The role that has defined me, as an adult, more than any other, I was the most uncomfortable with.
I was an Army Wife for 4 years. I was one of the few to marry a soldier, to withstand deployments, field exercises, schooling, FRG meetings, navigating the Tricare system, and all the other stuff that comes with being a military spouse.
I backed Hubs and his career with everything I had. I stressed over everything from the clothes I wore to a meeting, to how well I kept my little house, in that not-so-perfect neighborhood, to how well I addressed envelopes for a party. I sacrificed a career, and my own life, for the betterment of his career.
And I never truly felt comfortable doing it.
I was not the perfect, pearl-wearing wife. I questioned things, I openly criticized things. I treated everyone with respect, but I kissed no one’s ass. I was opinionated; about everything I read and saw. And I read voraciously. I was a hippie, a left-leaning hippie, in a field of conservatives. I never said the right thing, at the right time, wearing the right clothes.
In the end, I never felt like I fit into the mold of military spouse.
I made few friends, I’ve kept fewer since Hubs got out. I found out, the hard way, that there is no one that starts drama and gossips like a military wife. While the whispers and innuendos were flying, I kept my head up, tried to do the right thing, and carried on. I grieved for the loss of friendships in private, and I started to keep my distance from other wives. My time as an Army Wife is darkened by the memories of gossip and hateful things, aimed not only at me, but at my oldest child.
I’m not sure who breathed a heavier sigh of relief the day he was done, me or Hubs.
This is not saying that every military spouse is bad, I knew so many who were doing what I was doing, just living their life. And this is not to say I am not proud of my husband’s service record, or that I am not a patriot. But I felt like I did not fit in. I still feel that way, when I find myself surrounded by military spouses. Just not where I am supposed to be.
After throwing myself into Army life, helping out and volunteering and hauling friends around, and watching kids and picking up other people’s prescriptions, only to have to deal with such a hateful, vile lie, I never fully recovered from it. It was easier to be a hermit, to spend time with the few wives I had truly connected with.
But it was painful to see so many doing so many fun things, spending so much time together. And while I desperately wanted that connection, I also desperately wanted to avoid the drama.
I just never truly found my niche.
It is such a strange place, to find myself remembering the times we had, overlaid with how uncomfortable I was at times.
The pressure is off now. I am no longer weighed, measured and judged every time I set foot out of the house. There is no one critiquing what I say and how I say it when I speak. Well, there are people who do that, but none of them directly affect my husband’s job.
I realized, several nights ago, that this is the reason why I am so much more at ease. On top of all the other stuff that comes with life married to a soldier, stuff that is gone now, I can just simply be me. And I can finally be comfortable in that.