I believe my armywife blog days may be over. I have nothing to write about and when I sit down to write, I draw a blank. My husband has been active duty for almost six years and though I was told the other day that I am still just a baby to this armylife, I feel as though this is all I know- to the point that I can no longer distinguish the difference between before and after life inside the gates enough to write my observations or opinions anymore. I don't know. Maybe I'm just tired and don't care anymore. But let me give it one more try.
I took my daughter to ballet class the other day and sat on the steps of the empty hallway next to the open door of her classroom, classical music floating through the background and the occasional ballerina walking by. I tried to study medical terminology but couldn't focus as I realized despite moving and all things brand new, including the scary turns life can sometimes take me on, the one bit of familiarity I could cling to was simply being in a ballet studio.
When I was in high school and my heart needed healing, I could dance and drift away to another place. I could hide in the dance studio where I was an assistant ballet teacher and smile as I taught the sometimes plump little girls with thier pink leotards and frilly tu-tu's, the kind that only little girls can wear. Or I could hold onto that barre and focus on nothing else but bettering myself as a dancer and lifting my leg higher than before, or turning faster than ever, or balancing with perfection and listen to the click click click of my beautiful brand new pointe shoes on the hard wood floors and the only competiton I felt was with absolutely no one else but myself... those were the days when I could truly breathe and when I knew who I was and where I was going and what I could become.
I always thought I had to get out of that dirty, rainy little nothing of a town but I had no idea how much I would miss it once I was gone. I married my husband as a teenager and had a baby soon after and had kissed ballet and all my dreams goodbye. I had breathed my last breath of true youth and young freedom. We fought together to survive those early years, just me and him and that baby. We barely had enough food for dinner some nights but we had more than enough love to feed the whole damn world. We truly knew what love was. He was my knight in shining armor, the only boy I could EVER want. I was his queen of all queens.
As time passed, the boy turned into a young man and somehow gathered enough strength to leave for a little while and train in the army as a means to try and better himself, but most importantly, to provide for his young family- now with not one, but two precious daughters to care for. It was torture, the time apart, but as time proves over and over again, it surely passed. So grateful to be back together, we moved to an army post in Washington, a place where he learned how to become a true blue infantryman and how to become one with the Strykers. War took him away again, not for to long, but long enough to see and do things that he would never forget, as much as he wished he could. He lost friends to death and he himself was injured. His countenence grew darker and darker with each passing day after his return. Nobody cared about him. He no longer cared about anyone either, much less of what his God wanted for him. Something was under his skin and wouldn't ever let him rest. He could no longer look at his family the same. He saw them as a burden, they were in the way... of what though? He had no answers. In moments of sanity, he didn't want to feel this way.
I, on the other hand, lost my mind as well. How could the only boy I ever loved and who ever loved me change so much? He now had an empty soul, eyes so dark, and a hatred so deeply inbeded that not even death itself mattered to him anymore. He was now something so opposite of what he used to be.
Our love was there...somewhere. It had to be. If I just dug deep enough maybe I could bring it to the surface and let it renew itself. If I prayed hard enough maybe the God that was there for me as a child would show himself when I needed him more than ever before. Maybe, if I could somehow look inside myself and reach into a part of me that didn't think could possibly exist and hold onto that woman who has to be strong no matter what happens, maybe she'll be strong for me. Because I'm losing ground. I can't find reality. The baths I take everyday aren't to spoil or pamper myself, they are to help me find myself, and maybe to help me hide from this dark world that I live in inside these gates. When I turn out the lights and light a tiny candle and hide my face deep in the water with thoughts of never coming up for air, it's to protect myself from the world that nobody warned me about when we were young and desperate and we joined the army at war time.
I can look around and see the families who have been where we are. I can pick them out pretty easily. We try to smile. We are supposed to have pride. So why don't we fly the American flag outside anymore? It's not there. Not anymore. We can't go to the grave sites of the men who died in war because it hurts to much. We can't go get help because that would be the end of us for sure. We are experts at hiding what this has done to us. I applaud the soldiers and families who can endure all of this and come out shining. Maybe you are stronger than us. Maybe you are better than us, or maybe it's just how it is. I do applaud you though.
Maybe someday while I am at my dance studio, pirouetting, or leaping through the air, or just simply breathing, I can get myself together and be as strong as you are, as strong as I should be.