Hello, 2:30 AM. 

Oh, the joys of rising early…or never finding sleep. I am a firm believer no one should ever see 2:30 am, it is a sacred time for deep slumber. That being said, hello again 2:30 am. It’s Tuesday morning, and I haven’t slept a wink Monday night. 

Honestly, I am 76 days into deployment, and I am a confused mix of emotions. I’m trying to figure out this on base housing application process (which, once I figure it out, will be a blog post all on its own…I can’t find anything online to help me!), I am ridiculously tired, my husband and I are dealing with bank fraud from two different countries, my phone bill is OUTRAGEOUS (for an international bill, I suppose), and I feel a bit overwhelmed. 

There’s a lot going on in my life right now, and I can’t help but wonder how in the world I can make it through six more months of this craziness. Which is what a lot of military wives must feel, hopefully. I can’t be that special. And here’s how I’ve made it through the past few days of UGH. 

Military wife squad: and why you need one. 

Oh. Oh. My. Word. What would I do without these women? Mary, McKenna, Nora, Jo…honestly, these girls have been my rocks for two years. They have almost all stood in my shoes for some sort of trial. As a military wife, having these women is important. Outside friendships are great. My best friend in the entire world is Grace, and she’s off at college, but she keeps me rooted in civilian life. She reminds me I am a person other than the Marine wife, other than the “dependent”, other than the woman to ask “when is he coming home?” But having that military wife squad is so important. Mary has finished a deployment, so she knows how it feels like I’m dying on the inside. McKenna has dealt with loneliness and the idiocy of husbands. Nora has dealt with moving cross country and working to supplement her and her husband, even if he can support her. Jo has learned so much about real love and how it transforms you as a person, and she is the go to girl when you doubt your self worth. Without them, I’d be ripping my hair out and rocking back and forth violently. (They’ve reduced it so that my hair is only falling out and it’s a gentle sway back and forth.) Without them, I would be lost in the pit of 2:30 am. 

Spirituality: whatever you believe in. 

I’m a Christian, and a firm believer. My feet are firmly planted on the rock, and sometimes, when I feel as though I can’t even breathe because of everything going on, I open my Bible. Tonight, as I was sure my sanity had flown out the door, I flipped to a random page, nailed a finger down, and looked at the scripture I had found.                             “Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been created.”               ~Esther 4:14                                                 Simply reading the Word calmed my troubled spirit, and I shut my laptop, and put my housing paperwork away. It could wait until after work Tuesday. For those of you unfamiliar, the book of Esther is a book all about the strength of a woman. I suggest any woman struggling with her purpose read it. Spirituality is so important. It is what anchors your soul, and what feeds your morale. Personally, I feel a million times more comforted when I give my struggles, and my feeling of being overwhelmed up to God. He is good, and He will provide in His time. He knows the plans He has for me. 

Humility: being humble and asking for help 

I have literally begged and borrowed all sorts of help from all sorts of people when it comes to this housing application. Women on Instagram, Marine friends of my husband, wives on Facebook…when it comes down to it, all of us MilSOs are in the same boat. There will be the women who believe they are better than you because you’ve been married for 5 months and are going through your first deployment, and there will be women who say, “Hey, I can help you!” And all it takes is being humble enough to say, “CAN SOMEONE ANYWHERE PLEASE HELP ME BEFORE I MURDER MY HUSBAND FOR LEAVING ME TO DO THIS?!” (I may or may not have asked for help just like this…I retain my right to remain silent.) 

Point is, sometimes, 2:30 am will come, and you will be awake. But that doesn’t mean that you’re falling apart. That doesn’t mean you are going down. All it means is that you need to take a step back (and maybe a nap later), and reevaluate. Heck, you’re going through deployment, or maybe something else that feels just as hard. 

You are strong. 

You are capable. 

You are unbroken. 

You will get through this. 

Find yourself some friends who understand what you’re going through. Find what you believe in and cling to it. Ask for help when you need it. And be assured that one day at a time, you can take this. There can only be so many 2:30 am’s before you’re in a better place. Now, drink some coffee, put on some music, and conquer your day, even if it started without the one before it ending. 

You got this. 


Unexclusively Lonely

Lonely is lonely. My husband is gone for months; maybe hers is gone for two weeks. But guess what? He’s still gone. She still goes to sleep alone, just like you do. She still wonders what he’s doing, if he misses her, when they’ll celebrate an event once he’s home. So here’s the thing: stop giving us a bad name. So many women comment and send me messages like they’re APOLOGIZING for reading my blog and relating. They say things like, “well I know it’s not the same” and “not to upset you but I miss my husband too”. Like girl, miss your husband. I miss mine. 

