I am over the moon with excitement to be sharing about Kassie Angle’s newest book, Tattered Wings. Y’all need to check out this book and her blog. She is such an amazing person and I have loved getting to know her over the past year. I will be reviewing this book on Friday, so be sure to keep your eyes open for this! Now on to the guest post….which is a topic that I am super excited to have y’all read! 😉
Some days I think part of my life work is bridging the gap between the civilian and military world.
And some days I wonder why I even bother.
It’s not the civilian world’s fault. It’s not even the military world’s fault. I’m just really bad at navigating two worlds at once, and I’d rather crawl back in my familiar hole than try to explain anything to anyone.
I can tell my Army world about the civilian world. I can say they’re a little scared of us but most of ‘em have good hearts inside and once they realize we’re not so different, they just want to be friends.
But—weirdly juxtaposed as I am between two worlds—I don’t really know what to tell the civilian world. Or maybe, I just don’t know how to tell them. I could think of a few things I wish they knew.
And that’s exactly what Abigail asked me to write—what we wish civilians knew.
Or rather, what I wish. I’m not trying to speak for the whole military world. Just for myself, trying to navigate both worlds at once.
I’m trying to be normal. Even if it doesn’t look like it, you’ll just have to believe me. I’m still gonna slip and say something you won’t understand. I’m still gonna use military time and say “doing bad things to bad people.” I’m still gonna deflect questions that make me uneasy and then realize after the fact that you meant nothing by it. I’m still gonna snap if you downplay what our troops have been through. But I really am trying to be normal. And I’m only the soldiers’ kid.
I’m not from a different planet. I’m not even from a different country, okay? I don’t want you walking on eggshells around me. Yeah, military families might be disciplined, but we’re not insanely strict—and somehow a lot of civilians think we are. You’re not gonna break some sacred rule just interacting with us. We can actually be more spontaneous than a lot of civilians I know. And we’re really tough-skinned; we have to be. So don’t try to do anything special. I want you to be considerate, but I also want you to treat me like I’m normal.
I know you don’t understand, but don’t just ask a ton of questions. I know I’ve been through stuff most civilians haven’t. If I want to tell you, I will. I know I don’t talk about my dad being home a lot and I know I’m still obviously a daddy’s girl. I know you don’t understand how that adds up, and I know you’ve heard the Army’s tough on families, but it still kinda hurts if you presume wrong and ask if my parents are divorced. I know I say I hate deployments with a vengeance, and I know you’ve heard my dad’s retired, but I still don’t want you to say you bet I’m glad to be done with the Army. I know you want to understand, and I know I’m protective…so just be my friend and you’ll figure it out eventually.
And if you want to ask, ask about the fun stuff. I’ve been all over the world, okay? That’s more interesting to all of us than the tough parts of Army life.
When I say the Army’s a family, I mean it. I don’t have a typical extended family to get together with on holidays. I have the Army. I always thought the civilian world would understand that—but they’ll never get exactly what that’s like. Maybe it only makes sense to me that soldiers old enough to be my parents are like my brothers. So when I reference the Army as a family, even if you don’t get it, just roll with it. I can’t explain it any better. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
(If it helps at all, it’s kind of like Keith Urban put it: “Maybe you don’t understand; I don’t understand it all myself; but there’s a brother on my left and another on my right.”)
Don’t forget I actually love it. I know it isn’t easy. I know Army kids growing up on the homefront serve too. I know it takes a special kind of person. So tell me it’s amazing. Tell me I’ve had a God-given opportunity to grow up around heroes. Tell me it’s shaped me into exactly who I’m supposed to be. I know it’s hard, so tell me instead that I have a right to love it with all of my heart.
And then go out and prove yourself, that you’re trying to respect the military, that you want to show your gratitude. Because that’s what matters at the end of the day.
Even if we don’t think exactly alike, if we’re both trying to understand, we’re not really that different.
Thank you so much for this beautiful post, Kassie. As much as I have a passion for our military, I honestly am just as ignorant as any other civilian out there. Thank you for shedding some light on the true, raw facts. I cannot wait to share my review about your book.
And seriously y’all go check it out her new book, Tattered Wings!