Hanging back

First of all, to that small handful of you out there who read this on occasion, yes, I’ve certainly been hanging back on the blogging front. No new Turkish adventures or major incidences of military culture shock to report over the summer so I felt like I had little material to share with you all. Through June and July, my thoughts were mostly filled with anticipating our August visit to the States, and I gave myself permission to mentally detach a bit from base life.

Our time in both Virginia and Maine was lovely and most definitely refreshing but I was too busy enjoying our brief return to want to spend much time in front of a computer. I returned to the States again (by myself, this time) to attend an additional yoga teacher training out in San Francisco, spending some time in C-ville on either end before heading back to Turkey. I left Turkey at the very end of September and only just returned a few days ago. So, that left the month of September where, again, my mind was mostly in the clouds with the airplanes anticipating this most-recent trip. I suppose I could tell you all about the Air Force gala (eh, just o.k.) and shopping for dresses in Old Adana (quite the experience) but those should probably have a post of their own. (And, yeah, I know that whenever I say I’m going to write another post shortly, something else on a new tangent appears a few months later. I’m just trying to keep you all guessing, I suppose. 🙂 )

And the point of all of these excuses, you may be wondering? Well, they’re not so much excuses as they are explanations for my lack of engagement with base life. It’s mid-October already. We’re on the down-slope, and I’m finding that my desire to hang back is even stronger than before my two visits to the States. I’m just not that interested in much of the goings-on here, and that’s ok. In particular, I’m trying to give myself space from the swirling soup of military spouse-isms and military rhetoric that permeates a place like this. They make me mad and frustrated (and sad, too, if I’m being honest), and my extensive time back in civilian land has left my radar for such things on high alert.

Here are a few examples:

1. Blind support for the war. Maybe it’s just me, but I tend to think that *all* spouses of military members might want to question the legitimacy of a long and seemingly-endless conflict. Instead of being complicit in creating a culture that normalizes deployments, how about we just end the need for them? That’s how *I’d* support my troops…

2. Prioritizing career over family. Yes, I know this happens everywhere, but in the civilian world it’s seen as a problem that needs fixing. In the military world this dynamic gets cloaked in words like “supportive” or “patriotic.” For example, J finds that he has explain to actually explain to some other (mostly married) colleagues why certain of the more exotic assignment locations don’t interest him. “There would be no career opportunities for my wife,” he tells them, “so those places just wouldn’t be right for us.” Damn right! Now, if a civilian couple announced at a dinner party that they were moving to a small island in the Pacific for one half’s job, they’d be peppered with questions: “And how do *you* (directed to the other half) feel about this?”, “How did you finally decide what to do?”, “How are you going to make it work for both of you?” Such questions don’t get asked nearly enough around here…

3. A spouse-ism: “We’ve just made ________ (fill in the rank)!” We? Sigh…

4. An anecdotal story was recently told at a party about some guy (not from this base or anyone that I’d even remotely know, for the record) who volunteered for a job that regularly sends him on unplanned “secret” missions that take him far from his wife and baby for undisclosed amounts of time. This is a multi-year job. The wife is apparently not the kind of person who appreciates so much alone time, and she’s having a hard time. Amid all of the murmurs of “poor thing,” I’m thinking that she’s a poor thing because she’s married to an ass-hole. He clearly cares more about playing G.I. Joe than he does about his wife’s well-being or his marriage. Being military does not make such a dynamic ok, and it’s just so surreal to hear stories like this all of the time. I mean, where do we think we are–an episode of Mad Men? Jeez!

Anyhow, that’s plenty of examples. I’m sure there are more where those came from, but they’re more than enough to demonstrate why I’m choosing to spend a bit more time working on my own pursuits these days and why I’m no longer giving myself grief over not “putting myself out there” as much as I did earlier on in our time here. So, I’m hanging back a bit and also hanging on for as long as I can to that mental breath of fresh air I received in the States. Knowing that we’ll soon be able to begin anticipating and making plans for our next assignment will also help. We have clues but nothing yet set in stone. I’ll let you all know when I know!

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