Creating Successful Habits | Guest Post Written by Robert King (Kingy) from PUAmethod.com What are habits?
Let’s get into the science; habits are the brains own productivity mechanism. The brain will convert conscious actions that are consistently repeated, into unconscious habits. The brain turns conscious actions into unconscious habits to free up future resources and will power for other tasks and actions. The only potential downside to this process is that it can be extremely difficult to break bad habits or to create new ones. Once positive habits have been engrained into the unconscious they are EXTREMELY beneficial though.
Once we first engage in a new activity the brain works very hard to process all the new information. The brain looks for patterns and tries to understand the new action. As soon as it understands how the task works, this behaviour starts becoming automatic and the mental activity required to do the task decreases.
Think about how much brain power you used when first learning how to drive. Compare that now to when you drive, probably the fast majority of your driving is done on autopilot. Important Questions to Ask Yourself
What am I trying to accomplish by creating this new habit?
How will it feel once I’ve done this?
What habit/s do I need to allow me to accomplish my goals?
Are there any examples of people that have done what I want to do already?
What are all the ways that my life will be better after implementing this habit? One new Habit at a Time
It is very beneficial to only build one new habit at a time. You might have lots of motivation but it is impossible to successfully implement more than one habit at once.
The general rule is to take thirty days to implement one habit. As soon as the habit has become ingrained in your subconscious then you can start to implement the next habit. This might sound like a long process but it really isn’t compared to the benefits you’ll receive and it could be possible to build twelve new habits per year! Considering the average person NEVER builds even one habit in their lifetime, twelve per year is pretty epic. Do a Little bit at a Time
Gradually move towards the habit, don’t go for it straight away, build up to it. If you want to build a habit of ‘waking up at 6am every morning’ then every few days gradually wake up thirty minutes earlier. Don’t try straight away for the early time because it will be too much and you will be more likely to give up. Gradual change is the best way to go for everything. Self-improvement = consistently being slightly outside of your comfort zone
Don’t be massively outside of your comfort zone; you don’t want to have an aneurism. Instead you want to be progressively, slightly outside of your comfort zone. Every few days you should do slightly more.
Everyone has a default level of homeostasis; this is the natural equilibrium of your body. If you were to go massively outside of this equilibrium then your body and mind will shut down in order to protect you. If you make progressive incremental changes, the body and mind won’t fight it because the change is gradual and not alarming. This New Habit Won’t Kill You
With regards to pick up it is important to learn that from doing an action nothing bad will happen. Approaching a group of girls on the street won’t result in you dying. Soon as that mental click happens inside of your brain, your AA will be reduced and this action will get easier. Give yourself the opportunity to gain this realisation by putting yourself outside of your comfort zone a few times. Then when you begin to create this new habit you can make realistic goals and you will have less fear over the thirty days. Be prepared to be embarrassed. In the beginning stage of implementing a new habit it will be embarrassing. Whatever new habit you want to take on it is important to realise that you are going to be bad at it. Approaching women will result in you looking silly, especially if you aren’t an “icy pimp” already. This is fine; don’t compare yourself to other people who have a lot more experience then you. When starting out you are definitely not going to be able to pick up like you see in pick up videos. When first learning pick up you are going to be embarrassed and humiliated a lot.
You will approach women and they will walk past you, ignore you, tell you to go away. You must ACCEPT this and not fight it. If you are new to pick up it will probably take you six months before you get reasonable results. Reasonable as in you are getting some results, inconsistently. Now six months might seem like a lot of time but I assure you that it will fly by! The six months is going to pass whatever you do, so you might as well be doing something that will help you in the long run.
Focus on how great your life will be after you’ve progressed through this stage to keep yourself motivated. Imagine the quality and amount of women you will be dating. A New Habit takes Thirty Days to Build
Implementing a new habit is all about repetition and committing to what you’ve written down on paper. It takes thirty days of repetition to implement a new habit into the subconscious where it becomes automatic. You will need to do whatever it takes to make sure that you complete those thirty days, after those thirty days it is a lot easier to keep the habit going. In fact, after thirty days it takes effort to stop doing the habit because it has become so ingrained in the subconscious.
Get an Accountability Friend. Find someone that you can count on to be accountable to. If you have someone that you can be accountable to then this will be your easiest win! If the habit is work related and you have a girlfriend then she will be the best person to help you. In this situation tell her “I need to do this habit every day, here is two hundred pounds. For each day I don’t do the habit I want you to keep fifty pounds, you can spend it on whatever you want.”
This is literally the best way that I’ve found to ensure that I stick to something.
Now if your habit is pick up related then you probably don’t or at least shouldn’t, have a girlfriend.
For this you need a best friend or a great wing. If you want to approach groups of women more, then what you should do is say. “Hey bro, I want to start approaching groups of women more. Please can you point out some groups for me to approach, they must be girl groups only, not mixed. That is my only requirement. Here is fifty pounds. For each group that you point out and I don’t approach within fifteen seconds I want you to keep five pounds.” Most wings will be more than happy to play that game, especially if they:
A. Wing you after you approach the group
B. Take your money if you don’t approach
This technique will get you approaching fast guaranteed! If you are rich and five pounds per approach isn’t enough of a motivator, then increase that figure until it starts to motivate you. Tell your wing to play this game with you every time you go out. The pain of losing money will outweigh the fear of any approach anxiety that you may have. Your beliefs are your Final Concern
If you manage to maintain a new habit for over the thirty days, CONGRATULATIONS! You are almost there. The final thing to solidifying your new habit is accepting that “Change is possible”.
People backslide after thirty days, after putting all the hard work in because they don’t believe that they can change. It is important to truly believe that change is possible and that you DO DESERVE these changes and their positive effects in your life. If you have a belief like “I don’t deserve to be happy” or “If I’m happy bad things will happen”. Then these need to be removed first with the help of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or a therapist.
In the Comments section let me know what new habits you are implementing in your life and how it is going.
It has been great connecting and exploring the game with you.
Peace n Love, Robert (Kingy)
Robert “Kingy” King has appeared in The Sunday Times, The Sun, The Daily Echo, Marie Claire and on BBC 3 and Radio 5 Live. He is also a fully published author and written the book “The Pick Up Game – The proven way to become skilled at approaching and dating women.” For more by Kingy visit him at http://www.puamethod.com
IAVA is looking for highly motivated Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, veteran’s family members, and civilian supporters to fill openings in our internship program in New York City and Washington, DC. This is your chance to learn how to effectively advocate on behalf of the 2.5 million Iraq and Afghanistan veterans nationwide.
All candidates must be eligible to receive academic credit from their college or university. Consult with your career office or academic advisor to determine eligibility prior to applying. (Recent graduates - check in with your school's career office or academic advisor to determine if you are eligible for a 'zero credit' option) Commit a minumum of 20 hours per week. Email email@example.com with additional questions. Applications without a cover letter will not be reviewed.
Applications are due by Monday, April 15, 2013. Summer Program begins June 3 and ends August 15. Mandatory Orientation will take place from June 3-5. IAVA is an equal opportunity employer.
VETERANS OF THE CONFLICTS IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN ARE HIGHLY ENCOURAGED TO APPLY.
