She’s Home!

Yay! I’m so excited! She’s home, she’s home, she’s home!

Did I mention that I’m excited!?!

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Latte in hand, I raced over to meet G.I. Jane’s mom and we were off to the airport! We anxiously watched the escalator, waiting for her! Michael was very excited as well, balloons in hand — waiting to give to his big soldier-sister.

FINALLY, “There she is!!”

There were a few tears, but mostly happiness. Happiness to finally get to hug her, see her, and have it all real. She’s home!

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I LOVE this picture. Such a special moment. I’m so proud of her and very glad that I get to spend a few days with her before we BOTH have to go our separate ways again.

Being in the military can be the best time… and the worst time. The military has taught me so many things, we’d be here until next year if I named them all. But, a few of them are:

1. None of my days are as bad as they seem. After going through boot camp I learned that even among your worst days, there’s still someone else, miles and miles away, having an even worse day. For example, being away from your family at war. That’s so much worse than having to sit at work for a few hours — wishing I could go work out or meet up with friends for happy hour. Oh please. Get over yourself.

When I first got home from 5 months of training, this was a huge issue for me. I took a job as a server over the summer and I’d catch myself glaring at co-workers when they’d complain about having to work at a restaurant. A RESTAURANT, people! I’d glare and then smile (sarcasticly/sympathetically/bitchy) and say, “Aw, I’m sorry. I’m sure you’ll get to go home soon!” And in my head I’m thinking, “You piece of shit. You get to go HOME tonight… do you know how lucky you are!?!” Ugh.

I can always find the silver lining thanks to the military. On my 19th birthday, I was in boot camp. It was raining. I was in Missouri. I had to ruck march (45 pounds on my back) 5 miles. Then I had to dig a sleeping area and build a tent for two people out of a poncho. Mind you, it’s raining. My tent is flooded. No one will help me. I’m worried about getting eaten by giant mosquito’s and brown recluse spiders. It was an awful, awful day. I remember this day vividly. I’ve had a few more birthdays since. Luckily none of them have been this bad. But, thank you Army. Now, I could have a terrible birthday and I’m almost positive that it wouldn’t top July 28, 2009. Good job. Way to go.

2. I learned to love guy humor and therefore I have a better sense of humor. Before going into the Army, I was kinda a bitch about crude humor. For example, I watched Super Bad and could barely stand it. The whole things is pretty much penis humor. And I hated it. Now, I think it’s really funny and I’ll even quote lines from said movie (rarely, but it happens).

Being that the military consists of 1/3 females (at best), I’ve had a lot of time to hang out with guys. This has always been a good thing for me. Girls aren’t really my specialty. They bug me too much – always screeching and complaining (Right, G.I. Jane?). So it’s worked magically. Army guys talk about the dumbest, stupidest, greatest stuff. Some of my best memories were made with Army guys. They’re all my big brothers and I’m so thankful for their meanness. Really. If they weren’t so mean all the time I wouldn’t be the soldier and person I am today. I’ve learned to never take things personally, laugh to deal with stress/anger/frustration, and just get the hell over myself. Looking back on 17-year-old me, I needed some “getting over myself.” Believe me.

3. I’m BETTER with patience. I didn’t say that I’ve mastered the art of patience, I’m just better about it. I’ve spent hours, days, months waiting on people. The famous, “Hurry up and wait” at its finest. I’m so good at waiting on people, it’s actually a newfound talent. My mom gets really flustered shopping on the weekend, she asks, “How does this not bother you? There’s so many people?” I guess when you’re crammed into little tiny spaces and forced to give up all means of control, shopping at the mall on a Sunday seems rather mild.

I’m also really patient with being sick. When I’m sick (or injured) I ride it out. I know that it will go away soon, it’s just a matter of waiting. I refused to go to sick call while in training. I only went when a drill sergeant forced me to, “Private, you’ve been sick for a month! You’re going to sick call!” Turns out that “sickness” was really just allergies. The doctor said, and I quote him, “You’re allergic to Missouri.” He wasn’t joking. I was allergic to the AIR! AH! I knew I didn’t like that state for obvious reasons (humidity, but mostly just because it wasn’t California), but my body didn’t either! Then when I was at OCS I had so many blisters on my left foot that it looked like I had like herpes of the foot or something. It was so disgusting. We did a foot check and my TAC freaked out, “Get to the medic right now, candidate!” “Yes, sir!” Needless to say… I didn’t participate in any more running/marching for the rest of that block of training. The TAC instructors were so freaked out about my foot that they’d literally yell at me if I was walking too fast or didn’t get my foot taped that morning.

