I got to thinking... and my thinking got me to formulating a blog post, and this post will likely ruffle some feathers, so my thinking might get me in a spot of trouble. That being said, please don't be offended dear readers! I'm not speaking specifically to anyone and I'm really just trying to explore this topic and how we share and what we share and where the lines in the sand are for each of us.
So, Pioneer Woman is doing one of her photography assignments, which I love even though she never picks mine (but she did pick one of Brits!). Apparently the 'happiness' assignment last week garnered a ton of military homecoming posts, so this week's assignment is coming home. Specifically, the military kind (though near as I can tell other non-military permutations of the theme are allowed). And oh, are there submissions. Like coming out of the woodwork. (Sort of made me feel like we were a much bigger community than we really are! Crazy!).
Now, even though I'm a MilSpouse and we just had a homecoming and I am a total photography junkie... I don't have a submission to send in. Are you shocked? Well, I will tell you why. First- practicality. I didn't know anyone when I PCS'd down here so when Swiss came home shortly thereafter I didn't have anyone to come with me to photograph it- his family didn't come down either, so I was flying solo. Second- weather. It was raining and cold and crappy and muddy and the whole shin-dig was outside. This doth not a pretty scene make. Thirdly- and most importantly (to me)- privacy. Plain and simple, that was an epic moment between Swiss and I that I just couldn't bear to share with anyone else, let alone strangers.
See, I'm VERY protective of that moment. That was the culmination of a suck-tastic year... so much time apart, so much heartache and difficulties, so much worry and fear and the emotional roller coaster... that homecoming ceremony, that moment when we were reunited was something precious we both earned with sweat, tears and 365 days/ 7,000 miles of distance. I sort of feel like sharing that moment with anyone is letting them get all the good of a deployment (at least the feel-good buzz and warm fuzzy feeling) without putting in any of the work. I know that might seem ridiculous to many of you, but there it is. That was, and always will be, OUR moment. Not for public consumption. Not for pimping. Not for awards. Not for blog comments. Not to make anyone else feel good. Not to drive home some point about these wars. Ours. Alone. Because we earned it.
Is that 84 shades of over-dramatic? Some might think so... and of course y'all are entitled to that, without a doubt. But there is just something about seeing all these photos pouring into the blog-o-sphere that makes me cringe. Sure, they are touching and emotional and offer a window into our lifestyle that many don't get to see. But maybe that is the issue. They don't get to see the nights waiting by the phone, feverishly checking e-mails, they don't get to see the panic when a dark sedan rolls past the house a little too slowly for comfort, or the fear when there is a knock at the door. They don't get to see the nights you lay awake crying because all you want in this whole world is just to feel him close again, smell him, hold him. They don't get to watch us struggle with managing an entire household, a family alone. Nor do they get to watch us feverishly put together care packages and write letters because it is all you can do and you just have to stay busy or it will consume you. They don't see the lonely nights alone, the missed holidays, the spectacular crashes so many of us feel after R&Rs. They don't see all the things that go into that homecoming. They are spectacular because of the year that preceded them and all that the couple endured, together. They are spectacular because they aren't superfluous, there is weight and meaning behind them, they are spectacular because they were hard-fought, they were earned.
Have you noticed that we don't share the crappy stuff (except with each other)? When strangers ask, "How do you do it?" we always reply, with a shrug and some easy, practiced comment about how we just do. We rarely ask for help during deployments... we bear that burden -mostly- alone. Camera crews don't show up to document how hard deployments are on families and no one orders a photo shoot to capture just how sucky that time was. (Can you just imagine? A photographic reminder of all the sad, lonely nights on the couch with the dog and a glass- or 3- of wine? DEPRESSING!) Why won't we let the public see the crappy stuff, but when they ask for the glorious, hard-earned, emotional, intensely personal homecoming p0rn, we send the photos flying out the door faster than you can say "Cheese!"?
Is it pride? Is it some sort of statement- political or otherwise? Is it just about sharing? Or... is it the attention? The blog numbers bump? The publicity? (Gaw, I'm so cynical!) What is it that makes so many of us share these intensely personal moments, in great detail, with perfect strangers and non-military folks? Just looking at the photos on the flickr page makes me feel a little pervy and like a Peeping Tom. Knowing how I feel about our homecoming, seeing photos of other's out there leaves me feeling a little dirty, like I saw something I shouldn't have been privy to. Yet, there they are, on tremendously public sites like flickr or the Pioneer Woman... willingly, enthusiastically put our there for anyone and everyone to see. Like its no big deal. Its almost as if the MilSpouses of the world took this 'recognition' from a civilian blogger and were so wanting to be included and made to feel special that they couldn't toss those personal moments into the ring fast enough. I'm certain that isn't the case for all of them, but I'd be willing to bet its the case for many.
I am sure I offended some of you, and that wasn't my intention at all. We are, obviously, all free to do whatever we choose and we are allowed to disagree. I'm mostly just trying to understand the whys and wherefores behind sharing these moments. What is it about sharing these photographs that makes you want to do it? What do you get out of it? Are there any of you who have shared them and wished they hadn't - or vice versa? How do you feel when you see other's photos of homecomings? I'm tremendously interested in how people choose to share and what they choose to share- it is always a fine line- especially for us bloggers and Facebook users. So, please, tell me what you think about all of this, even if you think I'm nuts!!!