I am a Veteran. There, I said it!
I am proud of my military service but for a long time, I hadn’t considered myself a Veteran.
Yes, I’m there somewhere. I always felt safe with these guys.
About a year after returning from deployment, I retired from the California Army National Guard (CAARNG). I thought I was ready and knew how to transition back to civilian life because I already had one deployment under my belt (my husband deployed in 2005), I counseled soldiers with transition plans and what to expect after deployment, and everyone in my unit came home in one piece. It was a job, it needed to be done, and I breathed a sigh of relief when everyone made it home. I had a plan and I thought I had it all figured out. Boy, was I wrong. I never expected to miss my fellow soldiers, to miss that sense of belonging and being understood, to feel loneliness and to begin to realize how much I marginalized the scope of my responsibility during deployment. I became disoriented and lost my sense of purpose.