Archive for September, 2008

running on empty…

September 26, 2008

drawing by-jay herron
Originally uploaded by jayfherron






I never seem to attach these links together correctly-or,whenever I do they seem to lead to dead ends where there is no article…we shall try once again!

I believe the link will show that males are harmed from rape and violation. I say this in a subdued manner-as I do not trust my computer skills.

I find myself getting lost in depression,and keep fighting it-but I am weary. I have the past week resting up from being away-in a land where I never venture…a mall,a theater,and daily visits to the fast food chicken place that has a playground built in. That’s where my grandson was supposed to burn out some energy,not a sure bet.

I was ultra stressed at the mall. The suggestion had come from somewhere that there was a playground in the center at what is called a food court. It surprised me the playground was rinky dink compared to the fast chicken place-but it was equally a mad house with twice the number of kids running around the square it set in and the pandemonium was enough to stretch antibody’s nerves. I watched with amazement keeping a steady eye on my grandson as he made his way around this maze of kids. I felt in one split second he could be gone.

It was a very surreal time-at last there were men and women in uniform,but that is only because the mall was directly close to the Navy base…but it kept distracting me by seeing them.

I burn myself out with the way I think. Being here in my element keeps me safe-consistent,with out being side tracked in my mind. I worry about things that are’nt even so…things that might not even happen,but yet they worry me.

I do not have the right energy to write today. It is a Florida cold snap…a chill at 54 degrees,but then also a reminder of another season. The holidays come up and kick off reminders to me-soon,another New Years Eve. Already one can find a big box store with crixmix decorations on sale,right next to the trick or treat stuff. I noticed that in my visit to that land.

I hope the link works-it is a very informative list.

high and tight…

September 23, 2008

fleet II
Originally uploaded by jayfherron


It was a bitter-sweet kind of week.
Sweet,because I spent it as ‘grandapa’ to my three year old grandson-he calls me ‘Wopper’,which I guess is going to stick in place of Grandpa.
He wore me out-I’ve been home two days and still cannot feel energy….but it was an awesome time-even ground breaking…I took him to a mall (for the playground I was told was there) which was pandemonium complimented by the yelling of a hundred other kids his age. Enough mall time to last me another two or three years.

Bitter,because a great part of my day was transporting the lad to and from school (yes…school at three?) and to his day care. His day care was on the Navy base. Navy bases have this all familiar appearance to them-and provoked many memories for me.

Out side of the main gate of the Naval Weapons Center is a barber shop called ‘Williams’…one of those old style shops with a row of about ten to twenty seats. All along the walls are shelf after shelf of US Navy station caps-and the caps of ships,all embroidered with the name and image of each ship. The USS Vulcan was even among the hundreds.
It reminded me of a shop in Norfolk off of Granby Street. I had purchased a false moustache there when I was stationed  on the USS Vulcan. The moustache was the kind which you had glue under your nose to replace the one I couldn’t grow. The investment lasted one bus ride to Washington DC where at the station I looked in a mirror and realized half of it was just flopping around every time I exhaled through my nose.

My vehicle while visiting  nearby the Navy base was my sons-a CPO in the Navy….and he proudly displays his rank on a special license tag attached to the front bumper.
Like with that stupid moustache-I felt the difference when I drove on base and pretended that I was the Chief.
So…I stopped at Williams and got a ‘high and tight’.
One has to look the part.

A ‘high and tight’ for strangers to that description is a hair cut which is distinct to military,or other uniformed services like policemen. It is that firm looking hair display that sets them aside from others.

Of course-it was only a short ride through the section of the base where I was going. But as I said-they all have this typical layout and appearance that sets them aside from any industrial park or suburb. There is time unchanged look-it is a base.
And certainly-I only was there long enough to drop the lad off to the day care and turn about and go on to the day. But I couldn’t help thinking and wanting the clocks to go back and turn things around for the way my Navy life was,nearly 40 years ago.

