Boy + Girl + Army + e-Harmony = Captain and Mrs. Butters! This is what we're up to. Observations, opinions, events, images, and more.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Apparently, the Army turns me into a toddler.

As always, I feel encouraged and honestly humbled by the responses to my angsty posts. Reading back over the last one, which was typed and published in an emotional hurry, I am struck by how whiny the last bit is. Looking at my words from a calmer place, I have realized that on some level, I’m expecting gentleness and sympathy—maybe even a touch of pity—from others because of my “situation.” I definitely haven’t been prepared for callous and/or uncaring responses I have received from time to time.

Those of you who pointed out that I have a right to my feelings, whatever they are, are absolutely correct. I’m going to keep that in mind going forward. What I don’t want to do is be a victim.

In general, I’ve noticed that the Army brings out my childish side. I guess that makes sense—in my adult life, I’ve never felt, or been, this powerless. As a military spouse I don’t get to decide where I live, how long I’m there, or (the real biggie) whether my husband is home with me or in a war zone. So yes, in some ways, I feel like a little kid whose life is being run by a parent, and I find myself coping by whining, But that’s not faiiiiir. Why me? Woe is me! Poor, poor me. Everybody, look at how much my life sucks compared to yours.

What I need to remember is that as an adult, I have access to healthier coping mechanisms. So somebody, please give me a metaphorical slap upside the head if you see me wallowing in an extended pity party. Save me from myself!

From now on, my goal is to acknowledge that yes, reality does suck more than usual. The extended absence of a spouse is a big deal, and it’s normal to be affected by that. I don’t have to pretend that everything is okay when it’s not. I may even set a timer when I’m feeling upset and give myself permission to rant, rave, cry, and otherwise fall apart until it goes off. But after the timer buzzes, I want to kick the victim mentality to the curb. I can still miss Spike and acknowledge that a major part of my life is out of whack without whining about it.

(That doesn’t mean I won’t be quieter, grouchier, or even more sarcastic than usual. I am a grown woman trying to be mentally and emotionally healthier, not a saint!)

As an old friend (with whom I need to reconnect…start working on that, minions! ;-) ) reminded me in her comment, I am still one fully-fledged person within a two-person team. There can still be growth and happiness and fulfillment and interest in my life, even during a deployment.

1 comment:

  1. I am so glad you're back to blogging. You really are good at it, and have the ability to reach a lot of people. You're very honest and relatable. And one thing I always appreciate about bloggers are those who are honest. I can't stand the prettied-up versions of this life, because those are just moments. The whole thing is actually pretty screwed up and it's up to us to find the "beauty in the breakdown." Your feelings are always valid, simply because they are yours and they are real at the moment. You do eventually have to pick yourself up, and it sounds like you have a good plan. If that timer works for you, do it. If a glass a wine a night (or an occasional bottle) fixes it temporarily, do that too. And even though it blows monkey balls you have to grow without your husband, I fully believe growth for one person of the team benefits everyone. You can only bring more to the table when you're back together with all the things you do for yourself while he's away.

    This life is not okay, and it's not okay anyone has to go through any of it. But we can make it alright, in between all the suffocating moments of when it simply isn't. I really think you can do this. P.S. USO volunteerism rocks. It changed my life.