Pure hell took its course on me as a young innocent girl. Being a military brat definitely impacted my life in many challenging ways. The term military brat is usually misunderstood by non-military population. A military brat is a child from a parent who is in the military. My mother was a commanding officer which made me and my siblings labeled “military brat” The word brat (by itself) may seem negative. However, we were taught that its not an insult but actually a term of endearment and respect. Of course the military has a lot of traveling, family orientated, many free services, and good food.
Being a military brat was not all its hyped up to be. As a little girl growing up I never had a place to truly call home. Living the lifestyle as a military brat my mother frequently transferred or was given new assignments. Our locations verified from state to state and we always ended up on a military base. Never staying in a place for more than one to two years it was like being passed around like a damn basketball. At times I got used to my mother’s absence when she received her assignments. It was a breath of fresh air when she wasn’t around.
It felt like a taste of bliss when I didn’t have to hear her constant nagging or screaming. All of us children were able to feel free for the time she was gone. As the time came near for her return it felt as if we walked on egg shells due to her unpredictable mood swings. It’s a shame that I didn’t have a choice to be a part of the military culture. Being born into a family that was already actively enrolled was no fair chance for me to have a civilian life experience. On base they preach over and over to us about values and patriotism. What fucking values, is all I say to myself.
The military law required commanding officers and those in authority to demonstrate “The 7 Army Values”. The acronym was “LDRSHIP” which stands for Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, and Personal Courage. I was never taught values, morals, or anything of that nature. That woman who called herself a mother wasn’t there to teach me values. I see more of my mother’s back walking straight out the door than I saw her miserable looking face. The most difficult challenge I dealt with was constantly making new friends to replace the ones I just left behind.
I’ve never felt such a bitter taste of hate in my mouth for when she uprooted us and took my best friend Sarah away. No one could replace my SarahLoo or even come close to filling in her shoes. From that point on I kept my distance away from most people so I wouldn’t get attached and set my-self up for another heartache. It really sucked when we relocated during the winter holidays. I would plan and save up my funds to buy my friends presents. Making new friends in a new environment was extremely hard to break into their social groups. To them I was an outsider from a different base.
Being on base there is a zero tolerance policy for misbehavior or being rebellious. As a brat I remember the discipline being cruel and unusual punishment putting me in the corner to kneel on my knees and hold both my arms up and away from my body. My arms would go numb and the knees feeling like someone just removed the knee caps. The amount of time in the corner was based on how well we held our composure. She would have us drop our pants to the floor grabbing our ankles as she took my father’s biggest leather belt slashing it against our ass as hard as she could.
If we moved she would distribute more lashings. My mother was mean and called her discipline “tough love”. Yeah right, my ass it wasn’t tough love. She could dissemble my door frame in five minutes taking away my privacy when I would slam my door from anger. She would turn off the electricity to my room so that there was no TV, curling irons, games, or any luxury. The more my mother was a bitch the more I rebelled with braking my curfew, sneaking out, hiding her badge, taking her files and hiding them.
The consequences of misbehavior for a military brat are generally greater than for a civilian children. Being labeled a brat was not a choice by any means. However, due to the challenges I endured it has shaped and molded me into the woman I am today. A woman with values, strength, great friendships, and unconditional love for all. No longer that innocent girl thanks to the military who robbed me of that innocence. And It makes want to spit when someone refers to me as a military brat. It’s not a word that means “endearment” or “respect” as we were taught. It signifies Hell for me.