Why is it that everyone says how they so appreciate military families–and then they tell you to take care of yourself? I secretly love the appreciation, but I hate those four words: ‘Take care of yourself.’ Those words make it sound like I do not know how to tie my own shoes. They make it sound like I am dribbling on my chin.
My civilian neighbors seem to automatically cough up those words every time they find out about my husband’s sea schedule. Take care of yourself. For them, the facts of my life trigger thoughts of bubble baths, a nap, a massage, some liposuction, maybe. One of my neighbors recently told me I need to go on her diet–which seems to consist of a lot of thick green drinks in a gritty plastic bottle.
“You will feel so much better!” she chirped. “Besides, if you don’t take care of yourself, no one is going to do it for you.”
I know that. I know no one is taking care of me. So those words ought to make me want to be gentle with my little self. Instead those words make me want to drive through a McDonalds and recklessly order the entire dollar menu.
If people really want you to take care of yourself then I think they ought to have a better understanding of military spouses. As one of our readers mentioned in a post, “I’d rather have my tongue cut out than ask for help.”
I’m thinking that maybe people ought to go the opposite direction when they are talking to spouses who look a little frazzled. Maybe people ought to say, ”Thatta girl! Treat yourself like a ’78 Bluebird school bus! Use yourself hard. Burn your oil. Run outta gas. Beach your bod out back in the scrub field with the windows down and the back door open until a family of racoons turns you into a wildlife condo!”
I’m pretty sure that would get my attention. Because, all this niceness is doing nothing to motivate me. Maybe if someone sent me pictures of a rusty ol’ schoolbus with blown out windows and my head pasted on it then I would be indignant enough to actually do the things I know that keep me on an even keel. Until then, you’ll recognize me as the gasping, rusty pile in the parking lot. Right next to you.