Thursday, January 19, 2012

Because it's not a competition...

I have a confession to make to my civilian friends. I used to roll my eyes and exclaim, "Oh, please. Get over it," whenever I'd read a status update that said, in general, "My husband is going away for business for two weeks. What am I going to do?" I wanted to reply with, "Bitch please. Spare me. Is his life in near-constant danger? Is he being shot at? Is he praying as he rolls through the streets of Afghanistan to not hit a landmine? Then STFU."

My mother taught me an important lesson a few years back that made me rethink my meanness and self-pity. If that is what is awful for you, it's awful for you. Who am I to tell you how you should feel, and what you should think? This is our life, and your life is your life. You may not know what my life is like as a military wife, and I don't know what it's like to be married to anyone besides a soldier.

Now, for my fellow military spouses - it seems like we all like to play the "Who's got it worse?" game. "Yeah, well my husband is at a school for two months and I have four kids, so it's harder for me," or "My husband has more rank and works longer hours than yours." Come on. Knock that shit off. This is what makes it divisive among us spouses, and it's time to quit it.

I look at each and every wife on the merit of her, not her husband's rank. If I like you, I like you because of who you are, not what I think being your friend will do for my husband's career. If you insist by defining yourself by your husband's rank, unit, etc., I can guarantee you we'll never play beer pong together. Officer wives are no better than enlisted wives, and enlisted wives are no better than officer wives.

In my Utopia, we support each other, not try to one-up each other. I'm not saying there isn't support - Adam's unit, in particular, is amazing in the way others will go above and beyond for any reason. One of my first assignments when I worked at the newspaper back in 1997 was covering a luncheon. I had a neighbor, who was obviously born an asshole, constantly yell at me across the loop, "Ranger, Ranger, where's my Ranger?" Adam was away training at the time, and I suppose this dude must have hated his own life and was jealous. Anyway, I'm at this luncheon, and who is seated at my table? Two men who were in charge of Adam's whole unit. I introduced myself and one of them asked, "So, is everything going okay while he's gone?" Me, never to be the shy one, answered back, "Actually, no." Long story short, that wonderful man contacted the other soldier's chain of command and I was never harassed again.

I don't want this to come across negatively. I'm just saying I've seen too much of this "I've got it worse" attitude. You know what? Someone always has it worse, so count your blessings, get over it, and let's play some beer pong.


Nikki St. Amant said...

I bet I could beat you at beer pong.

~**Dawn**~ said...

This kind of reminds me of a tv-show quote I have adopted into my repertoire. On Mad Men, Peggy says "Life's hard for everyone, Pete." And it's so true. We never know the trials & burdens of those around us, or how they are equipped to deal with it. The best bet is to just offer everyone a little more compassion, since we just never know what it's really like to be them.