(Re) Introducing the Military Brat Blog
Updated: May 26, 2020
Ok here it goes… try number three. I have begun writing this blog over and over again trying decide how I want to (re) introduce the Military Brat Blog back to the world. It has been a long time since I have written anything on this topic, and a lot has changed, but I am really excited to begin again. And this time I have a writing partner, my older sister, Laura Scalone!
First a bit about the blog, and then I’ll tell you about Laura…
The blog started in 2014 as a way for me to recount the stories of my military childhood. With frequent moves, constantly changing homes, schools, and friends— it became difficult to keep track of all the memories that were so spread out around the country. Furthermore, my family was transitioning out of the military, as my Dad had just retired. This was a time of adjustment for us all. The blog was meant to be more cathartic for myself than anything else. I feel I was the most honest in those blogs. There are things about military brat life that are, frankly, difficult and sucky, and hard to talk about in regular conversation. I for one, get very emotional when the discussion of friends comes up. There are so many people I miss, and many experiences I wish I’d been a part of. This blog gave me an outlet for those feelings, but also to better understand myself and how I’ve been shaped through this journey (both good and bad). It came as a surprise to me when so many people started following and commenting that they resonated with what I had to say.
This reaction to the blog led me to start looking for research on the impacts of growing up in a military family. The first book I found was Third Culture Kids, by Ruth Van Reken. This book was the first time I saw terms assigned to the feelings I experienced. I realized, reading this book, that there was a whole community of people out there that had similar feelings about growing up “nomadic”. So I dug in deeper. I decided to make my master’s thesis on this topic. I interviewed military children, spouses, members of the military with children, professors, researchers, and even my own family. It was great insight into my own life, while also revealing so many other stories and interesting facets to the lifestyle, I’d never personally experienced.
Why I took a break...
My short documentary came out in 2017. During that time I was transitioning from my three years in the civilian world, to re-entering the military community as a spouse. While I had expectations of what it would be like, I did not fully understand everything. The first year was a strange transition. We were moving even more frequently (every 5-10 months) so job opportunities were scarce. I used this time to try and keep working on my documentary, though writing in my Military Brat Blog seemed odd. I had a new title, "spouse", and therefore, I felt that my “brat” title was now gone. I didn’t want to write about my past as a military brat, while I was trying to figure out my new role and become comfortable with it. Soon, I was inundated with all things military. For the first time in five years, I was back living on a base. I had few reasons to leave the base because it had most everything I needed, and there was not much on the other side of the gate in the small town surrounding us. Everything in our lives seemed to be about the military, with no break. By day I’d be researching about military families, by night I’d be talking to my husband about his day at work. Our weekends were spent with new acquaintances, our common ground; the military. It started becoming difficult to feel any sort of identity I held away from being a spouse. I decided to take a step back from it all and find new outlets that allowed me to form interests outside of the military.
We moved soon after, and in our next assignment I was able to find a job that gave me back my identity. Every now and then I would find myself talking to another spouse or someone who happened to also be a military brat, and find myself thinking about the blog and documentary. The further away I got from it, the more I realized it’s potential. I could start seeing how I might be able to use the blog to help others, and still maintain my own identity. So here it is! The revival of the Military Brat Blog. And, as promised, with more perspective and a wider range of stories.
That's Where Laura Comes In...
Enter, Laura. Well actually she entered the scene before I did. Laura is older than me by four years. She and I have always been fairly opposite. Laura is the more introverted, artistic, and well…. responsible. I was always the disorganized, crazy, extroverted sister who probably drove her crazy until she left for college. Laura and I even took fairly separate paths after college. After a few moves, Laura and her husband finally settled down in Nashville. They built a house, had a baby, and planted some very strong roots (and I mean that both figuratively and literally, you should see their garden!) But even though we took separate routes, we are discovering similarities we didn’t expect. The biggest perhaps is that our military brat life is not entirely behind us. We are both discovering the role identity and relationship formation in our formative years, is having on us even into adulthood. Our lost relationships with friends that seemed to vanish after a few months as kids, now resurfacing. We understand each other a little better too. I was always too young and self-absorbed to really understand Laura’s perspective of military life. After all, we lived in the same places, so our experiences should have been the same, yes? No. Our contrasting personalities and separation in age make our stories very different. But in starting this new project together, it has been fun to see where we overlap, and where there are gaps between us. And, by golly, we have learned a lot already!
Laura is a busy mother of a toddler and working from home extraordinaire. She loves writing, gardening, cooking, and writing about gardening and cooking. She, like everyone in my family, went to Purdue and met her husband there... It's kind of tradition :) Laura always talked about writing a book about being a military kid, and we decided this could be a good launching point. The next three weeks will be a series of blogs she wrote about finding her "normal". I'm excited for you to hear her story.
Let's Get Started!
As we work on this blog, we want to create opportunities to hear from other people as well. There will be more interaction; more quizzes, writing prompts for people to send in, and interviews. We want perspectives from all over! Think researchers, authors, military children, friends of military children, parents, spouses… everyone. We have all experienced this crazy life differently. But I think when we gather up all of our stories, we will begin seeing patterns that emerge and help us to better understand ourselves, and each other. Laura and I are excited to go on this journey with you, and hope that you will take away something from it as well.