Monday, July 25, 2011

Not Me Enough For You....

(guess I couldn't stay away. Still not certain that this serves any purpose, but here we go one more time...)

I've regularly harped on how frustrating it is to be the fiance of a Reserve soldier. How you face unique challenges, lack support in many areas where Active military receive it, and yet often feel shunned by Active families for whatever crazy reasons. Out in the random blog-o-sphere I heard someone describe it wonderfully. "When my soldier is activated, we're still not "Active Duty" enough for the Active Duty families."

It was like reading my own thoughts! But, extend them.  See, I'm not married, so I'm loyal enough for wives. I don't run the household yet, so I'm not worried about bills, etc. enough for wives. Of course, despite two year-long tours in three years, his deployment wasn't deployed enough for many. I'm not spouse enough for spouses, and we're not active enough for active duty. And yet, I also live in the civilian world, where I'm definitely not civilian enough for civilians. And yet in those discussions, with the non-wife, non-Active Duty thing, I'm not really military enough for civilians either.

And THAT pointed me to my real issue. I don't fit in a box. I don't want to fit in a box! I don't define myself by my spouseness. Or his soldierness. Or my civilianness. Or any of those little things that people do. I know a lot of people want to define themselves that way. "Proud Army Wife" or "Proud Wife of COL so-and-so" or "I'm a doctor" or whatever. It's like we say our name, and THEN we define ourselves. I realized, I'm not happy defining myself as "Proud Army Fiance" or as "Programs Coordinator" or even as "Queen of Everything". Those are parts of me. Yes, I'm incredibly proud of my soldier, and that is a big part of life, and even a part of me, but it doesn't MAKE me. It doesn't define me.

Maybe some people will get angry, because maybe they like to define themselves that way. Or maybe they'll tell me that I don't define myself this way because he's a Reservist, so he's a "part-time soldier" as I've heard. Or maybe they'll say I don't define myself this way because I'm not married yet, so somehow I don't understand the pain, or the household management, or the whatever. But I think I do it because definitions are ugly. They draw these little lines around and between us. They put chains around us and around others. Because if I am "Proud Army Fiance", and that's how I define myself, then how do you ever talk to me about all the other things I do? How do you relate to me on any other level? And if I am "Programs Coordinator", how do you understand that other layer, that constant change and shift in my personal life, depending on whether he's deployed, reintegrating, or has been home for two years?

These boxes make some people comfortable. Content. Safe.  But they make some of us afraid. Under attack even. And when you think about it, it's not that I'm not Active Duty enough. I'm just not Active Duty enough for you. And it's not that I'm not civilian enough. It's that I'm not civilian enough for you.

We've got to rip these boxes open. Maybe just one side at a time. You can have your three walls, sure. But leave one open! Take down just one side of that Active Duty wall, so a Reservist can waltz in. And look for the commonalities. The stresses you both face, that you both understand. The stresses that you don't understand. But empathize with them. Don't fight with them. The only thing our boxes have taught us is to fight over whose box is heavier, whose is more constricting, whose walls are harder. Status. Rank. Branch. Deployment status.    ...who cares?

Get out of your box! Don't define yourself. The less you define yourself on these mundane, arbitrary things, the less someone else can use them to define you. The less someone else can use them to intentionally or not, hurt you.  So no, I won't define myself as 'Proud Army Fiance', or 'Programs Coordinator', or 'Reserve', or whatever. I'll define myself as me. And if me isn't me enough for you, well, I don't care. It's me enough for me.

Friday, July 8, 2011


This might be goodbye guys. I just don't know what to write lately, and I don't know that anyone likes what they're reading. And if this is just for me, maybe I should just be journaling anyway.  So I'm not certain you'll hear from me again...

Friday, July 1, 2011

Finding The Words....

I wish I had the words for you. I wish I could write some amazing, life-changing post that you would just have to read, just have to share. But I can't. I'm not amazing or life-changing. I mean, let's face it, I am pretty awesome. Or at least I tell myself that on my better days. But, like I've said. I'm just a twenty-something, going through my misadventures. I'm pretty normal, pretty every day. And maybe that's why you read. Because you see a little bit of yourself in whatever it is you see of me.

I've seen so many other things today that got the wheels turning. The mental wheels. DC traffic is redic the last few days... the car wheels, well, they aren't turning much at all.

How deployments don't get easier as you go through each one. If anything, they get harder. And why, well, there are so many reasons. How being the bigger person isn't satisfying. No, it's not. Sometimes, it isn't even satisfying in the long run.

And, I wanted to pick a subject, put my spin on it, and make something amazing. Or at least have a good post for you, because they aren't great lately (if you ask me). But here's the thing: my life isn't great lately. Not in a "Oh, I'm so sad, life's terrible" type way. Just in a crazy, hectic, a million balls in the air, and a million places for me to exert my energy way.

Ok, a wedding. I'm getting married September 18. When I decided that, we had just under 4 months until the wedding date. We're currently 79 days away. Decisions involving the future mother-in-law are a straight battle. The entire way. I mean knock-down, drag-out fight type battles where I actually was informed that my opinion (as the bride, about my wedding) didn't matter.  (Here, I'm proud to tell you taht I gave up on being the bigger person, and while still stressful, it was WAY more satisfying. Don't worry, I did it with a modicum of tact.)   With my own mother, well, let's just say making decisions is not a strong area for the women in my family. Even a basic decision, easy for me, has to be questioned and debated from my mom. So after 3 hours, we're finally OK with a decision it took me five minutes to make. And in general, my fiance lacks an opinion, which I suppose is normal.  Yup, it's exhausting.

And oh, right, we're still going through reintegration. The stupid stuff that sets off his temper is somewhat unbelievable and definitely frustrating. And I've reached a point where it's harder to just smile and be the bigger person and deal with it. I mean, we are, but I've become more likely to just argue back, which is actually just as exhausting as dealing with it in a calm manner. It's irritating, but letting them come home isn't much easier than letting them leave.

There's other frustrations, but I'm not here to completely air my dirty laundry. Some days I don't know why I'm here, what I want to tell you, why I decided to blog, or why I keep blogging. I guess I'm just trying to find the right words. To find my words again. And to hopefully find one word out of ten that you can relate to. That will give you a reason to come back.  Because I know I'm not alone. Everyone has 8 million little things that pile up and make you scream.

So, I'm going to relax this weekend (or at least tell myself I will). I'm going to enjoy having my mom in town, work on wedding invitations, enjoy some wine, or maybe a homemade mojito, and I'm going to just enjoy my favorite holiday. And I'm going to think about you. Whether you're deployed, a fellow spouse, a fellow twenty-something, a mom with three youngsters, a brand-new mom, a fellow wedding-planning fiancee, I've got a list of you, I've got you in mind. And I'm hoping those 8 million things shove into the far, deep back of your mind for you and you enjoy your weekend too.