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.