Chapter 2: The Lonely Life of a Military Brat
I was born into an adventurous family. I did not choose the military life, but it chose me. Because of this, I was put on a plane from California to Germany before age one, and I spent the majority of my childhood outside of the United States.
Now, being the curious individual that I am, there were many things that I enjoyed about having a life in the military. For one, traveling could’t have been made simpler. It seemed like every few months my family was headed to explore a new part of the magical land known as Europe. I’ve now successfully seen everything from the Eiffel Tower to the Vatican. Another wonderful perk was the safe zone known as base housing. Living on a military base allowed my mother to be comfortable with letting me ride my bike up to the BX to hang out with my friends at age nine. I would have never been allowed that kind of freedom elsewhere.
Although, despite the fact that there were some great benefits, there were some serious downsides as well. I hated always moving around. I felt like the moment I would get settled into a new place, it was time to pick up and go someplace new. Traveling was one thing, but being afraid to call anyplace home out a fear that we would leave in a few years, was something totally different.
Due to the constant moving around, I found it very difficult to make friends. I would meet new people, finally break into their group and gain their trust, only to watch them leave or leave myself after a very short span of time. This viscous cycle, the constant pain of losing people time and time again, prompted my first round of serious depression at age 11 when we moved from Germany to the United States.
Out of all of our moves, our move from Germany to Virginia was the hardest on me. None of the other moves had been quite as drastic in my opinion. Although we had moved from Europe to the US before, I was much younger, so it didn’t have the same impact on me, plus we were only stationed there for two years. But this time, we were going to be stationed in the US for several years, and my dad planned to retire there which meant we would be in Virginia indefinitely.
We had to completely start fresh, and out of fear of causing myself more pain, my idea of starting fresh was to sit in my room and read and watch movies all day, avoiding socializing with other people my age at all costs.
This didn’t sit very well with my parents. Out of concern for my well being they were constantly trying to make me attend every party or get together at our church that they could find, and though I hated it, I went when forced. This normally did nothing but to fan the flames of my depression though. At the age of eleven, I wanted nothing more than a stable group of friends. I was constantly in envy of other kids my age that had friends that they had basically grown up with and known for several years. Everywhere I went it seemed like everyone else had already formed these close-knit friendships bound by time and a myriad of stories of shared adventures, and there was no possible way for me to break in. So there I was, spending countless hours in my room watching Nickelodeon or Disney Channel, hoping that I wouldn’t be forced to get out and socialize.