LONELY IS LONELY. And I’ve read so many articles about “10 things not to say to a military wife” and “oh please, don’t compare his two week business trip with my ten month deployment”. No, they’re not the same for HIM. But for us? That woman whose husband is on a tug boat or on an oil rig have real fears too. Capsizing, machinery malfunction, just to name a few. Why would any woman make another feel like less, when we’re all in the same general situation? Lonely is lonely. 

So many military wives are on a high horse. First off, honey…your husband is the one who signed the contract. Not you, so chill out. Yes, we’re making sacrifices too, but nothing to what he’s made. So stop wearing your husband’s rank on your chest, and talking down to civilian women because, guess what? YOU’RE A CIVILIAN, TOO. My husband would be ashamed of me if I talked to the women whose husbands were gone the way some of you do. 

Society today is all about women fighting for equality and respect. But you don’t deserve it when you can’t even respect each other, and lift each other up. That tug boat wife is lonely. That oil field wife is wondering why her husband hasn’t called yet. That wife whose husband has been gone for a month negotiating a business deal is still going to bed alone. 

Just. Like. Us 

For my civilian wives, here’s 5 things not to say to me: 

1. “I know it’s not the same, but…” 

2. “He’s been gone for 3 weeks *insert panicked face* but, I mean, yours is so much harder.” 

3. “Not to upset you, but I really relate to the things you write.” 

4. “I’m sorry to ask you, but how do you deal with the lonely? I know you probably think I’m a wimp, but I miss mine, too.” 

5. “Will I offend you if I share this? I know I’m not a military wife.” 

And for my sassy, high horse riding military wives? Here’s 5 things not to say to me, either: 
1. “Ugh, she acts like its the same.” 
2. “She wouldn’t last a day in our shoes.” (This one really pisses me off. No one can last in our shoes until we don’t have a choice. Shut up.) 

3. “I wish her husband would stay gone for 8 months like mine, then she’d understand.” 

4. “Don’t you think she’s overreacting?” 

5. “Civilians just don’t get it. There’s no point in explaining it to them.” 

Lonely is lonely. Heartache is heartache, and an empty bed is an empty bed. It’s not an exclusive club of loneliness that we military wives have. Everyone everywhere feels lonely; they feel hurt, and they feel empty. To my civilian friends, don’t be afraid to ask me anything about my adventures. I love sharing it and if my experiences can help anyone else, I’m down. To my military wife friends, think before you speak. Lift her up, even on a bad day when you’re missing your husband, and think that you would much rather be in her shoes. 
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” 



What Happened When I Let Go

Once upon a time, there was an angry little girl. And for a very long time, she denied she was angry. She didn’t care, she wasn’t bothered, nothing mattered to her. All very untrue statements, but statements she made nonetheless. Then she became an even angrier young woman, because she had stayed angry over things she had no control over, and had refused to even acknowledge that she was angry.

As you’ve probably assumed, angry chick was me. There were things in my life that I blamed myself for that weren’t my fault; things I felt I needed to fix even though fixing it was outside of my ability. And I let my anger over all of that control me. From my anger stemmed the “I’m not good enough” complex, a bad case of the “why me”s, and a sense of invulnerability that was more damaging than actual vulnerability. I didn’t care about school, or other people, I pretended nothing anyone did or said hurt my feelings, because I was too busy pretending I didn’t have any. That’s a lot of anger for a relatively young person to harbor, and more tiring than I can explain.

One summer I decided to take “control” of my life, even though I went about it in the wrong way. But I learned a lot that way. Things I had blamed myself for for years, I finally let go of. First off, I couldn’t change anything about it, so why continue to beat myself black and blue over it, when my energies could be directed somewhere else? The “why me”s were taken care of then, too. Why me? Why you? Because life sucks, that’s why. And it doesn’t matter how wonderful of a person you are, because sometimes, bad things happen to good people, sometimes people die before you think they should, sometimes you find yourself in situations you have no idea how you got into. But life is good, too. Life is a beautiful ride, full of laughter and smiles, miracles, and happiness. Pain, too. But like a very wise woman told me recently, “Pain is good. Pain lets you know you’re alive. Pain lets you know you’re surviving this.”

