Poetry On Odyssey

Poetry On Odyssey: A Look Into A Soldier's PTSD

You have no right to criticize a soldier when you have no idea what they've gone through.


I lay on my bed and there's silence

The only thing filling my ears is my ceiling fan,

The blades spinning, creating a light breeze in my home

*whoosh, whoosh, whoosh*

The faint sound hypnotizes me into slumber

They're helicopter blades.

Spinning so fast that they kick up the sand of the desert

Men having to duck their heads as they enter and exit


Bullets zooming toward us with intensity

Men dodging and taking cover as fast as our reflexes let us

Grabbing at our weapons with haste,

Cautious to avoid being a bull's eye

We start shooting in defense

Our bullets going as fast as theirs,

Rhythmically exiting the chambers with every load, mimicking a metallic drum-roll

Men fall left and right,

Enemy and hero alike


The helicopter dissipates,

Leaving nothing but metal shrapnel behind

Shards cutting and entering our skin from not covering on time

The blades are gone,

Leaving nothing to clear the black clouds

Leaving us blind to our enemy, and them to us

More gunfire. More metallic drum-roll

Bullets aimlessly entering our wake

Bullets meeting their targets,

Turning the sand from tan to red

I wake up.

Struggling to breathe and in cold sweat,

The beads hugging the scars on my face

Pulling my arms into my chest,

I graze over the circular scar above my collarbone

You're okay.

You're home now.

It was just a dream.

This. This is what our soldiers experience after the return home from overseas. This, among many others. Our heroes risk their lives to defend our country and allies, only to come home and be terrified in even the most familiar territory. Even the safest areas are a risk. Their best friends, now strangers. Some come home completely fine, but most? Not even a little; especially if they were in combat. The smallest things can set them off. Our soldiers, our veterans, aren't crazy. They're not overreacting. A part of them is still overseas. They're reliving every moment; the gunshots, the blood, their fallen brothers in arms.

These men and women deserve our respect and assistance. They deserve to feel normal again, despite everything they've been through. We can do our best, but they'll never be the same. There will always be ceiling fans, fireworks, any loud noises. It's inevitable, but it's up to us to support them and to remind them that they're not over there anymore; they're home and they've safe.

Be understanding. Be loving. Be respectful of our soldiers. They've experienced something that most Americans could never imagine.

*Inspired by my dad, our family friend, and ALL brave soldiers suffering from PTSD.

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A Few Birthday Thoughts

Goodbye teenage years, hello twenties!


So, it is looking like I am about to leave my teenage years behind. I think that I want to reflect back on this time in my life and think about what I want to keep with me in my twenties and maybe some things I can let go. My teenage years have been full of love from my family and friends; hard work to make good grades in school and creating art. I developed several great friendships that I have held on to across the miles even though I went to college 14 hours away from our previous home. I am so thankful for the friendships I have made in college as well.

It seems like friends you make in your childhood and younger years can really stand the test of time. Maybe it is because when you became friends you were truly who you were. Everyone was genuine and didn't put up walls to protect themselves. You got to know someone on a deeper more personal level more quickly than if you had met later in life. I also think we laughed even more as children and that always creates good memories to look back on. So I think in my twenties I will try to hang on to the "childish" way of making friends. I will try to show my true self and will accept them for who they are, and we will laugh....a lot.

I think a good thing to let go of is always trying to make dead-end relationships work. When we were children on the playground and we tried to play a game together or jump rope and it just wasn't working, we would run off and find someone else. It was easy. It was just natural. Now sometimes I find myself trying to stay in a relationship by being overly nice, giving gifts, trying to find what pushes the persons "good" buttons. I might spend so much time trying to figure this person out that I leave out more solid relationships that are worth my time. So in my twenties, I will try to be more realistic about who to spend my time on. Some people are just never going to stand the test of time. I can continue to be cordial but won't let them rule my time and thought life.

As children, we loved our parents and siblings and would show love to them in a myriad of ways. Maybe it was hugs, pictures on the fridge, good night kisses, playing games, or just quality time spent together as a family. Starting my twenties, I am mature enough to realize the value of these people in my life. Thankfully, I have always known this. I was never the type that was embarrassed if someone saw me walking with my Mom or Dad or being dropped off in the Mom Van somewhere. I always knew these people loved me more than anyone else I was about to meet. But in my twenties, I plan to keep up with my family even when I am eight hours away from them. We are never too old to need the love of family.

As weird as it is to say goodbye to my teenage years, it's honestly helped me to soak in the precious moments of everyday life and treasure them even more. Every year when birthdays come around, it always serves as a reminder how quickly the days, months, and years fly by. I think that has been one difficult part of this birthday season. It's hard to say goodbye to the past, without a clear map of the future. But, I must remind myself that this is why growing up is a beautiful thing- as we live life and experience new things, we are better prepared for what the future may hold. Everything that I have experienced in my 20 years has served an important purpose- to make me into the person I am supposed to become. Yes, life is always changing and so am I... and change can be hard. Very hard. But one thing to remember is God is always constant. He will never change. No matter what number is on your birthday cake, He is always there...the same God yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is the Rock that we will always be able to cling to. Isn't that a wonderful thought? Even if we don't know what's in His plans for us in the coming year, it's important to make Him a part of our plans. Rather than worry about change, let's embrace it all- the good and the bad- and look to the Lord to see how He will guide and shape us.

Teenage years- the time has come. I must say goodbye to you now. But, you will never be forgotten. I will hold your memories in my heart forever. Twenties- I am excited for all that awaits me.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." - Joshua 1:9

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