Pfc Shane M. Reifert

Pfc Shane M. Reifert
Shane during a sweep of the Shuryak Valley, approximately 3 weeks before he was killed. Photo Credit: PFC Sean Stromback

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Moving On

When I woke up yesterday, I thought that I was going to have a productive day. I headed to the gym and worked out with my trainer. I showered. I put on something that resembled an outfit, even though I wasn't leaving the house. I put my books out on my table and was prepared to study. I decided that I'd write a blog entry because I had a mild case of the mean reds and then I even allowed myself to take a nap since sometimes seemingly lazy activities like writing take a lot out of me. 

I woke up from my nap with way too many messages on my phone and a rude and inconsiderate comment on a blog post. And it ruined the rest of my day. I'd like to be able to say that the person who commented did not have an effect on me, but then I would be a liar. I resigned myself to bed for the rest of the day. I allowed myself to be weak and to feel sorry for myself. I couldn't eat. I felt like vomiting. I wanted to sleep but could not. I couldn't watch anything, listen to anything, or read anything, because everything reminded me of Shane and how I was probably letting him down at the moment by just moping around.

Some people will probably think that I'm a little foolish for acting in such a manner, or for letting Anonymous know that I allowed him/her to get into my head. And depending on the moment, I might be included in that group of people. But at this moment, it feels like the right thing to do. I want Anonymous to know that I was hurt by a stranger's words because all too often the person committing a hurtful act is unaware that he or she is being hurtful. Maybe Anonymous was being nice, in his/her mind. But "nice" is a relative term, and I want Anonymous to know that he/she was being hurtful and cruel and disrespectful and a genuinely awful person. Since Anonymous and I are allegedly Facebook friends, I hope that he/she deletes me as a friend, since we are obviously not. That way I don't appear ignorant or misguided and he/she doesn't have to read anything I ever write again.

Being a person who doesn't care what others think is something that I'm constantly striving for, but something I never achieve. Sometimes I present myself as the type of person who doesn't care what others think. But deep down, it hurts my feelings. Sometimes others' words can devastate me. As tough as I can appear, I can be rather squishy on the inside, to borrow a phrase that was once said to me.

The only person who I know didn't often allow others' opinions of him sway his thoughts was Shane. And he would always tell me that I needed to do the same. Since we didn't share the same brain or anything, I don't know if he was actually able to block out hurtful things or if he had created some sort of defensive mechanism against it or if he was just lying and going the "fake it 'til you make it route" when it came to allowing others to bother him. And I won't ever know. But in my mind, Shane had just found a way to not let others in. 

Shane was a physically small person, especially when he was a kid. He got picked on and got sad about it. Mean boys at school got into his head. He used to not be able to order at restaurants because he didn't like confrontation. When he got older, Shane spent much of him time hiding behind a computer screen in a world of gaming -- it was only after his death that I realized he had an entire network of friends in that world and that he hadn't become some sort of scary recluse. If Shane was alive right now, he'd find a way to fly back to Michigan to kill me himself for letting other people know these things. 

What's the point of all of this? Well, somewhere along the line, Shane bootstrapped himself. He joined the Army. He literally left a boy and came home a man, there is photographic evidence of this. Maybe it's something he was taught during Basic. Maybe it was something he taught himself. But I know that when Shane came home, he didn't allow other people to get inside of his head. 

I wish that I could have been like that yesterday, but I wasn't strong enough. Today, however, I am ridding Anonymous from my mind. Yesterday, I told my mom that I never wanted to set foot in my law school again, knowing there was some jerk thinking nasty things about me, but that was just the mean reds talking. I yet again received an outpouring of kind words and texts and emails and phone calls and comments from my actual friends. So today, I am allowing the words that warm my heart to permeate my brain, instead of cruel and ignorant words. I have finals for which I need to study and a chocolate chip waffle to eat and music to hear and friends to sit near to while I study. 

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