There was one morning when I drove past a group of young sailors walking from the commissary-all in uniform.
My heart has been broken by my past and my life has been distorted from it…like that stupid glue on moustache,and my stupid petty dream of pretending it’s me who is the Chief driving through the base. Seeing those sailors walking in a group took me back to being in boot camp-by this time 40 years ago I would have been at Camp Moffitt and in my middle week of nine weeks. By then-each time we went to the ‘gedunk’ for our commissary needs we already knew how to form up into groups and march orderly on.

There will never be a way to explain to any body what it meant…and what was taken away. I know,I’ve tried.

definantly different

September 16, 2008

Corey Micah-my grandson

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

A shade away from my usual topics…and a certain change in lifestyle!
My oldest son has just entered surgery-an eight hour ordeal under the knife! He was born with an odd over bite,or…could be it is considered a ‘jut jaw’. The way his mouth has been shaped has cause him great problems with chewing properly-we all hear that we need to chew correctly,but with him it has always been a problem.
From what he has told me-the surgeons are going to break both jaws-remove parts of one and spread out his upper mouth section and the other they are going to use to do something with his chin. This work actually began six to eight months ago where he had to actually break his own jaw (already) by turning a device they attached to his upper pallet-and every 45 minutes 24 hours a day he had to turn a screw attached to the device-until the jaw snapped…..all of it sounds awful.
So-I volunteered to come here-South Carolina,to take care of my grandson…deliver him to school,and afterwards-daycare…and something else I thought was long out of my life-change diapers….I believe my potty training skills may still be intact!
My son will require one month to recouperate …it will most likely take me that long too,the little angel in the photograph is quite an energetic fellow for his ‘Whopper’….which is what the lad calls me!

I return home to Florida this coming Sunday-to resume my life and get re-acquainted with my forest and my pal’s…my chiuaua’s and my own computer and back to life as it is for me!
I have interesting things coming up-the plans to meet Congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite to discuss MST ‘military sexual trauma’ and connected items of interest to both her and I…plus the continuance of a US Mail fraud case which has just begun…some jester has found it funny to set me up with tons of subscriptions for magazines….to the total of 385 US dollars,the invoices totaled so far. Let me express-the Postal Investigators are not too happy and are going to build a case of ‘mail fraud’ and ‘use of US Mail to harrass”….supposedly these are being taken as serious crimes as they are a felony-which can earn somebody several years(in prison).
I will explain this later-when I return to my familier surroundings,as it is connected to what I am writing about through out these journals!

September 13, 2008

me wanting to be a sailor-with my brother Frank

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

The hardest part about being alone is not being able to talk things out with someone-someone close.
I have a void that I am unable to fill because of so many personal issues-being a ‘survivor’ is paramount on that list.
Today I travel. I still have not packed-it is almost as if I expect it not to come…the time to leave.
Yesterday I cashed in a sack of beer cans….three crisp one dollar bills was my return-my total traveling funds.
That too could be a reason it is difficult for me to have a companion.
How do you explain-I’m broke,yet walk humbly with God?

I know for certain-my issues…which I know are mental health issues-are always in the way. The mental health issues are not because I’m sick and out of control-they are because I am a survivor.

I know that makes no sense,but it does. I look at this photograph of my brother and I and see many images that bring back many memories. To anyone who would pick up this photograph the image is of two people,a boy and his brother-one trying to be like the other. I see that too yet I’m in the picture and can see much more because I know more.

The house in the background is where Mr.Hoke killed himself-it couldn’t have been much more than a year before this picture was taken. My brother-standing here in his uniform,was first go into the cellar after Mrs.Hoke came screaming over to our house. I knew why she was screaming-because my pal and I had seen Mr.Hoke shoot himself only hours earlier. A secret we kept well,an accidental secret-even Mr.Hoke never knew. My brother did not know either and I know what he found,and alone…Mr.Hoke with a massive wound to his head.

