Pink Pedestal

15 Feb

I will be the first to admit I have done it, but as I think about it I can say I am ashamed of it and I cannot tell you why I did it. “It” being the act of judging or looking at another spouse differently because she hasn’t gone through a deployment or because she chooses to run and hide rather than fight the fears and difficulties of a deployment.

Is it fair to feel this way? Umm, no. Is it somewhat natural to feel this way? Umm, a little. Military life is not easy and it is not meant for everyone. Sometimes it can be hard to shed the attitude of “accept it or get out.” I think we all remember our first deployment, the ups and downs and the stories we will hang on to and continue to laugh over. I remember when my husband left for his first deployment and how proud I was of myself for creating a routine and discovering what did and did not work for me. Sure I had those days when everything went wrong or when the only thing that made me feel better was chocolate and a movie with NO romance. It does help to vent and voice your frustration, but in the end you cannot sit around waiting for things to get better. A deployment is a deployment and the only way to tackle the toughness is to accept it and find ways to build your strength while counting the days till your spouse returns.

Everyone deals with tough situations differently. Some spouses find it helpful to increase activities while their spouse is away. While others prefer to cut ties with friends and burrow in (Not the healthiest option, but some prefer this route). Is there really a right or wrong way? What works for one spouse won’t necessarily be the best option for another spouse.

There are also those spouses who excessively complain or make excuses for not making the necessary changes to handle the deployment. You know, that spouse at the meeting who is always angry or voicing her troubles like no one else in the room can relate? I guess these spouses rub wrong sometimes because they just can’t see past their bubble. What may appear to us as them “not handling the deployment” may actually be their way of venting and doing what they need to do. During my husband’s first deployment I met a woman like this. To be honest, she drove me crazy! I didn’t attend the meetings and socials to listen to her, but instead to listen to the pep talk and gain that extra motivation to keep going. I found myself avoiding her to the best of my ability, but at the same time I always noticed she would find someone to listen to her. In the end, I guess that was her way of handling the deployment. Not a choice for most spouses, but it worked for her.

So I ask again, why do we judge our “sisters?” I guess I find myself judging other spouses who have never gone through a deployment because I look at a deployment as somewhat a right of passage. I know, that isn’t fair. Deployments are the hardest part of our lifestyle, so it just seems like something we should all have to face. But then again I have heard the “chose your rate, chose you fate” a couple times from my husband. Some jobs encounter very few deployments while others see many.

Nothing can completely offset the loneliness and struggles we all face, but embracing change and finding ways to rediscover yourself can open a whole new world. I miss my husband immensely whenever he is gone, but I appreciate the feeling I get when I regain my independence and personal strength. The struggles help me see just how strong I really am.

Writing this has helped me realize there should never be a “pink pedestal” for those of us who have more deployments under our belts. Our diversity is what makes military spouses so strong and unique!

I believe Eleanor Roosevelt had military life in mind when she said, “you have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that you meet it with the best you have to give.”

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4 Responses to “Pink Pedestal”

  1. Hayley February 16, 2011 at 11:52 am #

    Kelly, I appreciate your awareness that what works for you may not work for everyone. One thing seems to be universal no matter what the obstacle you face is…that you need to have some sort of purpose or goal in life, whether it’s saying, “Today, I am going to clean my house…or go for a walk…or meet with some friends…”

    I think a “best practices for surviving life’s challenges” is good to acknowledge. For example, it’s not typically a best practice to spend most of your energy venting about a problem instead of spending energy finding ways to cope with it. I think everyone wants to know that they were seen and heard, but the venting can’t dominate in my opinion.

    I’m sure your blogs are very helpful for military spouses. You’re a great support person, I know from experience, and appreciated for your honesty, even if it may sting some people 🙂

  2. Jena Burkett February 17, 2011 at 7:53 am #

    It is comforting to know that I am not the only one who has this feeling. It is even more comforting to see that we should not be ashamed of how we feel or what we think, even when our own conscience tells us otherwise. You are an amazing mother and spouse. I thoroughly enjoy reading your words and appreciate your courage to publish you feelings and thoughts. Thank you for validating my thoughts.

    • Kelly Larson, MBA February 17, 2011 at 8:10 am #

      Jena,

      Thank you! I have to agree with you that it does feel good to know others feel the same way. After I wrote this I had my husband read over it and he voiced a little concern that I may offend someone. I knew there was a possibility, but I also knew I couldn’t be the only one who felt this way. Thank you for taking the time to comment!

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