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.
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