Thursday, January 28, 2010

Stepping onto my Soapbox...

I am not a very confrontational person.  I used to avoid them (confrontations) altogether.  Now I kind of "pick and choose" my battles.  I admit- I usually bite my tongue and keep it all inside.  So I am in awe and sometimes a little shock when I am around people who don't hold back.  I have a friend who has been a Navy wife for more than 26 years- she tells you like it is.  At the Kahki ball last year she told the DJ that his music "sucked" and that he needed to play something we could dance to.  At the holiday party she yelled at one of the younger sailors and told him to keep his pants pulled up.  She makes me laugh.  Maybe when I am older I will be able to be that bold (or maybe just not care what people think.)  That is not to say I haven't gone off on anyone or told someone when they did something wrong- I have had my moments- and I am not ashamed!

Bear with me as I am going to take a moment to step on to my soapbox.  It has to do with being a Navy (or military for that matter) Wife/Spouse.  I don't "know it all"- if you read my post about being knocked down a peg or two- you know that too.  But one thing I am sure of- being a military spouse is hard work.  Being IN the military is HARD work.  Another thing- ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING.

That said I am tired of the negativity that seems to be the only thing to come out of some people's mouths.  I made friends with this girl who seemed like a very positive and outgoing person- she does volunteer work and I really enjoyed talking to her.  So of course I "friended" her on Facebook.  At first everything was great- we talked about her marathon training and about exploring Japan.  Next thing I know she is complaining about her husband's squadron making them work until 1700 every day.  What?  Surely she meant a later time than 5pm?  But then she complains about living on base, and negative people, and all sorts of other drama.  I chalked that up to being immature and felt a little annoyed but just ignored it.  One day she tells me that if her husband doesn't get accepted to a program that will make him go from enlisted to officer, he is going to get out- because "he doesn't like deployments".  He has one whole deployment under his belt.  I bit my tongue and changed the subject. 

What prompted me to step on my soapbox was this post on Facebook: "I hate this fucking base."  To me, that is a pretty broad statement.  Does she hate everyone who lives here, does she hate everyone who works here- does she hate all of the commands, her husband's command. or does she just hate the Navy?
I ignored it.  But I didn't forget.

I saw her last weekend and she mentioned something about going back home this summer.  And she said "you can probably tell from my Facebook posts that I am sick of this place".
"Yep."  that's all I said.  Change the subject.

Am I just chickenshit?  I am not afraid of what she would say- I just don't want to hurt her feelings.  She works with the kids and I appreciate what she does so I don't want to turn her off to that.
But really- she is not the only one I have heard talk like that.  I feel really insulted when someone says their husband got out because they didn't like being away from their family.  Really?  So you are saying my husband LOVES it?  What makes you so special that you can't be seperated for more than 2 days??

It's hard and just plain sucks at times.  I tell no lies.  And frankly- if you or your relationship isn't strong enough- you will not make it far.  The military is not for everyone.  Some people do not thrive in that environment and have other places to where they will make their mark on the world.  There is nothing wrong with that.  Not everyone is in it for a career.  But don't tell me you are too special to handle being separated from your family or your spouse.  Don't tell me you are above being a military wife and are too good to associate with my kind.  (Oh yes, I have known people like that.)  Don't tell me that the military doesn't care about families.  Don't tell me you hate the military because of one bad experience or one person you didn't like.  Don't tell me that your spouse is being treated unfairly because he has to stay late to strip and wax the floors- and he is an E-4.  Everybody does their time. 

It is what you make it.  There are so many resources out there now, and the military is much more family friendly than they used to be.  And everyday thousands of families and spouses make it.  I have known families with children with special needs that deal with deployments.  I have seen women with many children take care of house and home while hubby's gone- without those kind of complaints.  I myself have dealt with pain and tragedy when my husband was deployed.  My son was only two weeks old when Hubby left for his second 6 month deployment.  Yes it was hard but I made the most of it.  I for one am grateful that my husband isn't in a war zone facing mortal danger day in and day out.  In fact, sometimes I feel a little guilty missing my Hubby when I know he is at least safer than some.  I admire those families that have to worry if their loved one will come home or not- they have the toughest job out there.   But separated is separated and it is all hard.  And even when they are home they can have long hours and may not be able to take leave when they would like. 

But what would we do if no one wanted to join the military because it was too hard on relationships and families?  Do you think there would be a draft or mandatory service for everyone?  And lets face it- with the economy I am glad for the Navy right now- at least I know they aren't going out of business!
It's time for me to step back down off the box.  I feel better now.  I just need to come up with a nice way to relay this all to said friend.  It needs to be something nicer than "Suck it up buttercup" or just "quityerbitchin"!


  1. there you have it...well said. smiles.

  2. Oh I love it! You tell her! I don't like the complainers either, but I can't say I'm not one of them. I read this post a few days ago and I can say that everytime I go to complain about something or miss my husband because he has a 16 hour shift instead of an 8 hour shift, I just think about what you husband is safer than many. What would I have done if I were in your position, having to move clear across the country. I don't know that I could have handled things as well as you. Very well said!!

  3. Seriously... Amen and Amen. I have said that so many times in my life. What did they expect??? It's the MILITARY!!! Grow up or get out. The Navy is probably better off...


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