The following is a series of unfinished posts that I meant to publish, but, for the most part, was interrupted or couldn’t figure out how to voice in a less “poor me” way. The short end of it is that I can’t. They’re journal entries. They’re very hopeless, and I felt alone when I was writing them. All of them were written while I was in Advanced Individual Training [and none of them were to blame on the system or the Army]. The biggest reason for me feeling so down was that I was surrounded by peers who were younger, and didn’t think that my achievements distinguished me at all, thus treated me as if I were on their level. Needless to say, I didn’t feel like that way; my maturity level and humor wasn’t the same, and I was more strictly obedient. This sounds egotistical, I know. Here’s the convex part of it: the ins and outs of my Military Occupational Specialty aren’t that hard, but I struggled with much of it. The more I struggled, the more I didn’t feel I could do it, and the more questions I asked, and the tighter I would hang on to minutia so that I could see the whole picture. This drove my classmates nuts. The more I screwed up, the more I tried to not, and the more tense I became. Some people react well to stress, but not this guy; especially when it’s academia. But I can hustle when it comes to doing physical readiness training, or scaling a cargo net, or hucking a frag grenade. Words I can also do. But math and technical stuff and theory? Friggin’ electronics? That’s not my bag; not my forté.
Hence why I’ve written a ton of material simply to help me feel better. When I write, I feel like I’m breathing. It’s what I need to do. And I don’t write only for myself. I write to be read. By whom? Gosh, I hope it’s by people who can relate. You. I hope you can relate.
Some of these are composed with the pretense that the previous entries were not published, and may seem disjointed.
I publish simply as a set of journal entries; not to entertain, but simply because its theraputic. I contemplated deleting them since they weren’t really appropriate for the Web, but if that, why write them? For that question, I publish them.
[Originally written November 25, 2015]
What to do when you find out you’re generally not a good person? What when you see that people complain against you for problems you’ve heard before but thought you’d outgrown? What, when you finally understand that at your age you won’t likely ever grow out of them? How to fix these traits when you don’t see any other way of being? Isn’t that why anyone is why they are—they make the changes they can, and would change for the better if only they knew how?
I miss the days of high school, when a new year would start and a new wardrobe would be all that you needed to be cool. All you needed was steez and you’d have social standing. Yes, that’s a cop-out and only for a rather cheap representation of respect, when instead respect could be earned through character and hard work—as we all know that nothing worth having isn’t easy to get. Yet it seems that no matter how hard I try, how much of a decent human being I try to be, I never quite make it. I miss when so much effort wasn’t needed to be likable. I’ve tried hard to gain charisma, but it seems someone always has a problem with something I do. You can’t please everyone, they say. And for anyone who tries to, that person will just be—I forget the rest of the platitude, but it’s not “happy”. I’m told I should have thicker skin, but it’s not happening. No matter the endurance I put up or the degree of trial I have, I’m still resilient to resiliency. (The thought makes me laugh.)
I feel bad for the people around me that have to endure me. I feel like I should just continually move so that I’m not a drain on anyone’s patience. I feel especially bad for my wife. She says she loves me, but what kind of spell have I cast on her to make her immune to my eccentricities? I know she’s not immune, because if you bring any of them up to her she’ll laugh and sigh like a tired but true friend. She’s very much aware of them. But why does she stay? Why, when people that have known me for a few weeks can’t stand me, and she’s been with me for years?
I’m self-aware that voicing these concerns inherently pleads for advocacy, or sympathy, and I don’t want that. I don’t want to be understood, or babied. I just want to be told how to fix it in an actionable way.
Deteriorant metamorphosis: decay
[Originally written April 5, 2015]
Man, I miss who I was.
This is the first time I’ve written since Basic, which was last October. I’ve tried writing once since then but the draft is still floating there in the cloud, undeveloped and unpublished. But I haven’t been inspired to write and share my thoughts with the world since; not to pontificate. Actually, I don’t know if I have believed in myself to do so. Writing is cathartic for me, and I publish because I feel like I have something I want people to hear, or that people will want to hear, or something I just want to get off my chest. I don’t think I’ve felt any of those things in a long time. Sure, there’s stuff I’ve wanted to get off my chest, but I haven’t felt significant enough to put it in the global view. Actually, now that I think about it, I haven’t written since entering MEPS.
I wish I had. Coming out of basic was such a milestone for me. The weekend pass I got with my wife before Advanced Individual Training was one of the most epic times I’ve had in years, and she was the most gorgeous she’s ever been to me. [Even in the photos we took she still looks like her skin in glowing]. But even if I had written I still don’t know what I would have written about, since BCT was really trying and I definitely felt like there were some effed up things that happened then, but I didn’t want to complain or jeopardize my career by writing about them. In hindsight, they weren’t that bad. Could have been worse. But I definitely felt reborn after it. I should have written.
