Trying to Conceive in the Military Community

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything about fertility as my husband is in the midst of a nine month deployment and trying to conceive is obviously on hiatus. However, TTC and being a part of the military community is something that I struggle with. This issue may come off as if I’m complaining (which I kind of am!) or ungrateful (I’m totally NOT!)…take it as you please- this post is more for me getting it off my chest and venting 🙂

FYI- my last cycle started on November 8…it’s been a rough couple of months. My progesterone levels were lower than 1, and this past cycle obviously abnormally long (started my current one on December 26th. I swear the only thing I wished for for Christmas was Tyler staying safe and getting a god damn period, haha). I’ve done everything within my control to gain normal cycles-…I honestly don’t think the wine and cocktails I consumed affected my reproductive system THAT much… There seems to be a connection with my abnormally long cycles and extremely low progesterone levels…. Anyways, we shall see how the next few months ago. I have an appointment with my OBGYN later this month.

When Tyler and I started dating, there was absolutely no mention of him going back in the army as an officer. He was in his last year of undergrad (after serving 6 years in the military, going through two 12 month tours in Iraq, and getting out as a Staff Sergeant at the age of 24- pretty badass)… and had mentioned going to grad school. However, there was an obvious change of plans seeing that he is now a 1st Lieutenant, haha. We got married when I was 26 and he was 29…in a couple of weeks I turn 29 and he will be 32 in March.

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Point blank- we are old for not having any children in the military community. TJ has always had the mentality of not comparing himself to anyone else as he seriously doesn’t give a shit, but it’s something that is sometimes difficult for me.

SO many enlisted soldiers marry early and they conceive (thank God TJ and his ex wife didn’t)… and continue doing so. The wives often times blame the military on not being able to get a job or further their education which is ridiculous (MYCAA- will help you get at least an associates degree if you meet the requirements).

After our miscarriage in September of 2013, I became so much more aware of pregnancy things. Not just more knowledgeable about the topics of miscarriage and fertility, but more emotionally aware.

A week after my D&C, I went to a Hail and Farewell (basically a gathering at a location or restaurant to honor those who are leaving the unit and welcoming those coming in) with Tyler. I didn’t want to go, but I did… and it was hard. I found out that a fellow army wife was expecting… and her and another wife (who was due a week before I was due… and kept rubbing her freaking belly) spent pretty much the whole evening talking about pregnancy issues. I remained on the opposite end of the table, holding my husband’s hand, and sipping on a beer.

These are normal things to talk about, but seeing as they knew we had just endured a loss 1/3 of the way through a pregnancy, it made me give them the side-eye. Bottom line- it hurt my fucking feelings, and I cried the whole way home. And, I avoided most army-related events from there on out which may be immature or weak on my end as I truly want to be there for my husband, but it was something I felt like I had to do to continue moving forward.

Going to the doctor is a whole other issue. Here, at Fort Bliss, if you’re under Tricare Prime, you can either go to the hospital, William Beaumont, or be seen at the clinic (it’s a new, nice facility) on East Bliss. Tyler works on East Bliss and it’s closer to our house, so that’s where I’m typically seen (however, my new obgyn is at the hospital). Some days are better than others when I go for lab work or appointments, but sometimes it completely sucks donkey seeing young ass girls with children. Usually it’s a baby with a toddler that they can’t control and they seem to be like 22.

My doctors have even made comments about young girls complaining that they haven’t gotten pregnant within the first few months of trying… I’ll never forget the tone my old OBGYN had when I initially went in for infertility (and happened to be pregnant at the time!)…she thought I was much younger than I was, then changed her demeanor when she saw my birth date, haha 🙂

Military families are supposed to come together. Tyler deployed outside of his unit; therefore, I have had absolutely no support from a FRG. I don’t know if it is normal or not, but it has put a bad taste in my mouth about the “support group” we are supposed to have. I know a handful of spouses who have experienced a deployment since moving here, and they have posted a shit ton of get togethers, events, etc. with their FRG…and have seemed to have made lifelong friends. If I ever become in charge of the FRG at TJ’s future units, I’ll ensure that everyone is included… and checked in on 😉 But this is beside the point.

I feel as if I should create a club for army wives to come together with spouses that are deployed (there is one for spouses TTC, but not for deployed spouses).

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I think many people don’t know how to talk to those that are having trouble. I understand- before our situation, I would have no idea what to do or say! From what I have gathered through blogging and being open about our situation with family and friends- saying nothing implies that it’s not a big deal or that you don’t care. But it IS a big deal.

Also, don’t be afraid to talk about your pregnancy/baby. If you push me under the rug about a pregnancy….I’m sorry, but I’ll push you under the rug about the birth. Don’t hide news about a pregnancy! It may tug at my heart a bit and I will probably be slightly jealous, but I’m truly happy for you- and I’ll want to know details and hold the babes once it makes an appearance 🙂

I was not the “best of friends” with some people in my earlier years, but I have discussed infertility issues with them for the past couple of years and have watched them birth amazing babies… It really opens your eyes as to who your true friends are… but I’ll get to that in another post.

Not only have these few women brought new light into my world, they taught me to be my own advocate. I don’t think I’m getting the best healthcare right now….my husband may oppose this notion because “it’s free”. I understand that throwing women on Clomid may work for many, but it’s also dangerous as it can cause ovarian cysts, thinning of the uterine lining, and ovarian cancer.  My mom was on Clomid as her and my dad experienced secondary infertility after I was born (my brother and I are 5 years apart)… and she was even monitored back then! That’s why I get upset about our healthcare… but we’ll deal with it until we conceive or have to move onto Plan B.

To wrap things up, it will be interesting to see what happens. The thing I’m looking forward to the most this year is being reunited with my husband…my world will not be okay until I come face to face again and feel him in my arms… 🙂

Cheers to 2015!

* If you’re a part of a military community, have you ever experienced any sort of issues?

*What are you looking forward to the most this year?

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Breathing Again- Trying to Conceive and Marriage

 

I didn’t exactly know how to title this post, and just do so you know- when I think about this topic, I tend to be all over the place.

To begin with- I know there are so many couples that battle infertility for YEARS. I am letting you know beforehand that we cannot comprehend what you are feeling. My thoughts about what we have endured so far are based on the past year or so… and obviously my husband’s deployment has put a mad stop to everything for nine months.

Trying to conceive and getting knocked up accidentally or without trying are entirely different. I shouldn’t even have to explain why. However, this post is going to discuss how the miscarriage and the months TTC again have affected us as a couple, as well as myself.

When found out that we were pregnant on July 7, 2013, everything became a whirlwind. Tyler had JUST gotten home from NIE (field training for 6 weeks) and I was taking 4 summer classes (and had 6 left in the Fall to finish up). We had some issues with ultrasounds and blood work during the early weeks but thought we were in smooth sailing after the nine week mark past. Honestly, the thought of miscarriage was always in the back of my mind because of the early weeks.

