Perceptions was a post I wrote and held onto for a while before finally submitting it to Homefront United Network. It was featured in August of this year.
When my husband was deployed, I noticed a stark difference in how my life was suddenly being led. I had always thought of myself as a civilian and it never occurred to me how the perception of who I was might change, in my own eyes or others. But it did change. And it changed very quickly.
We had a big military wedding, complete with uniforms and a sword detail. We asked other military members in attendance to wear their uniforms (if they felt so inclined to do so) and we had representatives from every branch present. But even after walking down the aisle with a man in Dress Blues, I still thought of myself as just another girl who loved a boy and married him.
The first time I noticed how others perception of me had changed was shortly after that skip down the aisle. I was at a close friends house and her sister-in-law commented on our impending and fast approaching deployment. She kindly looked at me and said, “I just don’t know if I have that kind of strength.” My friend chimed in with the now all too familiar, “Well, they knew what they signed up for when they married into the military.” I was literally so taken aback that I simply agreed with her, being unable to fully process what she had just said.
You see it never occurred to me “what I had signed up for.” It never crossed my mind what lay ahead in our life. We married in a race against the ever-changing date of a deployment, but that deployment didn’t define our love. His uniform, his branch of service, his rank, none of that ever seemed to be associated with who WE were.
WE were just a boy and a girl. We were in love. We wanted to get married. And that was all that was ever in my mind until that day. That was first day I realized that who I was to me and who I was to my husband would never be who I was perceived to be by the rest of the world. And, from that day forward, I related much more to being a Military Wife, than just a wife. It has not defined who I am, but is has changed my perception of myself, right along with the rest of the world.
In my private thoughts, and my private life, I still see myself very much as that young, newlywed girl who was naïve enough to think that being married to a Marine wouldn’t change anything. But it did. The deployment changed who we were as a couple, it changed how I relate to the general public and it changed who I know I can trust. This military life changed my definition of weakness and strength, and how I view myself in those terms. I’m am not as weak as I once thought, nor am I as strong as I wish to be. But I am one thing. I am a military wife. And whether or not I let it define me, or even want it to, it is how the rest of the world sees me. And it changes how they see me.
The tag line for my personal blog is “I’m just a girl, who married a boy, who is married to the Marine Corps.” And that is still who I see myself as, just a girl. My husband is in the military, he is a Marine, but I’m just a girl who fell in love. And sometimes I really wish the rest of the world could see that too.