After fourteen years of traveling around the globe, I was looking forward to breaking free from the constraints of my position as an Eligible Family Member (EFM). I couldn’t wait to arrive in America, find my place, and start living my own dream, the dream that felt put aside for so many years. The chance for myself to become valued and needed in an organization.
Little did I know that only 90 days in to my liberation would I feel the relentless tug on my heart. A tug that caused so much anguish I got sick to my stomach. I wrestled with my fleshly desires. I wanted to move forward and not look back.
But, the calling wouldn’t let me rest; it was, after all, an idea that pestered me for six months. Back in the Spring, I applied for a job with a youth foundation. It made me realize how little support we EFMs really have. While the private Facebook groups, CLO, and FLO are excellent resources, we really don’t have a place that gives a voice to our unique concerns. No real guidance or support tailored for each individual’s needs. I wondered why; should I start one?
A heavy load was dropped on my shoulders and I tried to shove the idea in the back of my mind, willing someone else to come along and fill the need. We know we need this, now more than ever. It’s up to us to take care of us.
Three months later, I arrived in the DC area. I got started right away sending out resumes and setting up interviews. Some I felt like I bombed on purpose, even if I didn’t know why. But, the job I thought was the perfect fit didn’t take me serious as a candidate. In fact, the interview was quite disrespectful. I left feeling very much like I have over the years as an EFM. Not good enough. Only an eligible candidate.
I gave myself the space and time to mourn the loss of my dream position, while the nagging in my head went something like this, “You know what you’re supposed to do. Stop fighting it. Get to work.” So, this week I succumbed to the voices in my head. I followed my heart.
As a fellow EFM, I very well know the frustrations that come along with the title. And, I hate the term used to describe us, as ELIGIBLE. We are more than eligible, we are equal family members.
If you are interested in joining a group of like-minded, big-hearted souls, please contact me. A few ideas that float around in my head include a 501(c)(3) organization that offers free counseling, an EFM business directory, newsletters, events, and Pen Pal support for those enduring an unaccompanied tour. Let’s make this happen!