New York City Internships
Marketing Intern Graphic and Web Design Intern Program Intern Online Community Intern Development Intern Salesforce Administration Intern Operations Intern
Washington, D.C. Internships
Advocacy Intern Research Intern
Qualifications for all positions:
Excellent oral and written communication skills Excellent organizational skills Ability to work independently and in teams Ability to prioritize tasks and meet deadlines; detail oriented Excellent computer skills, including proficiency with Microsoft Office Comfortable working in an office environment Dedication to serving OIF/OEF vets Sense of humor
IAVA’s Marketing Department is a new department within the organization, responsible for IAVA marketing strategy and brand consistency across all communications platforms. There are two components of the department: 1) Marketing Communications (marketing and advertising quality, consistency and style across IAVA communications platforms); and 2) Market Research (organization, constituent, collaborator and context research). The Marketing Intern will report to the Marketing Director.
The Marketing Intern will:
Learn how the marketing team will consolidate and catalog how we the organization communicates different products and programs to our constituents (veterans, supporters, donors, foundations, partners, celebrities) as well as internally. Learn how to conduct market research on where our constituencies receive their content, how we can better reach them and help map out a set of marketing best practices for the organization. Have an opportunity for real-life project management experience in a small-team environment.
The Marketing Intern should possess:
Excellent communication (written, graphical, verbal, etc). Please provide a writing sample in your cover letter and resume upload. An analytical mind and ability to learn various platforms to conduct market research. Graphic design experience a plus. Flexibility, dedication to mission, and a robust sense of humor - we are a rapidly growing organization, and one that is presented with many unique, interesting and exciting opportunities on a regular basis.
Click here to apply >
Graphic and Web Development Intern
Using the most innovative tools, IAVA’s Digital Engagement Department is a leader in new media, technology and online organizing. In this position, you will learn how to manage and grow of IAVA’s digital products and properties through web development on our CMS platform (Drupal). We're looking for a student developer with a hunger for learning, content development and social change. The Graphic and Web Development Intern will report to the Digital Engagement Director.
The Graphic and Web Development Intern will:
Learn how develop new webpages and graphics for IAVA.org and our related micro-sites (NewGIBill.org, TheRucksack.org), using original materials and materials provided by our marketing team. Build the skills necessary to tackle technical problems large and small, from building a new digital campaign center to editing the way a link displays on a blog post. Have the opportunity to participate in the creation of content for a variety of external use, including webpages, email communication, social media and mobile applications. Build individual skill base within the Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop and Illustrator primarily), Drupal, CSS and XHTML. Learn how to take UX/UI challenges and present comprehensive, innovative solutions. Maximize the use of Google analytics and user testing tools in everyday work. Have the opportunity to attend relevant trade lectures and talks in the NYC area.
The Graphic and Web Development Intern should possess:
Click here to apply >
Program Intern IAVA’s Program team strives to build an empowered generation of veterans who provide leadership for our country and their local communities. We work toward this vision through programs in four key impact areas: supporting new veterans in Health, Education, Employment and building a lasting Community for veterans and their families. IAVA’s programs empower and support our community both online and offline, expand our reach and allow our organization to make a deeper and lasting impact on veterans and their families for years to come. The Program Intern will report to the Program Director.
The Program Intern will:
Learn how develop and execute key programs offered to IAVA's membership Gain exposure to relationships and opportunity to work with Fortune 500 companies and leaders in the veteran, nonprofit, and corporate space Provide assistance at IAVA membership events Maintain a pulse on the day-to-day needs and concerns of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans Conduct daily and weekly research and analysis of IAVA's impact, using Salesforce, Google, and other tools. Learn how to develop digital content (photo, video, social media) to build and promote the organization's programs Assist with the rewards distribution and management of IAVA's Rucksack
The Program Intern should possess:
Excellent organization skills Resourceful, innovative forward thinking Ability to work well with others, with a sense of humor and professional demeanor A positive attitude and a passion for veterans issues and community organizing
Click here to apply >
Online Community Intern
Community of Veterans (CoV) is the first and largest online social network exclusively for paperwork-confirmed Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. CoV provides its more than 24,000 members with access to message boards, affinity groups, resources, and live chats with experts on a range of issues – especially those related to mental health. CoV provides veterans with a safe space to share what they’re going through with others who “get it” because they’ve been there too. An informal peer-to-peer support system and means of connecting with resources and experts, CoV is an invaluable gathering space for veterans grappling with PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injuries, depression, and even thoughts of suicide.
The Online Community Intern will be responsible for supporting the IAVA Programs department to promote engagement within CoV through outreach and communications with members, posting content and resources, and scheduling live chats and other events. The Online Community Intern will report to the Senior Program Manager.
The Online Community Intern will:
Interact with Iraq and Afghanistan veterans online and off by conducting outreach to promote CoV sign-ups at IAVA events and interacting with veteran members in CoV Learn about methods for digital outreach and engagement, through drafting social media announcements and blog posts, and through planning and executing online events, such as webinars and live chats Learn about mental health issues affecting this generation of veterans and gain exposure to key resources Enhance skills in data analysis by monitoring and reporting on trends among CoV member needs and interests Assist with creating and executing a crisis prevention and response system within CoV
The Online Community Intern should possess:
Excellent organization skills Strong communication (written and oral) and interpersonal skills The ability to work well with others and independently, with a sense of humor and a professional demeanor A positive attitude and a passion for veterans issues and community building
Special Qualification Requirement
To maintain the integrity of the CoV site, the Program Intern, CoV must be a veteran of Iraq or Afghanistan. Evidence of service, such as DD214 forms, will need to be provided before an offer is finalized.
Click here to apply >
The Development Department is responsible and leads all fundraising for IAVA, raising revenue from individual donations, foundation grants, special events, corporate contributions and sponsorships, and earned income. The Development Intern will have a unique opportunity to gain experience in both sides of development – foundations and individual giving – and to work one-on-one with professional staff experienced in both fields. The Development Intern will report to the Development Director.
The Development Intern will:
Have the opportunity to learn about the fundraising process, from individual donors, institutional partners, major US foundations and major corporations. Develop skills in researching prospective foundations and individual donors. Learn how to, and assist in, the drafting of: proposals, reports, donor cultivation letters, thank you letters, and other donor communications. Get hands on learning in the planning and production of fundraising events as well as assist with scheduling for development travel. Learn critical fundraising, marketing and administrative skills applicable in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors, while contributing to meaningful social change.
The Development Intern should possess:
Strong communication and organizational skills. Exceptional writing and editing skills. Personal qualities such as: sensitivity, flexibility, and a good sense of humor. Computer and software knowledge, including MS Office. Experience in working with databases and mail merge will also be beneficial. Salesforce experience is a plus.
Click here to apply >
Salesforce Administration Intern
IAVA is looking for a smart, eager and technically gifted person to join our Information Systems team in helping us manage our data and online systems. The Salesforce Administration Intern will work directly with the Salesforce Architect to support IAVA’s innovative and growing Salesforce Constituent Relationship Management. The Salesforce Administration Intern will report to the Salesforce Architect.
