10// A Picture a Day While You're Away
When Ryan and I got married, we knew that he was going on his second deployment relatively soon. I had experienced deployments on the homefront as a kid with my dad being in the Navy but this was an entirely new ballgame being married. I was a couple months into my senior year of college when my husband came back home for pre-deployment leave and I said goodbye to my love as he went back to California to ship off to Afghanistan. It was all very surreal and distorting. We had been doing long-distance for awhile but now he was in an entirely different country. As a Marine Corps infantryman, he was doing patrols and phone calls came (with thoughts and prayers) every couple weeks. I never Skyped with Ryan during the entirety of his deployment because Skyping was difficult for him. One of the chaplains posted pictures of their Thanksgiving meal and that was the first time I had seen Ryan at all during that time. While he was gone I focused on every positive thing that I could get my hands on. I made extremely detailed care packages, worked out a lot, did retail therapy to calm myself, and watched a lot of movies. I was sad and did a lot of things by myself but I chose to be happy because that's who I am.
One important lesson that I learned from this was that you will lose friends and gain friends as you get older. I got married at a young age and I still have friends who have a hard time wrapping their mind around that it. It's ok, I get it. What I did was not considered normal at all. I rarely went to bars during this time because it was assumed that the women there were single and I hadn't figured out how to incorporate "I'm married" into conversations without it sounding like a marriage bomb. It almost felt like you had to get it out there right away or you were misleading guys. It was weird. I also learned a valuable tip about being young and having a husband deployed- you can totally have guy friends but respect boundaries. Basically this meant that it is very easy to perpetuate emotions and feelings that you have for your partner onto someone else in a time of difficulty, like a deployment.