MIA— Compassion and Respect

I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

I am an Air Force Veteran. I am a woman. These two things should not be opposite sides of the time-in-voluntary-service, but unfortunately they are.

There are so many variants that shaped my personal military adventure. No two experiences are alike, but if I were standing next to my also Veteran, retired, husband— he is the one attention would shift to in interest.

I know this, because I have experienced this 99% of the time. We both can mention our enlistments, and mine is treated like it’s no biggie, but my husband— “Really! Thank you for your service!” with maybe a nod in my direction.

It’s like people don’t know how to process my being a woman in the military.

The military began “shaping” me to live in a man-shaped perspective, from day one.

I was 15 pounds under the expected weight-lifting limit to apply for a job I really wanted to do. You and I know it wouldn’t have been difficult for me to build up to that limit— I was determined and in shape to do that— but that was not an option. I believe this was an across-the-board decision, but I also believe that could, and maybe should, be changed.

The mindset of the military is always “military needs”, and volunteers are “property”.

The process for making me a military-minded person began by breaking me down, separating me into a group of 49 other women, limiting things like time to shower, privacy, time to eat, getting mail or calls from home, and dictating every moment of everyday.

Don’t get me wrong, it was an amazing experience, and I am proud of myself for success in making it through that.

But, for me— coming from an abusive past, it was also an emotionally difficult experience.

Additionally, it was a lonely experience— but that wasn’t a new thing for me. I have almost never had someone to talk to, or go through things with me.

That brings me to my point in writing this.

The military comes at everything from a man’s perspective. It just does. Sure there are videos, and training once a year to learn about being professional and demonstrating polite courtesy to not offend women, or make them feel threatened.

I think that is kind of a good thing, but it’s also kind of condescending.

It also does not work. I mean, just look at scandals way at the top concerning sexual harassment towards women.

Here is another perspective:

https://m.facebook.com/200999403407041/posts/1838927186280913/?d=n

My personal experiences of working in a man’s career field as a plumber (my 10th flowery-worded choice— Utilities System Specialist), in a man’s-perspective-d world are unique and don’t necessarily reflect or match another woman’s.

I get that.

But, men, and even some high-ranking women, certainly have a long way to go towards mutual respect and fair, rational, understanding and compassionate treatment of women— as individuals that are completely unique and separate from the way men are built.

With all the money poured into “research”, you’d think by now things would have naturally “evolved” from arrogant, chauvinistic, neanderthal-like behavior.

Recently, women have finally been provided with something many have needed all along! It took decades for that to happen! Why?

Because it’s a world based on men’s perspective that women are “allowed” to become part of.

Things are getting better, and yet, the latest response/reaction by civilian men to the mere mention of the newly available maternity flight suit just proves— men have a long way to go.

In the famous words of our current President— “Come on, man!”

You can, and should, do better.

Irregular Frustration With Realistic Expectations

In the civilian, real world, when you go to the doctor and get told you need surgery, you schedule the date, make the necessary preparations, work things out with your boss and loved ones when you schedule the date, and you go get your surgery done.

In the military, under normal circumstances, you discuss things with your supervisor, fill out necessary paperwork to be sent up your chain of command to be either approved or disapproved, then schedule accordingly. So imagine our frustrated surprise that it’s after 4 p.m. the day before my husband‘s surgery has been scheduled, and his convalescent leave still has not been approved. His Chief is still talking with people, trying to get someone to step up and fill my husband’s shoes, so he can get what he needs done. His commander is risking losing my husband completely, because of the pain he’s in and the screws in one foot can break at any time. I see the pain he is in, and it makes me both very angry that his leadership cares so little about him, and it makes me cry.

So, I’m not a bit afraid to say: fireworks are about to go off. I am going to explode in a fit of frustrated concern on someone who can make a difference. At this point, weighing the consequences: repercussions because his leadership will have no question of who is stirring stuff up, versus my husband’s crippling pain: I think I honestly just don’t even care. Someone needs to be informed of what is happening here. This will be the third time his surgery is being put off, because of “Air Force needs”. Well, the Air Force NEEDS to fix my husband, or they are crippling their own mission.

Ok, now the Christian part of me is kicking in. I have prayed off and on, I have trusted God to help make the way for this to happen. My husband is humble and kind. He puts others before himself. He has put the Air Force before this need for years now, but now it’s their turn to make his well-being the priority. He has given and given, and he can’t keep being the only one to give.  His leadership obviously does not have anything of God in them, or they would be listening to the Holy Spirit on the issue. I trust that God is concerned for my husband, and He will provide for all of his needs.

I just wish the Air Force would live up to their end. Things have really gotten rotten in the past 4 years.

Update: As of about 6:45 p.m., our God has indeed come through for my husband!! So very thankful for the Chief God has put in place at this time. She fought all day to get his command to sign the convalescent leave form. He is getting the surgery.

Some battles are worth fighting for both in prayer and in action, we can’t give in and give up the fight, when the need is so great.