The Salesforce Administration Intern will:
Support the ongoing development and data integrity of IAVA's constituent database (based in Salesforce.com). Assist in the creation and enforcement of organization-wide protocols for proper use of the database. Work with staff in all departments to find and implement database solutions to business challenges. Training staff and volunteers on proper use of our technology systems. Ensuring data cleanliness and security. Integrating Salesforce with third party systems, such as Conga Composer, Geopointe. Some coding, to create web forms, build webpage templates, etc. Working closely with content creators and online organizers to build amazing, innovative online experiences for our members.
The Salesforce Administration intern should possess:
Experience with databases, Salesforce experience a major plus Organized, analytical, methodical A service orientation -- patient, helpful, and ready to teach other staff how to use our tech tools most effectively. Passionate about finding technical solutions to organizational challenges. Obsessed with accuracy. A desire to innovate. Excellent verbal and written communications skills. Ability to prioritize and juggle many requests, sometimes under pressure. Experience with any of the following a plus: FormAssembly, Predictive Response, Conga Composer, Data Loader, DemandTools, Camtasia Interest in emerging IT and online organizing trends. Experience with Content Management Systems (we use Drupal, primarily). Web development experience a plus, though not absolute necessity. Strong desire to serve our returning men and women in uniform.
Click here to apply >
The Operations Division houses the Financial, Operations, Information Systems and Human Capital Departments. The Operations Intern would support the financial processes, HR practices, and office management of IAVA’s NY headquarters. This internship is ideal for anyone entering non-profit management studies, as the Operations Intern would gain insight as to the internal workings of all aspects of IAVA’s processes and systems. The Operations Intern will report to the Finance and Operations Director.
The Operations Intern will:
Learn how to manage and assist with organizational finances Develop skills necessary for the research, reconciliation and documentation of contributions, including in-kind, online and events contributions Aid in the production of staff development events Learn how to assist in the management of member and supporter communications Help develop and maintain vendor relations Learn the skills necessary to support IT integration and processes
The Operations Intern should possess:
Strong organization and problem solving skills - solution-oriented Excellent time management Excellent interpersonal and communication skills Professional, upbeat attitude Excellent customer service skills Highly organized with excellent attention to detail Basic facility with Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) Ability to work independently, prioritize and multi-task
Click here to apply >
Washington, DC Internships
Advocacy Intern IAVA’s Policy Department is the face and voice of veterans on Capitol Hill. This team has been instrumental in the most significant veterans’ advocacy victories, winning major battles in Congress (like the GI Bill), helping thousands of veterans nationwide, and making national headlines daily. The Advocacy intern will have the opportunity to assist the legislative team in building relationships with Congressional offices and coordinate with allied advocacy organizations. The Advocacy Intern will report to the Political Director.
The Advocacy Intern will:
Obtain an understanding of how policy is formed and practiced. Learn how to track and analyze new legislation. Learn how to study, draft, and (possibly) publish briefs, blogs and papers on current issues facing veterans. Have an opportunity to attend meetings on Capitol Hill, illustrating firsthand how Congressional hearings, events and conferences work. Receive overviews of IAVA’s internal systems in order to effectively learn how to maintain database and data input. Help represent IAVA to the public and policy community.
The Advocacy Intern should possess:
Excellent organization and leadership skills Clear, thoughtful, precise, and quick writing skills A strong interest in public speaking and media Knowledge of veterans’ affairs or related issues A strong desire for experience in advocacy, on Capitol Hill, or with/within the federal government Flexibility, dedication to mission, and a robust sense of humor - we are a rapidly growing organization, and one that is presented with many unique, interesting and exciting opportunities on a regular basis.
Click here to apply >
Research Intern As part of IAVA’s policy department, the research team researches the diverse array of issues confronting the newest generation of veterans and offers public policy solutions to these challenges. The team ensures that IAVA always has the best and most meaningful data about Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. It serves as an internal research service while also producing issue reports, blog posts and other analysis of the issues facing today’s veterans. Our issue reports offer the most comprehensive, and easy to understand, analysis and policy recommendations on the urgent issues facing new veterans. In this position, you will assist with maintaining the most up-to-date information, and researching and writing about a host of issues. This is a great opportunity for someone who wants to learn how to do policy research and turn ideas and numbers into action. The Research Intern will report to the Research Director.
The Research Intern will:
Learn how policy research is done, from gathering and analyzing data to developing a final product. Learn how to do rapid reaction and response research. Learn about the issues confronting today’s generation of veterans and potentially pick an area to develop more expertise. Have an opportunity to attend meetings on Capitol Hill and around DC, observing firsthand how Congressional hearings, events and conferences work. Learn how to research, draft, and (possibly) publish briefs, blogs and papers on current issues facing veterans.
The Research Intern should possess:
Excellent research and organizational skills Clear, thoughtful, precise, and quick writing skills Knowledge of or interest in veterans’ affairs or related issues A strong desire to do policy research Flexibility, dedication to mission, and a robust sense of humor - we are a rapidly growing organization, and one that is presented with many unique, interesting and exciting opportunities on a regular basis.
Click here to apply >
IAVA is an equal opportunity employer. VETERANS OF THE CONFLICTS IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN ARE HIGHLY ENCOURAGED TO APPLY.
Please note: Because of the high volume of applications that we anticipate receiving, we appreciate your patience through this process.
Thank you for your interest! We look forward to hearing from you soon.
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If you've never seen it before, here's a YouTube video of a classic Saturday Night Live skit featuring Tom Brady:
(You might want to click that pretty quickly, because TV clips tend to disappear on YouTube. If it's gone, simply search 'Tom Brady SNL Harassment' and you should find it elsewhere)
Anyway, even though that video is laugh-out-loud hilarious, one main reason it's so blasted funny is that just about all of us can relate to it.
No matter what career field we're in, we've all suffered through "sexual harassment seminars", "sensitivity training", or something similar under a different name.
And we've been brainwashed by it.
We've been led to believe that women absolutely, positively do NOT want to be bothered by men...let alone get "hit up on" for dates, etc.
In my opinion, the mark left on us has an even more profound effect on keeping us from approaching and meeting women than "fear of rejection" does.
And while we're avoiding women so as not to "bother" them or "offend" them, what are most normal, red-blooded women thinking?
You got it: They're wondering where all the GOOD men went.
Well, we're all over on the other side of the room being "polite".
Here's something to think about. Most of the WOMEN I've ever conversed with about "sexual harassment" seminars took them in stride. For their part, they were WELL AWARE that such formalities were there only because a few bad apples tend to ruin the whole bushel.
It's only US who let ourselves believe after attending them that we're all universally bad guys for being sexually attracted to women.
Now to be sure, I'm still convinced that dating women from the workplace is a BAD IDEA because of the potential complications involved.
And I'm certainly not advocating being physically aggressive toward women, having wandering hands, saying rude and shocking things and/or becoming a stalker. All of that is REAL harassment and is what made those ridiculous seminars necessary to begin with.
BUT...know this. You are NOT part of the proverbial problem simply because you are man. Women still want you to approach them. They WANT to meet high quality guys, and they want YOU to take the lead in making that happen.
You're not creepy, weird or pushy simply because you were born a heterosexual male.
You're only creepy, weird or pushy if you're creepy, weird or pushy. Never forget that.
Have a great weekend, gentlemen.
