Don’t lose yourself.
Recently, I came across a list of “Random Tips” for ball etiquette, written for military spouses. The entire list was three pages long — full of useful hints, yes, but largely interspersed with quips like, “Remember, the ball is not about you!” and “Don’t speak unless you’re formally introduced!”
While I appreciate the sentiment, I think this is incredibly telling about the traditional role of a military spouse: We’re expected to pipe down and dress the part and smile sweetly, all the time. This isn’t a realistic goal for anyone; there’s a time and a place to kick your manners into top gear, but this doesn’t mean compromising your personality, or your personal ambitions. (That’s why we LOVE the Military Spouse of the Year Program, because we get a voice!! Nominations are open right now > Check it out here)
I won’t lie: I’m still young. Like most of my peers, I still like fizzy cocktails on the weekends, short shorts, and singing to bad pop music at the top of my lungs. At first, landing in a culture of book clubs and bunco seemed so much more like my Grandma’s cup of tea than my own.
While I ended up loving it, I made a huge effort to stay true to myself in the process. I’m friends with my husband’s coworkers and their wives. I work. I stand up for myself. I make bad jokes. I cuss. I’m exactly who I always was. And I’m infinitely happier because of it.