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Even though I have every reason to be happy, I am sad tonight. I’ve realized something about the Air Force. Even though it has been a blessing in so many ways, the way I am now is a direct reflection of what military life does to a person.
I know I can never understand how a deployment feels, but I do understand not being able to function with the people you hold dearest. I understand what it feels like to want to feel close to them, but part of you is pushing them away.
I understand how it feels to be away for so long that it becomes normal to shudder at the touch from a loved one. Even though military life teaches you about teamwork and standing together, something happens when you make that transition. You no longer fit in. Your family tries to be sympathetic and say kind words, but they won’t really understand the new pressures you live under.
They won’t understand how you feel when you live in fear, but at the ready, for a deployment to a hostile area where people hate your very existence. They don’t understand what you’ve truly given up to serve and protect.
It’s hard. It is hard to want to reach out and hug every person you love, but you can’t, because something inside you has changed and you simply don’t know how to go back to who you were and how you felt before.
I’m fortunate that my husband understands. He’s been there. He’s felt that distance that settles in the heart when military life becomes normal and family life becomes alien. He is a rock to me in times like these.
It’s a sad night for me, because even though I had dinner with family, I feel more at home with my friends. I am a grouch because I spend my days working, and my time feels so precious that I struggle to share it.
Maybe I’m alone with these thoughts, or maybe it’s because I’m older than my peers, but I can’t seem to shake it, and I don’t know what to do. I hope after technical school, it gets better. I hope that life will return to some sense of normalcy, at least until that deployment comes.
In just a few weeks, I’ll spend my first Valentine’s Day as a married woman without my husband and best friend. You can’t get those firsts back.
I know I shouldn’t complain or whine, but I pride myself in being honest. Tonight is one where I have to let the words flow because I’m not always strong. I will not sugarcoat life in the military.
It’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do.