Day 16: 20 November

Dear Coco –

Today we did CBR aka gas chamber.  Let me set the picture for you.  We are up a 0500, do PT, breakfast and then back to the barracks to grab our ruck sack with 30 pounds of stuff, our weapon and our gas mask.  After doing a set fo 180sec-60sec (sprint-walks) and 300 meter shuttle run our legs are done, or at least mine are after 3 miles!  So we stand in formation with all our gear and get ready to head to the gas chamber.  We are walking 2.5 miles there.  Everyone is a little tense with the anticipation of what lays ahead.

Arriving there everyone, even the big bad boys seem nervous.  I’m not that nervous just ready to get everything done.  I mean I’ve been pepper sprayed before while doing training in the Coast Guard.  How bad can this be?

We all line up, the entire company, lined up with masks on.  Over 150 of us standing outside masks on in camp looking reminiscent of some post world war era shit. The sun just peeking through a grey misty morning adds to the feeling that we are being led somewhere to be killed, not trained. 

The gas, it burned . . . the make us take our masks off and breathe it in.  Searing your eyes and chest, making you fought but just when you think you’re going to die, literally keel over they make you run outside, snot and tears streaming down your face.  Scorching pain radiating through your eye and lungs, the feeling of nausea permeating every inch of your body.  

Haha . . . I’m sure you’ll see pictures on Facebook if you check out the website!  I most likely look like a total hot mess! But, it was worth it.  I now have a mild understanding and complete appreciation for that kind fo warfare / crowd control measure.  I would NOT want to be caught in any type of gas without a mask for sure!

It definitely (well at least this kind of gas) won’t kill you but it most certainly is a more humane method of control as compared to other deadly ones.  And I’ve been told it will melt your contacts to your eyes, just note to self so you don’t loose your eyeballs.

Our platoon did a moment of truth exercise today.  Big surprise, everyone thinks I’m very mature, smart and caring.  the also think I should be more outspoken and be a more vocal leader.  Haha . . . Me quiet?!? This is a surprise.  I guess I’ve been playing a very soft spoken and reserved role until now.  I suppose trying not to get noticed hasn’t worked so well. Haha

Anyways . . . Until tomorrow . . . Margaritas and sunsets on the beach await me soon I hope!

Xoxo

Mia

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Day 15: 19 November

Dear Coco – 

Again I’m writing by flashlight with the red lense in it!  I can’t wait to get out of here and have my life back. 

Me and another girl were talking today.  She’s married and much more mature than most of the other girls here.  We both agreed that we have doubts if this is the right thing for us and how much do we want to be here.  The conversation came up because we have a test on Saturday and if we don’t pass they will restart us through basic training again.  All I know is that if I’m made to restart then its a clear sign that this is not meant to be at all and I’ll find a way to get out of it.  I want to live my life or at least be able to be in contact with the people who I care about most.  

As I was standing in formation (I was outside waiting to in line to get lunch) I noticed the seasons.  There’s a group of trees that are behind where we eat when we are outside and everyday in line it’s like I use them as a measure of how far along the season have gone. Today I noticed that all of the leaves were basically gone from the small grove of ash trees.  I guess winter is fast approaching!  I watched the wind move through the leaves and wished I was somewhere else hiking and being able to relax in the complete serenity of natur.  I miss quiet times of peace.  For some reason today the idea of leaving and going to India to study yoga seemed like a greater idea than normal. 

I have that feeling that this isn’t going to fulfill me in my life.  I know its ‘boot camp’ but I now have doubts.  Not doubts that I can do it.  I can do it, it’s really sort of easy but doubts about if I want to do it and if doubts about if I want the life afterwards.

Maybe it’s just that I’m overly hungry and tired today. Haha . . .

I wonder about what everyone else is doing . . .  What is everyone in real life doing and if they remember me at all.  I’ve only gotten letters from Mom and Dad. 

Anyways, good night.

