Well, I’m an odd duck to say the least. I’m an only child, which accounts for a few of my idiosyncrasies. Another reason I have a few, let’s call them “quirks,” is that I moved a lot as a child. I was the “new kid” 9 times in my school career. Being the new kid sucks. Period. Thank goodness I was shy enough not to get my ass into trouble too quickly.
Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed high school. Well, except for freshman year. Nobody likes freshman year. If they say they do, they’re lying. Like I said, I enjoyed high school (minus freshman year). The 10 years of hell that led up to my sophomore year totally blew. Back to me loving my sophomore through senior years… I had a blast.
So, when it came time to decide what I wanted to do after high school, I was at a loss. I couldn’t live one minute longer with my mother and not end up on death row. As much as I love her, we clashed at every turn. So, I decided to go into the military. The Navy seemed like the best option. Top Gun had been out a couple of years (and who didn’t want to hook up with Maverick?), Operation Desert Shield was happening so patriotism was a-flowing and the Navy was offering the GI Bill with a tuition kicker that I hoped to someday use to further my education. Also, I knew a few people who had experience with the Navy and they said it didn’t *completely* suck. So, off to boot camp I went.
I was in the Navy for 10 years. I was stationed in Orlando, FL, Great Lakes, IL, Norfolk, VA, San Diego, CA, Iceland, Diego Garcia and Bahrain. I went strange and wonderful places, saw some things that amazed me, saw some things that I can never un-see and lived to tell the stories. I decided to get out halfway to retirement for a few reasons, all of which were selfish and ended up being idiotic, except the first one.
First, a freaking shit-storm was happening in the Middle East and the powers that be had just relented and said that women could go to the front lines. Now, I’m probably going to catch hell for this, but I didn’t want to go to the front lines. Not getting shot at is one of the very few perks of being a woman in the military. Second, I was looking forward to finally being able to devote time to furthering my education. I had been taking a class or two a year for a few years and I hadn’t made any significant progress on that damn degree. Third, I was in a relationship with my soon-to-be second husband and he didn’t want to follow me around the rest of my career. He wanted to settle down.
And that’s how I ended up in Maryland. Unfortunately, little did I know that all those years of my mother moving us around and being shipped from here to there and back in the military had ingrained in me a serious case of ants-in-the-pants. I’ve been in Maryland 10 years and I still can’t see myself settling down here. I cannot wait until the day I convince my husband that we need to get the hell out of here.
I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but I’m going to figure it out if it kills me.