It's a long one here in The States, so by all means be sure to get out to the lake or to wherever the party is and meet some women.
I've given you tons to work with in these newsletters lately... so get going!
P.S. Remember, if you're finally ready to make online dating to work for YOU instead of vice-versa, I've got a smokin' deal going on for my Online Dating Success Package...but not for long.
Get in on it by midnight TONIGHT Pacific time and I'll give you Online Dating Domination for f-r-e-e.
There are only a select few spots left. All the details are here:
WE WILL SEND THEIR WOMAN AGAINST THEIR MEN AND THEREBY DESTROY THE STRENGTH OF THEIR FAMILIES.
Feminism Destroys The Family Unit!!
How Feminism Screwed my Generation
The family has been abolished, and so has the dating scene for people in their 20s
#1 no-fault divorce. Im not against divorce if its needed...but fault should be proven, and possession, children etc should go in favor of the non faulted. # 2 child support should be changed to be more accountable for how it is spent. #3 child custody also needs to be overhauled.
procreate You Feministing - Who the Hell is Heidi? Seriously
A few things about feministing... They only yell at people who can't yell back. They only go after the weak. No one who could actually issue a cease and desist or respond in any meaningful way is ever targeted by Feministing.
Feministing is no better than a schoolyard bully.
From the feministing video: ....for thinking women only vote with their fragile hearts, and women under 50 don't think about reproductive rights.
----- Original Message ----- From: Seaportcynthia@aol.com To: undisclosed-recipients: Sent: Monday, June 20, 2011 4:19 PM Subject: Redevelopment..schools..
Redevelopment--Dead--HIP HIP HOORAY
The Governor and state legislators were listening to the Voice of the public rather than the city Mayors and their bureaucratic sycophants. Those of us who served in the military are pleased to see us moving away from a Communist state and back to Democracy and free enterprise.
The public wants money stolen by redevelopment agencies to fund eminent domain theft of private property (as in the Gran Havana), over paid staff and their benefits (CCDC) to go back to the state for schools and teachers.
-----Forwarded Message----- From: Action Group Subject: Redevelopment--Dead
The final analysis is not yet complete, but it looks as if redevelopment is dead as of yesterday. In a combination of bills, the Legislature seemingly gutted redevelopment. AB 26X abolished redevelopment agencies statewide, effective October 1. The companion bill, AB 27X, will allow cities to opt back into redevelopment, as long as proper funding is restored to schools and special districts.
The series of events at the state level is rather confusing, but judging by the reaction of redevelopment advocates, this is apparently the victory we have been looking for. San Diego City Councilman Kevin Faulconer, who is infatuated with downtown redevelopment, labeled this "an absolute travesty," according to Roger Showley of the Union-Tribune. Mayor Jerry Sanders derided the Legislature's action as "an extortion attempt," according to Liam Dillon of the VoiceofSanDiego.org. John Shirey of the California Redevelopment Association said, "[They] voted to kill redevelopment plain and simple," according to Dillon's report. Expect the CRA and the League of California Cities to initiate legal action to revive redevelopment, while city attorneys search for loopholes in the Legislature's actions.
During floor debate yesterday Assemblyman Chris Norby (R-Fullerton) expressed concern that AB 27X will not defund redevelopment enough to prevent future eminent domain abuses by the redevelopment agencies which may persist. Based on the reactions of the redevelopment enthusiasts, it seems that the Legislature may have effectively reined in eminent domain abuse, too. In noting Sanders' reaction, the irony is not lost that he labels the Legislature's bills "extortion," while when they hold the coercive power of eminent domain over those of us in redevelopment areas, they downplay this as a useful "tool."
Norby and his colleagues in the Legislature should initiate the final reform and end eminent domain for private benefit once and for all and for certain in California.
Thank you to everybody who wrote, called, faxed or e-mailed the legislators over the past few months. And remember, the Grantville Action Group is still fighting for our measure of reform at the appellate court level. Please be sure to send contributions to the GAG legal fund at GAG HQ.
Here are some links to articles about yesterday's events:
After I retired, my wife insisted that I accompany her on her trips to Target.
Unfortunately, like most men, I found shopping boring and preferred to get in and get out. Equally unfortunate, my wife is like most women - she loves to browse.
Yesterday my dear wife received the following letter from the local Target:
Dear Mrs. Harris,
Over the past six months, your husband has caused quite a commotion in our store. We cannot tolerate this behavior and have been forced to ban both of you from the store. Our complaints against your husband, Mr. Harris, are listed below and are documented by our video surveillance cameras:
1. June 15: He took 24 boxes of condoms and randomly put them in other people's carts when they weren't looking.
2. July 2: Set all the alarm clocks in Housewares to go off at 5-minute
3. July 7: He made a trail of tomato juice on the floor leading to the women's restroom.
4. July 19: Walked up to an employee and told her in an official voice, 'Code 3 in Housewares. Get on it right away'. This caused the employee to leave her assigned station and receive a reprimand from her Supervisor that in turn resulted with a union grievance, causing management to lose time and costing the company money.
5. August 4: Went to the Service Desk and tried to put a bag of M&Ms on layaway.
6. August 14: Moved a 'CAUTION - WET FLOOR' sign to a carpeted area.
7. August 15: Set up a tent in the camping department and told the children shoppers he'd invite them in if they would bring pillows and blankets from the bedding department to which twenty children obliged.
8. August 23: When a clerk asked if they could help him he began crying and screamed, 'Why can't you people just leave me alone?' EMTs (paramedics) were called.
9. September 4: Looked right into the security camera and used it as a mirror while he picked his nose.
10. September 10: While handling guns in the hunting department, he asked the clerk where the antidepressants were.
11. October 3: Darted around the store suspiciously while loudly humming the ' Mission Impossible' theme.
12. October 6: In the auto department, he practiced his 'Madonna look' by using different sizes of funnels.
13. October 18: Hid in a clothing rack and when people browsed through, yelled 'PICK ME! PICK ME!'
14. October 21: When an announcement came over the loud speaker, he assumed a fetal position and screamed 'OH NO! IT'S THOSE VOICES AGAIN!'
And last, but not least:
15. October 23: Went into a fitting room, shut the door, waited awhile, then yelled very loudly, 'Hey! There's no toilet paper in here.' One of the clerks passed out.
