Today an old friend from my army days unfriended me on Facebook. I’m sure I’ve been unfriended by many in the past few years but this friend took the mature step of explaining why they did it. I am writing this letter in my blog for two reasons. First, I was unable to respond before I was unfriended and hope this letter gets to my old friend. Secondly, if this friend feels like they do it is possible (likely?) others do as well and I would like to explain my views and thoughts to others, particularly those who knew me in other chapters of my life.
I hope you are doing well. From what I’ve seen you and your family seem to be incredibly happy and have an amazing life. I couldn’t be more happy for you. I love you all dearly and a joyous life is what I truly wish for you. It is true that I have changed much in the years since we last spoke, but I hope that this letter will explain my views so that someday we may rekindle our friendship. It is with hope, not expectations, that I write you today. I know you will do what is best for your own life and happiness, just like we all do. While it saddens me to think my absence will give you greater joy I know that is possible and I have had to cut people out of my life in the past for the same reason.
You and I know each other from my days in the Army when I shared foxholes, tents, Afghan mountaintops, Iraqi deserts, and countless dropzones with the men I still consider brothers. My views on the government and our foreign policy has changed considerably but my hatred is not towards the individuals who I served with, or serve now. My disgust is reserved for the politicians who have sent the men I love to foreign lands for no reason that I can comprehend. I tire of seeing men I knew bloodied on foreign shores. I weep when I see wives posts about the men they love who are in hospitals, lose limbs, and die in places I don’t think we should be. If my posts have come off as hatred towards the brave individuals who would lay down their lives for freedom then I am utterly ashamed, for that has never been my intention. I love Charlie Rock, the bond I feel for the men I served with runs deeper than any I have ever known. To this day, despite all differences, if a single member of 3/504 were to need me I would drop my life and be by their side. Yes, I am anarchist who thinks the world would be better if we transitioned away from government. And yes, I think the wars we are in now are unnecessary and create more enemies, but it is out of love that I want the unnecessary wars to end so my brothers no longer bleed and my nieces and nephews won’t be sent out years from now.
Though you did not mention it I think my posts about law enforcement is also worth addressing. I don’t blame all police officers or bear any particular grudge against officers I don’t know. I think the institution itself is becoming more militarized and has a number of problems that need to be addressed. In order to address them people need to realize that there is a problem. The War on Drugs and similar laws against victim-less vices forces officers into violent confrontation with otherwise peaceful people. The laws officers are told to enforce to not reflect the creed “to serve and protect”. The foundation of the problem is not individual officers, it is a legal structure that puts police versus civilian and encourages officers to maintain a thin blue line of silence even when officers behave illegally.
There is truth to your complaint that I flood your wall with naked women, sex, and drugs. The naked women tend to fall in two categories: tattoos and sex-positive blogs with thumbnails. In the former I try very explicitly to minimize anything overtly sexual, tattoos are about the art for me and I try to share posts that I find beautiful. Often the most amazing tattoos are full body pieces on attractive models so some flesh is shown, I do try to make sure what I share is about the art over titillation. The sex-positive blogs do often have thumbnails that I have no real reason to share, I often just have not given it enough though and it may be more valuable to turn them off when I share those blogs. Part of this comes from a comfort with the human body outside of sex, it just doesn’t bother me if I see skin.
My drug and sex posts fall into two categories, personal and professional. Professionally I hope to become a psychologist focusing on sex-therapy and trauma treatment. That means I try to keep up on the articles and posts about these two subjects. Certain drugs show a lot of potential to help those who suffer PTSD so when I see an article about that it excites me. I have seen what happens when soldiers don’t have the treatment they need to deal with deployments and overseas violence, I want to make sure every tool and medicine is available to them so that I never hear of another man I love committing suicide.
On a more philosophical level I think every human has the right to do what they wish with their own bodies as long as they don’t harm others, so when I see drug laws becoming liberalized it makes me happy. Sharing posts like this is a way I celebrate. I think people are better off when they are exposed to new situations and new ideas and choose for themselves. That is why I share the drug and sex posts, to encourage people to learn more and to celebrate victories with like-minded people. I don’t mean to scare away my old friends.
You hope I go back to the person I used to be, but I’m sorry to say I don’t think that will happen. I have changed. The last few years have been filled with tough roads, all-night parties, sleepless heartache, dog-eared books, playa dust, ocean air, suicidal thoughts, and ecstatic pleasure. The road of my life is not going to wind back to where I was ten years ago, but every experience I have had I take with me into the future.
I love you old friend. I love your family. I miss you all. I hope someday we end up in the same place and you can see that despite my change in views I am still the same fun-loving, mostly awkward, kinda goofy guy you knew many years ago.
Peace and love always,