Being forced to grow.

Posted on: Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Dear Mallory,

I’ve been thinking a lot about your letter. The things I hate most about the Air Force have definitely taught me some valuable lessons.

I’m extremely independent. I mean, you kind of have to be [at least to some degree] if you want to take on the military lifestyle, right? But I’m independent to a fault: I hate asking for help. I hate asking for anything. Period. Asking for help or a favor or for information or anything makes me sweat and shake and, inevitably, cry. I hate it. But when you’re alone because your husband is TDY [temporary duty] and it is January and you arrive home from work one snowy, icy day to find a pipe has burst, spewing a geyser of water all over your front lawn and you can’t get a hold of your retched landlord or his wife or his office or your husband, you cannot panic. You just can’t. What’s the point? The very least you can do is run to your grumpy neighbor’s house for some help. Even when they give you the stink eye upon opening their front door, you have to proceed with the very timid question of, “Can you please help me?” And then say a little prayer that they won’t break into your house in the dead of night knowing that you’re home alone. Because they’re grumpy and you never know what The Grumpy are going to do.

I think I have shared that story with you before…? In fact, I’m positive I have because I believe I texted you as it was happening or afterward. It was horrible. But it’s moments like those that I feel myself grow a little more. Unfortunately, those situations crop up a lot so I’m being forced to “grow” at a rate much faster than I am comfortable with. I have learned to speak my mind with even the strangest of strangers. Thanks to many an experience, it takes no effort whatsoever to tell anyone, “Do not speak to me that way.” I’m a whole heck of a lot nicer to everyone in the service industry thanks to my former jobs and Aaron’s current job. I’m a bit more honest than some are comfortable with when asked how I’m doing--I’ll just tell ya. I know exactly what to look for when I move to a new city—pit bull bans, how to obtain residency, how many museums are in the area, crime rate maps, population size, tattoo artists, Anthropologie and Ikea locations, and the biggest airport’s website. Do you feel as if you’re being forced to “grow” a lot, too? Or is that just me?

 Quieter moments I've been sure to give myself this week.

Any ways, all of this to say: I’m not the same person I was in 2009, when I moved to California to begin living my life alongside Aaron. And the Amy of 2009 was not the same Amy that kissed Aaron goodbye hours before he left for boot camp. In some ways I’m the best version of myself right now, but in other ways I’ve forgotten a bit of what makes me tick. I have learned that I want to be a librarian! And I actually want kids! And the Midwest lied because I don’t need meat and gluten in my life! And without the Air Force I wouldn’t have great friends like you. But I forgot that I need at least 45 minutes on an elliptical to kill my anxiety. I forgot that an afternoon of painting leaves me refreshed. No matter the lesson or the realization, I’m constantly learning and I’m constantly growing and I’m constantly pushed out of my comfort zone. Constantly. And Mallory, sometimes I really hate it. But sometimes I really love it, too.

What are the first questions you ask when you move? What was the hardest lesson to learn? Do you ever really feel as if you’re in your comfort zone? Do you like yourself more today than you did yesterday? I'm just curious. Sometimes I feel like the only one wading through this life as a military spouse [drama alert], so it's nice being reminded that I'm not the only one.



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