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Hello People! It may or may not have been over 220 days since my last blog post on this page. I’m not sorry about it either... deployment has a way of kicking you when you’re already down and finding a way to dig yourself out blows. “Staying busy” only lasts for so long until you want to throw in the towel and hide from the rest of the world. There are many things that I can address in this post, I still have pages and pages of ideas for writing and I let them just collect dust. Now that we are back in full force, I’m sure they will appear... but for now, I’m going to ramble about the important things i have learned these past 10 months. Embrace the suck. This is a phrase my husband has said to me throughout the years and I never really understood it until now. Although him and I are in much different situations... it still applies to the both of us. Birthdays, new births in the family, beach trips, jack and jills, weddings, our “dating” anniversary, thanksgiving, our first wedding anniversary, Christmas and now New Years. No matter how many people you are surrounded by, there’s still the empty gut feeling of loneliness and longing for the company of your loved one. Nothing helps. You just deal. The deployment curse is also real... and it’s ridiculous. It wasn’t even one week after I left my husband for the final time before he went overseas, that my glasses snapped into pieces. From there, i had to replace my car tire which had not one, but three nails in it... only to re-replace it two days after the warranty expired because it got hustled by a pot hole. I lost two of my cats within three months, One was expected, one was not... which was probably the worst thing that could have happened. All the while, all lines of communication except for texting was being stripped from my husband and I. Calling didn’t work. FaceTime, Skype, Facebook video, Snapchat video didn’t work. Our only hope was by laptop, and using the cable to connect to the internet... so I sent a laptop. It got sent back to the company the first time i tried shipping it. I rebought it and sent it again myself. And then the mail got shut down.. for months.. so no mail. No laptop. How much better could it get? Thank God I don’t personally own a water heater or washing machine yet.. because I’m sure that would have brought a whole new level to this curse. Even with all of these horrible instances that happened during this deployment, it could always be worse. I often found myself taking a step back and convincing myself that this is only temporary and it eventually is going to get better. With the mentality of the New Year Upon is... I wanted to use 2018 as motivation to try and clear my head and brain of all the bitterness and negativity of this deployment and focus on better myself and my routine for when my husband is home with me. My next post will be about my 2018 plan on keeping my shit together until my man is back... so be on the look out in a few days! Stay sassy Milso’s... you got this
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So after a very long hiatus of Not So Reserved we are back!Things got rough and I didn’t want to write about it anymore. HA. I knew this time apart would be hard but I had no idea what random things would be so hard about it...aside from missing Connor of course. The last 8 or however many months are now kind of a blur, in hindsight they did go by quickly, but in the moment they were dragging. Things slowed way down at about the 6 month mark. I felt like the days were passing but that time had completely stopped.I was becoming a bitter person, totally agitated at small things and did not want to talk to anyone about this deployment who was not going through it as well. People mean well when they tell you time will fly, but as a MILSO, it is not want you want or need to hear. I will never forget telling a girl about how much I missed him and how I didnt know how to get time to move and then she actually rolled her eyes and compared it to a business trip…. Speechless. And needless to say I changed the subject. It didn’t anger me, it just made me realize there are people who just can’t understand. And that is totally FINE. Know your audience, and if you think you will get a certain response from someone don’t even go there with them.This may sound whiny, and it’s not meant to. There are certain things you would choose not to share with certain people about your life, general things, personal things etc. I just added this to that list. MOVING ON! We are in the home stretch and I’m honestly so scared about reintegration. This is a whole other post in itself and I will get on that soon. This post was meant to be about finding your community. I of course am now rambling on.I felt so lonely for a good chunk of this deployment even though I was surrounding myself with my favorite people. I really looked forward to my time with Lauren because she became my Connor substitute! We did so many great things together and it helped us countdown the time in chunks, battle buddy weekends gave me LIFE. I needed to focus my brain on something that gave me purpose. The gym went out the window, it became a stressor trying to commit, so going occasionally was all I could really handle mentally. This sounds crazy. I don't think people understand how the simplest day to day activity can become such a huge deal when your spouse is away. I still do not know why that is.Leaning on other MILSO’s has been great, and meeting others from around the state has also been really cool. Although, one thing Lauren and I have learned through this whole process is that some of these MILSO groups on Facebook can turn into catty and gossipy groups quick. It saddens me to see some of the things that women say to each other or about each other when they should be handing out support and have eachothers backs. There is enough hate and negativity in this world, why do we as women feel the need to do these things in a group where we should be offering and taking advice. I have left groups after seeing this happen. No one needs it. Especially in a time of need. I decided to back off of that and just focus on those around me, and myself. And then I discovered LipSense. I promise you I am not including this to bump my business. It truly has become my saving grace throughout the last few months.A friend of mine at work and I decided to become #bossladies and start our own beauty business. We discovered it through a friend from my highschool days and could not get enough. I am so obsessed with makeup. My morning coffee time is the time I apply my makeup and watch the news. Ask Connor….makeup time is my ME time. This is not new, I used to stay up and watch make-up YouTubers in highschool and college. And now I get to play makeup too!Going live in our Facebook group, meeting other driven and determined boss ladies, learning new makeup techniques, and helping women feel confident and beautiful has given me purpose. I haven’t been doing this for more than 2 months and I am so inspired by the people I have met and the gratification of successfully launching a beauty business. I am so passionate about it. I wish I had discovered this at the beginning of this whole deployment process. I have found my community here and I can’t wait to see where it takes me.I feel like this has been a huge ramble and not at all where I thought it was going. So thank you for reading if you made it this far!