The “I’m not good enough” complex? That was a longer, still ongoing journey. I think everyone will struggle with wondering whether or not they’re good enough, for anything. Do I think I deserve my husband, wonderful man that he is? No, of course not. He’s much too good for a whiny, needy, sarcastic woman like me. But in spite of all that, I know that we’re made for each other. He is all the best parts of me, and that’s why we work. (Also, because no other woman would ever put up with him like I do, and he knows it.) Everyone will struggle with wondering what someone sees in them, and whether they’re good enough, and my only advice for that: learn to love yourself.

That’s what happened when I learned to let go of all that anger, all that baggage, all those extraneous emotions. I began the journey to loving myself. And it was like seeing myself through Ricky’s eyes, and not wondering if I was good enough for a moment. I saw that I was kind, even through my facetious commentary of life. I saw that my smile reaches my eyes when I am happy, and when I get excited telling a story, I get loud. I saw that I was good at something, which happened to be writing, when I realized he kept all my silly short answers from high school in his wallet and in a box at home. I saw that I am a good person, even if my delivery is sometimes flawed. And all of that has made me so much happier.

I am human, and I have made mistakes, some larger than others. But my mistakes and my past do not define me, as I am, presently. They do not determine the type of person I will be in the future. I am human, and I am kind. I am smart. I am loud, and I live my life. I am sarcastic, to a fault. I am mean sometimes, and I am horribly moody. I like books and dogs more than I like most people, and if you can’t run with me and my near-constant attitude, that’s fine. You don’t have to. Why? Because that’s what happened when I learned to let go. I began to love myself, as I am, and in doing so, I’ve learned that not everyone will like me as I am, and that no longer bothers me. I like me. I like my sarcasm, and I like my loud mouth, and I like my smile that reaches my eyes sometimes. Plus, my husband likes me (I think…I’ll have to check on that, again), and his opinion matters more to me than some random person off the street. So I like me, I’m pretty sure my family mostly likes me, and I’m not angry over everything anymore. My husband is gone, my bed is bigger than I remember, but my dog is happy, I’ve read a few books…and I can finally be alone with myself without being uncomfortable. And that’s the best feeling in the world, all because I learned how to let go.



Being A(lone(ly))

I’m only almost two months into deployment. But already, this trial has taught me so much. It’s taught me about myself, my husband, my marriage, my relationship as a whole, and my relationship with God. First off, let me explain to you how the night of February 11th went.
My husband got a call at about 3 in the afternoon saying he had to be on ship by 11 that night, when he was supposed to have been there at 5 am the next day. I hope none of you ever feel the desperation I felt that night. I don’t even know what I was desperate for. For him not to leave me, for me not to get back on a plane (I hate planes), for us to not be separated once again. But we didn’t say anything about it, until later that night in our hotel room, cross legged on the bed eating pizza from the box. (We’re super romantic, obviously.) He looked at me and said, “I hope you have a good birthday. Do something fun.” And oh, if I could explain to you that my heart broke in such a way that I could almost hear a crack, I would. Because this is our reality. We celebrated Valentine’s Day early. We haven’t spent a birthday with each other in two years now. We’ve always been separated, and now more than one ocean lies between us. But I didn’t cry. I smiled, and choked down the tears in my throat, and told him of course I would. And that was all. At 1045 that night we sat in a parking lot of the naval base of San Diego, his head in my lap and tears in my eyes. He wouldn’t look at me, because I could feel his tears, too. And that’s what hurt the most. He’s my hero, you know. He has held me up when I felt boneless. He has always been my knight in shining armor, though sometimes confused as a moron in tin foil. He is my superman, my backbone, my rock. And to feel him cry was absolute agony. It hurt me to the very depths of my soul. And then he kissed me one more time, and we got out of the car and clung to each other with a desperation surely only known to madmen. I watched him walk away silently, and I slipped into the drivers seat. And once the door had shut, I couldn’t contain myself. He was halfway to the gate. I scrambled for my phone, and dialed a number I had memorized four years before. “Come back,” was all I could say in a strangled voice that didn’t even sound like my own. And he turned around, and we held each other one more time, before he said, “I have to go.” And that was the end. I watched him walk to the gate from the car, and it took everything in me not to run after him. What that would accomplish, I don’t know. But I didn’t want him to leave me. I sat in that car for another hour, crying until my eyes burned, my throat hurt, my head pounded rhythmically in a way I could feel right behind my eyes. And now, almost two months later, I am stronger. I am not whole. I am not okay. I am not fine. But I am stronger. I wake up and take on the day. I have my own backbone, and I have become my own hero. Because I haven’t had a choice. The things I have learned about myself: I am capable. God would not have made me for someone like Ricky if I couldn’t handle this lifestyle. I am so very capable of surviving this deployment, and THRIVING in it as well. I am capable. 

