Mila – My American Bully who fell from Heaven

our human collective

Apparently, it takes famous people committing suicide, children being murdered, and people from the mainstream population overdosing from opioids, for us to wake up. This sounds like I’m going to get political, I’m not. I am grateful that we are talking more. This site is about empathy, acceptance, and love. My goal is for you the viewer to soften. My goal is to present people, toads and all. Pain, sadness, and illness are part of the human condition. Some profiles will be simply enjoyable, others maybe not so much. To me, when someone is open it’s always inspirational.

 

Some of us struggle more than others. Being able to express is healing. This profile is raw. The honesty and openness warms me. He prefers I don’t use his name, yet he’s all in. He chooses to be called “Gun.” Gun was incredible to photograph. We co-created. The creative process can be medicinal.   Gun draws, trains Mixed Martial Arts, and loves in an effort to stave off his demons. He served in the military and participated in “Operation Uphold Democracy” in Haiti. It was emotionally traumatic at 22 years old. It was just the beginning he says.   He’s currently a career firefighter.   His memories haunt him. He’s been clinically diagnosed with severe PTSD. Although he will not share details, he tells me that the most terrifying calls involve children. Gun uses his creativity to survive. He tells me he’s alive on borrowed time and that God uses him as He wants.

 

 

And then there’s his wife. “Finding my wife was a godsend. She f**king saved me. She is a huge part of what helped me save myself. The toughest thing I’ve ever done is to let her in, but I knew I didn’t want to be without her. “

 

And then, there’s the other love of his life, Mila, his beloved American Bully named after Mila Kunis. He feels his PTSD label is like that of the “Pit Bull”. Dogs labeled as “Pit Bulls” are seen as less approachable, less trainable, more aggressive, less intelligent, less friendly and overall less adoptable. “It’s a tragic shame,” he says.” “Mila sleeps with me every night. My sleep was often distracted knowing the possible demonic night terrors await. I’m awakened by a snorting, slobbering tongue to my face or back of my head at the perfect time. I don’t understand the connection I have with her. The terrors have subsided tremendously over the past year. Seems she somehow feels my soul and accepts who I am and who I want to be. She is my precious 70 pound America Bully. My wife caught her as she fell from heaven having no idea what she’d do in my life. Angels do exist in many forms since I recently chose to close my eyes and let my heart see.”

 

 

 

“I’ve become the man I am today because of decisions I made. The good and bad. Somewhere/somehow during my self-medicating, suppressing my fear, anger, depression, and denial I found and made a healthy life. It takes making decisions to move on in life, whatever road you decide to take. I speak about my own decisions and the consequences that follow. Maybe that will help someone who needs to hear or see it. I’m not here to give advice or seek sympathy. I learned clarity with my eyes closed. I hear my own voice best when my mouth is shut. I’ve hidden countless tears, made very dangerous decisions, and enjoyed feeling numb. Feeling numb you ask? That sentence no longer makes sense. I now understand myself after 7 years of intense therapy, self-reflecting, different arts, voluntary education, and keeping my circle of trust extremely small.”

 

Some quotes Gun lives by:

You’re only as good or as bad as you think.

Whether you think you can or you can’t…you’re right.

Intimidation is a false vision.

Subconsciousness and suppression lead to self-destruction.

Progress, not perfection.

11 Comments

  1. Tiffany

    Great share Lisa and some of the most fun shots for sure!  Love a good “dog saved me” tale, intensely relatable!!!!

    Reply
  2. Diane

    Love and Love and Love.  That is what I see, hear and feel.  A person who has found a reason and purpose and a sense of love in his own circle of life.  Beautiful and real.  

    Reply
  3. Nadia Weiss

    Absolutely tear jerking and heartfelt. I’m so very happy for him and him dog Mila and also him wife. Night terrors are the worst not to mention C-P.T.S.T
    I pray he continues to heal. 
    Thank you as usual for the beautiful people and their stories.

    Reply
  4. lisa sergio

    Lisa!!   wow, incredible story with exceptionally incredible photos!  <3

    Reply
  5. lesgel42@aol.com

    Lisa! I love what you are doing with this blog… there is definitely a book there!  I was impressed when you were telling me about this endeavor, and even more so now,, as I see it! This is you!… but you know that…! Can’t wait to see more… way to go… truly an inspired work❤️ Xox 

    Reply
  6. Lee Gordon

    Lisa – you are an extraordinary human being, fantastic photographer and incredibly empathetic storyteller!

    Reply
  7. Lyndon

    Once again Lisa, a real person is able to relate their story and express their feelings.
    Perhaps it is time to consider a book, these people deserve to be able to tell their stories to the widest audience.
    BTW, our canine (and feline) friends can read our minds!

    Reply
  8. Katrina Muir

    Lisa, One amazing story. Yes dogs make the best companions for PTSD recovery assistance. Keep up your amazing mission

    Reply
    • Linda Kraus

      Wonderful story. Thanks for the telling. Everything is possible. 

      Reply
  9. Donna

    Love this story…

    Reply
  10. Sandra Muvdi

    It was interesting getting to know Gun and the two loves in his life. Great shots with Mila!

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Contact Me

E: lisanalven@gmail.com

Follow Me

is a Portrait Photographer who specializes in people, floral art and capturing our collective humanity