Why America is failing Posted by: "bobv01" Bobv01@hotmail.com bobv01 Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:34 pm (PDT)
America is failing for a few reasons, whether a Brother or corporate citizen we forget of thinking of working together, we sometimes would rather pee upon each others shoes than to go at the task shoulder to shoulder. America and our Developed friends have bore the cost of a social experiment that has robbed Fathers of their children, and children their DADS. The whole world knows the US of A has serious budget talks to be had as soon as some truth about the special female programs went out, feminists countered by staying social security was not the concern, as we know that is the domicile of Title I and more. The projections are scary of 2030, 2050 and beyond, it is time to stand together as Brothers, write your congressman maybe even your senator the folks on TV and in print, again and again, at this time it is urgent. I have written elsewhere (check the link below) we can not support fatherhood while we attack fathers it is like peeing in one's own mouth. I think if we take the time to read the study next, we can find a way to agree, return children to their fathers, end no fault divorce, re-install families in America, save about one hundred billion dollars per year, allow families to work at their savings: http://antimisandry.com/essential/one-hundred-billion-dollar-man-39461.h\ tml <http://antimisandry.com/essential/one-hundred-billion-dollar-man-39461.\ html> We have had these studies for decades now, we have been distracted, with things that have not panned out, as the Dominos Gang can attest, when we come together as Brothers we can foster change, relentless letters and emails, share the messages with your friends more information is here: http://antimisandry.com/forum.php?referrerid=1197 <http://antimisandry.com/forum.php?referrerid=1197> 2012 is a few months away, 2030 and 2050 are closing in fast, tell every one you know we need to cut misandric fat. Bob van Ee, Executive Director West Michigan DADS http://www.west_michigan_DAD@live.com <http://www.west_michigan_DAD@live.com> http://www.groups.yahoo.com/group/westMichiganDADS <http://www.groups.yahoo.com/group/westMichiganDADS> http://www.westmichigandads.spaces.live.com <http://www.westmichigandads.spaces.live.com/> http://www.cid-3b9db9890be2e412.skydrive.live.com/browse.aspx/West%20Mic\ higan%20DADS%20files <http://www.cid-3b9db9890be2e412.skydrive.live.com/browse.aspx/West%20Mi\ chigan%20DADS%20files> http://www.westmichigandads.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!F857C19DF628DB60!13\ 3.entry <http://www.westmichigandads.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!F857C19DF628DB60!1\ 33.entry>
If you ever do "Day Game" (or even if you don't), you MUST read this article by Nick Hoss: The Ten Most Common Day Game Mistakes.
(Nick Hoss is a Love Systems instructor who was mentored and trained personally by none other than Jeremy Soul, the world's leading expert in "Day Game.")
Here's the top 10:
1. Taking too long to catch her. 2. Too much distance between you and her on the approach or during the interaction (important). 3. Too jerky tapping her on the shoulder/too much lingering initial touch. 4. Not being deliberate with eye contact on the opener. 5. Not using hand gestures for emphasis while speaking (this is one a lot of guys get wrong). 6. Too many questions, not enough statements. 7. Etc.
(Lists are boring. Let's just get started.)
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1. Taking too long to catch her - if you let a woman walk past you for more than three seconds, you'll have to run to catch up with her. Your body goes from a calm state of walking to noticing the woman and getting anxious, to running and panicking. By the time you open, your chest feels constricted and you're short of breath, all while you're trying to smile and keep a steady tone. It's too much.
Plus, if she sees or senses you running to catch up with her, she'll be on the defensive from the beginning.
Instead, see the girl, tell yourself "I need to approach her," turn and go. That's it. Ride the pelvic rush and project some decisive masculine energy. All of your subcommunications align and you feel more in the moment when you spot and react. In turn, the gears in your mind lube up because you focus on the excited feeling, not "I have to do X, Y and Z when I finally reach her."
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To read the rest of this killer piece, click the link below (it's free):
Nick Hoss is a Project Rockstar coach who will be situated in New York City from May until August 2011. He is available for day and night game one on ones and phone consultations anywhere in the world.
Common Day Game Mistakes Here is a list of the most common day game pick up mistakes and how to correct them. This list should cover some basic but often neglected stuff for beginners, yet it also should go beyond the "stand straight, talk slowly" advice that a Love Systems boot camp student will already know.
Taking too long to catch her—if you walk past a woman for more than three seconds, you’ll have to run to catch up with her. Your body goes from a calm state of walking, to noticing the woman and getting anxious, to running and panicking. By the time you open, your chest feels constricted, and you’re shorten, all while you’re trying to smile and keep a steady tone. It’s too much.
Instead, see the girl, tell yourself “I need to approach her,” turn and go. That’s it. Ride the pelvic rush and project some decisive masculine energy. All of your subcommunications align and you feel more in the moment when you spot and react. In turn, the gears in your mind lube up because you focus on the excited feeling, not “I have to do X, Y and Z when I finally reach her.”
Too much distance between you and her on the approach or during the interaction—this always starts when you approach her from too great of a distance. Even when you are decisive in approaching , if you stop her at further than an arm’s length or you are stretching to reach her, there’s too much space. (You also shouldn’t be so close that you have to coil your arm to touch her shoulder.)
Ideally, be within that arm’s length when you first contact her and be close enough that you could do a basketball pivot to face her. This means if you are walking south and she north, you turn back and stop her so you both turn in facing east-west. This makes it a mutual meeting—not confrontational but not taking a non-assertive (beta) position. It also makes it that much harder for her to walk off in first few seconds.
You’ll want to be at the edge of her comfort zone during set as well, which again is within an arm’s length. (Less than a full, outstretched arm.) If you and her can’t feel comfortable in each other’s space, how would you feel comfortable on a date?... or at least that is what she is picking up on through subcommunications.
Too jerky tapping her on the shoulder/too much lingering initial touch—first, to clear a misconception: you don’t need to tap her on the arm in order to stop her. In fact, I feel it is more powerful if you can cultivate a depth of voice that grabs her attention instead.
The tap on the shoulder is just a secondary means. It’s not a fancy “kino ” move; it’s used so she knows you are talking to her instead of stranger or to grab her attention over exterior noise/her headphones.
How fast and heavy should you touch her during these times? A slight bit longer than is needed for her to turn her head. The amount of pressure when tapping her should be tantamount to what you’d use to do a golf clap—enough so she just feels it. Keep your hand on the shoulder for one full second. She’s not as hot as a stovetop, but you’re not giving her a massage either.
If you do focus on this for ten straight sets, you can gauge the proper touch.
Not being deliberate with eye contact on the opener—direct openers are ballsy, but if you can’t see her pupils, the balls will drop right out of your opener. If you can barely look her, a stranger, in the eye when you’re reciting your prolific story of being taken aback by her stunning femininity, she won’t take you seriously. Oh, she’ll believe that you like her look, but she won’t feel the genuine feeling that a direct opener should have.
When you’re delivering the actual opener, I would recommend keeping eye contact for 90 per cent of it. After that, maintain direct eye contact around 75 per cent of the time when you’re talking and 40 per cent when she is talking. Once you get comfortable in set and have a real, interested conversation, the eye contact will take care of itself. (When you’re not making direct eye contact, focus on her mouth.)
Once honed, you’ll want to learn to drop your eye contact as you pause in your opener. Every guy who gets to an intermediate comfort with day game notices that openers eventually don’t hit, even when it flows like a waterfall. This is due to the nature of the day game direct opener…
Think about it: you stopped this woman because you thought she was “gorgeous” and you would be “kicking” yourself “all day” if you didn’t come to meet her. Would a woman with a pull that strong—enough to turn a man around in his tracks—get approached with a flawless line? No. Flawless lines sound rehearsed, almost fake or emotionless. Without emotion, the opener just won’t work.
Learn to drop your eye contact, be a bit bashful and throw in a slight “um” when you first tell her what made you turn around. This makes it an experience for her, not just a pick-up. She gets guys trying to pick her up all the time. Be genuine or have genuine intent.
Not using hand gestures for emphasis while speaking—This can feel awkward at first.
