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Packing your emotional bags.



Our story resembles many others. Four states in 18 months? Eh, not that uncommon for many of the families I interact with on a daily basis.


At the last two Army posts, I worked really hard to make friends. I spent time actively engaging with my community and craving relationships with other military spouses. I figured that the philosophy of "existing in the present moment" would get me through. Then this last move, something strange happened.


I got tired.


I stopped talking to people. I started dwelling on how powerless I was (and am) as a military spouse. I started over at a new job. Again. No friends. Again. Same old story as every other military spouse I've ever encountered. The self pity just oozed from me. I absolutely wallowed in it; until about ten minutes ago. Approximately.


I'd love to tell you I had some magical revelation, sitting here staring at my computer screen, waiting for my husband to make it home (someday please). I didn't. I know I'm a therapist which is supposed to mean that I know lots of things about personal growth and emotional health, but sometimes I have to hit my own reset button. Today is definitely one of those days.


It's easy to resign myself to a powerless persona; a woman devoid of capacity or agency living with this aggressive external locus of control mentality. I've been jaded, waiting for the Army to tell us to pack our bags and hit the road again. And you know, that might happen. It's true that we do lose a lot of practical control over our life as a military family. And being honest about the stress, the fear, and the frustration is important. But it's my job (and no one else's) to get aligned again with myself. It's my job to express and expect hope.


I can be tired and expectant at the same time. I can find community and wrestle with the knowledge that I'll eventually lose it again (a universally human experience). I can ask for help. I can take a dose of my own medicine and spend daily time on me.


If you're a perfect military spouse then "you can't sit with us". I can say that safely knowing that no one will be excluded from our table. You're not perfect, and neither am I. But I'm in control of my thoughts, my words, and my actions. And so are you. So unpack that emotional baggage and stay awhile.


Update: the husband is home.


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