I’ve heard it at least three times since I came back from Hawaii…how silly or naive I am for being a military significant other. I started a new job at a bar to make a little extra cash and wore my new Navy hoodie I got in Hawaii. A man, who I had met one other time, asked me with enthusiasm who I knew in the Navy while I was counting some money. I piped up, excited and said, “My boyfriend!” and his expression instantly changed. The brightness vanished. He just replied with, “Oh” and went on talking to someone else sitting next to him.
I stood there honestly confused, money held idly in my hands. What just happened? I kept wondering if maybe his reaction would have been different if I said my cousin or sibling was in the Navy instead. I couldn’t figure out why my boyfriend being in the military was so different.
Military relationships are not Dear John. It’s not romantic. It’s not wonderful. When you ask a little girl where she sees herself one day, most likely, the answer will not be sleeping in a bed by herself while her husband is fighting a war and her kids are asking where daddy is.
Most people already understand that so it’s no surprise that I often get asked the question, “Why would you ever put yourself through that?”
I asked myself that same question when I first met Taylor. We met at a small gathering of friends and he kept talking about leaving for bootcamp in a few weeks and how excited he was. Being a military girlfriend was never in my plans and I never even thought about what it would be like. Actually, believe it or not, it was a deal breaker for me.
But our second date was when I saw Taylor. And I don’t mean literally. I had my contacts in that first time and could see just fine. I saw what kind of person he was. After that second date I felt like I had just met my best friend. It was the best and easiest date that I had ever been on. I drove home and battled with my previous thoughts and what I considered to be a deal breaker.
I didn’t choose the military. I wasn’t on the hunt for a single, military man. I really don’t like the long distance and the worry. I don’t want him to be deployed. I don’t want to move far away from my family and be alone a good majority of the time. I hate that one day I will have to explain to my kids why their dad can’t be at their sports tournament. I didn’t ask for any of that.
But I did choose him. And that’s where people start to lose understanding. I chose to be with someone who works hard and who treats me better than anyone. If I was going to live 1,000 miles from anyone, I wanted it to be him. And no one I have ever met was worth me leaving my little hometown until I met Taylor. And if my kids had any father, any man to look up to, I’d want it to be a man who works hard, loves his family and loves his country too. A man that is courageous in both heart and spirit.
I don’t want any sympathy. I didn’t want a military relationship so I could be the victim. I didn’t want this so I could go out and see other men but still have the security of a relationship.
When you love a person, and I mean truly love a person, you take the good with the bad. Being a military girlfriend wasn’t ideal for me but all the other good things far outweighed any anxieties I had.
I chose to love another with everything that I have…even if he chooses to wear a uniform.
I was in a really shitty relationship. That’s how this story starts.
And when I say shitty, I mean really, really shitty. I met that guy through OK Cupid, a dating app, and it started out healthy. He was my age, worked for $10 an hour as a mechanic, had tan skin, dark hair and was covered head-to-toe in tattoos.
Our relationship was fine until I noticed he was getting snapchats from all these different girls. Then came the texts from other girls. He liked their half-naked Instagram photos too. He tried and tried to convince me I was absolutely crazy and told me that I was a bitch for accusing him of ever cheating.
I told my family and friends and made a million excuses for this boy. Then one night, I was venting to two of my friends, friends who have known me since I was maybe 3 feet tall, when one said, “Hey! I work with this kid that is the boy version of you. He even likes the same shitty music you do.”
Hm, a boy that listens to heavy metal? I had Austin, my friend, give me his name and I lounged across his bed scrolling through Facebook to look for this boy that likes metal music. Taylor. I thought it was a beautiful name.
He looked normal enough to me and did like my kind of music but I wanted to stay loyal so I didn’t pursue it much.
