Monday, March 28, 2011

Because this is for Marlo ...

This is a post just for a woman I know named Marlo. I know Marlo because we went to high school together. While we didn't hang out, we had friends in common, and Marlo was one of the nice kids. Fast forward to today... Marlo is a newlywed who today saw her husband off for a yearlong deployment overseas. She's now a fellow military wife, going through her first deployment. I promised I would writer her a blog post with my best advice on how to survive this trying time. I'm not an expert. I have never gone through a yearlong deployment with my husband, because his job is different, but I have been through eight deployments averaging about four months in length since 2001. What I write here is my own ways of coping I have found to be beneficial to myself and my family. Everyone has to find their own groove and what works best for them obviously. I'm not going to lie. The first two weeks are always the hardest for me. That first morning I wake up after he has left hits me like a ton of bricks when I remember he won't be laying next to me in that bed for awhile. It's okay to be sad. There's a list I see every so often that has major stressors in life (like having a baby, moving, becoming an empty nester, etc.). I haven't seen one lately, but I wonder if they've updated it to include deployments. You will feel stress. How you deal with that stress is up to you. I chose to drink, probably too much, for a few deployments. Not the best coping mechanism, that's for sure. As I've gotten older and had a better grasp on what was to come, I've tried to use that stress as a motivator to exercise instead. Again, it's totally up to that individual how they choose to deal with the stress. Expect the unexpected. Something will break or need to be repaired at some point. In my case, it's usually within that first two weeks that Murphy's Law goes into full effect at the Nash house. I've gone and bought lawnmowers (twice), a washing machine on Christmas Eve, and much more, by myself, because I had to. Be prepared, especially if you don't have family readily available or in your area, to learn how to do a lot of things you never thought you'd have to do. You might amaze yourself as to the strength you do have as a woman, and as someone who is able to do stuff independently. It's okay to ask for help. I admit, I am awful about this. I will try, and try again, and try some more, before I ask anyone for any sort of help, be it watching Addison or figuring something out. I've become independent to a fault I suppose. When people offer help, or even say, "Hey, if you need anything, let me know," well, let them know. You will find out soon enough whose ear you can bend at any time of the day, and who may be a little standoffish because suddenly you're alone. You'll find out who your true friends and family are. It's very rare that I will unload my fears or sadness when I get the chance to talk to Adam when he's overseas. He's got enough on his plate. I'll complain every now and then about something trivial. But for the most part, I make sure he knows that everything is under control here. A Soldier is only as good as his counterparts are back home. If a wife is constantly nagging him, asking why he only emails once a day (HI, HE'S AT WAR YOU SILLY BITCH), his head isn't going to be where it needs to be. If you have to fake it, fake it. I'm not saying you have to BE fake. But I also wouldn't want Adam to be worrying because I happen to be having a crappy day and have his focus taken off what he is over there to do. You don't have to be Sally Sunshine, but there's really only so much he can do from over there. We don't often get much more than a 15-minute phone call once or twice a week, so there's no way I'm filling that time with complaining. He can't tell me what he is doing over there, so I let him know what we did that day, or what we have coming up, to give him a feeling of home and normalcy. If he's reassured that we're okay, it should be that much easier for him to be able to do his work. Again, not going to lie, but holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc., are hard when he's gone. Our first Christmas without Adam was miserable, no matter how hard I tried to put on a happy face for a 5-year-old Addison. The second Christmas was somewhat better, but really, it's just not the same without him. I've become somewhat jaded after almost 15 years of being a military wife, admittedly. It's fine he will be gone for my birthday this year. I've had 36 birthdays, and I understand. Addison will turn 12 without his father here. He is somewhat understanding of it, and as a typical kid, let Adam know that it "sucks" he won't be here. There's probably all sorts of things I forgot to add here. Mostly, the first deployment is all about learning what to do and what not to do. It's a scary, exciting, prideful time. Most of all, let him know how much you support him and what he is doing. And, of course, how much you love him. Marlo, I have no doubt you will be exactly what your last name is. You have my number - don't ever hesitate to use it. I wouldn't say it if I didn't mean it.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Because it's who I am ...

Sometimes I'll be driving around, and see a blonde woman in her BMW, Acura, what have you, and think to myself, "I wish I was blonde and had an expensive car." That lasts for about a second before I remember who I am. I'm happy being me, because I accepted that this is who I am, which is not a blonde in an expensive car.

I was blonde once, because I was 18 and had a major lack of self-esteem. I thought I looked beautiful. In reality, I looked like a Puerto Rican porn star. I'm neither Puerto Rican, nor a porn star, so it was pretty ugly. I really believed that blondes had more fun. I was fun no matter what my hair color was, I just didn't realize it way back then.

So when I see these women, I feel bad about myself for a millisecond. A lot of work goes into being them. That's not me. I feel exhilarated every single time I get into the Jeep and the top is off. The feeling of sunshine on my face makes everything better. My hair inevitably is mussed and tangled, but I don't care.

If I had it my way, I would live on or right down the road from the beach. I would love the feeling of sand between my toes every day. I crave warm weather, sea breezes, and beaches. When it's warm outside, I also crave beer. I don't know why, but I do.

I guess I am a beach bum at heart, a girl who should have inherited millions of dollars early in life, so I could pull a Hemingway and write wherever I wanted to my heart's content.

Those girls can have their fancy cars and their manicures and such. I'll be the girl with the top off the Jeep, barefoot, hair blowing wildly in the breeze, dreaming about my future beach house stocked with good beer.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Because sometimes it's too much ...

As someone who keeps up with Facebook and Twitter on a somewhat regular basis, I have to stay I'm pretty surprised at what people put out there these days.

First off, enough of the friggin' complaining. Maybe I follow the wrong people on Twitter or have overly negative friends on Facebook, but it seems like for a long time now all everyone does is complain, and complain about everything! Shut it! I'm sorry if your life is so sucky, but instead of whining about it, why not try something different or new? I understand that not every situation is fixable, but attitudes are. I sometimes find myself falling into a chasm of self-pity, especially when Adam is out of town, whether training or deployed. Then I remember the families who will never again see their loved one, who never got the chance to say goodbye, whose son, husband, father, etc., died in a foreign land for his country. That'll clear up any feelings I have about feeling sorry for myself pretty quickly.

Then there are the "oversharers." Again, I'm sorry you are in a very loveless marriage and you hate your husband. I really don't want/need to know this, neither does the whole Internet. I'm sorry you can't afford basic life necessities for your family. But when you post the same link countless times to your blog with this information on it, it seems like maybe you're looking for a handout or donations without actually saying it. If so, that's fine. I do my best not to judge. At the same time, though, I wonder about people like this. Are they really that miserable? Are they trolling for sympathy? Do they want attention?

Maybe I'm just a simple person. I don't have Internet-worthy drama. In fact, I don't even have drama, because I choose not to become entangled in anything that could potentially turn into drama. I have a happy little life. I'm thankful for what I have, and I don't pine for what I don't have.