Outside the cave, part 3: New goals

(Continued from Part 2)

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I came across this quote a while back, just one of those silly inspirational memes, but it’s stuck with me. For so long I didn’t even remember what it was that that I was passionate about; I just felt like I was floating through life without feeling anything.

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In reevaluating my current life, I realized that literally everything I’ve done in the past years has been centered around Chuck. School, as I said; my social life, since when we’re together we almost never stay out (citing “being old and done with partying” as our excuse even though I often feel like staying with my friends a little longer), my social media accounts, my name, even this blog. I tried so hard to get into the sailing lifestyle because it’s what he loves, but I’ve come to realize that I hate sailing. Oh, I don’t mind the day trips, but the long overnight ventures on the high seas? I’m seasick, I’m bored, I’m restless, and did I mention that I’m seasick? Anyway, I no longer had an identity of my own, and I set out to fix the things I could – I changed my profile pictures from couples shots to pictures of just me, I insisted on going out with my friends more. The name change will have to wait until the summer, but that’s definitely important. It’s funny how something as simple as a name has so much power; my name with his last name makes me feel like an impostor.

Finally, I had a talk with my estranged husband once we were finally back in the same city, and told him everything I was thinking. His response was that only one of us can have a career; the other will have to give something up. And since he’s the one who’s on track to do great things in the military, and I’m not even out of school yet and can’t get a job anyway…

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Wait… this was NOT what we had talked about

My response? I emailed my school that night and committed to being an exchange student at Tel Aviv University for the entire fall semester, from October to February.

A conversation I had with one of my classmates while in Israel sticks in my mind. She had asked what made me want to join the Navy in the first place, and I’d replied that even though the full scholarship was a nice incentive, I’d had perfect grades in high school and was accomplished in band and choir, and therefore could have gotten scholarship money through other means. However, I was drawn to a life of service, and I knew I was gifted with good health and strength (both physical and mental) and the idealist in me felt the need to use that strength to help others. I felt I could change the world for the better. Flash forward sixteen years, and despite everything that’s happened, things haven’t changed. That girl is still in there, still an idealist who believes she can change the world. Something I’ve long dreamed of doing was getting involved in humanitarian works, specifically two causes that mean a lot to me: helping military domestic violence victims, and fighting human trafficking. The former is something I have touched on here in this blog as having experienced firsthand, but I was never sure if I would ever be ready to make the jump from survivor to advocate. I know now in my heart that I am ready.

It’s going to be hard; I know there will be days when I’m wondering why I’m subjecting myself to judgment and criticism again, but something else that defined my old persona was courage. I never used to worry about standing up for what’s right, although that trait got crushed while working at the JIOC and stayed crushed while I’d tried to mold myself into the perfect Navy wife. It’s courage I need back in my life now – and more importantly, so do others who don’t have the means to help themselves.

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“The light you are looking for has always been within.” -The Word Virus

So the point of this tl;dr trilogy is to bid adieu to this blog. I’m still going to write, but seeing as how I have no desire to be a serious sailor I feel like there’s no reason to continue here. Instead, I’m going to resurrect my old blog Trapped in Paradise. Even though I’m obviously no longer on Hawaii and hopefully never will be, it somehow seems more fitting. Plus, that site doubled as a travel blog, and since I should have plenty of traveling this year, it only makes sense. By the way, I’m writing all of this while on a grueling twenty hours long journey to Cambodia. So to those who have followed my musings here on this site, I wish to thank you, and encourage you to check out the DC edition of Trapped in Paradise.

Cheers and best wishes,
Brit C

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