Monday, March 17, 2014

I don't live in the real world?

I pay attention to the people who visit this blog.  I have a lot of people who visit and read here, but they don't often leave comments.  Today, I noticed I got a hit from another blog that I had never seen before.  Against my better judgment, I followed the link.  You see, though I do pay attention to who visits my blog, I usually hesitate before I try to find out what other people think of it.  There's always a good chance I won't like what I read and it'll upset me.  What people think of my blog is probably none of my business.  Sure, I like to know when people enjoy my posts, but the flip side is that I might not want to know if someone doesn't appreciate my thoughts.  

To my surprise and delight, the blogger who linked to me commented that he enjoys reading my blog because I have interesting viewpoints.  But then he wrote that because I am an Army wife, I don't live in the "real world".

ETA:  This is what he actually wrote:

with any military family sometimes her views do not correspond to what someone in the real world (non-government) would view the same issue. 

I was kind of intrigued by that comment.  I wish the blogger had elaborated more on what he means by it.  How am I not living in the "real world" because I'm married to a soldier?  What opinions or perspectives have I given in my role as an "Army wife" that indicate that I'm out of touch with other peoples' realities?  What does my husband's job working for the government have to do with how I share my perspectives?  I don't work for the government and I wasn't aware that the government affected my opinions that much.  But maybe I am mistaken.

I don't live on an Army post anymore, and aside from food shopping at the local commissary, I rarely interact with military folks other than my husband.  In fact, though I have been around military people my entire life, I wouldn't even say I'm a stereotypical Army wife.  Though military spouses come in all stripes, when I think of a typical military spouse, I think of someone who at least has children.  I don't even have any of those.  ;-)

Here's a list of ways I don't think I fit the typical "Army wife" stereotype:

* I didn't marry young.

* I went to both college and graduate school.

* I was once a Peace Corps Volunteer.

* I'm not particularly religious and don't attend church.

* I don't vote Republican in most elections.

* I don't have kids.

* I'm not a snob about being an officer's wife and am willing to fraternize with anyone of any rank or their spouse.

In reality, though, I think there are a lot of people like me who are married to service members but don't fit the military spouse stereotype.  We're just married to people who work for the military.  We married them for all kinds of reasons.  We come from all walks of life.  The military lifestyle can be very different than the civilian lifestyle is, but I've actually been a civilian my whole life.  It's my husband who's Army, not me.  

It's true that like a lot of Army spouses, I don't work outside my home…  at least not right now.  I did try to for awhile, but eventually gave up because the kinds of jobs I was looking for weren't feasible for someone who has to move all the time.  Now that Bill is about to retire, our lifestyle may change significantly.  Bill will be a civilian and I may decide to look for a job.  Or we may move abroad and my lifestyle may stay largely the same as it is now.  I really don't know.

I think the military spouse's lifestyle is as real as anyone else's lifestyle… although I can see how some spouses on military installations can get caught up in the drama of living among other military families.  As I have written before, military installations can be hotbeds of craziness.  I think that happens in a lot of communities, though.  Maybe it's just more noticeable in a military community… but then, I doubt many civilians would even guess how crazy life on post can get when you marry your work with where you live.  Since I don't live on a post anymore, I'm just like anyone else in my neighborhood.

But hell, I would argue that military families may have a different-- but very real-- perspective because they usually move so much and see so many different places.  They don't settle into communities so easily, since they tend to be transient.  On the other hand, if you live on an installation, you may find instant community… maybe even more community than you'd ever want or need.

Anyway, I think I am all too firmly rooted in the real world.  It doesn't get much more real than sending your husband off to war.  And now that he's about to be a civilian, I worry about the "real world" constantly.  Bill has enjoyed great job security, but it seems he's getting out of the military just in time.  The Armed Forces are trimming down again and people are being downsized.  In a few months, I won't be an Army wife anymore.  But I will probably still be overeducated.  And I do appreciate it when anyone enjoys my blog and plugs it.  So many thanks to my fellow blogger in Maryland who likes reading here.  I do appreciate it, even if I'm a little confused.


  1. It's interesting when people make assumptions based on something like one's marriage to an army officer. My mom grew up in an unconventional military family so I may be more aware than some that people don't fit perfectly into categories, but it seems as though everyone would figure that out by the age of 25 or so.

    1. Yeah. I came late in my dad's career. I was an unconventional 70s era Air Force brat. Now I'm an oddball Army wife. Shit is feeling very real right now.


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