Hi. I’m your Monday Confessions anonymous military spouse… my confession? I am a drama queen.
It all began a decade ago, just after my husband had returned from his second combat deployment, during which I’d delivered a baby and moved with said baby at only three weeks old some 1500 miles to his duty station to await his return from Iraq. He returned to us near the middle of July. The first of August we went on 30 days leave to visit the most wonderful in-laws a girl could never ask for (gag). From the end of August to the middle of October, my husband went to the field six times, coming home during the weekends. Toward the end of October he left for a month, returning late at night on a Wednesday, the night before Thanksgiving. When he walked in the door, tired and smelly and in a foul mood, he dropped his sea bag on our old linoleum floor and sighed, “Our orders got bumped up.”
I stopped changing a diaper and stood still and just asked, “When?”
“January 10. They want us there for elections.”
I didn’t throw a fit then and there. Lord no. That would’ve been a mean thing to do to my husband, and not a good fit for the activity of diaper changing. But that night, when he was passed the heck out and our five month old baby was in a bottle induced coma, I slumped onto the floor in the laundry room and sobbed and screamed at God and threw a raging temper tantrum any two year old would be proud of. I cursed Saddam Hussein (who hasn’t) and then President Bush (okay not everyone has cursed him) the Commandant of the Marine Corps (don’t hate me) and my husband (don’t pretend like you haven’t) for joining. I cried and screamed in that locked laundry room until I was so worn out that I could barely climb the steps to my bed. My husband never even knew what had happened, and I smiled our way through a painful in-law Thanksgiving dinner.
Over the years, it’s been a similar scene. My husband gives me some sort of news and I take it standing, like a champ. Like we’re expected to. But when he’s not looking I totally break down. Like the time one of his students came to the instructors and told them that another student was planning on shooting my husband on the range, and then gave extremely well detailed plans of how the student had smuggled brass and buried it in the tree line. They sent my husband home for the day to spend time with his family. He came home, told me, had some lunch and took a nap; because nothing seems to rattle him. I, on the other hand, smoked an entire pack of cigarettes, drank a bottle of wine, painted half of the house and then broke down in the back yard. I seriously, no kidding, laid down in the grass and bawled like a baby who’d been slapped. All in about an hour and a half period, because that was all the naptime I had to work with.
Sometimes I feel like I’ve just got to have this meltdown right here, right now, in the privacy of my closet because it might be the only time I’ll get to have it. I suspect I’m not the only closet drama queen out there. I’m not talking about the high school drama mama that we’re all well aware of. Or the toxic drama queen talked about in this article. I’m talking about the “totally blowing everything out of proportion and crying big fat crocodile tears in my locked bathroom because my husband is on duty again for the seventh time this month and I’m due for surgery in the morning” kind of drama queen. (breathe) Yep, that’s me. Ten years of high tempo operations, lots of deployments, a war on two fronts, budget cuts and not being able to find a job… and by God I think we’re all secretly drama queens at one time or another. And I’m not sure we don’t deserve to be.
The issue, of course, is when “closet drama queen” turns into “raging maniac momma” and my husband has to tell me to watch my mouth in front of the kids. Yeah- it sometimes comes to that. Sometimes I can’t seem to control myself, and there is not a closet, laundry room, or backyard to escape to at that very moment. The kids are all talking at once, my husband is laughing with food spitting out of his mouth and trying to show me a video on his phone in the middle of dinner, the dishwasher is running, somehow the TV just came on, and suddenly I’m friggin’ Cruella DeVille screaming the EFF word at the dinner table out of nowhere! The littlest starts crying and the oldest has hands up in front of the face like I’ve just threatened to knife hand everyone, and oh my god my drama queen is hanging out. Look… drama queen doesn’t come out often, and seriously less now that I’ve, you know, been getting therapy. In fact, mostly she only comes out when my husband says things like “you know it’s been TWO days since we’ve had sex?” while I’m battling an infectious disease. Or when I’m cleaning up kid puke at 3 am and someone has the audacity to say “Can you keep it quiet out there? I’m trying to sleep!” That’s when crap hits the fan and I don’t care if my husband can see me from his comfy spot in bed while I slam cupboard doors and talk to no one in particular as loud as I can. “SURE! I’ll keep it quiet for you, you well rested, nap taking, spoiled rotten, grown man! I’d hate for poor little you to miss TEN FRIGGIN MINUTES of sleep! God forbid! JERK! I hope you fail your PFT next week! Gah!!!”
And for the record… I just love that well rested, nap taking, spoiled rotten, grown man. He works his tail off and proudly serves his country. He has never failed a PFT. And he still loves me, despite being a drama queen on occasion because, for the most part, my temper tantrums remain private, when the kids are at school and the husband is at work.
You know… when there are no witnesses.