We Need. We Love. We Neglect.

Photo by Tech. Sgt. Erik Gudmundson

There are people we need, people we love and people we neglect in our lives. One group is faceless to many, yet directly responsible for protecting our way of life. Somehow, we do not show them love they could really use. They have been victims of neglect and we are all responsible for it. If you or your family or friends serve in the military, this message is intended to let you know that you are not alone.

Photo by Senior Airman Wesley Farnsworth


Love

I have always loved magazines. I still remember the first magazine I ever bought. It was Fangoria. Mind you, I barely recall any of my childhood, but I remember that. My childhood contained some helpings of abuse, neglect and rejection. It’s probably why I wanted to create a magazine and draw heroes comic books. It is an introverted way to communicate. Yes. I could draw well, but lack of practice, a keyboard and a mouse have have become a barrier. I do admire artists that still pick up a wooden pencil, hold a sheet of paper in their hands and just do it. You know who you all are: Naryana, Dennis and the dude who draws the Star Wars paintings on Facebook.

Due to events that are out of my control, I now find myself struggling against time & space, digital trends, economies and organizations that continue to dismiss the importance of print. I have “re” discovered a good cause that now fuels my passion…our military families.

I had given up trying to get my own magazine published. I quietly quit, inside my head and heart. Nobody ever knew. I have though, gotten passed my fears and insecurities to go at it one more time. It’s different this time. It’s not about me, it’s for them and maybe for you: our troops, spouses at home alone with kids, husbands and wives who have to perform a dangerous objective while fearing life events which will be missed in their families’ life, parents who second-guess giving their kid support for joining up with our military. I could be one of them soon as one of my own sons has expressed interest in serving our nation. Besides my passion for magazines, I have convinced myself it’s less painful to take a rejection than it is to leave my home, lose all communications and not know if I’m coming back. It’s how we justify things to ourselves, right?

Need

It started with a site I published: gimoney.com in order to learn more about web design and social media. I know the topics and audience well because I used to work at an organization that published a similar magazine. My “unofficial” responsibilities were: editor, art director, distribution. If you call them to verify employment, they’d say I was, “Sr. Graphic Designer.” How’s that for some black ops? I had 7 years working there, met some great people and did good work. Full-time employment eventually come to an end in late 2010.

As I (and wife) endured some of my internal battles with depression, fear and disorientation, I did get some small pleasure when I worked on my site. I also got some “hey, you should really do this” from some people I met along the way. Thanks Francis, Tamar, Mike and Rafael.

I kept experimenting with the site and other ideas, but I had only found one job. A temporary contract position. Nothing permanent and it’s been long over.

I kept feeling that, “I need to make this GI Money-thing happen, somehow.” I need this little project to grow, for me and many others. People are to quick to call anything a business, so I am taking the softer approach. I figure, since I have a solution to another’s problem, I will continue to make a go of it. This is really the simplest description of a business. It’s a solution for a problem. Play your cards right and you can get paid for this solution. Anyone else trying to explain it differently, is probably playing games with numbers, trying to save their own job or screwing around with other people’s money.

According to the powers that be “small business is the backbone of our economy. These innovators will be the solution to our nation’s economic crisis. Etc.,etc.,etc.” I do believe that statement, but the support for accomplishing this is not here right now. Just like it was not there when we lost our homes because we were given bad information and were prayed upon. Keep your ears open during this year’s Presidential debates. I will.

People need to step up. I don’t think very many good solutions come from the government, they come from people. It’s people who make decisions based on their convictions and talent, not people worried about political fallout or what your boss would say.

Creatives, thinkers, our soldiers and good-hearted folks with connections can make the difference. I have lost faith in government. I have lost faith in massive corporations. I still have faith in my talent, desire and the old hispanic saying “haz bien, y no mires a quien.” Translation: “do right by others, regardless.” I bought a video game to a complete stranger who was behind me in line in order to show my appreciation for his service in our military. He was wearing an Army shirt and getting ready to ship out. We now keep in touch via social media. Isn’t that better than just waiving a flag on the 4th of July?

I took the work I did at my last full-time job to heart. I am putting my money where my mouth is. I have started a financial educational website and the print magazine version is coming in August. Come Hell or high water, it will print. It will reach out to our military families and provide some much-needed ideas & solutions to their problems.

Neglect

It becomes a very heavy burden to carry every day. This burden is painfully known to entrepreneurs, small business owners and empresarios. It’s the weight of uttering the word “no” to your wife or husband, kids and family. We don’t have any “real” friends at this point. Small business owners and I tell ourselves, “we will stop at 5:00 pm today and take a break.” It doesn’t happen. We think and say we will devote our time to our wife and kids this weekend. Our never ending list of “to do” piles up faster than the deficit. We often can’t remember if we had lunch or breakfast. We’ll grab and take any pill that keeps us going. Sleep becomes a barrier to getting some work done. Every decision hinges upon three others happening in sequence. It’s trying to make sense out of chaos or anarchy. Our shop never really closes. Does this sound familiar at all?

We risk our marriages, relationships, kids early years and something about smelling roses. Our health does not make it onto the priority list. It might not ever.

Some of us have to do this because we can’t get a job. We need income and work, albeit pro bono. Maybe some of our careers are obsolete or are now outsourced…to where? Am I the only one going through this? Before you think me another moaner & groaner, know that our military families suffer through this because no one has “come out” to really say how companies and organizations avoid hiring military spouses because of the nature of the military and a term known as PCS (Permanent Change of Station). They have had to become entrepreneurs. Unemployment is not what people with jobs think it is.

This is all a sad truth. I invite you to prove me wrong. I have seen firings of veterans happen in front of my nose, and everyone else’s at an organization. Are we really going to provide jobs to our men and women in uniform for their sacrifices, or are we playing Election Year Politics. I am concerned about how many veterans will keep the campaign-driven jobs they are provided? Why not just consider a business? The proverbial “teach a man (or woman) to fish” concept is as viable a solution as ever.

The true entrepreneur spirit lives with our Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine, Reserves and Coast Guard families. They not only train and fight to defend us, they have to fight to make ends meet. I am naturally shy about things pertaining to me, but I have recently tapped into some courage to get in people’s faces and ask, “What have you done to help our military? Would you like to support this cause?” I don’t stutter when I ask this.

As I write this, I am depressed and unsure of my future. I am scared I might lose my family out of neglect. It’s not like I have job offers beating down my email inbox, but I know certain things and have a particular set of skills. I can:

  • help a soldier develop a solid LinkedIn profile
  • provide information to protect their money
  • guide them through career choices and educational institutions
  • direct them in starting a business / buying a franchise
  • answer: business, marketing, finance, and sales questions
  • draw
  • brand
  • write

We all need to, myself included, give more love to the people we should not be neglecting. I would love to receive a real or digital “pat on the back.” It’s a crazy time we are living in. Let’s focus on one thing and have a go at it. I have chosen to support our service members, veterans and military families. The citizens of the United Sates of America might not fully understand all of your sacrifices, but we thank you for doing what needs to be done. If no one else, my family and I appreciate your service, and your family’s needs.

Please reach out to me and tell me what I can do to help you. Now, I need to give my wife a kiss and apologize. She won’t understand why I am doing it, but it’s a start. Finish reading this and go show some love. You are not alone.

 

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