The Deployment Diaries: Part Four

Well, ladies and gentlemen. D-Day has come and gone. For OPSEC reasons, I stopped posting on this platform because I wasn’t sure what I could and couldn’t post. I won’t get into any of that, but I will get into my feelings. Ew. I know.

Today is our one year wedding anniversary. It took me an embarrassingly long time to write this post because I didn’t know how to sort out how I was feeling. I didn’t know what to say.

A quarter-life crisis is brewing in my life. You know how people have a mid-life crisis and get their nose pierced or a boob job? Yeah, I think I’m going to have one of those,  but like, quit my job or something completely overdramatic and chaotic. My entire life is off. Today, I was lecturing my AP Lang & Comp class and thought about how I was on autopilot delivering a hyper-positive, canned message about the purpose of databases and their use in college.

I started questioning why the hell I even teach. I pondered if it makes me happy. Or if I’m even good at it.  Or whether I’m “PC” enough for it. All of this is a cover-up for the real crisis happening in my life.

The hardest part of deployment will be the time difference. For example, I get done with work at 4:30 pm and its 12:30 am there. When I get home from work, the house will be empty and cold. I’m still working through everything on my end.

I didn’t realize how many different goodbyes there would be. There’s the goodbye when he left for MOAB training. The goodbye when I went to see him on his 4 days of leave. The digital goodbye when he shut off his phone service. The “goodnight” message that didn’t get responded to because he didn’t have WiFi and was busy at work.

Nobody told me how much it would absolutely suck falling in love with a military boy. But, I wouldn’t change a single day of our story. _U3A2419

“Cause I’m carryin’ your love with me
From West Virginia down to Tennessee
I’ll be movin’ with the good lord speed, carryin’ your love with me
It’s my strength for holdin’ on
Every minute that I have to be gone
I’ll have everything I’ll ever need
Carryin’ your love with me.”

-George Strait


The Deployment Diaries: Part Three (D-Day)

Pulling into an Army base parking lot and seeing a full-grown man crying while holding his adult son is not the way I wanted to start my morning. I immediately looked away because I felt my own knotted throat start to throb.  One deep breath in and one deep breath out was going to be the only way I could keep my shit together today. It didn’t work, needless to say, but I’m proud of how I handled myself this weekend.

Wednesday night after volleyball practice I got in my car and drove 5.5 hours south to Josh’s unit in Illinois. There has been an immense amount of tension and anticipation for this day for months now, and I still wasn’t ready for it. No amount of preparation could have helped me be fully ready to say goodbye to my best friend because there’s never enough time.

The following day was the awards ceremony and Family Event which was a picnic at the local park. Many times throughout the day, I had to stop myself from thinking Man, I don’t even want to be here.  I wanted my life to go back to normal and wake up in bed with Josh by my side as if none of this had ever happened. But that’s not my current reality, and it’s better to embrace the moments I had left with him instead of fighting the inevitable.  I didn’t want to leave with any regrets or anything left unsaid.

This morning at 5 am, my alarm decides it’s time for me to wake up after a night of restless sleep in order to drive Josh to his unit a short 20-minute drive away from our hotel. I wouldn’t trade those last 20 minutes for anything! I saw this post today that said: “The only value that deployment brings to a relationship is you get to experience your first kiss all over again.” That. Slapped. Hard. 12 months and counting down until I get to experience my first kiss – like Josh and I are 20 years old again.  Those last few moments of ours together were also shared by a hundred or so other people also sharing emotional goodbyes with their soldier.

It’s an interesting dichotomy because I felt so isolated inside of his embrace while being surrounded by people who were experiencing the same exact thing. I never understood the concept of the world falling away and turning hazy until nothing else mattered except for Josh and I. That moment. I literally felt my heart burst into a million pieces that would not and could not be remedied by any person except for him.

At this point, I feel utterly heartbroken. I understand it’s not logical to think this way, but I truly feel a loss – like a death in the family that needs to be mourned.

This whole blog post sounds very short and to the point… Unemotional. Unintentional. I’m really just trying my best to process everything right now.

