I rooted for grey haired Taylor Hicks during the only season I watched all of American Idol. Pleased with his victory, disappointed with the single song that the industry forced him to record, I stopped watching Idol. I did not care what happened to him until I read the Huffington Post update on Hick’s career, five years later, by an author I know and appreciate.
As members of the military, we can learn something from Taylor Hicks. Cicily Janus writes:
“There’s passion, excitement and a clear message to anyone who’s ever wanted to be bigger than their beginning, that all things are possible if only you stay true to yourself. . . .Be honest with yourself and everyone else too. Leaving that path known as the straight and narrow is a disservice to all involved. This isn’t about a single work, it’s about living a life regardless of the expectation of others.”
The people I know who survived military trauma more or less “whole,” live their life the way Hicks apparently has. Prisoners of War who were raped, officers who did what they thought was necessary to save lives, and men who treated the enemy with respect, ignoring enormous pressure from their peers, are people who came home “whole,” not caring if the American Public welcomed or vilified them.
The only bedfellows that lie next to artists at the end of the day are regret, guilt, and shame when you live in a country that believes in cubicles more than it does classical music and collections of rare art. Notions of what is “good” are skewed through mass media outlets and those photoshopped lives most of us live.
Change the noun from artists to warriors, and this passage applies to the detachment many soldiers feel after they return home. The cure is a strong sense of self and internalized values that see the soldier through both the trauma of war and the trauma of coming home.