If I am sharing a song or video with you it is because it is meant to be watched for the full effect of my thoughts.
Conditioning is practice. Practice is bringing into fruition what you intend to be. A cadence is practice. A cadence is conditioning. The cadence you hear above I mentioned, in one of my previous posts and the word, “kill.” Even as I write this, I feel the same type of ick and the need to cleanse. I wonder who is watching and listening, waiting to change the status of my discharge. A guilt that I am doing something wrong by admitting this fucked me up.
As a military police officer, during boot camp and AIT for whatever reason we were held to a different standard than any other professions in the ARMY. Boot Camp for MP’s is 6 weeks and then 11 weeks of AIT. Essentially, your training for your job. The college of the ARMY. The cadences were the only music I experienced during this time. As I stated, yesterday my emotion for music is “beauty.” Beauty became represented by the one word, “kill.” If you get only one lesson from this read let it be that last sentence. Read it again. Sit on it. Take a breath.
I do not do well with being told what to do, EVER! I have never dealt with authority well. That is alright, I giggled too as I wrote it. I got “capped, ” a lot while in the military because of this trait that I possess. (Military Definition-Capped: Punished, made to do extra-mundane activities meant to teach a lesson to not defy authority.) 🙂 Activities, such as filling (25) 5-gallon water jugs and loading them into a truck to go to the range, in the morning at 3am. Then you are told to unload all 25 back off the truck and dump all the water you spent the last hour filling. You just finish and your, your unit is lining up for a 4am PT formation. That was my punishment for singing while in the line waiting for my eggs, as I heard Timbaland’s The Way I Are playing over the loud speaker. The only music I heard in weeks.
There was not a lot of coping options to assist me with so much of who I was not, as a human being. Sundays were the only day I had. Sundays were the days I spent hours, in line, hoping I had enough minutes to have a 10-15-minute conversation with the ones I loved and missed the most. Having to decide, each day who be the lucky one, I got to hear comfort me. The others having to wait weeks for a response from me. A response, the US ARMY got to see before I did. They saw the emotions, meant for you, before you did. The calls listened to; every word shared with a stranger. Every word I wrote read before anyone of us got to feel.
Through all of this, Sundays also became special to me for a different reason. I found something to bring me back to the beauty I felt I was lacking through the entire experience. I don’t talk about this portion, often, out of fear that if I do that it will take away from the good I found, in a very dark time.
I am going back to my roots, for a moment. My mother raised me, in the Baptist Church. I do not focus on this aspect of me because it does not define me, but it was a lesson I was reminded of. Sundays became a memory and a way to cope, in unison. A feeling I am reminded of frequently as I go through isolation, currently.
Every Sunday, after cleaning my weapon, rolling my socks and tucking the corners of the military issued cotton blanket providing the only warmth for my soul, at night. I lined up, in a small formation of 5 people at noon, on Sundays. Just like that we were off. Left…. Left…. Left, Right, Left…What is the color of blood?…Red…Red…Red,,, What do we do…Kill…Kill…Kill…Left…Left…Left, Right, Left…
My destination, a pew, at the back of an African-American Baptist Church.
My roots, my faith, music and beauty, in one location. My cleanse, my confession, at the end of a week of practicing, “killing.” Every service, ending with communion and the song “Oh Happy Day,” projecting through the rafters of a church I had no tie to. I would hear the last note, stand-up, about face and once again, Left… Left… Left, Right, Left…
That one moment, for only an hour, I was 11 again. Watching the following scene, on repeat and I had nothing else.
I was back in the church. I was back with my mom. I had faith, if only for an hour. A moment of realization that we do have soundtracks to our lives. For only an hour a week, learning the lesson that you cannot run away from life because the grass is not always greener, on the other side. You cannot run away from the ones you love. An hour of keeping the faith, in a time where a birthday card sent from your sister on your birthday mocking your commander in chief and just that alone getting you thrown in jail by military law and now look at the man he developed into after I had such a strong distaste for who he once was, but I left to fight for him. We do not change; we develop into who we are meant to be. We fix that of what we do not left on our souls. It was a time where, I signed “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” swearing under oath and to God that my sexual preference was not geared towards females. I would wonder, if I would turn around and arrest me, after one night of listening to my calls or reading my mail.
So, when asked why I have a female’s name tattooed, on my neck, that is because I was not the only one going through the mentioned above when I was. There are always multiple sides to someone’s story. These are not excusing for my behaviors or wrongs, but explains to someone’s questions, over the years and not able to be vulnerable enough to be honest. The reason because she asked me to. A symbol.
Some tattoo semi-colon’s for suicide awareness and some a puzzle piece for Autism. I did a name, as a reminder of everyone else involved, in your own internal PTSD’s. The real victims. They need recognized too. That is why you still see the name and it is not covered up, as if it did not happen.
My tattoos became my story. They became my scars. They become my art and they became my beauty. When looking at my reflection, I no longer see the ink representing my own beauty. They are not seen because they have become a part of me. They are a part of my skin. They are my strength.