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

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I need an attitude adjustment.

I really didn't think anyone would read my blog after such a long silence. (Over months and months of feeling stuck in a so-so groundhog day, I really wasn't feeling much inspiration to write. Also, newsflash: apparently I'm a real Debbie Downer.) But there's nothing like that fun word--deployment--to make a stalled blogger start hitting the keyboard again. Those awful thoughts can only circle your mind for so long before you need to get them OUT, or else.

All of the comments on my last post didn't make be feel "better," exactly; I'm not sure "better" is in the offing for anyone preparing to send a spouse to a war zone. But they did make me feel less alone, which might be even more valuable.

I live on a military base. I'm very much an introvert so I don't have a wide social circle, but in my neighborhood and while volunteering at the USO I do meet lots of people with spouses who have/are deployed or will be deploying. With only a few exceptions, most people who hear that Spike is deploying stick solely to the positives. Like, It'll make your marriage stronger. You'll get to fall back in love all over again when he comes home. You'll have the opportunity to meet lots of amazing women who are also in your shoes and focus on sisterhood. You can write and paint more. Etc. I know all those things are true, and I know that the people saying them are offering me good advice and a perspective that I sorely need to adopt. But at this moment, it's not working.

The thing is, right now, all of those comments make me want to grind my teeth together and perhaps commit an act of violence. Not to the person encouraging me; just in general. After all, I don't want to have to fall back in love again. I didn't get married to focus on sisterhood or to write and paint; I got married to be with the man I love! I have to stop and remind myself that the following is true, as infuriating as it might be to hear: "You married him. You knew this was a possibility when you said 'I do.' And even now, in this situation, you still wouldn't think of doing anything different for even a nanosecond."

But what I remember reading somewhere once is also true: If you see a baseball flying toward your face, it doesn't hurt any less on impact just because you saw it coming. 

Anyway, I'm rambling away from my point. Here it is: It really, really, helped to read, "Deployments suck." Having that acknowledgement from others who have been there is really what I need to hear right now. And also, it's easier for me to believe encouragement from someone once she--or he--has uttered that simple statement. Hearing it from a couple good friends here on base has also helped immensely because I know I'm not the only one who doesn't always have the stomach to put a positive face things. Because of what everyone, here and online, has shared, I'm going to believe that once the goodbyes are said I'll feel more like focusing on all of the silver linings.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The "D" Word

I knew the "d" word would apply to us eventually. I guess I always assumed we'd have more warning, though. Right on the heels of Spike's 13-month rear-detachment command (during which he was at the office 60-80 hours a week, called in at nights and on weekends, unable to leave the immediate area, and only able to take 5 days of leave--can you tell I'm frustrated?) he will be transferred to a unit that is deploying. At this point we are told it will be for a year, not for 9 months. We found out two weeks ago, and we're looking at a departure within the next month to month and a half.

I'm sure everyone with a soon-to-deploy spouse is angry at something. My "something" is the fact that I practically lived with a ghost for the past year, and now my husband will be gone altogether. However irrationally, I feel that the Army asked us to put our personal plans on hold last year , and now we have to defer all of that--travel, weekend adventures, visits to see family, and heck, dinner without being interrupted by a work call--yet another year. It's like I'm watching the grains of sand in our pre-child, just-us hourglass trickle away unused. I'm tired of my husband being told that I, his wife, am not allowed to be his priority.

I know, I know, I'm hardly the only one who has experienced this sort of thing. But it's much easier to be angry than to let myself feel all of the other emotions. Shock, terror, worry, anxiety, and even anticipatory grief. If I let myself explore beyond the anger I just break down. The intensity of it scares me. I start to cry, and literally feel like my world is crumbling around the edges. I wonder how I will manage to exist for that long without Spike here. I feel as though the lights in my world are about to be turned off indefinitely. Thinking about spending more time with friends, going home to see my family, and picking up new hobbies doesn't help; not really.

That's when I realize how fortunate I was to have Spike here with me last year, no matter how hard he had to work, how tired he was when he came home, or how little freedom we had. At least I could touch him every day, kiss him at night, and know that the person whom I love most in the world was here and loved me back the same way. When I think about him leaving, I realize just how much I need him to feel whole and happy.

It really amazes me that millions of men and women have gone through this same tsunami of emotions during this decade-plus of war. I know that a majority of them had to feel the same way I do, but in most cases, you'd never know it. We're so good at putting on the "It will be hard, but I'll be all right, so don't worry about me" face. I'm already doing it myself. We don't let many people see that while we're continuing on with daily life and doing what needs to be done, there's a part of us that feels like it's hurtling toward a breakdown.

Logically, I know that I can "do this." We can "do this." Spike and I grew closer and fell more deeply in love during this challenging rear detachment command, so I know we will survive a deployment. But it's still scary as hell.