When all of the “Yes I Can’s” and “I am Strong’s” crumble around you and you find yourself sifting through the ashes wondering, “What the hell was that?”
So awhile back I shared my journey as a “new” Army Wife. The quotes are because I’m not a spring chicken and neither is my husband. I affectionately refer to myself as a “new/old” Army Wife. During the journey I chronicled in my blog posts, I thought I freed myself from the weight of pride – from the shroud of depression that cast self-doubt and questioning on everything I did. But in fact, it seemed the more stalwart I became, the tighter the invisible barrier into the Army Wife cliché became.
For those who had not been part of my previous journey, let’s see if I can sum this up succinctly for you: I married my husband later in his career; I felt alone and adrift trying to make sense of Army social protocol and I was ostracized by women in my husband’s unit, depression threatening to overtake me; I experienced a self-discovery phase and thought I had found my purpose. Six blog posts in a nutshell.
After those blog posts were finished, I experienced what I can only surmise as a group mean girl mentality in an unfortunate series of incidents. And upon writing about it (naming no one), my writing was chastened.
Resulting in a blackness with no shape – of tears and screaming and threats to leave the place I so obviously had no place in. Depression overwhelmed me. Why do we keep trying? What’s the purpose in overcoming depression – no, not overcoming, but battling depression and all of the evil that tries to knock us down when it only comes back again and again?
It’s choice. That is the one thing that can never be taken away from us. Choice. I choose to stay. I choose to stand. I couldn’t do this alone. It took all of my hard work; all of my introspection to build the base I needed to stand back up. And my husband; without him I couldn’t have done this. He values me; to him, having to make effort is worth his time. I am worth his time. He tells me I make him a better man and I can’t imagine life without him.
So you see – it’s worth it. The fight. Each fight makes you stronger. Each mistake is a learning piece of a base on which you can stand back up on when you get knocked down. Each self-affirmation is your soul’s ability to soothe during turbulent times. I will no longer buy the rhetoric that I am unlovable – that I am crazy, controlling, irrational or over-emotional. I have embraced my intelligence, my personality and my emotions.
I have grown my new business – I am an artisan. I paint and create jewelry. Every time something threatens to bring me down, I overcome it. Oh, I’m not perfect. I have lapses. For example, a spouse from the unit recently approached me at an artisan show and began talking about unit stuff. It took everything I had not to go off too much – I couldn’t control everything. Of course some of my anger and hurt seeped in my words – I’m only human.
I choose to participate in what I call the good part of the Army. Those parts that attempt to build others up; to offer support. It’s still there. I saw it recently in a base-wide spouse luncheon I attended. Everyone who approached me wore a welcoming smile. That’s the feeling I had been searching for and was missing.
In regards to negativity and being treated as though I am unlovable, in the words of a wise woman, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”
~ Jennifer Smith began her life as an Army Wife on December 19, 2011. This is her second blog series with Military Spouses of Strength sharing her personal journey with military life. You can find her first series, Learning as I Go here. She has chosen to use her creativity and empathy to share experiences, encourage others to share experiences; to knock down some walls or at the very least, to pick at the cracks.
Join Jennifer over the next few weeks as she continues to share her personal journey, “Still Learning as I Go”.