“Kiss me hard before you go
Summertime sadness
I just wanted you to know
That baby, you the best”

-Lana Del Rey


**edit** for OPSEC reasons, I waited to post this.


The Deployment Diaries: Part Two

At some points, I wish D-Day was a complete surprise to me. Knowing about it for months upon months now has created this sense of feeling like a kettle: I’m a slow boil soon to scream under all of the pressure. I’m trying so hard to be strong and put on this face of ‘everything will be okay’ but in all reality- I’m imploding. I wake up every day so thankful I get to spend special moments with my soldier knowing that it’s all about to change. We’ve done so many fun things! We went to Lollapalooza, the worlds most iconic and memorable music festival. We went to a Packers pre-season game. We are going to see his family. We are doing everything in our power to suck out every single ounce of happiness within these next couple of days. I feel the dread stirring up inside of me, and I feel out of control. I can’t change anything about what’s to come for the next year, and all I can do is pray for strength while joining as many hobbies and groups as I can to feel connected to society. I am definitely the type of person to just hide inside of my apartment and never come out. To wallow. But, I refuse to let myself feel like a pile of hot garbage for the next year. Life moves on, and so will I. It’s just a major bummer that I’ll have to learn to do that by myself.

I dream about our one year wedding anniversary that I will be spending alone. I dream about all of the weddings I will RSVP to for ‘1’. I dream about Christmas, Easter, birthdays, Sundays…. All alone. But even more scary for me are the Tuesdays four months from now when I get home from work in 0-degree weather in the pitch-black darkness where I just sit inside of my apartment for 6 hours until I go to bed. Wake up. And do it all over again. Work. Wallow. Repeat.

I’m terrified of the bad days at work where I need to vent to someone and having nobody. I’m scared of literally having nobody. Teaching is a very isolating feeling where I have to be perfect at all avenues or else face ridicule, embarrassment, or the wrath of parents and other staff. I don’t want to be a burden on anyone, so I feel like I will internalize all of these issues instead of working through them. In these next couple of months, I will find out who is a real friend in my life and who is fair weather. I feel people slipping away already because of ‘life’ stuff: moving, babies, relationships, work… All of it pulls people apart. I miss living in my house on Union street where I was surrounded by my best friends at all times. I hate that living with my friends didn’t work out. I regret a lot of stuff about those relationships, but this next year will make some of my relationships clearer in where I stand.

The struggle is juggling the anxiety of going back to work soon with the anxiety of losing my best friend. I’ve definitely been pushing him away lately which is a natural stage apparently, but it still really sucks to feel like I’m wasting our last days together in a funk because I can’t seem to alter my mentality about the situation.

For now, I’m struggling. I’m sure this will be the case for a while. I’m hoping to ease the pain soon, but I don’t think anything but time will work.

“When you’re low
And your knees can’t rise
You feel helpless
And you’re looking to the sky
Some people would say
To accept their fate
Well, if this is fate
Then we’ll find a way to cheat
‘Cause, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh we’ll say a little prayer
But, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh if the answer isn’t fair
You know you can call on me
When you need somebody
You know you can call on me
When you can’t stop the tears from falling down.” – Starley

The Deployment Diaries: Part One

Today marks one month until D-Day. This past weekend, we went to a Yellow Ribbon Event in Bloomington, Minnesota. I was NOT into the idea because it seemed dry, stuffy, and overly emotional. I wasn’t excited, but I feigned tolerance for Josh’s benefit. It was hosted in the most beautiful hotel I’ve ever stepped in: marble everything, 25 floors, fine dining – the works.

Let me start out by saying I don’t regret going- it had its benefits- but I’m not sure I got what they intended out of it. 

Josh recently transferred units with five of his closest friends (2 of which were in our wedding) in order to deploy in 2019 instead of 2020. Most of the people I met were so kind and genuine. I say ‘most’ because let’s be honest… some of the soldiers you meet are the stereotypical egg heads that make you roll your eyes in annoyance at their immaturity. It’s quite comforting to know that my husband will be deploying with good, honest people who are reliable.

Much of the information presented to us at the Yellow Ribbon Event was irrelevant to Josh because he seems to have a strong handle on the paperwork that needs to be done before deployment. But, there were some shining moments that I’ll take away and remember while he’s gone. Recently, I’ve been trying to take mental pictures in order to pause my mind and revel in a moment. I won’t have any of these small pleasures for very much longer, and I’m trying to soak up as much and as many as possible.

  • Josh and I got to spend quality time together in a beautiful hotel.
  • I was able to meet more of the soldiers he’s deploying with who are also in this new unit.
  • I was able to understand the process and cycle of emotions that are spiraling through my head.
  • Josh and I were able to relax in a hotel, watch a movie, and laugh together without worry.
  • I found a cheap and efficient way to ship packages


If you want more information about the pre-deployment cycle of emotions, click here.