Day game is different in that you usually don’t have something to lock-in against, so you feel extra exposed. Of course, you’re too smart to cross your arms, but it’s nearly as bad to leave them hanging at your waist or hiding in your pockets.
Keep your hands just below your rib cage. If you shift your weight onto one leg and hold one hand with the other in front of you, you’ll look relaxed but not defensive. Like any good conversationalist, use one hand to reinforce certain points in your conversation. It’s quite rare to see a guy who is overanxious with his hands in day game , but if you’re flapping around or kneading dough, hold them a little more at this waist position. It’s the closest you can get to locking-in on an open sidewalk.
Too many questions, not enough statements—“Am I on a hidden camera or something?” a girl once asked me after I pummeled her with four or five straight questions. Kaboom! Blowout.
Mixing questions with statements is not only natural to good conversation, but it also allows you display your value because you get to talk about yourself.
A good experiment is to make a statement that shows your value and then wait until she responds. Often enough, a woman who is attracted will be smart enough to reply and relate to what you’re saying (which is also qualification on her part). You should get to a certain level of conversational mastery where you give enough DHV thread that she feels if pulled on it a little your whole story would unravel for her, and she can find out more about this interesting man she met. (This works for night game too.)
Approaching two-sets from the outside while opening solo—your approach will go much smoother if you stop both of them at the same time. (Again, this is another situation where developing a commanding vocal tone will come in handy.) To do this, you must approach from the middle. Your thin slice will be more powerful if you can stop two women at once, seemingly without extra effort.
If you approach from one side, you’ll only get one woman’s attention. The second may walk off or end up in a bad position, sometimes not hearing your opener or seeing your face, which leaves her to guess what your subcommunications were. Better hope she guesses something positive. Don’t leave things to chance.
Tap the shoulder of the girl you like from the inside (even if she strings her purse there), get her attention and her friend will naturally turn in. Voila, you have good position. Slowly rotate them to an east-west posture to create a more equal dynamic.
Tapping her on the side that her purse hangs—she may think you are trying to grab it, especially if she is walking alone. Just tap her on the other side and you can buy yourself a few more seconds later on by not spooking her.
Cornering her against a wall and Not moving her when needed—It’s human instinct to want an “out” from a closed situation. If she happens to be leaning against a wall of a building or in the corner of a bookstore, try to approach from more of an angle. This releases the primal pressure of fight or flight.
If you corner her and she gets nervous, she will unconsciously be trying to make herself more comfortable in the interaction (or try to leave it altogether). When she does this, her focus isn’t one how awesome you are, but rather on a million other sub-factors in the environment. As is the way of the pick-up world, you get pinned as the guy who it “just didn’t feel right” with instead of the guy who took a chance in a less-than-ideal situation. Thus is the game.
Find a better angle when approaching or shift to a different one when you do. It will put her more at ease and may give you an opportunity to lock in.
Likewise, on a busy street, don’t be afraid to tell a girl to move out of the middle of the sidewalk so you don’t get “run over.” If people are constantly brushing her, she’ll be looking for an out or not paying attention. She may even give you the I really wish this wasn’t such an awkward situation look as she pulls out her phone and says she is late.
If she looks really nervous or uncomfortable but is trying to stay engaged in the conversation, you can give a suggestive tug on her shoulder or hand as you tell her to move. Often this can be quite calming and can move things forward as you both step to the side.
Share Del.icio.usDiggTwitterFacebookStumbleUponEmail Close [X]Resources PHOTO GALLERY See more images of Marine veteran Clay Hunt RESOURCES FOR VETS VA's Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 800-273-TALK (8255) or chat online at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
"I think he was a lot more philosophical about life than a lot of us are, but trying to search for some inner peace and the meaning of life, what was the most important thing," said his father, Stacy Hunt.
His son's quest ended last week when he took his own life at his Sugar Land apartment.
The 28-year-old had narrowly escaped death in Iraq four years ago, when a sniper's bullet missed his head by inches. But he wrestled with post-traumatic stress disorder and survivor's guilt over the deaths of four friends in his platoon who weren't so lucky.
"Two were lost in Iraq, and the other two were killed in Afghanistan," said his mother, Susan Selke. "When that last one in Afghanistan went down, it just undid him."
In many ways, Hunt's death is all too familiar: the haunted veteran consumed by a war he can't stop fighting.
Suicides among Texans younger than 35 who served in the military jumped from 47 in 2006 to 66 in 2009 — an increase of 40 percent, according to state records.
The problem seems increasingly intractable. Efforts by the Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs to stop the alarming rise in military suicides nationwide through training and screening have had limited success.
'He tried everything' Hunt's suicide was baffling to friends and family, but not because he hid his struggle or failed to get help. It baffled them because he faced it, head-on, leading from the front like any good Marine.
Hunt had become a poster boy for suicide prevention. He appeared in an award-winning public service campaign to encourage returning veterans who feel isolated to reach out to their peers for help.
"He tried everything," said his best friend Jake Wood, a fellow Marine. "He tried the medication, he tried (humanitarian) service, he tried moving back closer to family. He tried everything under the sun, and he was fully self-aware. I think that's what kind of surprised everybody. We thought that Clay was taking the steps to try and avoid something like this. It's unfortunate that he wasn't able to."
Hunt was born at Houston's Methodist Hospital on April 18, 1982. He grew up in the Memorial area, a tow-headed ball of energy who played tackle football, read voraciously and loved to collect turtles.
"But he definitely didn't move at a turtle's pace at anything," his mother said. "He was ADHD with kind of a big H — very hyper, very outgoing," she recalled, referring to Hunt's childhood diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Hunt graduated from Stratford High School in 2001. He headed to College Station to attend Blinn College, with the goal of transferring to his dream school, Texas A&M.
A few years later, when the paperwork for Hunt's transfer was almost done, he called his father. "Dad, I just feel I'm wasting your money," he said. Hunt said he wanted to be part of something bigger than himself.
He enlisted in the Marine Corps infantry in May 2005.
"Clay said to me at several points, 'I want to be given a task and complete and do it well,' and that's kind of how he was made," his mother said. "Give me a mission, put me on the ground, let me go do it."
A warrior's poise In January 2007, Hunt deployed to Iraq with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment. Before he left, his parents traveled to California to see him off. His father remembers marveling at his son's self-assurance. He attributed the young man's newfound poise to months of intense training and to the bond he had built with fellow Marines.
"He was like, 'Dad, don't worry, don't worry, don't worry,' " the elder Hunt said. "But he was so confident. He was feeling pretty good."
Six weeks later, Hunt called his father by satellite phone from Anbar Province.
"His voice had changed," his father said, "and for the first time in my life, I could tell he had a touch of fear in his voice."
Three friends from Hunt's company had died in the space of a few weeks, "basically right in front of his eyes," his father said.
"He didn't feel invincible anymore," his mother said.
One of those killed was Hunt's friend and bunkmate, Lance Cpl. Blake Howey, 20. After his death on Feb. 18, 2007, Hunt moved from his top bunk and started sleeping in Howey's bottom bunk. "He just felt like it brought him closer to Howey," his mother said.
Not long after Howey died, Hunt was driving a Humvee when a sniper fatally shot Lance Cpl. Nathan Windsor, 20, who was walking in front of the vehicle.
