Wednesday, April 17, 2013

My 'Splanation. ;)

For those of you who aren't acquainted with I Love Lucy, I've decided to borrow Ricky's English pronunciation for my blog post title today. ;)
Well, it's a beautiful 72 degrees in sunny So. Cal. A trifle windy, but nothing too serious.  I spent the bulk of the morning at the beauty parlor tending to my fried/frizzled tresses. Remind me never to put blonde highlights in my hair. A few touches of the hair straightener later and my hair underwent a revolution of all its own. Sound bad? Well, to give you an idea, my stylist literally spent 30 minutes trimming fuzzy, frazzled split ends--yikes! But now I'm back to being a brunette, so the whole "confused blonde" joke has officially expired. ;)
 
All that to say, as I was leaving the salon, I couldn't help think about the irony of it all. Here I am, barely 20 years old, doing a normal thing that most girls my age do...and yet a mere two days ago, I was sitting across the table from U.S. Marine Corps Captain, filling out paperwork, and practicing for the ASVAB. We were talking guns and weapons training, stress fractures and deployment...he was telling me about sequester cuts, and I was asking about Intelligence positions.
 
It made me realize just how incredibly bipolar I really am. ;) But it also got me thinking: how did I even get to this point? How did I go from playing "princess dress up" in my bedroom to wanting to be a Marine Corps officer? Where would I even begin?
 
That's when I decided to write it all down. I want to make sure this journey is recorded, for my sake as well as my family/friends'. Consider it my defense against those who would say I've gone off the deep end! Seriously though, I just need to get it straight in my own head. Where this all started, how the Lord has led me to this point, my motivations, etc. So. Without any further ado, here is my 'splanation, part I. ;)
 
I have wanted to experience Marine boot camp since I was roughly 13 years old. Actually, I think it would be more accurate to say I first considered the possibility after watching the Disney movie, Mulan.

 
There's just something so magnetic about that movie...and yeah, I know what you're thinking. Why Mulan? Because um, duh! She and Belle (Beauty and the Beast) are the only princesses with a brain between their ears! ;) I remember, even from a young age, always wanting to be that perfect combination of grace, strength, beauty, book-smarts, and spunk. And for some reason, the thought of anything "military" always translated into the Marine Corps. Thinking back, I think it's odd that I never considered Army, Navy, or Air Force...Not that I didn't respect those branches or didn't have any emotional ties to them (I have family members who are ex-Navy), it just never crossed my mind. Neither, for that matter, did actual enlistment. It was just something I wanted to do as a dare to myself.
 
I remember saying to my mom one day, "I wish they had boot camp for civilians." An inevitable "why" quickly followed. "Just to see if I could do it," I answered.
 
For those of you who know me well, you'll know I'm extremely competitive. I love challenges, I get a sick satisfaction out of pain, and I love the idea of someone pushing me to do better, accomplish more. Military movies where the drill sergeant is yelling in someone's face always gave me a thrill. You know, the "yeah-I-wish-that-would-happen-to-me" kind of a thrill. ;) I remember watching films like Glory and The Patriot and marveling at how these rag-tag militias became disciplined, devoted soldiers.
 
I have also always incredibly empathized  with anything military-related. To shed a little light into my personal life, I don't have many "soft-spots"...I've never been a touchy-feely, cry-because-the-puppy-died kind of a girl. But the one thing that will get me in the gut every single time is the military. Doesn't matter what it is. It could be a movie, a song, a tragedy in current events, or even the effects of my woeful imaginings, I will break down into tears. Saving Private Ryan, Pearl Harbor, The Great Escape...need I go on?
 
I think being politically-minded, not to mention patriotic to the hyper extreme, contributed a lot to my heart for the Marine Corps. But admittedly, the sentiments I felt (and still feel) were not entirely normal. For example, my family also shares the same patriotic and, to some extent, political fervor that I do. They are also incredibly grateful to all the men and women who have fought and died to preserve this country's freedom. Yet none of them gush tears when Lonestar's "I'm Already There" comes on the radio. And to my knowledge, neither do any of my friends. I remember a few months ago, ironing some shirts while listening to Pandora. That song came on the radio, and I was literally wiping my face with the back of my hand to insure that I wasn't starching snot and tears into my dad's work clothes. In about 30 seconds, I was reduced from a state of perfect happiness to one of complete misery. And no, it was not that time of the month...it's a regular occurrence where this song is concerned. ;)
I could go on and on. But the point is, my decision to join the Marine Corps was not something that I did on a whim. There was rhyme and reason, if not a bit of Divine intervention. I'll get into that in my next post. For now, looking back, I can say that this whole thing has been a gradual process that has really been shaped over the course of my life. And to think it all started with a Disney movie. ;)
 
Stay tuned for part II!

A tired-but-fighting-to-stay-awake,
 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Here We Go!

5:39am--Today marks the first day of training. Starting today, I will be waking up at 5am M-F in an effort to prepare myself for OCS. *yawns* I've been up for 40 minutes already, and already I'm wondering why anyone would choose this ungodly hour to begin the day. *yawns* Oh, well. Better get used to it. At least its quiet. Come October *fingers crossed* I'll be hearing nothing but drill sergeants "blasting" me from dawn 'til dusk. I'm so excited! Why? Because for the last six months (but really the last several years), I have felt God knit my heart to the Marine Corps. I have seen Him give me a vision that is so much greater than myself, watched Him orchestrate events and circumstances in my life that have pointed me in this direction. And I could not be more excited/terrified!

Today I call my OSO (Officer Selection Officer) to schedule a phone interview which will kick-start the enlistment process. I don't know if I'll qualify for OCS (Officer Candidate School) or if I'll even make it through to graduation. But I know this beyond a shadow a doubt: I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me…even run 3 miles in 21:00. *sighs* That will be a testimony in and of itself--I'm such a terrible runner. Still, I'm choosing to look at the bright side, knowing that the God who has brought me this far will not leave me stranded. In spite of a 2/3 drop-out rate for female candidates, in spite of all the uncertainties and inevitable pain that lies ahead, somehow I will make it through. Because if God is for me, who or what can stand against me? ;) Wish me luck!
From one tired Marine-in-training. ;)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Monday, April 8, 2013

Learning To Say "No" When Your Heart Wants To Say "Yes!"

Learning to say no when your heart wants to say yes...

This is something I've become quite practiced at in the course of the last month of so. 
That little voice inside head that says, "just go with it," when your gut tells you to stop, drop, and run as fast as you can in the other direction...or at the very least, approach with caution. :)

It's not easy to obey "common sense" when opportunities cross your path that are anything but common. But ultimately, it's the right thing to do. And being able to sleep at night, for me, wins out over the "thrills" of being awake. At least, that's what I tell myself...

I've also learned that faith in ones standards can waver just a bit in the face of temptation. That no matter how solid you think you are, until you're presented with an alternative of some kind, you have no right to say you practice whatever it is you believe. Kind of like the scientific method--you can't put any kind of faith in a hypothesis unless you've tested a conflicting theory...

What else...Oh, anyone who tells you to follow your heart is a complete idiot. I don't know where Hollywood came up with the assertion that impulsivity triumphs over methodical consideration, but someone screwed up along the way. Big time. There's no such thing as "happy endings" for those who dive into decisions head-first! We live in a real, non-scripted world, people! :)

Overall, this month has had me scratching my head, wondering why we as humans invite chaos when it's so much simpler to just--hang. 

Wish I was all alone on an island somewhere with a book and a bottomless strawberry-banana smoothie...then I wouldn't have to worry about important phone calls or speeches or saying the right things at the right time. Who ever said growing up was fun? Ugh. :\