Saturday, July 26, 2003

Time in

In the army, among the ranks, we denote experience and worthiness with “TI”, or “Time In.” It is a way to universally express acceptance, respect, authority and trust. A new person is always subject to scrutiny and is never completely trusted until something happens that, in your own mind, makes you realize that you can trust this person, no matter what. There are potentially a lot of “no matter what” situations in a soldiers life.

I was familiar with my Unit, The Princess Mary’s Canadian Scottish Regiment, before I joined it as a member of the 2422 C Scot R Cadet Corps. When I was a cadet I served a lot with the parent regiment in the store room, weapons depot and running the cadet store room. I went on weekend exercise with the reserves and knew all them personally, so when I got to the actual unit level I didn’t really have to worry about being a ‘new guy’. Actually, to the contrary, they already had all my papers down up and marched me over on my 17th Birthday to sign them.
But I did have to worry about NOT being a guy. Being young and somewhat naïve I thought to myself that I would have to ‘prove’ myself to be “one of the guys.” I didn’t quite realize that the term “I’m one of the guys” is a term people use to console themselves when they can’t actually be a player and are only tolerated by a certain group of people. Luckily I soon realized that approaching this new challenge in this way was ultimately neglecting who I was as a person and what I had to offer my Unit, and my Regiment. I was not about to negate myself or my potential.

I was soon accepted as “one of the team.” In certain situations where you aren’t only in direct competition but also where you depend on someone for your life, you want to know you can trust him or her to watch your back or carry through for you. Being in those situations is about being a close knit group, a team, a family. The army is where I learnt that being accepted as “one of the team” is far more important, always, then the frivolous notion of being “one of the boys.” Why would I want to be a “guy” anyways?

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