I vividly remember looking into the mirror one day around 6 weeks asking God that if something were going to happen to please let it be early on…I know, completely irrational. I questioned myself whether or not to even say this on the blog, but that, among other things, is why I question God. I know he doesn’t answer all requests and that things could have been much, much worse, so please don’t attack me. 😉 He took a shat on that request I made though. For several months after, close family and friends would say that they were praying for us. I truly appreciate this, but Tyler doesn’t believe in that stuff and I got fed up with it. Sorry, but true.

Anyways, the past fourteen months have brought Tyler and I closer together than I thought possible, but that doesn’t mean we have not had our fair share of arguments or that it hasn’t put strain on our relationship at times. I’m not going to air our dirty laundry, but I want to give some insight to let those that are struggling or have struggled know that we are not perfect.

 

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Elephant Butte… sucked donkey! Late June, 2012.

Here’s one instance: We were sitting outside a laundry-mat waiting for our comforter to get done (I was afraid our washing machine would break if I tried shoving our king-sized comforter in it). Tyler was talking on the phone to his parents… and I heard him say the name that we’d chosen should the baby be a boy…and I seriously think steam came out of my ears I was so mad. Not even mad- angry. (note- I was asked several times by my mom about names and I told her to put a lid on it).

My reasoning behind this- can’t we a keep secret between ourselves? I wanted ONE thing to be between us- husband and wife- and it really hurt me. He was adamant on finding out the sex of the baby beforehand which I kind of wanted to refrain from doing (I definitely want to know now because of the miscarriage, but not sure if I want everyone to know), so keeping this between us was important to me. Does there really need to be more reasoning? The woman is the one who carries the darn baby!

You know what? A week later we found out that I miscarried. I cried over what happened, but remember, I didn’t have my D&C done for nearly two weeks later. I can recall replaying this awful fight in my head on my way home from class one day  and actually pulled over because I couldn’t stop crying (not dramatizing this, babe). Keep in mind that “it” was still inside of me for two weeks after the news…so my hormones were off the chart.

I know people are excited when pregnancy news arises- I get it. It could have been anyone that asked this simple question and I would’ve gotten upset- not at them by any means, but at his response, haha. I think we will both be keeping one foot on the ground until we are holding a newborn in our arms…and the only important thing during those nine months is mine and the baby’s health. Moral of the story is that I may have been illogical with my reason to get upset, but shit happens and we all have to compromise….and sometimes things are too important to us that we may choose not to compromise and want to get our way, haha 😉

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Our weekend getaway to Phoenix after everything. Needed a weekend away to help heal.

We argued over baby items…cribs, strollers, car seats, monitors, high chairs- pretty much everything, haha. We registered pretty early on (at 11 weeks), but did so because TJ was going back to the field for 6 weeks and by the time he’d get home, I would’ve been 5 months pregnant (and in school full-time), and we figured that our shower would be when we were able to come home at Christmas since I was due in early March.

All I’m saying about this- I’m so freaking glad that we got these discussions out of the way. Tyler’s a researcher and I’m more of a hearsay kinda person…CLASH! We’ve already purchased a few items for our future baby after we came to an agreement (yep, stroller and car seat are out of the way!).

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Outside of my old apartment in Gilbert, Arizona. Tyler made me get out and pose in front of it, haha. Moving to AZ then moving home was a turning point in my life…

As far as intimacy…it became a chore for a few months. I was obsessed around November/December- charting my basal temp and using ovulation strips all the time. Those strips RULED my mood. If I was mid-cycle and the tests came back negative, I was annoyed. When they were positive, I was ecstatic. It didn’t matter though because I believe that my progesterone was probably so low during these months (I wasn’t monitored during this time), and we obviously had no positive results. People say that you’re more fertile after a miscarriage, but this is not always true. I was still crazy about my husband, but it simply isn’t the same when things are kinda forced to reach a desired goal. Those that have tried and tried again know what I mean!

His deployment came fast and unexpected. I’ll be almost 30 when TJ gets home, so I hope people stop saying “you’re so young”. Tyler is three years older than me, but I know men can have kids until they’re like effing 70 or something. He had a sperm analysis done earlier this year and everything came back normal, but he will have one again when he gets home (the test is done once a year for those trying to conceive). It’s crucial to get it done as soon as he gets home because sometimes the vaccinations that the soldiers have to get beforehand can effect their sperm.

When you hit 30, you’re considered to be old when trying to conceive a first child in the military. For real. I honestly could give a fugg because we’re probably more financially secure than 98% of the much younger crowd popping out kids, yet it still tugs at your heart once in a while. However, I make myself put things into perspective:

*I have a Bachelor’s college degree and a decent job.

*He has two Bachelor degrees and is an Officer in the Army.

*We have two awesome, fairly new vehicles paid off.

*He has NO college debt (though I have a good lump sum, haha).

This shit may be all monetary, but in all honesty, children cost money. It could potentially cost us a lot to finally have baby, so at least we will be somewhat prepared if that’s what it comes down to 🙂 (obviously we are hoping not- hopefully my body will be so shocked when he comes home that it’ll grab ahold of a good one 😉

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While I we still yearn for a baby one day, I can seriously say that it feels good to just breathe again. No more frequent doctors appointments (only one visit to the lab each month) and constant testing for weeks straight. No more hoping then getting hit with disappointment…at least for a while. Our miscarriage brought Tyler and I closer together, and I know deep down that this deployment will only further strengthen our relationship.

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We may not think the same way, see eye to eye on all issues, but this man is my everything. It’s okay to disagree. TTC will take your relationship to a place it’s never been before. Have date nights and don’t constantly talk about things. And remember to always keep why you fell in love with the person in the first place in mind.

*On the surface, I fell for Tyler’s perfect smile and face (sounds super weird, haha), especially in a baseball hat (I have a thing for hats people…)

*Once we started talking, I knew this guy was motivated and was going to do something with his life. HOT.

*He likes the good things in life, but he’s financially responsible. He doesn’t take hand-outs and has bought his own shit. Admirable.

*He’s honest. Sometimes too honest and I wanna kick him in his balls, but he’s always been honest with everyone.

*He doesn’t love just anyone. This guy is picky. How did I get so lucky?! Don’t answer this, haha

If you’re having issues with your marriage when you’re trying to conceive, hang in there. Though we only ventured into fertility medication, feel free to message me!

 

If you and your spouse struggled to conceive, did it effect your marriage at all?

Were you guys super couple and never argued at all??

To everyone- tell me your BEST marriage tip!

