(Sorry, guys. This one’s for the ladies today.)
I see you, military girlfriend.
You don’t think anyone notices. Maybe you don’t think you’re “important” because you’re not “official.” There’s no ring on your finger. Maybe you feel like you don’t really exist in the military community.
Maybe you think that spouses– even ones just married a little while ago– might think less of you, overlook you, or be mean to you. You’ve heard the stories.
Maybe you don’t want to make waves. Maybe you’re just shy.
Maybe you don’t want to be “just some military girlfriend.” Maybe you don’t want to label yourself.
Maybe you feel lonely.
But I want you to know that I see you.
I see you writing letters in a high school auditorium during study hall or typing out quick text messages during your coffee break.
I see you answering the phone at awkward times because, no, you will not miss another call.
I see you making big decisions– huge decisions– about your life, about what you want from it while taking your military member into consideration.
I see you searching Facebook groups for hours, researching the things you don’t understand, trying to find out more about the things you fear.
I see you afraid to ask your partner’s coworkers’ spouses– worried that you might make yourself a target or might not be accepted.
I see you stepping out onto a ledge and deciding to move across the country to be with them. Or choosing a grad school close to their current station. Or finishing college early to be close to them.
I see you making the tough choice to stay long distance and finish your degree.
I see you crying into your pillow at night or only allowing yourself to cry in the shower.
I see you writing letters and sending care packages all over the world.
I know exactly the kind of gut-wrenching pain the words “deployment” or “PCS” bring and knowledge that you cannot officially be part of some of the preparations.
I know the confusion when you realize that the military culture is unfamiliar and the embarrassment that sometimes comes when you do something “wrong”.
I know how tough it can be when you realize that this life might go on for 15, 20, or 30 years… and you aren’t exactly sure where your life may fit in it.
I know the despair that comes with blacked-out communications during a deployment, knowing that if something happens, you won’t be the first to know.
I know the utter relief that one phone call can bring.
I see you because I used to be you. And I will never forget what it was like to be a military girlfriend.
And I know that you can do this. You can make the decision to follow them across the country and step out on that ledge. You can make the decision to start school, even though it means you’ll be far away from the person you love. You can wait (maybe impatiently, maybe with a few tears and few dozen pints of ice cream). You can figure out military life and say “yes” if the question is popped with absolute certainty that you can make your life successful.
You are strong. You are brave. You are welcome here.
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of MSB New Media & Unilever. The opinions and text are all mine.