Things I learned growing up in a military family

Imagine a mix of the Godfather an those old 60s movies of father figures the are almost caricatured to not feel.

That’s my gradfather, retired three star general of the Philippine army. Former customs comissioner, also has done some shady things.

His brother, retired cheif of Police.

My maternal grandfather, lieutenant who walked the death march and got discharged from his position when he told the president he ain’t releasing a drug lord for no money. They nicknamed my mom ‘Barracuda’ from his guerilla days. He walked the death march , and escaped out of jail/capture once by befriending a japanese guard.

..

My dad is also a three star general. I’ve grown up with on-duty soldiers in my house since highschool. I’ve lived with it long enough, that I sometimes forget that this is not everybody’s experience. NOT EVerybody is early or on time especially in the Philippines, not everybody has this ingrained sense of service or pride. Not everybody has CCTV cameras at home.

Is this what politician’s duaghters feel? Hmmmm. Anywho, here’s what I learned from them through and through.

 

1. Being on time is expected and non-negotiable.

I swear the first time i worked in an NGO, i was SHOCKED at how late meetings start and how fickle leaders were in assigning dates. I know this doesn’t apply to everybody. But by god, i swear we are never. late . In big family gatherings we were always the first to arrive, and things like sunday dinners my grandpa would always call with a “nasan ka na?” As hello, meaning wherethehellareyou.

My dad gets pissed when he needs to call you twice for family dinner. When we go out for the mall, he just knocks me and my brothers bedroom and says “ten minutes”. And you have to be out and READY, or they will be leaving you. We eat and bathe hella fast for situations like this. My mom is the immortal exception of this. *sigh. You can’t argue with love.

In family reunions we have this slogan for our lolo (grandpa) called HURRY UP AND WAIT. Meaning be absurdly early in the airport and wait, rush a big non-military family reunion group through customs, and wait on the other side for a bus that’s not there. My grandma hatttesss this the unhealthy manifestation of this. But.

Lesson 1: Don’t waste no body’s time.

We’ve had advance parties order food ahead of us, just cause we know nothing pisses off our patriarchy more than stupidly slow dinner service. This is all, hard to explain to cousins who don’t know how to manage our grandfather.

Time is honor to us, respect. Being on time and getting shit done early means you’re serious about what you’re doing and you have loyalty to whoever requested that jazz in such short notice anyway. Being on time, is self-respect.

 

2. Unquestioning love and loyalty to your country.

The philippines is not a perfect lover. But in the military, you can’t talk shit about it, your president, your countrymen, the people you up and down serve. My father tells us stories  in coded language, about the corruption of some senators and congressman.

People in rank and file who take advantage of their powers and capacity. Some shoddy work. BUT HE never directly criticizes. It’s not in their nature to trashtalk people who are in the service and the government.

It doesn’t only go against their code but that’s like shitting on the people who are in the trenches with you. Who are living and working the salt of a third world country and everybody’s got their own problems. People died in Marawi. People lost their homes and family in the recent typhoons.

So suck up your whining and we’re all doing overtime for three days straight. Because the people – need us. And as a leader you have to be at the frontline , on top of all the things. Grounded, stable, signing stacks of papers even if it’s 10pm on a friday.

What I see to my father is not just hardwork, or dedication. It’s committment to quality and no matter how scared people are of Duterte and Human Rights Violations, a country is built on more than one person. It’s built on people like my dad. And this is the kind of thing that I can’t seem to understand from other people.

How they’re filipinos but all they can do is talk shit about their country and politicians and services. And I’m all like what do YOU do to make this a more brilliant place to live in hmm? Do you know how underpaid all our government workers are? Where’s the walk in your talk ? Where’s your gratitude and sense of helpfulness? You’re trying to immigrate to another country where 1/4 of this country is below the international poverty line cause you’re educated. Just think about that for a second and maybe one day I’ll understand why you complain.

 

3. Honor and Self-respect.

It’s only recently that I realized this, that not everyone grew up with an ingrained sense of confidence and self-respect. A sense of pride that you came here to do something important, that you’re worthy, that you better watch out mother fathers cause I’m not backing down and I’m fighting the good fight.

I’m a girl and I talked back to bullies in gradeschool. Heck even in my work right now I talk back to grantors and executive directors, years older than me , tall scary looking when they’re crossing a line on Integrity, Fairness and honest work ethics. Do you know with you’re messing with ? I’m sorry but my mom has gotten colonels fired and did not regret it.

No one will resell relief goods for profit.

No one will misuse guns to threaten innocent people.

And just me a few days ago: You are not gonna delay fair payment under my watch, let me see you try little shit.

I don’t know if this is my Aries fire finally manifesting but WHAT’s WEIRD is that within my family I’m actually pretty chill. This is the law of relativity working that if you put me in a room full of alphas, i look pretty tame, frickin harmless. I’m Non-athletic girl with curly hair, who into arts, talking to angels and anime. I look harmless beside my grappler business brother , or my resting bitch face mom and scary dad. If anything I’m the confidant healer trope in the family, the youngest, always the patient and yielding one when everyone’s just too jacked in their stress.

Put me out of the context of my family though and it’s a whole nother story.

I have high expectations with others and of myself. I don’t really take No, as an answer. If i decide I’m getting something, I’m thinkfaced enough to go get it. In my family, it’s ‘you’re strong, get up.’, you try again. Did you forget who you are ?

 

—————

I am grateful for all of this, truly, wholeheartedly. But if anything I also want to point out that I’ve also learned from their imbalances. When I became a lowkey psychic and went to our family reunion. BOY, did I see patterns. Did I see people who are tired, on FIRE all the time, holistic successful head doctors who don’t know how to chill the fuck out, and handle their dissapointements. The stress and expectations have made about 1 out of 4 of my cousins suicidal and crazy. That is a fact. That is a lesson, and being so Yang or in fire or Angry all the time is just not bloody sustainable, let me tell you that.

If anything I’ve become mega-immune to rage rant outbursts, and stress induced non-proportional arbritrary punishments. I’ve learned to roll with them, and sympathize with the pain these people are inflicting unto themselves. I’ve seen it too many times to be personally affected. If anything my aura goes WOOOOSSSSHSHHSHS and I get this incredible sense of being safe, it’s okay, I’ll find a work around to make everyone calm and get past this.

My bestfriend says i’ve definetly got some spiritual backers who shield me out of sudden psychic attacks from proximal stress. When I started becoming sensitive the first ampthetic migraines I got was my father worrying about things. I’d like to remember, more than anything that angels are also warriors. And there’s a balanced way of manifesting all of this. Even if my parents have legitimate fears of me being hostaged and this is why they don’t want me to out as much or at all.

 

_sigh_

Have a good day everyone!

And this is the end of your lesson notes 🙂

malia

 

 

 

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