Xoxo

Mia

Day 14: 18 November

Dear Coco – 

Tired again.  Though a lot about the future today . . . While eating breakfast and lunch I let my mind wander into the realm of imagining and fantasy.  Thinking about what could be and might be, all the different possibilities to my future. 

Anyways . . . I can’t wait to be in my own home again.  I got a letter from my Dad laying out all the ‘plans’ he made for my vacation.  I was very taken back since I didn’t know any of that was goin on!  I mean I’m an actual adult (31 years old).  I guess I’m mildly mad because no one asked me what I’d like to do during that time.  Anyway, I’m taking my annoyed self to bed now.

Xoxo – 

Mia

Day 13: 17 November

Dear Coco – 

Today was a pretty uneventful day.  Everyone went to church in the morning and I stayed back with a few people.  I was able to do some yoga and meditated for a bit by myself.  I had a hard time focusing and clearing my mind from everything.  

The girls in the barracks are starting to argue with each other and it is totally awful. Teenage girls yelling and fighting is something that is trying my patience .. . Haha . . . I guess I’m working on my skills of patience and understanding.

So our Drill Seargeant was talking about how somedaythe Army was going to open up infantry to females. I had to agree with him about his opinions.  He said that it wasn’t in the best interest of the Army to open up infantry to women soldiers, 1. Because if someone fell in love it could be a detriment to the combat area 2. Women’s monthly issues and privacy 3.how would a woman pull at 200 pound male plus all his equipment out of a combat zone effectively 4. Issues with rape.  I mean I had to agree with his especially since I’ve had the same conversation with my other friend who was appalled that I didn’t support females in that way.  I’m not saying that this same thing can’t happen between the same sex (all males) or that woman can’t do the job.  There just a lot of ‘other’ variables that need to be taken into consideration. Needless to say, many of the other girls in the platoon now think that the Drill Sergeant is a woman hater! Haha . . . I was going to try and explain to them that it was not that way but then caught myself.  I realized that no matter what I said it would probably fall on deaf ears since they were all closed minded and couldn’t see past the superficial tot eh practical part of what he was trying to tell them.   Maybe I’m learning when to keep my mouth shut and save my mental energies, only took me 31 years! Haha . . . 

Otherwise it’s tough being around all these people who don’t want to or can’t actually think for themselves.  I want to shake them and tell them to grow up but then I realize they are only 18/19/20 years old and maybe I need to be the one to be a better person and be more mature overall.

Ah maturity! How I wish that sometimes I didn’t have to be the responsible one! Maybe when this is over I can have one night not to worry about anything, have a martini and have no real responsibilities! 

Haha . . .

xoxo

Mia

Day 12: 16 November

Dear Coco – 

Today we did a series of land navigation courses and exercises, both during day and night time.

After we completed our night course our group had some time to wait for the others to finish.  I was finally able to find some time to meditate since the Drill Sergeants were more worried about making sure everyone got out of the woods in the dark.  The moon was so bright and full in the sky above us.  I think the beauty of the night was lost on 99% of the other people around me.  Even when I was supposed to be navigating in the dark woods, finding my way, I couldn’t help but get lost in the moon shadows across the leaves coving the forest floor . . . probably not the best thing to do when I’m being tested on my ‘new’ skills and being timed on it! Hahaha . . . Oh well, I passed.

It was just so peaceful sitting there breathing in the open while the other people sat around gossiping or singing their favorite songs together.  I think I found a quiet place inside that you would be proud of.  I had no thoughts, no worries, just pure clam as I sat there breathing under the winter moon.  All the chaos around me seemed like a distant recording of a memory that was muffled by overlaid music.  I do miss having more of these peaceful moments in my life right now.  I am grateful that I am able to find small moments of release into the calm I so desperately crave. 

It’s also interesting to watch all the Alpha type personalities striving to be noticed and number one.  I wish I could tell them that a year from now or two or five, none of this will matter.  What will matter is that you were true to yourself and were you, that you didn’t try to be anyone else.  But, I know that they are too young or immature to understand that right now.  