A few weeks later, Austin invited me over to one of his work friend’s house to play games one night and I met Taylor. I thought he was cute but I didn’t really see myself with him. He was painfully blunt and didn’t seem to give me much thought. He talked a lot about how he was leaving for bootcamp in a few weeks and that sealed the deal for me. Taylor was a definite no go. I never could see myself dating a military man. I introduced myself to him, played some games and then said goodbye as I walked to my car and he smoked outside. The story was supposed to end there I thought…
A couple weeks later, my relationship got even worse. My tatted, cheating boyfriend decided to invite me to a concert after I got off of work. So, I closed up at my job as quickly as I could, ran to Target to buy a cute shirt and drove half an hour to this concert. I paid for parking and then texted him to ask where he was and how much to get in.
He replied that it was probably best if I went home because he was talking to a few other girls there. Bitch was maybe the nicest name that he called me that night.
Needless to say, I left him and after that I was kind of just wandering through life working my job and hanging out with family and friends.
Then one night I got a text from Taylor. He reiterated that he was leaving for bootcamp in a week and just wanted to go on one last date with a girl. Nothing serious. Just going out for drinks and that would be that. Maybe we could be friends and write some letters to each other at best.
I picked Taylor up in my car (the deal was if he paid for dinner, I’d drive) and we went to Friday’s. We drank mudslides, ate cheeseburgers and I met my best friend.
He had the most lovable laugh. He was ridiculously smart, adventurous, he loves his family, hard working and oh my god his eyes. I was absolutely sold.
On the drive home, I knew deep in my heart what I wanted…but I had doubts. You see, I am a very cautious person. I don’t jump without knowing exactly what I am jumping into. I didn’t know what Navy life was like. Could I handle the distance? How was I so sure about a boy that I had officially hungout with once?
I saw him twice after our date. Once at a going away party at the bar that he and my friend worked at and once more the morning he left for bootcamp. He ran up to doorstep, gave me the Navy shirt they gave him when he enlisted, kissed me and left.
And from that kiss on there was not a doubt in my mind. I wanted all of this. I was writing him letters daily. I was texting him daily. I met his family. I made him care packages.
I love that there is an entire day set aside to being thankful for the ultimate sacrifice that one can give for their country. An entire day to relax and hangout at the pool or have some drinks and burgers with family and friends.
I had an okay day today. I took a kickboxing class. I went to the grocery store with my mother. I watched The Jungle Book with my dad and ate some delicious food. After dinner, I put some pineapples on a skewer, drizzled some maple syrup and cinnamon on it and took it outside to grill.
My face crinkled with concentration so that I wouldn’t catch myself on fire. I carefully placed the skewers in opposite directions on the grill and then sat in an outside rocking chair that we have. The chair rocked back and forth and for a few minutes I looked at my phone and waited for my pineapple to cook.
A raindrop on my knee interrupted my Facebook scrolling and I turned away from my phone to look up at the sky. The clouds were dark and the sun was setting and it was breath taking.
As my eyes grazed the sky, it occurred to me how wonderful life is. The clouds suddenly became a little blurry as a tiny tear welled up in my eye. I thought about how lucky I am. How I have amazing friends. Most of my family has passed away but I felt so blessed to still have my parents. I work at a job that I love with people that I’ve come to know as friends. I have the most beautiful relationship with one of the most beautiful souls I have ever come to know.
When I was younger I had horrible skin. Look closely at the pictures above and you can see the splotches all over my chin, forehead and cheeks. We are talking acne, painful and red, and lots of dry, dead skin. I remember one time I had a pimple on the edge of my lip that honestly looked like I had a Skittle embedded in my skin and it was so bad that it was uncomfortable to eat. I had no choice but to pop it because I was so hungry but I didn’t want to eat because it hurt…I had no idea my pores could hold all the crap that came out.
But enough with the gross stuff! I decided then that I wanted better skin. The last thing I wanted to worry about when my sailor came home was what shape my skin was in and how it was going to look in the millions of pictures we’d be taking. While my skin still isn’t 100% perfect and I am no dermatologist, I have tested multiple products, theories and Cosmopolitan magazine articles to find the best! The top list of things that gave me much better, healthier skin.