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Potential In Purgatory

On days like these Im plagued annoyingly by an insatiable sense of boredom. I have nothing to do at work, my duties having been delegated away to the new, fresh young blood long ago. This new system is familiar yet alien to me, and despite my best attempts to familiarize myself with its unique traits, I constantly come up short. Normally, this wouldnt be an issue, rather it would be welcomed enthusiastically. I know no greater joy as a technician than to acquaint myself with a previously insurmountable problem and to, through a remarkable mix of ingenuity, grit and perserverance, dismantle it skillfully until it falls to pieces at my feet, thoroughly conquered and all of its available knowledge gleaned. Its this characteristic that earned me several favors over many months at sea and a letter of reccommendation from a retired Mustang Officer should I ever seek a commission. While in our current condition, however, such an attribute can be abused and miscast. Rather than integrating myself with the Subject Matter Experts and assimilating every bit of useful information via trial and error, Im moving boxes. I understand that manual labor must be performed and that it is the duty of the entire crew. But when there are numerous junior personnel available, there is no reason to have the senior members of the shop assigned to such petty, meaningless tasks. As always, as Ive been taught by circumstance to do since I arrived here over 3 years ago, I have no choice but to rely on my knowledge of Stoicism to change my perspective on this abortion of judgement. The biggest difference is that when I get to my new duty station, I will hit the ground running. There will of course be time for a social life, but I will quickly establish myself as  a useful, passionate technician. I wont shirk responsibility, and will once again perform more than what is asked of me. The purpose of life is to excel, and although Im getting a large amount of reading and writing done here in what amounts to Purgatory, Im eager to strive for more once again.

There is a sense of rebirth in the air. The scent of autumn is rich, crisp and prominent, palpable, the aroma of simmering stews and heavy, dark wood crackling with comforting stacatto as its set ablaze. Ive gradually become aware these past few months of how deeply the past had entrenched its claws within me. Try as I might I couldnt tear away from its infernal grip, afraid of the blood that would spew, terrified of the scars I would bear. Yet I did it, shedding the carcass of my previous days like a chrysalis, emerging stronger, better and incredibly vivacious. The memories would cripple me, berating me and leaving me sullen and incapacitated. With an angel's help and a hell of alot of prayer, I used my gravestone as a stepping stone, ascending like a phoenix risen from his own disshevelled ashes. Yet now, with no small amount of trepidation, as well as an unhealthy dose of irrational excitement, I peer into my future, courting the abyss with eager, insane eyes. I am nothing if not a writer, and I believe that I am up to the task of penning my own novel. Lets hope my penmanship suffices.

In moments like these I am deleriously happy. During protracted periods of solitude and seclusion, I longed for a girl that could replace what I had lost. I stumbled through the darkness, groping for a crack or crevasse to grip maniacally, thereby biding myself precious few moments to relax, to recapture my laboured breathing and regain my shaken bearings. I had grown accustomed to watching my own six, to needing nothing but my own gifts, and relying on nobody but myself. People could not be trusted. I had lots of friends, but nobody I truly accepted into my inner circle, a group almost absurd in its exclusivity. While rolling these thoughts over in my head, I come home to our makeshift apartment, our refuge from the dampening air and weakening heat of the outside world. "My day was so damn long.", I tell her. Instantaneously, a beer is in my hand and a bath is drawn, scented with Mint, Lavender, Magnolia and Rose Petals. When she smiles at me, all of the accumulated armor and scarification of the past 4 years evaporates, and I am young again. My face is fresh and my outlook is green. Im innocent, uncorrupted, and free. Wide, auburn eyes bore into mine, and Im relaxed. Love is in the Autumn air, and for the time being, we are both at home.

Potential is a dirty, misleading word. It can inspire one to reach for the unseen, to will their fantasies into concrete, tangible property, yet it can infect the overly confident with a case of encumbering procrastination. I fell into the latter group. When youre constantly praised for your talents and past accomplishments, you begin to see yourself as greatness incarnate. Others, with their best intentions paving your road to a languid Hell, accidently deify you in their attempts to build your self-belief and nurture your skills. This is a repugnant mistake. Of course, one should be praised for a job well done and be given due credit when it is deserved, but their laurels should never falter or be crushed under the weight of their own lounging. After being told from adolescence on that I was stupid, useless, weak, pitiful, pathetic, and a whole host of other insults, I learned my lesson well. Examine both praise and criticism dispassionately and exactingly. Never allow your ego to become supremely inflated, but never let the unworthy anywhere near it, lest they seek to tear you down to their level with slender, uncaliced, arthritic fingers. I will make my way in this world regardless of the challenges presented to me. I will simply reorient them to suit my needs. As stated before, Im an outlaw, and Ill go out in my own blaze of glory. Bonnie and Clyde.

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