Sunday, October 21, 2007


The definition of overwhelm is to cover completely; to overcome by superior force or numbers; or to overpower in thought or feeling. That pretty much sums up how I feel right now. Yet, I feel incredibly guilty for feeling this way. I am so blessed in my life and have so many wonderful things to be grateful for, yet I find myself feeling extremely overwhelmed and as a result, unbelievably stressed out.

My life seems to be moving unbelievably fast and there is nothing I can do to slow it down. I look ahead at the next few months of my life and try to grasp the gravity of the changes that are going to take place and I find myself in either a state of shock, or denial. Typically, I am very good at avoiding reality and putting a smile on my face and focusing on the positive. Living my life as an eternally optimistic person is what I am known for, and in some ways, what I am depended on for. This creates an enormous amount of pressure to stay positive and to never show any signs of breaking down or slipping. All in all, I don't mind being the positive one in a sea of negativity, or at the very least the sense of mediocrity. Though sometimes, it can all take it's toll on me and it generally happens at the most inopportune time.

That is the case today. It sucks.

I guess the most obvious is Brian leaving. Leaving for the field for a month, coming home for five days, going back to the field for two weeks, coming home for three months, and then going to Iraq for fifteen months. I understand that this is the life that we live, and this is what happens to those that are in the military. Do I need to be reminded of this fact, NO. I KNOW that the military seperates families and that I should be used to it. In many aspects, I AM used to it. I can run the house by myself, maintain the finances by myself, keep myself entertained, and generally survive day to day by myself. So, I have the basics down. Does that mean that I LIKE being seperated from my husband for varying lengths of time? No. Not even a little bit. Yet, it seems like when I am feeling particularly down and want to wallow in my sadness, I am reminded that I signed up for this life and that I should "suck it up." Well, THANK YOU CAPTAIN OBVIOUS, but that just does NOT make me miss my husband any less, and it does not fill that empty space in my bed at night. Nor does it fill up the empty space in my heart every second of everyday that we are apart. Maybe it is particularly hard on me considering that I am pregnant and I feel like Brian is missing out on this time in our lives that I feel is very important for him to be a part of. Even more so, when I think about the brief amount of time that we will get to spend together as a family before he leaves for Iraq and it just further perpetuates my inner turmoil. I am grateful that we will have those two months or so to spend together getting to know our son, yet I am angry that he has to miss out on the subsequent fifteen months of Brandon's life. Fifteen months taken from our family, and for what? What is the purpose? Ugh, I can't even get started on THAT conversation. It will just result in a spewing of political opinions and me feeling even more irritated than I already am.

Probably the next relevant is the whole ERD process that we are trying to get worked out. For those that are not familiar with this particular Army acronym, it stands for Eary Return of Dependants. When Brian and I decided to move to Germany, we were sent for three years. Although we were always aware of the possibility of deployment, we were hopeful that it wouldn't happen. Naive, yes, but that worked for us. Up until now that is. Now that the dreaded D word is official, we are attempting to take the appropriate steps to do what is best for our family. For us, that is for me to move back to the states once Brian leaves. We have many reasons for wanting to do this, and it seems like none of them are valid or "dramatic" enough to be warranted. For starters, Brian and I are supposed to move back to the states May 31, 2009 as per our orders; however, Brian doesn't even get back from Iraq until sometime in June of 2009. What is the point of me staying in Germany when we will just be moving as soon as he gets back anyway? Want another reason? Ok. When we were making our decision to move to Germany, we were told that college classes would be available for me to take while we were here. While this is not a complete fallacy, it is by default. Yes, college level classes are indeed available for me to take; however, none of the classes offered are conducive to my degree. Central Texas College only offers vocational classes taken to obtain a certificate in a particular career field, not classes that can be used toward obtaining an Associates Degree. So, I am forced to take internet courses, which are not impossible, but are not ideal either. That being said, it would be beyond beneficial for me to go back to the states so I will be able to PHYSICALLY take college classes. Still not good enough? Need more? Sure. Why raise our son by myself, away from any family at all when I could very well be near BOTH of our families? This would allow Brandon to, at the very least, get to know his extended family. Why deprive our families the joy of watching our son grow up when Brian is already being forcefully deprived of this? It just seems unfair. Unfair to me, Brian, Brandon, and all parties involved. I have more reasons, but they are more trivial and not really worth discussing. Aside from the fact that we are unsure if our ERD will get approved, we are frustrated because we can't seem to get a straight answer from anyone in regards to the actual ERD process. The Army is very "by the books" when it comes to the chain of command and going through the various steps of whatever process may be necessary to accomplish any given task. Though we realize that this is a necessary evil, it doesn't make it any less stressful. And, apparently, there are no general guidelines for these kinds of processes either. I was actually told that out of the two deployments that this post has recently been through that the ERD process was completely different for both. The first deployment, it was very difficult to ERD. The second time around, it was very easy to ERD. For this third deployment, it is still up in the air. WHY is it that there is no standard? WHY does the Army think that it is their place to tell spouses where they will live once their sigificant other is forced to be seperated from them? I am often faced with the argument, once again, that this is the Army life. Bullshit. Sorry. I just do not agree with this one. Yes, the Army may "own" my husband, (which I must say that I am completely against this phrase because no human being is ANYONE'S property regardless of the circumstances) yet they have ZERO control over me and how I choose to conduct my life. I am a good person. I am relatively responsible. I do not cause problems for the Army. I should be allowed to live where I choose to live. I am giving up my command sponsorship, therefore terminating my housing and forfeitting my opportunity to have a place to come back to in Germany once Brian's unit comes back from Iraq. As a result, if I want to be in Germany for the welcome home ceremony, I will have to pay for my plane ticket and room and board out of my own pocket. I understand this fact, and I embrace it. The bottom line is that it should be MY choice to make. Not the Army's. Mine.

