My whole life has been at the mercy of the military.
I never really thought of my life that way until recently. It was just my life. My dad entered the Army long before I was born. Moving, deployments, and the Commissary were all normal to me. I had to adapt to that lifestyle and deal with the curveballs. I found a way to love my military life instead of despising it.
That being said, it is not an easy thing to love. There have been plenty of tears, trips to therapy, and friends I had to leave. This lifestyle is for the resilient; it teaches kids to bounce back and keep going, no matter what life throws at them.
Military life is often unpredictable, but that is what makes it beautiful. It offers so many amazing and unique experiences that are unattainable for civilians. We get to live in amazing, foreign places, like Germany and Korea. We get fun perks, like a PX with a Subway just minutes from our house. However, this delightful unpredictability often seems to work against us. We may get to live in Korea, but that means leaving our lives and families in the States behind. It is difficult to find comfort in these situations if it seems like we are the only ones going through it.
Looking back on my sixteen years as a military kid, there are many things I wish I knew. I wish I could time-travel back to give myself advice about the life I’m going to live. I wish I could tell elementary-school Elena that you don’t have to lose friends every time you move; as long as you have a strong WiFi signal, they are just a call away. I wish I could give middle-school Elena tips on how to make friends with kids who have known each other all their life, and how to approach the topic of PTSD. I wish I could advise freshman Elena on how to grieve and move on after a hard move.
Until time travel is invented, I’m doing the next best thing. I’m telling you everything I wish I knew. My best friend Matthew and I have created an online safe space where military kids can go to learn, get connected, and feel empowered. Bloom is the place you can find comfort and advice about everything military kid related: from moving tips to the top things to do at your duty station. You can also read posts from our featured authors, often other military kids who want to share their stories and connect with their community. They all offer a different perspective on military life. Bloom also highlights all the cool things military brats are doing around the world, like writing songs about their life and winning awards.
In essence, we want to empower other military kids. We know what it is like to be a military brat. It's demanding but rewarding. Know that you are not alone. You and your family are heroes for supporting your service member. When things get tough, just continue to bloom where you are planted.