Once a Marine, Always a Marine

Most people are curious about the sobriquet Littlefoot. There is a story, as with all nicknames. The short of it is, I got it in the military from one of my supervisors. But that leaves the important question unanswered. Why did he decide to call me Littlefoot? First things first, who is Littlefoot? Littlefoot is a character from Land Before Time, an animated adventure film from the late 1980s. If you were a kid during that time you saw the movie either in theater or on video. If you don’t know what a video is I direct you to our friend Google for information. Anyhoo, Littlefoot is a young Apatosaurus or long neck. As a young dinosaur he is very small compared to the size he will grow to as an adult. Take a look at him and his buddies.

Littlefoot & Friends from The Land Before Time

I got the name of Littlefoot because my boss, Pat took one look at my combat boots and laughed his head off. He wondered if I had to have them ordered specially for me because he “had never seen boots so small.” One of the sergeants conducting room inspections asked if he could have a pair of my boots. When I asked why, he said “to hang over my [his] rearview mirror.” I didn’t immediately get what he was alluding to. When I did I kicked him out of my room and told him inspection was over for the day. This was in 2006. I hadn’t been at that company very long when Pat had everyone, including the sergeant who wanted a decoration for his rearview mirror, calling me Littlefoot. Every time we walked around the compound for meetings or inspections my diminished stature and my puny feet came up.

Me and one of the smaller Marines (He’s 5’4″ ~ 163cm) . Look at our boots.

After a while I grew to like this particular sobriquet amongst the many I have been called over the years. So much so that when I left the Marines I got a tattoo on my right foot of Littlefoot chilling on a swing.

Littlefoot on the swing also has a more subtle message beyond a cute dino on my small (relatively) foot. It’s reminder to slow down and take things more easily. A reminder that my life is my own, not governed by strict rules and regulations any longer. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my time in the military. I did things I would probably not done on my own (jump off a platform into the deep end of a pool, rappel off a tower, hump with a pack more than half my body weight) and met some awesome people who have become an extended family for me. They’ve seen me at my worse and my best and accept me just as I am. I’ve also met some not so awesome people who tested my patience and my fortitude and showed me I was made of better and sterner stuff that I knew. I opened my heart and fell in like and in love again and had my heart broken (again). I became the best version of myself going through the fire of Marine Corps training and time in the Fleet Marine Forces (FMF). However, there came a time when I felt stifled and hemmed in by the way leadership and knowledge was compartmentalized. There came a time when putting on my uniform and boots were no longer fun. I did not walk into my workplace reeking of motivation, the way some people emanated coffee any longer. At that point I knew it was time to leave and pursue something else. Something that I would be happy to wake up to in the morning, something that would feed my yen for travel and nourish my soul. I am on the journey to discover just what that new thing is and what my life’s path will look like. It’s taking longer than I anticipated. I thought I would have it all sorted out by now ( a scant 10 months after leaving active service) but I am still delving into what interests and excites me. I’m still looking for something that will challenge me mentally and provide a dose of adventure for my continued restlessness.

I hope you stay and follow me on my journey.

See the next post for photos from my stint as one of the even Fewer and Prouder, women Marines.

Have you ever lost the joy from your work and left to go in a new direction? Did you find it scary or exhilarating? Did you hit the ground running or dithered for a while figuring the path to take?

Lady Littlefoot

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