 

Things NOT to Say to the Spouse of a Deployed Soldier

Alright, so I’ve read a few of these articles since becoming an army wife, and now that Tyler is deployed I’ve decided to make my own list. I’ve had numerous comments said to me throughout his absence due to field training exercises, but I didn’t think it was right to discuss this until now. Before I begin, remember that I’m sarcastic. I know that our civilian counterparts simply cannot comprehend long times apart, and it’s difficult to know what to say. What annoys me may be loved by someone else- so don’t get discouraged! Here we go:

1.) When does he get out? This comment has been made SO many times, and yes, this one kind of irritates me. Tyler gets out when he RETIRES- he’s eligible in 11 or so years- FULL retirement at age 42- plus all medical treatment paid throughout his life (mama’s gonna probably have to work until she’s 85…wah!). His prior service played a huge role in his decision to go back in as an officer as it counted towards his retirement and puts him in a slightly higher pay bracket (we are no Donald Trumps, but it IS a benefit for him). Yes, many men and women only put in a certain amount of time and then get out and move on, but some actually make it their career. And you know what? That’s not only admirable, but sexy as hell. Are you like me and can’t retire until your old as balls? 😦

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July 2012…his rank changed, but my big bear looks the same!

 

2.) At least you don’t have kids- This has only been said a few times so far, and I wasn’t really upset because they didn’t know us and our situation. If you’ve been an avid reader, it’s no secret that we want children and are more than ready. I was even congratulated that I’ll have made it to 30 without kids by a fellow co-worker (I’ll be 29.5 when TJ gets home).

3.) You can always go home- UMMM, no. Why? Because I have a full-time job now, two dogs, and an entire house to take care of. My personal and vacation days will be saved for when my Titan gets home. So unless I win the lottery which I never play, this shit  isn’t happening. Although I plan on flying home for a long weekend or two over the next several months! Come visit me!!! We should only have about 7 months left in the area after TJ gets home. The city is really not so bad. We have some decent shopping, great restaurants, different scenery, and a ton of movies to watch if I have to work 😉

4.) Are you scared? Of course. I cried multiple times a day during the first couple of weeks Tyler was gone, but I try not to think about it…so please don’t ever ask this. My wishes when I find a penny or drop an eyelash are not about a baby anymore- they’re about Tyler coming home safe (and the same person…yes, I’ve read too much on how people can change) to me…I hate wishing days away, but nighttime is the most peaceful to me as it is another day done.

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A visit while he was at OCS. September 2011.

5.) Has he shot/killed anyone?- Unfortunately, I’ve been asked this many times. I don’t know, and it’s offending that someone would ask this. There are things I want to know about my husband and things I don’t- this is one of them. However, he conquered TWO 12 month tours in Iraq during the midst of the War on Terrorism…

Tyler was a part of the 173rd Airborne Brigade that jumped into Iraq on March 26, 2003. Please Google this! Many people don’t know the significance of this date.

Also, there is a difference between jumping…and jumping into a designated war-zone.

He lost his best friend and others close to him throughout his deployments. Many people endured loss during the war. Just remember that.

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Preparing to jump…(random pic). However, Tyler actually jumped into a war zone… not just practiced. HUGE difference to those that love to jump onto free soil and those that have not.

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This is how much gear Tyler and the other men dropped with. Have you had a bad day at work?

6.) Just keep yourself busy- I do, but it doesn’t mean I don’t look at his side of the bed and burst into tears once in a while. Or think of him when I’m our in our closet changing and see his section of clothes. Or see his car, knowing he’s not there when I pull inside the garage. Work has been amazing at keeping my days going, but have a harder time starting my day when I work a 1-10 shift. Nonetheless, once I get there and get in the groove, I’m good. Outside of work- the dogs, crafts, movies, light exercise, and a couple of friends keeps me entertained enough.

7.) You knew what you were getting into- This phrase wasn’t said directly to me…it was more like, “Well if you knew that he’d be leaving eventually, didn’t you kinda expect it?” When I met Tyler, he had mentioned going to grad school after graduating with his Bachelors. I never thought about us being long term for the first few months, and I was already invested in him and our relationship by the time he decided to go back in as an officer.

He was a hot piece of meat, and I was getting out of an extremely long relationship. Tyler was so incredibly different than all I ever knew … and yet, the relationship worked and grew. He didn’t spring going back into the army on me until I knew I wanted him around for a while…bastard. Just kidding 😉 So no, I didn’t know what I was getting into initially. But you know what? I wouldn’t change a fucking thing, no matter how sad, scared, or lonely I am sometimes. And you simply cannot comprehend these things until you’re actually in the moment, ya know?

8.) My husband travels…– Listen- If your husband travels to California or even London for business, THIS IS NOT THE SAME. I know some airlines are sketchy, but your hubby is relatively SAFE. He can eat whatever he wants, call/skype you whenever he wants, shop whenever he wants, watch TV whenever he wants, and rub one out whenever he wants- AND he’s home within a few WEEKS (usually). Oh, and he probably doesn’t have to worry about rockets being launched at him or whatever.

*Sidenote- if you freak out after your significant other is away for a few days, please re-examine yourself. I honestly about shit my pants when I see Facebook statuses about missing their loved ones after a few days. Put on your big girl panties, eat and watch whatever you damn well please, pour a drink, and be effing grateful you have a man who is out making you guys money. Have a girls night. Do things you that you’re spouse doesn’t really like to do (Real Housewives of OC marathons…although I know he secretly doesn’t mind them, haha).  Just please don’t compare the two.

I obviously have to carry on with my life and the life we set up together here, but deployment revolves around emails and phone calls. Once you hear from them, you sigh with relief, but then you hold your breath until the next time.

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Tyler’s an Officer! I was freezing my nads off and it took me forever to pin this 🙂

9.) Let me know if you need anything- I’m here for you!- I know this is a well-intended remark, but quite frankly, actions speak louder than words. Don’t tell me- SHOW me. It’s like with any trying times in life. Unless your close as hell to me (mom, aunt, sister, best friend), I’m not gonna call or text you about “needing” anything.

I’m by NO means not expecting anything from anyone, and I can hold down the fort unless it comes to starting the damn lawn mower or fixing the computer. However, I think it’s downright insulting to say such a thing, and yet, never act upon it.

Point blank- relationships and friendships will transpire during a deployment on both ends- spouse and soldier. Texting and calling are different things. Saying you’re there and actually being there are two entirely different entities. On the other hand, random texts have brightened up my day!

This can be said about any trying time during life- not just during deployments, such as sickness, death, etc. After our miscarriage and the past year trying to conceive, I gained an incredible amount of compassion towards those that have struggled in this area- it truly opened my eyes. If anything, I know that this deployment will do the same for me as well in regards to this type of situation.

I know that I’m not the best friend/sister/daughter/whatever- but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that actions truly do speak louder than words. Tyler had a lot to do with me recognizing this by showing me how much he loves me, rather than just saying it. Thanks, babe 🙂

Right after I accepted his proposal. P.S. He even looked my dad’s phone number up and called him to ask him if it was alright if he asked me to marry him. I LOVED this!