It was a troubling time. Our sister had died too-not too many years before this picture was taken,my guess would be two? Mr.Hoke….we all called him Hokey,was laid out in his casket in the same spot my sister was. I will always remember that,going up to her casket-I was so small they had to set up a step for me. I can just look into this photograph and see it. Same with Mr.Hoke-and I stared and stared at his head. They had somehow fixed it.

I see more than that. But the memory hurts-like many do,and it are these memories that cause me to have mental health issues. It is called ‘post traumatic stress disorder’…PTSD. It is because of these issues that I have anxieties as I am about traveling. It is fear of public places-especially rest rooms…and innocent conversation with strangers can be a twist in my head to relate to fear,and cause me events of panic-which makes me apprehensive about getting my gear together to take this trip.

And…it’s not just this trip-just about a little can set off the ringing in my head,actually-it is a muddle which I hear.

I look into this photograph and see so much pain. We hardly even had smiles on our faces,but yet much of the pain I see had yet to be born…but I already see it in this snapshot.

There was admiration. I wanted to be like my brother. I wanted to be on a ship-and be a hero of the high sea’s. I still have a clipping I took from a ‘combat’ comic book about a young sailor. His ship is entering a battle and his thoughts about his fear had struck me to want to save it. As you can see…as a boy I dressed the part-my daily play was as a Navy man.

I look in this picture and see so much that is tragic. One split second of the click of the lens captured this moment-cute in the eyes of some stranger who might one day find this…but in my view it is a picture like the tattooed man in the ‘Illustrated Man’ Ray Bradberry wrote about. Every tattoo told a horrible memory-and like those tattoos,this photograph does that to me.

I don’t need to look at the photograph to pull up these memories. All I need to do is wake up…and they are already there-in fast speed,clicking through my brain as a waking ritual to make sure what I thought happened,happened-an inventory to reassure myself it is no mistake. It happened.

There is no mistake.

the compression…

September 12, 2008


Originally uploaded by jayfherron

Outside my open doors the trees are filled with big black crows-which I like to believe are ravens…which I believe are truly a sign from God that all is well,it is just me that troubles myself.

Tomorrow I leave on a trip. The fun part…it’s on a train! I remember train rides from when I was a boy in the 1950’ is how we once traveled to visit my grandparents in both Washington DC and Pottstown PA.
But that was when I was a boy.
We had adventure then…
I have anxiety now.

I’m off to sell beer cans. Not mine-and the entire project is not really going to be worth doing…but it is the only immediate solution for a few dollars to ramble down the tracks on. You just feel better with an extra dollar or two.
No…the beer cans were an idea that grew-my one friend (for some reason) has kept them in boxes in a spare bedroom,he says it’s cleaner that way…and my other friend,the inspiration for the idea,offered me a huge sack of her soda cans!

I always get too stressed. Most likely,for nothing. But the entire thing about public bothers me…I am always afraid of some kind of altercation…even the mildest-and those that are innocent,such as the random joke-or in this case…someone just has to sit next to me.
It would seem that it would be worse on a plane.
I build myself up into a jumble-the plan of such…to travel.
Having to find something to tote my clothes in…surely the trash bag concept will not be acceptable-the rail road agent told me he’d be afraid it would be mixed up as trash and my stuff would be gone. So-I’m trying to figure out a solution for that.

I am unfortunately-afraid!
My son promises we will be going to a movie…I haven’t been in a movie theatre since the late 80’s. I hate the sound of breathing and coughing and the possibility of being sat in a spot in the center of all of that…I’m not sure if I can do that ‘thrill’.
The sound of the building is just enough,but adding the rest…
The sounds bring me to deja vu of barrack D.

