Sharing our lives

I want to share my own views regarding Andi's post about civilians wanting to help military families and the many comments that were made on this post.  These are MY views, and I don't expect everyone to like or agree with what I have to say.  I am not out to disrespect anyone's personal views or experiences with the military.  I just feel compelled to share...

I have been a milspouse for 10 years.  I have also worn the uniform and served my country, although I never deployed.  Currently, I am doing my internship as a therapist for a Master's in Social Work.  I work with many people who have experienced things I have never experienced, and I will never truly understand their struggles.  Just like civilians will never truly understand the military way of life.

When people ask me questions or share their views on the war, I simply answer their questions and listen to what they have to say.  I answer their questions honeslty and if they ask, they will hear the good/bad/ugly of MY experiences in military life.  Do I always agree with their viewpoints?  No.  Do I expect them to agree with me or even understand my lifestyle?  No.   

The point is that we educate each other.  Civilians give me a perspective on some things that I would not see otherwise because I am a milspouse.  And I would hope that they learn from me as well when I share my life with them.  What it's all about is sharing with one another - honestly.  It's about knowing who YOU are and being able to be open to others.  And if you don't want to talk about it, that's fine too.

I think most (not all) civilians ask us a lot of questions because they are truly interested in what we think and how we "live" in the military.  I think they really want to try to understand what our lives are like.  They will never truly understand because they don't live this life, but what does it hurt to talk to them about it?  Yes, the same old questions get old and sometimes we just don't feel like talking military.  That's okay.  But when opportunity knocks to share a part of your life with someone, try to be open-minded and see where THEY are coming from.  Ask them why they want to know about your life.  What is it that you can tell them that will help them gain an appreciation for what we do?

Personally, I am beyond proud to be a part of the military.  I am not always happy with this life, but who is always happy?  I don't always understand the "why" in the military, but I roll with it because that is my life.  Like it says in the SpouseBuzz "description":

"SpouseBuzz is... where we can celebrate and embrace the tie that binds us all - military service."

So, embrace your life in the military and allow yourself the opportunity to educate others who don't live this life.  We are the military - service members and families alike.  It is up to us to help civilians learn about our lives and develop an appreciation for our sacrifices.

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