Intro to Leadership

Posted: October 2, 2012 in IJRS Courses


1. What would your life be like now had you not made the decisions that you did?


—Well to answer this first question, I can honestly say that if I had not made the decisions that I have made in the last 3 years that I would be living a very sorry and pitiful life. Had I not made the very decisions that got me to where I am today, I would be no better off than my Father, and would have never moved any farther than 20 miles from where my very life began.

Allow me to elaborate…

In the last 3 years alone, I have moved out to live on my own, I have moved in with my girlfriend, I have had 3 different apartments, 2 new jobs, I have relocated to a different (and much larger city), and I have dealt with a military relationship all the while packing things and getting ready to take my next big step which is my grand move to Germany (in February) where new adventures await me!


While I never like to admit it…I was pathetic when starting college. My last year of High School was awful, as I not only failed to have any sort of social life (every day I sat in my room and played Guild Wars when I was not working), but I also lost the only thing that made me feel even remotely human. After 5 years of a long-distance relationship, my (now) ex-fiancé left me because of something my Father did to split us up. It was a terrible time, and because I was so depressed, I slept all the time, ate things I shouldn’t have (when I forced myself to eat), gained a bunch of weight, and thus, failed to become a Marine (like I had been dreaming of doing). After that I went through failed relationship after failed relationship…and it wasn’t until what-would-have-been my two year ENGAGED anniversary came rolling around that I finally broke down and screamed at the universe, telling it to show me a sign that something cared about me and my well-being/happiness.
Two days later I met Taz <3333


The scary thing was that Taz was everything I said I did NOT want in a relationship. The experience with my ex had left me paranoid, scared to lose anything else precious to me, thus, I had set up really high standards.  My first standard was that I was not going to date anyone that was not currently enrolled in college.
Next, I was not going to date anyone long-distance, ESPECIALLY if that woman was living in another state. I swore up and down that I would NEVER date anyone that was military because one, that went against my distance rule, and secondly, it would most likely make me feel terrible about never joining (and it does…but I get over it). Lastly, I did NOT want to date anyone that was not a virgin like myself (seems rather silly now, but back then, it kinda made sense).


Taz broke all of those rules. She was older…she had, had some serious relationships before me. She had three years of college but stopped going and did not have a degree. She was signed up for the Airforce, and at her current location she was almost 3 hours away from me. But when Taz and I started talking…our first night on the phone/webcam lasted 8 whole hours. There was not a thing that we could not talk about, and the whole time I was looking at her on that screen, my heart was fluttering and that was the happiest I had felt in almost a WHOLE YEAR!!! That next night we were talking and we told each other our attraction for one another…and it was that small little confession that affirmed that we needed to meet ASAP. And we did…and it was amazing…and I had never cuddled anyone before…and we have been together almost 3 years since, and now I am an Army g/f (because she dropped out the AF), and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for us.


She was also the reason I moved out of my Mother’s house. I’m gay…my Mother knows this, but my step-dad did not because he is seriously homophobic. Well, Taz had been visiting me every other weekend at my Mother’s house, and we were trying to keep our little secret, knowing that if he found out about us being together, all hell would break loose. It was kinda fun doing all that sneaky love stuff behind his back…but, one day Taz came over, let herself in the house, caught me in my doorway and gave me a BIG kiss on the lips. Well, guess who just happened to be sitting there in the chair looking right at us? Dun-dun-dah!!!

Yeah…that sparked a fight between him and my Mother, and then my Mother gave me the ultimatum: Stop seeing Taz or move out.
I started packing my things right away.

and while most people might look down on my Mother’s actions, in the end, this ended up being a good thing. I could have easily stopped letting Taz come over and could have snuck over to her place on some weekends. That way I could have stayed within my comfort zone and would not have had to deal with any hardships that come with being an adult…but…I decided that my life needed to change. I needed to grow up and do something with my life. So I packed my things, moved into a one-bedroom with my BFF, Taz moved in a month later, and thus began my journey of being on my own. I loved it!!! Making my own rules, doing my own thing, buying the things I wanted, cooking the things I wanted it was fantastic!!!


Taz is also the reason I moved from my hometown (Terre Haute) to Indianapolis. She was missing her family and friends from school as she had given all of that up to come live with me in T.H. so she asked me very nicely what I thought about living in Indianapolis. As stated in another exercise, I hated the idea. The city was scary, and I had never left my hometown except to go see Taz in West Lafayette when she lived there. But all it took was one feud with my landlord, then a fight with my Father, then a look at my Father’s life…that’s all it took for me to realize that life was meant to be an adventure and a learning experience. But, if one wasn’t willing to take the risks, then you have just let your whole life pass you by and a million opportunities with it. Again, I started packing that next day.


Sorry this was so long.



 2. How did you feel as a leader?


…at times, things were hard. Learning to pay bills on time was terrible. Having to get a second job to afford that first apartment was a pain. BEING in that first apartment with no internet and no cable was a pain. There were fights between roommates, fights with landlords, shortage of money at times, things fell apart, got broken, and etc. I got into a car-crash in Indy (was hit by 2 semi-trucks), now I have the stress of getting things ready for Germany along with being a military g/f…but you know, in the end, I know it was all worth it because I feel accomplished.
My Father has never moved more than 20 miles from where he started his life. My Mother…has never moved more than 40-60 miles (if you take away her time in Tennessee). But here I am, living 60+ miles from where I started, with a good job, taking care of myself, and I’m soon to move to a whole other Country?! It’s crazy!!! But…it makes me proud of the decisions I have made and the lessons I have learned in order to get here.



3. How can you apply what you learned from that moment to future potential leadership moments that may arise?


—Like I have said before: because of the things I have done, and the things that I know now; I know to treat every moment like a learning experience and an adventure. I can fully admit and acknowledge that times will get hard, and there will be parts of my future that I do not like and just want to rush through because it will be hard and be a pain. But, I also know that through these rough times, I become a better and stronger person by getting through the darkness, by finding my light and learning from my mistakes.


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