Military Vibe

“You realize the strength of your mind…just by convincing yourself of how strong you are.”

Edited by Thu Nguyen.

Transcript for Military Vibe

When I was in high school, there was a group of recruiters that came to school and there was one from every branch and I just remember the soldier that was there that day in my class, I just that I didn’t see everyone else. I just saw this person and I said, “I want to be that person,” and that’s what I focused on. And I just felt like…this vibe from them. They were proud of themself. They were, you know, able to provide for themself. And I always, like–in foster care, they teach you: you’re going to come out of foster care in one of two ways…you’re gonna be a success or you’re gonna be a failure. And, being a failure was never something that resonated with me at all. And so I only focused on “What can I do to be a success?” And when the recruiter conveyed the messages to me that they did, I said, “Wait a minute, this is something that I can do, I know. I’m young, I can do these wonderful things.

Everything the military stands for, I want to absorb and I want to learn how to do. I’ve always been interested in doing things that either is normally something that a women is not supposed to do in our society or that, you know, is hard. And I think that, just because you’re a woman, you can do hard things. It was interesting. I met a lot of amazing people, and I just remember always feeling like “this is so easy, I can do this.” But that’s what made me feel fortunate to have grown up in the foster care. When I got there, it was a breeze for me. There were already so many rules and regulations that I had to conform to, it was nothing for me to just effortlessly acclimate to that environment. I learned how to shoot, move, and communicate, that’s what the military teaches you, or the Army, anyway. I was not great at running. I still tried. I did pretty well; my PT scores were pretty good…then. So it was a lot of fun.

The service is very hard on your body, at least it is for the Army perspective. It may not be so much so in other portions of the military, but you realize the strength of your mind and what you’re able to do just by convincing yourself of how strong you are but you are still a human being. You break bones, you hurt yourself, you…and I know a lot of my fellow service members would have loved to do 20 years too, or longer, but their body physically could not take it. And so I have a lot of friends who have broken hips or have all kinds of hardware in their joints and you can as much as you want to continue on in the soldier capacity physically, you may only be able to do that mentally ’cause your body can only go on so long. You come to a point where you say, “Okay, I need to kind of let my body rest.”

Hold a Conversation

Can you imagine leading a conversation about this story? Where? With whom? What kinds of questions would you pose? (See How to use the questions for reflection for one approach.) Please email your questions to us or post them in the comment box for our consideration. If you use them in an actual discussion, let us know how the conversation went.