I’m not really with it for saying anything…it will be okay-the train will be a blast,and I am sure there are other ideas to adapt to instead of going too a theatre.
I’m never ready until the last minute…and that is just about here!

a day to be silent…

September 11, 2008


Originally uploaded by jayfherron

a day to be silent…

…heading for Washington DC

September 9, 2008

self portrait

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

Yesterday I wrote about anxiety…I had no idea what the day was going to bring. The messenger was the US Postal mail carrier-the message was from the Congress of the United States,the Honorable Ginny Brown-Waite has written inviting me to meet with her and her Chief of Staff in Washington DC. I am going to make the telephone call this morning to arrange an appointment.
Talk about anxiety?
I am a wreck!!

After the initial shock of the reality-I am now needed to buckle to the responsibility of what has finally happened.
I have spent the past three years writing in anger-writing about my life as a male rape survivor,but also about other aspects to rape…it is not a crime limited to gender. I have also been trying to relate how this crime is one which commits continual damage to the victim…even years from it’s first incident. I have also been trying to bring to light that this occurs in the military-and my primary stand has been for our veterans who have been victimized while in military service…have no where to report with confidence to seek their need for medical or financial compensation.

I became angry three years ago when I sat down with a ‘veterans advocate’ in my home county…and telling this ‘advocate’ the details of my story-my personal history I realised I was in the presence of a bigot and a man ignorant of human nature.
Understanding-finally understanding there were many survivors…thousands of survivors of ‘military sexual trauma’ who potentially would have to meet an individual alike my ‘veterans advocate’ and the fact that his choice of words and ignorance was so harmful,I became angry enough to write about it.

It wasn’t at first that I started this ‘blog’…that actually came as an idea a short while after buying this computer.
I had initially bought the machine to write to Congress and it’s members…and to newspapers,and other publications-to 60 Minutes…and other television news programs…to writers,and back to Congress.
The days that I am not writing this blog-or journal…or whatever it has become,I am writing our government,and writing to any who will hear.
And it has come back to me…and responded!

We are going to have a voice,survivors…I am going to relate our story to someone who has interest. Ginny Brown-Waite is on the Committee on Veterans Affairs,and she has invited me to come and share our issues with her…and I am going to go!

depression and anxiety

September 8, 2008

blue head-jay herron 2007

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

It is beginning to be a new season-the morning air is cooler and for me it reminds my body that another winter is ahead.
I’d like to say that is why depression comes along. But the temperature change has nothing to do with it.
The feelings of depression are like knowing a cold is coming on-there’s that sense you get in the back of your throat that tell’s you so. It is the same with depression-it feels like someone is squeezing my shoulders and neck. This is the wrong time for this to happen-but perhaps more blame can fall in this direction than with the seasons changing. I leave this week on a train-sounds like fun? I’m getting too anxious to think so.
It is in exchange from riding a bus…both ideas have become options with gasoline the cost that it is-but it’s not any less a concern for me to leave the woods and travel leaving the comfort zone of privacy.
I know it will be okay-once the journey begins…but my mind builds up so much trouble for itself,and then the depression comes into the picture.
Most of the time I just want to darken it up-cover myself in the bed and reel from the squeezes on my neck and shoulders-and feeling my body begin to weigh like an anchor. My body becomes queezie and sick.
And then the anxiety fights for equal space.
It’s bad enough being anchored down-but my breathing becomes hyperventilated and my mind is blank from going so fast.
I’m definitely not prepared to travel.

I am cheered by God and how my friends become vessels of support. Because I have resigned myself from the VA clinics and have been seeing doctors outside in the real world…my monthly check got very small-this month my check lasted long enough for the walk from the bank to the Post Office. I pay my bills with nothing but a U.S.Postal Money Order,a habit my grandmother taught me.
I literally walked away on pay day with nothing for myself.

