Oh Yeah, and I’m Joining the Military

I cannot properly put into words how exciting it is to actually be able to pen this post. I’ve wanted to for what feels like a lifetime already. It feels so good to finally be able to say that

I am enlisting in the Marine Corps!

Once the shock value wears off, the most common response I’d gotten when I’d told people (who were a very select few beyond family up until a few weeks ago) is “Why?” If I’m being totally honest, the idea originally spawned as a joke between Tim and I. When our family first moved to California, I would always crack jokes with him about how much better off he’d be if he’d ended up with someone also in the Marine Corps so they could better sympathize and understand this lifestyle that I didn’t very well at the time. His counter-argument? “Well, I guess you’ll just have to become a female Marine.”

Initially, of course, I laughed it off. Haha, okay. Yeah, me? Totally. And that was usually the end of that exchange.

Until one day, I responded to him with an anxious but halfway serious, “Okay, I will.”

Now such a serious decision didn’t depend solely on a light-hearted exchange between my husband and I. I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to do my part in our world today. Initially as I was exploring the possibility of joining, I was considering between the Navy and the Marine Corps. That is, until I realized the only reason I was entertaining the idea of the Navy was because it seemed “easier”, the standards weren’t as tough, etc. But then I called myself on my own bullshit and came to terms that if this really was worth doing, it was worth doing in its entirety – not taking the “easy way out”. I’d developed a new respect for the Marines as I’d spent so much time around them, the lifestyle, their culture, and simply the air about them. So much about it really did enforce that they were the best of the best. And that’s what I wanted in on. As an infant teacher on base, I saw and worked directly with service members of all branches, ranks, jobs, etc. Dual-military couples, single parents, you name it. As a woman who very strongly believes in equality, seeing these women get to be kind, nurturing mothers AND badasses further solidified the seemingly far out thoughts floating around in my head that maybe I could do it after all.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how this chapter of my life got its start.

A little over a year ago, I made a very personal commitment and began the journey I needed to undertake in order to make this goal my reality. The first step toward this future I wanted for myself: weight loss. I was well outside the weight standards for just about every branch of the military, so if I really wanted it, I was going to have to put in some serious work just to get the ball rolling.

Having to lose weight isn’t fun. Having to be patient with losing a sizable amount of weight when you want it off overnight sucks. Cardio at the time was far from my favorite thing in the world. But as I became closer and closer to where I needed to be, my excitement grew and grew until finally, I met my goal weight, and could check the first box on the list of accomplishments I’d set my sights on.

With the weight now out of the way, I could then start discussing specifics with a recruiter. We talked about my goals and plans and what made the Marine Corps a good fit for me. From there, we set up a date for me to go to our local Military Entrance Processing Station to medically qualify to enlist back in December of 2017. Fortunately for me, this, too, went as I was hoping.

I was quite literally on Cloud 9; my hard work was paying off in all of the best ways. It was actually looking like this was something I could make happen instead of just dreaming it up.

Or so I thought.

Things unfortunately ended up not working out well with the local recruiter. I was devastated; I may not have gotten very far in the enlisting process with them, but I was so passionate about pursuing this that when it fell apart, I was so completely discouraged.

That is until my wonderful husband got me in touch with the recruiters from our local office back home in Kentucky. From the get go, my experience with them was totally different than the previous one in just about every way possible. And thank God for that. They’ve been genuinely invested in my success and have gone above and beyond to help me get where I need to be all around. I couldn’t be more grateful to them for all they’ve done to assist me.

While it was far from conventional to have to correspond with my recruiter from thousands of miles away, he got it all done for me. I spent the month of June back in Kentucky to once again visit MEPS a couple more times, and from there I was able to swear into the Marine Corps Delayed Entry Program. Ironically enough, I swore in 8 days after Tim swore into the DEP 3 years ago, and 6 days before my 24th birthday. I couldn’t have been more over the moon.

And it was only after this point that I felt comfortable sharing my news publicly. I mean, I guess I could’ve mentioned something sooner. But I haven’t even scratched the surface on what’s to come in this lifestyle and I’ve already heard more “Well I almost joined the military, but…” than I can count in this lifetime. I didn’t want to be another one of those. I’m not one to announce my moves before they’re made. My immediate family members knew what I was doing, as well as my in laws and a few of my closest friends, but beyond that, I kept it well under wraps. And boy, did that about kill me.

I wanted to shout from the rooftops when I lost all the weight.

I wanted to tell every person I knew when I medically qualified to enlist.

I wanted to stop strangers on the street to share my elation when I made the decision to pursue this all in the first place.

But I didn’t. And it took everything in me not to.

Life happens sometimes. Maybe I’m superstitious, but I wasn’t going to let anything mess this up for me or jinx it.

So now that it’s much more official, I can’t seem to shut up about it. I just can’t describe the truly incredible feeling of working yourself so hard and it all paying off as you’d busted your ass for for so long. And honestly, the shock value when announcing it to everyone else was pretty worth keeping the secret that whole time, too. Throughout this entire process, while I’ve put in the necessary effort, I’d be lying if I said having an incredible home team didn’t play a crucial role, too. Between my husband, family, sisters, friends who are now also family, and recruiters, I have more support than I ever could’ve dreamed of. They’ve believed in me when I didn’t. They’ve reminded me of how far I’ve come on the days I struggled to remember. Having that in my back corner made me feel pretty invincible on the days life threatened to kill the dream.

I’ve been fortunate to have been met with overwhelming support in my decision to enlist. Not everyone is going to agree with me and what I’m doing, of course, and that’s more than justified. However, nothing and no one out there is going to make me second guess or feel bad about what I’ve jumped through a fair amount of hurdles already (and will undoubtedly face infinite more) to get to.

I’m not sure it’s obvious by now how ridiculously and borderline embarrassingly excited I am about this next venture in my life, but I’ll be sharing as much of these chronicles as possible here with y’all. Thank you so much for everyone’s support and kind words, it means everything to me. Let’s get it.🤘🏻

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