I have been trying to write this initial blog post for weeks and it has been a struggle fest. I have put it off so much and it has been making me so nervous! More nervous than the actual subject matter, which is that on April 13, 2015, my little brother, “Brudah Ben” as my friends call him, is getting on a bus with just the clothes on his back, $20 and a drivers license to get his emotional and physical ass kicked for three months. All towards the end of defending our great nation against – I’m not quite sure what. Terrorists, I guess? So maybe my minds been doing me a favor, distracting me with the very very important task of writing a blog post to give myself a little break before I realize the clusterfuck that is The Marines bootcamp. (“I curse in real life so why not curse on the internet?” is what I will tell my mother when she questions my use of the word “clusterfuck” on my blog.)
I intend to go into more detail in a future post but I will give you the gist. My little brother is 19 years old and has been on this track since he was probably 15. My family is super not into the military. It could not be farther from the values I was raised on (or is it? dun dun dun! We’ll get to that later). I was raised in liberal, culturally Jewish, upper middle class communities. I know next to nothing about the military or the Marines. I didn’t even know that the Marines was one branch of the military – I thought the Marines, military, Army, Navy, all that was interchangeable. Maybe you thought that too until this moment? No, just me?
Since I have been very busy the last couple of months driving around the country finding myself, my brother put off going to bootcamp until now, so we could spend some quality sibling time together before he leaves. Isn’t he the best? I am so spoiled. In my writing block frenzy I unblocked by asking myself some important questions:
What do I want to share with people?
I want to educate the ignorant, including myself, on the nuances and misconceptions about the Marines. From the little research I have done so far, the Marines is a badass, integrity rich group of men and women. There is a lot to be said for the dedication and mission these people live their lives by.
Why am I writing this blog?
I am writing this blog because if I wasn’t, I would pretend it wasn’t happening, I wouldn’t dig deep, try to really understand the world my brother is entering and thus, I wouldn’t be able to support my brother at my highest capacity. I know, I’m such a good sister. He’s spoiled, too!
Why does this matter?
Because when we draw lines in the sand and say “On this side is us, and we are right about the world” and say “On the other side is them and they are what’s wrong with the world” we are just making everyone sicker. By dehumanizing someone else in that way, we are making ourselves less human.
What do I hope to get out of this?
I hope to gain clarity into what the Marines is and how it can serve my brother’s higher purpose. How it can serve my higher purpose. The Marines is a brotherhood, a family. I am now a reluctant member of a military family. So it would be wise to learn something about it. At the very least have something to say to people when they ask me questions or give me weird looks that are a cross between congratulations and concern. It’s happened a lot already. It will continue for the next eight years or so. I should come up with something better than “Yeah, he’s been into this for a while. It’s a little weird but we’re supportive.”
What insights do I want to inspire in others?
I want others to feel the strange sensation that I’ve been carrying around which is that my world, my communities and my ideals are fluid. It’s a fleeting feeling but when I grasp it, I feel a great sense of clarity. Like, if I, of all people, and my communities, can somehow be able to understand and accept something so foreign to us, so seemingly against what we believe in, as the Marines, and see it as a part of our world, not something in opposition, then any conflict can be resolved. If I can love the Marines for exactly as it is, and embrace it as a part of my identity, just like every other part, then there is a way for all people to break through all cultural barriers.
So basically this blog is going to save the world. With run on sentences, curse words and self deprecating humor. Stay tuned.