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Disclaimer: I’m about to write about my dog, I love her, she has an Instagram account, I’m an insane new dog mom. So for all you non-dog people who might find this silly, maybe don’t waste your time on this one. (p.s. we also have 2 cats)
Months before my fiancé deployed we got a puppy. He took her first week with us off of work to acquaint her to her new home. He was also home with her for 80% of the time for a month leading up to the deployment. When he left she was roughly 5 months old and a total daddy’s girl.
I’ve never had a dog so naturally we picked the super hyper, jumpy, separation anxiety ridden and sometimes flaky breed: the Irish Doodle. Half Irish Setter, half Standard Poodle. She’s gorgeous and goofy and the BEST dog I could ask for…BUT 100% has a mind of her own and a stubborn will like your typical Irish lass.
Recently I’ve noticed that she freaks out when I am out of sight in the house, will not eat if I leave the kitchen, and is attached to me always. She is high energy and sometimes a huge handful. I have had my share of meltdowns over barking spells and potty training issues. ITS HARD RAISING A PUPPY ALONE. I do not know how you moms to humans out there tackle deployments, major major kudos. I have an amazing support system who is here to help me with her anytime I need, but she’s a handful for all and her barking outbreaks can be mortifying in public. She’s a silly shaggy puppy with a BIG bark. All she wants is to meet all humans and dogs she passes by.
One thing that doesn’t get old? The way she wags her tail when we FaceTime with her dad and that she still “sits” for him just by hearing his voice! She certainly misses him, I know she must feel like something is missing.  
We got her a trainer, she has come to help twice and she is amazing! On her last visit I asked her if my fiancé leaving has anything to do with her insane separation anxiety and distress barking. The poor dog cannot relax. According to dog psychology and science, it’s not likely she is associating her dad leaving with being left alone, but my emotions, anxiety and stress makes her want to be by my side at ALL times.
She’s the best companion, sleeps with me and gives me love when I’m having a breakdown, even when it’s over her. I am going to get this dog super well behaved by the time he is home if it breaks me! (which it very well may already have, she’ s spoiled and runs the show)
So to answer the question the title of this blog post poses. Yes deployments effect your pets. At least in my opinion.
Maybe not by association but dogs can sense your feelings, it’s incredible.
My cats could give 2 F*cks about my emotions. They are totally self-centered little a$$h*les and I LOVE THEM. Don’t hate on the cat life they give much comic relief and cute snuggly insta posts not to mention great little teddies to sleep with. Sloane my pup on the other hand? Total therapy dog, just for me, a little insane yes, but having a 45 pound body sleeping back to back with me while my fiancé is off across the world is priceless and I can’t ever get bored when I’m dealing with an overzealous, muppet like gigantic puppy.
P.s.s. go follow @sloane_the_irishdoodle . pretty please.
-Christina
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It is no secret that having your significant other deploy is going to unleash emotions you never even realized you had. Everyday things may suddenly piss you off, you may feel completely disconnected from the world and you make take a new liking to trashy romance novels or slasher movies. After reading countless books, articles and talking to other MILSO's, this is completely normal.
I have also learned that talking to every day folks can be very awkward, especially when they either
Ask about the deployment.
Don't know your spouse is deployed.
Ignore the deployment talk all together.