Anyways, I’m starting to drift away into sleep.  

Xoxo 

Mia

P.S.  I wrote a poem today!

For the reasons of life

    we know not the outcome,

Each day turning 

     as leave fall from above.

The meaning,

     the reason,

          how we make the day all ours,

Striving and trying,

    walking away in the sun,

Moving and walking,

    rain breathing down the windows

For reason have no meaning

    and excuses flow like nectar from a tree.

We learn,

     We grow

     We make the most of time,

Circling the past

    moving the now

    trading in the bad

    reopening the new.

Packages of faith

     strew through time.

For hope, love and patience

     intertwined to make a collage

     of muted water colored light.

For the meaning

    is unknown

    the beauty revealed.

In retrospect,

    Our life is alive

    Our time forever

For the reasons

     We live.

Day 11: 15 November

Dear Coco – 

We did our PFT (Physical Fitness Test) today.  I passed with flying colors.  My two mile run was 17:52, not bad for 34 degree Fahrenheit weather and no warm up.  

Anyways . . . I was thinking about time today, most exactly the measure of time.  Why do we put so much emphasis on time periods? Here everything runs on a strict schedule, never being two seconds late or else the world is going to end.  But, it’s a hurry up and wait type of mentality.  Why do we care so much about measuring everything? Time, days, months, years, seconds, repetitions …….

I mean yes, it’s important but in the end it’s just consuming us.  Who care about each little seconds, just to stress over it? Why not enjoy things more? Oh wait, it’s the military. Hahaha…. It just amazes me how time oriented everyone is, time obsessed.  I’m all about being punctual but this takes it to a whole new level.  All I know is when I go on vacation all I want is to not look at a clock or have to be aware of any time for at least a whole day. To do my own thing, at my own pace and smile. Haha . . .Oh yeah, it’s the military. I know I signed up for this so this is more of just me telling you some revelations and stating the obvious.

Anyhow . . . Looking forward to sleep and hopefully good dreams tonight! 

Xoxo

Mia  

Day 10: 14 November

Dear Coco – 

Today we did team building exercises, tomorrow we have our first official APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test).  I’m tired.   Hahaha . . . I think that’s a given by now.  I should probably stop saying I’m tired and just say that I’m always tired.  We had some very crappy food for dinner and I’m still hungry. 

Oh, I had my phone for about 5 minutes and was able to talk to my dad.  Surprise! You’re coming to New York! I’m so excited! Dad was not as excited.  I think he and mom just wanted to have time with me, alone, without anyone else the entire time.  Oh well, I guess they didn’t really want to share me with anyone.  Oh well, they are going to have to now.  I mean I was going to be out and about with my other friends and family too.  I wish I had had some time to talk to you but I literally only had 5 minutes.  

One of the girls here is so into how she looks and walk around our barracks telling everyone her issues.  Then she wonders why everyone judges her.  I mean there’s no reason to judge but you also have to realize that if you tell everyone your issues then everyone is going to have an opinion. Hahaha . . . . The joys of living with people under the age of 21.

I hope this month leading up to Christmas goes fast.  I seriously can’t wait to sit with a glass of wine and talk to all my friends in person.

It’s interesting to see how others were raised.  It’s so obvious that some people were raised with no manners of anything t all.  Where do these people come from? Why have a child if you don’t want to raise it properly? What I mean is some people need to at least teach manners and how to be nice to each other. 

Anyways . . . .I’m off to bed.

Xoxo

Mia

Day 9: 13 November

Dear Coco – 

I don’t. have much of anything new to say.  Haha . . .I guess today was just on of those types of uneventful and boring days. I thought a lot about finding inner peace during my land navigation class today.  As you can see I was really paying close attention in class! I think I’d like to open up a bed and breakfast retreat that offers daily meditation and yoga plus classes on life skills …. things like mind, body and well being.