Obviously less significant are the stresses of finances and just trying to be responsible and "grown up." Why is it that everytime it seems as if we are getting ahead and making the right choices, something just HAS to waltz in and screw everything up? I guess that it is just life, and there is really nothing that can be done about it, but dammit, I'm TIRED of this fear. Understandably, we should have more of a savings, and the fact that we don't is completely our fault. Got it. Being the positive, patient person that I am, I have the ability to let this roll off my back and look at the bigger picture. That picture being that once we ERD our financial situation will improve tenfold and we will be given the wonderful opportunity to fix some of the mistakes that have been made. Brian, on the other hand, is a very glass half empty, negative person. So, of course, this causes tension because I am constantly having to be the positive person and ensure him (any myself sometimes) that everything is going to be ok, and that we just need to have a little patience. Patience. Heh. It seems so obsurd that I am the one preaching patience. I have very little patience, especially when it comes to getting things that I want or need. Patience with children is like breathing to me, but I am incapable of being patient with myself. Perhaps I should work on that.

I guess the most insignificant, yet the most significant is school. I am currently taking two college courses online. After successful completion of these courses I will have 25 credit hours. I STILL have SO much more to do. It is such a daunting task. I know that eventually I will be done. I just am so overwhelmed by it all. There is all this guilt that I haven't done more to finish college, and while I am aware that the fault is not entirely mine, some is. I am to blame, even if just partially, that my husband is going to deploy again. I am to blame, even if just partially, that Brian is forced to stay in the Army to support our family. This guilt eats at me everyday and is compounded when Brian starts talking about his hatred of the Army. He has said that he doesn't blame me, so I know that I shouldn't beat myself up over this, but I do. I can't help it. I should be so much further along and it kills me that I am not. I just want it to be over with. I want a degree in my hand so I can start my career and so that my family can live normally without fearing that we will have to be seperated against our will, for an ungodly length of time, for a purpose that we do not agree with. It just hurts sometimes. If I had finished my degree before Brian had to re-enlist, we wouldn't even have to deal with this upcoming deployment, or the ERD issue. So, the issues listed above would be irrelevant.

Probably the least scary thing, yet the scariest change we have to prepare for is the birth of our son. We are both SO excited, yet terrified at the same time. I'm sure that these feelings are completely normal, so I am not extremely worried about this. It just seems as if we will never be prepared enough. I know that there is really no amount of preparation that we can do to be ready for him, but I want to do it all. We want to be the best parents that we can possibly be. We want to raise our son in a loving, caring, understanding, stable, secure home. I have very little doubt that we will be able to provide him with these things, but at the same time, I am terrified that it will not be enough. There is also the fear of the unknown. Will he be healthy, will the birth go smoothly, will the weather here in Baumholder cooperate with us so that we can make it to the hospital safely, will we have everything that we need for him, will we be able to take care of him? It is all so overwhelming.

Despite all of these fears and frustrations that we are dealing with, we are so blessed. We have such wonderful families and friends. I am amazed everyday by my friends and family. We have a wonderful marriage. We have food in our tummies, a roof over our head, a decent car, the best dog and cat anyone can ask for, and we are just generally blessed. It is just hard sometimes to look through all of the things that you have to get through and are scared of, to see all of the wonderful things that you do have. So, now that I am done wallowing and venting, I hope that I can start paying more attention to the blessings in my life. I am so out of my element when I am negative. I need to get back to my normal, optimistic self. I guess it helps to get it all out. If you have read this far, thanks. I just needed an outlet to vent and work things out in my head. I'm sure that everything will work out, it just seems so......overwhelming.