March 09, 2004
I played volleyball in high school with a girl who had wanted to be a gymnast. I guess she had shown a lot of promise as a child and had the potential to be quite a gymnast until she hit her growth spurt and topped out at 5'11". She had to give up gymnastics and instead started playing volleyball. She was a good player; she was very strong and her height was certainly an advantage. I think she might've even gone on to play in college. But you could always tell her heart was never in it; in her heart she was a gymnast. She never let go of the gymnast she could have been, and it must've killed her to see others do the one thing she wanted to do.
Tonight as I was working at a college fair, a female soldier came to find out information about classes and started telling us stories about Iraq. She just got back on Saturday, and she captivated the librarians and counselors with her tales from down range. The other civilians seemed horrified at the life she was describing, but all I felt was jealousy. I wanted to have her job so badly. Listening to her, I felt a sadness in my heart that I cannot explain; my heart was mourning the soldier I would never become. Everything this 21-year-old girl described was a reminder of how meaningless my life seems, a reminder that I have to watch others do the one thing I wish I could do.
Here on post, surrounded by camouflage, I feel like a gambling addict in Vegas, like an alcoholic in a bar, like a thirsty man in a lifeboat. Everyone I see is a constant reminder of what I will never be: the soldier in my heart. And it hurts in a way that most of you will never understand.
But god how it hurts.
Posted by: Sarah at
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Please don't feel this way. I greatly sympathize...even though I was a decade older after 9/11 I considered joining right back up to back to Iraq and finish the job...but medical conditions prevented that, amongst other things. I wanted to go. I felt I needed to. But I can't.
Sometimes I miss that life, sometimes I don't. But even as a civilian, I realize that I too have a role to play, one that we sometimes miss: While our troops go out to defend our country, it is incumbent upon us to make the country worth defending.
Don't despair! I may not be able to act directly anymore, but I can do so indirectly, and just be a good citizen. In this way, I continue to serve my country.
Posted by: Jason at March 09, 2004 05:49 PM (rfgVv)
Take care, Sarah. I'm sending an email over soon.
Posted by: Carla at March 09, 2004 07:07 PM (E9paH)
I'm 46, and every other waking moment is spent facing someone or something that I'll never get to be or do when I grow up, because life is mainly spent getting from moment A to moment B. So I know kind of how you feel, although I've never been ambitious or ballsy enough to consider soldiering, and you have my sympathy deluxe.
Posted by: LeeAnn at March 09, 2004 11:45 PM (HxCeX)
Sarah, I know exactly how you feel. I wanted to be a Soldier too. I still do and it makes me sad to think that I can never be one, so I try to live it out through my husband. I talked to a recuiter in high school and he told me I would have to give my rights away to my son if I wanted to join. Needless to say, that was not going to happen. I wish I knew then what I know now, but oh well. Hang in there, it gets a little easier as times goes on.
Posted by: Lani at March 10, 2004 06:33 AM (rZmE1)
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