I found this link up through a few blog friends and I'm so glad I did! I hope that my non-military family and friends aren't fooled by all the movies and tv shows. But I guess it's hard to understand what it's like if they can't see it. So here's my real military life:
I'm Ech. I met Will on October 18, 2008 in my sister's dorm room on Elmendorf AFB (JBER) in Alaska. While we dated I lived in Oregon while he was stationed at Elmendorf. Honestly, if it weren't for the whole military thing, we probably wouldn't have gotten married for another year or two. But the long distance was too hard and we knew we loved each other so we took the leap in September of 2010.
Now we're at our second duty station...Aviano Air Base in ITALY! I love it! Here I'm more immersed in the military world. I go to base almost exclusively for errands (groceries, the post office, bill paying, etc). The only Americans I meet here are military. Other than our landlord and his wonderful family, all our socialization is with military people. It was kind of overwhelming for awhile. But I've slowly got the hang of it and have adjusted accordingly.
I learned very quickly that the stereotypes about military spouses are there for a reason. I was so turned off that it squashed any desire to get involved with anything on base. I never surrounded myself with people like that and I'm not about to start now. Luckily my husband has a few work friends with spouses who are down to earth and laid back. I mean really...our last girls date was dinner, wine, and Doctor Who. They're pretty awesome right?
Do I like the military life? Honestly? No, not really. If I had to describe it in one word it would be "lonely". My husband is my best friend. We do almost everything together. But he works long hours; he goes on a lot of TDY's; and my family and friends are incredibly far away. I might have thought I had an idea of what I was getting into, but really...I had no clue. It's so much bigger and harder than I could have possibly imagined. But you know how I said the stereotypes are true? The one that applies most is that military spouses are incredibly resilient. I've been through a lot of bad things in my life and I always kind of knew that life wasn't ever going to be easy. Because of that I've been able to deal with all the bad things that comes along with Will being in the military. It's not easy, but so far it's not impossible.
Don't get me wrong, it's not all bad. We do what we can to take advantage of the life the Air Force has given us. We're stationed in freaking ITALY so we travel as much as we can. Alaska was gorgeous and a part of the world I had no plans to travel to, but I'm grateful that I got the chance to explore a little bit. And you know what else doesn't suck? Federal holidays (woo long weekends!), discounts on all kinds of cool things, and free base events.
For now, I'm a military wife. Is it all that I am? No. But I've noticed that it seems to be the title that's thrust on me most often. Even when I go home and I'm with friends who have known me for years, I'm still defined as the friend who married the military guy. I struggled against it for most of our marriage. But recently I've realized that I'm extremely proud of my husband and what he does. He enjoys being an Airman and it's something he wants to do for the foreseeable future. When I think about it, military wife isn't a terrible title. It's what I'll be defined as for a while and I'm okay with that. (Just don't call me a dependent. I'll have to fight the urge to slap you in the face.)