How I Lost A Part Of Myself When I Became A Military Wife

How I Lost A Part Of Myself When I Became A Military Wife

We have long passed the era where women are expected to stay at home and play the role of dutiful wife.

yahairas
yahairas
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For as long as I can remember, I was taught the value of being able to hold my own in life. My parents wanted me to go out into the world without having to constantly need assistance. I was shown the value of independence by two hard-working parents who made sure no matter the situation, there was food on the table, clean clothes on our backs and a roof over our heads. I learned that I had to work for what I wanted in life and that nothing is ever handed to you. A common phrase I heard growing up was nothing in life is free. I lived by that phrase. From school age to the point of my enlistment into the United States Air Force, I worked for every single thing I had.

Even when there were times when I was almost desperate enough to ask for financial assistance from my parents, I never did. Be it the pride or the way I was brought up, I never could stomach asking for help. I always managed to find a way.

For the six years, I was in the military, I was accustomed to earning a paycheck every two weeks. I loved making my own money, being able to provide for myself and my family. I felt like I had a purpose. I felt useful.

In 2013, I separated from the military and married my now husband, Robert. He is currently serving in the Air Force and is the main provider for our family.


Photo of Yahaira and Robert Seawright as they promise to love and honor each other until deathYahaira Seawright

My plan upon separation was to finish school and find a career in the field I was studying. At the time, it was Sports Management. I wanted to become a personal trainer and possibly build on nutrition. Instead of working, I pursued my Bachelor's degree in the Sports Management field. I was able to contribute to the family with the little I received from the Veteran's Education program as well as taking care of my daughter. I still had a purpose.

Throughout the six years of being married, I went from being a stay at home mom, to being a California Highway Patrol Officer, to working in the Middle East, pursuing a Master's degree, back to stay at home mom, and now living in Italy.

I would be lying if I said being married to a military member did not have its downside. There are so many good things that come from sharing your life with a person who has promised to protect and serve for their country. You have the knowledge that your spouse is brave and selfless. You have a new perspective when it comes to wartime because you live with the constant dread that your spouse will have to lay down their life for their country. There is the experience of travel if you are so fortunate to get orders to an international location (although there are cons to that as well). You appreciate all those who currently serve or have served because of the sacrifice they willingly make when they raise their right hand.

There are challenges that come with the territory and I know not all spouses will agree with me. This is my own perspective of being a military spouse.

Since I separated from the military and became dependent, I felt lost. I felt that need for another person's help, even if that person was my husband. I hated that need. I hated having to literally depend on someone else for survival. What made it even worse was the title we are dubbed: dependent. Even the title says I have to depend on my spouse now. Military spouses everywhere, I know that's not the intent of the term! It is just the way that I viewed it.

Depending on another was something I wasn't used to.

For a while in our marriage, I felt lost. I fell into a rut. I lost my drive to be someone. I had this military experience. I even was a state police officer! I had these dreams to become someone great. Somehow, I found myself just going through the motions. Something was missing for me. I had a husband who loves me and two adorable children. However, it was like I was in trance.

I fell into a sadness and emptiness that zapped up my drive.

It does not make it any easier when part of the commitment you make when joining the military is the unpredictability; the constant moving to wherever the mission requires for you to go. This challenge makes me trying to find myself, find what I want to be, even more difficult because I cannot find stability.

I knew something had to change in order for me to find that clarity and self-worth I sought.

I knew the military wasn't going to change. What needed to change was me.

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An Open Letter To The Fatherless Girl On Father's Day

So this father's day, be proud of the person you are and still try your hardest to celebrate.

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Father's Day, it comes around every year. It is a nationally celebrated holiday and people plan parties surrounding this day, but some do not think about those who do not have a dad. Maybe you have an estranged relationship, maybe he walked out, maybe you guys are fighting, maybe you never met him, or maybe he passed away. It will be okay. Trust me, this will be my eleventh Father's Day without a dad, and yes they have gotten easier.

My dad passed away back in 2008, so I strive everyday to make him proud and even though he is not here I will still celebrate him on Father's Day. He was the dad that every little girl would want.

For those who lost their dad's, this is for you:

Live each day for him, celebrate him on Father's Day. For however long he was in your life, he shaped you into the person that you are today. Yes there is now a piece of you missing on this day and everyone wants to post a picture of their dad and makes you miss yours even more. But celebrate him, celebrate his life, celebrate his legacy. But it also a celebration for all the father figures that came into your life to help you grow up and give that advice that you needed to hear.