The Hardest Part

The hardest part is going to bed. Not sleeping, not cooking, not working, not coming home from work. The hardest part about being alone without actually being single for me is the act of going to bed. I will binge television shows I don’t care about far into the evening/morning hours to avoid slipping into bed. When I’m on the couch, I’m not consciously thinking about my husband or our situation, but I feel a sense of unease. I could be utterly exhausted; I could be straining to keep my eyes open. But, I would rather suffer from exhaustion than get up, walk into the bedroom of my crummy apartment, and lie alone in my bed. The sheets are too loud and noisy. I’m either too hot or too cold, and the train noises remind me I’m in the heart of downtown. Not the nice part of downtown – the part where a billion dollars was invested in to revive it. The seedy part. The part where you lock your car doors and lock yourself in your apartment during the middle of the daylight hours because ‘ya never know’.

I have a few colorful neighbors that frequent my street. One of them is this man in his 30’s who collects bicycles. And by collect, I mean he steals them. He once told me he has over 30 of them. I’m not sure where he lives, or if he even lives in our neighborhood, but boy does he sure love to ride his bicycles up and down our street.  I try to avoid this guy not because he’s violent or threatening, but he’s the type of guy that will not let you exit the conversation at any point. You could be like “I am leaving right now, and I’m done talking to you” and he would still continue carrying on about his bicycles.

Another man lives in his van. I haven’t seen him this winter, but I’m pretty sure the cops made him move. This man goes by a few names: the most interesting being “Jesus Hitler”. The side of his van says “Wolf Man”, but he introduced himself as the previous. I met him when I used to work at the grocery store. He would always come through on the city bus. He walks with a cane and has one giant dreadlock ponytail that touches his bum. He isn’t formidable either – just quiet and strange.

The man I interact with the most is my next door neighbor. Whenever he sees me, he asks me if I can spare $2 for bus fare. He frequently talks about his PO (Parole Officer) and complains about literally anything. He has a pretty cute dog, but he had to get rid of it because his apartment didn’t allow dogs (duh). The last time I saw him, he almost walked into my apartment because he thought he lived there! I redirected him back to his house (next door) and shoveled a path for him because I was outside shoveling over a foot of snow that had fallen. He, too, has a bad knee and needs a cane.

I’m sure there will be a time in my life where I look back nostalgically on this part of my life, but right now I cannot see the silver lining of it. I’m great at living alone for the most part. 

At certain points though, I feel as if enough is enough. I force myself up off the couch and into bed. In the morning, I force myself out to face the next day. I am strong. I know that already. But it just sucks to have to be alone all the time.

I wonder what’s harder  – raising a bunch of little ones on your own, or not having little ones to come home to.

It’s quiet. The train that rushes by every hour is the only thing that drowns out the furnace’s white noise. I wonder if my life will always look like this? I chose to marry someone in the Army, and someone whose civilian job keeps them away for 6 out of 7 days in the week. Time will tell. But for now, I’ll continue to binge TV shows that don’t matter and write blog posts in order to postpone going to bed another evening alone.

Living A Military Lifestyle

My new husband and I are no strangers to time apart. His job in construction keeps him occupied Monday-Saturday for as long as the weather allows them to work in whatever city needs new roads. The phone calls are lack-lustered with the exhaustion of the days labor pulling his eyes closed. The Sundays together are filled with chores: laundry, grocery shopping, resting, and cleaning. The hardest weeks are when he has to come home on Thursday night, leave Friday morning at the crack of dawn, drill Friday-Sunday, and come back home Sunday night, up on Monday morning to work in another city for another job.

This lifestyle has been good practice for us in preparation for deployment. I hear about women who can’t spend one night apart from their husbands, and I can’t help but think of what kind of alternate reality universe they’re living in. I don’t pity them for one second.

I have been forced to gain self-confidence, self-assurance, and an independence that I never had before I met Josh.

Hobbies have saved me from pure insanity. Volleyball, bartending, running, and lifting have all been my sanctuaries that I run to when I’m lonely or depressed. I’ve learned that I can’t stay home in my small apartment and hide from the world while watching an absurd amount of Hulu. My cell phone can’t fill the void that my husband has in my heart. I have created these positive and active hobbies so I don’t sit in my dark valley for too long – staring in the blue light of my cell phone wishing for a text message or a phone call.

Getting out into the real world is the only cure to pass the time. I’ve always struggled with finding my ‘tribe’, but it was essential to find good people to share life with – all the good and bad.

Deployment is looming in our future. I’ll keep my blog updated throughout this whole process. Three months until he goes back to work, and five months until Deployment – counting down. I’m hoping to use this space as a release of all of the good and bad, the pretty and the ugly, the crazy and the logical.