Side note, do you ever run into people that you just want to punch in the face for no reason?  There’s this one girls who hasn’t done anything to me but whenever she’s around I just want to haul off and punch her . . . maybe it’s because she’s so clueless and stupid.  Not that that’s an excuse towards how I feel towards her.  And I know it’s not nice to feel this way or say these things either. Hahaha….sigh.

Anyhow, how’s everything? How is New York? I wish I could see more pictures that you’re probably taking as I write.  How’s the new classes you’re teaching going? (Great I’m writing questions that will never get asked or answered….hahaha)

They said today that the Army doesn’t want any new personality to it and they just want discipline. Oh well . . . I suppose they’re stuck with me. I don’t like that they don’t want different but I knew that from the start. You would think they would know that different is what will make us stronger. 

Anyways . . . I must get some rest now.

Good night.

Xoxo

Mia

Day 7 & 8: 12 November

Dear Coco – 

I’m exhausted. Lack of sleep is definitely wrecking havoc on my body.  I’m not so much physically or mentally tired but just plain tired.  We did Victory Tower today. I was honestly more relaxed and calm then many of the ‘younger’ people or, at least I appreared this way.  I think inside I was probably more nervous than most other people.  Even though I’ve been sky diving and do all those challenge things I am terrified of heights! Hahahah . . . Everyone was feeling so accomplished and giddy and the Drill Sergeants were all saying how big a milestone this was.  Me, all I could think was “ok, what’s next?” Yeah, it’s cool but please let’s go let’s get this all done already.  

I’m tired.  I just want this to be done and go back to a somewhat normal life.  I miss my family and friends.  I feel so annoyed with people who can’t get their act together with stuff. It’s not that hard people! Just put on the right uniform and just follow instructions.  It’s honestly not that difficult.

I can’t fine my inner peace.  I know that this is a dream but I would love to be sitting out at the lake with a cold beer in hand.  Ahhhhh….

Anyways, time to sleep cause I have watch again from 0100 to 0200.

Xoxo

Mia

Day 6: 10 November 

Dear Coco – 

Well, I made it through one full week of Basic Training!  Yay! Tomorrow we have our first combat march in the morning with our gear.  Should be interesting, or at least a good workout.

Today we had a class on basic combat life saver skills.  The biggest think I learned was do not go save someone, finish engaging the enemy and then go help your battle buddy (friend).  I guess that’s opposite of what I would actually do.  Hahaha . . . Do you know that 80% of causality deaths are due to hemorrhaging? Basically soldiers bleeding out on the field . . . Very sad.

I was eating dinner or stuffing as many calories into my face in a ten minute period that I could and I couldn’t help but wonder if this really was my path.  I knew the Army had the whole kill/war thing but it’s so much more than I expected.  And there really are a lot of uneducated people here.  Hahahaha … I guess that’s why people join, to get the ‘free’ money for college.  Hahahaha . . . Like my biggest worry right now is no mental stimulation!  I guess I thought of our conversations about working together and I think that’s something I would really like.   I miss that aspect of my life right now.  

Yes, I know it’s only been one week and it’s not that bad here.  More of a culture shock than anything . . . 

My mind drifts . . . I wonder if I’ll see you over Christmas. Will I see my friends?  Will I still be able to have a drink without worrying about something else?  Then I let those thoughts pass.  There are lots of thoughts now.  THAT seems like one thing I will always have, lots of thoughts.  Floating thoughts that I were were reality but I know they are not. Thoughts about dreams, about what I want to do later on in life or in another life. 

It would be so easy to let this place take me.  So easy to loose myself in the fantasy and stay there protected from all this harshness around me. I long for those easy nights when sleep would take me away peacefully.  Now sleep comes in like a wrecking ball and knocks me completely off my feet.  

I scared too.  Scared that I will become hard and sterile here, closed to the world and the beauty of it all. I want to run away and hide away in bliss and farm and cook in my own retreat.  But, I know that this is a means to an end.  An end that hopefully is just a new beginning to everything. 

Xoxo

Mia