This came from a prompt I got a few years ago about writing your autobiography for the road not taken. Here is my offering.
People always ask me “Weren’t you afraid?” before they even get past the introductions.
I just smile and tell them, “Only when I had the time.” The fact is, except for the day before I began my training, I have had no fear with what I do. I learned believe that the training would save my life, and it has.
The next thing they say, if they knew of me from years ago, is, “I knew you could do it.”
“Yeah right,” I think to myself and want to roll my eyes at them. The Public Affairs people would string me up if I wasn’t nice to “the Public”. So again, I smile and thank them. I’ve gotten quite good at that.
Some people call me a hero but really I was just doing my job with the rest of my team. We did what we were assigned to do. We had some problems that were almost too much to deal with but we did it and got the job done.
There were costs and sometimes when I’m all alone I wonder if it too high. We lost two team members during our assignment and unlike the movies when of the valiant team members die, its hard to move on but you have to for the sake of the mission.
It hasn’t been an easy road. I’ve worked hard to get where I am. I’ve made sacrifices. No family of my own. I don’t want to leave anyone behind and I’ve chosen to be okay with that. I love what I do and I want to do this until they kick me out or I die.
Don’t feel bad for me that I don’t have someone to go home to every night because my team is my family. I once had the “picket fenced” dreams but my life is amazing. I don’t need anything else.
I’ve been doing this for so long I don’t know any other life. I gave up my senior year of High School to start this journey. I’ve suffered broken bones, more sprains than I could ever count and even a broken heart. All of it in the name of serving my country.
For the past sixteen years of my life, I’ve been “property” of the US Government. I’m not going get rich but I know I’ve done has made an impact on the world.
I’m Karen, the girl who dared to dream and grab onto the stars with both hands. I am an astronaut.