The Boy’s Club

So I go tomorrow afternoon to take the ASVAB test in Louisville! I’m really excited, and the excitement is only increasing the closer it gets. No nerves at all, just excitement. 😀 Which is a good thing, of course. I guess I am a little nervous, but it’a about little inconsequential things like having to drive to L-ville and back with some guys I don’t know and what are we going to talk about? Are they going to think the questions I ask are dumb? What are the current and official appearance requirements for girls? What are the Navy’s requirements for their pushups (form, etc.)? When do you get your signing bonus, if you get one? Just things like that, nothing to do with the major things. 🙂 I’ve spent so long deliberating over all the big things that I’m down to the nit-picky details now.

But one thing that I’ve noticed as I’ve been spending my copious amounts of free time at work fake shopping online (adding things to your wish list but not actually buying anything), there isn’t much for the female soldier/sailor. In my searching I found shirts, necklaces, keychains, sweatshirts, rings, earrings, wristbands, headbands, phone cases, and pretty much anything else you can think of for the supportive family members. Here are some of the ones that I saw: Navy Mom, Navy Dad, Sexy Navy Mom, Navy girlfriend, Navy fiancé, Navy sister-in-law, Navy brother-in-law, I support my Navy cousin, I support my Navy nephew, Navy parent, I support my Navy husband, Navy sister, and Navy wife. I did see a Navy boyfriend and an I support my Navy granddaughter, but those were the only ones that I could find that were geared towards family of female sailors! Why isn’t there more available to show that I’m a female sailor and proud of it? Why aren’t there more Navy husband shirts out there? I know that the military, and especially the Navy, has usually been a boys club. In fact, the Navy SEALs still don’t even allow girls to apply. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t still show support for our female soldiers!!! I was talking to my friend the other night who had looked into becoming a Marine. While the Marine Corp. does allow women to join, she was telling me that their weight requirements are highly unrealistic. She said that she would have had to basically become anorexic to get small enough to qualify, and then she wouldn’t have been able to perform up to their standards so she wouldn’t have been allowed to become a Marine anyways. While, yes, things like that bother me, I know why it’s done. That’s whatever. But I think it’s a huge job and an amazing thing to be a female soldier, no matter what branch you’re in, so why don’t we have more products out there to show that?

I think once I’m done with basic and all my training and stuff, I might try to start and Etsy shop with products just like all the other shops that support the military, but I will have shirts that say things like “Proud to be a female sailor” and “Navy husband” and “I support my wife” and stickers for your car that say “Navy” and “Navy sailor” and “Navy Diver” and “soldier” and things like that in pink and other girly colors. I want female soldiers to be able to show off what they’ve accomplished and be proud of what they’ve done! I want to be able to have cute T shirts to wear that say I’m a member of the US Navy! I want my anchor designs and jewelry to be more than just fashion! Female soldiers shouldn’t be limited in the kinds of cute shirts and keychains and bumper stickers and sweatshirts and jewelry they can find and wear just because there are more males in the military than women! It is an amazing thing to be a soldier, and even more amazing to be a female soldier, why aren’t more people supporting that? Yes, it’s great that every MILSO out there can show her support for her hubby or fiancé or boyfriend, but what about the MILSO’s that are waiting on their wives or girlfriends or fiancee to get home? And why aren’t there more products out there for the women who are in the military? Do people think that because they’re soldiers they don’t like cute things? Maybe thats the prevailing theory, that all women in the armed forces are dykes or something, but it’s not true. Just because we became soldiers instead of secretaries doesn’t mean we might not want to put a pink sticker on our car or wear a pink shirt with a sassy saying on it.

Just because the military is predominately a boys club doesn’t mean that we should ignore the fact that there ARE women in this boys club too! Where’s my shirt?!?

