I've been home from Basic Military Training now for a month and a half. I can't believe how fast time is going. It's crazy that it's already the middle of summer and I'll be heading off to my second round of training at tech school in just a little over two months. Part of me is excited for that next adventure. Part of me is nervous. And this post will explain why. I'm about to give you a candid look into my thoughts about re-joining the real world after my time spent at BMT. Everyone handles the successes and stresses of BMT differently... this is a look into how I'm handling life at the moment.
Coming home—reintegration as the military calls it—has actually been a lot harder than I ever thought possible. Chalk it up to the BMT version of "Stockholm Syndrome" (where the hostage begins to identify and/or bond with their captor... in BMT it's like our bond with our MTI's, ha!)—but some days I just want to go back. Man, life there was so... simple. There was always a routine. There was always a certain way to do things. There was always something to do, somewhere to go, some rule to follow. Structure. And sure, there was drama... but it was drama that I sat back and had no part of, and I knew that I would be away from it within a matter of weeks.
After coming home, it's been mentally challenging for me to get back to life-as-I-know-it. To become a civilian again. My civilian job—working in the fundraising office of our local non-profit hospital—is great. I'm adjusting back there just fine, and if not better and more on-task than before. It's at home where I'm realizing my struggles. No longer are there 46 other trainees who I live/sleep/shower with—now it's only my poor husband who is feeling the brunt of my post-BMT stress management. Stress management... I think that's the key word there. I haven't found a good outlet for my stress (and in fact, I don't even know why I'm feeling any at all... life is truly easy these days). I've been working out 7-days a week, trying to channel my anxiety into beads of sweat that I can wipe off my forehead without a care—but it just hasn't been that easy.
In fact, I'm actually embarrassed to admit it, but I've just been so sad lately. Maybe it's a slight version of the "post BMT blues"—I was so excited for it to come, and now that it's gone, I feel an empty void there. I think I just picked up a bit of emotional baggage while at BMT and I'm having a hard time letting it go. It's turning me into a "little ball of stress," and I want nothing more than to be that carefree, low-maintenance person again. I know I can get back to that... it's just going to take some time.
I've finally arrived at the point where I want to hang out with people again, where I have started doing my nails and having fun with my makeup, and where I'm beginning to feel like a civilian... finally. While at BMT and even shortly after returning home, I didn't think I had changed at all. Now that a bit of time has elapsed and I can look back over the last several weeks, I can see just how much I changed, and how much more changing I'd like to do.
BMT was an amazing experience. I gained so much and learned so much about myself. I have big, big dreams ahead in my Air National Guard career and can't wait to move forward. I am looking forward to finishing this soul-searching and re-integration, though. Sometimes I wonder how different my mental process had been if I'd have gone straight through to tech school instead of coming home for a 4-month break. I just sort of feel like I'm in a state of limbo, and my mental thought process seems to be reflecting that. I'm promising myself now that I won't let myself experience a second round of this after returning from tech school (hence why I've felt nervous about leaving for it). In fact, I've found so much of a comfort from writing out my struggles in the past, so I'm hoping this journaling of my thoughts will help me move past what's been holding me down—me, myself and I.
In so many letters home, I swore up and down that I would never take my husband, my home or my civilian life for granted again. It's amazing to see how easy it is to forget those promises when you get back in the swing of things. This is my vow to move forward. Right now. To get back up on my feet, brush off the past, and move forward—as a civilian and Airman—ready to conquer whatever challenges lie ahead. After all, wasn't it Dorothy who said, "There's no place like home?" She's right. There's no place like home. It's time to get myself back to it.