It’s been about two weeks since I posted Part 1 of The Case Study for my project. And, I am truly humbled by a majority of the responses and shares on Facebook. Other spouses have reached out to me, thanking me for writing my story, shedding light on the life we live, and the sacrifices we make for our country.
I apologize as I haven’t been able to start working on Part Two yet. While I thought it was a necessary beginning for the final part of my project, I didn’t expect much to happen. I’ve been working on this for over a year, and have had only a moderate amount of interest in what I am doing. There were a lot of emotions flying through me after I shared and received feedback. Both positive and negative.
As the reader count got higher and higher, I read my post over and over and over again the next four days. By the fifth day, I couldn’t read it anymore. Instead, I cried. The tears flowed from of a place of deep sadness. The realization surfaced that there are many others who share the same type of story. The same kind of struggles.
This sadness, however, surfaced from something other than the pain inflicted from reading my story — a story that represented a larger group. I’ve felt so alone, so misunderstood, and so underrepresented as a spouse in the Foreign Service. That moment I cried, I gained something. The tears ran down my face because that was the one time, in fourteen years, I felt like I belonged. (Crap! — I’m crying again. Please hold.)
I’ve never been one to follow a crowd, or fit in too well. Anywhere I’ve lived, or anytime throughout my life. I’ve always been a rebel, an outsider. I know, as a highly sensitive person, the world sits on my shoulders and affects me in ways that others don’t feel. It takes me a long time to recover, to have the strength to face the next challenge. It’s not easy for me to brush things off and carry on unfettered.
The sadness came because I felt I belonged, but I knew I really didn’t. The story, the timeline, I’ve shared, is only facts. It has no insight into my mindset, or handling, of each situation. It’s simply truth. And, the emotions and interpretation of each reader were drawn based on personal projection, of their own response to similar situations they found themselves in. We bonded over adversity, but we need solution.
I sit. I wonder. Afraid. I type. I form. Create. The words. I share. Vulnerable. Criticism. Animosity. Trouble. Reflection. Projection. Delight. The words. I share. Truth. I speak. I defend. Grace. I stand. I know. Courageous. by Carla Gray