I had coffee with a military spouse and longtime friend the other day and we reminisced. I told her how I had been bullied in high school. I only just recently learned to associate “bullying” with what happened to me all those years ago. Girls who thought they were so powerful felt it was ok to shove me down stairs, throw food at me during football games, call me names to my face, and tell made up stories behind my back. All because a boy liked me and not one of them? I’m really not sure. I don’t care and I think they are insignificant. But I think what they did was significant. You see I learned about power. They thought they had it but really they just looked dumb. And all the people that went along with it, well they just looked dumb too. The power laid with me, not them. They could not take my power away. I would not give them power over me. And while it is something I rarely think about, it is an event that defined me, but not my defining moment. I give my mom the power for that one.
Lately I’ve had a lot of people ask me if I can write more about military life. I do write about it. But not the really hard stuff. The really hard stuff is raw, complicated, political, sometimes painful, and most of the time really personal. Oh, but that’s what people want to read about…well just because I can, doesn’t mean I should. And much of the time, it’s not my story to tell. I almost have tunnel vision as I write this as all the life events I’ve experienced as a military spouse come rushing through my mind. Truth is stranger than fiction would be a fitting caption for the movie that is playing through my head coupled with a long, hard journey.
Much of what has happened to me, happened for me. And that gave me power. Power to decide what I would let define me. My being bullied in high school is my story to tell and I’m proud of it. My life as a military spouse is full of defining moments that I’m both proud of and sensitive to. In my head I am the leading character, but I also realize I am not the only character. And that is another example of power, or wisdom.
So just because I can write about military life, doesn’t mean it’s always appropriate that I should. But I will when I can, exercising my power, of course.