(Disclaimer: I wrote excerpts of this a few days before publishing it, try not to get too confused, it’s really not that complex of a concept… stupid)
As I write this I’m mid my fourth full day after completing my first six weeks of training for a two increment program at Marine Corps Officer Candidates School (OCS)… obviously more on that later but let me get through this chill intro. Also as I write this I’m South bound on the Amtrak Northeast Regional which passes directly through MCB Quantico and along the eastern edge of OCS. I’ve ridden this train many times but have never consciously seen OCS from the trains perspective. While I was training, however, I witnessed countless trains speed by absolutely torturing me with their prospects of freedom as I was trapped within the confines of Brown Field (where OCS is). Over the course of six weeks, I saw a lot of trains go by, a lot of damn trains, so I would be tempted to say rolling by OCS, less than a week after crossing back over the railroad tracks that represent the separation between civilian life and military life, might be a little hard on the old heart, but I’m not finding that’s the case.
The strange thing about it is that I barely feel like I was there, kind of like I was just living in a dream from May 26 to July 2. I mean, I know I was there, there’s proof – now that it’s had some time to grow out the Asian-ness of my hair is beginning to show, a multitude of almost too impressive tan lines from my cover (hat), glasses and sleeves, and not to mention the calluses on my hands which can only be attributed to hours of rifle holding while we marched to and from every possible location and, sometimes, in circles just for fun. But really, like what happened the last six weeks? It’s a really odd feeling but in the legitimacy found in my extensive scientific background here’s my best guess as to why I feel like I just woke up and missed almost the entire world cup for no reason.
Partly, I think it’s because lack of sleep. Even in the midst of training it was hard to remember what we had done in the past few days. Something about not sleeping and remembering crap – yeah, that sounds pretty legit… right? I’m pretty confident about that one but if someone has a study somewhere that’d be great cuz this is how rumors get started, and next thing you know everyone will be thinking there’s some correlation between sleeping and memory and I just can’t have that on my conscience. In addition to that lie, secondly, I think it’s because there is besides the little evidences I was talking about before, nothing I do on a day to day basis now, bears any semblance to what I was doing a few days ago. The only common thread between these arenas of life is myself and that’s pretty much it.
I’m gonna spare you the details of day to day life during training. You might think you want to hear about it but, from my experience, I’m not sure it’s as interesting as you think it might be. If you’d really like to hear about it, let’s chat so I can see you struggle to prolong your interest because, to be honest, I’m really just not all that great at explaining it. In order to explain one detail I’d have to explain a bunch of other things in order for it to make sense and there are just way too many acronyms for anyone to maintain positive health. Writing about it was barely even an option, there would be so many detours in my writing I would have to come up with a clever simile to apologize for how roundabout it would be. All jokes aside, I’m not opposed to talking, but writing? nah. Y’all don’t want that.
rose and thorn
Let’s not play stupid, there are some questions that multiple people have asked me so I’m gonna take the initiative and and answer those bad boys right now before getting into some of the nitty gritty.
Let’s go thorn first (or low for whoever’s wrong). There wasn’t many specific things we did very often that I just completely loathed. For example, I’m not gonna lie to y’all, cleaning the floor a dozen times a day wasn’t all that fun, straight up, but wasn’t anything to phone home and cry to moms about. The stuff that really got to me was the stuff you probably wouldn’t initially think of. The surface stuff like the yelling and the physical tests sucked for sure, but they were things I got used to and became pretty normal. Not to be dramatic because we weren’t prisoners but the relative freedom we lost became the toughest thing to deal with. Everything from not being able to snack or use the bathroom whenever I wanted or even touch/scratch my face without the risk of getting caught and being yelled at… the little stuff. Stuff like, I missed being outside at night (because we usually went in for the night by 8:00) and taking a shower without a bunch of other dudes. Everything became pretty routine but this is the stuff I found myself looking forward too once we got dismissed.
Rose? Welp… the fact it’s over and I have 52 weeks until I have to go back is pretty amazing. I won’t say I miss them but there are two things I think I’d say I appreciate about my time there. The first is this… the day to day sucked, no doubt. We were all usually stressed, tired and had extremely short tempers but when something funny happened it was the most glorious respite from the tensity. Holding back laughter in the moment then being able to laugh about it together when we got a break… man, that was good. My second rose is more of an extension of my thorn. Being there I developed a list of stuff I want to do now that I’m back and the majority of it is little stuff like I talked about before. Lot’s of sunsets, river time and food. Being deprived of these simple luxuries helped me to appreciate how great they are. I really do I hope I continue to possess this new perspective as I acclimate further back into normal life because it’s a shame and lost opportunity not to appreciate everything for what it’s really worth.
So that’s that, a real brief glimpse at what I’m thinking but here’s where I’m at, y’all. This is probably the first of a few posts pertaining to my experiences at OCS. The reason it took me a few days to publish this from when I first started writing is I’m trying to figure out where I’m going with this. The good news is I still don’t know. I know I still want to think about how the whole OCS experience affected me spiritually and where I go from here. And by think, I mean write, because they’re pretty much the same thing for me and a lot of the reason why I do it. This was pretty light, a 100 calorie, post but I didn’t want to drag too many people through the mud who don’t curr (so catch and release with those people right aboutttt now). So if you do happen to be interested in that stay tuned, it’s sure to get really really really personal… lawl naht, that stuff doesn’t need to be happening anywhere on the internet but there’s sure to be some Jesus involved. I’m usually not sure how or when my next post will come so consider this a rare opportunity to plan out how much you’re going to ignore me in the near future.
Until then, I’ll either see you soon, in which case recover from this quickly, or in the case that I’ve lost you’re interest and you hope I never touch a keyboard again, I hope you were rooting for Brazil last night. Either way, you’ve made it to the end, and for that you deserve (insert whatever you want. I don’t really care I’m just trying to be funny).
(Disclaimer: I apologize for the rudeness before. I’ll try to do better next time)