As a woman veteran who stands alongside countless other wounded warriors who have borne invisible scars inflicted while in service to country, the unenviable task of striving to make sense of the senseless, fathom the unbearable and navigate life post-military trauma is a daunting one. It calls for those of us who have been harmed by uniformed predators to sift through the not-so-subtle cues hidden in a complex myriad of toxic emotions, haunting scripts and shattered remains.
With each step along my own journey of purpose, I am afforded an opportunity to unearth telling cues deeply embedded among the horrors surrounding my military experiences. As I peer through the malicious lens of those assigned to facilitate the rape of my soul, the more I see my own reflection: sad and haunting. The more I sift through the ocean of deep blue wardrobes, drenched in bitter memories, I uncover my own: blood-stained and bullet-ridden. I see past the crisp, dignified salute, marinated in hypocrisy, to find my own: withered and shaken. As my nostrils fill with the stench of heartache, I am suddenly awakened to the corruption at the core of all mankind. And all at once, I am awakened to my own fallacies and inherent freedom to choose between two opposing forces: Light and Darkness.
It is at the threshold of these riveting truths that I find an opening that continually bears reconciling, one which invites me to pledge allegiance to a new mission: To yield to the power of forgiveness, and the beauty of unmerited grace born of it.
Lorraina Nyanza is an Air Force veteran and author with a background in clinical social work, who is motivated to shed light in dark places for self and others. She has written two books on her journey of healing from sexual harassment and assault in the military: Moving Past Broken: Memoirs of a Wounded Warrior and The Beauty of a Thing. Both can be ordered by contacting her at Movingpastbroken@gmail.com.