For the longest time, I struggled with seeing myself the way others viewed me. The Anel everyone knew was strong, took no crap from anyone and was a go-getter. In reality, I was human and hurt just like everyone else and had NO clue what I wanted to do with my life. I also learned to fake it or many years. It wasn't until I learned to be still, get connected to God that this all changed and I was able to get clarity on my purpose. Alejandra and I share that same faith and understanding that staying connected and trusting in God all things are possible.
Last year I had the privilege of attending Horse Sense & Healing, a resilience-building workshop for veterans, police, fire, first responders and their families. Alejandra shared her story of her first experience attending the workshop and I was in awe. The Alejandra I saw was very brave, vulnerable and transparent, I was inspired by her courage. After reading her story of everything she has overcome I have a new found form of respect for her. She is braver than I thought and in all honesty more so that she believes herself to be.
Alejandra is a US Army veteran, a survivor of Operation Iraqi Freedom, was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, Military Sexual Trauma, a witness of domestic violence both a child and as a young adult, and later becoming a survivor of domestic violence and several sexual traumas. Similar to me, she was encouraged to break her silence after observing others being unable to vocalize or express their concerns and fears. She reacted to this by becoming a catalyst for change and sharing her story in the hopes that others would come forward and share their stories as well.
After multiple childhood molestations by family members, date rape by so-called friends, and military service members her life took a dramatic change on September 11, 2001, the day that most of us can remember every last detail. At that time she was 22 years old, a newlywed who was madly in love, stationed in Germany as a US Army Air Traffic Controller. Her unit was unit was activated to deploy to the Middle Eastern when she also learned her husband was leaving her. “With no available time to devote to [her] personal life, the issue of divorce was handled right then and there, in under five minutes flat”.
Alejandra has been an inspiration to many veterans by her active participation as a spokeswoman and mentor with Horse Sense and Healing with Monty Roberts and her role with the documentary Horse Sense and Soldiers (Military Channel) and Unbridled (Pentagon Channel). Even though others see you has being brave and inspirational it can be difficult for you to see yourself as that strong person. Alejandra admits that there are times that she wishes had a different life than her own at times. Alejandra lives in full faith and trust in God. Her words of wisdom to us is to understand that “God loves us unconditionally, just as we are, and we ought to love ourselves in that same manner. When we begin to receive our own love and God's love for us, we will begin to see our lives grow and take shape. Work together with God to create your masterpiece.”
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