At least once a week, I’m told about what a severe injustice it is that my husband is deployed. As an overwhelming majority, folks can’t fathom how it is to be in my shoes. In the literal sense, they’re small and unsupportive, and in the figurative way, it’s unbearable, apparently. And acquaintances would like to let me know that as much as possible. It’s not a statement I fault them for; I do it too.
Drawing personal experiences is how humans relate. And when there’s no memory to be found, we say things like, “I can’t imagine,” “I have no idea what you’re going through,” and “What is that even like?” A tactic I always pull with 9-to-5ers or anyone who has 20/20 vision.
But here’s the thing: we don’t come pre-equipped in life. We learn once things happen. You swim by being in water. You get better at sports by actually playing the sport. The people who study maneuvers aren’t the best athletes, they’re the best offensive coordinators – a task they are learning by actually doing.
And it’s ok that you “don’t know how it is,” I’m glad that you don’t. There are things I’m glad I haven’t dealt with, too. But the point isn’t exactly what’s happened, it’s how you deal once it does.
Then again, a girl can only be asked something so many times before she blogs about it. Deployment is currently my most F FAQ.
- How is Bo doing? Do I mind when you ask how he is doing? No, of course not. But I also don’t have much info; the army is tricky like that. And he is tired, how he is doing is tired.
- How am I doing? Depends on the day. In general, I average from being one to ten red lights away from a meltdown. Some days feel mostly normal, like it would take multiple ill-timed traffic lights to set me off, others and I’ll cry if it’s the wrong shade of green. It’s an absolute gamble, and that’s a reality I’m still getting used to.
- “No way I’d want that.” Believe it or not, deployment wasn’t a life goal of mine. I never wanted to see what it was like to be away from my spouse for months at a time; I didn’t’ set up experiments to test personal boundaries. I chose him; not having him here is just a bad side effect.
- What’s a “good day” look like? Describe good, actually describe day. Does being distracted count? How about keeping a routine?
- What’s the “worst” part? You mean aside from being thousands of miles away from one another and constant dangers? Umm, let me think. Maybe if you catch me over a glass of crying juice wine I can decide. Be sure to ask about my miscarriage and how the USPS permanently lost my engagement ring. Those are tour highlights.
- How do I do it? How does anyone do anything? Things happen and you either follow life’s direction sheet or you write your own. All you can do is hope for a good day. And when, instead, you spill water and are wearing wet jeans before a tear-filled pap smear, you go home and put on different patterns of stripes. Because if you can’t beat ’em, wear comfortable (and dry) pants until it’s over.
- Then the next day you order the largest of Starbucks drinks and make a new friend. There’s back and forth – the back just seems to hurt more when there’s stress behind it.
- Is there anything you can do? Like in general? There’s probably lots of things you can do. I mean, IDK your life, but you have to have some hobbies or specific talents, right? If you’re meaning for me, specifically, no. Please behave normally and the truth will out. There are friends who are better at dealing with hardships (or who completely ignore them) and there are those who are better at pouring shots. I will go to either of you as the situation calls.
Which brings me to my next point, which is a disclaimer. (Yes, at the end.) Why am I writing this blog? Or follow ups, should I decide to continue this theme? It’s not cheery. It certainly isn’t flattering. But it is real. And it’s likely I’m not the only one going through it. Also, as a writer, I’ve been told I’m not great about “putting myself out there.” Maybe by changing that – or trying to – I can help someone else. At least that is the intent.
Besides, I once read about Alanis Morisette and how writing an album was “cathartic.” She broke up with up with fiancé Ryan Reynolds (yep, they almost got married, for like three years), and wrote an album to get the bad out. So that is what this blog is about, too – upchucking the negativity … cleansing my own aura.
And guess what? I feel a little better already.