It was near the end of our training. We were going through an exceptionally grueling section of the specially created course. We were having all the hell beaten out of us. We were so exhausted that we thought we couldn’t pull ourselves up, much less help our buddies next to us.

That’s when I remember hearing our trainer, DI in military terms, yell and spit profanities at us at the other end of our group and slowly coming over to my position, bent over and yelling. He finally gets to where I’m at on my hands and knees. I looked up and catch him turning his head towards the back, where he’s been. He straightened up as he did that. Then he knelt down and put his face to my ear.

He whispered “I know what you’re made of, and I know what these men here are made of. You don’t need to prove to me a god-damned thing. But you need to suck it up and show your men that you’re made of. Now get the fuck up and show them, NOW!”

As if by magic, I was no longer exhausted. Not even tired. I pulled myself up, helped the guy next to me and went down the line helping anyone who needed it.

We made it back to the barracks before sunrise. We were in platoon formation and marched back to our huts. We must of looked like a bunch of homeless orphans, but I don’t think anyone was more proud than our DI.

I sometimes forget how hard it was. Occasionally, I remember it. I remember how I decided to suck it up and go on. I remember that magical moment when I was no longer exhausted.

Never would I have even imagined that learning how to suck it up back there would have such an impact on me now.