I just don’t like being the weak link. I’m a female and I’m small so I already have that image working against me. The last thing I need is to be the sick/hurt “female.” No thanks, I’ll just wait and deal with this when I get home.

4. I’m now a fitness junkie. I’ve always been into fitness, but now I’m like a psycho-fanatic about it. When I first joined the Army I was 115 lbs — pretty much a twig. I ran a half marathon 10 days before I left for boot camp. I could do 7 push ups and 15 sit ups, it was absolutely, positively pathetic (I’m sorry if this offends you, but being that weak is pathetic). But I was “skinny” and that’s all I cared about. As I learned more about the Army, I noticed something: PT stud females are respected. Hm. I wanted to be respected. Here I am, this young lieutenant, I needed all the points I could earn. So it was born, I’m going to max my PT test and I don’t care if I get “big arms” — I’m going to be strong.

With that came a whole bunch of greatness, one being CrossFit. I’m totally in love with CrossFit. I always joke about CrossFit being my boyfriend. He’s the most steady, secure, rewarding, uplifting boyfriend I’ve ever had. We’ve been going steady for over a year now. 😉 But seriously, I love working out now. I’m so much healthier, I eat better and I’m just happier in general. I have a much better lifestyle and have made so many great friends in the process. Plus, the “Your body is fantastic, what do you do!?!” comments never get old. They make every drop of sweat and scream of pain worth it.

OCS Commander: “Officer Candidate, I respect you because you can out PT all the guys.”

ME: “Thank you sir, I work really hard to hear that.”

Or…

SFC Dodds, in front of the whole class: “Fleury, stand up.”

I stand up.

SFC Dodds points at me, “THIS is fitness.”

Thank you CrossFit. You’re the best.

5. No matter how awful/annoying/mean/uptight the person is — add in some alcohol, cake! One of my favorite memories was this year. It was right after my OCS graduation and we went out in San Luis Obispo to celebrate. Everyone was there, students and instructors. It was one of the best nights, thank you vodka. The military can be really rigid. Don’t smile. Don’t laugh. Don’t talk with your hands. Ugh. Therefore, some alcohol is necessary sometimes. I’ve learned that it’s A-OK to let your hair down sometimes. Be loud, dance around, just have fun. Before the Army I refused to drink or “be immature.” It gets so tiring, always worrying about image. I still stay within reason, but I’m able to have fun and not lose sleep over it. Life goes on, you’ll be okay. Drink some coffee in the morning and you’ll be fine. Roger.

With that said, after we picked up Nadine… we headed straight to BJ’s. I convinced her to have a beer. Her first beer — LEGALLY! Woot!

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I spent most of the day with Nadine, just hanging out. She got to spend HOURS getting ready. She was giggling, “Oh my gosh, I’m a girl again!!” This is a very familiar feeling for me. Whenever I get home from training, I’m so exited to wear jewelry, do my hair, put on jeans and no Army uniform!

A group of us went to Yard House for drinks and later ended up elsewhere…

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We’re all so happy to have her back… even Ryan is stoked! Doesn’t he look fabulous in my scarf!

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On a different note… Yesterday I finished Drowning Ruth. It was so good. I loved it. I was a little worried because it was kind of dark. But I really enjoyed the mystery element and all the drama. I also liked that it was set during a different era, that gave it more of a historical feel. I liked guessing about what was going on and then being totally thrown for a loop.

Now I’m reading The Hunger Games. Both my sisters recommended it. I was sold when Courtney said that I’d like the girl because she’s a “bad ass.” Also, it’s a number 1 seller on Kindle… and was only $5. Can’t be that bad, right?

It’s almost the weekend! It’s almost Christmas!! Eekk… I better start wrapping!

XO

Paisley

 

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