I think it was the wife of the Colonel of my ex-husband's brigade who pointed me in the direction of Her War, Her Voice.
I was, at less than a year into marriage to my service member, already leery of, and used to judgement by, the average spousal support group you could find online or in-person.
The FRG group we had was, well, lacking is a kind way of putting it.
The online and facebook groups I'd found were full of angry, judgemental comments.
I was already out of my comfort zone, living in the deep south, a queer, purple haired, childless spouse, either 5-7 years older, or 5-7 years behind my military spouse peers.
I remember sitting at my computer, late at night, reading the blogs and facebook posts. Thinking "Huh. Well, not quite the same as the stuff I've seen other places, but I know better than to trust anyone at this point."
We PCSed to Campbell not long after I found Her War, Her Voice.
The cracks in my marriage, which would later prove to be unfixable, were already starting to show.
Shortly after we'd settled into Campbell, Her War, Her Voice posted about their very first retreat.
I applied for it, even though my overall luck with winning anything ever was actually less than 0 (I once thought I'd won a cassette tape from a radio station as a child, and when we went to get it, it turned out I hadn't, but they gave it to me out of pity), and even though I didn't have any hope that it would be anything better than an Army Strong Bonds Marriage retreat.
Funny story? I almost didn't get into that retreat. I was actually a secondary choice, the only reason I got to go was because the woman who had been picked couldn't go.
And so I went.
And I found my people.
Fast forward to multiple retreats worked, and years of work not only in content for facebook and twitter, but also being handed the website when Chris left, my divorce and moving away from any military posts, and I'm still here.
Why? I'm not even a military spouse anymore. I have nothing at all to do with anything military. My work to keep a roof over my head, and food in my belly, takes up so much of my time that I've not been able to work a retreat or create much content other than what I do for the website anymore.
I have nothing left tying me to the community anymore.
Except my team. My team, which no matter what happens, has my back, and cheers for me no matter what, who always offers a shoulder to cry on during the rare moments I admit I need it, who is just there. Like a limb. I can rely on them like very, very few people in my life.
And they keep the community of you all alive for me.
We all know how easy it is to move out of the military life, to become a civilian, and lose touch with not only those we knew, but also those we know who are still living the life.
And I don't want to do that.
You all matter to me. I know I am not around as much anymore, and I know I don't say it much, but you all do.
Just like my team matters to me, and I matter to them.
And that's why I've stayed.