Here’s Your Sign

I am now 100% convinced that the Navy is what I am supposed to be doing with my life, that this is the path that God has laid out for my life. Whenever you get set on the path that God has for you, expect opposition. So I went and talked to a recruiter on Friday and got quite a few answers to the questions that I had been wondering about and he was very straightforward with me, which I liked. So I went home with all my info and talked to the hubby about it off and on all weekend. I had pretty much decided by Friday night that I was going to do it, but I still have a few other questions and that sort of thing that I want to find out about before committing. So I get up at 6am this morning to go workout so I can start getting in shape to be able to pass the physical test to become an AIRR (Aviation Rescue Swimmer, I know the acronym doesn’t match the name, it’s annoying) because it requires push-ups and running, 2 things that I detest and am not very good at as a result. Surprisingly I had no trouble getting up and getting going (which is very rare for me, I hate mornings) and no trouble on the way to the gym besides hitting every other red light. As soon as I stepped foot out of my car to go into the gym, my hip started hurting. Like, the kind of hurt where you don’t want to walk or put weight on it, hurting. But I have had such peace about my decision and I was so looking forward to getting started on working towards my very high goals that I knew right away that this wasn’t natural. When you are headed in the direction that you are supposed to go and things suddenly start going wrong or things start happening that would normally stop you from following through, stop and take a minute to recognize that for what it is. You are under attack. The enemy is trying to prevent you from moving forward in the way that God has set for you, he is trying to discourage you, he is trying to cause you pain, he does not want to you move forward to accomplish your God given goals.

So now I am more than 100% confident that this is the way that I am supposed to be going, this is the route I am supposed to be taking. I have no more fear, no more reservations, no more worries. I talked them all out with my husband and he is confident that everything will work out the way it is supposed to. I said that I don’t want to leave my job after being there for less than a year, a new pastor being here for barely a month, and the holidays coming up. He said that maybe I’m supposed to leave because there’s somebody else who needs that job the way that we did when I took it, but that there’s nothing wrong with waiting until the New Year if that’s what I would like to do. (The jury’s still out on that one, I’m waiting to hear back from the recruiter about how the timing would work) I said would feel bad because we just moved into a new house that we’re renting from his dad because his dad couldn’t sell it and I don’t want to screw his dad over because he’s planning on us buying it and thing alike that. He said that we’ll just sell the house, his dad will get his money one way or the other and that’s really all he cares about. It old him I don’t want to miss my cousin’s wedding in November, he said I can wait until the new year if that’s what I want to do. (Again, the jury’s still out. My cousin lives about an hour north of Chicago so we’re planning on spending a day in Chicago then going to the family weekend after that so I don’t want to mess up our fun vacation plans. It’ll be the first real vacation we’ve taken by ourselves EVER.)

So now that all the details are squared away for any fit ire issues, all that’s left to do is decide on the big things. While I am kind of bummed that I won’t be able to do things like have my tongue pierced or dye my hair fire engine red anymore and I’ll have to give up my horseback riding lessons that I’m starting next week, I’m more excited for what I can do and what I’ll get in return. I’m really excited that I’m doing this because I want to and not because of money. I’m really excited that I’ll have something to work hard for, that I’ll be doing something that my kids and family can be proud of, and I’ll be doing something that feels worthwhile and I’ll feel good about doing. I will be able to help provide a stable house for my kids to grow up in and I won’t have to worry about if they want to play an expensive sport. I’m not even upset that doing the military means that we won’t be able to foster kids like we had also been considering doing. My hubby pointed out an interesting thing that I hadn’t even noticed. Both times that we have seriously considered foster care, like gone and met with an agency and even started training, were the times that I was also seriously considering joining the Navy. That makes sense to me though, that’s my brain unconsciously putting both life paths in front of me and forcing me to choose. Fostering leads to the life that I always thought I would have, tons of kids and a family life that I could pretty easily predict how things were going to go. The Navy is a path that I have no idea what’s going to happen. I only know 3 people total who have been in the military and 1 of them was in the Air Force in the 60’s so I don’t think that counts as applicable in this situation. So I don’t know what to expect. It helped a lot to be able to talk to my hubby’s friend who has just finished his schooling in the Navy since he knows what I’ll go through, having just recently gone through it himself. But the fact that I don’t know what will happen down that path doesn’t scare me anymore. Ross may laugh and scoff and poke fun, but I’ve been mulling this over for years and have slowly been breaking down those walls and fears and apprehensions during that time so that once I finally decided to do it, I would be ready. And now I am.

