Today’s the day that I’m guessing close to or perhaps even more than 2000 guys have been looking forward to over the past 9 weeks. This morning these ‘boys’ would’ve taken a huge step into becoming men, having finally completed a 24-km route march in their army uniforms and battle vests while carrying their field packs. They’ve completed their basic military training (BMT).
Facebook’s got plenty of photos of guys I know who passed out from BMT, taken with their fellow platoon and section mates, taken with fellow ex-school mates, taken with family, taken with friends. Everyone of those guys should be proud of the cap throwing moment of jubilation. Their families should be proud that they have a son/grandson/cousin/nephew who has finally came through 9 weeks of roughing it out in the army. Their friends should be proud they have a friend/friends whom they can call a soldier.
I came across photos of the BMT passing out parade of someone when it really hit me and made me really think, “What can I be proud of?”
I couldn’t go through BMT because of my dislocated shoulder from December and subsequent surgery in March. So, I lost out on a rite of passage that most Singaporean guys would have the honour of declaring, that their families and friends can be proud of them for. As a student, I’ve always pulled away from the rest, though not in a good way. I was always average and even though I exceeded my own expectations for my previous major exams, I still ending up being lower than my school average, not performing as well as the people I surrounded myself with. As an athlete, I have achieved zero accolades that I can be genuinely proud of. As a dancer, I don’t seem to have enough flair for it even though I enjoy dance. As a leader, I haven’t made the cut of being influential or inspiring.
Basically, I realized I don’t have anything I am really proud of myself of.
And I thought to myself, I need to find something that I can be proud of myself of, I need to achieve something that I can be proud of myself of, without needing the validation of others or for others to be proud of me. Because all this while I’ve been attempting to seek recognition, to earn the recognition of others, I’ve desired for others to be proud of me, so that I can be proud of myself. And for a moment today, I thought about needing to be proud of myself that’s what’s more important instead.
But now comes something just as hard to face: what can I do, so that I can foremost, be proud of the person I see in the mirror, of myself?