My one friend-out of the way the Spirit works…called me out of the blue and asked me when my trip was and then offered to buy me a tank of gas-so I can get to the train station.
Another friend telephones and offers me a cash boost by her needing a ride to several places-in our rural scene,it is hard to be stuck at home and needing a grocery store or the Post Office…and when I pick her up there is that always bundle of some kind of food stuffs-in abundance.
Now….these friends have no idea-but yet,God uses them….and like my friend said when he was thrumping his credit card into the gas pump,”Don’t ask me why I’m doing this”?? …and,in amazement,I know enough about my friend to realize the strength in the moment because it is not in his character to call me out of the blue and offer me a tank of gas!

My journey on the train is not one of leisure. My son is having surgery-on his neck and face,a region of body that the whole thing is scary to me…and I want to be near my son to wait this through,and help as he recovers….the grand-pop of an energetic three year old,I’ve been asked if I am up for this??
Well…it will be a change of pace for me!
It’s a funny odd world. I’m the only guy I know that can take a trip like this and not have one red cent!
I would have made a great nun!

learning to drive…

September 2, 2008

U.S.Coast Guard
Originally uploaded by jayfherron


I have often stated in the past-my sons and I raised each other…I am not sure from which direction that originated,meaning-my sons did the better job of it! They raised me…or,better yet-we grew up together.

The way I lived during the days of their youth was miserable-filling my nose with drugs and my belly full of alcohol. How they came to forgive me is heavens providence-but I believe it is because I kept nothing from them…nothing!
I lamented every chance I had about my ‘failure’ in the United States Navy….pleading with them not to be like me.
Prayer helped too-most certainly the foundation which held us together and turned out to be the solid rock of our seeing the success they both are.
My oldest son heard me the loudest-he entered the U.S.Navy the day after he graduated from high school….missing the graduation celebrations that went on in a local arena-instead,packing his gear to carry along to boot camp. He did not listen to me-they would be sending it right back (I remember him thinking there would be ample time to play Nintendo on off time-he has since learned)!!
My oldest graduated 18 years ago. Now a US Navy Chief Petty Officer-and drug and alcohol counselor,winner of three ‘sailor of the year’ awards,he has become Mr.Navy. He did it for me-proudly sending home the awards saying ‘this is for you Dad’.
I have no better friends then my sons!

As a father you begin on one level and then revert to another as they grow older. I am a grandfather now-you see the change in yourself as you look down on these little ones that call you Poppa. Sober and thankful for being so to be able to enjoy every pleasure of the little ones. Relieved that God answered those many millions of prayers….please Father,don’t let them grow up to be like me! God heard….but yet,God knew-God knew the truth!

My youngest son…how can I begin? His active duty in the Navy lasted two years. The poor kid was stationed on a ship that proudly welcomed new sailors to its decks with a sign above the gangway stating ‘Welcome to Hell’. The ship was a replenishing vessel-fueling and supplying fresh food to the Navy ships at sea,a treacherous and dangerous job.
During my youngest sons sea time they refueled the USS America-at the same time my oldest son was stationed with a helicopter squadron on board. My two sons actually got to ‘visit’ while miles out to sea…the two ships connected by hoses and cables as fuel and supplies were transferred. They were hooked up to telephones and spoke from ship to ship.

My sons heard all of what had happened to me in the Navy. They saw me try to drink and drug the memories out of my head….trust me,both actions are inaction-it does not work. The pain is always there the moment the drug wears away! I can not tell you how rewarding it is to be forgiven by them…and how they took what I said and flew to the highest peaks with it!
I even raised another mans son-Jeff. He is half my own sons age-he saw them as big brothers and one day he came to me and said that I was the only man in his life that he could look up to-his own father a heroin addict that took the last spike to eternity,just when Jeff was an infant. He wanted to know if he could consider me his dad. I told him he had to quit calling me Jay.
One day Jeff came to my door wearing pants so baggy he had to hold them up with one hand-I’ve come to see that is the newest style. He had earrings in his lip and eyebrow and his hair was a color from somewhere,but not natural. He was concerned about his future-at 18 he was already a father himself-and nature was teaching him something was wrong. I expressed how a father should at least have a belt! (mocking his manner of dressing)
Wondering what he could do to escape his crowd of friends-his instinct knew they were wrong for him….I told him to enlist in the Navy.
I didn’t see Jeff for a few years after that and then one day a car drove up and this young man got out-it was Jeff,and he had changed. The Navy changed him. Now he too is seeing the Navy as his career-he is in his second enlistment and serves as a Second Class Petty Officer-he too serves on a helicopter squadron.

