January 16, 2013

The Truth Under the Cape

If this guest post hits you anywhere near the way it hit me, you'll be sharing it after you read. 
In the moments I finished it, I had to wipe a few tears away.
Kim from She Is Fierce is a Canadian milspouse (and winner of awards as such),
has been incredibly kind to me personally, and has managed to write a post so dead-on in every way- both for milspouses and women in general, I think- that I truly hope you treasure it.
I'm not sure when I started taking myself too seriously, but I think it came to a head when I was standing in the office of the Canadian Forces Relocation Agent, ready to go through all our paperwork for our upcoming posting.

"Look"  I said all smugly "I have already picked up our official notice, listed our house on the market, signed with the Realtor, kept the house show-home ready with three kids at home, sold the house, signed all the paperwork and finalized our mortgage pre-approval with the bank.  By myself, because none of you thought it was a good idea to give us the notice even one week earlier when my husband was still home.  

So at this point, I barely even need your help.  Can you please just sign our House Hunting Trip papers so I can go?  I have a kid to pick up at school in 10 minutes."

That's right folks.  My “I-Can-Do-It-All” attitude had a field day this move.

I am woman.  Hear me PCS with one hand tied behind my back. (See that?  I used the American term just because it sounded better than Posting.  I can adapt, too!)

Just call me super-wife with a huge chip on my shoulder.  

Able to handle cross country postings alone and spring field exercises during dance recital season in a single bound.

I used to add up all the time Dh was gone and recite it like a serial number.

3 months here, 6  months there, 5 months somewhere else...a total of x months home out of y months married = what?  Some kind of medal owed to me?

When did I start walking around like I had to win some kind of championship in keeping-my-crap-together?

Then one day a friend of mine with many, many more years experience in this life just asked 'why would you want to keep track of all that?'

And I didn't have a good answer.

What was I trying to prove?

I feel like I've spent years trying to show everyone that I can handle it all.  So much wasted time and useless words trying to portray the wife who is always long suffering and independent.  Wearing his deployments and absences like some kind of badge of honour that I earned all by myself.

When the truth is, every single time I've tried to prove I can do it alone, I failed.

I am not, in fact, as 'super' as I pretend to be when I throw on my mask and cape and walk out into the world each day.

What I am sometimes is full of a stubborn pride that it might somehow make me a better person if I can do it all completely on my own.

Do you know where stubborn pride has found me? 
-Mid panic attack, unable to breathe enough to even call someone for support while watching the news.  
-Sprawled out on my bed with a pillow over my head trying not to hear the colicky baby I am terrified I might hurt if I have to pick him up again.
-Lying on the bathroom floor listening to the sound of my 2 kids playing downstairs, while I vomited and contracted in pre-term labour, barely able to walk on my own.

God never intended for us to be a fortress unto ourselves.  Sometimes, He gives us strength beyond measure to rise up when we have no other way, it's true.  But sometimes we become so independent as Military wives we forget that we need to also recognize the times when instead, He opens a door where He has placed someone to help.

My need to prove I can do it alone has found me vastly unable to follow through.

The truth is that while I have grown, accomplished and learned more about what I can do in His strength in the past 13 years than I ever could have in another life, there is one lesson that sticks out more than others. 
Sometimes. I. Can't.

When there's been absolutely no other way to calm my fears, quiet my baby or get to the emergency room, I've first had to swallow my pride and do something every single army wife person needs to learn to do at some point in their life.

I’ve needed to ask for help.  

And you know what? 

I can still balance the schedule of a family of five and the budge of one, too.  I can do it while he's home or deployed and I can do it on either end of this beautiful country.  I have learned more about strength, determination and perseverance than I could have imagined.

But the truth is, it's OK for even Super-Wife to ask for help.

In fact, sometimes it's the safest and strongest decision you can make.

And I promise.  

No one will ask for your cape back.

8 kind comments from you:

Erica Castillo said...

love this! it really hits home for me. in the 6.5 years we've been married, i've only lived with my husband for about 3.5. the funny thing is for me, sometimes it's just as difficult to adapt to living with someone again after a deployment. and just when i'm adjusted, it's time for him to leave again.

MrsMcDancer said...

This is so very perfect. I'm not sure if it's a military wife thing or simply a proud woman thing to feel the need to do it all without help, but I have found its only when you let others help you that you truly thrive and not just survive.

Jenn said...

Amen. I'm just now learning to ask for help/accept it when offered. Pride be damned! My sanity is worth so much more. ;)

Chantal said...

This is so true!

Kaylee said...

This is so great - and so true!

Andrea Merrigan said...

So true and something I really needed to read tonight.

Stephanie said...

Beautifully written as always, Kim!

Karen said...

Yay for Canadian Mil Spouses :) lol. Very well written and totally true!

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