I’m a Marine.
I decided I wanted to be a Marine when I was 12 years old, and I worked unbelievably hard to make it to where I am (more on that in a later post).
I put the Marine Corps ahead of pretty much everything else in my life for well over a decade. Ahead of my family, my stability, myself. Even before I commissioned I was already groomed to put the Marine Corps first. Four years of JROTC in high school, four years of ROTC in college, and over 11 years on active duty.
The Marine Corps has provided me countless opportunities for advancement, personal growth, travel, and best of all, meeting amazing people.
It was so hard to make the decision to actively pursue my health and my family’s well-being ahead of the Marine Corps. I struggled with that decision for years. For better or worse last year I hit a point where I was completely done and realized, without a doubt, something was going to permanently break if I didn’t seek help…my family or me.
My cup runeth dry.
It’s amazing how quickly you go from hero to zero status when you are working through a medical board (and I have to say, especially as an officer). It shouldn’t have been a surprise, but I’ll tell you—it still hurts. It’s like being punched in the gut repeatedly. When I put on the uniform, when I get saluted, when I go into my office, I am reminded that I am not really one of “the few and the proud” anymore—I am a demi-Marine. An outsider. A lesser tuffelhunden. A half-breed devil dog.
I think one of the things that sucks the most is knowing that I (likely) wouldn’t have come to this point if I hadn’t put so much into the Marine Corps. If I could have separated my professional and personal lives. If I didn’t feel so emotionally attached to my Marines and my peers. If I didn’t love the people around me so much. If I didn’t love the thought of the Marine Corps so much.
In some ways I’m thankful for the disenfranchisement because it makes knowing I’ll be out of the gun club more bearable. But I do miss feeling like part of the team. I miss feeling like a leader of Marines. I miss the feeling of accomplishment and pride when seeing someone succeed. I miss bragging about Marines to a senior officer. I miss coffee with my peers. I miss debating new concepts. I miss working hand-in-hand with amazing people on a daily basis. I miss so much and I’m still here…kinda.
I can’t fathom being a Marine and having one foot in and one foot out the door. It’s in or out. It’s too much to be on the threshold. The balance is impossible.
And now, I’m out…just with this weird side-job that involves putting on my tree-suit and sitting in an office alone on a Marine Corps base while collecting a paycheck. Just waiting until it’s official.
The Corps goes on without you.
I just wish I would have drawn on some porta-shitter walls so at least something of mine would live on in the Corps beyond me.
Love others. Love self. Love coffee.
#coffeewithasideofcowbell #coffeeandcowbell #marinecorps #semperfi #momblog #motherhood #herotozero #careerchangepending #portashitterdrawings