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20 May 2010 @ 03:42 pm
Ah, the Army...  
I feel like I've been really erratic about posting and commenting on friend's pages lately. Actually, I feel as if the past few weeks have all been extremely disjointed, like stop-motion photography. There's sort of a waxy spectrum to things as well, which is definitely due to lack of good sleep. Oh, I'm sleeping a lot, but I'm not sleeping well.

Explain to me how this works: Four weeks ago, my brother served Little Cousin with an ultimatum. If he's going to live in this house, he needs to go back on his medication and see a therapist. Little Cousin whinges on aboout how unfair we are, how we're trying to ruin his life, how he knows I'm the one that put Sam (my brother) up to this, ect. (Damn straight, I did. If I don't put my foot down around here, no one will.) Eventually, he conceeds. He goes to said therapist, but comes back without a perscription for his meds. Why? Because he's been off the regimen for over a year now, and he's decided he's going to join the Army!


That's a threat I've heard before, so imagine my surprise when two Army recruiting officers show up at my door. They talk to Little Cousin in the kitchen, and I slip down to the laundry room which, due to the way our heat vents are situated, allows for crystal-clear carrying of sound. The officers give him the Big Sell-- they are "leveling with him", "man to man" about "the straight-up facts". And oh, by the way, if he gets someone else to sign up with him, he'll get bumped a degree in rank and enter boot camp as Private E-1. They throw financial figures at him. Little Cousin is greatly enthused, but concerned about his history of ADHD. He's been off the medicine for a year, but he was also 'unofficially' diagnosed with depression when he was in highschool.

The officer says, "You never had ADHD or depression."
"What!?", I think, giving up all pretense of folding towels. Little Cousin, for once, echoes this sentiment.
The officers say that Little Cousin needs to "learn to play ball". If he's off the meds, there's no need to disclose that he ever took them. He doesn't need to mention his little involuntary trip to the therapist. The Army will never ask for a civilian doctor's opinion anyway-- what Little Cousin must do is fly under the CMO's radar and "not find Jesus" when it's time to sign the papers.
"Find Jesus?" Little Cousin echoes, mystified.
"You know, sing like a bird."
"Ah."

Now, I'm sitting down there in the laundry room, with the heavy smell of powder soap and the general damp the prevades a basement thinking, "Did the Army just tell my little cousin to lie?"

I go upstairs, stack of towels in my arms, because I want a look at these men. Little Cousin is at the kitchen table with them, talking about taking the ASVAP. The officers greet me politely, and I do the same. They actually stand when I come in the room. One of them spots the pairs of shoes all lined up by the door. (No one wears shoes in the house around here-- there's just a little Japanese-style line of them on a mat just inside the threshold.)
"Who's the little guy?" one of the officers asks, pointing to the very small pair of combat boots on the end.
"Oh, those are hers." My cousin points to me, I wave.
This gets some raised eyebrows. "Your female cousin wears combat boots?"
"There's a joke in there somewhere," I reply, pleasantly enough, about to leave the room.
"She's a lesbian," says Little Cousin, bold as the brass on a bald monkey.

Am I embarrassed? Yes, by the way this young man treats me in my own home. Never, under any circumstances, am I ashamed of my sexuality. I smile the "oh-I'm-a-nice-hostess" smile I stole from my mom, while the officers look at me. This little Jewish woman who can't make 5'4 without previously mentioned combat boots. Long hair in a braid, long blue dress that reaches the ground. One officer coughs, and there's a protracted moment of silence. The other finally asks, "Really?" His superior officer gives him a look that shuts him up.
"Yes," I say in my best 'customer-service-is-our-number-one-priority' voice. "Would you gentlemen like some water or soda before you leave?"
"That'd... be great."

I set the drinks out on the counter, and go upstairs to put the towels away. Downstairs, I hear the lead officer tell Little Cousin that's not the sort of thing he ought to discuss openly. His side-kick meekly adds that DADT might be going away in October.
"Doubtful," says the CO. They move on to discuss Little Cousin going up to Columbus to take the ASVAP. Later in the evening, I will field several phone calls from family back in RI. In particular, Little Cousin's mother thinks I am an evil bitch whose one goal in life is to get her son killed. Also, she can't believe I made him go to the therapist.
"We don't air our dirty laundry in public like that."
Oh, you bitch, I think. You bitch.


