Dating Someone in the Military: On Being a BAMF MilSo

Wednesday evening, after sitting down to a dinner of homemade enchiladas, I had a moment.

It wasn’t a moment of, “Holy crap, these enchiladas are amazing.

Which they were.

It was a moment of, “Holy crap, what’s happening to my life.

You ever have one of those moments?

You might remember my post on my quarter-life crisis when I discussed having many WTF and OMG flip-outs.

As a mid-twenties, ambitious, and very cautious lady, I seem to have them a lot. I’m sure you can relate.

Here I was sitting at the table with my boyfriend who is caring, trustworthy, and really good at making margaritas (which I haven’t had in awhile, so get on that, Felix), eating a homemade meal, overlooking a pretty nighttime view, and flanked by two loving, albeit very needy, pets.

And I wasn’t satisfied.

I freaked out.

I lost it.

I cried.

Earlier that day, while walking Tuki and enjoying the fresh air during a much-needed break from work, I listened to the Happy Hour – NextGen MilSpouse podcast.

First, let me mention that I love this podcast. Love. It’s produced by MilSo’s and made for MilSo’s, and the ladies who run the podcast are funny, truthful, and blunt. My kind of people. They aren’t afraid to tell it like it is and be candid about life in the military.

Sometimes it’s the best thing, sometimes it’s the worst thing, and sometimes you wonder why in the hell you’re even doing this anyway (btw, the answer is because you get to travel a lot and also because have you seen a man in uniform?!).

The podcast that I was listening to linked me to this blog post on their website titled “Are You Feeling Conflicted About Sacrificing Your Career,” and I, of course, read it as soon as I got back to the apartment.

My face was still chilly from the cool breeze and my hands were still semi-frozen as I sifted through their posts on their website until I found the article I was looking for.

And then I read it.

And then I reread it.

And then I panicked.

YES,” I said out loud to no one in particular. “Yes, I AM feeling conflicted!

And it’s okay.

It doesn’t mean you’re a bad girlfriend, boyfriend, or spouse. It doesn’t mean you’re selfish. It means you have ambition, drive, and goals, and that’s freaking beautiful.

So we need to talk about it.

Without getting too deep into my own story (if you sift through my posts, you’ll quickly discover what kind of woman I am), I do want to stress the importance of my loves.

My things.

The stuff that drives me. The stuff that makes me feel good and whole and purposeful.

Acting, writing, performing, having a network of people who make me feel accepted and who are like me, comedy, Comedy, COMEDY. Going to plays! Going to improv shows! Performing in plays! Performing in improv shows! Potentially hopefully one day meeting Amy Poehler and having her fall head over heels for me and cast me in one of her projects!

Goals, people! Goals!

All of this… all of this is so important to me, because it makes me who I am, you see? Who I was before Felix and who I still am today. And the impending fear of losing all of that is enough to make me freak out and panic and question why I am here.

Why can someone else live their dream, but I’m forced to put mine on hold? 

Why can’t I do what I want to do? 

What if the next duty station doesn’t offer me the same opportunities that I luckily have found in DC so far when it comes to work? 

And on and on and on.

And then I found this article: “10 Things Every MilSpouse Needs to Start Doing Right Now” and the first one is to start accepting military life, and it’s as if the weight of the world lifted off of my shoulders.

And then it dawned on me…

Just because we’re dating a service member doesn’t mean our lives are put on hold. We didn’t just stop. It doesn’t make us lazy or dependent or unambitious.

It makes our situation unique.

It’s a challenge, if you will. To find fulfillment wherever we go.

Is it as convenient as our partners? Well, no. But doesn’t that make it a little exciting? The unknown? The adventure?

Before leaving New Orleans, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to find happiness in DC. I was worried about jobs and friends and quality of life.

I didn’t just find a job, I found three, and the opportunities for more are endless around here. I just have to step outside of my comfort zone and make them happen for myself, if that’s what I want.

I’m not living Felix’s life. I’m living mine.

And if there ever comes a point where I’m unhappy, unsettled, or feeling as if I’ve placed myself on the back burner of my own story for far too long, then I’ll change it.

It’s a simple as that.

Oftentimes, there are misconceptions about MilSo’s, and they are misconceptions I had in the early stages of my relationship.

They’re lazy.

They lack ambition.

They’re submissive. < For real, I thought this. I thought this! 

Well, as a MilSo, I am here to tell you that we are not lazy. We are full of life and potential and energy, and have you ever known someone who can work three jobs, ensure you have clean underwear so you don’t pull a Britney, and have homemade stew on the table for dinner that very same day? If you know a MilSo, you have.

We don’t lack ambition. I have spent hours upon hours crafting the perfect cover letters, applied to over twenty-five jobs, internships, fellowships, and more. I work my ass of as a Marketing Specialist, a freelance writer, and a theatre teacher, all while maintaining my own blog, reading up on how to improve my online presence and market Powered by Sass as a brand. This doesn’t even include the amount of research I do on local plays, comedy shows, and more in the area and the countless hours I spend thinking about all of this, all of the time, every single day. Lacking ambition? I say to myself: bitch, please.

We are not submissive. I’m LOLing hard at this one right now, you guys. Hard. If there ever was a thing I was not, it’s submissive, and I’m ashamed I even thought this was factual to begin with, but you live and learn. The MilSo’s that I have met, myself included, call the shots. It’s our world, baby. Our service members just live in it. 😉 But that’s not entirely fair to say, so I will state that just because you move for a man, doesn’t mean you aren’t a strong woman. And I will leave it at that.

There’s so much that I have learned since moving to DC. Some days it’s a struggle to remember that I’m a BAMF. Other days it’s not. Today is one of those days where I’m recognizing the awesome in me and in you. MilSo or not.

You rock.

You rule.

Stay cool, never change.

And if you want the enchilada recipe, let me know, because they really were that amazing, and of course I made them in the evening after working all day, doing laundry, making sure my hair was washed, and even walking the dog twice in freezing temps.

Because why?

Because I am a Milso, and I’m strong as hell.

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