Tag Archives: Depression

Why I’m Against War: A Military-Veteran Speaks

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Author’s-Note:

Mike Colon, whom I met online, has welcomed me as a Brother. With us united by our Islāmic-Faith, we’ve gotten the chance to learn more about each other. I’ve had the great opportunity to have him educate me as per his Military-Experience as a Muslim, which he’s also graciously allowed me to interview him based on it.

GB: How long have you been a Muslim: are you a Muslim-Revert, or Born-Muslim?

MC: I am a Muslim-Revert; I became a Muslim when I was 17 back in February of 2000 in El Paso, Texas.

GB: How long have you served in the Military, which National-Military, which Armed-Forces Branch?

MC: I was in the Military from September 2001 to September 2006. I was in the United States Marine Corps.

GB: Have you ever seen Live/Active Combat, and if so, how has that made an impact on your practice of Islām?

MC: I was involved in Combat Operations during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. My Unit earned a Combat Action Ribbon. It has impacted my practice of Islam in the past. After being in combat, I came home and began to rely upon Islam as a way of dealing with my PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Some days were better than others. Some days I didn’t want to get out of bed, other days I isolated myself in the Mosque.

GB: How has Military-Life shaped your Worldview of Peoples whom are Native to the Places where Military-Conflicts take place?

MC: I think that Military life has made me sympathetic to indigenous people’s rebellions and their insurgencies. I saw death and destruction first hand, up close and personal. I saw what we did and I understand why people wanted to attack us.

GB: What has been the Pros & Cons of the Military-Experience?

MC: Pros and Cons of Military life are many. Let me start with the cons: I suffer from anxiety, depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I see the world through jaded lenses. I have a very pessimistic outlook. What I witnessed and have done weighs on my soul deeply. As for the pros, well I think being pushed past my mental and physical limits was a good thing. Other than that I didn’t learn much that would be of any use in a civilian environment.

GB: When did you make the Decision to become Active in the Veterans against War Movement?

MC: It was in 2013 that I decided to join Iraq Veterans against the War. It was after having a discussion with Sheikh Abdullah Bin Hamid Ali that really made me realize that I needed to get involved in an active way against American Imperialism.

GB: How has War generally influenced your Perception of Life & Death, or has it at all?

MC: War has influenced my perception of life and death in a big way. I feel like death can seize us at any moment. Death is real and always near!

GB: Are there any regrets. Is which have, in terms of being in the Military?

MC: I think that I have many regrets, but at the same time I owe my intestinal fortitude, ability to run toward a threat to my training and experience in the Marines.

GB: As both a Muslim & a Minority, who’s literally placed their life on the line via Military-Service for the United States: what’s your Views regarding the Anti-Muslim, Anti-Immigrant Policies being promoted by the Trump-Administration?

MC: My views on the anti Muslims and anti immigration policies are that they all come from the same satanic source of white supremacy. This is why white passing Latinos (Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio for example) can support the policies being pushed by the Trump administration and those of us with brown/indigenous features will hit up the front lines against white supremacy.

GB: How are you able to cope with knowing that you’re the Member of 2-Demographics within the United States which are constantly targeted by Bias & Bigotry?

MC: As for dealing with being part of of two demographics of folks that are being assaulted in Trump’s America-The way I deal with it is through Islam: prayer and good deeds, being a good person based upon what Islam teaches helps my mind & soul attain ease. Also, training myself by: lifting weights, martial arts, boxing, etc. & just keeping the body strong just in case I have to get down. Keeping the company of good people and making alliances with folks that care about the struggle.

GB: What would ultimately be your Advice for any Muslim who’s either currently serving in the US-Military or has aspirations of joining the Ranks of the US-Military?

MC: For Muslims who are currently serving, I say get out! Do whatever it takes to get out of the military.  For those that want to join, I say don’t do it.

GB: Speak more in detail, regarding the Iraq Veterans Against The War: its purpose & objectives, goals, etc. Also, tell me about the Advocacy for bringing Deported-Veterans back to the United States.

MC: For more information regarding the IVAW (Iraq Veterans Against The War) go to: http://www.ivaw.org/mission-values-and-vision

As for the advocacy regarding veterans who have been deported, we are in solidarity with them. Many of those veterans are members of veterans for peace. Our organization IVAW arose from VFP (Veterans For Peace). Many of our members are both VFP and IVAW members. Many of us work with the campaign to bring the deported veterans back to the United States.

GB: What can People like me, as well as others who will read this & get a glimpse of your Story: how can we help People like you in your Struggles coming from a Military-Life & reverting to a Civilian-Life once again?

MC: I think the best thing is Community-Support. Having a community to transition to-Being in the military and being in prison are similar. Veterans are able to transition into prison life with ease. You go from one governmental institution to another. I’m speaking from experience. So having a muslim community to come back to is amazing. I was basically homeless when I came out of the Marines. It was living in a broken down RV in a ‘friends’ backyard. It was a Muslim brother (Afro-American) that took me into his home…fed me and took care of me, even when I was sick, like I was just like a member of his family: a recovering Alcoholic who credits Islam to saving his life.

