For all those that thought of Heartbreak Ridge just now, I’m glad we have an understanding of the basics because if you want to know how I became the strong, capable woman I am, you need to understand who raised me. As the saying goes, the hardest job in the military is being a Marine’s wife. You can dispute this, and I take no offense, however, my mother may. Not only was she a Marine’s wife, she is a Marine’s widow.
Of course, she is more than that to me. To me she is the woman who showed me that no matter how hard things get, you don’t give up. She is the woman who kicked my butt out of every hard time I thought I had as a kid. She is the woman who spoke openly and honestly about life, and answered every question I ever had without making judgments. She made sure I had a sense of responsibility and understood consequences.
One of her biggest lessons to me was always driving home the point either verbally or through her actions that if I expected to get anywhere in life that I would need to get out there and make it happen. Part of that lesson included getting an education. It was very important to her that I go to college, and I’m glad that I did because the one I chose helped me on my way to becoming the strong, capable woman I am.
Peace College at the time of my initial enrollment was a women’s two year liberal art’s college. During my first year they began looking into becoming a four year institute, I know because I remember signing the petition saying that I’d be interested in graduating with a bachelors degree should they offer one. For the record that makes my class of 1999 the FIRST official bachelors graduates who were enrolled from first-year till graduation. (Just so you know, there are those who argue that point, but I was there.)
It wasn’t all pillow fights in cute nighties or a bunch of man-hating female supremests, though we did have a little of both and a lot in between. I met some of my best friends there, and many wonderful women who showed me that owning your own life and living it were the keys to success. Boyfriends (and yes, girlfriends for some) came and went, but studying still had to be done and jobs needed doing. We were our future.
Fast forward to now. I am a woman. I am a mother, wife and writer. I have a BA in Psychology with a minor in English. I spent 10 years working with troubled teens. I’ve been a waitress, sales associate, receptionist, counselor, supervisor, English teacher, and Title I tutor. I am the sum of, but not limited to my labels. I live my life and make my choices. I suffer the consequences and reap the benefits of my actions. That’s what makes me a strong, capable woman.