My “Sunken Place” as a Soldier

To Bruce, I apologize for not telling you how hurt I was at what happened and how mad I was that you could maintain your eye on the prize. I apologize for not following up and asking if you needed help. The Guard, well those Soldiers, they do not deserve a man like you. I feel because of your beautiful dark skin and Kingly deep voice you intimidated them to no end and you paid (are still paying) the price for it.

To Tiffiny, I apologize for not telling you to report someone that has injured you right away, I also should have followed up and given you the same energy I would have wanted. To have to sit down in a sexual harassment briefing with the person that harassed you was unbearable and I am sorry you had to sit there through it all. Even when other leadership made a comment towards me, I tried my best to shrug it off, but it hurt me. Sorry I haven’t been a better friend.

To Adam, God rest your soul, I will never forgive our all-white leadership for not making your funeral. I tried to calm you down when you were angry but I wanted you to be a quiet Black man, I never actually listened to why you were upset. I was more worried about what they felt than what you were going thru. There was a better way to protect you, and I am very saddened that you aren’t here anymore.

There have been too many times that I have let my fellow Soldiers down and countless more because as a Black man I operate in my sunken place very very often. I say this openly not as a badge of honor but more like my own scarlet letter and something I am working to do without. Because there is safety in that place. You are not an Angry Aggressive Black man for telling someone your truth. Speaking out is the courageous and the “right thing” to do, however, how many times is the right thing to do easily accepted by the instigators. I’m here to say do it anyway.

The fact is I have been angry, very angry at times throughout my military career. I expect more and dare I say I deserve more but not just because I am a Black man but because I am a human being. I deserve the respect others feel there are entitled to. Anger has never benefitted me in any way. Anger is a tough thing to deal with, and you must find a place to let it out and a soft place to land.

I know many will say when if it’s so bad why not quit, why endure it? Well, the answer is simple, it’s everywhere, in all industries, C-suites or front office, it’s there. I’m here because I’m tired of running and I have other Soldiers to protect. I can’t go back to the ones I failed, but I can do right moving forward. If you operate in your sunken place try to find a way out. Do it for yourself and for your fellow Soldiers.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Tyletta Rider says:

    This is very heartfelt. Great work

    Sent from my iPhone


    1. Ed Balfour says:

      I realized I even operated in the Sunken place while writing it. I still left a few things out.

  2. Ed Balfour says:

    Thank you Tye, took me a while to actually hit publish on it.

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