Freedom

Hi. It’s been a long time. Every time I blog I amaze myself at how quickly time passes, and as of today I have one full month left before HT leaves me for his long deployment.

It’s been about three weeks since I came on board and it certainly could be easier.

I think it’s easy to like your ship when it’s doing well. I was part of the work year that saw 82 getting best unit, and I saw for myself all the processes that made it possible. All the stringent checks on the crew, the tightened security measures and all the small safety checks that they conduct on the crew. I enjoyed my time on board too, I never understood why people hated their PV life so much. Why? The 82 ship crew was a great bunch of people. I enjoyed going to ship everyday because I laughed. I laughed a lot. People took care of me. They didn’t despise my gender for one — it’s really easy to come across as useless when you are unable to help to shift the gangway because it’s too heavy, and you probably wouldn’t contribute much other than highly possibly falling overboard. When you are unable to manage the running fenders properly because it’s bulky. When you are not strong enough to be a line handler on the deck. You can’t do seamanship for nuts. But the crew understood and were accepting about the weaknesses of my gender, and these weaknesses were hardly directed at me personally. Or even if they did, it was never blatant or disrespectful to me.

It’s then difficult to fall from the peak. So hard, in fact. I remember being so happy on my first few days or weeks on board 82 especially as I had less stress towards the attainment of my COC — these were great memories that I too detailed on my blog posts. A lack of a proper initiation on the very first day onboard a new ship this year showed the clear fleeting nature of my temporary presence. It’s honestly okay to me for this did not matter much to me, as I was bound to leave in a matter of a few months anyway. But there were some people I’ve known to be crew for more than half a year, who left without a sound. The ship really carries on without these people, without any regret. Where was the Navy family that they spoke about?

And of all times, something happened on the third day I was attached to this ship. From there, sailings were all cancelled. They were replaced with weekend duties after weekend duties, and there goes all my weekends. The crew had their Offs and SRs taken away as the ship continued to ready itself for operations. There were several knee jerk reactions that were put in place that put us through so much administrative trouble, there were so many initiatives that I deemed unnecessary but nevertheless had to go through with it because it seemed that ~we~ were the ones clearly at fault, and there were so many false hopes (“after this weekend it’ll be okay” “everything will go back to normal”) given to the crew again and again that remained false hopes because of the extra scrutiny put on us by the squadron staff and everyone else who deemed us unfit for operations.

Day to day I head to ship with a smile but the negative energy truly gets to me. I consider myself a relatively optimistic and cheerful person but I am too, affected by the dampened moods of everyone. I feel resentment for the crew and hopelessness from within. Everyone’s unhappy. Everyone’s desperate. In the past, I heard so much resentment about the sailing that was required from our squadron. Why does our squadron sail so much compared to the other squadrons? Why is there so much load taskings on such a lean duty crew in our squadron? Why do we work the hardest but yet receive little or no recognition from the rest of the RSN? Many people dreaded every single sailing so much, especially for those who may not see the purpose in what we are doing. But what all of us never knew was what and how it is like to be taken out of sailing. I draw parallels to being placed on the sidelines when all you want to do is to take part in the competition field after having been through tough physical trainings that you really hated and dreaded. Everyone on the ship right now is so desperate to be normal, to be on the same page as the rest of the squadron. We just want to sail. We just want to be seen as normal again, and we just want to be assigned patrols like any other ship in the squadron. We have been doing so much for this purpose but why have they been all reduced to naught?

I will remain thankful for this learning opportunity to cope with what I would consider a slump. I have been blessed last year to be assigned to an amazing ship with a great culture, but we cannot be lucky all the time. This year I will take this learning opportunity positively and keep the end goal in mind — to be competent enough and confidently get my COC.

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