Books to Read When Your SO is Deployed

…or at bootcamp, or living in another place, or super busy with military life.

These are the books that I read during long stretches of absence, when I need to find comfort in something small. Some of them are fiction, some are not. Some are self help, some are not. I figure it’s good to read a little bit of everything. Because military SO’s need all the help we can get.

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1. How to be Married by Jo Piazza
You don’t have to be married to get the fruits of Piazza’s bare-it-all narrative, but it doesn’t hurt. She goes into the nitty gritty of what it means to choose one person, and then she explores what that means to different cultures. Ultimately, How to be Married shows that there’s no One Way to be together, just do do your best. I’m currently reading this one.

2. The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer
Communication is Hard when your SO isn’t there to talk to face to face. Palmer is an expert at asking for what she wants, and she’s very keen to teach you how in this touching memoir about the music business and art for arts sake. “I trust you this much. Should I? Show me.”

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3. Rising Strong by Brene Brown
Brene Brown has her PhD in vulnerability. Okay, not literally. But she should. This book is super important because it shows us how to rumble with the stories we make up for ourselves, especially the ones based on fear and distance. It’ll teach you how to communicate the stories to your significant other.

4. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Historical, unbelievable, and a true hero’s journey. Sometimes, it’s nice to read about those who came before our SO’s and survived. Admittedly, this one is a bit harrowing, so maybe try it when you know your SO is home and safe if you’re concerned for their safety.

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5. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
This one I think is particularly great for Navy SO’s. It’s got time travel, sailing, action, romance. Mostly, it’s a great escape from missing someone. But as someone who loves a sailor, that aspect was really fun for me.

6. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Do you remember how you fell in love with your SO? All the butterflies in your stomach, the wondering if they felt the same. Those first kisses… This book is sure to remind you of that. Rainbow Rowell is queen of romance in my eyes, and she’s really great at conjuring that “falling in love” feeling.

Songs to Survive Deployment

Since my boyfriend left, I’ve been slowly compiling songs to listen to, to help me through this first deployment. I think I have enough now to share with all of you. I really, really love this playlist and I hope you do too.

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For When They First Leave

  • Across The Sea by The Sweeplings
  • 500 Miles (Acoustic) by Jefr Tale feat Louise Rademakers
  • All of the Stars by Ed Sheeran

 

For When You Feel Strong

  • Yours – Russell Dickerson
  • Can’t Help Falling In Love by Ingrid Michaelson
  • Make You Feel My Love by Adele
  • Bless The Broken Road by Rascal Flatts

 

For When You Want To Cry

  • I’m Already There  by Lonestar
  • Glitter In The Air by P!nk
  • Alex’s Song by Grayson Kessenich
  • Restless by Alison Krauss

 

For The Everyday MILSO Feels

  • I Get to Love You by Ruelle
  • From the Ground Up by Dan + Shay
  • I Choose You by Sara Bareilles
  • I Like The Sound of That by Rascal Flatts

 

You can listen to the entire thing on Spotify below!

 

Lessons From Deployment

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Hello Friends! Long time, no post. I’ve spent the last month or so coping with deployment feels and goodbyes and all of the things I’ve dreaded since I started dating my boyfriend. And as I sit here watching Army Wives (a great guilty pleasure for my first deployment, never mind that my boy’s on a Sub) I can’t help but think about everything I’ve learned so far.

He hasn’t been gone for that long. We’ve still got more than halfway to go, and I have a feeling that this is all going to get tougher before it gets easier. But just the limited time that we’ve spent apart has shown me my capacity to love a sailor. I never thought I’d date someone who’d be gone for months at a time. I’m a very emotional person, I always figured I’d become a basket case if I dated someone who had to leave. I’m finding out I’m a lot stronger than I thought I was.

“I exist in two places – here and where you are.” Margaret Atwood

So I’m quieting the voice in my head that tells me I don’t know enough to write this post, that he’s only been gone a few weeks and I’ve been sad most of the time and I’m in no place to give advice. None of that matters.

The point is deployment’s hard. Whether it’s for a month, six months, or a year, it’s hard to say goodbye to the person you love most. But the good news is that no one’s alone in it. And with all of the help that I’ve already gotten from other “MILSO’s,” I want to return the favor.

Here are three lessons I’ve already learned about deployment:

  1. No One Can Prepare You for the Goodbye
    • Dropping him off on the boat at 1am on a Sunday was not a walk in the park. I’m super proud of myself for doing it, but I hated driving off without him. I was exhausted and sad. It pretty much sucked. But no one could prepare me for it. I wondered if I’d bawl my eyes out or if I’d cling to him like that could stop him or if I’d be perfectly fine. To be honest, it was a bit of a combination, but everyone’s experience is different.
  2. Hearing From Them Less Doesn’t Mean They Love You Less
    • I struggle with self-worth issues. I had them before I met my boyfriend and I still have them even though he loves me through it. So when I go days without hearing from him, I have to fight the feeling that he’s not thinking of me, or that he doesn’t care about me so much. It’s not true. In fact, the way he feels about me is so obvious sometimes it makes my heart swell. But not hearing from him can make the self-doubt monster rear its ugly head. I have to keep telling myself he’s thinking of me, even if he can’t always write.
  3. You Are Not Alone
    • Ever since I started being vocal about my relationship with a submarine officer, so many people have reached out to me to offer their support. Every single message says some variation of “I know what you’re going through” or “let me know if you need anything!” I know more people than I realized that have a loved one in the military. And tagging my posts/pictures with “milso” or “navy milso” has led me to some really great online friends as well. They’re all a great comfort to me when I’m feeling lonely.

“May the Lord keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other.” Genesis 31:49

Today I’m thankful that the days aren’t dragging, that I get a little closer each morning that I wake up. It’s hard when all I really want is a hug from him. But it’ll happen soon. For now, I’ll keep looking at the flowers he sent for my birthday, reread his few emails over and over and over again, and pray that God will watch over us both.

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