10.) I could never do it- What in the world does this mean? I’m assuming it’s supposed to be a compliment, but it’s not. What would you do then? Divorce your husband? Quit going into work and lay in bed all day? Move back home with your parents? I don’t understand this comment.

You do it because you HAVE to.

You “can do it” because your husband is doing a job that most men or women cannot or would not handle.

And bottom line- you do it because you found a love that was so amazing, so incredibly invigorating, that it took you above where you’ve ever been before.

When you love someone deeply enough, you CAN wait for them. You CAN continue to love them across the world. You will regain energy from happy memories flooding your mind as well as through erratic emails and phone calls.

And…you’ll always keep in mind, that the day you see them again will be absolutely fucking glorious…..

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June 2013…the day he got home from NIE. Happy happy 🙂

Dear 18 Year-Old Self

I read a “10 Things I Would Tell My 18 Year-Old Self if I Could” on my friend’s blog, Laurealism and loved the idea so I created one myself. While I don’t regret too much in my life as it led me to where I am today, it’s kind of amusing to look back on things I wish I would’ve known back then.

10 Things I Would Tell My 18 Year-Old Self if I Could…

1. Pay more attention in math. I know we hate it, but suck it up and stop drawing cartoon characters in your notebook with your friend instead of the quadratic formula (which I FINALLY memorized and still know b y heart today, thank you very much!). It will give you more confidence and ease your anxiety when taking it in college.

I’ve memorized this formula because of a teacher, haha. I don’t even know what the end product is supposed to give you though!

2. Research colleges. Research majors. Research any potential career that you feel interested in. Do not pick a school based on exterior circumstances, such as family and friends. I don’t want to degrade my parents here, but neither of them cared what I was doing with my life at this point. I probably could have said I was moving to Idaho to tame a bee farm and they would’ve said okee-dokee. They were pre-occupied with their lives…or something.

At any rate, I chose to go to IUPUI with my best friends at the time. This tends to be a commuter campus in Indianapolis for those that are unfamiliar with it. Well, this situation lasted a whole 3 months. A handful of factors played into this- one random day I was supposed to go to class but instead packed up my essentials and drove home and crying most of the way (out of failure and relief). Also, take classes that you actually need. I didn’t even have an advisor at IUPUI, so I took a fucking walking and meditation class. Who does this?! If you’re a parent, be actively involved no matter if your child goes to a university, technical school, or whatever. Don’t let them do dumb shit please.

Visit campuses WITH your parents if you want to go to college!

3. Don’t buy a rabbit. My best friend knows why. You will name it Fwankenstein (from the movie Big Daddy), and it will bite you all the time. She will end up caring for it… Also, do not “borrow” her parking pass or she will go fucking ape shit.

P.S. Your nose ring will become infected…don’t feel bad about taking it out within a week despite peer pressure.

4. You HAVE to go to class to do well. Most of the time, attending class is a must to succeed, and teachers will like you (and obviously know you) better if you show up.

5. Life won’t always suck. It may be years, but it WILL get better. Keep swimming…AND you will marry into a drama-free, absolutely amazing family.

These people are awesome.

6.) Family relationships will be turbulent for the next handful of years. You will not be taken seriously about the circumstances until it has hit rock bottom….but you’ll be okay, taken care of, and come out better than you would have had shit not flown.

Kathleen’s 8th grade graduation…one of the last family photos I can find. Who in the Sam are we looking at besides Kath?!

7.) You’ll become closer than ever to your uncle and aunt….they will be your home for a few years. Your sister will live with you again, and although she will drive you nuts by stealing your clothes, rolling them into balls and shoving them under her bed or in her closet, it will bring you closer together. These will become the memories that help you fall asleep at night.

Without them, I’d be nothing…

8.)  Your relationship with your parents will somewhat strengthen as years go on. You’ll learn that you cannot chance people, but you can change how you react or interact to situations. This tactic will help you tremendously. Accept how people or situations are.

9.) You’ll make many irrational decisions– Such as moving across the country, but you’ll learn from it and gain a few memories along the way. You’ll also be welcomed back in with opened arms by your uncle and aunt. This will be a trying time in your life- the relationship you were so certain (yet so un certain many times) about for eight years, will be questioned deeply…and you will realize that you must come to a decision.

I loved the view from our apartment in Arizona! Can’t wait to move closer to the city late next year.

 

10.) You will not marry who think you will– I swear on everything. A new love will come out of complete darkness (see above). You will struggle with holding onto everything you’ve ever known, comfort, and stability. However, what was missing (financial responsibility, persuasion of personal growth, and loyalty) will be found. You WILL love greater and deeper…and never have to worry about if a bill was paid EVER again 😉

May 2013. Right after coming home from 6 weeks apart!

 

What are some things you would tell your younger self if you could?

 

Did you ever make irrational, butthead decisions?

 

Counting Successes Rather Than Days During a Deployment

**** I’d like to give a huge shout-out to Elizabeth from Elizabeth Loves for helping me customize my blog over the past week! Though I’m slowly learning, I’m clueless when it comes to the back-end of blog design, and she was extremely helpful, made the process easy, and was absolutely wonderful to work with. Elizabeth is also a fellow military wife who writes about all different arrays of life- so check out her blog!

Alright, obviously I’d rather have my husband right next to me, but that simply is not possible right now. Though this is TJ’s third deployment, it’s our first together, and it hit us out of nowhere. This post is not meant to judge, nor to say that that dealing with it one way is better than others. It’s simply portraying how I’m trying to juggle being apart from my husband and, better yet, getting him home safe and sound.

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Late 2011- Visiting TJ at Fort Benning while he was at OCS.

I’ve only been an army wife for a bit over two years, but I’ve come into contact with numerous spouses. After the basic “get to know ya” questions, they tend to ask whether or not you’re husband has deployed or not. Is this a status thing? For real…I’m asking all the military spouses out there. Did I not qualify to be in the “real army wife” category because I didn’t experience a deployment with my husband yet? Who knows…

I didn’t even know he existed back then, but Tyler did two, 12 month tours previously in Iraq. Long story short if you’re new- He was enlisted from 2001 to 2007 and left as a Staff Sergeant…went to college and got a dual degree in Marketing and Business, then went back in as an Officer.

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TJ in Iraq…

Anyways, as much as I want to lie in bed and watch Netflix or Hulu all day, I know I can’t (but some days I will). I HAVE to focus on the positives of this deployment…Tyler has tried to remind me of some.

  • Our marriage will be stronger than ever
  • Our true friendships will shine through
  • Our familial relations will grow closer together

In all honesty, I am not the most positive person in the world. Ask those closest to me, haha. It’s funny though because I get many comments applauding me for my optimism. I kind of have to force myself to think better thoughts, but you know what? It ends up changing my mindset after a while and relieves so much unneeded stress. Sulking and bitching won’t give me Tyler back. In fact, it would probably damage our relationship to an extent. I have to be strong for myself and him…but I promise you I have my moments (some last longer than others), yet their in the privacy of my home. I’ll write more about this as we get further into the deployment.

