Updated: Oct 30
After my second Pre-scuba, I was off to the Basic Recon Course. BRC was by no means easy. I puked my guts out on the Trail of Tears and likewise endorsed many of the physical fitness evolutions. But I was somewhat accustomed to it by then. We would swim and run for miles every day in addition to our class work and field exercises. It never hurt less, I guess I just became used to the pain. And I still hate underwater crossovers, but water became our friend too. It is the ultimate equalizer. The toughest guy in the world can be made into a blubbering pathetic whelp with the introduction of water. Nobody likes to drown. It’s a rather unpleasant feeling. I remember a couple of us went on a deep sea fishing charter one weekend and I can clearly recall wondering how anyone could possibly drown if they could see the land. In my mind, it was right there. All you had to do was swim afew miles. I had become so accustomed to accomplishing certain things that it actually conditioned my way of thinking. Your mind learns from everything. You can teach it to take the hard shit for granted by doing hard shit all the time. And that’s the only way to do the hard stuff: do it anyway. Do it even though it hurts. That’s just life. If something hurts, it doesn’t mean it’s all bad for you. At the top of an athlete’s game, he’s not sitting around eating donuts all day being comfortable. At the top of your game, in fact, most shit will hurt for you to do. The greatest I’ve ever been, I felt at that time as if I was just barely keeping my lips above the water. Do the hard stuff anyway. It’s supposed to suck. It’s ok that it sucks. It’s good that it sucks. But it still sucks. It will always suck. Waiting for it to all feel like roses and butterflies isn’t going to work. Do the hard shit anyway. There’s one caveat to this: there’s a difference between difficulty and injury. If you are in a situation that is injuring you, such as an abusive relationship, get the fuck out of it immediately. Don’t just stay in it hoping that someone else will change while you get bludgeoned to death. That’s not perseverance, it’s stupid. Running on a leg that's hurt and running on the leg that's broken are two very different things.
I’m not going to try to make it sound all “my class was the hardest” at all. The vetting and the transition from new guy to seasoned operator took years and the first part was a motherfucker. It had to be. If you’ve ever been a part of a no shit Special Operations selection and indoctrination, you know how much it sucks. And if you haven’t, I got nothing to prove to you. Hell, I got nothing to prove to you either way. I learned some important lessons through all of it. I thought the Marine Corps was trying to teach me about war. About how to be proficient in its conduct. But that’s not where the real lessons were - the lessons that set us apart from the rest. Not even close. What set us apart from the rest was not what we learned about war, but what we learned about ourselves. Yes, we had to know the technical aspects of operating at an elite level, but what made us elite was the lessons we learned for ourselves about ourselves in those grueling days. I remember when I was at dive school, I asked a friend how he could fin so fast (swimming with fins on). “If you want to be a faster finner, fin faster” was his answer. It’s not pain that gives you perseverance. The only way to learn it is to do it. Perseverance gives you perseverance. That’s it. There is not an easy way. The same is true of life. When it sucks. When you really don’t have what you need to keep going. When it really sucks bad deep as fuck and you have only two options: give the fuck up or take one more step…if you take that step, the next feeling you’ll have is more and worse pain. It’s that feeling where you ran out of the energy to complain a very long time ago. Where there’s no more jokes, there’s no more bitching about how much it sucks, there’s no more of anything but to keep going. At that point it’s only pure rage that you’re clinging to because that is the only tangible emotion that you can feel toward your tremendous and overwhelming and incessant and un-relieved pain. And you know it will not end soon. That feeling. That is the feeling of you becoming awesome. Becoming elite. That’s what it feels like to become elite. That’s what set us apart. You can only get it that way. That’s just how that shit works.
NOTE: Finally Somehow Home is a separate book from The Perfect Fucking Life, and is not yet in publication at the time of this post.
All this shit is written and created by Jason Lee Morrison © 2022