I also felt neutered. Or that my identity had been robbed of me. Before, I had felt like I was a mature, responsible, clever adult, but going through Basic brought me down to my peers’s eighteen-year-old level instead of applauded me for being where I was.
[Originally written April 20, 2015]
I can’t wait to be recognized for my achievements, and to be given respect for my character and for what I can do. I relish for when I am treated as if I have something to say, instead of something laughable.
Every day feels like middle school again, and I dread coming to class because I know I’ll be sidelined and not taken seriously. I feel like I just have to submit to this state, since standing up for myself will only make my classmates call me overreactive, or weak, or that I can’t take a joke. Although I’ll admit I don’t have very thick skin, and my expectation for respect has likely brought this upon myself, I still don’t enjoy it, and I want to hit someone over it. Not just anyone—I don’t mean to harm a stranger; just that I’d like to break my fist off in someone’s mouth, probably the two guys that sit in the back of the classroom. But I can’t. My employer takes that too seriously, despite them not before. Ten years ago it would have been encouraged. Today it would mean jail time. That’s why I’m going to tell my kids to get into fights while they’re young and it doesn’t mean anything. When you’re an adult it means you can’t get a job, but when you’re a kid it means that you get a surprise school vacation. Sometimes violence is the answer, since some scum bags don’t listen to reason.
It’s irritating that my peers are ten years younger than me, and the same age as kids I used to teach as a substitute. “Oh really, you little brat hole? Neat. Explain your disdain for authority and your elders to the principle.” I just can’t wait to be these schmucks’s sergeant. Right now, despite outranking them, I know just as much as they about the Army, and so I’ve got no claim here. But once we’re out of TRADOC, I’ll be an NCO-in-training. Thirty-seven more days of suckage, and then I’ll be in a much better position than they. Every dog has his day, and mine will be here soon.
The sociodynamics of being disliked
[Originally written May 20, 2015)
For a really long time, even as a teenager, I’ve wanted to write a paper on what it’s like to be disliked. And by that I don’t mean things like “it sucks,” or “nobody likes me, boo hoo.” But because I’ve gone through cycles of being popular and extremely unpopular, I thought it would be insightful for me to share my insights on how my abilities are different when I am disliked than from a person who is liked very much by their peers. And here I will chronicle them.
- A liked person could say the exact same thing as someone who is disliked and get an extremely different reaction from it. For example something that would be deemed extremely humorous, witty, and sarcastic from a liked person would be moronic and shallow from a person who is disliked. For example, “You shot the wrong team!” ‘Well, look whose talking: at least I shot someone.’
- A liked person will get vastly different praise for an accomplishment than a disliked person. A feat will seem amazing on one hand and a fluke on the other.
- A liked person’s shortcomings are laughed-off, but the shortcomings of a disliked person are magnified and rubbed in their face. This hardly helps to improve the abilities of the latter.
- Resolving confrontation between said dichotomous individuals or groups is dicey. Reporting to the lowest situational authority makes things worse, increasing antagonism outside the view of authorities (and we all know that higher-ups can’t chaperone us constantly). Thus, one is faced with having to solve one’s own problems, even though any course of action can be problematic. The aforementioned option of narcing can make you seem weak to the higher-ups, and they may ask why you were too weak to handle it yourself. And a fist fight between a bully and the bullied is assault, and is punishable by law, or even more immediately consequential, would likely result in a dogpile on the bullied. Any way you cut it, you are creating great risks for yourself.
- If you have a physical defects like a speech impediment or are unattractive, you must be entirely perfect elsewhere, because when you screw up people will amplify your fault 10 times more than they would anybody else who didn’t have a defect. For some reason your defect makes the ability to dislike you so much the greater
- If you tell a story with a comedic exaggeration, they will not see the exaggeration, but instead apply their lense to your story and use it as evidence of your foolishness. In short, everything you would do—even if done in the same way the charismatic peer would have done it—only validates their gossip.
- Playfulness can seem rude, or if perceived in the extreme, like assault. While the same person can josh with their friend in a particular way, if they were to josh with someone they are trying to be friends with in the same manner, they could start a fist fight.
The complexities of struggling
[Originally written June 8, 2015]
I want to be a hero.
I want to be somebody that others are proud of and want to be around, to whom others are drawn.
I want to change the world, I want to be president, I want to earn the Medal of Honor.
But the fact is that I’m not and likely will not. I’m somewhere between being capable of all that and the neurologically and socially retarded Norman’s from Yes Man (2008), blissfully ignorant of the embarrassment I rack upon peers. Sometimes people think I’m funny—intentionally and cleverly funny—which I aim to be; but eventually that wears and people come to see my frank humor as me just being an ignorant a-hole.