I sit sometimes and I think. I think about lots of things. What color is my mood ring gonna be today?...... What am I going to do to make myself laugh instead of cry today?........ Wonder what he is doing?....... Can I really do the things everyone says I can?...... Why do people think I'm superwoman when I am really not?...... What I feel like I have it together today and tomorrow when I get up coffee may make me completely lose it?... Yeah my mind never stops. I am a mom, a Navy wife, a nurse, a student, daughter, and sister. I don't know how to shut my mind off. Most days I try spending my day trying to fill it with positive thoughts. Rainbows and butterflies and all that good stuff. And I put on a good face most days, I laugh and cut up with friends and family. I smile and say everything is going to be ok, because as a wife that is what I do. As a military wife that is what I have no choice but to do. Yet when everyone leaves and I turn the lights off my mind becomes my enemy once again. I have had a feeling that not many understand. After all military members make up approximately 1% of the population and of that not all of the 1% have spouses or significant others. But those that are significant others know the feeling well. My mother described exactly how she felt as a spouse and daughter of the military and oddly enough it is exactly how I have felt these last months. It's called a black hole. Webster defines a black hole as this: a celestial object that has a gravitational field so strong that light cannot escape it and it is believed to be created especially in the collapse of a very massive star. Now I know in theory how I feel is not EXACTLY the same. However, my husband is the massive star in my life, aside from my children, and not having here makes me feel as if the world collapsed leaving no light or emotion left to escape from my body. I feel cold and alone most nights and even on my best of days the hard reality of walking up the stairs to the bedroom to see the bed half made and his pillow on my side is rather daunting. The strongest I can be evades me at bedtime. I spend most of my day avoiding my room.
I have spent most of my almost 31 years doing things alone even when I have had someone in my life. I have worked since I was 16. I had my first child at 18 and did most of the raising of her on my own. ( Yes her father helped some and still does but things happen and life doesn't go according to plan. And at 20 I was a single mom ) I lived through a hell of a marriage hiding to most everyone that knew me how horrible it really was. I survived divorce and raising two children on my own. Through all of what hard times I fell on, I still at least felt alive and had feeling regardless of what they may be ( sadness, anger, joy, etc. ), I had feelings. Now my world, even though it is still fully functional and running, is empty. Not permanently but still for now empty. The emotions I want to have are not there. I want to FEEL but my reason for feeling is fighting a war no one can win. No one ever WINS a war they just get through it. He does his job and does it well and for that I am VERY proud of him, but knowing how much he would rather be here only adds to my emptiness.
I know in my heart the feeling will go away. All I need are those strong arms to hold me again and my world will be once again back to normal. The thing is I have tried for months to figure out what was wrong with me. I am not the first nor the last to be a deployed service members spouse. So why is it so much easier for them. How can they be put all together and I fall apart at the seams. Well my friends I will tell you. You see what no one tells you is the magic of the ID card. Yes that is what I said ID card. This card gives you the power to be the master of illusions. What we do as spouses is become great illusionists. We show the public what they want to see. A proud spouse manning the home front with ease and make juggling 30 things look effortless. We do what has to be done and at the end of the day we get lost in ourselves. We have our 0200 crys ( not of course for anyone else to see because tears are NOT military issue ) we hug our pillows as we drift off to sleep and meet our spouse in the dreamland that exists during deployments. We take our superwoman hat off but only for those brief moments we ALLOW ourselves the luxury. Then the hat goes right back on and we show the world what it wants to see again. It is not a perfect system. We should not have be the one who bears the world on their shoulders, but we do because our spouses bear the world on theirs and marriage means bearing the load together. So we do what every good military wife does we suck it up and go on.
What I learned from this little awe inspiring moment is this: while what we do is support our husbands what we do is survive. We live the lives we want to live. We may have our black hole moments but eventually they pass. I may not be out of mine yet but I am working on it. The other thing I learned is we as spouses generally expect too much from ourselves. While I would LOVE to think I am more than capable of handling the things that go wrong without being phased by it, that is a gross misrepresentation of the facts. We expect that everything we do while our spouse are away must be perfect because they are giving it their all. Reality though is we are human ( shocking right? yeah I was kinda blown away too ) and as humans we are ENTITLED to NOT be perfect. A wise saying once was said. " To err is human, To forgive divine." The thing with this saying , and I am taking it out of context so bear with me, is this we are human and we will make mistakes but to forgive ourselves of these transgressions is heavenly. If WE can't forgive ourselves how can anyone else? Aren't we entitled to the same things the other 99% of the country is? The answer to both questions is yes. We do deserve it if we ALLOW ourselves to. All we need is more people to encourage each other to believe this.
I am not saying the nights are not still going to be lonely. They will be. Its not going to make everything ok but what it will do is take part of the load off our shoulders. We don't have to do everything ourselves. It is OK to ask for help sometimes. It is OK to have a cry because your lonely or EVERYTHING has went wrong today. Its OK that you feel like you will never feel the same way again. The key is knowing its ok to feel that way and then figure out how you want to take that energy and use it. Clean, start a hobby, walk, go be a crutch for another spouse, start a support group, or just get out a get some sunshine on your face. The energy used to degrade yourself is better put to use in finding a positive spin on the situation. Your life is what you make it. I have been told that so many times but it never rang true until now. If you sit and keep to yourself it will not get any better. Ask any spouse of at least a number of years. There are essential items that are needed for deployment, some they tell you and some they dont. Of course you need all the paperwork and numbers and lists. You also need at least 2 REALLY good friends that live near by. Did you count your shoulders? You have 2 thus why you need 2 good friends ( I call mine my chosen sisters ). You need them to be there D day, and for day 47 when everything hits you at once, and T minus 4-0 days when you can't keep yourself together long enough to remember your name much less the kids, camera, phone and car/house keys. You need a 15 minute block everyday to have YOU time. Meditate, sit and stare at the TV, Listen to music, or cry for 15 minutes everyday. Otherwise you lose yourself. Too many wives ( myself included ) put too much on what they feel like has to be done. The perfect everything. Perfect exists in 2 places : Heaven and Hollywood. Otherwise everything does NOT have to be perfect.
It may not happen overnight but if we take time and make ourselves a little imperfect maybe we can make our lives a little easier.Because in the end when the horrible time known as deployment is over there are two things that matter 1. He came home to you. and 2. He came home to you. Ask any service member and they will tell you it's not what you wear, or how things went while they were away, or what you will have to eat when you get home. ALL that matters is HE came home and YOU are who he came home to. The person you said your vows to only wants you at the end of a pier or on a bleacher or in an airport. So that all they went through gets left there and the world is right again for both of you. We may not be perfect and neither may your spouse but when all is right with your world its pretty dang close.