I have a confession to make. At the beginning of this month, I lost it. I mean, lost it. Ungracefully. With a lot of ugly crying. A lot of stewing.
Let me set the stage: my youngest sister, Becky, was graduating from Penn State at the beginning of May. Penn State is our family school– on both of our sides. Basically our entire families have attended Penn State, and if they haven’t, they’re rabid Penn Staters. My parents met each other there; John and I met there. We met our best and closest friends there, too. Honestly, the campus is a second home to both of us– it’s a special place. Becky is the last sibling from either of our sides graduating from Penn State. My sisters and I are always there for each other, no matter what– so graduation was an important non-negotiable. My entire family was assembling to see Becky walk across the stage and to celebrate her accomplishment. I was going no matter what.
That same weekend, John had to work 12-hour night shifts. Ugh. He couldn’t take leave. Double ugh.
When we realized that John couldn’t go, the last three years, full of little moments of being flexible because the military needed me to be hit me all at once. Deployment. Late nights. Early mornings. This weird loss of self I’ve been thinking about and dealing with for the last year. My massive loss of earning power. Missing my friends from my old job. The frustration of wanting to be planted and grow roots… and just not being able to. I just wanted John to be able to go to Becky’s commencement and enjoy the weekend with me. I didn’t want to go alone. I just wanted him to be there with the rest of us.
So, really, Navy? I can’t even just have this small thing? This has to be tough, too? It just wasn’t fair.
I know– it sounds bratty. It probably sounds like a negligible problem– certainly not something to get upset about. But it was a big deal to me. Still, I’m a little embarrassed that it really upset me that much. I could claim temporary insanity. Unfortunately, I can’t really blame anything on my mini-breakdown. I had just, temporarily, at that moment, hit my limit. I reached my breaking point and I found it, unceremoniously. Messily.
Even as I was really upset about John’s schedule and it’s inflexibility, I was internally debating myself. I told myself to suck it up. I felt really, really guilty– I knew there were a million things that could be worse. I knew there were thousands of military significant others who wish that their other was even on the same coast– or the same continent. I knew because I was one of those people last year. In my head, I could hear the people who have said to me, “You knew what you were getting into when you married him,” or, “You signed up for this.” I knew that it was even a massive blessing that I would be able to go to Becky’s graduation– I know of some military spouses who haven’t seen their mom for four or five years. Just being within driving distance should have been good enough for me. I know that I am insanely blessed for so many reasons.
Still, sometimes you just don’t want to suck it up. Sometimes you can’t. Sometimes– especially those times where you legitimately have no control over anything– you just want to find a tub of icing, grab a spoon, watch crappy reality TV and cry. (Oh wait, that’s just me? Then I’ll just keep this icing to myself…) And sometimes, you just can’t think about all of the other reasons why you shouldn’t be upset.
Being a military spouse doesn’t preclude you from feeling those things or wanting things to be different. Being upset doesn’t make you weaker; it makes you human. Sometimes, you just need to be angry at the Navy (or the Marines, or the Air Force, or…), at that big, immovable force that controls so much of your life so that you can get over it and move on.
img class=”aligncenter size-large wp-image-4412″ src=”https://jomygosh.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/its-okay-to-be-angry-at-the-military-pin-512×1024.jpg” alt=”Sometimes getting angry means you can move on.” width=”512″ height=”1024″ />