GB: Well…you’ve most definitely given an insightful Interview, regarding this Chapter of your Life-Journey. My hope for you is that Allah constantly/consistently bring you closer to a space & place of Inner-Peace.

Gareth Bryant/2017

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In Memorandum of Suicide-Victims: To those whom are gone

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Author’s note:

Allah states, within His Noble-Book, “And, do not kill someone, whom Allah has sanctified, except with justification.”.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.6, V.151)

When it is mentioned, within this verse, “whom Allah has sanctified”, it also applies to one’s self…Each and every one of us has a life, given to us, by Allah, the Creator/Lord of the Universe, which is sanctified, sacred, full of relevance & purpose. Unfortunately, sadly, we allow ourselves to be negatively-influenced, to such a staggering degree, that we deem it necessary to terminate ourselves, to remove ourselves, via Suicide, from this Mundane-Life. My teacher/mentor, Jeffrey Kearse (AKA Imam Siraj Wahhaj), made a very poignant point, about the reality of Suicide: I heard him once say that, “Suicide is a ‘permanent-solution’, to a ‘temporary-problem’.”. I, myself, no longer want people to choose Suicide as “permanent-solutions” to their “temporary-problems”; rather, on the contrary, I, myself, as well as others who are of liked-mines, deem to establish putting a definitive end to Suicide, any way that we Humanly can. This also includes being sensitive to the sensitivities of others, to not make people feel low, to not berate them, that they no longer feel Human, or loved, or self-worthy of anything, or view Life as something that’s worth living any longer.

The following poem is a summation of all that has been mentioned previously:

We wish You were still with Us!!!

We love and miss you.

We wish that we knew.

We were too oblivious to the fact that you were in pain & needed our help.

Us losing you is like suffering from a beating, scared by a permanent welt.

Why didn’t we ask, “How are you doing?”, we should’ve looked for the signs.

We should’ve known that your laughs & smiles were hiding your many sighs.

You should’ve been told, by us, “I love you”, so much more often.

Now, we can’t say anything, but “good bye”, to you, from a coffin.

Alas, it’s just monumental regret, that you’re gone, today.

We could’ve & should’ve helped you to find another way.

You meant so much to so many.

Our hearts are sad and heavy.

I wish that I had never teased you.

I regret anytime I made you blue.

Should’ve never laughed, when no one wanted to go with you, to the Prom.

Mocking the fact that you never sat with the cool-kids at school was wrong.

You were full of life and love & it is so sad you’re not here.

I wish that you were still among us, that you were still near.

Gareth Bryant/2013

My Message to the Women of the World:

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Humza Oza pic

Author’s note:

This lovely poem has been duly written by Humza Oza, a heavy-hearted individual, with a lot of substance, and a lot of important & beautiful things to write about.

Why don’t you see?

And continue to suffer indignity

Hijab is not what brings you down
Verily, your scarf is your crown

For you see in Islam, women are royalty
Virtuous and filled with true beauty

And only for worthy eyes to see

So you see, the veil is not opression
Nor does it bring women in depression

Women of the World

Do you now see?
Hijab is what truly sets you free

Humza Oza/2013

The Opera of Obscurity:

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My yearning for Isolation:

I wish I were still in the womb.
I’d like to call it my birth-tomb.

It is just like a Cocoon, in it I am wrapped inside.
Divorced from the world, my perfect way to hide.

Protected, unjudged, allowed to be free, and unplugged.

No one’s here to disturb or mock me.
I’m in a place no one can enter or see.

My privacy is an actuality, not just a mere ideal.
I want true peace of mind, something that’s real.

In the outside world, I feel hated, unwanted and unloved.

The Facade that I’ve established:

People always say, “Wow…you’re a really good brother.”.
But, when I see myself, I only really see myself as another.

I see utter ugliness that’s within me, that I don’t want to be revealed.
So far, I’ve done a lot to keep the skeletons in my closet concealed.

However, the truth is all known to Allah, I can’t hide anything from Him.
Don’t be surprised that when I die, my legacy ends up looking quite dim.

Oftentimes, the truth about people are never discovered, until after their demise.
What they hide from the world eventually gets exposed, what an ironic surprise.

My only hope is that Allah spare me embarrassment in death, the way He’s spared me in life.

The Lifelong Road:

Never did I ever think that my odyssey to find myself would make me even more lost.

However, I must stay the course, find what I’m still looking for, regardless of the cost.

What I need to discover is more important than the pain of treading the road to find it.

Everything in life is hard; however, giving up makes nothing any easier.

It’s better to struggle and never win, than to settle for being the looser.

This world is like a puzzle & I must remove all of the pieces in my life which don’t fit.

This life is but a dense forest; yet, I must clear my own path.

And, it must be done right, to secure me from Allah’s wrath.

Gareth Bryant/2012

My Love-Letter to the one who refuses to love me back:

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I’m not in despair, and I no longer care.
You really didn’t want me at all anyway.

I now see who you really are, it’s clear.
You just wanted to pass the time of day.

You knew in your heart that you didn’t want me; but, you kept it going.
You already had it in your mind that I would be like the others, coying.