Some people are completely oblivious and insensitive and it can be frustrating interacting with them, and some seasoned military families are even difficult, because they are TOO seasoned. Many people aren't familiar with OPSEC and don't understand that there are many things that you can't say, and can often be offended by that. 
I have had my share of awkward conversations, and conversations that have straight up made my blood boil, and conversations that have made me straight up sob. But I have tried to stay positive through it all...I am trying to give everyone the benefit on the doubt. I have collected a bunch of conversations I have experienced and how I chose to handle it...and how I wanted to handle it.
"How are you holding up? or How are you doing?"
Whenever someone asks this… I  usually tell them that’s a loaded question. To be honest, I’m sure that whoever is asking this question doesn’t want to sit and listen to how you’re really feeling. So sarcasm usually takes over for this question. I know they mean well and are just reaching out to check on us…it is a sucky question…but it’s not their fault.
But honestly…how the F*** do you think I am? I am separated from my best friend, my husband, my everything, for I don't know how long. I don't know what's going on where he is, I don't know when I'll be able to talk to him again. I am angry that he was taken away from me, anxious, sad because I just want him to be home and back to normal. I am anti social, and in bitch mode 80% of the time, but I’m good. I am expected to carry on a normal life while he is away, and that is what I’m going to try to do. 
“Military marriages usually fail”
Yes, thats right. Someone actually had the nerve to have this conversation with me the day after I said goodbye to my husband for the second and last time before we would be separated for a year. I was already at an all time low, and this person had nothing but negative things to say about how hard being married to the military is…about how there is so much give (on our end) and it’s not fair…and thats why military marriages don’t last.
The NERVE. I have never been so angry in my whole life. I am so proud of everything that my husband has accomplished and will continue to accomplish in the army. He is so smart, brave and passionate about his work, and leading others. He is always volunteering for different tasks to expand his knowledge. This is his dream, and I could never be the person to get in the way of that. Yes it is true, that some women are not made to be military wives…but thats is a case by case basis, not a general statement.
We are strong women. We say goodbye to our men for drill weekends, for weeks of training schools, and then months for deployments…sometimes with little notice. And yet, we get through it. That is the strength of a military marriage. There is a famous line floating around that deployments will either “make or break your relationship”, I believe it is true. Going through a deployment isn’t easy, some days are better than others..but each day that goes by, good or bad, is another day closer to being with your soldier.
When folks complain about not seeing their Significant Others
This topic is going to make me seem completely bitter, but I know that this has come up in conversation with myself and Christina on separate occasions. A non-military acquaintance who is upset about not seeing their significant other (all week, weekend, etc.) I can completely understand that is a difficult matter, and can be very tough for those who aren’t used to it. While the best I can really do right now is say “I’m sorry, I know what you mean…it gets better?” Personally, I’m too new into this deployment thing, that I’m not ready to actually be nice about this… so I just excuse myself from the conversation.
Needless to say, I haven’t seen my husband for months and it won’t be months until I get the opportunity. I don’t get to call him whenever I miss him, or to catch up on my lunch break. One failed Skype call after another, because of poor connection- only getting to see his face for one brief second is the highlight of my week…if I’m lucky. So unfortunately, I am unable to be the person to sympathize with you about your situation. 
When Folks ask about current events
This is one topic I try to avoid at all costs. I make an effort to stay away from all news stations, all news on social media, and any sort of talk related to current events…because it spikes my anxiety and makes me worry 200x more than I usually do. I have been very open about not wanting to be involved in any news talk…but there are always those few people who want to know how I feel about what is going on around the globe.
Again, this is another time when I just walk away. Listening to people speculate about what is happening and what is going to happen from these events is useless. For the most part, they are going to be wrong, and the things you say are just going to get inside your head. I don’t even give it a second thought. Yes, it is scary what is going on, and yes, it is worse when your significant other is overseas and in the middle of it. We have to remember that “no news is good news” and if something was wrong, we would know about it. 
You knew what you were getting into
You signed up for this. You knew what you were getting into. I can't stand when people say this. I love my husband more than anything and I would follow him to the moon if I had to. I didn't sign up for the army, he did. I support everything that makes him happy. I am allowed to have feelings, negative feelings at times, regarding it. That doesn't mean in any way that I am not supportive. I signed up to be his life partner, his partner in crime, and his biggest fan. That will never change.
This is another time, when I choose to brush off the conversation... and change the topic or just walk away. It is one of those things that people won't truly understand until you are living it. I didn't know what a deployment would be like. I didn't know that I would wake up one day and be completely fine, and the next day, I wouldn't even be able to get out of bed. I didn't know that I would want to distant myself from anything that reminded me of my husband for the purpose of keeping myself from crying every day. At the end of the day, you do what you have to do to get by and make it onto tomorrow.
