Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Roller Coaster Begins Where Another Ends


Four years ago I decided to start a blog.
I wasn’t quite sure I had anything profound to share or even if I had the motivation to sustain a blog for an extended period of time. But I loved writing. And I felt that something was missing in my life, whether it was a lack of career direction as I weathered the peaks and valleys of stay-at-home momhood, or the loneliness inherent to military life, or just a sudden identity crisis of a woman approaching her mid-30s.
Whatever that long-forgotten reason was four years ago, I started my little blog. Because blogs need a theme, I chose to focus on my life as a military spouse. And because I often compared the military lifestyle to the unpredictability and jolting ups and downs of a roller coaster, I figured that would be a fitting name.
Riding the Roller Coaster: Just Another Day in the Life of a Military Wife.
I rode that roller coaster blog for nearly 3 years. The blog witnessed my return to the work force, a deployment, dozens of other military-induced marital separations, countless new friends, bittersweet life lessons, a ton of new opportunities, and another awesome job that altered my career path, a job that was a direct result of this little blog as well as the cause of its hiatus.
But now that roller coaster is over, and with its end comes the beginning of a new one.
As of two days ago, I am no longer a military spouse.
As of two days ago, I am no longer a spouse at all.
As of two days ago, I am divorced.
What I didn’t share on my blog in those three years is that my military marriage wasn’t perfect. Far from it. And even though couples counseling initially seemed promising, it ultimately couldn’t save my marriage.
(Side note: Please don’t think this means I advise against marriage counseling or counseling in general. Quite the opposite, in fact. I’m a huge advocate of counseling and highly recommend it if you have even the slightest inkling that you need it. More on that in future posts.)
I chose not to write publicly about the divorce until it was final. Throughout the year-long legal separation, I relied on my journal, writing privately as a way to process the overwhelming transitions I was facing. Sometimes those writing sessions brought me clarity and a sense of direction and strength. Sometimes those sessions resulted in nothing but incoherent brain vomit spilled onto a Word document and 3,000 words or so later, I was relieved I wasn’t hitting the “Publish” button.
But they always made me realize one thing: at some point I had to return to my blog.
And that point is now.
So here I am. I considered shutting this blog down and starting fresh with a brand new one, but despite the fact that the theme will be different, the name still applies. I may not be riding the roller coaster of military life anymore, but now I’m riding the roller coaster of divorce.
Same blog, different ride.
I feel as if I need to say a farewell to the military community that holds such a special place in my heart, but I’m not a fan of good-byes. And one of the many lessons military life taught me is that it’s never good-bye, it’s see you later.  So for now I’ll just say thank you and see you later.
(I also wrote an essay for the New York Times At War blog that is my way of expressing my gratitude to the military lifestyle. It was kind of my official divorce coming-out. Yes, most people would love to have a New York Times wedding announcement. I have a New York Times divorce announcement.)
Let the new journey begin.

16 comments:

  1. Good luck to you in this next chapter, and congratulations on your NTY post!

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  2. I'm sorry to hear about your divorce. It looks like you're viewing it with an optimistic perspective though, and that's good. As far as the blog, I would keep it with the same name and just change the header picture and slogan to something that is more fitting for your current roller coaster. As you point out, the name still fits. The reason I would leave everything up instead of deleting it and starting over is that you have written things that have been helpful for people and will probably continue to be as new people stumble upon your articles in searches. Plus since you mention the importance of the military community to you, this might be a way to keep that connection. But if it would be hard for you to see those articles and still have people from that community reaching your blog for that information, that's totally understandable. You should do whatever will make you most comfortable and make blogging the best experience for you. Best wishes!

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  3. so now that you aren't tied to the military anymore, can you reveal who you are? Many of your followers suspect that know you since I have heard you were in Sasebo perhaps during the time our family was there. 2007-2010

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  4. you can't say goodbye, because since once a milspouse, always a milspouse - so that's that, right? I know, I'm finding being a "retired" milspouse a bit difficult. I tried to sign up for something the other day - and since he retired, I wasn't eligible anymore. Feeling left out, or fenced off, is a new feeling! Don't change this - maybe make a parenthetical change to the military spouse part of the title.

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    1. I totally agree and was going to say the same thing. You will always be a milspouse! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It is sad to read...the lifestyle makes it hard to maintain a strong marriage and family unit. Stay strong...I can tell you already have that on your side though :)

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    2. Thank you so much, LAW. We're in a very similar boat. And I definitely plan to change the subtitle, as well as the graphics. Just need a good graphics designer!

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  5. Sending love...Aunt Karen.

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  6. Really enjoyed your NYT piece... makes me more appreciative of some of the annoyances and things I hate about military life... Even though it seems like having a "normal" life would be the best thing in the world, I think I would also be totally lost and miss the military! I'm sure you will navigate your way just fine though!

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  7. Best wishes on this new adventure I look forward to following along!

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  8. I don't know if you are a reader, but I ran across a novel that is coming out in January by Sam Taylor Mullens called Hasty Resolution. I got a chance to read it before its release and it is really good. If you are interested in a free copy when it is released, you can follow the author's blog - samtaylormullens.blogspot.com

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  9. I'm sorry to hear that you are on the divorced side of military life, now. But I'm also relieved--- we just started our own proceedings & in a community that is full of women who sing the praises of their husbands and have strong relationships, it's easy to feel alone and like an outcast. I look forward to hearing about your experiences, and knowing what I'm likely in for myself. I however, am starting a new blog. It just feels like a time for a fresh start. Best of luck to you on your own journey!

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