There was this mythos within me that you were looking to explore.
But, then you got attached, then, you realized that I wanted more.

Then, you used the excuse of your family to say that it wouldn’t work.
You only compared me to every other man, whom to you was a jerk.

You prejudged me even before you knew me.
There’s so much to me that you refuse to see.

To you, I was just some regular Nigger from the hood, with no culture.
I was just some Revert-Muslim, without any past & without any future.

You were too hasty to wait for me to get things established.
You let haters you know make your decisions, it’s so tragic.

But, it’s okay, you’ve decided to run away.
After you had nearly sent my heart astray.

I wanted to do things right, and you just wanted a good-time.
Then, apparently, you just get this epiphany, that is sublime.

You want to run away from me, all because you’re afraid of how I would be perceived.
You’ve allowed others, who only look at the surface, decide who you want to be with.

The whole thought of you actually letting these people control you cannot be conceived.
But, then again, this is how you’ve wanted it; you yourself hadn’t ventured for any depth.

But, where is your own stance, and resolve; you need to stop letting people control your life.
If you would actually call it quits, because of only perceptions, then I need you not as a wife.

Now, I will never claim that I did nothing wrong.
And, I wouldn’t dare sing the blame-game song.

I know that I’ve sinned and brought sorrow to my own soul.
Now, my heart has dark-spots, the hues of mountain coal.

But, it’s a 50/50 split whenever things in relationships go wrong.
You knew in your heart you did not want this to go on very long.

You said that you would wait; yet, you are not displaying any inkling of patience.
You’re ready to just pack-up & go when things don’t go your way, at an instance.

You said that you would rather not speak to me or see me instead.
Now, if this is at all true, then why are you still my Facebook friend?

If you’re really serious about no contact with me, why not just cut me off?
Just release me, as the Lungs release dust & particles through a cough?

Gareth Bryant/2012

My thoughts on my own failures:

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Maybe it’s me:

With each passing of years, my eyes begin to shed tears.
I cry, because of some of my most tragic & painful fears.

I’m in fear of dying without wife, nor child.
The thought of it just makes me very tense.

I’d much rather have an easier trial, that’s quite mild.
Alas, I’m being tested with this & it makes no sense.

I reminisce, as a young dude, runnin’ wild in the street, baggin’ shorites, with no sense of bein’ discrete.
When I was doin’ my thing, I was a legend, my style unmatched, and my swagger just couldn’t be beat.

But, since I’m tryin’ to do things that way, I’m stuck in a rut; defeat has been common-place today.
It’s like I have no finesses, when it comes to seeking out a spouse, as though I am complete astray.

Fail, after fail, it is so depressing and annoying; how long will this dark cloud over my head stay?
This has become a game that I just can’t win, because the rules are different for this type of play.

Back in my prime, when I was a wild-child, shorties just fell in my lap.
Now, it seems that I’m just washed-up, corny, a lame, a plain old sap.

So, now, I’ve thought about it & maybe it’s me who’s the problem.
It’s probable that I am the reason for my very own crash and burns.

It is very possible that this could very well be some chastisement from Allah.
I may just have to deal with this, as long as it takes; but my heart still churns.

It hurts so much, thinkin’ that you’re so close to someone then, Allah just rips them from ya life.
It just sucks that I’ve been down this road, so many times, yet still missing this most crucial exit.

It seems like there’s no end in sight, I am just destined to go through this strife.
I’ve become just like a dog chasin’ it’s tail, in a never-ending emotional matrix.

Gareth Bryant/2012

The Ballad of a broken Man!!!

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I would give anything, to get back the time I’ve spent on people who never even mattered.
It feels as though I vainly wasted all of my energy on fields, which could never be pastured.

People whom I had thought would be good for me; yet they did nothing, but prove me the fool.
I’ve deceived my own self, believing they truly wanted me for me, and that everything was cool.

The fact is that my time has been wasted.
It’s the truth & I just can’t bear to face it.

As time has gone by, I have voluntarily placed my heart in the darkness.
It’s like it’s been in a freezer, covered with a thick, icy gloss of sadness.

The fact is that my time has been wasted.
It’s the truth & I just can’t bear to face it.

My experiences have converted my heart, from a piece of tender flesh to a slab of cold stone.
I’m in constant fear that it may very well be my sad destiny to live out the rest of my life alone.

The fact is that my time has been wasted.
It’s the truth & I just can’t bear to face it.

It’s really too perilous for me, to forget all of my former emotional pain.
I’m just too afraid to open my heart to someone, for anyone to explore.

I often wonder whether or not I can trust again.
I hope to attain a sense of true love once more.

Gareth Bryant/2012

My thoughts on this week in my life:

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This entire week, so far, for me, has been a crossroads-I’ve been treading the path between victory & defeat, success & failure, confidence & depression, conviction & confusion, and praise & slander-It’s also been like it’s all been a combination of all of the above…..

…..Oh, Allah!!! Just let me walk through the dense forest of tests & trials swiftly, and make the hiking-trail that you’ve paved for me smooth & wide!!!

#Amen!!!