It's sometimes easy to forget that we're allowed to be human. We're allowed to fail. I often forget this. I recently let everyone know that I'm preparing to deploy to the Middle East again. I also have let most people know (one way or the other) that I'm leaving Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, SC for good when I get back. I'm going to Keesler AFB for 4 years to teach new Airman about their job in my career field. That's not what I'm here to tell you about though.
See... I always feel that it's my duty to put on a front like I'm incapable of stress. I sheath myself behind the aura of the uniform. I don't know who actually reads these things. I like to think that these blogs are being passed around from reader to reader. I may be naive. What I'm driving at here is that there could be a lot of people that don't know me that look at this. It's clear to everyone that I'm in the military on active duty. I guess I feel that many of us are seen in a certain light and I don't want to let people down. I can't allow myself to look incapable or less than superhuman.
As a result, I don't tell everyone everything. I feel like I have to be able to handle all that is thrown at me and show no negative effect. Often this results in many more internal negative effects.
So here's the skinny. I'm deploying for 60 days. I get back and have 45 days to settle back into life, pack the house, make moving preparations, go home to jersey to see the folks and get my ass to Mississippi. Somewhere in there I needed to spend time with Linda and my friends here in SC all while staying mentally prepared for the challenges of a new job that lay ahead.
While I'm deployed, it's not all roses. Sure I want to go. That's because I love what I do. I love the mission and what it stands for. I love being in uniform and playing my small part in protecting this country. But while I love the big picture, the day to day sometimes... well sometimes it sucks. From the minute I touch down in the desert there are many mental and physical rigors. It's not the most austere of locations, but let's face it, it's not safe ol' SC. I'll be away from friends and family and most importantly Linda. It'll be well over 100 degrees every day. I expect to be working 12 hours shifts for those 60ish straight days. In the back of my mind will be the chaos that awaits me upon my return.
Today I called in a favor with the folks who manage assignments. I moved my report date to Keesler from August 15th to September 30th. I just bought myself an extra 45 days. Now I can enjoy July and bask in being near Linda again. I can take leave and see my NJ associates without rushing. Maybe Josh and Kristine can make their way to SC before I go now too. I guess we'll see.
I always thought it was so important to keep up those military appearances for the general public and never let civilians see us have a weakness. But here's what clicked. We're not cyborgs. We're not superheroes. We're people. We have lives. The military is a big part of our lives, but in the end, it's still a part. And at times, the other parts come down on us and make life a little chaotic.
So there ya have it folks... I'm just a guy like the rest of you. I guess I always was, just never wanted to admit it. I don't do what I do to be a hero or get praise. Sometimes we receive it just because we wear the uniform and I wanted to be that guy for everyone in this country that came across this blog. Keeping it inside doesn't help and eventually my job would suffer so that's counter-productive.
We're all human whether we want to admit it or not. Be human, trust people, enjoy life.