But I also understand that not everyone has a great relationship with their dad, so this is for you:

Celebrate those who have helped you get to where you are today. Life can't be perfect and just know whatever your situation may be, it made you stronger. It taught you to fight for what you want. It taught you to be independent and strong. Celebrate with your friend's dad who probably helped you in a time when you really needed it.

There might be some jealousy as you see people posting and talking about gifts they are getting for their dad. I get it, but just know it will be okay and this is only one day out of the whole year. But also do not forget to thank to all of the father figures that helped throughout the years. So this father's day, be proud of the person you are and still try your hardest to celebrate.

Cover Image Credit:

Jordyn

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We Need To Stop Treating Arranged Marriages Like Business Deals

We need to stop treating marriages like business deals where the groom gets dowry in exchange for his willingness to marry and the bride gets a husband in exchange for dowry.

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When I was thirteen years old, I spent my summer break at my cousin sister's place. She spilled steaming hot tea all over her thigh leaving a huge burn scar. The first thing my aunt said to her was "What would your future husband think about that scar? You should have been more careful." My cousin was just fourteen.

Growing up, we are made to believe that marriage is the most important thing in a woman's life and is going to be her biggest achievement. I thought it was hideous how we were made to believe this and pressurized to get married in fear of what society would think until I realized just how hideous the process of an arranged marriage itself is.

According to an IPSOS survey conducted in 2013, 74% of Indian marriages are arranged. Being the youngest sibling and cousin, I watched a lot of my older family members and relatives getting arranged marriages. Having spent most of my life in India, I have witnessed no other marriages than arranged marriages. It is funny to me how people have a checklist of superficial expectations like stereotypical beauty standards and unrealistic salary expectations. From publishing ads like "In search of a slim, tall, fair, very beautiful, homely girl who knows how to cook and sew" in the newspaper, the process of finding a groom or bride through an arranged marriage couldn't be more misogynistic and sexist.

Surrounded by all this, I penned down a poem in hope that we would stop treating marriages like business deals where the groom gets dowry in exchange for his willingness to marry and the bride gets a husband in exchange for dowry.

I

The glass bangles on her wrist jingled as she placed a plate of laddoos in front of the guests,

She wondered if this was the family that would finally pass her parents' tests.

"Oh! She is as fair as milk" the boy's mother exclaimed,

Her cheeks flushed to the color of scarlet under her dupatta as trained.

"He is too short" to her mother, he didn't appeal,

The deal wasn't sealed.

II

When no suitable match was found, the search was still profound.

"Hush," the girl's mother whispered "Don't tell them about the burn on the leg of the bride"

"What man will marry her once he finds?"

Another man arrived, tall, fair, and handsome- he was perfect,

Except that huge mole on his cheek which left him imperfect.

"The mole doesn't complement his face" to her aunt, he didn't appeal,

The deal wasn't sealed.

III

Still no luck in finding a groom,

Her father placed a matrimonial ad.

"Searching for a suitable groom, engineer or doctor, 25, fair, slim, vegetarian, no disabilities" the ad read,

The ad was published in multiple newspapers so that she could finally be wed.

Another boy arrived, but this time the tables turned,

"What? She can't cook?" the boy's mother was left concerned

"Oh, what a shame" to his parents' she didn't appeal,

The deal wasn't sealed.

IV

When everything had been tried, a Jyotish was consulted,

Vastu remedies for delay in marriage he suggested.

"Fast for sixteen consecutive days, the kitchen shouldn't be in the southwest."

Yet another boy arrived, tall, fair, slim, no moles- he seemed the best,

With everything from their checklist of expectations checked, everyone seemed to be impressed.

"But his earnings are so less," her father was left depressed.

To nobody he appealed,

The deal still wasn't sealed.

V

The number of grooms decreased as her age increased,

The girl walked in with a plate of laddoos, but this time from the southeast.

"Oh my god, the bride can't cook," the boy's mother noticed,

Thankfully the burn on her leg went unnoticed.

Double the dowry was demanded,

Her father's savings made sure the groom's family didn't leave empty-handed,

The girl's mother approved the boy, so did her mother's mother,

And her uncle, his wife, and their daughter

Even to the distant relatives, he appealed,

The deal was finally sealed.

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