Leaving Fort Bragg: In My Feelings

In less than 30 days, I will no longer be a bride on base. Despite how irritating it is to be a military family, my feelings about no longer being one are complicated.

Since I’m high maintenance, I went to a counselor to discuss it rather than texting one of my friends.

My husband will be released from the Army at the end of February. His five-year contract will be up in April.

And we won’t be special anymore.

You’re Not Hardcore Unless You Live Hardcore

I think when I’m honest, that’s what I like about being a military spouse. Warranted or not, service members and their families are revered for our hardships.

I took pride in my sacrifices. A bunch of y’all think you couldn’t do it.

My discomforts had a bigger purpose, even though I don’t think the “bigger purpose” is actually the reason for most of the nonsense that goes on in the military. The majority of the challenges imposed on my husband and trickled down to me are simply nonsense.

But despite that, I liked knowing my husband was doing something few people were willing to do.

Being the hardcore person that I am, the asceticism (discipline and avoidance of indulgences) of the military lifestyle–like unmedicated birth–suited me. I wore the hardships as a badge of honor.

I’ll admit they made me feel special in a way. And we’re all obsessed with being special, aren’t we?

But depriving oneself for the sake of being deprived is stupid. Whatever pride or self-worth sacrificing may bring can never rival experiencing all the nuances of life from which one has been deprived.

Goodbye, Benefits

I’m highly concerned about having to navigate the American Health Care system without the covering of Tricare.

Now, I don’t have to choose what doctor I’m seeing, where to get my prescription, or pay for any of it. No, I can’t handle a lot of options.

Some people might feel these features are negatives of military healthcare, but as a relatively healthy person and former employee of a health insurance company, the lack of variations and potential liabilities is definitely a benefit!

One of the major issues in healthcare is the lack of transparency in the process.

You go to a doctor for a check up. You mention blood in your stool. They want you to have a colonoscopy and state they think it’s free under Preventative Care.

You go to pick up the preparatory supplies from the pharmacy, but your insurance doesn’t cover them. The gastroenterologist can’t give you a definite answer on how much it will cost you.

Three weeks later, you are advised nothing is wrong with your butt, and here’s a bill for $725; it isn’t considered preventive because of the reason it was administered. Plus, the lab your primary care doctor sent your bloodwork to was out of network, so here’s a bill for $130.

That’s what I’m worried about. It’s not that I have a general concern about it, I have anxiety about it. And insurance is expensive as hell.

Goodbye, Camaraderie

Everyone in the military understands being in the military. Most civilians in this area understand being in the military. Among us, we are banded by our experiences– the loneliness and isolation, Tricare, income levels, extended separations from our spouses.

When I’m out of the Army, will I allow myself the luxury of lamenting when my husband has to leave town for a week for work or even pleasure?

I say when I’m out of the Army not because I wear my husband rank, but because I’ll be damned if this whole thing hasn’t happened to me too.

Anyway, I’m really going to miss the recognition within this community. I will miss knowing people without knowing them,

People at home didn’t really understand how I could just quit my job, but most of military friends don’t work outside the home either. Not because they are lazy, but because we have enough other challenges.

It was hard to find a balance when I was working…with no kids.

I should mention that even if we ever found a reason to come back here, our friends will have moved on, which is the nature of the military.

So I’m just never to return to the place I became a wife and a mother. I’ll get over it, but am sad to be leaving the comfort of those memories.

Hello, Equality

For the first time in our four years of marriage, life won’t be centered around my husband. The hierarchy goes Emergencies, Army, Self, Family. I will defend ‘self’ being before ‘family’ because the stress of the Army over this past year has often times required my husband to take time for himself first before trying to tend to us.

Since Spencer will go back to personal training, it will take a while for him to build to a full-time clientele. Meanwhile, I will be building my Mary Kay business in the St. Louis area and working on my other endeavors. So basically there will be weeks where it’s just us with no demands and no hierarchy.

I won’t know how to act!

How will that change us? I think the fact that the Army and the Soldier always has to be first creates a dynamic where the soldier’s needs tend to be put first, work-related or not. Many of us spouses have given our dreams a backseat and have accepted we will always be second.

Can we come back from that? Or will the rest of our marriage be shaped by this experience?

Looking Back

Back in June of 2014, I stood at the fork of my life contemplating taking the turn to supporting a spouse through 20 years of military service or dodging a bullet and downloading Tinder.

I met with my future mother-in-law for guidance because I really did not want to be a military spouse. I didn’t want my husband to be absent, and I didn’t want to lose my ability to choose.

Her response was that even a man that comes home at 5:00 pm everyday can still be ‘absent.’ And that Spencer may not always be in the military.

Who knew those words that were hope to a 25 year old Army girlfriend, would be a source of sadness for a 30 year-old wife.

Life is never just as it seems.


    • admin

      Thanks, Brittany! I appreciate you reading my blog and I appreciate the encouragement. Posting this resulted in connecting with a bunch of people back in MO that I now realize will be a part of my network when I go back. Not our besties, but at least people we can share meals with. But that’s not going to stop me from bawling like a baby after my last Crossfit class. 😛

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