So I am still waiting to hear back from the recruiter about the questions I emailed him a little bit ago, hopefully he’ll get back to me either this afternoon or tomorrow morning. AIRR is listed as an available job on the Navy’s website so I am wondering now about how prudent it would be to wait versus just going ahead and going for it. We shall see! I am beyond excited to see where this next adventure that God has us on takes us!

Thank you Lord for giving me the clarity to see the attack this morning for what it was and for giving me the mental strength to push through it, and even though I didn’t do as well as I had hoped, I did it. Please continue to give me favor and the mental strength to be able to withstand any attack, just as You promised me. Thank you for your grace and your love and your forgiveness which are new every day Lord.

Future Navy life?

So I have gone back and forth debating about the Navy for over a year now. (yes, I know, I’m indecisive) But this is a huge life changing deal so I’m allowing myself the back and forth. One of my husband’s friends is in the Navy, he did the reserves for a few years and is now finished with his officer’s school and about to be finished with all his technical schooling to be a pilot! So I texted him yesterday because one of the main lingering concerns that I still had was about the recruiters. I am an emotional person and can easily get wrapped up in something if it sounds really good, so I wanted to talk to someone who had been through it so I could know if the recruiters would tell me mostly the truth or if they would try to feed me a line to get me to sign up and add to their numbers.

So I asked Brandon about the recruiters and we set up a time to talk on the phone later that evening. He seemed really excited that I was considering the Navy, which made me feel good. (Brandon is an amazing guy and he always makes you feel better about yourself) We talked on the phone for half an hour, and he told me all of his personal experiences. He said that if you go into the recruiters office and ask professional and say you would like the information, they are more likely to give you both sides of the coin than if you go in trying to be friendly and buddy-buddy with them, which makes sense. He also said (more than once) that nobody can MAKE you do anything, they can PRESSURE you all they want but they can’t MAKE you. They may tell you that there are spots open for the job that you want but to get them you would have to sign now and things like that, but you don’t have to. We talked about boot camp too, which I was also dreading and didn’t particularly want to do, but he said it will suck but you’ll get through it and that’s just how it is. I told him that I don’t particularly want to go someplace where I’m just going to be yelled at all the time, and he said that is part of it but they yell at you because that’s their job. That made me feel better (even though it’s not like that was new info, of course it’s their job!) because I tend to take things so personally (again, because I’m an emotional person) so that’ll be good to remember. He also said that it’s good, when you’re talking to the recruiters, to take some time and do your own research. Again, this made me feel better even though it isn’t new info or a new idea, I always want to double and triple check everything and make 1000% sure I’m ok with it, especially with as big of a decision as this. So talking to Brandon made me feel a lot better about everything and made me feel like I could actually do it.

So today, while I had nothing to do at work, I went on the Navy sight and looked at their jobs. I went through everything, thinking I would want something with photography or journalism or maybe even a little bit of medical because I have some phlebotomy experience and loved it, but I got really excited when I got to the Special Operations section. When I was debating this and looking into it last time (about 4 months ago) I briefly looked at the Coast Guard as well. The thing that turned me off from the Coast Guard was 1) their exclusivity, and 2)they have much higher test score requirements. (I know those are kinda the same thing, but still) The thing that drew me to the Coast Guard was the idea of doing search and rescue type of jobs. So when I got to the Spec Ops section and saw that they have AIRR, which is Aviation Rescue Swimmer, and Navy Divers I got really excited! So I printed out all the information from the Navy pages about the 2 jobs and I’m excited to talk to the hubster about them!

