, living conditions, history they don’t tell you in the books, and loyalty culture of the serviceman of the Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine Corps.(I have as of writing this never done work with anyone in the Coast Guard or National Guard.)

Many people who join the military do so because they wish to serve their country (my grandparents). I might dare to say a great majority of the enlisted had no better ideas(my brother), wanted a college education on the G.I.Bill, had hit rock bottom and had no other options(Ryan), or were forced to it by a judgement of court as an alternative to jail(my Uncle).

I know many people who served and came back from the experience for all intents and purposes, good.  No scarring, no PTSD, some with life changing experiences for the better, just proud to have served and move on.

I also know of the PTSD, the horrors and realities of war, the verbal, physical and authority abuse, the rampant sexism, the rapes, the challenges of being a parent and partner, the despair of the Dear Johned and the Dear Janed, the guilt of doing your job and questioning if it was the right thing to do. I know people who hide their medals from silver stars to purple hearts because they do not believe they deserve them. This is a great photo series that highlights the struggles they face eloquently and with tenderness despite the stark imagery.

I help the people who fall in between.

Who don’t remember, or never knew how to love.
Who feel they are devalued and worthless.
Who feels no one actually listens to them.
Who don’t hit all the PTSD markers.
Who look fine but struggle.
Who are afraid to speak.
Who distrust authority.
If you come from a place of chaos, and no structure, serve, and then become a civilian again, many of those prior servicemen have no more of an idea on how to live than before they went in. Yes there is the VA and many charities and support groups. But in this day and age finding work is increasingly difficult and being a veteran does not hold the weight it once did partially because of the sheer number of people the military goes through nowadays to support their various endeavors and wars. Veteran homelessness is still a major issue. Accessing services for many people is daunting and for some impossible due to cuts in the budgets to provide the health care and book keeping services that are required to care for the large body of servicemen who have been damaged physically, emotionally, and mentally in the last 70 years.

In the face of that what I am capable of doing outside of a voting voice seems small. Small is not insignificant or unimportant. I had my ACL in my knee torn. That was a small piece of my body, a ligament, and it seriously screwed with my ability to function. Getting it back meant the world to me. So if all I have to offer is small moments, know that I consider them to be of great power and importance.

What does what I do look like?

Sometimes it is simply helping someone come up with structures on how to manage their money, pay bills on time, and balance a check book. At one point I gave lessons on dressing and presenting yourself for interviews both individually and in a group. I (stop laughing now all of you) have also helped people learn basics on Windows and Mac platforms when they were put into work situations that were outside of their skill set. (For anyone who says this is not spiritual work, you are out of your mind. Empowerment is at its very essence spiritual).

Sometimes its listening to them go through their possessions, after the required number of years they must keep their uniforms is up, as they pack them away as keepsakes or to be donated (In many instances you must buy your own uniforms so donations and trades are appreciated). Those stories will never be heard on Story Corps, or even told to other service members. They are quiet prayers to put the past away, dirges for a person they used to be as often in celebration as in mourning.

Sometimes its holding sacred space while they hang from hooks placed in their backs and leave whatever trauma was holding them down on the earth behind them.

Sometimes it looks like sitting in a car park with a stranger you met fifteen minutes ago as they pour out that they are having trouble raising their child because they were Special Forces under the Reagan administration and had followed orders to eliminate entire villages. Including children. What right did he have to his child? and walking them towards a path of healing and acceptance without diminishing his struggle.

Sometimes I get to train, play with, and award hankies, leather, chocolate, and other achievements to people who found an outlet for their service passion in the Leather and Kink communities.

Sometimes its realizing they had major trauma or PTSD that was untreated before their military experience.

Sometimes its doing a fundraiser in my fake WAC gown with my drawn on stockings singing Andrew Sister songs and dancing with people in wheelchairs wearing their full fruit salad finery; showing them they are remembered and appreciated.

Sometimes its holding a nameless stranger at a war memorial and letting them cry on me and walk away with out the burden of questions or names.

Sometimes it looks like a giant bonfire burning away any sign that they had ever been in the military.

Sometimes its having the phone numbers to the VA, other agencies, and professionals that can help them far better than you can. Even when it hurts to let go of their hand and walk away with someone else knowing you will never know the next chapter of the story.

