I have a friend that I have known since high school. Back then we were like brothers. We shared some great memories and some not so great memories. I remember once, we were setting around and he stated that he want to kill himself. I asked why. He started telling me how awful his life was, and how unfair it was. I sat there listening. When he was through I stated that life isn’t that bad because someone else’s is worse. He looked up through his tears… “Oh yea! Well what’s you story? How bad have you had it?” So I settled in and told him about the abuse that I have endured as a child. The yelling, beating, even one summer of being molested several times over. His face froze. When I had finished, all I could think was, that was the first time I had ever shared my life story with anyone. I finally was over it enough to share. “Dude your life is messed up. You should be the one committing suicide, not me.” I knew what he meant, as messed up as that was to say. But in some form he was right. But it’s my life, and I’m proud of it. Except for the rage.
As a by product of being mistreated I fed my bad nature a lot. I wanted others to hurt as much, if not more, than I had been hurt. This resulted in a lot of people getting hurt. The problem with being angry all the time, you lose your conscience. You don’t care. It’s a bad place to be. I wanted to be better. I wanted to be a person that people loved to be around. I promised myself that one day I would look in the mirror and meet that person. I just had to start feeding my good nature and build it up.
Funny thing about those natures, they never reduce in size. First thing I had to do was learn how not to be angry. That may sound weird but that’s how it was. Anger came easy, forgiveness came with discipline. I depended on my wife a lot. Her conscience was big enough for the both of us.(and still is) When things started to get out of hand and I wanted to get violent, I would look at her and say “Can I?” Knowing that I want to pummel someone, she would simply smile and say “No.” I would comply and walk away. Walking a way put a beating on my pride. I am human.
Being in the military has done me a lot of good, and visa versa. The military doesn’t instill discipline like it use to. It proves the tools and either you use them or you get out. Lucky for me, I was smart enough to use them. I still have my days of orneriness, but I take it in stride. Now days, people don’t know I mad until I say something. I’ll let them know that I’m getting flustered and need to take a break. The look of surprise on their face lets me know that I’m doing a good job maintaining. One word of advise the military isn’t for everyone. I still have a long way to go, but that man in my mirror keeps looking happier everyday. And that fine by me.