Things really haven't gotten much better since. *sigh* You know, I don't want Little Cousin to join the army, but it's becoming increasingly clear that he can't live here, either.

...
I think I've nattered on enough. I'm sorry if I haven't been as supportive or helpful to my friends as I usually am, or should be. *hugs*
-Meredith
 
 
Emotional Temperature: pessimisticpessimistic
The Band Plays:: "Bulletproof"-- by La Roux
 
 
 
misanthrope1misanthrope1 on May 20th, 2010 08:46 pm (UTC)
Hugs. Your family sounds as screwed up as mine. good luck!
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: violetgarnettrees on May 24th, 2010 01:22 am (UTC)
Heh. *hugs back* It's good to know I'm not alone at least! ^_^
-Meredith
disco_floozy: elizadisco_floozy on May 20th, 2010 10:27 pm (UTC)
*hug* Oh sweetie, that is just all sorts of wrong. How is it not okay for your cousin to tell things to a therapist (someone who is trained to talk to people about issues & has client confidentiality) but totally fine for him to tell two complete strangers about your sexuality? A therapist is NOT public and won't repeat anything said whereas those army guy might. If only in that "So I said 'Really?' and it was totally ackward" way.

My brother is ADHD diagnosed and also has Asperbergers's (sp?). He is 29 this year and has been off of his meds for years. He lives with my mother who can't MAKE him go to the doctor or take any meds because he's of adult age even if he acts more like a teenager. So while the situations aren't the same, they are similar enough that I understand a bit about how stressful it is for you to live with your cousin.

My brother never considered the Army and I certainly wouldn't want him in there but I've sometimes wondered if that situation wouldn't supply him with the type of discipline he needs and we can't provide. It's your cousin's decision and if he feels it's something he wants/needs to do then maybe he should do it. The Air Force served to straighten out a friend of mine, he came back very focused and with a plan for his life that he is in the process of implementing. Again, it's not a choice I would make or recomend to another as a cure all, but it worked for my friend.

I'm going to wrap up this novel will another hug and a best of luck. *hug*
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: badassgarnettrees on May 24th, 2010 01:54 am (UTC)
*hugs back, tightly* I'm glad someone can see how wrong the situation is. I'm surrounded by people that support my aunt's view that I do, at times, wonder if I'm the one whose perspective is askew. Always helps to have support!

[It's] totally fine for him to tell two complete strangers about your sexuality?
That was my main point of contention in the situation-- his lack of respect for me in my own house, a house my brother and I have graciously been allowing him to live in. *shakes head*

I completely understand where you're coming from with your brother. I think that's why its so much more difficult when boys get older-- they're physically stronger and, for some of them (Little Cousin being an obvious example) it goes to their head. I have a great deal of respect and empathy for your mother. *hugs again*

My little cousin could definitely benefit from a structured environment, but his desire to enlist is tearing the family apart. Because he did it "under my care" (but, as you said, he's 21), my Aunt will always blame me. And, as frustrating as he is, I have no particular desire to bury him. My own mother is very upset as well.

Thank you so much for all the sympathy and suppport!
-Meredith
(Deleted comment)
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: magicgarnettrees on May 24th, 2010 01:56 am (UTC)
I need a vacation from reality! ^_~ Does your spare room exist in another dimension? If it does, I'm there. *grins*

wtf, army?
*hugs back* Apparently, "Don't Ask Don't Tell" became "Please Volunteer the Information, as Long As It Doesn't Pertain to You". *rolls eyes*
-Meredith
gamesiplaygamesiplay on May 21st, 2010 02:42 am (UTC)
...oh my god, Meredith, how incredibly crazy. *hugs, hugs, hugs* I hope the situation improves with your cousin ASAP.
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: friendsgarnettrees on May 24th, 2010 01:58 am (UTC)
We have lots of crazy around here. It could be our primary export, if anyone actually wanted it. ^^;;; *hugs back tightly* Families.

Darling, we need to meet up, if only so we can go drinking and exchange horror stories. ^_~
-Meredith