Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I get to live it.

During this series I wanted to include bloggers who could give a unique point of view on their branch that I would never be able to see. That's why I'm stoked that my friend Aqua M agreed to write up a post for me. Head on over to her blog and follow her journey. She's just beginning her very own career in the United States Navy. I'm so proud to know her and excited that she's following her dream.

I am not a milspouse.  I am a 20-something single girl who is in the process of joining the Navy.  Mrs. G.I. Joe asked if I could write about my reasons for joining, but it’s not a question that can be quickly answered.  On my own blog I dedicate an entire post to just one reason at a time.  This story is more along the lines of how I arrived at the decision to join.

I was raised with a rich patriotic tradition.  One of my grandfathers is a retired Commander in the Navy, as well as a retired N-JROTC teacher. My other grandfather was drafted into the Army.  We grew up wearing red, white & blue to church on patriotic weekends, displaying American flags and treating them with respect, and putting our hands over our hearts during the national anthem.  My Navy grandfather has pictures and paintings of his ships, swords, and commendations covering his walls, as well as curious relics he collected from around the world while at sea.  As a kid I would feel a wash of inspiration when watching his N-JROTC class practicing their drills or marching in a town parade.  Then I would come to his house, pass out his uniform hats and hymn books to my cousins, and we’d march around singing patriotic songs. As I got older I retained my love of America and my intense sense of patriotism.  I also began to understand what the sacrifices were for those who protected our country.  I was only in 1st grade during the Gulf War, but I cried every time I heard “Proud to be an American,” and blissfully waved my little flag for our hometown soldiers coming home.

For many years I would say, “If only I were a boy, I’d definitely join the Navy.”  I was just a dreamy girl who loved to sit and read books. I wasn’t physically active for most of my life, and couldn’t even imagine myself in boot camp.  I had visions that military meant trenches and machine guns and battle plans.  Even though I had deep affection for the military I thought I would grow up and be a teacher, and get married and raise kids.  Maybe even marry one of those handsome soldier boys.  Then around age 22 I discovered something that threw a kink into my plans of being a teacher… I hate kids!  Not literally, of course, but I don’t take to them quickly, especially a classroom full.  And… no future husband anywhere to be seen. 

Right then I almost said it again - “If only I were a boy, I’d join the Navy.”  But this time I stopped – and realized – that I CAN join the Navy – as a GIRL!  I found that my preconceived notions of military jobs were only a part of what they do, and that there were many Navy jobs that I was suited for!  I was also tired of living a sedentary lifestyle, and decided that there was absolutely no reason I couldn’t take my lazy behind to the gym.

Even though I made the decision then, I didn’t join right away.  I decided to finish college first, and I got a job that could possibly become a career.  But 5 years later, I’m in the same position I was the first time I made that decision.  So now I’m doing it!  I’ve gone from a book-reading couch potato to a butt-kicking workout chick.  And now I can have it all:  career path, financial stability, travel, etc.  I will also get to LIVE my patriotism, rather than cheer from the sidelines.  The little girl that thought she couldn’t join unless she were a boy was afraid.  But I’m not afraid.  I am at a prime time in life where I have no ties to keep me here, and the rest of the world is before me.  I can live my dream adventures out while setting myself up for a much better future than I’d have otherwise.  Maybe I’ll get that husband and family one day, but it’s no longer my goal.

Though a lot of our reasons are probably similar, I’d bet that my decision to join came about a little differently than your husband's, and I hope I was able to give you a different perspective you might not have heard before. 

Also, I’d like you to know that I have the utmost respect for milspouses.  I believe you play just as important a role in protecting our country as our active military do.  I know you love your country as much as your husband does, and he wouldn’t be able to do such a good job without your love and support.  When I’m in I’ll be counting on every ounce of support from my family and friends.  God bless!


JG said...

I love this post! (And I love that graphic!) Thank you, Aqua M, for your service, and for speaking out for other military gals out there!

Adrienne said...

Thanks for sharing! I feel the same way as you do. I was going to finish my last year of college and join the Army. Then I met my fiance (who is in the Army) and my wants changed. I want to be a wife for a while, an Army wife. But one day, I still might join. But I am in it one way or another.

So proud of you for following your goals and dreams!

Mr. Superman & Mrs. S. said...

I love this! Thank you so much for sharing your story. I think its incredible you are following your dream. I love it!

USNchic said...

Good luck to you! I served 4 years active duty in the Navy and have been a Navy spouse for 6 years. I knew my sophomore year of high school that I wanted to join the Navy and I had that "Gee I Wish I were a Man" poster framed and hanging up in my bedroom. Today, it hangs in our guest room. :)
I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Navy and I hope you do as well. Hooyah Navy!

Granny said...

It is so great to see our young women stepping up to serve our country! I know that your family is very proud of you, and this decision was a long-time coming ... You are so right in that many of us show our patriotism, but now you are really living yours!

I know that "Aqua M" is already to positive role model for many young girls who have been thinking the same thing -- "if I was a boy, then I'd join the military". I saw a couple of young ladies in uniform the other day, and I told them how much I appreciate their sacrifices and service to our country -- and one actually cried. So, THANK YOU Aqua M for your desire and willingness to serve our country. I'm a new follower of yours and look forward to keeping up with you on your journey!

Kerry said...

Congrats to you for being courageous enough to serve our country. Best of luck to you!! ;)

Mrs. G.I. Joe said...

Aqua, I'm so happy for you! I know there are moments of nerves but you are living out your dream. And its so commendable that your dream is simply to serve our country. I'm so proud to know you.

Your story is going to help motivate so many other girls out there to join and be proud to be girls in the military.

Patty said...

congrats and good luck! I served 6 years in the NAVY and have been a milspouse for an additional 10. I love that poster and had a postcard of it with me everywhere I went, including taped into the top of my rack on deployment! Good on you for fllowing your dreams!