Anyways, I stupidly downloaded a countdown app last week and punched in the rough estimate of when he will returning home next week. I seriously about shat my pants when I saw the number that pop up and immediately said eff this. I have no clue why I even did that. Some women may find a countdown to be comforting, but mama just can’t handle seeing numbers in the high 200’s. So, instead of counting numbers, I’m going to count our successes.

The successes don’t really have to be things I achieved. They’ll merely be things that make me happy, get me through the day or week, or that I look forward to. It could be something as simple as relaxing and enjoying a book or trying something new. I plan on creating a “Deployment Bucket List” for things I’m going to do to help me not freak the fuck out stay strong for the both of us. I’ll share this with you all within a few weeks! Hopefully, this will help others gain more light towards deployments instead of focusing on the constant worry and other negative feelings that it causes.

Thought this was funny…

What do you think about counting successes instead of days during a deployment or pro-longed times away from your spouse?

Any suggestions of things to put on my bucket list??!!

The Love of My Life is Halfway Across the World

Soooo…We have some news to share. If you’re familiar with the army, you know what the multicam in the picture below means:

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Multi-cam ACU’s…yep.

My husband deployed a few weeks ago. Although I’m well aware that this is part of the deal while in the military, this deployment occurred very unexpectedly (Tyler was in a non-deployable unit and was individually tasked out to go), and the process of us finding out to him leaving happened within a matter of two weeks.

Typically, army personnel and their families know about theses things months in advance so there is more time to prepare and whatnot. That obviously wasn’t the case, but we are actually both grateful for this. Waiting around is no fun, which is a huge part of the military. Have you ever heard of the phrase “hurry up and wait”?. Starting the deployment asap meant that TJ would be coming home sooner. It’s hard to explain, but it’s kind of like ripping a Band-Aid off really fast instead of slowly and dreading the pain 😉

We were celebrating our second anniversary and rooting that things were perhaps aligned medically to try for a baby again without any prolonged interruptions due to his training….Then news broke loose that he was about to embark on a 9 month deployment. I thought TJ was joking at first…but he wasn’t. Tyler handled everything extremely well- even when they went back and forth about whether or not he was going. Like come on people- he’s not going on a flipping business trip to Cali. This is this third deployment (he did two 12 month tours in Iraq when he was enlisted), but our first together.

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Grasping our last days together- relaxing andwatching the series “Orange is the New Black”. We love it!

Within a matter of days,  we he got shit taken care of- POA, discussing financial obligations, and unfortunately the worst-case scenario details.

Do not tell me that I signed up for this. Yes, I knew this day would come. I’ll tell you though- I’m so incredibly proud of this man that I could burst.

All I ask if for you to keep my big sexy in your thoughts.

Thank you…Have a good one! 🙂 XOXO.

Have you or someone you love every deployed? If so, for how long and where to?

 

Did You Marry/Date Outside of Your League?

A few weeks ago, I read something on Facebook about someone marrying out of their league. While I thought it was incredibly cute, and it also got me thinking about who I married, why, and where we stood in comparison to one another. Some people may not have the balls to admit that they married above, below, or within their league, but I thought this was an interesting topic to write about 🙂

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A few months after we started dating…

What do people take into consideration when determining what qualifies for being in or out of their league? To me, it’s pretty much anything- education, intelligence,  looks, career, upbringing, goals, and values are a few things that come to mind. The most obvious characteristics would be looks (typically the first thing most people notice), then comes personality (this can usually be analyzed after conversing for a few minutes, although it can take longer for shy people like myself), and more personal qualities, such as values and morals, may take a while to become aware of. When I met TJ, I was honestly taken back by his straight-forward demeanor; however, that’s now one of the qualities I love (and sometimes hate, haha) the most. I do wish that he’d elaborate more on things about his past as I love knowing minute details about people (childhood & upbringing, memories, etc.), but I’ve learned that either his memory isn’t the greatest or he doesn’t like revisiting the past ;).

Anyways, I thought he was out of my league right away. He was double majoring in business management and marketing, was determined about his future endeavors, and was smokin’ hot (especially with a baseball hat on!). I was struggling in college, had no flipping idea what my future held, and was living for tomorrow. Basically, my life was in shambles, but I’d like to think that my husband saw potential in me 😉 I personally feel as though he’s always been the “rescuer” type. This was absolutely wonderful on my end, but I have moments when I wonder if he regrets not falling for someone that was more his equal in certain terms (career, intellect on specific topics). I’m not discounting myself- there are things I’m much better at than my husband such as cooking healthy meals or cleaning the shower 😉

This used to bother me a lot, and sometimes it still does when I’m PMSing or extra hormonal from fertility meds (or possibly it’s my natural state- who knows!) I think that in every relationship there are things you have to give and take; some things you’re better at than your significant other or household chores you each tend to fall into place. I thought this article was great in discussing being with someone “out of your league” although it emphasizes celebrity status. The thing is- who is to say they’re out of your league? People are attracted to different things. Someone may look like Bradley Cooper but find a good sense of humor  irresistible so looks become less imperative. Some people seek out partners that are doorknobs but are model-like.

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Come to mama…

I’m 28 years old. I “dated” like 2 people before my high school boyfriend, and we dated until I was 23. I met my now-husband a year later. Obviously I’m more of a relationship person, but I did mingle before landing Tyler, and I sought myself short. Everything turned out more than I could have ever imagined, but I wish I would have protruded more confidence about myself back then.

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So my advice is- don’t sell yourself short. It is easy to become complacent in a relationship you’ve been in for a long time. High school sweethearts work for some, but I know a few couples that have been married since their teens/very early twenties (they’re now older- some are still married, some are divorced) and don’t seem completely satisfied. I was told on numerous occasions to see what else is out there. This annoyed me back then, but I’m SOsosososooo glad I put on my big girl panties and took a chance. I think everyone has their “what if” moments (except my husband, which I feel is not human). I think that love becomes comfortable as time goes on, and most people want to stay in their comfort zone. Change is difficult for many people so they make themselves feel complacent in their current situation. However, thinking the grass is greener is another issue to take into consideration. Sometimes it’s not, sometimes it is, and sometimes it’s the same- it may simply be about your change in perspective about relationships or even life in general.

Truly think about the person you’re with and visualize the future- not just in the present moment. Yeah, they may be hot or have a bangin’ bod, but that doesn’t always last. They may be fun and the life of the party, but life gets serious sometimes and you will want someone who will be there for you. Think about what kind of parent the person would be (if you want children). It’s easy to say that you’re partner will be the best mother/father figure ever, but ask yourself why. In fact, ask yourself why about all of the things you find important in your life!

