16 July 2010

Being Wonder Woman isn't always what it's made out to be...

“Deep down, everyone wants to believe they can be hardcore. But being hardcore isn’t just about being tough. It’s about acceptance. Sometimes you have to give yourself permission to not be hardcore for once. You don’t have to be tough every minute of every day. It’s okay to let your guard down. In fact, there are moments when it’s the best thing you can possibly do… As long as you choose your moments wisely.”

I don’t know about anyone else, but I feel this enormous amount of pressure to appear to be perfect all the time. Like a superhero or something.
I think I’ve got the part down… I mow the grass, edge the driveway/sidewalk, pull weeds, take trash to the dump, clean the house, continue to have dinner parties and company over, visit friends. And all with a smile on my face [relatively speaking].
When friends ask, I smile and say things are great. And yes, he’s gone. Again.
And really, if I’m being honest, I work really hard to make it all seem so easy.

There’s nothing easy about being perfect. Being perfect sucks. Being perfect is 10 times the amount of work you might think.
Most days, I think I do a pretty bang up job of “having it all together”, at being hardcore. Most days, I feel pretty successful in my attempts. But not every day.
Every day, I give myself a pep talk over coffee. I tell myself it’s going to be a good day. I’m going to get a lot accomplished, even if I don’t really have anything pressing to do. I tell myself it’s going to be easy, no big thing… just get through it. It’s just one more day. And then I try to get on with my day, whatever that may actually consist of.

But here’s the thing… even Wonder Woman has a breaking point.
I can only take so many days of smiling and pretending it’s all great. Once I get through my allotted amount of days, I break. It’s really that simple. Something really simple and stupid will happen and I’ll dissolve into a puddle of tears. I do try and choose my moments wisely though. In line at the grocery store isn’t the place for a meltdown when you’re trying so hard to convince everyone that you can do it all and then some.

The job of being the person always left behind isn’t easy. It’s never easy. As much as I hate to quote Army Wives because I can’t stand that show, I caught a preview of an episode in my DVR’d episodes of Grey’s Anatomy  [;-)]… The woman says [in reference to a deployment]: “You never really get used to it, you just get through it.” I haven’t heard anything more true.
I don’t think I’ll ever get used to dropping him off at the airport or watching him drive away knowing he won’t be home that night… but I always get through it. Each separation sucks all by itself whether it’s one week or 24 weeks.

“People ask me how I get through it… I just do. And some days I don’t. Some days I don’t get out of the bed because it’s just easier than trying to smile and convince everyone I’m okay.” At the end of the day, he’s worth it. And that’s really the only thing that matters. Because the truth is if I had it all to do over again, knowing everything that I know now, with the foresight of just how many nights I’d be crawling into bed alone… I’d still choose him.

So, for anyone else that’s going through a separation of any kind…. A TDY, deployment, field training…. It doesn’t matter, they all suck… I write this for you. Know that it’s okay to get upset, it’s okay to cry and it’s okay to wonder if you really can do it. It’s okay, because you can. If we didn’t have our moments of weakness, we’d lose the little pieces of us that make us able to love so wholeheartedly. Moments of weakness aren’t bad.

I once had someone tell me that I wasn’t tough enough to deal with his job, that I was going to get have get a lot tougher to make it through with him and his career. That comment came from one moment of weakness at the beginning of our first deployment. When I told the Mr., he agreed, which really pissed me off. But a couple months later, I had a full on meltdown while talking to him and then apologized saying he wasn’t supposed to see me fall apart. He told me it was his job to be there when I fell apart, even if he’s 8000 miles away. So I reminded him of the aforementioned conversation and how I was told to toughen up. He told me that being tough and being emotionless are two different things. That I was supposed to cry, but then I was supposed to take the time to understand the feelings I was having because that’s what makes you tough.

So, for anyone who’s ever been told to toughen up, that does not mean you’re not allowed to have moments of weakness. You’re entitled to them, really. Just choose your moments wisely and then learn from them. 

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