So I’ve officially been in the Navy for 4 years now. I’d like to pretend I’m stronger, more mature, and whatever platitudes I could otherwise cram into a reasonable length Facebook status. Though, reassuringly enough, I’m mostly the same as I’ve ever been.
I joined the Navy as an attempt to force upon myself the discipline I severely lacked as an adult human. I had never held a job for more than 2 years because I simply stopped showing up when I got bored of it, I was the “shithead roommate” in every home I had ever lived in, and was an all around layabout. The Navy forced that out of me, and that’s really the best of it.
In the 4 years of voluntary service I’ve subjected myself to thus far, I have learned a lot more than I ever thought I would. I’ve been to the lowest point in my life, and also the highest. I’ve felt a fear that I would have otherwise written off as impossible. I’ve also overcome that fear and been better (subjectively) for the experience.
I’d state the quintessential experience of my “service” as my mast and the events surrounding it. It was the first time in my adult life that I was made to take absolute responsibility for my actions. More so, I was made to take responsibility for others guilt. I did wrong, and others told the truth of me. They would later tell me that they felt bad for being responsible for “my downfall.”
You’ve never felt shame until someone apologizes to you for telling the truth about you.
I was awarded a punishment and served it. I tried to rebound from it with dignity and did.. moderately well, I’d say. But the lesson of it all stayed with me. I had failed myself and those I had striven to support. I’d like to believe I’m doing better now. Time will tell. I have about 4 and a half years left if I don’t re-enlist (still on the fence). And I’d like them to be in stark contrast to the first four.