Sometimes, we have to be the bigger person in conversation. Everyone always feels the need to throw in their two cents, no matter what the circumstance. Of course everyone means well, but their approach into conversation can trigger some sort of emotional rollercoaster.  MILSO's must learn to grow some thick skin. 
The best way that I have dealt with conversations like these are keeping my head held high, and if someone has something to say... let them say it.... it doesn't mean that you have to listen. Stay strong, MILSO's.
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When my fiancé and I met, he had just started ROTC in college. Still unsure of the active duty or National Guard life, he was living the ROTC life while half living the college life. Even THEN Army came first.
I think the first time I realized how serious he took it was when he showed up to my apartment one night with his alarm clock JUST IN CASE his phone alarm didn’t work. The first of many very very early mornings for the college me who rolled out of bed after he finished morning PT hours later. And the alarm clock became a fixture in my room of course.
I didn’t quite know what would come but I enjoyed the formal Military events, Military Balls and hanging out with his Military friends. It felt kind of exclusive to me. And the uniform, can’t say I didn’t love walking around with him in ACU’s.
 What I hated were his inconveniently placed weekends away which would soon multiply when he commissioned to the Army National Guard. We’ve been together for almost 6 years and have spent maybe 2 Halloweens together, my favorite holiday, and apparently, ROTC’s favorite time to overload cadets.
Moving onto NG life, we adjusted, his weekends away became my weekends for ME. Girl time, family time, lazy me time. It helped to miss each other. And one weekend a month a couple weeks a summer was a piece of cake. We had no deployments in sight and my impression had been that we may never.
Fast forward a few years and here I am on a different continent getting by, living for text messages and quick face time chats. I’m not complaining, I could be living on base somewhere, alone, no friends or family in an unfamiliar place. I am fortunate to be a Guard spouse. Keeping my civilian life, my friends, family and our home close to me to get through. It’s tough at times but I don’t think I would change any of it. We have been so fortunate through his military career thus far. Visiting places we may never have seen, meeting great people from out of state and hopefully out of country soon! AND of course Lauren, we never would have met nor would this blog exist were it not for this life!
It’s been a long and sometimes extremely frustrating road but I am SUCH a proud military spouse 
Disclaimer: This is such a brief overview into the transitions we have made and how unpredictable the Army can be, I don’t want to drone on in one post so may do some ROTC geared posts for anyone who is in the shoes I was in. Or a mil ball post. Stay tuned!
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You get the dreaded call, the awful news you have either been waiting for or will be blind-sided by has arrived and Military BAE is across the country, away at drill, or somewhere on the other side of the world. Your support system, shoulder to cry on and person who keeps you grounded has been removed from the equation physically. So how can you possibly get through this terrible life event without them?
It sucks…alot, but you can. If there is one thing I have learned about myself while my fiancé has been away for training or deployment is that that we are strong enough to be our own support systems. I can get through this on my own. I have to (not without my amazing family and friends of course). While this blog post is in reaction to some shit news I received today while fiancé is off across the globe, this is not the first rodeo.
Fiancé was at BOLC when my Nana passed, she LOVED him and we had just gotten engaged 10 days before and then fiancé was whisked away on a plane and back to his duty. Country first. Always. I’m not resentful, I’ve learned to accept it completely and know that in his heart WE are first. But if country is first for him, then its first for me, and it will have to be first for Nana.
This was devastating and totally shocking news. Shocking. I didn’t even cry the moment I found out when my Dad had been parked outside my apartment at 4:30 AM because he knew I had a 6 AM spin class to get up for. The last 2 family deaths Fiancé helped deliver the news to soften the blow. This time I would be calling fiancé at an ungodly hour and sobbing to his voicemail hoping he could call me soon.
In the same timeframe Fiancé lost an uncle, and he couldn’t be there to say goodbye, so I had to say goodbye for both of us. Something I know kills him to this day, but country first. A notion we accept as fiancés, wives, husbands, girlfriends, boyfriends, family and friends. Do not get me wrong, I’ve never been so proud as I am being a MILSO, and I respect that country does come first. But in times of tough stuff, it sucks.
