You carry a card in your wallet that lets you know that’s what you are. It’s on every form you fill out. You could hardly forget.
You aren’t a dependent though. You are so much more. Or you were at least. You remember back to the times you knew who you were. When you made the decisions about where you would live, and how you would live your life. Then one day, you gave it all away for love. You joined a new community, the at times notorious, military spouse community. That community comes with it certain perceptions and expectations. Now you don’t just represent yourself, you represent your spouse, and you represent the larger military family & community.
What about you?
Where do you fall in the midst of obligations and day-to-day necessities?
Between deployments, trainings, moves, new jobs, lost jobs, family emergencies, and everything the deployment curse can throw at you it’s hard to figure out where you belong any more. It’s even more difficult when you find yourself among your peers feeling like the odd man out.
Not all of us have “Live, Laugh, Love” scrawled on our walls.
Not all of us live for and through our kids.
Not all of us love this life.
How do you reclaim who you are when you don’t even know any more yourself?
Maybe all you know is that you feel like you don’t belong. That you wish your life was anyway else, that maybe just once, you could decide where you got to live, or maybe just plan a vacation ahead of time. It’s not all that much to ask, is it?
We all struggle with these feelings from time to time. I’ve struggled with it for years. It was fine at first, I was part of some exclusive group: milspouses. We were special, we were sisters. Slowly, that sisterhood vanished. Over time friends faded away, great divides formed, and I realized more and more I had less and less in common with these people. It came as a shock, though now I’m not sure why, that I once thought I belonged; only to find the group have never really accepted me. It was quite devastating actually, as it is when you find a friend suddenly isn’t who you thought they were. At least with my civilian friends that slipped away slowly over time. It was less painful, and even when I did see them we could almost pretend nothing had changed. Everything was how it used to be.
I struggled for a long time. I thought that maybe it was a sign that I didn’t belong in this community. There was no place for me here and I shouldn’t even bother. Who needs friends right? I have my family, that’s all I will ever need. Thing is, living overseas in a country whose language you barely speak, you have little choice. No matter how I pushed it away, I couldn’t escape the undeniable fact: I am a military spouse.
Maybe I could be more like them. The perfect milspouses who love this life, so they claim at least, with spotless houses, kids, and happy husbands who live and breathe the military.
No that is not me. None of that is me. I thought back to when I felt like me. I never had this issue in school, I was just me. I knew me and was her. Nothing else, no worries about social groups or fitting in. I didn’t do anything special. I had friends because they were like me, and liked me for me.
That’s what it’s all about.
You being you.
Not some phantom idea of who you are, who you should be and how you can fit in. I’m not going to give you cheesy words of wisdom, only share my story. It’s okay to feel like you don’t fit in. You don’t have to. You don’t have to subscribe to some sort of set of rules to live your life as a military spouse. Maybe that means you won’t fit in. Maybe that means not everyone will like you.
It might be scarey, it might take strength. That’s okay though, because you do that every day. You’re good at that. At the end of the day, it doesn’t involve them anyway. Let them think what they want, let them talk all they want. In the end, through it all, you find yourself.