How I found my big girl panties in England

I hit a turning point in my life when I moved to England. It forced me to deal with life on my own, rather than relying on other people in my life to fix things for me.

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When my husband joined the Air Force, the last thing we expected was for him to get stationed in England right after tech school. There went our best-laid plans for me to finish graduate school in Oregon, then join him at his first base. We figured we could handle a cross-country separation; we decided we couldn’t handle a transatlantic separation. So, I changed my plans, worked my tail off and still graduated with the rest of my cohort.

I’m an only child. My parents and I have been through a lot together (suicide attempts, their divorce, their subsequent remarriage…to each other). I’m particularly close to my mom. Anytime I had a problem, she was the first person I’d run to for advice, support or just a shoulder to cry on. It wasn’t so easy to do that when she was 8 time zones away. So, I changed my coping strategies, learned to lean on my husband and found that I had untapped inner strength to support myself.

I stopped drinking alcohol a few years before moving to England. However, I was still in the same environment – same friends, same area, same hangouts, same behaviors. These things allowed me to continue doing whatever I wanted and to hell with what anyone else thought. In England I didn’t have those crutches, so when I continued my compulsive behaviors, they multiplied and exploded in my face. So, I screwed things up royally, asked for help and came out the other side, shaken but still alive.

All of these things may have happened had we never moved overseas. However, I think that being away from my comfort zone, away from everything familiar, helped speed things up. I didn’t realize how much I had changed until we moved back to the states. Everything felt familiar, yet awkward. I found that I had to use GPS to navigate a city I used to know like the back of my hand. I still have to remind myself that I can communicate with friends and family without setting up Skype dates and figuring out what time it is where they are at. I’m having trouble relating to old friends. Coming back to America wasn’t the “coming home” I’d imagined.

And, I’m ok with that. I love the person I’m becoming. I love this inner strength I’ve found because I’m finally making healthy decisions. Moving to England helped me to finally grow up and put my big girl panties on. I like how they fit.

This post is part of Finish the Sentence Friday, hosted by Janine at Confessions of a Mommyaholic, Dawn of Dawn’s Disasters, Kate from Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine? and Stephanie from Mommy, For Real. Check them out!

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14 thoughts on “How I found my big girl panties in England

  1. If moving to England did this for you, then I couldn’t be happier for you. Seriously, what a great and wonderful move it sounds like it truly was for you and I thank you for linking up again and sharing this with us. Have a great weekend!! 🙂

  2. I think most people realize how strong they are once they are married to someone who is active duty. I am married to my husband who was AF for 14 years. Granted the furthest it took me was 3 hours from home but still I had no family right around the corner and no friends. It was up to me and only me to do what I needed to do to make me happy and to make me function. I am glad you had this turning point. I am sure it was a real eye opener. PS I am jealous I always wanted to go overseas especially England!

    1. Military life is not for the faint of heart! We enjoyed England, but are glad to be back. Husband is changing jobs and we’re moving to sunny Texas – really looking forward to our future!

  3. good for you, many people still have trouble finding their inner strength. Most people dream, but to actually do…what an accomplishment. WAY TO GO

  4. My husband is retired Army and I am so glad that moving to England has brought you your big girl panties! Such a great FTSF post!

  5. Interesting post! I can fully relate to this, I’m an only child, but then my parents decided to make me grow up early on, and I began to find my “inner strengths” when I was quite young. I’m happy with my life process, I think I benefited from all the hard times I ever went through.

  6. My hubs and I moved a state away for his job many years ago. We were only there for about a year and it certainly wasn’t as far as England, but it was hard – moving away from friends and family to an unfamiliar place. I’m glad you came out on the other side and have become a better, stronger person in the end!

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