And..because it is me.. sometimes (perhaps more than I care to admit) its telling someone they are being an abusive self indulgent asshole and they need to get their shit together. Because no one else will. Or because they will actually hear it when I say it to them, verses a loved one.

I treasure the moments of terror, pain and horror as much as I do the moments of grace, peace and surrender. I can be strong for those who need it, and hated for others that need that. I do this work and I know through meeting some years later that what I do has good impact. Actually, to be honest, some of it has been AMAZING night and day type transformation.

That doesn’t mean that some people weren’t helped. There is no spiritual worker be they Priest or Companion that likes to admit it, but some people don’t get helped through a variety of reasons. There is always that risk. What I do is not safe, but it is needed. If someone comes to me for help I must do something even as I have said previously if it only to get them to someone that can, if I can. I only work with people who are willing to come to me and take my hand. If I have to go to them, they need much greater care then I can give them. I will not do someone a disservice for the sake of ego.

The not even a secret is that they, whoever they are that come to me, it is solely on them to do or do not do the work. I am a facilitator, a conduit for them. I give them the tools that I can. But no individual on the planet can heal another person. We can facilitate the healing, we can consciously listen and ask thoughtful questions. You have to be willing to face your truths, your vulnerability, and your own darkness. After you can do that, you can begin to work towards your new self. It is not pretty, it is often hard and unkind, and it is terrifying even when it is desired. It can take the form of drastic life changes, mood balancing drugs, building new support networks, new gender expressions, and location changes. I’ve seen them all happen.

This leads us to the very personal aspect of my life, my husband/partner Ryan. Who as many of you read in my previous post has asked for a divorce. Here is part two of that conversation.
“Sometimes its realizing they had major trauma or PTSD that was untreated before their military experience.”

Ryan has come from a troubled past that led to and was helped along by his time in the military. He is one of the ones that looks like he doesn’t suffer. While he does not have PTSD from his military experience it is my opinion that he has major trauma and or a type of PTSD that was never properly treated from his teenage years. This includes familial issues (that will not be discussed here so don’t ask) and his attempted suicide(see previous brackets). I have done all the work that I can with my own partner. There have been many other friends and spiritual practitioners as well as medical professionals involved in Ryan’s healing journey. He now needs to do that extra step of seeking out his own help and care.

He asked for the divorce because he cannot continue to be the man that he has become. He wants good, solid relationships that he doesn’t constantly sabotage either by negligence or mental and emotional distress. For those of you in our world think of how many times Ryan ever picked up a phone, sent a text, or emailed you first. You are all hard pressed to think beyond one time if that. It is a part of sabotaging behavior. And he hates it. He knows he does it, and he knows he needs actual therapy to change it. He is an extrovert who never learned how to be one. So all of his behaviors for recharge mostly drain him. He is a very loving person who does not know how to form and maintain deep and strong relationships be it either friend or partner. He has the understanding… but not what he needs as foundation inside himself to function as he wishes he could. After years of talking about it he is finally ready to go get the help he needs because he has done all the work he can on his own. This was a really hard thing for him to face and admit. I honor his honesty, bravery, and vulnerability.

So what does that mean?

It means while we will be staying legally married for the time being (we do love each other and more importantly,we know and respect each other’s medical wishes if bad things happen. Our families, love them, are somewhat crazy), and partners, it will be in separate living spaces in a fully open poly lifestyle. If we decide that further down the line we need to be legally separated, so be it. That is a decision for later cooler heads and not one for the height of crisis mode.

At this point if he does not get employment in the next two to three weeks he will have to fundraise to get a plane ticket back to the states to continue job searching as well as need a place to stay. He is a person who needs to work in order to function. He will be good as soon as he gets a job and hopefully that job will enable him to have healthcare or at least make enough to pay for proper counseling. So anyone need a graduate mechanical or quality control engineer who is a veteran?

Sometimes it looks like changing your life plans to better help the people you love.
Sometimes you can help complete strangers but not the ones you love best.
Sometimes I hate being a Blue Lady.

Most of the time though, I wouldn’t be anything else.

Be Brave.
Be Honest.
Be Vulnerable.

I honor you all today.

Coral

P.S. This is an event that was made up last month by Lee Harrington. I have mixed feelings about it. It was made in response to April Fool’s Day which I actually enjoy. However the sentiment is a lovely one and it is so easy to tear down an idea. It was harder to write this post i assure you. so perhaps this day and thought as well was needed.

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