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Dre' A. Porcher

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The Truth About Military Children
12/26/2009 4:39:14 AM    [ Flag as Inappropriate ]

For some reason, I feel like doing this Quentin Tarantino style and I think it'll add to the effect. So here's the truth about military children.

A large number of them turn out to be cold, heartless, and generally unfeeling individuals whether they know it or not.

Two notes to take into account:
1) The earlier statement doesn't apply to EVERY SINGLE CHILD! So please don't leave me the hate comments arguing numbers. I didn't even say "Most", I said "a large number" and when you take into account that less than 1% of Americans are in the military, that "large number" really loses its effect, doesn't it?

2) The following thoughts only apply to the children that have lived the majority of their childhoods (ages 1 - 18) with an Active Duty Guardian. The same thoughts can apply to ANY child that has to move around on a regular to semi-regular to a random basis.

Now that the little disclaimer is out of the way, here is why I feel the need to make that statement. I speak of the Military Child because I am, or rather was, one. I also stand by my statement that this belief stands by ANY child that moves around several times in their life. The truth is that moving constantly has an effect that most people don't realize. Due to the constant gaining and losing of friends, the heart and mind consciously or subconsciously puts up a defense. It is to the point that many have come to believe that "Friends are issued to you at your next duty station."

It was hard at first. When I was little, I used to cry and cry every time we moved, but as I grew older, I began to realize that I will make friends where ever we go. It's necessary for survival as a child. Even if it's only one close friend, you'll make at least one in the Military Community. Well, that's all fine and dandy from that aspect. Here's the catch: When it comes time for you to leave or for one of your friends to leave, it's no big, because you'll attach to someone else. Everyone can be replaced in our hearts. Maybe not the same way, but still replaceable. At nearly 21 years now, the only people I really, really feel attached to are my parents because when we moved, they were the only ones that stayed with me. The rest of my family, I love them, sure. They're my family, but I don't feel at all compelled to call or visit. It's the old saying, "You can't miss what you never had." I never had family gathering or family traditions or anything like that, so I can't miss it. When a grandparent or other family member passes, I grieve... for a few hours... maybe a day, maybe two. That's it. Then I reset. I default. Were it one of my parents to pass away, then I'd really feel it, but otherwise...
And that feeling applies to every other person in the world besides my parents. I don't care. People come and people go and one is as good as another. You can pick a select few and label them as unique if you'd like, but it doesn't change the fact that if they left, you really could find someone else. Friends, Lovers, even family. Deny it as you'd like, but think about it. In your life time, how many friends have you made and lost? How many people did you talk and hang out with years ago that you have no contact with now? How many people did you JUST think of now that I've mentioned it? Lovers. How many times have you had and lost a boyfriend or girlfriend and felt like you wouldn't love again or find someone else only to later in life have another boyfriend or girlfriend? How many people are infidels? How many affairs?! And Family, that's easy... how many friends have you had that were "like a brother/sister to" you? Blood couldn't make you any closer? Some people are even closer and more loyal to their friends than they are to their blood relatives.

So the cold, hard truth is, military children, when your very best friend PCSes (Permanent Change of Station), yes you will get over it. You'll try to keep in contact with them through current networking options. Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, etc... but over time, as you constantly meet with new people, you'll spend less and less time messaging your old friends. Don't feel bad about your lost friend because they're doing the same thing at their new home, with their new friends. At first, I used to think this was just me. I used to feel bad when people would tell me things like, "I'll miss you!" and all I could reply with was, "Eh... that's nice..." Because I knew I wouldn't miss them. I'd keep in contact for a few weeks, maybe a month, and I'll always keep them on my facebook and myspace and drop them a comment once every 6 months, but when I get to my next home, I'll make new friends and the old ones will be replaced. Well, I've talked to fellow military children and determined that I'm not alone. Many of us are in the same category. We all do the same thing, whether it's intentional or not. It's not to be mean or heartless. It's to save what heart we have left. It's so we don't have to suffer the heartbreak of loss again and again and again.

I used to cry and cry every time we moved because everything I worked for was gone. Friends, School, Achievements, it didn't matter because once I got to where we were going, it was all gone and I was at the bottom of the food chain again. For the constant mover, meeting people isn't as simple as "People I like" "People I don't Like" and "People I don't know". It turns into, from bottom to top:

People I dislike
People I don't know
People I know but don't get along with
People I get along with
And People I like

It's hard for me to explain to my "friends" that most of them are in the "People I get along with" category. That doesn't mean I dislike them. It just means that I don't "like" them. Otherwise, I would be hurt when the left. Very, very, very few people make it into the "People I like" category. It takes at least a couple of years to do that and as a Marine Corps brat, I haven't known anyone for longer than 3 years. Max. People I get along with means I'll hang out with them, go places, help them out, do things for them, so on and so forth. But when either they leave or I leave, it's just "Well, so long. Have a nice life." People I like, I will genuinely miss. At this moment, my parent and my little brother are the only people I miss. Otherwise, everyone else is expendable.

Now, I close with this. I've written the majority of this blog with 'I's and 'Me's, but I've had this discussion with several military children and children who move a lot and the vast majority of them feel the same way more or less. You may be thinking, "How many people exactly have you spoken to?" Well, I don't keep count, but from Camp Lejuene, Camp Pendleton, 29 Palms, Hawaii, Dobbins Air Force Base, Camp Fuji, All the Camps on Okinawa, Japan and the many number of places those people have been too, I've come into contact with quite a few people. This whole thing sounds negative, but in truth, it's just a statement and technically, just an opinion many times agreed upon. If it happens to upset anybody, I'm slightly sorry, but I happen to be a cold, heartless, and generally unfeeling individual whether I know it or not.

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More Blogs by Dre' A. Porcher
•  The Truth About Military Children - Saturday, December 26, 2009  
• Appreciation - Saturday, July 04, 2009

Crazy is Normal a classroom exposť by Lloyd Lofthouse

The primary source used to write this memoir comes from a daily journal that Lloyd Lofthouse kept for one school year. ..  
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