As a blogger, especially one that focuses on the military lifestyle, I’ve always aimed to be nothing but honest. I’ve never wanted to mislead any of my readers, especially those who are here seeking answers and guidance. It’s impossible to find what you’re truly searching for when every post and article points you in a different direction. The most honest information comes from those who have experienced this lifestyle. We didn’t just witness what it’s like; we have lived it..
It’s really hard to see things in my social media news feed pertaining to the military that completely glorify the whole lifestyle. When a new military spouse or significant other sees these types of posts, they could assume that the information is accurate, and they often end up being misled. This lifestyle is hard enough as it is without having to weed through all of the fake stories, so it’s important to know ahead of time what to look out for.
They only show the positive
There are so many wonderful things about this military lifestyle. I don’t ever want to sound like I’m not grateful for what we have, and the wonderful opportunities that have come our way because of the military. But I have to draw the line when I see posts that blatantly ignore the struggles that come hand in hand with these choices. There are many parts of military life that are far from “positive”, but that doesn’t mean we can just lie about them. Reaching people on a deeper level and helping them to understand means showing both sides.
The media displays a lot of cheesy, unrealistic memes and pictures that glorify our life and relationships. You rarely see a quote, picture, or story that tells it like it is, unless it was created by a military spouse or SO themselves. I just shake my head when I see these now, because I know better. But there was a time when I didn’t, and I know that there are other people out there that are currently faced with this dilemma.
They imply that deployment is the only reason a soldier is away from their family
I wish that were the case, but that’s just not realistic. Deployment is the most well known, and probably the most difficult reason to be away from family. But it is far from the only reason. Deployment is painted to be this romantic, letter-writing, movie-worthy, sad but do-able “event”. But there’s so much more to it than that. No matter what branch of military your loved one is serving under there are various types of separation. These can vary in time, from a few days to a year or more. These can be because of a TDY/TDA (temporary duty/temporary duty assignment), FTX (field training exercise), or PCS (permanent change of station), to name a few.
Many families, especially those with children, are faced with the difficulties of PCS’ing overseas. Often times, the spouse that’s not serving chooses to stay stateside for the benefit of the children, especially if it occurs mid-school year. This permanent change of station is usually a year, but it can be much longer. This forces the family to have to juggle two homes, and essentially, two lives. I haven’t personally gone through this situation, but I’ve spoken to many families who have. They voiced that the biggest struggle in these circumstances is that they had to make the choice to stay, when so many times before, they were told they had to stay because it was a deployment.
They make it seem like homecomings are always perfect
Don’t get me wrong, some of my fondest memories since being part of this lifestyle were the ones of being reunited in the airport. Nothing beats that feeling. But it’s not always sunshine and rainbows. For many families, homecomings can be heart-wrenching. So much has changed, and both people find themselves in a different place in life. Both people were growing, learning, and living, but they were doing so apart. What they don’t show, is the two of you arguing just because the couch is in a different place.
Also, keep in mind that many soldiers come home with injuries; some that you can see, and some that you can’t. For families that have young children, this experience can be especially difficult because so much changes for a child in just 1 year. The initial reunion might be full of smiles and tears and happiness, but it’s often a different story once the dust has settled. It takes a while for the nerves to wear off, and everyone to get comfortable with each other again.
They imply that all military personnel are good people
Lets get something clear: Most service members are good people. And they do join the military with a soul purpose of protecting this great nation. They are genuine, strong individuals that I am proud to surround myself with. But there are also individuals who join the military as a last resort, or to impress people. Some people join just to say that they did, and more often than not, it doesn’t end well. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but it’s the truth. Keep this in mind as you choose who to spend your time with.
That being said, the military is made up of so many incredible people, from those who serve, to their families. But just like anywhere else, there are bad people too. Pointing this out doesn’t mean you’re talking badly about the military. When it comes down to it, the military is a community, and it’s made up of people just like you and I. And how those people turn out is impossible to predict.
Social media often picks a side, and tells the stories of those who were brave and selfless. What they fail to admit is that service members can be just as rude, selfish and ignorant as any other human being. The fact that they joined the military doesn’t suddenly make them perfect beings, and it doesn’t mean that their family is either. My point is, just because someone is military or comes from a military family, doesn’t make them 100% trustworthy.
So yes, if you want my 100% honest answer, I love our military lifestyle. But more than the lifestyle, and the good and bad that came with it, I love who I get to go through it with. And that alone makes all of it worth the struggle.
What are some ways that you have seen the media glorify the military lifestyle? Did you notice any of these in particular?