One of the most critical lessons that basic training doesn’t teach you, is how to avoid the infatuation as a result of freedom that fosters a culture of young premature marriage. Here you go in your dress blues, fresh faced, a real Airman, you might even have a few stripes from Jr ROTC or college credits. Being treated like an important member of society because you now fall into the category of active duty military. People thank you for your service, let you board the airplane early, give you meal discounts, but are you really any different? At the core, no, but you no longer trust that internal voice that spoke to you with such fondness before every decision. You feel programmed to react, your spirit is unnerved, and based on what you learned in basic training, fear of taking a life is on repeat in your head.
A new base, new rules, roommates and responsibilities. Shit, now I’ve gotta get acquainted with 50 new women? Luckily it was only one, and since she was married, half the time she wasn’t in the room anyway! Community showers again, toilets as well, I couldn’t complain much though, we did have privacy of doors and weren’t forced to watch 50 other women washing their ass at the same time. If that isn’t a documented trauma, it should be. The dorms felt like what I envisioned my friends in college might be experiencing, a spacious community living area and a phone on each floor. How comical I thought, who the hell decided that women could share a phone. Something else I would soon learn, you want your calls, you gotta hook somebody up with something!
While basic training was a mental struggle to maintain sanity, technical school centered around your ability to manage relationships. Yes, this is where you went to learn the specifics of what would become “the mission” but in that, learning the importance of professional boundaries was key. The job itself is never that difficult, in time it becomes second nature, as you learn the mistakes are few, understanding everyone that you will work closely with for 8-12 hours a day is an entirely different beast. Having failed my vision screenings and being told I was color blind, I was unable to become an air traffic controller, the next best option was flight operations.
I would learn about managing everything that involved working with flight crew, and maintaining data documenting flights for flying squadrons. While most think only pilots are considered flyers, we have flight doctors, nurses, engineers, loadmasters, navigators, and others that support multiple missions in the air. All of these individuals and their jobs are essential to all military operations and I grew to value and respect the work and those responsible for making supporting the country possible. I had also calmed down significantly, how was I ever going to face having to take a life with a desk job. So Airman Rhodes began to do what she does, adjust and adapt, while doing her best at attempting perfection.
Dorm life created quite a challenge for me, I’ve never been a girl who maintained many friendships with girls, yes I had a close few, but my friendships with guys were just as important. I’ve always been a guy’s girl, it’s no competition, some might anxiously wait for the night that you forget your boundaries and slide into bed, but avoiding the pettiness of females is the greater reward. The first hard lesson I learned was that I knew nothing about people, and what I had constructed in my underdeveloped mind about human behaviors after a psychology class was simply untrue. To know people you must watch them silently, hear their words and pay attention to their actions, everyone has an agenda. Figuring out what they want gives you the upper hand, if you can’t, wait and watch them manipulate your weaknesses.The guys were looking for someone cute to get next too, and the girls were trying to see how much competition you were if they considered you a threat based on your outward appearance. I didn’t have a clue, and thus began the series of lessons that would become my unnerved life.
Much love from the brown girl, sharing stories of life for Blogtober. Please keep writing, I promise you, someone is always reading! Enjoy ❤️
Nyri~The Unnerved Traveler