Navy Brats lead an odd life. The true oddity of it didn't really come to light until recently. Not only am I really, really, really have difficultly dealing with the "So Where Are You From?" question; I have noticed that grappling with the whole what-do-I-do-after college thing has been complicated by my Navy Bratness.
First, when the Military asks you to move every two years for a totally of twenty years you get more used to change than you do consistency. Which is why being in Norfolk for an entire FOUR YEARS is driving me absolutely batty. The only way I've dealt with it is by getting out of state as often as possible, and moving houses each year. Also, moving around like that gives you a really poor idea of where exactly you're from... Allow me to explain. I was born in Maine (but, shhhhhh, we don't talk about that) and then lived in 13 different places since then, including three different high schools. My driver's license is from Texas, I pay taxes in Virginia, my parents are Pennsylvania residents, but PA won't give me residency because I've never lived there for more than 18 months. My siblings have the same problem. Audrey and Jackson are born in Pennsylvania but have Gitmo Driver's Licenses, Sammy was born in Florida and has been to seven schools in thirteen years.
The military has deprived us of our quintessential "hometowns". We've got no where to relate to and essentially we're the product of about twenty different environments. The problem is that when my answer is "Oh, I'm from the Navy" civilians give me that whole head-cocked-to-the-side confused look. So I've resorted to being from Texas. 1- I graduated from High School there, 2- My driver's license is from there and 3-it's technically the place I lived the longest (it beats VA, by a month... not counting my college years)
The reason I don't say I'm from Virginia? Oi, let's not even get into that. Suffice to say that the Commonwealth of Virginia is not Emily's kind of state. It's simply somewhere I'm going to school at, and getting the hell out of quickly.
Secondly, I've never been given the choice of where to move to. The Navy asks my Dadman & Mommy for their top choices for the next duty station, the Navy checks the open positions and then Emily, Audrey, Jackson and Samuel tag along for the ride. You adapt, you cooperate, you assimilate but you most certainly to not choose.
You may argue and say that I chose to go to Old Dominion. However, I did not. I was given the option of going to a school that gave me a scholarship or moving to Japan with my parents. Which isn't nearly as magnanimous of a decision as where to go after school. The biggest difference between the two is that now I don't have limiting factors. With the degree I'll have I could basically work in any city in the nation, and a large number of cities internationally. So how did I solve this problem?
Well, technically, I haven't. Although, I did kind of arbitrarily pick Dallas, Texas... but really for not that many good reasons. I'm still very very very confused about where to go. My Mommy keeps asking... "Why Dallas?" and my basic response is... "uh, because it's in Texas and I have friends there."
Normal civilian kids don't have to deal with this crap! They've got hometowns! Or cities they've dreamed of moving to for years. For Navy kids, we've already lived in those cities, and we've never been any where at all for years. In fact, it's absolutely terrifying to think I may get stuck in one city for the rest of my entire life. What the hell do you do then?! The military didn't train me how to handle the same people for the next eighty years. They trained me to be an exceptionally efficient and flexible moving machine. I can pack up and move cross country in less than a week, but sure as hell can't handle being in one spot for too long.
I wrote a blog very similar to this, probably two years ago, but it's main focus was on not being equipped to deal with my surroundings, not the lack of experience in picking my location. I wish I still had it but, dammit, MySpace deleted it.
In short, I'm confused out of my cotton-pickin' mind. And yes, I blame it on the Navy. Despite the innumerable wonderful things the military has done and continues to do for my family... training the children to be good decision makers is sure as hell not one of them.
Got any good city suggestions? Lemme know.
In Other News, I made the mistake of calling one of my ex-boyfriends last night. What possessed me? I believe that can be blamed on a substance called.... Coors Light. Did the conversation go badly? No, but that's not the point. On the upside, Thanksgiving is this week and I'll get to see my sister and whole extended family. Another plus, I've been talking to a very good friend of mine who is overseas a whole lot. I cannot wait to see him next semester. : ) Man, I can really be a girl sometimes.