I grew up most of my life in a small town. I couldn’t wait to leave and see the world. I knew there was more than what I knew, saw, or experienced and I wanted to soak it all in. After contemplating working on a cruise ship, I decided to go one step further; I joined the Navy at 19. Boy was Dad mad at me!
I can still hear him yelling at me that day, “I TOLD YOU NOT TO SIGN THE PAPERS!!” In my defense, I didn’t want to be told no.
The first time I told Dad that I wanted to join the Navy he laughed. He wasn’t the only one; my boyfriend at the time laughed, my friends laughed. I remember being told, “You’ll never make it through boot camp!”
I told Dad I was meeting with the recruiters that day. He said, “Fine. Go talk to them, but don’t sign any papers!” When I got back home I was so excited. Dad said, “Well?” I exclaimed, “I leave in two weeks!”
“I TOLD YOU NOT TO SIGN ANY PAPERS!!”
I get it now because I’m a parent. At the time of my enlistment, the Persian Gulf War was in progress.
The thing is.. I was ready to leave that small town. I needed to leave. I needed to see what else was out there. I wanted to explore. Signing those papers was empowering to me. It meant getting out of dodge, sailing the horizon, meeting new people and experiencing new experiences. I was so ready! And honestly, I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. So Dad, sorry that I caught you off guard, but I was 19 and I was ready to sign those papers. I needed that and I’m actually pretty proud of myself that I did it!
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