Several months ago, I had an idea flaunt itself in my head. It paraded around like the master of my brain. Every conversation somehow concluded with a logical explanation based on this ‘theory’ that wouldn’t leave me alone. So, to quiet the voice, I started researching the idea and found very little on the topic. That’s when I thought – I’VE HIT GOLD! An original idea! Amazing!
Digging deeper into the research, I realized it would be a good idea to take it up a notch and make it one of my monthly projects. Hence, the one that has been lingering as Coming Soon! on my projects page for weeks now. The more I write, the more I find to write. And, the more I realize it is the best way to heal a lot of my hurt of being a ‘trailing spouse’ for the last 13 years.
What started out as a simple thought to open a discussion blossomed into a 20+ page thesis. I started wondering if this is something I should keep hidden from my blog and start submitting to various publishers. I really think there is something to this idea. So, for about three weeks, I’ve been wrestling with what to do.
“What is your goal?,” my husband asked me.
What a loaded question that seems right now. When I started this blog, it was simply to write every day, to see if I had a desire to TRY to become a writer professionally. After I started writing, I realized I could heal a lot of my past hurts. That became a new part of the goal. To take a year to heal. To write about hurt and survival. Of course, my mind didn’t stop there – it wanted to give me DREAMS. Dreams of becoming a writing superstar and that my thoughts, opinions and prose were worth something to someone else. That I had ‘the thing’ needed to become a successful creative.
Oh, the excitement and thrill of going for it, the anticipation of wondering if I have what it takes, and the self-doubt that I could really do something with words rolls around in my heart and mind everyday. Reading as much as possible has become my mission instead of my pastime. And, the realization that my chances of making it are low is overshadowing the positive stream of doing it.
This last week I’ve had some quiet time with myself to search my heart and my goal of my latest project. Looking back to the beginnings of the idea, I really wanted to bring an idea forward that would open a dialogue for spouses in the foreign service. Even through my own experiences of 13 years and the research I’ve done, I know what is currently 20+ pages could easily turn into double that length, if not more.
Project – The Dangers of Self-Actualization: An Evaluation of Needs for the Modern Trailing Spouse
Abstract – Careful observation of spouses in the foreign service was mentally recorded over a thirteen year period. Within the parameters of observation, patterns of behavior and motivation surfaced amongst the various personalities of observed individuals. This paper includes the various recollected observations, a short history of Abraham Maslow and his theory, Hierarchy of Needs, a detailed description of the five categories as they pertain to the foreign service spouse, a quick summary of findings, and an interpretation of observation using self-actualization as the premise of motivational behavior. Within the interpretation of observation, findings include astounding claims that the Department of State is partially responsible for suppressing and inhibiting the individual power of trailing spouses to fully reach their potential.
The last sentence in the abstract causes alarm and makes me a bit of a scaredy cat. I realized that I’m holding back from doing anything because I’m afraid of the backlash I will receive. While I feel pretty confident in my paper and my ability to argue my side of the debate, I do not want to come across as a self-righteous spouse that is only trying to pick a fight. That’s not it at all. I want to empower spouses and want to defend our right to voice our concerns. We’ve suffered in silence too long, and I know I am not willing to spend the next 13 years of my husband’s career being pushed to the side as a bump in the road, or someone/thing to maneuver.
You are invited to follow along as I polish and publish each section, one day at a time. Please be respectful in the format, but feel free to make comments and interject your thoughts, opinions and own experiences that may help our case and cause. If you find an inconsistency in the material, please point it out. Only with a collective effort, can this open a safe environment for us to speak out and make a difference in our little culture bubble. Start the journey here.
Until tomorrow –