I have long debated how to capture these fleeting thoughts and emotions. They exist only in rapidly fading moments. They are quickly captured, boxed, and shelved with the others. They are the thoughts and emotions in their rawest form, the thoughts, and feelings we do not often share. My desire to capture them has no single purpose. They can be mine alone. They can be mine stored and hidden until my demise or some other future where others might be allowed to unbox them. They can be mine to share, knowing that they are not mine alone. That they are my words but not just my feelings.
I have long debated recording my spoken thoughts so that I might not lose them to the fleeting of time. That I might not lose them to the world around me, forcing me to escape these moments. But I have never spoken these words. These words I write have never been spoken aloud, beyond the mumblings of my second and subsequent reviews. They have never left my lips completely. They have never been read aloud to me. They have only been frantically typed or scribbled on whatever lies closest. They have been shared with others only in that manner. They exist only in written form.
I am mute. I am unable to speak the words I write. They exist. They are, at times, shared, but they are not spoken. They are transferred from the brain to the fingers–and then from fingers to screen or paper. At times, from screen or paper to others’ eyes. From their eyes to their brains. I have never heard these words spoken, nor have I ever spoken them. I fear any attempt to do so would somehow change them.
Jake Smith is a law enforcement officer and former Army Ranger with four deployments to Afghanistan.
As the Voice of the Veteran Community, The Havok Journal seeks to publish a variety of perspectives on a number of sensitive subjects. Unless specifically noted otherwise, nothing we publish is an official point of view of The Havok Journal or any part of the U.S. government.