I was full of dreams when I was a little girl. I was a strong-willed, hard-headed, determined little girl with curly, blonde hair. No one could tell me what to do, everything was a lesson learned, and usually it was learned the hard way. I love these qualities about myself, now that I’m an adult. Growing up all that I ever heard was “slow down”, “take your time”, and if I would have accepted advice at all, as a general rule of thumb.. my life would have probably turned out a lot differently. However, I am not one to regret anything.
My mother was my idol. She basically raised me; took me to every dance, drove me to every event and never missed a damn thing. She was independent, and she always supported me, no matter what. I decided young, way too young, that I wanted to be just like her. To get married and have children. Meaning, I would not go to a four year. I would not have a career. I just didn't want that. Most people have a desire to DO something, make something out of themselves as individuals, I really didn’t.. or so I thought.
I met my husband when I was 19. He was a Marine stationed in Southern California. When we met, we started dating so quickly. Our engagement and marriage all happened within nine months. That’s ridiculously rushed for everyone, except people in the military. It felt so normal for the world we lived in. Once I was wrapped up in him, and that life.. it felt like I was getting everything that I wanted. Like I would be able to have children, and start my family right away. Dreams maybe do come true, right? Wrong. He deployed a month after we got married, and three months later he stepped on a bomb in Afghanistan. My perfect world came crashing down around me.
He lost both of his legs, and was immediately sent to ICU back in the States. It was a month before I was able to see him, and every single day felt like years. Honestly. Looking back on it now, I don’t know how I did it. We spent months in different hospitals, rehab facilities, just trying to recover. He was so mad—at the world, at himself, at life. I don’t blame him. And he certainly didn’t want to be married anymore. I was just one more thing he needed to think and worry about. I don’t blame him for that either. We were together until he was able to drive again, and could get around in a wheelchair. Accepting that our marriage failed was harder than I can explain. Also getting to a point of resentment with someone you used to be so madly in love with, is a really hard pill to swallow. But life goes on. You learn from your failures, and you pick yourself up and move on. My divorce was final a month before my 21st birthday, so naturally, I went to Vegas and let it all go.
Less than a year later, I moved back to Michigan, trying to escape the memories of him following me around California. If anyone would have asked me, I would have said “I’m over it” but wasn't really. Jaded with insomnia for the next year or so is more realistic. So I fled to Michigan, hoping that would help me sleep a little better. It was going well for a couple months, when I met my second husband. If anyone reading this has been divorced, you can agree that it does some unexplainable things to your mind and soul. I met and married my second husband within six months. Which was a world record, I might add. He was a real winner.
Looking back on that mistake, he gave me attention I didn’t get the first time around. Everything I wanted when I was married the first time—the commitment, the feeling of love and security, it was all there, just in an unhealthy way. He was controlling and we fought all of the time. So because I am full of “good luck”, husband number two went to prison a month after our wedding. I think it was then, something inside of me snapped. I didn’t want to be married to someone behind bars for 20 years, unable to have a real life, with no memories and no children. I may have loved him (or so I thought), but I love me more. I value my happiness more.
That’s when I realized: A. I need to stop getting married. B. I don’t truly want what I used to want when I was a child. I don’t want to depend on a man, or anyone else for my happiness. I don’t just want a family, I want to do so much with my life. Travel, adopt pets, help people, accomplish goals that I’ve set for myself, I could go on forever. The list is endless. I think what I’m getting at is that you don’t really know who you are, or what you want until you grow up. Until you’ve grown, and lived. Once you experience life, and experience it some more, you will find things that are for you, and are not for you. I see girls, people in general I suppose, making serious life decisions at 16, 17, 18 and it gives me anxiety. I wish I could tell him they are going to wish they hadn’t, because they aren’t even adults yet. You change your major at least four times in college, and that’s just one example. Your mind is intended to change and grow as you get older. That’s the point of GROWING UP. Embrace change, it will make you a wiser person in the end.