*Takes a swig of coffee and begins to reminisce*
Ahhhhhhh. Naval Air Station Lemoore, July, 2004. I was in the Naval Sea Cadet Corps in high school, and that summer, right before starting my senior year, I spent two weeks at Airman Training, where we learned all about jets and what life is like at a naval air base. The purpose of the cadet program was to give young people an idea of what life in the Navy is like, if you chose to join after graduating high school (in which I did not; I went on to get an art degree).
My roommate for those two weeks was a fellow cadet named Denise. One thing we quickly learned we had in common? We both loved the band Slipknot. Their super popular song Duality was a fresh radio hit at the time, and hearing it come on the radio one evening, we decided to blare it obnoxiously loud in our living quarters.
“All I’ve GOT!!!!!! ALL I’VE GOT IS INSANE!!!!!!!” Corey Taylor’s voice hollered with grit from the speakers of our stereo. It was like our own personal Slipknot concert, right in our very own room!
Well, guess what happened? Someone in the building called the police (as in, the military police. We were on a military base, after all). Seeing them pull up in a marked car outside our building window, we promptly turned off the music and hauled butt out of our room, nearly tripping over ourselves really, hiding in a nearby break room. Whispering nervously amongst ourselves, we peered out of the window blinds in the deserted break room with the lights off, watching the military police knocking on people’s doors, trying to determine where the infernal racket had been coming from. They eventually left after not finding the culprits (us) and the music was off, anyway.
But dang. For two sixteen year old girls, seeing the military police instilled the fear of God in us.
Another great memory from Airman Training was when a Marine pulled me aside after a tour of the base and gave me a few words of wisdom that I still to this day try to remind myself. Noticing I was extremely shy and quiet (and I truly was at the age of sixteen), a very stern-looking Marine pulled me aside from the group of cadets, and I thought I was in trouble. Shoot, I wondered. Did he find out Denise and I were the ones playing that Slipknot song too loudly??? How could he possibly know about that—this naval air base is HUGE! But no, that wasn’t it. He only told me this: “I noticed you let other people speak for you.” His stern expression softened, much to my surprise. “You should speak up for yourself.” After he offered a small smile, he went on his way, leaving me standing there with wisdom that would stay with me for the next eighteen years—unbeknownst to me at the time.
Today’s ensemble, inspired by sailor uniforms! 💙
I sometimes wonder what happened to that Marine. During those years, the Iraq/Afghanistan war was in full swing and Marines were deployed in droves, so one can only wonder. Nonetheless, it shows that words can be powerful, and you find your own personal heroes at the most unexpected moments.
I’m definitely not the extremely shy and quiet sixteen-year-old I was then; at almost thirty-five, I’ve noticed most people find me rather annoying and seem to avoid me altogether if they can (I may be ditzy, but I’m good at observations, dang it). But even if I have no problems with talking now, that doesn’t mean I’m good at speaking up for myself when it matters most. And that’s when I try to remember what that Marine told me.
And I still play that Slipknot song from time to time, and have a good laugh at the memory that comes with it—but at a modest decibel level, this time. 😉