Ah yes, that lovely time of year where you spend countless hours agonizing over your Class A's, only to realize in the end that no one even knows where all the medals and ribbons and doo-hickeys even go anyways.
I suddenly remember why I shun most social activity involving more than three total humans: the whirlwind of emotions that come out of nowhere, blow and howl and storm so very destructively for a time, and then suddenly settle into the much more normal breeze of everyday life. In the two hours I spent at the ball, I felt anxiety, anticipation, excitement, dread, loneliness, belonging, loved, respected, belittled, confused, disgusted, out of place, professional, enraged, foolish, contrite, content, and.... yeah I think that's pretty much it, and not in that particular order. And nothing remarkable even happened - it was just a normal military ball with normal military ball events. After it was all over, though, I felt like I'd just ridden an emotional roller coaster for hours without stopping.
Hmm... Maybe it's just me.