As I got older, intelligence, perseverance, and motivation became more imperative to me. Furthermore, I can’t stress enough the significance of financial responsibility. I’m not saying don’t be with someone with shitty credit because that can (hopefully)  be fixed over time. But if you’re in your mid 20’s and with someone that still forgets to pay their cell phone bill every month, is continuously late on payments, or overdraws from their bank account all the time- RUN FOR THE HILLS. Just kidding…but not really. I didn’t even have a credit card before I met Tyler (not a great idea, I realize that now), but it also meant that I didn’t go bat-shit crazy like many girls and buy crap that I couldn’t afford. I had two things haunting me- a broken apartment lease payment from Arizona and some unavoidable medical bills. Tyler MADE me get a credit check and he helped me get these matters resolved. Only a keeper will help you do that 😉

What are your feelings about this topic?

Have you ever stayed in a relationship because it was comfortable?

What advice would you give your younger self regarding relationships?

Home.

One of the main questions I get asked about the military life isn’t really about the army at all, it’s about the difficulty of being away from home. Everyone has different relationships with their families and while some people may find the distance easier than others, I have yet to hear someone answer say it’s a piece of cake. This post may be irrelevant if you’ve never moved or are not planning on ever moving away from your hometown or family, but I thought it’d share my views on it.

Throughout my later years in high school, I oddly daydreamed of moving away. I actually wanted to go to college in Florida, but I knew that was out of the question financially for my family and the thought of the amount of out-of-state student loans was a huge deal-breaker. Looking back, I don’t think I truly wanted to move away- I just wanted to run away for a while. And that’s precisely what I did with the stint to Arizona. I was at a very confusing and overwhelming time during my life when I lived those short six months or so in Arizona- and before I even moved. It took me moving across the country to learn that displacing yourself from an environment doesn’t automatically create happiness (although the winter months are a hell of a lot nicer!). In fact, it actually resulted in an abundance of guilt for leaving my younger brother and sister. Anyways, I wasn’t in school and was working full-time at Payless. I’m incredibly grateful that I even had a job (this was in late 2008- right after shit hit the fan economically in America- great timing, eh?), but it was pretty much dead end. I was working to pay bills and eat- nothing was saved. This was eye-opening as it was not the life I wanted to live forever. So I threw in the towel and decided to move back to Indiana. I really don’t know what other choice I had. Yes, I could have been granted in-state tuition after living there another six months, but I would’ve had to take out so much in student loans that it freaked me out. Plus, you’ve gotta have a partner with a similar mindset as you and that I did not 😉

Luckily, my uncle and aunt welcomed me back into their home with opened arms in late March 2009. I got my old job back, worked full-time, and started classes again that Fall. I met Tyler early February of 2010, and we’ve been inseparable ever since. Now, when he mentioned going back in the army as an officer I honestly didn’t think much of it. He applied and did what he had to do, but in the meantime graduated and attained a full-time job. When he got accepted and got a date I got a little scared…but I kept going. I thought that he’d maybe dipped out, haha.

You can read about him leaving and our year apart here. Here’s where we get to afterward, and how I’ve dealt with it.

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It’s a long ass way from Indiana to west Texas…

I knew Tyler was in the army until retirement before we moved. It’d be silly to not be given his prior service- the main reason he was going back in. Knowing that we’d NEVER be moving back home was hard, and I still try not to think about it. However, I had just witnessed my best friend’s wedding and my sister’s high school graduation, and it was inevitable to not think about future celebration’s of our family and friends that we probably would not be a part of.

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May 2012.

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June 2012.

When we left Indiana en route to Texas, I don’t think I stopped crying until Oklahoma. Just kidding- we made a detour to Kentucky to visit friends, but if we hadn’t I probably would have 🙂 My mom, dad, brother, and sister each gave me a card or hand written letter to say their good-byes. This probably sounds overly dramatic, but knowing we were never going to move home probably struck a chord (after TJ retires, we will go where work is best). Anyways, I read these messages one by one throughout the duration of the trip. My brother’s letter was the last and I think I cried for 2 hours straight. Tyler must have been in heaven 🙂

Birthdays and lifetime milestones have been missed on each end. Illness struck my family late last year. Things have happened where all I wanted to do was lay in my bed in my uncle and aunt’s house, or in my sister’s bed, or on the couch in the sun room with my aunt, on my mom’s couch, or having pizza and a beer with my dad. But I couldn’t. I won’t lie- sometimes at night when Tyler is gone I’ll close my eyes and wish I were in one of those places. Don’t get me wrong- I’m head over heels for my husband- but I miss that specific comfort. Lame, huh? I still envy those that hang out with their family and friends on the reg. I don’t want you guys to forget about me!

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December 2013.

The whole experience has made me grow though. It sounds dumb, but living away from everything and everyone you’ve always known gives you the opportunity to expand your horizons. I got my panties in a wad when I realized I’d had to drive down I-10 everyday to get to classes at UTEP (the people out here drive like they’re in the Indy 500 and don’t know how to merge or move the heck over). Tyler came with me (after I begged, haha) so I could scope out the route and parking situation beforehand. I had to immerse myself into a completely different culture and the military community, all while learning how to be a student, wife, maid (jk), and figuring who I was in the meantime (work in progress). It’s been amazing, but there are times where I still yearn for home.

Tyler must have a massive backbone built in him that makes him more resistant to this stuff, or he has entirely different relationships. At any rate, he’s much better with living apart and goodbyes than I am. I can’t go days without talking to my family, but that’s how I grew up. I want to know what you’re gonna eat for dinner, what you did that day, how you’re feeling, if something funny happened, etc. It’s not wrong that I want to talk or send them pictures to keep them updated- that’s just how our relationships are.

One piece of advice I would give is to try and have something to look forward to, whether it’s a phone call, skype session (this never happens with me, haha), or a visit. Traveling can be expensive which is why I haven’t flown home every other month for a weekend 😉 Also, sending random texts, cards, pictures, etc. help keep the connection viable. Again, it all depends on the type of relationship you have and how you communicate.

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My brother and sister’s first visit out- December 2012.

Yes, it’s hard to be away from family and friends. I cry every time I leave. I miss the comfort of the homes I was lucky enough to be a part of, but then I look over at my husband and am reminded that home has a different definition now.

Home is wherever the army takes us.

Home is wherever he is needed.

Home is wherever you are. ALWAYS.

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Long Distance Relationships

Before I begin, I just want everyone to know that this post is NOT directed toward handling long distance relationships during deployments. That is entirely different for obvious reasons. Also, I’m no expert; I simply just want to share what has worked for us. Tyler and I did the long distance thing for a year and continue to do so while he is in the field for weeks/months on end (army training literally in a field, lol).

