Today was a rough day. One doesn't give up all in one go. Rather ones ability to function and cope is eroded over time. Like water eroding a rock. Each day passes unremarkably, but every single one is another drip that bores its way into the core, and if enough of them pass, the rock gives way. It's been 3650 days since my career, the only career I ever wanted and the one single thing I did for myself, was ended. I've not really had much of any job since. Just accumulated efforts at keeping going. Why am I still counting days you might ask? Because what is important is not that the career came to an end, but rather, how it did so. The job of a military medic or nurse is to bring people back, fix things, leave no one behind. Or as I once put it, "to fix the holes that other regiments make Sir" Well I got left behind, and aint no one in a hurry to fix the big fuckin hole that left in me. In truth it took me a while to figure out why after all this time I still - on occasion - struggle with the turn my life has taken. Sure I immerse myself in trans issues, and try to live up to those old ideas. At times I am at war with myself. I dislike failure and apathy. I loathe the creeping acceptance of both even more so. I never was great at letting ignorance go unchallenged either, but then in a small organisation such as a national military or indeed any community of common ethos, theres usually agreement on what that ignorance is. (whether that agreement is true or not is irrelevant) Civilian life aint like that. One mans ignorance is another rationality. The military is great at taking individual goals and making them collective. Oddly creating a micro society of sorts. Civilians... nah.. especially after 30 years of Neo liberalism, here in Britain, they just do what the fuck they want, based what is good for themselves. Why? because an idea of the common goal, effort or if you like "mission" is lost on those who seek to accumulate wealth for themselves and for its own sake.
I aspired to a successful career. To make both impact and a difference. That didn't happen. I got dumped unceremoniously back into a world that doesn't understand me, nor I it, and in which I never wanted much part anyways. Nothing is gonna change that. But so far its been a bloody long posting, and some days I just wanna call end ex.
But no. Because that would mean leaving people behind. And I know how painful that is. Plus, you're never outta the fight, until you make a choice to give up. Today was a rough day. However, today was not that day.
Tomorrow aint gonna be either.
“If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
Martin Luther King
It's funny, but whenever I tell people about some of the military stuff they always focus on the bombs bullets and bangs and assume that my difficulties stem from that, or some imagined hang overs from a patriarchal masculinity. For a time I did too. Still others assume that because I'm trans and by default part of a marginalised section of society that I would now be anti military, and anti police. They miss the point. The bit I actually struggle with is that all of it, the dead friends, the human cost and the bombs bullets and bangs didn't mean dick. No one cares. except of course those who's lives have been similarly touched.
The ideal that I devoted my efforts to when I donned the uniform was exposed as a lie by the manner in which my career ended. The uniform rendered a mere costume for the bias and bigotry that I had fondly imagined I was fighting against.
What price naivety eh?
It's been said many times in many places that soldiers fight for the guy next to them. For their people. Multiple reasons for joining become lost in that camaraderie. Therein hangs my current predicament. Given the clash between my choices and those of others, and the resultant isolation, Who or what am I fighting for?
Given my current field of operations is academia one might be forgiven for thinking of truth, wisdom & honour, and yet for our current government it seems those ideals are held in poor esteem and academia merely argues endlessly about what they might mean.
Perhaps progress would be a better goal. One that holds intrinsically within it both reason and method of survival: to keep up the effort. Fortunately for me, it's useful to remember that water doesn't always destroy rock: If the rock is constantly moving, and comes into contact with abrasives, then it can also polish it.
“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one”
So progress it is. Slow it may be, and yet a crawl is still a stubbornly optimistic forward movement. A refusal to choose defeat, or accept failure as permanent.
Till next time.