January 4, 2011 by Amanda Zahn
It’s a liberating experience to have a subscriber. While this is my first endeavor blogging in a public forum, I still only imagined that my friends and family would be the only people to read it — and, even then, only if I prodded them to do so. A subscriber, however, is someone who is not only willing to read what I write, but someone who is also not against having their inbox spammed whenever I click a new button. With this humbling insight in mind, thanks, Ike. I hope the spam stays welcome.
Today was the first day back in classes for Full Sail University. Well, yesterday was the first day for the online students, but it wasn’t advertised very well and some students only stumbled upon that information by accident. I’m glad to be back in school. We were only given a two-week vacation for the holidays, but it felt like a lifetime. It is difficult to go from the fast paced, hard-hitting education of Full Sail to a dead stop and fully experience a vacation. I enjoyed the break, sure, but I don’t think I ever truly unwound.
As each month comes and goes, we’re told constantly that we’re “getting into the meat and potatoes of our degree program”. I’m excited at the possibilities that are, and will be, available to me with a degree from Full Sail, but I can’t help but feel a little bored. I don’t know if it is just that the classes are not as interesting as I’d like them to be or if it is something lacking on my part. I have an extremely solid picture of myself and (most of) my qualities. With such a good grasp on who I am, I can’t help but feel a little envious of these other students, some years younger than me, who know exactly who they’ll be in five or ten years.
This is the point where I hear Fire’s voice tell me something motivating. Thanks, Fire.
Speaking of Fire, she was a major help on Sunday. I got my ears pierced and she helped me choose. I don’t think that is a milestone or a victory dance for many people, but it is a big one to me. My ears were pierced at birth and I remember having problems with them throughout my life. There was a point in high school that I had to have the stud removed through the back of my ear because the lobe had swelled over the pearl. Traumatized, right?
Back up a little bit. I got my eyebrow pierced in September or October. I had a few piercings before I joined the Army, so this isn’t the first time I’ve had metal foreign objects protruding through my skin. With that step, I began to truly break away from the soldier I had become. Am I still a soldier? Yes. Something like that just doesn’t go away. As more time passes, however, I’m starting to see the civilian Amanda come out. She’s not a whole lot different from Amanda the soldier, but she’s allowed a few more freedoms of expression than she’s previously known.
Getting my ears pierced was another step in that freedom of expression. I took it one step farther, though, and got my tragus done along with my ear lobes. In the two days that I’ve had it, I’ve been asked why multiple times. It’s really hard to explain. Saying I’m expressing myself doesn’t cut it. To be honest, that sounds like something a teenager would say. Whie it is expression, it is ultimately the inner me admitting to myself that I don’t have to maintain my military bearing any longer. I don’t have to be the picture perfect display of a soldier any more. This is the civilian me winning the battle against the soldier.
What is this going to do with my motivation to go back into the Army when I get done with my degree? It was always only a backup plan, and so far still is, but how does this change me? What does this mean for my future?
Who will I become?