Walking changes the body. But it also requires a body, a certain kind of privileged body, which can walk the walk. In my movement forward, I wanted to prove something to myself. I would be tough too. A steady sound of stamping feet, a reliable proceeding, was recorded on my phone during interviews. I can hear the determination in those footsteps. My feet, their feet creating a collective rhythm of walking.
The march was over, and I found someone to drive me to my car parked outside the base. There, I reflected: I had walked in, and I wanted to stay. Emotionally, I no longer cared where I was, and why I was there. I was confused and content at the same time. Militarism – is that about mistaking abuse for love? Love for the fatherland… remember… paid the price with their lives. The military offers attunement, and thrill, and excitement too. Deployment can be a source of trauma, but it can make life worth living. It is so full of contradictions that I see no other response than contradicting through and out.
Cadets, or any other group in military uniforms, were other to me, in a way that, I am ashamed to admit, is dehumanising. They were a group of people I could not identify with. Until I could. I had roles in mind for all of us, none of which involved me in any loving condition. Yet, there I was, receiving. There I was, marching with pleasure, without a second thought.