Here’s a quick breakdown of our time before the LDR (long distance relationship) began:

  • Tyler graduates college in December 2010 with two degrees- Business Management and Marketing. He got out of the army in March of 2007 as a Staff Sergeant after serving six years, takes a cross-country road trip with an old friend, and begins school soon after that. He actually graduated in 3.5 years while working full-time (an internship was always thrown in there for a semester as well). Obviously my college career and mindset was much different than his, haha (I don’t know how I didn’t scare him away…but anyways!).
  • We had only been dating for about 10 months when he told me he wanted to go to Officer Candidate School (based at Fort Benning, GA). Naturally, I asked why- there had been talk about grad school, and I pictured him getting an awesome marketing job in Chicago. It was simple: his prior service counted towards his retirement and pay (he can retire in 10.5 years with full benefits if he chooses to do so to pursue other business endeavors) and it provides awesome health care coverage. There are other perks such as 30 days paid vacation which can rollover (however, you typically have to take them when your assigned unit’s block leave is scheduled), 3-4 day weekends every month, having the opportunity to travel, etc.
  • The process from submitting his request to go to OCS to the time he left for school was about 8 months or so. I honestly can’t remember exactly, but it did take a while to get a date. During that time he got a full-time job and we continued onward. I never wanted to talk about him leaving or think about what would happen. Of course I was scared and nervous, but I didn’t want to think about it and wanted to enjoy our time together while we could.
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Hiking in June 2011 at the Indiana Dunes. Tyler decided to take us off trail, and literally 10 minutes later this picture was a huge storm came plowing through. I thought I was going to get struck by lightning in the middle of the woods- SO mad at him. haha

  • Tyler and I took a quick trip to Vegas in early July. The day after we got back, he hopped on a plane and traveled Europe for almost two weeks with his mom. I remember saying goodbye to him before they left for the airport. It was a hot, sunny day and I had to work that afternoon. I pulled over to cry for about ten minutes after holding it in for so long, put on a baseball hat, and ventured into work for the night. Those two weeks he was in Europe were emotional for me. I was crying because I thought he’d meet some broad and dump me. I’d cry because I thought he might want to be a play boy bachelor again after being apart for a few weeks. I’d cry because that’s what I do when I’m sad (I’m sure all of the men reading are thinking what a psycho right now, haha) I had moments of being pissed off about it to. Why would he string me along for a year and a half if he was ultimately going to leave? Why would he even want to back into the army after two tours in Iraq? This took week period with him gone but not really gone helped. Towards the end of his trip, I got over my bipolar state and gained some logic and clarity: only time will tell and instead of agonizing over it I knew I needed to focus on continuing to better myself.

Vegas is hot as balls in July

  • A few days after he got home he left for Georgia (late July 2011). I went with him and his parents to eat at Maggianos’ near O’Hare Airport and we dropped him off at his hotel after dinner. I knew his parents had heavy hearts as well on the drive home (I can’t imagine all of the worrying they had to endure during his deployments…and now they had to say good-bye to their son again?!); however, they made me laugh and I went home feeling happy.

So there’s the lowdown. TJ and I were not able to have any sort of communication during the first 3 or 4 weeks, but I emailed or Facebook messaged him a few times to keep him updated with my extremely busy and glamorous life. We wrote a few letters  to each other (I believe it was a grand total of one, haha), but pretty much stuck with technology. As romantic as hand-written letters are, they’re a pain in the ass to write. Sorry, but true 🙂

I sent him care packages while he was at OCS and BOLC (additional training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma for his current branch which is Field Artillery- he will be switching to Military Intelligence in about a year and a half for the remainder of his army career). The items they were allowed to have at OCS were very limited, but I sent him a Valentine’s Day, Birthday, and random packages while he was at Sill. He randomly sent me flowers and gifts from Amazon (a Canon camera was my favorite). It felt good to send things to him, and it was nice receiving as well 😉

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Aren’t these flowers the cutest?! Sent while T was at OCS.

I visited him twice during his 3 months at OCS from the end of July until the beginning of November (just weekend trips) and three times while he was at BOLC from the end of December until early June. These quick trips gave me something to look forward to, and I can’t even begin to describe how exciting it is as the days get closer until you see the one you love again. Some people say things such as, “I don’t know how you handle the distance” and “I could never do it”. Uhh, yeah you could. What you do is put your big girl panties on and take things day by day. Of course I’d be sad knowing I wouldn’t see him again for a few months, but I wouldn’t let myself think, “Oh shit…I’m not going to see him again for 76 more days”. That thought process is a disaster waiting to happen!

So here are some things to keep in mind when dealing with LDR’s:

Don’t stress about it before it actually happens. Take advantage of the time you have together instead of being a no-fun grump. This will only make the situation worse and you want to be strong.

When apart- COMMUNICATE. I used to be one of those girls that when asked what is wrong, I’d say “oh nothing” then act like a complete bear. Not smart, haha. We don’t know what each other are thinking because we’re so different- and that’s okay. But if Tyler hurt my feelings or pissed me off, I’d tell him (I’m still working on the tone of how I say things…always a work in progress I suppose!). I expect him to tell me the same thing (which he does). Set up time that work with both of your schedules to actually talk on the phone, Skype, or instant message. TJ and I texted throughout the day when we could which was awesome, but actually having real conversations is imperative.

Jealousy is inevitable and trust will be tested. I can’t speak for Tyler, but I’m not gonna lie and say I didn’t think twice when he’d go out with fellow students to the bar (this didn’t happen that often though). The guys were about 5 years younger than Tyler- basically fresh out of college- single, and still in party mode. I know girls can be huge skanks, and just from the few times I’ve visited Oklahoma, I learned that it is not fun (I know some girls that love Lawton, but I definitely do not- plus they have tornadoes) for me and I’d probably hang out at bars every weekend if I was stuck there as well. My only advice is to let it go. Sure, if he doesn’t text you all night long then that’s shady, but in all honesty, if a guy’s (or girl) gonna cheat, he’s gonna cheat, and he could do it anywhere- doesn’t have to be on a Friday night after the bar. Ya know?

Send care packages, cards, etc. This one is pretty self-explanatory. It’s fun on both ends- giving and receiving. It lets the other person know they are being thought of, loved, and missed.

Birthday flowers. January 2012

Birthday flowers. January 2012

Flowers for getting straight A's Spring semester. May 2012.

Flowers for getting straight A’s Spring semester. May 2012.

Look forward to the next time you’ll spend together, but take things day by day. Counting days until the next visit may work for some, but it didn’t for me. I remember counting the days after he went to OCS and it was 60 or 70 something and it was like a punch in the subject. Needless to say, I quickly made myself forget that number 🙂 Don’t agonize over it and keep reminding yourself that what is meant to be will be.