I am stronger than I thought, and braver than I knew. I did not think I would be able to handle the loneliness. And sometimes, it feels as though I cannot. But I know, in my bones, that I can, that I am, and that I am going to be okay. 

The things I have learned about my husband: he is not a talker of feelings. He does not always SAY what he feels. But, I know he misses me the way I miss him, with that dull ache we feel in our chest. And I know because of the things he does say on the occasional phone call. 

What I’ve learned about my marriage: it rocks. So many people cannot make it through a week on an oil rig, or a tug boat. But we can make it through thousands of miles, weeks of silence, terrible moments of loneliness. My marriage rocks, and my relationship with my husband is 10 million times stronger for it. 

And what I’ve learned about my relationship with God: He is the only reason I’m thriving. He has made all good things, and He has given me a heart of endurance. He has given me a spirit of love and wisdom, not of fear. He is my strength when I feel as though I have none. He is my rock, and my constant. He is why I am going to be okay, even on my bad days. 

I am miserable. It is the kind of miserable that you can’t shake. Your laughter has a tinge of melancholy, the smile you show to people is fake, it doesn’t reach your eyes. Sometimes, getting out of bed is the biggest chore of all. And yet…and yet, every day that passes is one more day over. Every day that the sun sets is one less day I have to go. Being alone isn’t so bad. It’s the being lonely that hurts. 

Sometimes, however, being alone is good for you. You grow as an individual, you learn things about yourself, you strengthen whatever relationship you have with whomever is missing. Sometimes, however much we hate it, being alone is what we need. 



Young and Married 

You know, the #1 thing I have heard since my engagement and marriage is: “You’re so young! How do you know what you’re doing?!” And this question always makes me smile in a sick, “Em, you shouldn’t smile” kind of way. Why? 

First, let me be absolutely and utterly, completely and irrevocably, BLUNT. Here is the great truth I and all the other young military wives don’t say: by the time you find your “one and only” at 26, and marry at 28 because that was the “right time” (what even is a right time? honestly, now), the girls and I who married our boys at 18 could be widows. We could have been widows even 4 years before we’re 28 years old. And here you are, shocked at my callousness. But it’s true. 

I, as a woman, as a wife, as a person, am so sick of hearing about everyone’s opinions on me being married at 18, and my husband at 20. Yes, congratulations, you noticed, we’re young. Would you like an award? “Getting married young is like leaving the party before it starts!” Uh, no? Getting married to my best friend in the entire world is like turning my whole life into a party. Unfortunately for you, you’re not invited, because I’ve got my party partner and he’s all I want anyway. But, in all seriousness, I feel almost sorry for the people who don’t find their soulmate until later in life. I found mine at 14 years old, and by the time I’m 28, I will have spent half my life with my best friend. I pity the people who don’t get that. It is the most wonderful feeling to love someone wholeheartedly and not worry about whether or not they love you back. It is unspoken in the air. “I love you” is said in so many ways between the two of us. It’s what I mean when I say “put your seatbelt on.” It’s what he means when he says, “I think you’re working too much. Take care of yourself.” And to have that type of love for the majority of my life is such a BLESSING from God. Have I missed out on experiences because we found each other so young? I don’t think so. I have no desire to party all night, or go on dates with men whose names I can’t remember, or worry about what I look like all the time. I married my best friend at 18, and we go on dates, and I usually remember his name, and Lord knows I am a MESS in the morning, and he’s not bothered by it one bit. Maybe society today needs to stop seeking to wring the “pleasure” out of their youth, and instead open their eyes to what’s around them. You’d be surprised what tumbles across your path. It might just be a curly haired boy who makes you laugh, and loves you so fiercely, you feel like you’ve been lit on fire. But what do I know? I got married at just 18. 


Why Bad Days are Okay 

Why Bad Days are Okay

“You’re going to be fine.” “It’ll get better!” “Oh, no! How long is he gone for?” “Just make the choice to be positive and happy!”

 Why, THANK YOU, people whose husbands aren’t deployed. I wasn’t aware that I was going to be fine, or feel better. Here’s the thing: their hearts are in the right place, most of the time. They don’t understand what you’re feeling. They just don’t get that you feel like half a person. They don’t understand waking up alone and wondering where their best friend, other half, soul mate is. And so they’re trying to encourage you in the only way they know how, without knowing that you’re dying on the inside. 

