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What the Navy means to me?
The Navy is endless dreams, limitless opportunity, ‘a life without limits.’
…from whose perspective?
The navy is weekending, spending week days apart and weekends at home.
The navy is rubbish signal, unanswered text messages, ‘one tick’ WhatsApp’s, and satellite calls- calls on a timer, non private calls, no calls as he’s at sea, drunken inebriated calls after a run ashore, quick calls as he is exhausted from fire exercises and desperately needs sleep.
The Navy is missed dates, missed appointments, missed opportunities, missed anniversaries, missed birthdays, giving birth alone.
Cancelled weddings, rearranged weddings, then ‘back to the original date’ weddings, to be ‘ship’s programme has changed again but nothing is set in stone so who knows? Weddings’.
The Navy extracts the usual impending excitement towards approaching milestones and events, replacing it with anxiety and worry; missed excitement because deep down you know that until he is in front of you and it is happening at that moment, things change and it may never come to fruition.
The Navy is deployments, the emotional cycle of deployment, emotionally distancing yourselves from the relationship as a form of self preservation, attempting to live a normal life when a ‘normal’ life is blatantly incompatible with retaining the serving person’s deployability and operational capability.
The Navy is the psychotic ex girlfriend who has the power over your every move, who can and will swoop in at any given moment to rain on your parade, exert her authority and remind you that no matter what SHE comes first and she always will, ‘suck it up buttercup and pull up your big girl pants!’
The Navy is arguments about whose fault it is, about resentment, loneliness and a longing for a sense of permanency.
The Navy makes you question what is important to you in life? What defines whether a person is successful, what your purpose is in life, are you doing the right thing? Are you, as the wife / partner selfish for holding them back by expecting their devotion to you and the family? Are you, the serving person selfish for expecting your partner to stay at home, suck it up, smile and get on with it, be the one who is left behind alone at last minute, be the one to pick up the pieces and cope with whatever life throws at you, alone… or is the Navy actually asking the impossible?
The Navy is ‘you knew what you were getting into?’ REALLY? How can you know until you live it? The answer is you can’t and you don’t!
The Navy is separate lives, living and breathing the ship, down time, work time, duties,
Living your life to the Navy’s ideology.
The Navy is awkward questions and discussions,
Strange activities that are somehow only within the military’s realm of normality and acceptance,
A shared sense of understanding as, for want of a better term ‘you’re all in the same boat.’
The Navy pushes you to your limit, your family to their limit, your friends to theirs-
It causes arguments, rifts, sleepless nights, anxiety, depression and uncertainty.
The Navy forces you to sink or swim.
In a couple or alone.
Faced with choices that either make you solidify your relationship and hatch a plan,
Or force cracks at the seams and force you apart.
The Navy has many positives as an employer but it is primarily the Navy and it ‘protects our nation’s interests’ but at what cost
Who pays the price?