Saturday, April 3, 2010

Life's Journey - Part 2

So, if it's about making the journey your's, why did I drop out of college to get married one semester before completing my BA?

I think that everyone wants someone to love them. I think that is true! I think that we all have a need to be needed. Life isn't about being alone in it, I don't think. So my senior year in college, I was one year from being done and my boyfriend ended up being drafted into the army! He had gotten his BA in May of that year. In October, he was shipped off to basic training in Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. In December of that year, we were married! He was terribly homesick. I loved the fact that he needed me! Everyone at school said,
"Don't do it! Finish school first. You will never come back if you stop now!"
His need for me was more powerful! In less than two months, I planned a wedding complete with sitdown dinner, flowers, and champagne! On January 1 of that year, I was a married lady living in a trailer outside of an army base! My mother never said it but I knew that she felt confirmed in the fact that girls don't need to go to college. They just end up getting married and having kids anyway!

I had gone from being independent of my mother to being dependent on a husband. We had only one car that he took daily to work unless I needed it to go to the laundramat. On those days, I would go to the PX for groceries and buy craft materials to fill my time in the trailer. Then one day, one of his army buddies said,
"Aren't you going to do anything besides sit in this trailer every day? Aren't
you going to get a job or something?"
After months of crafting everything I could with the craft talent that I had, I got a job as an educational assistant at an elementary school in Waynesville MO. We had moved to a different mobile home with neighbors who worked on base so the car was mine now every day.

Working at a school for that year only encouraged me to want to go back to finish what I had started with my college degree. Before our tour of duty with the army ended, I had reapplied to enter school again to student teach when we returned to Wisconsin. We had grown to like the extra money that a second income brought in and with one more semester, I could graduate with a degree and ability to find a job as a teacher.

I returned to Madison one month prior to Mike's return. We had found an apartment on a bus line so there was easy access to the school that I was assigned to for student teaching. For that one month, I went about doing the work that I needed to do but was anxious for Mike to join me. Infact, I was a little nervous and jealous of what he might be doing with a bunch of single guys back at Ft. Leonard Wood. I became worried that he would stop needing me now that his time in the army was almost done.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Life's Journeys - Part 1

How is it that we become the person that we are? What makes up the "being" part of human?

I spend more time these days reflecting on life in general but more and more about the path that I have taken in this journey. Every once in awhile, there will be something that triggers a thought and it's amazing how that thought, which could be a memory from 40 or 50 years ago, still leaves you with feeling of joy, saddness, or anger even today.

This week, I had a thought about the stress that I caused my mother and ultimately the stress that she caused me! I have told my kids about how stories about me as a baby were not really flattering. I screamed and cried, turned blue and even passed out when I didn't get my way! So, who couldn't love that?
As I grew older, I had a fear of my mom that I couldn't really explain but found out from my brothers that she used to get very angry with me and her anger always included physical punishment. I know of times, when I was older, how she would use whatever was handy to strike out at one of us - fly swatters, yard sticks, boards - she was often angry!
When I went to college, something she thought silly for a woman to do, I came home every weekend out of duty until I got up the nerve to stay at school one weekend. I had so much work to do, I told my mom. I needed the weekend to just get caught up! It was the beginning of my real independence! That one weekend was a symbol of me taking charge of myself! Over the first months in college, I struggled with feeling incompetent. I failed a math class because I didn't know how to drop it! I got C's in everything else because I had signed up for 18 credits! Who does that their first semester? But I didn't quit - partially because I didn't want to move home to my mother!
I stayed on for another semester and effectively turned it around! I again took charge of my life. Afterall, that's what it's really about isn't it? It's not about blaming other's for your fate or expecting others to make you happy. It's about making it your journey!
To be continued...