I recently read an excellent article about the differences between civilian and military life and it got my poor little rusty gears turning about my own experiences with ignorant people.
I think ignorance a rampant handicap that is preventable and treatable. We all too often forget to put ourselves in that other person's shoes before asking a rude question. There are no dumb questions if you truly want to understand my life, it is rude to ask questions that are nosy or judgmental. I am also guilty of forgetting that our life style is appealing and interesting to civilians who don't have the "luxuries" we do. I was complaining to my hairdresser before this most recent move about how tired of it I was and how I just didn't want to move. Her reply "I've lived here my whole life, I'd love the adventure." In that moment I was just as insensitive as the civilians mentioned in the article. The truth is that we will not and cannot hope understand another persons life unless we engage in sincere conversation, something that has become lost in the land of Facebook, texting, and email.
A friend commented that she didn't know what it was like to be married to a doctor, lawyer, or accountant and I don't know either. I think the big difference in the professions and that of a military person is I don't ask if their husband has been defrauding the insurance companies, or if he coaches his clients to lie under oath, or just how padded are the books that he keeps. All of these questions are the counterpart to the lovely question "Has he killed anyone?" I think that because our military occupies so much of the media's attention that people start lumping us in with whatever opinion they have formed about whatever military related story made national news that day. I get it. I get that to some people we are an enigma, we are this rare breed that sends our spouses off to kill people while we live life as a single person.
What? That's not what we are? We are people? With feelings, and thoughts, and opinions, and stresses? What The Heck? That's craziness. What is even crazier is that there are the same stereotypes within our own community. Other spouses that think certain things are true because of the rank or job of somebody elses husband. The fact is that we all have a different experience, different feelings, and different issues to face on a day to day basis regardless of our husbands rank or job and unless you sit down and talk to me about it, you won't know what I'm experiencing, you're assuming.
I like to think that as our generation ages and we start to realize how out of touch we are with people, true people, not acquaintances on facebook, that we will start to reconnect, to start caring about one another with genuine interest and pass that along to our children. That is my hope for Madelyn and her generation, that they are able to connect to one another on a level that far surpasses our own understanding and acceptance.
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