Someday I would fulfil my dreams.
My efforts finally resulted in my nomination for basic training, and I stood at the portals of the Academy full of hope but also with deep feelings of trepidation. Coming from a humble background, I had overcome several obstacles to make it so far. Failure was a possibility too terrible to contemplate. As I stepped inside and reported to the sergeant on duty, I wondered what the future held in store.
I did not have to wonder long. Stripped down to my shorts, I stood in line with the other candidates as my head was shaved and all vestiges of my identity were swept away along with my fallen hair. " You may trod me in the very dirt" (Angelou 3). As the hours and days wore on, newer and newer indignities were heaped on me. I hailed from a humble background, but life was led with dignity and honour. This humiliation nevertheless could not dampen the quiet satisfaction of having qualified for the Academy. The sheer exuberance of youth and the hot, red blood coursing through my veins kept me going. "like Angelou, I walk like I’ve got oil wells, Pumping in my living room"(Angelou 7-8), giving me the strength to go that extra mile, from somewhere deep inside.
As part of the training program, I was put through a gruelling schedule, meant to toughen me up physically and mentally. Mostly though, the schedule made no sense and seemed designed to break my will more than anything else. to make me opt out of the course thereby justifying the instructors’ " bitter, twisted lies" (Angelou 2). Strenuous physical exercises that stretched the limits of physical endurance coupled with sleep deprivation, little or no food served at odd timings and a continuous tirade of abuses were my lot. All this was calculated to make me dropout, " Did you wan to see me broken, Bowed head and lowered eyes, Shoulders falling down like teardrops" (Angelou 13-15), as a testament to their success. Also inherent in the conduct of the staff was the contempt with which they treated me, a lowly trainee. Not a single word of praise ever escaped their pursed, unsmiling lips and as they harangued me day after the day, narrowed eyes pouncing on the tiniest mistake I made, "shoot me with your wordscut me with your eyeskill me with your hatefulness", (Angelou 21-23). Sometimes, in the depths of despair, I contemplated ending it all, and perhaps would have, if someone had even shown me an iota of sympathy, "Weakened by my soulful cries" (Angelou 16). But no one ever did, and so I kept going and survived. What my instructors had not catered for was the resilience of youth and my innate self-belief in myself and my capabilities. These sterling qualities buried deep in me took seed and blossomed during adversity, "I felt like I’ve got gold mines, diggin’ in my own backyard" (Angelou 19-20), which enabled me to emerge stronger after each ordeal: "But still, like air, I’ll rise" (Angelou 24). The indignities heaped upon me only served to strengthen my resolve, " like hopes springing high" (Angelou 11), and gave me a determination to prove them all wrong no matter what sacrifices it entailed.
My life during my training was even worse than slavery. At least slaves were assets meant to be looked