Keep yourself busy. I didn’t go out much at all for the first 3 months he was gone. In fact, I didn’t have one sip of alcohol either. As mentioned before, I completely stopped taking Adderall when he left. My body and mind needed to reset itself, and going out drinking and socializes when I was trying to overcome some personal demons just didn’t seem smart or even fun to me. However, I started spending a lot of time at my mom’s and hanging with my brother and sister. I threw myself into my school work and excelled. I started working out again. I’d hang out with my aunt and talk about life for hours. I’d watch crappy television or go hang out or have dinner with my best friend. Very low-key, but I was happy. My best friend was planning her wedding for May 2012, my sister’s senior prom was in April…so there were fun things that I helped out with. I started venturing out more after I began trusting myself to not fall back into old habits, but it wasn’t very often.

Kathleen's senior prom- April 2012.

Kathleen’s senior prom- April 2012.

Think of how amazing it will be to finally see each other again. If you’ve never been apart from your significant other for more than a week, I kind of feel sorry for you. For one, you may never become okay with being in your own company. Two, you won’t get to experience the first hug, kiss, and feeling as though as if your heart might burst with happiness after not seeing each other for a while. Goodbye’s suck, but saying hello is so, so good.

The day we picked him up from O'Hare after BOLC was complete- no more goodbye's for a few months!

The day we picked him up from O’Hare after BOLC was complete- no more goodbye’s for a few months!

I probably left a few things out, but things are a few things that helped me. Of course I still have my days, but I try to keep to myself when the mood arises 😉

Have you ever experienced a long distance relationship? Tell me about it!

If so, what other words of advice could you provide? What worked for you?

What’s the longest you have gone without seeing your significant other?

Thoughts on Self-Acceptance

Some of my blog post are quite mundane, while others open up quite a bit about personal experiences. If you’ve read my blog in the past, it’s probably quite apparent that I use this as an outlet for myself. Writing thoughts out instead of having them run over and over in my head has always helped me. There have been periods in my life when I have not written, but throughout most of my late elementary school years until I was about 22, I always kept some sort of journal.

The ones from when I was a child are hilarious- I wrote about what we ate for dinner, if my friends or brother and sister were being brats, how I hate math (some shit never changes…), and what I did over the weekend. In middle school I started getting into poetry. Only a few close friends knew that I wrote, and this was because I felt like a weirdo. However, my teachers always pulled me aside and told me they were impressed (not trying to toot my own horn…I know my 7th grade work wasn’t anything to write home about, haha) and to keep on writing. This phase transcended into high school.

I found my stash of journals from high school a few weeks ago after rummaging through some things while organizing. Tyler had staff duty that night, so I proceeded to make a cocktail (vodka and diet root-beer…I’m one classy lady) and read about details from my life back in 2001 to 2006. Now before I go any further, please know that my life was not a complete havoc. I never went through anything extremely detrimental, but to put it nice and brief- there were complex familial issues that stemmed after my parents divorce when I was 14, as well as just plain teenage issues. After reading random things I wrote, I thought how incredibly sad I felt for this girl that wrote it. It wasn’t like I felt sorry for myself, it was more like I felt sorry that she was hurting at the time and I wanted to tell her that everything would be okay. It’s hard to explain without sounding crazy.

After my break-up and when I met TJ, I completely stopped writing. This makes me sad because I really wish I knew my feelings, struggles, and overall thoughts during this transitional time period. I know why I didn’t write- I was afraid Tyler and I wouldn’t last and I didn’t want to be reminded of it or fall too much in love. Silly, but I get it. I was also going though a time of learning self-acceptance. Honestly, I still am, though most days are better than others.

When I met him, I was at a point in my life where I knew I needed change and I was ready for it. I needed help to be pulled out of my rut-my life was in a complete stalemate- and he kept persisting to me my boyfriend until I finally gave in 😉 However, I was so incredibly self-conscious about certain things. I’d basically beg him not bring up school, where I worked, or my future endeavors in front of his friends or family. In a sense, I also wanted to dismiss my family life. I was living with my uncle and aunt (SO thankful for them), but it was still awkward discussing where I lived, why, etc. To be honest, I didn’t really recognize my insecurities until I met Tyler. I always surrounded myself with who I knew which resulted in acceptance and comfort.

Basic questions that people typically ask would made my anxiety sky-rocket- How’s school/what are you majoring in/when do you graduate? Where do you work? I’d seriously want to crawl under a rock. That’s when I knew shit HAD to change. Was I going to go through life being embarrassed and ashamed? You can read about my change and progression here. Nonetheless, it took time. I remember being self-conscious around his mom as she always worked, always had a career- my mom stayed at home with us kids growing up. This made me feel inferior in a sense, but there was absolutely no reason for it. I’d compare myself to the ladies (some may not actually be worthy of this title though…just kidding- kind of, haha) that Tyler dated before me. I couldn’t comprehend why I was good enough for him- he made Staff Sergeant in 4 years, went to war twice, graduated in 3.5 years with two degrees, and was going back in the army as an officer. However, I knew deep down I had issues with myself and who I thought I should be at the time.

I gradually began to learn to accept who I was and love myself by working on small goals. I know I’m not the most intelligent person, but I always made sure to be organized, ask questions and get to know the professor (Tyler’s suggestion), and not be grouped or sit with idiots (Tyler’s suggestion) after I started taking my education seriously. I embraced my living situation. How many people can say that they had the opportunity to live and become close with their aunt and uncle? I slowly became okay with being me.

When we moved to Texas, I was still really self-conscious because of the reasons listed above. Being 26, in school full-time to obtain a Bachelor’s and not working was not my idea of succeeding. But you know what? Tyler didn’t care. He repeatedly told me that he didn’t give a shit and that he loved me for me. I have a hard time accepting and believing compliments; therefore, realizing this notion did not happen overnight. I’m sure that he’d love to have a corporate working wife, but he’s the one that said not to work, take as many classes as possible, and graduate. And I did. And it was one of the happiest and proudest moments of my life.

So very true.

So whoever you are, wherever you are, please realize that you are ultimately in charge of your life. I still don’t know what my dream job is or where I see myself in ten years, but I’ve accepted my strengths and weaknesses and have set goals for myself to continue on an upward path. You only get one life… Accept who you are and focus on what you’re great at. Excuse my language, but eff what you aren’t. For example, I like cooking/baking, but I’m no Martha Stewart. I’m kinda lazy in the kitchen and if a recipe calls for more than 10 ingredients or takes longer than 30 minutes to prepare, I won’t make it. I used to get butt-hurt because I’d see all these other bloggers coming up with new, healthy recipes and think that I should be doing the same. I realized that I simply don’t have the drive to come up with unique recipes us all the time- and that’s okay. I’d rather watch 19 Kids and Counting 😉

Have you ever questioned who you are or compared yourself to others?

Have you ever kept yourself within your social comfort zone?

Do you self-acceptance happens over time as a reflection of personal experiences and maturity, or do you think some people have it and some don’t?