Writing Type: Prose
By James Janssen
January, 1967. As I recall, the drill sergeant blurted out "attennnnnnchun!" I thought: just another session of commands, inspections, marching, etc. And I guessed right to start with.
There we stood at "attention" as he walked behind us for what seemed to be an inspection. So far so good. No problems, until I felt a sudden jerk on my right hand. I surmised that he was inspecting my M-1. But no. He emphatically let me know that losing my piece to the enemy more than likely spelled certain death. The importance of keeping a tight grip on my piece became firmly implanted the very moment my weapon was suddenly jerked from my right hand. That began to center my thinking on events in my younger years.
One example was being recognized by my sixth-grade teacher, Mr. Calderhead, as having the strongest handshake grip in the class. Example two was understanding the fact that my great grandfather was an inventor and efficiency expert in the construction industry. Among his credentials was the invention of the cement truck which stemmed from his surmising that cement could be prepared while en route to a work site. I so admired his worthy traits that I began adopting two of them -- efficiency and multitasking.The end result was landing entry level jobs at JCPenney followed by Target.
But there was a much larger payoff swimming around in the dark shadows of my head that had not come to light. My life to this point was peppered with various forms of child abuse and traumatic experiences that directly affected my emotional well being and control issues. Like the sudden brightness from a light bulb that had just been turned on, I realized that having a firm grip on my M-1 could be applied on my complex PTSD triggers by merely using the same technique that I will label replacement thoughts -- responding to every emotion, thought and trigger with a strong "grip."
Would this take practice? Oh yes. But the result was a sense of freedom when I realized that those unwanted patterns of old destructive thoughts would no longer be welcome. Placing a firm grip of resolve on living the life I want and deserve became the current reality. Letting go of the unwanted trash would now be much easier.
Realizing I still possess that strong grip from so many years ago has returned in full force, allowing me to be the real me to pursue traits and talents that had been locked and hidden. No one will ever take my mental M-1s away again.