I was driving when it hit me, full force, a thousand heavy fists hammering a point into my skull. Never in my life had I wanted anything to be over so bad. Never been so homesick and fed up and tired, just TIRED.
I changed lanes and thought and thought some more. I don't even have a battle to fight, wouldn't want to if I did. Stuck. Not sure what to do. Re-enlistment NCOs love that too. Next time he comes around though, I'll lie. Cook up a whole elaborate plan, leading all the way up to my retirement and binges on a yacht. Whatever he doesn't want to hear. Whatever sounds solid and foolproof. Whatever saves me from the "you're going nowhere, getting out without a plan and you'll be back, why not re-up and get a bonus?" lecture. A total siege on your sense of self-reliance.
Sorry chief, I can't. Not this guy. I want to have rights again. I hear stories about the barracks that other units have and I get pissed. Apparently ours are astonishingly bad. Pitiful. Prison cells. Two guys crammed into a small room and goddamn you if you can't keep that shit clean.
When you aren't at war, you're supposed to be miserable. I see dudes getting their asses chewed during PT. You aren't supposed to exercise to the point where you're in pain. It's an individual thing, but God help you if you don't keep up with flutterkicks. The Iron Fist mentality is everywhere, unnecessarily so. There's no fucking reason for it.
My friends joked the other day that I'd be the one short-timer of the group to re-enlist. Yuks and laughs. I joked right along with them, "Fuck you, die in a fire." If half of these people even knew what I've been thinking lately.
I'm in my twenties. I should be done with college already. I should be well on my way to getting my life together. I should have had atleast one apartment of my own by now. I should have credit, good or bad. I should have some sort of foundation. But I don't. I'm still in an Army that treats the single lower enlisted soldiers like fucking children.
I can't have my girlfriend in my room. I have no place to call my own. The barracks are not mine. That's just where the Army keeps me. I have no sense of identity in this fucking uniform. I have no sense of accomplishment, I still feel that I was fucked out of my war and that's probably a good thing.
I pissed away four years. Life experience be damned. It didn't make me better. It made me bitter. It made me uncomfortable around the normal world, twice over now than before we deployed. I suspect everyone of harboring violent intentions and sadistic plans. I drive with a sense of impending doom. At any moment, I'll be fucked.
I'll be late to work.
I'll say or do the wrong thing.
Murphy's Law is going to get me.
I'm going to get pulled over.
I'm going to merge the same time someone else does and get shoved under an eighteen wheeler.
Gonna get shot hanging out off post in some freak occurance at the mall.
It's all going to go downhill, and fast, and I won't even see it coming. Rock bottom is staring up at me with a shit eating grin.
So now ask again if I'm thinking about re-enlisting. Nope. My gut tells me that everything here is wrong wrong wrong and I need to get out.
But I can't. Not yet. Trapped. Serving my time. I don't even speak my mind anymore. That's how convinced I am that they're going to get me somehow.
On my own, I do fine. Better than fine. Everything is great when I'm home, feeling like a normal person again. Start the countdown. I'm going to get my life back eventually. This little relationship I have with the Army, it just isn't healthy, and I tried, I really did. It's gotta end. Got too many other things to do. It's not you, it's me. Really.
Leave the GI Bill on the dresser.