Wednesday, May 18, 2005

"Feeling military"

Honestly, I really don’t know the military lifestyle that well. I have attended maybe three Hail and Farewells, one military ball, and a few other get-togethers. And I have always been there just as an extension of my boyfriend. I have never gone to anything without him.

However, since he has deployed, I really “feel military.”

When people who aren’t in the military ask how I am holding up, and is the deployment hard, I want to answer: yes, it is hard. It’s hard to try and live for today, when your thoughts are constantly on a time in the future, like R&R and the end of the deployment. And then a looming cloud that you avoid: future deployments. Right now, the focus is just this deployment. And all the great and exciting things you are going to do when he comes back. But what about today? What about my life in the here and now? That is truly a daily battle for me.

It’s hard not to worry about his safety. Coupling last month’s deadly crash and the fact that he is flying almost daily, in not the best of conditions…well, that makes for a deadly cocktail of worry and uncertainty.

But I don’t always tell people that. I feel a need to project a positive image.

Last night I phoned with a friend in the States, with whom I hadn’t talked in a while. She asked how my boyfriend was doing. And then I mentioned the crash. And my voice started to change a little, like it does before I start to cry. And I tried to ignore it. And I tried to pretend it wasn’t there. And I hoped she didn’t hear it. I didn’t want her to feel sorry for me. I don’t want to be seen as weak, and I don’t want to be seen as a victim. Just as my boyfriend made a choice to join the military, I made a choice to be with him. So, even though I wanted to tell her how it feels, I sometimes hold myself back, because I don’t want pity.

And I don’t want anyone to say that my boyfriend is just a pawn on the playing field in someone else’s game. And that I am a pawn by extension, too. He made the choice to be a soldier, knowing full well what his responsibilities were. When I met my boyfriend, I knew he was a soldier, and respected him making such a career choice. And I made a conscious decision to be with him. I didn’t know what my future had in store, (and I still don’t). But I knew that I wanted to be with him, not in spite of him being a soldier, but partly because he was one, too.

Update: I just had to link to Sarah's post today, about the perspective military life gives you. (And I am soooo glad she's back. I missed her grokking.)


Blogger HookersGirl said...

Hey Girl,
sshhhhh, I really feel exactly the same. I just could copy the text and paste it in again. The same feeling about not to show how weak I feel sometimes and not telling friends how I really handle that whole year of separation. I knew about the deployment when I married my husband but I wanted to be with him so I need to be strong for both of us.
Cheer up! We will have fun this weekend! ;-) *Hugs*

8:05 PM  
Blogger Ramy said...

I'm not even dating a military man (well, not anymore) but I still "feel military" every single day. My dad served 2 tours in Vietnam, my twin brother is finishing up his ROTC program, and I have a slew of other Army relatives. I know the deployment must be painstakingly difficult, which is why I wonder sometimes what I'm thinking - because I really want to marry a military man! Like you said, his choice to join is part of what you like about him... I feel the same way. And definitely be proud of being a republican!

12:41 AM  
Blogger Sue said...

I know what you mean. A year ago, I barely knew the difference between military issues, and now I feel like my life is consumed. I watch my words carefully and feel always ready to defend and support my guy and the war in general. I seem to find it difficult to talk to people who 'don't understand' and that's why I've turned to blogging so much. Not many people in my situation up here in the Great White North.

2:08 AM  
Blogger Tink said...

I'm in the states, so I'm fortunate enough to be around those "who understand" It's a rural area, so we are very spread out, but we make it a point to get together on weekends so we can talk, laugh, cry and deal with as much as possible with humor.

I think there are many of us in the same boat, quiet with our emotions to those who aren't, or haven't been there.

I unload on my blog, but I also keep my blog pretty much under my hat.

I'm proud of my husband, of who he is and what he has accomplished. I know that what I deal with on a daily basis is nothing compared with what they have dealt with. We aren't victims, we all live with the choices we've made.

But I have to tell ya, sometimes it's hard, even sitting safely in my home, it's hard.

4:35 AM  
Blogger Household6 said...

I've been a military wife for almost ten years now (if you count dating as well). My friends asked me for the first few years how I could move so much. Although I miss home (The Bay Area of CA), I like moving around.

I would have never met the people I meet nor would I have learned to be so independent. In a tour grou but without the spouse, I've traveled to Malta, Morrocco, The Amalfi Coast of Italy and will be heading to Egypt this Nov.

And your are so right on with the knowing what I got myself into. I am proud of what he does and although I will blend in because I know I should when asked about it I am happy to talk about military life and being a military wife.

7:45 AM  
Blogger Teresa said...

Okay, I am not a military wife... my son being deployed doesn't count in this way because at his age - I would be far more worried if he wanted to hang around with me! *grin*

As for the separation - the one thing about the military is that you expect it. If you are a smart and committed couple - you plan for it and work even harder at your relationship. It doesn't make being apart easier... but does give you an edge that a non-military family might not have.

In the civilian world, there are families where the husband or wife is off and away working elsewhere - this is just as difficult for all the same reasons - but may not be expected or planned for quite as well. Plus, the spouse left at home doesn't have the support of a community of others in the same position. (this applies equally to those who aren't married)

Being apart - no matter the reason - is always tough. It takes both people to work at keeping things together until you can see each other again. It can make for a better relationship... because you DO work at it rather than letting things go. I've always thought it was best to look for the good things that can come about from separations and make it work in my favor. :-)

10:31 PM  

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