I think the reason I keep coming back to joining the Navy is that I want what I do to matter. I had a guy from the church tell me that I was important yesterday, which felt good, but it also didn’t feel like enough. Yes, I do all the office stuff for the church and if I didn’t do it then the church would not run. Yes, I do lots of things for lots of people and keep it all well organized. Yes, I deal with lots of difficult people and snotty people and opinionated people and I do it all with a smile on my face so that everyone has good opinions about the church. And I know all these things are important. But they aren’t very fulfilling for me. Something that has kept me from moving forward with the Navy in the past couple years though, has been that I like our life here in LExington and I don’t know that I want to give up the things that have come into my life. Ross and I just moved into a gorgeous new house. I finally found a barn that offers not only Western riding, but Western versatility lessons, which is something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Ross and I are meeting with someone from a Christian foster agency tonight to talk about the possibility of fostering children. These are all things that I am really happy and excited about, so I don’t want to do anything that will change those things. But at the same time, I cannot shake the feeling of excitement and…longing almost…when I think about joining the Navy. I had a serious talk with God yesterday and asked Him to keep the Navy and the armed forces in the forefront if that was where He wanted me to go, to keep putting it in front of me so I couldn’t escape it. Since then I’ve seen innumerable Navy bumper stickers and license plate holders, Brandon’s wife posted about where they’re going and what they’re doing next on Facebook, and there were uniforms for all the branches of the military at Build-A-Bear. So I’m guessing that God is keeping it in front of me so I won’t forget and I won’t pass it up.

When my husband first started looking into joining the Army, I had a lot of fear. All I could think of was me sitting in a cemetery being handed a folded flag. (Thankfully he didn’t join, due to various surgeries that he’s had) But since he decided not to join, I’ve been battling with the idea of joining myself. I no longer feel the fear that I had before, I’m not scared to deploy (I still don’t WANT to, but that’s not fear) or scared to leave Lexington, or scared to leave family. (I am still a little apprehensive to tell my family, because they are all pretty anti-government at the moment and don’t particularly have nice things to say about the military or law enforcement either) It does make me nervous that I would be going into a situation that I know next to nothing about and don’t have anyone that I can talk to that will tell men how it’s going to be. The only people I know that have been in the military are Brandon and my cousin Nick who was a Marine. So while I can talk to them, and I will, 2 people does not a whole picture make. Especially because neither of them have done what I’m thinking I would like to do. But I’m still excited about the idea of doing it, and honestly as much as I don’t want to give up the great things in our life now, I don’t feel like I would be distraught to leave them behind. There are other foster agencies and other barns (even though I probably wouldn’t be able to do either of those things with a military lifestyle of moving so much), Ross’ job can go wherever he does (a perk of working for a national company) and he loves to move, my family doesn’t want to stay in Lexington so they were eventually going to leave anyways, Ross’ family is always going to stay in Lexington but if we live near a beach then his parents will come visit as often as they can so that would be fun. Ross thinks I should have gone and talked to a recruiter a year ago, he thinks the Navy would be a perfect fit for me and he wants me to be happy and feel fulfilled too. I know my in-laws would be thrilled, Ross said his dad was really excited when he told him the last time that I was thinking about it. I honestly don’t know how my parents would react, but the fear of their reaction is based on childhood habits that are so instilled in me that I have a hard time getting around them, I know that it’s my life and that these choices are between Ross and I now and we need to decide based on what’s best for us and our family.

All in all, I think that it would be a very good path for me to follow and a path that would be very exciting and very fulfilling. Now I need to start running and doing pushups (since I don’t think I even know how to do one correctly) and swimming so I can get into the best shape ever so I can pass training and be accepted for the job I want!

And I need to decide if I would be able to jump out of a helicopter…and learn how to fly aircrafts…or if I would rather do diving…

I am honestly really excited now. 🙂 I can’t wait to talk to Ross on my lunch break or tonight! I’m going to go talk to a recruiter tomorrow! (See what I mean about being emotional and getting excited and getting swept up in the idea of things??? This is why I need to be strong and not let them pressure me. As long as I go by myself that should be easy, I’m not going to make this decision without talking to Ross first so there’s a built in excuse not to sign right there!)