It's been so long since I blogged for myself I almost forgot how to access my blog. No joke.
Even worse than the slip of my password and which email address I use for my blog, I worry I won't know how to open up anymore. I worry that if I do open up I will expose myself to ridicule and criticism. I worry that I won't know what to say or how to say it.
The last several months have been CRAZY AWESOME! So many things that I have been working so hard on are taking shape. Our group for MANspouses, MANning the Homefront, it is blowing up. Our main Facebook page has seen nearly 350-400 new followers since I last blogged. We have also created a "private group" on Facebook for us MANspouses to connect in. For the most part the guys don't communicate on our main public page, but nearly every day dozens of conversations are taking place between male significant others of service members in that "private group". Most of the time we are just busting each others chops, but often there are real and meaningful conversations taking place with guys sharing their experiences. We are quickly approaching 100 MANspouses in that private group. And if you ask me, that is freakin AWESOME! 100 MANspouses in one location?
We are also seeing new online groups for us MANspouses pop up and become active. While some may see that as a sign of competition or people who are recreating the wheel, I view it as men who are trying to reach men in ways MANning is not. And I like it.
In addition to how well our online community is growing, our offline community is growing as well. Here at Fort Riley we have added at least one new MANspouse to each monthly dinner for 7 of the 9 months in 2012. Sure we have lost a few guys here and there to ETS, PCS, deployment(babysitting issues) and lack of interest, but we are on the right track.
On top of getting guys together for our monthly dinners, guys are taking it upon themselves to connect with one another outside the structure of our group. And honestly, that is what MANning boils down to. Personal connections.
While the Fort Riley group is growing, we have also launched a group in the Washington, DC area and have interest for several other groups to begin meeting as well. In about 7-9 locations we have MANspouses who are looking to host their own monthly dinners and help guys connect. It's absolutely INCREDIBLE!!! Through our "private group" guys are already linking up together.
If all those things I just mentioned weren't good enough in regards to MANning, we are currently working with Not Alone:Life After War to organize and facilitate a weekend get-a-way/retreat for MANspouses only. It will be the first of it's kind and is an opportunity I never could have imagined when all this started out.
The cherry on the cake to all this is I have been invited by AUSA(Association of the United States Army) to fly to Washington, DC and participate on an AUSA Family Programs Family Forum panel at AUSA's Annual Meeting and Exposition. I will be adding my thoughts as a MANspouse and some of the possible struggles and issues our families face. **The divorce rate for a female service member is still double(almost triple) that of what it is for a male service member.** And in case you didn't check those links for AUSA and you don't know what it is, let's just say it's "the big leagues". It is an incredible honor to even receive the invitation. Well at least I think it is.
All that I just mentioned is the "meat" to what has been up with MANning, but there has been "side dishes" such as the creation of an Executive Board to oversee MANning, the consideration to incorporate or not, to obtain non-profit status or not, to create local chapters and create membership, preparing to launch a website, adding Admins to our facebook page to help with our growth, empowering other men to begin blogging their own journeys, encouraging guys to get active in their local "Spouse Clubs" and FRG's and this, that and the other thing. Now for good measure throw in requests for me to write for various publications and a few interview requests; and well...... you got yourself one heck of an update as to where I have been the last several months since I last blogged.
Now tell me, isn't all I just mentioned reason to celebrate? Isn't it all just INCREDIBLY AWESOME? Isn't it all just........ overwhelming?
You would think that with all that is going right that life would be perfect, on the professional/volunteer level. Unfortunately however, it is not. This weekend I found myself writing my monthly blog for Army Wife Network and was unable to find anything to write about. I was able to pull something out, but I definitely was not happy with what I wrote. And because of that, I am writing this blog now. And will most likely go back and rewrite another blog for this month.
I don't want to say I got "too big for my britches" with all the growth and great things that have been happening, but I may have been "called up" to the "Big Leagues" a little early. I don't think I need to head back to the "Minor Leagues", but I do need to work on my swing. I need to listen more to my coaches. I need to not try to be the best All-around Player at the moment, but perhaps work on being a specialty player. And let my abilities take shape and grow into my role.
A wise friend of mine likes to say something to the effect of "every time you say yes to one thing, you are saying NO to another. Or even several things". And ain't that the truth! I have found myself so busy over the last 5-7 weeks that I have completed roughly 10% of all the projects I set out to do. And only 1/2 of those projects were done to the best of my ability where I can say I am without a doubt proud of what I have done.
I am going to work on prioritizing some things. I want to get back to the basics and what got me to where I am. I want to be true to myself. So I will start using my blog again. And the only other place I think I will be writing is over at Army Wife Network's Loving A Soldier blog. Why there? Simple. Cuz AWN is where my family is. It's where my heart is. And it's where I belong. The only place my heart has ever been into what I am doing is when it was in regards to my personal blog, to my work with MANning and to my work with AWN.
Some of you may not consider what I do as "work". Why? Because I don't get paid for it of course. But I assure you, it is work. Although it is a labor of love.
Through a series of events(teenie tiny minuscule events) over the last week or two I have been doing some major soul searching and reflection. I know I am not "too big for my britches" because the person who is, well they don't search within themselves that often. Thankfully though.... I am reminded of who I am.
Boy.... how I have missed adding songs to close out what I write.