"Clay felt very helpless in that firefight because he was stuck driving a Humvee, and he wasn't able to do anything," Wood said. "He wasn't able to fire his weapon."
Hunt told his mother it was like watching a bad movie. "He said that scene played in his head," Selke said. "He said it would be on replay, rewind all the time."
A few days later, a sniper's bullet ripped through Hunt's left wrist. He'd rested his chin on that hand right before the shot rang out, and moved his head at the last second.
"I would've thought you'd feel like the luckiest guy on the earth that you got shot and they missed your head, but that's not how he felt," his father said. "He felt he didn't deserve it."
Became sniper himself Hunt's wrist wound was his ticket home, but he hated leaving his buddies in Iraq.
He had no choice. Hunt was evacuated to Germany, and then California, where he threw himself into helping rehabilitate a badly injured Marine from his unit.
A year later, after graduating from Marine sniper school, Hunt deployed again, this time to Afghanistan, where two more friends were killed.
When Hunt left the Marine Corps in 2009, his mother bought him a shadow box. Inside he put his medals and pictures of those four fallen Marines from his platoon. He kept it by the door in his apartment.
"Every day he looked at that, and thought of his guys," his mother said.
"He could never really leave behind the feeling of, 'Why me? Why did I make it and the other guys didn't?' " his father said.
Civilian life not easy Like many vets, Hunt had a bumpy transition from the military.
It took him 10 months and a series of doctor visits to get disability payments after the VA lost his paperwork.
He dropped out of Loyola Marymount University last year, and a two-year marriage ended in divorce. He told his parents that he'd come close to killing himself at least twice in the past six months.
But he found a renewed sense of purpose in volunteerism. He lobbied for veterans' rights on Capitol Hill, helped build bikes for Ride 2 Recovery, a mental and physical rehabilitation program for injured veterans, and volunteered in earthquake-stricken Haiti and Chile with Team Rubicon, a nonprofit founded by Wood that rechannels military veterans' skills to humanitarian aid work.
"I think it was incredibly therapeutic for him, for all of us really, to be able to go to a place like that and do nothing but help people," Wood said.
In recent months, Hunt focused on the future. He moved back to Houston. He bought a truck. He found a job at a construction company. He got medication for his depression and PTSD. He moved into a new apartment and started dating. He even considered re-enlisting.
On March 31, though, Hunt didn't show for work. He stopped answering his phone. His frantic mother drove to his apartment. Maintenance workers forced their way in and found Hunt dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
His mother desperately wants to know what was in his mind when he pulled the trigger.
"I thought we were over that hump," Selke said. "He said, 'Mom, stop worrying.' He said, 'Mom, there have been so many times I've thought about it, but I love you guys too much, and I just don't want you to have to go through that.' So I know whatever happened, it had to be something he just couldn't control. He did not want to do this."
Funeral drew 1,100 Active-duty military suicides hit record numbers in recent years. No statistics track how many veterans like Hunt have taken their own lives after leaving the service, said Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, the nonprofit group that sponsored the public service ad featuring Hunt.
"This was a guy who was doing all the right things, it seems like, and we lost him," Rieckhoff said. "If it can happen to Clay, then it can happen to anyone. This should be a wakeup call for America."
More than 1,100 people packed Memorial Drive United Methodist Church on Monday for Hunt's memorial service. Veterans came from all over the country.
Wood flew in from California to deliver a eulogy for his brother Marine.
"He thought the world was supposed to be a better place than it is, and he lived every day of his life thinking, perhaps naively, that his efforts could make the world be what he thought it should be," Wood said.
When Hunt woke up every day and his efforts seemed in vain, that made him more depressed, Wood said.
"Clay, I think that you realize now just how loved you were," Wood said. "You have a church full of people who are honored to be here, and we love you."
Angel Harris returned from Afghanistan eight years ago pregnant and — like thousands of other female veterans — with a case of PTSD, a disorder that took six years to diagnose. The military has only recently begun to offer women the same PTSD benefits as men. By Faye Fiore, Los Angeles Times
April 9, 2011
Reporting from Williamsport, Pa.
The Bullfrog Brewery is crowded for lunch and tables are scarce, but former Army Sgt. Angel Harris finds one where she can sit with her back to a wall and still see out a window. She isn't sure what she's watching for. A sniper maybe, or an ambush.
This is downtown Williamsport — the Appalachian hamlet where Little League was born — not the sort of place where people wait around for something awful to happen. But that's the way Harris has viewed the world since she returned from Afghanistan eight years ago carrying her unborn son and a case of PTSD.
The baby was easy to figure out. A home pregnancy test administered in a camp latrine saw to that. The post-traumatic stress disorder took more than six years to diagnose. Women are not permitted to serve in direct ground combat in the U.S. armed forces, so by military reasoning, they weren't likely to suffer from combat-related trauma.
Except they do.
"I was one tough broad," says Harris, 34, who did a tour in Kosovo and one in Afghanistan, where she was the first female combat photographer deployed by the Army. "I was a bartender. I bounced people. I had no fear. Now, sometimes I'm afraid to leave my house."
Harris is one of more than 230,000 women to serve in Afghanistan or Iraq since 2001, about 15% of the U.S. forces to be deployed there. More than 750 have been wounded in action and 137 killed. Thousands more — 20% by the military's count — came home with PTSD, a debilitating anxiety disorder that, for female veterans, was at one time almost exclusively caused by sexual assault, not combat.
Modern warfare changed that. Gone are the days of infantry up front and everyone else to the rear. Truck drivers, military police, photographers — the non-infantry roles in which women inevitably wind up — are as exposed to roadside bombs and mortar attacks as their most highly trained brethren.
Yet a report in December by the Department of Veterans Affairs' Office of Inspector General found that women were denied PTSD benefits at a higher rate than men. That's because the VA required a combat badge or ribbon before authorizing compensation, something that women — restricted to noncombat jobs — couldn't earn. They and their male counterparts in noncombat roles were required to prove harm from a specific event.
In the course of the VA review, the rules changed last summer. Now, any veteran who had been deployed to a combat zone is eligible for compensated care, and the VA faces a need whose scope and size is unknown.
"The largest population harmed by the old rules was women. You get shot in the chest, it's pretty easy to see there's a hole in you. But invisible injuries like PTSD aren't isolated to one single event," explained Tom Tarantino, senior legislative associate for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
He likened a woman with combat trauma to a paratrooper who jumps out of a plane 7,000 times and is asked to name the jump that wrecked his knees: "It's cumulative. Wear and tear on the body is easy to understand. Wear and tear on the mind is not."
That's how it was for Harris. No single horrific tale changed her from a gung-ho girl eager to serve her country to a suburban housewife peeking out the door suspiciously when the neighbors knock.
The sum total of her wartime service did it. Somewhere along the way, something in her head clicked and Harris crossed from fearless recruit to tormented soldier. She left the Army feeling like "something is wrong with me," and entered a world of play dates and preschool under a pall of combat trauma.
From the time she was 10, Angel Harris wanted to join the Army. Her parents hoped college would change her mind. It didn't. She earned a bachelor's degree in marketing and signed up for six years as a combat photographer with the 55th Signal Company.
