The Cost of Staying Alive

August 1, 2017

Blink and you’ll have missed it. Life. In all its fullness, inevitable pain and uncertainty that accompanies it, is so fleeting that the mere thought of what it takes to live on purpose never truly resonates until it is long gone. This is especially true for those of us who have borne invisible scars inflicted while in service to country.

As a woman veteran who stands alongside countless other wounded warriors who, no doubt, also strive to make sense of the senseless, bear the unbearable and navigate life post military trauma with renewed  hope, I am learning that it is not what the ravages of psychological warfare has done to me. Rather, it is what it has done in me. I am learning that part of the answer to my capacity to stay alive rests in my dogged commitment to confront diseased parts in me that continuously battle for the right to my soul. It is here that I am challenged with the arduous task of sifting through the not-so subtle cues hidden in a complex myriad of toxic emotions, haunting scripts and shattered remains. With each step along my journey of healing, I find glimpses of unmerited grace that awakens me to forgotten beauty deeply imbedded among the horrors surrounding my military experiences. This telling dynamic helps me to change course and pledge allegiance to a new mission: one that compels me to fight to stay alive so that I may have a chance to live. Again.

Lorraina Nyanza

Veteran, US Air Force

Author: Moving Past Broken: Memoirs of a Wounded Warrior and The Beauty of a Thing (pending publication).