In the first week of our deployment, I let what these people said dictate how I felt. After hearing, “be positive!” sixty billion times, I started believing that I didn’t get a bad day. I HAD to be positive. I HAD to smile, say I was okay, and shrug off the questions people asked. And guess what? It was awful. Because I was feeling like I’d been ripped open, like my heart was in two, like breathing hurt more than anything. But I smiled and said, “I’m okay!” because I had allowed myself to believe that I didn’t DESERVE a bad day. And after forcing myself to “be positive” I started feeling…numb. I didn’t feel anything. He was gone, yeah. Bummer. I’ll survive. I felt nothing. I didn’t cry, I didn’t do much of anything really. I worked, lived my day, slept, all without feeling anything. My mom would ask, “how was your day?” And my answer? “Eh, it was just a day.” 

And then, my mother in law made me a “deployment survival kit”. And I didn’t cry until I was home and alone that night. But boy, did I lose it. All her little heartfelt notes about everything that was in my kit tore at the “positive” wife in me. 

Pajamas: for the bad days when getting dressed was too much work. 

Netflix door hanger: when I was having the kind of bad day I needed New Girl to fix. 

Sour Patch Watermelons: because I love them, and for the days that were so bad I needed to eat my feelings.

And that’s just a few of them. But those simple gifts destroyed my false positivity, because she made me realize: BAD DAYS ARE PART OF DEPLOYMENT. THEY ARE PART OF BEING LONELY. AND IT’S OKAY TO HAVE A BAD DAY. 

I can’t say this enough. And even if you’re not facing deployment, if you’re going through a rough patch, listen to me: bad. Days. Are. Normal. If 1/5 days you can’t get out of bed; if 1/5 days you can’t be bothered to eat because you have no appetite; if 1/5 days you have a good, long, shoulder shaking cry, IT’S OKAY. Why? Because 4/5 days, you’re kicking your rough patch’s butt. 4/5 days, you’re rocking this thing called life and owning every bit of your trials and struggles. 4/5 days, you’re not having a bad day. You are human. You are not required to be positive on days you feel negative. And don’t ever let anyone tell you any differently, even if they don’t mean to be. Your feelings, whatever they are, are valid in all their sad, happy, negative, positive glory. Be you. Be yourself. And feel all of those feelings, and LIVE on the crazy roller coaster called life. I am, and I’m loving it, even during deployment. 



Black Licorice Mondays

Oh, the dreaded Mondays. What day is it? What time is it? My days run together in a blur, because I work two jobs, and the only pause is to make sure that my phone ringing wildly in the back isn’t my husband. It usually isn’t. But, today is the black dread of all days- MONDAY. It doesn’t matter if my days are a blur and I forget what a weekend feels like. I always know what a Monday feels like. Mondays feel like black licorice flavored jelly beans, or the sore feeling after the gym that makes you swear “I am NEVER going back”, or sugar free anything. Mondays, essentially, suck. 

So, your Monday sucks, and if your husband is gone and you haven’t heard from him in a week or so, it might feel like everything today is just BLEH. And this is how I’ve handled it: 

Step 1: pick a theme song. Yes, okay, laugh. But I’m serious. Pick a theme song for the week, blare that music, scream/sing those words, and let it be your personal anthem. My theme song this week? “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten. Yes, I’m being basic. But hey, her words speak to me, and I like scream/singing them in my car on the way to work. So step off. 

Step 2: watch New Girl. I don’t know if anyone else has accidentally discovered this gem of a show, but if you need a break from the emotionally charged, tear jerking, drama overdosing show that is Grey’s Anatomy, WATCH. NEW. GIRL. It’s one of those happy, silly sitcoms that will have you rolling in tears on the floor from laughing. I’ve done it. My only regret is that I’m now all caught up thanks to Netflix not monitoring my addiction. 

Step 3: read a book. Read. Read. Read. (My blog doesn’t count, you lazies.) Fiction is great. It’s a world that’s not your own, that you have no part but that of an observer in, and basically, it lets you slip away from the Monday. Need a suggestion? Hit a girl up. I’ve basically got my own library. My number 1 suggestion that I can read, finish, and start right back over? “Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers. It’s thick, but the message is so wonderful. “The greatest of these is love.” (That’s from the Bible, and it’s a good read, too. Check out 1 Corinthians.)

So there’s my three step program for surviving the Mondays. (Also, crying, bubble baths, and cookie dough are acceptable, if not practical and positive ways, to  conquer the black licorice flavored Mondays.) 



