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Appreciating the Stories and Experiences of Military Teens

Something that I have found to be very comforting as time has gone on is being able to share my story and my experiences. Growing up in civilian-dominated communities, it was extremely hard to talk about my life as a military kid because not many people could relate to my life. Through my time here at Bloom and getting the chance to know kids a lot like me, I have learned that my experiences aren't alien from the rest of the world. There will always be kids who understand me and understand my story. Working on Bloom has made sharing these experiences so much easier, since I can finally put my emotions into words that make sense, which I didn't really do much before. I've honestly become much more of an advocate for military experiences, rather then answering passively and not raising my voice. I want to make kids like me feel much less isolated from the world, realizing they are not at all alone in their situations.

I say all this because fairly recently I was talking to one of my church youth group leaders, and during our conversation we began talking about my experience as a military kid. He is currently serving as an armor officer and he wanted to know my opinions on the military kid life and what it entails. Many times during the conversation, I drifted towards several of the negative aspects of military life and a few of the grudges I tend to hold against it. I talked about how, while sometimes I long for a normal life, the life that I've lead has transformed me into the person I am today. I have been shaped by who I am and I wouldn't change that if I ever got the chance to start over. The best thing about this interaction was how I felt completely seen by him. Even if he had a pre-determined notion about how he thought military kids looked at their world, he took my unique perspective and accepted it.

When I finally got home and thought about this really amazing conversation, I thought about how all military kids lives, while they may have their similarities, still are vastly different. We are individuals with our own personal experiences with our life in the military as well as different outlooks on the life we lead. Knowing that people like my youth leader would listen to these distant views, made me happy. It is comforting to know that there are people like him that will listen to the stories of others and especially the stories of people like me. Having our lives appreciated, valued, and heard is the most reassuring and comforting feeling in the world.


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