Today is May 11, 2018. Today we celebrate Military Spouse Appreciation Day.
In the past 5 years as a military spouse, I have experienced an overwhelming amount of pressure to hold everything together. I have sacrificed, I have loved, I have failed, I have reinvented myself time and time again. I have given up lifelong dreams to make room for dreams that fit better with this lifestyle.
I have always been overly honest, so I am going to be vulnerable and vent a little bit in hopes that you can relate or understand this lifestyle. Because it is NOT rainbows and butterflies, but that doesn't mean it isn't important, or beautiful, or full of equally awesome experiences.
So here is why being a military spouse is tough:
Military wives get dragged ALL of the TIME. Criticized more often than not, to a point that they have to always be on the defense. What many don't understand is that as a military spouse -- you are the mistress and the Military is the WIFE. Whatever she says goes, and you must 'simply' work around her needs. As a bonafide planner, this drives me batshit crazy. I hate to feel like I am losing control of my own life, and I feel like this all of the time. For example, I booked a cruise 6 months in advance, paid a deposit and it turns out my husband will not be able to make it. ROOKIE MOVE ALEX (never plan trips or anything more than 2 days in advance).
We never go on 'just us' trips because we feel mass amounts of pressure and guilt to travel to see family in the very limited time he can take leave (raise your hand if you can relate). We miss you guys, we are lonely, we have been taken away from you to live in some remote small town that doesn't have a Trader Joe's. Yet, in my experience, it is rare that people come to visit us. The pressure is on us to assume all responsibility for keeping our family connections strong. And honestly, I can't keep up because my energy needs to be focused elsewhere. Beautiful family -- we want to see you, we miss you so much, but we also are living in a 24/7 - 365 stress hurricane, so we would also really really really enjoy visiting somewhere with no cell reception, where we can drink margaritas on the beach, and just decompress and reconnect with each other.
We live in a constant state of disconnection and reconnection. And SOS is it frustrating. We have to make friendships quickly, and we jump at any chance to feel some kind of connection with other women. These friendships end as quickly as they start and you are left to rebuild again, each time building your walls a little bit higher to protect yourself. NOBODY likes to be left. It's hard to find a best friend and have them leave (miss you Kelsey). Actually, scratch that IT IS HEARTBREAKING. The most common feedback I have heard from military spouses is that "It is very hard to make and maintain friendships." And I can attest. However, I have met some of the MOST INCREDIBLE PEOPLE through the military. People who have changed my life. And for that, it has been worth all of the other BS.
So yeah... it's not always rainbows and butterflies -- but complaints aside, being a military spouse has grown me into a STRONG ASS WOMAN and it gives me comfort to know that I am surrounded by so many other STRONG ASS WOMEN. I know now that love doesn't conquer all, relentlessness does. So keep pushing ladies, even when it feels impossible. I see you. I believe in you. I am right there with you.
We are survivors and we will keep on surviving.
So cheers to the women holding it down while the ones we love, do what they love.
We are powerful. We are flexible, independent, adaptable Queens.
And we deserve to be acknowledged too. I hope you are never afraid to celebrate yourself.
To the beautiful and fierce military wives I have had the opportunity to work with, this one is for you.