The Way Life Went

So, I’ve gotten a few questions on my URL. Here’s why my blog is called “the way life went”: my life hasn’t gone at all the way I thought it would. The summer before my freshman year of high school, I met this kid. He made me laugh, had crazy curly hair, and played the saxophone. Funnily enough, so did I. So at band camp the July of 2011, we hung out, complained of the Texas humidity, and made each other laugh. It took 2 weeks before he asked, stuttering the whole while, if I would be his girl. Which I think made me trip into love a little bit, the way he asked it, reminiscint of the 50-60’s “will you go steady with me?” And so, that was our start. At that time in my life, I was going through a lot emotionally. I didn’t feel worthy of love, I didn’t think someone as wonderful as he would want me for long. But I remember him looking at me one morning a few months later and saying, “I love you.” And what did silly, scared of love, 14 year old Em do? I said, “that’s nice.” THAT’S NICE?!?! Seriously, that’s the best I could do. Because I was scared, I didn’t think it was true, and I didn’t want anyone to know that I maybe felt the same way. What did I know, child that I was? But he didn’t stop saying it, even though I hadn’t said it back. He said it when he left me at the door to my next class, he said it when we left band practice, he said it when we hung up the phone at night. And that’s when I thought that maybe he was telling the truth; because he kept saying it. And one day, outside biology class, before he left, I whispered it back, and waited for the backlash. And all he did was grin that devil-may-care grin he’s perfected and say, “I know.”  Flash forward 3 years and it’s off to bootcamp for my boyfriend, my best friend, my soul mate. I was terrified he would come back and not love me anymore. So terrified, on the plane to California three months later, I broke out in hives and this awful red rash. EVERYWHERE. It was awful. But as it turned out (obviously), he did still love me. And we started working on the dreaded long distance relationship. Flash forward another year and he proposes to me while I feed giraffes at the zoo. It doesn’t sound romantic, but giraffes are my favorite animals EVER, and it was exactly what I would’ve wanted. 7 months after that, we’re getting married and he’s flying in the day before our wedding, and it’s the first time we’ve seen each other since he proposed. I’m still a little salty I planned that wedding without him. I will have my revenge for that, eventually. And now, almost 4 months after we said “I do” during a ridiculously long ceremony, my husband is across the world, deployed for the first 8 or so months of our marriage. And that sucks. And let me tell you, this is NOT the life I picked out for myself, for sure. But, hey, it’s the way life went. 

Day 51

I am 51 days into an undetermined amount of days, in the dreaded D-word…DEPLOYMENT. And today has not been bad. I would be lying if I said that I woke up this morning and didn’t hurt. Of course I hurt. I’ll tell you, waking up every morning without your best friend is like having your arm fall off. You’re the only one who can see that you’re missing an arm though, and everyone thinks you’re crazy for scrounging around for it. Why do they think you’re crazy? Because they aren’t affected. Is that cruel? Maybe. But your husband, boyfriend, best friend, brother, sister being gone doesn’t interfere with their everyday lives like it does yours. They don’t understand that when you get exciting news, you can’t tell the person who matters most. And trust me, you don’t want them to. Because then, the “I’m sorry”s, and the “are you okay”s and the “call me if you need me”s mean something more. And you probably don’t want that. Because if they understood the way it feels, that would put EVERYONE in your shoes, and who needs a bunch of moping MilSos? So, keep the moping to a minimum and to yourself. Be sad, because the person you love is gone. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t be unhappy. Don’t let anyone say, “Be positive!”, if you don’t feel like being positive. YOU ARE ALLOWED TO BE SAD. YOU ARE ALLOWED TO HAVE A BAD DAY. And if someone tries to tell you differently, drop them. They don’t deserve the strong person you are on a good day, or the sobbing, sticky mess of a person you are on a bad day. But don’t let your sad, bad, angry, messy days get in the way of this beautiful thing called life. God creates everyday brand new; don’t let your emotions waste it away. Crying? Take a bath, put on some gangsta rap, and handle that mess of a room. (I have yet to do this. No judgment.) Feeling empty? Hit the gym and burn some calories. It is literally the best way to feel like you’ve accomplished something worthwhile. You will feel better because of the endorphins, you will be tired, and you will probably sleep better in that big, empty bed of yours. And if it’s one of those days where the gym, and being productive, and that tube of cookie dough didn’t seem to help? Then, hey. That’s okay. Breathe deep, and realize that you are one more minute closer to having your person back home. And wake up tomorrow with a new plan, and kick the new day’s butt. Deployment is but a trial, “and this, too, shall pass.”