Resilient, this is the word that best describes a military spouse. Growing up as a military brat I heard this word many a times. I knew the definition, but it wasn’t until I became a military spouse did I truly understand the meaning of the word. Growing up in the military brings challenges that most children do not face. Even as a child you quickly learn life is much better if you can adjust to these challenges and look at them as opportunities. Even after twenty plus years as a military brat it was difficult to pick up my life and leave my career to join my husband in a new city. I had grown up moving every couple of years, yet this moved seemed so much harder. When you are moving because your parents have to it all seems very black and white, but once I put on the military spouse hat things seemed to be all kinds of shades of gray.
The actual definition of the word resilient when referring to an animal or human is to be able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions. As a military spouse you don’t get time to learn how to be resilient you are thrown to the wolves from the beginning. Moving away from your family and friends is often the first time you test your resiliency. Each situation you encounter and conquer prepares you for the next one. The longer you wear your military spouse badge the more resilient you are. When I look at my mom and my family friends I notice that they adapt to change almost immediately. Often times they don’t even question it, they know life will be better if they adapt, adjust and accept. To me adapting and adjusting seems to be easy enough, it is the accepting part I struggle with.
The first few months of married life in a new city proved to be very challenging. Before my husband and I were married I woke up every day with a defined purpose, to go to work. Moving three hours north meant I would have to start all over (I know I was very blessed to only move three hours away from my friends and family). The first few weeks seemed fun, it was summer, I could go to the beach, read a book, bake a cake, and virtually whatever I wanted. The novelty soon wore off once I realized I felt a little silly and a little crazy talking to myself all day. I needed friends. I needed a friend like a cupcake needs icing. This simple little task of finding someone to talk to while my husband worked and went to school for 15 hours a day was probably the hardest part of uprooting my entire life. Six months after moving to Ventura I found a job, but still no girlfriends. Did I know people, yes. But I didn’t have that friendship of being able to say something stupid without worrying they were going to judge me or think I was a few cards short of a full deck.
I no longer talk to myself all day, I have met a handful of gals that I know I will have a lifelong friendship with. They understand how I am feeling and why. They can lend an ear when I need to vent but they can also tell me when I need to put on my big girl panties and deal with it.