I am proud of the fact that most of my sons friends from school-the boys they grew up with almost to the last one of them enlisted at my encouragement!
One young man was stocking shelves in a grocery store after high school and right there in the isle of the store I convinced him the Navy was a choice to help him in the future. He is proof that is so-he enlisted and was sent to aviation mechanics school…he served his term and returned to civilian life to work for a company that calibrates aircraft instruments.
He now owns the company!

My youngest son has never left being in uniform. He completed his tour on the ship dubbed as ‘hell’ and after his two years of required reserve duty he re-enlisted,but this time in the National Guard. There he served two tours of training-never seeing the wars,but used the GI Bill to complete college in the ‘criminal justice’ field-and now serves Alachua County (Fla) as a Deputy with the Sheriffs office.
You’d think that he would be settled with that….but NO! He has re-enlisted!
Now I have a son in the Coast Guard Reserve.
At the moment he is on inactive duty…a stupid injury has delayed his ‘boot camp’-he broke his finger playing a tag football game with some children at his church. But in a matter of a few months he will be sent to Norfolk Virginia where he will train to Captain a ship-just like the one in the photograph.

It is in awe the way I look at my sons-the three of them…the way they listened and learned from me. The military IS an honorable position in life,not just a job-but a definite duty to country and democracy.
I had hoped for a career in the US Navy. How much I wanted to drive the ship (yes,they call it driving) and never could because my uniforms had been mutilated by a jealous brother-my brother,who I chose to be stationed with…the biggest mistake of my life!
Because of my uniforms-I was restricted to general areas of the ship…restricted from many others. I had learned after my discharge that any sailor could enter the wheel house and volunteer to hold the wheel….but not me because of the uniforms.

All of what I write about in this journal of my life is true! The best parts of the story is how my sons grew up in an environment that was unstable because my reaction to my experience in the Navy was so devastating to me that I chose to sop my self into a sorry path…a drunk and drug user. It was easy to select that as an alternative-my DD214 (the official military discharge form) kept me from being able to find a decent job. There is a code number on the form that employers could look at and determine what kind of man they were about to hire….my code said ‘drug use’.
I never used any kind of drugs while in service….it was after when the way everything went I figured it out that since I was so blamed to be such-that why not go on and be such,kind of like…if you can’t beat them join them! If its said so…it must be so!
It was never so!

I have come around the corner in the last 10 years. I had a stroke in 1998-at age 46- which really opened up my eyes and finally gave me control over the way I was living….the only part there is no control over is the PTSD which lingers and will always remain. It can’t ever go away…my family sees to that-my distant family,those who were brothers or mothers or the father I only wanted to please,but never could.
I am thankful that my eyes have opened. I am thankful that God did hear and answer my prayers-giving my son’s a life that was far better than the one I have lived…seeing them in military uniforms instead of prison uniforms! Seeing them grow into fine upstanding men-adults and mature,and not raking leaves in the prison yard-or buying crack when ever freedom came,if ever-having homes…not living under an overpass.
And best of all….when ever we speak to each other we never end the conversation with out saying “I love you son”…or them saying “I love you Dad”.

MICAH  Chapter 7 verse 8 and 9:  Therefore I will look unto the Lord;I will wait for the God of my salvation:my God will hear me. Rejoice NOT against me,O mine enemy:  when I fall,I shall arise; when I sit in darkness,The Lord shall be a light unto me.