So how do we get through it? Cry it out, binge some tv, stay in bed for an entire day and eat Ben & Jerrys, wine it out. Its OK to be sad and angry and its OK to feel hopeless. But set yourself a limit. Be devastated and sob for a day, and the wake up fresh and realize YOU can do this. YOU are a military spouse. YOU have a sense of strength that you have had to develop to survive the times you spend without them.
I love my fiancé and he is the one person who can make everything feel better, but I know I can do this for myself. And without his love, strength and support I could never believe in myself the way I do.
So long story short, when BAE is away with his side chick the United States of America, you get to love and support your side chick, YOU! Make the best of what you have, a strong support system and the time to really love yourself.    
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Any MILSO who has a soldier in the National Guard understands that we have our own unique set of challenges when it comes to military life. While we also have to deal with separation, surprise trainings, and excessive amounts of gear vomit, we have lucked out with not having a base to call home or PCS after a few years. My soldier has a civilian job besides being in the National Guard. We have a civilian life that keeps on going whether or not the Army is involved.
My husband has been in the Army National Guard for six years. We have been together for 5 of those years and I would not trade those years for anything. In that time. I have only met one army wife... and she was only a brief acquaintance. I have always hoped that I would be able to meet other ladies that would 100% fully understand what being an army wife is. Since the National Guard meet one weekend a month and a few weeks in the summer...the opportunity for meeting other spouses was never there. 
Now don't get me wrong, my family, friends and coworkers are always there to listen to my venting, my complaints about the Army taking my husband away and always support me no matter what. I am so completely grateful for that. I also know that it can be difficult to understand the ways of the military especially for folks that are not familiar with it. 
When we found out that my husband was deploying, my world completely flipped. Of course, I knew that eventually this would happen, and it couldn't have come at a worse time (but the army has a way of doing that).  There were so many emotions that I didn't even want to express to people in my every day life, because they were just so ridiculous. How do you explain to someone:
"I don't want to talk to or be around any people, but I don't want to be alone"
"The sight of any couples makes me livid"
Sadness turned into anger, and lack of sleep turning into panic attacks. For being surrounded by so much love, it was such a crappy feeling.
Nonetheless, I wanted to be able to kick the deployments ass, instead of the other way around. I needed to find other military spouses that were going through the same situation. I turned to Facebook, to find some groups which I could join and reach out to other wives/finances/girlfriends. Little did I know that this group was going to be such a positive impact on how I would handle this deployment. 
Within a matter of weeks, I met a fellow National Guard wife who lives in North Carolina who was also going through her first deployment. Long story short, we are the exact same person. We grew to be best friends almost immediately... we could go on for hours and hours, ranting about our men being away, and our feelings, without being judged, and having one another completely understand all the feelings that we were both experiencing...which were identical. It is such a relief knowing that I am not the only one feeling like a hot mess through this. 
In April, my husband was given a few days pass while he was at pre deployment training, and I was given the chance to fly and see him. Of course I was going to go, no matter what...but my lack of knowledge of flying and airports left me feeling very nervous. I reached out to the ladies of the MILSO group... asking for advice and tips on flying and flying alone. What happened next was an absolute miracle.
I was approached via Facebook message from a girl who lived on the opposite side of Massachusetts. She had seen my post about flying, and we slowly learned that our men were in the same unit and about to deploy together. What a breath of fresh air. I finally had that person, my battle buddy, to go through this deployment with. 
We both shared our stories, and talked about our guys, and our everyday roller coaster of feelings. Whenever we were down in the dumps, or feeling anxious, scared, or absolutely sobbing... we helped each other and continue to help each other stand back up, brush off, and keep ourselves in check. Even though our men are halfway across the world... our lives still go on... and that can be difficult. But it's definitely not as difficult with a battle buddy by your side.
Not even 48 hours after we both returned from our trip to see our guys, we were both in a slump. Adjusting to being alone AGAIN, and saying goodbye AGAIN, was a horrible feeling, and having to get back into a routine was the last thing either of us wanted to do... but we had to. We tried thinking of solutions to get us back on track, which is how this blog started. 
This blog will cover our journey through this deployment, and beyond. It will be funny, sarcastic, and probably ugly at times. But we want to reach out to all other military wives, and let you know you're not alone. None of this would have been possible if it wasn't for meeting through social media. We would love to be able to make that happen for other military wives who are struggling to make friends, who don't have enough support, and need some uplifting and inspiration to get through their days.
I strongly encourage anyone who needs a battle buddy, some advice, inspiration, motivation... anything! Stick around here and see what we have in store for you ladies. Leave a comment about your battle buddy and how you met. 
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