This was pre-Sept. 11, 2001, America was at peace, and talk of overseas fighting was, to Harris, just talk. She left for Kosovo at 22, newly married and, by her own account, naive. "I got woken up to the ways of the world pretty quick."
The wake-up call came during an enemy mortar attack on a distant Kosovo mountaintop. Harris thought little of it until a week later when she saw what a mortar could do: a village occupied by U.S. soldiers, wrecked. Two civilians dead.
"That's when it kicked in, what had happened the week before to me. It's one thing to hear the locals are shooting each other, but to mortar American soldiers on a peacekeeping mission?"
After that she was different. Alcohol is forbidden in the war zone, so she drank what she could get her hands on: beer, whiskey, vodka, disguised in a water bottle — a textbook sign of PTSD. She pushed away her husband, another sign. "I couldn't call home and say, 'Hey, honey, guess what I did today?' He wouldn't understand."
By the time her six-month tour ended in summer 2001, so had the marriage. The America she came back to was too busy sipping lattes to recognize the inevitable doom she felt. A month later, 19 hijackers confirmed her view: "It cemented everything I believed," she said, "that at any point, at any time, someone's going to take your life."
She got as drunk as she could as often as she could, and called her husband one night. He took her back 30 days before the divorce was final.
If Harris had changed as a person, the Army didn't seem to notice. She was promoted to sergeant and sent to Afghanistan in 2002: "I was ecstatic. Over there, everybody was like I was, living in danger, being a soldier."
Her mind recorded the carnage as surely as her camera did. The mangled wreckage of the helicopter where four soldiers died. The coffin with the remains of a sergeant she'd never met, but would spend years thinking about. The Afghan man who groped her in broad daylight. She still wonders why she stood there and took it.
Harris had gone over pregnant, but didn't know it. At four months, there was no denying it. Pregnancy is not only forbidden in deployment, it's stigmatized — a coward's way out. She worried whether the drinking, stress and malaria pills might have harmed the baby. She came home in January 2003 and quit the Army a month before Ayden Donavan Harris was born. In her mind, she had let her country down.
Women have served the nation honorably since the American Revolution. Deborah Sampson impersonated a man and enlisted twice; Molly Corbin took over her husband's job loading cannons after he was killed in battle. Today, women deploy in greater numbers than ever before. Yet the effects of combat on them have only recently been explored.
The emerging data suggest that what men and women take away from war is "pretty comparable," said Amy Street, a clinical psychologist with the National Center for PTSD and the VA Healthcare System in Boston, which studies the effects of combat on women.
"These women are not victims," Street said. "That's not to say their experiences aren't terribly difficult, but they sign up knowing the potential cost. They do it because they are proud of what they do and good at what they do."
The VA has been treating PTSD for years, including with a highly effective cognitive behavior method known as talk therapy, Street said. Historically, though, it was applied to military women who had experienced sexual assault, not combat trauma. As a growing number of injured women return from war, the VA is shifting focus to make top-of-the-line care readily accessible for them.
"These treatments can be very effective in helping veterans, both men and women, get their lives back on track," Street said.
When Harris came home in 2003, no one was talking about combat stress. She hung her uniforms in a closet and took her place as a stay-at-home mom in suburbia, with its low crime and backyard cookouts. No matter. It might as well have been Kandahar. She bolted the windows and doors. Once, while barricading the place before a repairman arrived, she accidentally locked 6-month-old Ayden inside in his bouncy chair. She was in such a panic, the locksmith didn't charge her.
One PTSD symptom is the inability to connect to loved ones, but when it came to Ayden, she "took Mother Bear to a new extreme." Other new mothers invited her over. Too risky; public parks or restaurants only. Her sister-in-law asked to take the baby on a stroller ride around the block. Out of the question.
"I remember thinking, why would I want to let him do that?" she said of Ayden. "These were normal, everyday thoughts for me."
Half of her wanted to guard her son and the other half was desperate to be back in Afghanistan where people like her were smart, not crazy. She reenlisted in 2009, this time in the Navy Reserve, asking to deploy. The Navy obliged. Her husband hung in there. She took him to a veterans' retreat hoping he would see her side and, in the course of it, realized he wasn't the one with the problem.
It was suddenly clear: What kind of a mother is relieved when her son twists his ankle at a crowded park because she's desperate for any excuse to leave? Who takes a different route to drive their child five blocks to school every day?
She called the VA for help and was diagnosed with PTSD. Paying for treatment was another matter. The VA would not cover the cost until she established that her injury was service-connected. The bills mounted while she gathered photographs and letters proving she was what the tattoo on her left leg attested, in Arabic: "damaged goods."
The VA approved Harris for PTSD benefits in February 2010 — seven years after she came home. Weekly treatment appears to be working. She is holding down a job as a women's prison guard and sleeping five hours a night. She lets Ayden, 7, visit friends by himself. Intent on a new life, she rented an apartment and filed for divorce.
"I don't want to be the new face of PTSD," she said. "What I want is for that woman hiding in her house, peeking out her window at her neighbors, keeping her kids inside, to know that she's not going crazy. Because I felt like I was going crazy for a long, long time."
The Navy learned of her diagnosis and pulled her orders six days before she was to leave for Afghanistan in January. A medical board is reviewing her fitness to serve. If they'll have her, she's going. "Ayden's old enough now," she said, acknowledging the change of heart and explaining: "I didn't finish. I left my team."
She heads outside the brewery for a cigarette and comes back asking the only question left: "So why would a person with PTSD want to go to the place that caused it?"
WASHINGTON — Legislation introduced in Congress this week would ensure that students attending college under the new post-9/11 GI Bill will have their full tuition covered, even if the cost exceeds the $17,500 cap put in place under recent changes to the program.
The measures, overshadowed by the looming government shutdown, are sponsored by House Veterans Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller, R-Fla., and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. In statements released Thursday, both said they hope to act on the legislation before the new changes go into effect, potentially costing some student veterans thousands of dollars.
In December, Congress passed changes to the new GI Bill rules, including a flat rate of $17,500 per year for tuition and fees for private and out-of-state public universities. That move will give most students thousands more in tuition funding, but for students whose current tuition costs exceed $17,500, the move could leave them deep in debt.
AdvertisementVeterans groups have urged lawmakers to pass a quick fix to grandfather those students in at current tuition rates, making sure they can complete their college classes. Both Schumer’s and Miller’s bills would do that, promising all veterans currently enrolled in classes tuition assistance totaling either $17,500 or the money they received for the fall 2010 semester, whichever is greater.
In a statement, Schumer said the move will “ensure that our veterans receive the full benefits they were promised and rightly deserve.”
Miller told Stars and Stripes that he’s optimistic his bill can be passed before the changes go into effect this August, saying the move will “allows [a student veteran] to finish the education they started.”
Miller’s bill would pay for the grandfather clause by holding GI Bill housing stipends flat for two years, a move that could cost all student veterans several hundred dollars in coming months. Miller said that move was needed to make sure the fix did not add to the national deficit. Schumer’s measure does not include a cost offset.
No hearings have been scheduled on either bill. If legislation is not passed, the new GI Bill tuition rates will go into effect for the fall 2011 semester.