I haven't been on any kind of military base or to any kind of military anything or really talked to anyone active duty or retired or their family or anything except briefly on social media in years now.
My "connection" the military ended, legally, on the day my divorce was finalized.
Technically, the day I turned my ID card to the MPs at the station right outside the main gate at JBLM.
Emotionally, it's lingered on. While I doubt my right to any kind of connection, to any kind of say.
And yeah, I still have friends, many of them very near and dear to me, still involved in military life.
But not me.
No more FRG, no more waiting for him to come home from work from the field from school from deployment.
No more having to learn to adjust life around injury schedule PTSD TBI.
My memories of being an Army spouse are both clear and completely faded.
I no longer have the sharp edge of knowledge, of current concerns, of my life balancing on an edge that has nothing to do with me or what I hope for.
So why am I here.
Why am I still talking to you.
Why am I still listening.
Because my story is not uncommon.
Because I am still a part of it, even having moved on.
Because those still in the thick of it tell me that I have the right to my story and my words, while honestly wondering if they have the right to theirs or if anyone would even want to hear what they have to say anymore.
They remind me that life is not just about military. Life contains a multitude, of all kinds and all stories, and to deny that denies a fundamental part of what makes us who we are, and silences the words and lives and stories of others.
That sometimes, often times, people need to hear about more than just the one view that can be life as seen through the active duty military dependent lens.
So I am here.
Because so many have told me that my words and my story still matter.
So I am here.
To show you that if my words and story count, then so do yours.
Keep talking. Keep telling.