I told Cool that if I ever lose the use of my legs or need diapers to euthanize me. That is how important my independence is to me.
So I’m very skeptical I would like to be in the military. I know full-well that the affordable housing, job opportunities, and paid tuition–come at a cost. Once you sign on that dotted line the government owns you. You are no longer a free agent. Sure, they’ll say that they try to accommodate you, but when it comes down to it–you are going to do what the military tells you to do, and that’s it.
I feel guilty about being stubborn against this idea. But I’m reminding myself that yes, it’s absolutely ok to be stubborn about your own life–I am the one who has to live it. I don’t have to justify my choices to anyone.
Enter my well-meaning parents. They are worried about how I’m going to pay for graduate school. I am also super-worried. They feel like the solution to ALL my problems is going into the Navy. Which, I could do. And I’d like to follow in my father’s footsteps, and I’d be honored to serve my country. BUT the logistics just do not work out for what I want in my life. But they won’t listen to me. They don’t hear my concerns, they just think I’m making an uninformed stubborn choice. And I can tell saying no about this is stepping into a landmine. It’s going to hurt the good place my relationship with my parents has finally gotten to. Which sucks! It was hard work getting to this better place with them. School funding/Navy is a point of contention, for sure. Except–you should not join the military for someone else, and you should never do it out of guilt–which is what I would be doing. I did look into it and here is why it just isn’t going to work for me at this point in my life:
-It’s an 8 year commitment!
That’s a long time. That’s all 4 years of school AND 4 more. There is a lot of opportunity for being moved around. A lot of dealing with less then optimal conditions. And 8 years to worry about my little family and my own survival.
-I would have to be separated from my family.
That’s what I have. It’s my whole support system. Cool wouldn’t be traveled around with me (more on this later), and I’m sorry if that makes me weak and a whiner–I want to be with her. Maybe other people can live apart from their mate, but I never want to. Also, Kitties cannot go to bootcamp, nor to officer training, or to different countries–and moving them around to different states would be difficult at best. After being separated from them in Seattle–I want my pets to live with me. I love them and they are my responsibility.
-I am gay. And this poses many problems:
–Cool and I aren’t married because I think it’s an antiquated tradition, she would ruin my good credit, and I figure why bother when the benefits depend what state you’re in at the time. In the military, they try to ensure married couples remain together–they could care less about what the law considers a roommate.
–So She and I would have to be apart. When and how would I see her? And where would she live? How would she afford it? What if her bipolar flared up as it does and things went terribly wrong? I wouldn’t be there. That doesn’t work for me.
–Also, being gay may be legal in the military, but that isn’t the same thing as being accepted. It’s a lot to ask of me to hide a fundamental aspect of who I am. But if I didn’t I could be teased, hazed, harassed, or even raped. I want no part of that–and who could blame me?
-I do not want to involve a recruiter
to get specific answers to my questions I have to call a recruiter. Which I don’t want to do. They give you the hard-sell. They gloss over the bad parts and emphasize the good, so you really have to read the fine print anyway. They spam you! I don’t want constant phone calls or mailers pressuring me.
-I’m fearful about the training and expectations.
I’m not sure I’d like getting screamed at. With work, I could do the physical stuff, but I in no way want to take my gas mask off for such and such amount of time like you have to in the Navy. I might be capable of doing it, but I think I would be very unhappy and stressed about it.
-I don’t like travel.
Basic is 2 weeks in some cold, Great Lake state. Officer training is in RI–for a month. You have to spend such and such time per year training who knows where. They promise you during your service they try to put you where you want to be, but let’s be real, if the government needs you somewhere they’re going to put you there, whether it works for you or not. And on relatively short notice. Plus, I have bathroom privacy and hygiene standards that cannot be accommodated in a military lifestyle. I need a (warm) shower EVERY day! And a private bathroom stall (with American plumbing) and a door and a fan.
-I don’t want stress, trauma, or long term effects like my dad (and many, many others) have
I’m sensitive, I don’t want to undergo emotional trauma, physical abuse, and I would be suicidal if I went through the sexxual abuse common in the military and in the Middle East. I also don’t want PTSD which is a very real side-effect of service.
-I don’t want to risk my LIFE
I also have NO interest of traveling abroad–especially the Middle East. And I read they are starting to put Audiologists on the forefront of actions because of portable equipment. Before they mostly did noise-prevention and VA stuff, but with accessible equipment, the government can stop sending soldiers to the closest sound booth (in Germany) after explosions and check them right on the front lines. That means audiologists are on the front lines.
-And bottom line, the money/perks just aren’t that great.
I can get better stipends from my school, or at the very least loans that don’t involve travel and put my life on the line. I will find a job once I’m out of school, and I could still do noise-prevention or VA work as a civilian.
I’m going to have to put my foot down to my parents, and I hope it doesn’t cause a big, ugly scene. But better that then ruining what I want for my life. I’ll just have to find another way to finance my education. This is about me and what I want, and nobody–even my parents–gets to demand what path I take. I just hope they can understand that I’m not just being rebellious, I actually researched and see many reasons why that’s not what I want. . .