At the age of 19 I was studying Culinary Arts at a lousy Tech School to get a lousy certificate, I was in an abusive and drug filled relationship, and I was miserable. I look back at that time, at that relationship, and it feels like a very vague dream. On the day I went back to my boyfriends house, to tell him I was leaving him for good, and to get all my stuff back, the low-life fought with me, tried to make me have sex with him “one last time” and threatened to ruin any future relationship of mine if I didn’t, he physically tried to stop me from leaving by holding me to the ground, pinning my head against the floor while he screamed in my face. Not many people know about that…
Well obviously I got away. Shortly after that I stopped attending school, my teacher had quit and was replaced by someone completely incompetent. When I stopped learning, I didn’t see the point in wasting my time. So I was working at a grocery store, as a cashier for about 5 months, when a little lady by the name of Rachel started working there too, we started hanging out, and she starting telling me about how she was joining the Army. Now this is where my story really begins.
I had known someone about 2 years prior to this that was also in the process of joining the Army, and she told me all about it. She told me that not every job is dangerous, and not every job was in the field. I really hadn’t known much until then. It was very interesting to me, and I even started seriously considering it during that bad relationship I was in, as a way to get away and do something with my life. But I never really pursued it. But then miss Rachel came along, and I was considering it again. I had nothing, no education, no idea what I wanted to study, a serious desire to better myself. This was perfect. I had Rachel introduce me to her recruiter, and on July 14th, 2011, I was Enlisted into the US Army, waiting to leave for basic training. I was so excited, I was ready to be a soldier, be proud when I wore that uniform, make an outstanding individual out of myself. I was scheduled to ship out in late November, so in the meantime I was getting into shape and working to pass the time. And then in September, I met Sean..
I was at work, on a register, the first time I met Sean. It wasn’t until next time that I learned his name. That first day he was just another stranger going through my line, staring at me all weird. I still remember it so well, as he was walking away to leave, he stopped and nodded his head towards me and said “Thanks for supporting”.
Clueless, I said “huh?”
He said “Your bracelet”.
I was wearing an Army Strong wrist band, “Oh!” I said, “I’m enlisted..”
He raised an eyebrow and said “Me too..” Pleasantries were exchanged and “Have a nice day”s were said, and he was off, and I went back to work. I didn’t think anything of it. A few days, maybe a week later, I had changed out of my uniform after work, and was shopping for groceries. I was walking down an aisle when I heard someone say “Shelby?”, I looked at who had said it and had no idea who it was, or how this person knew my name. He saw my look of confusion and said something along the lines of “remember, the army bracelet?” I remembered and we ended up standing in that aisle talking for a good half an hour. I learned that he was in the Reserves, stationed about 2 hours away, but lived in the same town as me. He gave me his phone number and told me if I ever wanted help with PT (I was struggling with my push ups) or advice about BCT that I could ask him. I still didn’t think anything of it, I just thought he was a nice guy, wanting to help a future soldier out. I was wrong, he had his eye on me. lol Let’s make a long story short, one thing led to another and we started dating, and we fell in love. Two short months later, came my time to ship out. It was a hard goodbye, he didn’t think I’d come back to him, he thought I’d leave him and find some other soldier to love. I had no doubts, but that didn’t ease his mind. But then I weighed in, and I was 5lbs over. I had gained so much muscle doing PT and concentrated so much on that, that I forgot to watch my weight. I wasn’t allowed to ship. They made me re-enlist, and my new ship date wasn’t until May, 6 months away! I was so upset, I was so angry at myself for messing this up! But then Sean came and got me, and I was okay. Because I had more time with him.
In February, I found out I was pregnant. How it happened, I don’t know. We definitely weren’t trying, but it happened anyway. But of course you know what that means… No more Army for Shelby. I’ve wanted to be a mother for as long as I can remember, but I’ve always been patient, I knew that to try and have kids too young was not smart. But at 20, with a man 6 years my elder standing by my side, I knew it was the right time. I told my recruiters the news, and that was that. I was going to have a baby and Sean wanted to make me his wife! I was going to have the family I always wanted, yes I had to give up the military, but this was more important to me. And then when I was 11 weeks pregnant, I found out my baby’s heart had stopped beating. Sean and I were both devastated, we were so ready and excited to be parents. But after 3 months of healing, emotionally and physically, I am pregnant again. And we both couldn’t be more excited and hopeful that this pregnancy goes well. We got married in a quick courthouse ceremony, and when he gets back from deployment we are having the wedding I’ve always dreamed of.
Anyway, that is me. I bit of were I was, and the place I am now. I’m in love, proud to be a soldiers wife, and I can’t wait until I hold my baby in my arms!