Tomorrow marks nine and a wake-up to conclude this school. I already talked about how I really didn’t want to be here and now I’m discovering that it’s way better than being Over There. I’m glad to have a break from The Establishment for these 15 days. It is amazing how this ended up being a total de-stresser for me. It’s like I’ve been checked into rehab. I thought it would be nerve-wracking with a lot of carrying on and crap like that, but it is extremely laid back. I’m grateful for that. Really, all they are concerned about is the classroom stuff and they are not here trying to purposely failed us. Everything that everyone who has gone to school before me has not been applicable to this situation. So I guess someone Up There is really looking out for me after all.
Even the classmates aren’t that bad. None of them wanted to be here anymore than I did, but they also admitted that it is not as horrible as what they were told it would be like. It’s actually a little bit weird. Usually when you go to school, any school where it’s military, civilian, some kind of civilian job training, whatever, there’s always these “characters.” You usually have one asshole or bitch in the class. Then there’s the stereotypical douchebag. There’s a class clown. And then there’s the village idiot, the guy or girl who has the IQ of a mildly retarded four-year old. I don’t have anyone like that in my class. Everybody is different MOSs, coming from different states and whatever. Some active duty, some reserves and some National Guard, but everybody is surprisingly normal. There are no arguments, no drama, no controversy. Nothing.
The instructors have done their best to keep the atmosphere entertaining and relaxed. They do have a standard to uphold but they have not been dickheads about it. Yes, they want you to call them “sergeant.” Yes, you have to stand at parade rest and call “at ease” every time they walk in the classroom, but one instructor said he would appreciate it if someone piped up with a joke every now and again, and the other instructor doesn’t seem to mind that we occasionally veer off topic to talk about our personal situation both military and civilian. I think I know more about these people than I do those other guys (except the ones I came with.) Maybe we’re a captive audience, or maybe some of us seem to be going through the same mental woes as everyone else and we finally have someone to talk to.
Actually, I think it might be just that. You don’t want to do too much complaining, venting or mental dumping to those in your unit because maybe you don’t want them in your business, maybe you don’t want them to think you’re weak, or maybe you’re not comfortable with them because you know nobody really cares. You come in this classroom with 15 other people you probably won’t ever see again and you finally have a place to put all that garbage that’s been weighing you down. I talked about the suicide we had in the home unit, my battle buddy with PTSD and the family issues at home that I can’t help fix because I’m here. Everyone listened. Everyone seemed to care. Even if they really didn’t care, they gave a damn good imitation so it worked for me. There’s a guy in the class who talked about his pending divorce, another guy told us about his wife’s miscarriage, a girl expressed how difficult it was for her family because both she and her husband are deployed and her child is growing up without them. Everybody has all these stories and the instructors are just letting us talk. It’s like a counseling session without looking like a loser.
Yeah, I know they say you can go see the chaplain or the resiliency team or whatever, but always in that corner of your mind you feel like everyone is judging you. At least I can say that I came to school and ended up getting the mental health assistance that I think I needed. I was getting so tired of people saying, “This is not a real deployment, what are you so stressed about?” Mission wise, maybe it isn’t a real deployment. I don’t know, I can’t speak to that, but everything else we’re putting up with is. We’re living like illegal immigrants and being treated like third class citizens. I found it almost hysterical that in my class there are two other soldiers from the battalions and we’re the only ones who live in tents. Everyone else in the class lives in barracks. One guy, A SPECIALIST, lives in a six-man room by himself. If that doesn’t make you crazy I don’t know what does.
At any rate, I just felt like I was able to finally unload. It has freed up a lot of baggage and I am actually able to think about something else other than this shithole. I do worry about what happens in nine days when I have to go back. I don’t know if that little black raincloud that has been following me since December will return or what. I doubt anything has changed over there. I’ve only been gone six days, but God made the world in that many days, so anything could happen.