#YKWYWGYI

Have you ever been talking to someone who seemed willing to drown the conversation or your entire relationship with just 8 words. Eight little words that could stack up rather nicely, one on top of each other like building blocks of disdain, tied up with a pretty little bow of self-righteousness and dropped it into the ocean….to sink fast?

You Knew What You Were Getting Yourself Into…

In an era exploding with diversity inclusion, expectations for understanding of lives outside our own, exploration and empathic journeys into the stories of others, my friends, we can’t let this one get away any longer.

You Knew What You Were Getting Yourself Into…

It’s as if they think becoming a military spouse is rightly coupled with the gift of astral projection, prophetic word, a third eye, or a military issued crystal ball. I just double checked my ID card, no access granted there.

And the only crystal I’ve ever seen is usually smashed in the bottom of a moving box labeled “garage tools.” Little do they know it would take all four to just plan a seamless family vacation let alone access an all knowing path spanning 20 years.

You Knew What You Were Getting Yourself Into…

This response is usually flung in our faces during times of frustrations, sadness, confusion, and even in the most heartbreaking moments of catastrophic tragedy. Times when we’ve dipped our toes into the water of, “Is this ok to say out loud? That I actually hate life right now? That I am riddled with such loneliness and sadness it’s eating me alive?”

Zip it up. Nope.

Apparently, I can’t say those things because I knew what I was getting myself into. To be sure to note it’s credit, #YKWYWGYI, it’s actually a pretty versatile phrase. It can be easily and thoughtlessly used across the spectrum of daily acquaintance. Old home town friends, grocery store baggers, extended family, cyber trolls, and even bosses, and coworkers. Pretty much anyone who doesn’t want to understand and lacks the emotional capacity to say, “tell me more,” or a simple, “I am sorry you’re struggling right now, I’ve never experienced this but I love you,” can keep this handy phrase ready in their careless hands.

But enough. Enough IS enough.

I am waving the white flag – but not a flag of passivity or
neutrality. This is a flag of truth, a bold statement for us all to stand up for the life we live, the life we adapt to daily, the life we cling to because we DO know, it’s not always promised tomorrow.

So for those who seem to like the phrase, take this as your final notice and move out. But before you go, let’s clear the air. These are a few the things I didn’t know…. I didn’t know falling in love with an 18 year old college student meant we’d later be engaged 2 weeks before 9/11, 8 months before his first assignment came through and just 15 months before his first tour in Iraq.

You’re right though, I should have.

I didn’t know what the feeling of complete fascination and utter loss of orientation would feel like until it coursed through my body as I stepped foot in a foreign country with no home, no car, no family – just a spouse and a few suitcases.

I didn’t know what the echoes of a silent roll call in a grieving sanctuary would sound like, more importantly feel like. It was as if the vibrations of their souls shook the room because they could not answer to their name. To be honest, I didn’t even know what a silent roll call was….but you’re right. I should have.

Seeing my teary eyed spouse cling to his infant son knowing he’d be a toddler upon his return 15 months later…

Rocking a distraught woman in tired arms as she processed the death of their baby, alone…

Running out of cement buildings like a maniac to grasp for strong signals when a call from the
sandbox pipes through…

Losing hours in commissaries looking for chips and bottled water only to realize it’s all kept
behind the Wizard of Oz-esque plastic curtain in the “more store”…

Sitting in silence for hours in a room of military spouses awaiting word to see whose lives were
going to be forever affected by the latest helicopter crash….

Those things. I didn’t know.

And you wouldn’t and you don’t know these things either, in my life or yours. So please never let these words fall from your tongue again. You don’t know what’s happening in your life tomorrow. You don’t know the loss, the joys, the failures, the pain, the elation, that could all hit in an instant. And I don’t know your journey either.

Unless you let me. Unless you invite me. Unless we learn from each other. And if you aren’t here for that, then please step aside because there is magic, acceptance, and love to be found in others and you’re blocking my way.

But what I do know without ANY doubts, magic, or premonitions, military spouses have knowledge and answers and experience to share with the world that are not being heard. From personal to professional and everywhere in between, if you would just drop your hostilities and preconceived notions about a community you know little about, I promise if you COULD know what you were getting yourself into, you would be here, listening and learning, already.

Connect with us on Facebook!

Comments