One of my goals as I navigate military life is to be an authentic military spouse. And every year I choose a word to motivate and push me toward my ideal life. I have been inspired by gratitude, balance, strength and last year I even wrote about Focus and the power that word had for me. Fellow military spouse Jennifer Pilcher of Military One Click also chooses a word and talks about it in a recent piece titled Entrepreneur Resolutions. But what I love most about what she shared isn’t the word, but more the spirit in which she talks about how she came up with it. Raw, real and authentic. And that’s what we have today, posts from some of the top military life bloggers who are truly authentic and share from the heart.
Before I get into the meat of the post, I wanted tell you that this year my word is: GROWTH. Growth personally and professionally. Growth in the logistics as well as the emotional side of my life. Growth so I can truly be an authentic milspouse. This whole concept of growth gets me excited and terrified all at the same time – because I know from experience that growth isn’t always easy. And then the ego side gets all caught up in my body image issues saying as long as my butt doesn’t continue to grow….
Truth be told I really struggled to choose a word this year. I wanted something powerful and easy while at the same time inspiring and focused. And when I finally narrowed it down to a choice between authentic and growth I decided to enlist some help so I could choose and spoke with a friend about it. After listening to my thoughts – and insecurities around choosing a word that could potentially grow the size of my pants, she politely told me that choosing authentic was like taking a free pass. (Note to self: “You are grateful when your friends challenge you to be stronger”). So Growth it was.
But in true Judy form, I couldn’t just leave it at that. I still wondered why authentic had such a huge draw for me, and after doing some digging, I realized it boiled down to the fact that lately authenticity seems to be missing in my relationships, and especially in our military community. For far to long we have covered up our feelings, fears and insecurities because as spouses we are supposed to be strong. We are taught to suck it up and fake it til you make it. We are told to put on a brave face and put it out there that our lives and businesses are running smoothly – even when that’s far from the truth. But how does that do any of us any good?
It is a double-edged sword really – because if you are authentic in your military life, people can see you as weak or worse – the dreaded “dependopatamus”. But if you act strong but inside are feeling anything but, your mental and physical health will suffer. The reality is that we are all strong and weak, independent and dependent, authentic and fake. We are all – depending on the day – amazing military spouses or broken human beings who are not managing our lives very well. And guess what…
In fact if we were authentic – I mean really raw and real – I know we’d be better off. How do I know this? Because over and over again I’m shown that is what ya’ll want. You respond, comment and share the writings, tweets, and posts that are authentic, vulnerable and relevant to your REAL life. So I thought I’d pull together some of my favorite raw, sassy, spirited and heartfelt quotes and posts that have caused a stir, raised an eyebrow or addressed a touchy or meaningful subject.
Authentic Milspouse: Raw & Real posts from some incredible military life bloggers.
Elizabeth from the Reluctant Landlord discusses a topic we all would rather ignore and shares real and by the numbers information on death benefits and the financial impact you will experience. Read the full post here
Susan Reynolds give some pretty great advice to a child with a learning disability. “Learn to embrace your difference. Thinking and learning differently is a gift” Read the full post here
Jo, My Gosh shares some of the realities about how tough life can be when you are a military service members’ significant other. From fidelity to confidence learn the 5 reasons why you shouldn’t date someone in the military. Read the full post here
Heather from Only Passionate Curiosity gets real about breastfeeding: “You see, we do women a huge disservice by not talking about how hard this can be. If we don’t talk about the things that can go wrong, and wear you out, and make you want to quit, how in the world are we going to support mothers and help them continue nursing?” Read the full post here
Kristen of If the Saddle Fits talks about body shaming and the importance of “doing it anyway” in this beautiful raw and open post. FYI, Mean girls isn’t just a high school thing. Read the full post here
T.T. Robinson gets real in this post sharing the guts of how we all feel at times during a deployment “I stared at the phone in disbelief. How are we supposed to stay connected, when I feel anything but?” Read the full post here
NextGenMilspouses gets to the core of what we all need to know when it comes to sending “those” pics to our service members! This is as transparent as it gets 🙂 Read the full post here
Ariel from PMQ for Two shares this post and why some feel that waiting until after Veterans day to break out the holly and tinsel is necessary. This one caused quite a stir! Read the full post here
Tiffany from SeeingSunshine is transparent as she talks about how marriage taught her more about herself than she ever expected, and it was downright ugly at times. Read the full post here
Alicia from Sew What Alicia (aka 2 kids and a blog) had me hunting for tissues as she shared an incredible piece on motherhood and a special needs child. “Having a differently abled child means that you have to mourn the death of the child you have planned for and expected for as long as you can remember. You will grieve for the life he will never have…” Read the full post here
Patricia and the gals at Nutrisha give us a reality check and a bonus recipe as they share the reality of diabetes and how taking care of our health is paramount to living a full life. Read the full post here
Jeremy Hilton once again shows his brilliance on the Huffington post as he tackles the dark side of our military culture and takes on the pentagon, misogyny & cyberbullying. Read the full post here
Erin from Many Kind Regards is getting real about religion and the gay community as she shares how the unexpected can take you to church. Literally. Read the full post here (bonus post Children Aren’t Supposed to Die)
Rebelah Sanderlin posed the question: “Is a deployment really that different for a Captain’s wife than it is for a Sergeant’s wife? Do we not all experience the same loneliness?” as she talks about a touchy subject. Read the full post here
Tara from An Aiming High Wife talks about how ou can never prepare for the unknown sharing her story of an event that left her completely helpless. Read the full post here and something many of us experience when we realize just how much our spouse REALLY misses out. Read the full post here
Cassie on Betwixt Beginnings discusses the challenges of raising teenage girls. Read the full post here
Casey of the Passages blog has a post, The Strips tell a Story, a piece on understanding what the dress uniform is actually telling us. Read the post here
Hope from HopeNGriffin shares her journey as her child wins the battle with cancer. Read the full post here
Heather from Happy Fit Navy Wife breaches the subject of planned parenthood, miscarriage and abortion. Read the full post here
Here are a couple of my personal raw & real pieces:
I know I’ve only scratched the surface in sharing the raw and real challenges, stories and insights that occur daily on the blogs written by those in our military community. I honestly don’t know how I would get through the day without the writings, knowledge, advice and humor of so many of them.
Take a moment find some new people to follow, post and tag your milspouse friends and if I missed a post or blog that has some great stuff know it wasn’t on purpose and please share the link to your favorites in the comments below. We can learn from and with each other and I love to find new ways to navigate the military lifestyle – Don’t you?!
~Judy Davis, the Direction Diva is a motivational speaker, author and lifestyle blogger as well as a military life and teen suicide prevention expert. Co-founder of DASIUM, Judy’s books Right Side Up and Warning Signs: Is Your Teen at Riskare go to resources for families and her websites are filled with tips, inspiration and resources for those looking for direction. Connect with Judy at TheDirectionDiva.com