Saturday, October 6, 2012

Finally Happening

If you've been "oh so lucky" enough to be around me these past few weeks, you're probably extremely annoyed by now. I just can't help but gloat over my happiness. You know that feeling when you're a kid, and your parents surprise you with a trip to Disneyland? Remember the night before? All you did was daydream about Mickey Mouse and Princesses. You tried to go to bed super early so that the night would only be as long as the blink of an eye, but the anticipation kept you up all night (making the night seem like the world would stay dark forever). I feel that exact excitement, except it doesn't last for just one night. I've been feeling that exact feeling for the last 2 weeks....times a gazillion.

I'm scared though.
I have been an independent woman for 10 years.
I supported myself financially, and I made my own money.
At one point, I made more money than Nick when I was on recruiting duty.
With MY money, I bought my first Volkswagen, Volvo, Lexus, and 2 Mercedes Benzs....all brand new without help from anyone.
I was never late on a bill, and I spent my money as I pleased, and even had enough leftover to invest for retirement.
It's so weird to me that I will be relying on Nick to support our family financially.

Let's be real though.
I am going to miss being around Marines. 
I don't know if I will quite miss being an actual active duty working Marine part of this whole ordeal, but I will definitely miss the most hardworking and selfless men and women I have spent the last 10 years with.

This has been my life for TEN solid years.

The ONLY life I have known is one filled with:
  • Government paid "vacations" to far off lands like Iraq
  • Training for those deployments in the "lush and exotic" deserts of Yuma, AZ and 29 Palms, CA
  • Standing in an accountability formation for the REAL accountability formation at "zero dark thirty", even though the "so called" REAL accountability formation wasn't happening until 0800
  • Political Incorrectness and more racist and sexist conversations that would make anyone from the outside listening question if the Civil Rights Movement had actually happened
  • Inappropriate "workplace" conversations (see above statement)
  • Putting on a "sexy" uniform every single day that the ladies drool over (unfortunately for me, that didn't work to my advantage seeing as how I am not into women)
  • Waking up in strange places like the trunk of someone's SUV after a night of entirely too much partying on a work night
  • Ass chewings for having a teeny tiny itsy bitsy chip on your black chevron that are more degrading than having your butt super glued to a toilet seat (true story that I read in the news that happened to some lady in Boston at a public humiliating!)
  • Working ridiculously weird hours
  • Hearing stories of scandalous wives and cheating husbands. They're not your typical "infidelity in a marriage" stories. Maybe it's because we're Marines, but we have to be larger than life. That includes the crazy stories about a wife leaving her garage door open while her husband is deployed on base housing and letting strange men come in and have sex with her (again...TRUE STORY!)
  • Staying at work for absolutely no reason sometimes because "they" said so (everyone in the Marine Corps is always referring to and blaming "they" and "them", but no one can ever tell me who "they" and "them" are)
  • Conversations about life and love sitting in the back of a HMMWV in the desert of a foreign country where everyone speaks "hadji", and no one cares about you except for the Marines to your right and left
  • What happens on deployment, stays on deployment. Marines tend to unleash their inner most beings when away from civilization. I've seen some crazy ass shiz!


I can honestly probably go on for another thousand things, but the point is....

This has been my life.

The farthest thing from normal, but it has been my normal.
I met and fell in love with my husband during my annual qualification on the Rifle Range with my M16.
Who else can honestly say that besides maybe another Marine?!?!
I've spent days building rockets and bombs that could destroy an entire city, fixing and repairing guns that fire at a cyclic rate of 500 rounds per minute out of a flying helicopter.
I've pounded the streets of Mission Viejo, CA in my uniform "selling" my beloved Corps to punks who thought they were going to be pro skateboarders after high school.

All of that won't matter to me in 10 years.
Hell, it doesn't really matter to me right now.

What will matter to me are the Marines.
The Gunny who I bawled my eyes to while going through a nasty divorce.
The SSgt that sat beside me in a hospital bed all night long after rushing me to the ER after being "roofied" at a bar in Carlsbad.
The girlfriends that I spent my days at work with who always knew what I was thinking, and could relate on a level that women who had never experienced the Corps as a Marine could ever understand.
The Corporal who brought back a little bit of passion to me about being a Marine just by his sheer motivation and selfless work ethic.
The Captain who didn't turn his back on me during the darkest times of my life when it would have been easiest to do so.
The SSgt who let me bitch to him about life and the Corps behind closed doors, and when I least expected it (on a day I was having a particularly bad day) called me to just see how I was doing.
The 19 year old wide eyed LCpl who taught me a lesson in humility and brought me back down to their level.
The Marines who selflessly, without hesitation took "my pack" when I got too pregnant to really put 100% into my work.
The Marines who constantly looked out for me while my husband was deployed to Afghanistan...both times.

In the end, it comes down to the Marines.

They're the ones who shaped who I am today, not the Marine Corps.
The Marine Corps is a factory with a set of standards that produces Marines in 13 short weeks, but what the average human does with those set of standards is what becomes THE Marine Corps.

I have no regrets.
No bitter feelings.
Just relief that I finally get to have a different type of "normal" in my life that is not the Marine Corps.


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