First, let me start by saying I’ve had a couple sips of Red Bull and just completed a full blown choreographed dance to Debbie (or is it Deborah now?) Gibson’s OUT OF THE BLUE .
For my puppy.
Who showed ZERO interest for my jazz hands as she sniffed her butt. I know. I’m shaking my own head.
So then, shall we, dive right in to chat/read about my first year having moved or as we say in Army talk, PCS (Permanent Change of Station).
1. I worried I wouldn’t fit it in.
This is my second marriage. I lived a civilian life for (cough cough, long time) years. Worked full time with the same company for over 20 years. My only experience with the military world was having clients in that field for my restaurant job. That could be maybe a handful of hours a month. I didn’t know jackpoop about etiquettes/do’ & don’ts coming into the Army culture. Prince Charming’s mouth hid a laugh when I clarified that I was NOT to salute someone too, right?. For fudge sake, how will I relate to other spouses? Not knowing what to expect was a little unsteady for my emotional well being during the biggest move of my adult life and so I didn’t feel like I knew my place. I was leaving everything I knew. I struggled with that feeling of being…without.
2. Social Media
I made Facebook my “I’ll check first” friend.
You know that friend you send in the shark infested waters to see if it’s really safe to swim. Not finding everything I wanted on google…like the real real stuff, I stumbled on Facebook pages for spouses for our particular duty station that opened a door of not feeling in the dark. Truly another world indeed is the virtual land. I started participating more in posts, and eventually became an admin for our neighborhood Facebook page. These new “communities” of people in the same place, sharing a particular interest, or Q&A of our new stomping grounds, all helped me NOT feel…without.
I’ve had in my life many circles of friends. Work friends from this job, or school friends, shared interest friends, soccer mom friends. I was not ever part of this club. My funny little brain did a happy dance when I made my first “I’m a military spouse and your a military spouse” friend. I could slide that membership card next to the others I had collected in my life. This gave me a sense of comfort.
I had forged a bond with someone other than Prince Charming, the only adult who physically had my back, here in a new land of strangers. And, sometimes you just need that one friend to help you again, NOT feel…without.
Another spouse/friend (yes, I was so very lucky to have made a second really amazing great friend) and I, over coffee somehow got me interested with helping her teach as a volunteer English Second Language (ESL) Instructor at the Army Community Center (ACS). Of course, my anxiety kicked in, because I would totally lose in the first round at “Are you smarter than a 5th grader”. So, how could I possibly help teach the English Language (eyes wide open).
Carpe diem, I thought and dove in.
The opportunities on post to participate in some way are plentiful for the interested. There are so many reasons people volunteer. Our little class helped me fulfill a sense of purpose and NOT feel…without.
Trying to imagine what it would/will be like to not have my husband in the home daily. The person who waits on the outside of the ring for me to tap out when I need a second from the ass kicking of daily life.
Every morning this mother herding her children to the bus stop stood out to me. She seemed in such a constant state of anger or frustration. I kept wondering what her deal was as she was such a downer for my wife/mom/life coffee buzz. So, months later, a community on post Facebook page showed a homecoming and pictures were shared of her and her kids holding on tight to their solider who had come home after a long deployment. I hadn’t seen her smile like that before and suddenly I fell into deeper understanding and a different perspective of this new world I’m in.
I had new eyes of appreciation for my husband that night when I realized I did NOT have to feel…without.
6. I do fit in.
I recently read a blog post that helped me reconcile my thinking and uncertainty of not knowing if I could really call myself a military spouse. Out loud. To another Military Spouse.
I believe I had put military families and spouses in a category of being so foreign to what I knew, that I felt pressure to not be awkward and weird. Seriously, you would think I was traveling to Mars and living amongst Alien Greys (wayyyy too much X-files on Netflix).
Most of them, struggle just like me everyday with Common Core Homework (don’t get me started), too much laundry, grocery budgeting, whatever sport is filling the calendar for the month or husband buffoonery. There is always husband buffoonery. (hehehe, I just wanted to use that word twice).
I’m still learning everyday how to live this Army life but I know now I totally FIT in.