Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My One & Only
(aka Arming the Drama Llama With Lightsabers)

Dear Blogosphere,

Let's think twice before using the word, "Only."  That word can be a vicious word.  It can cut things and people down.  It can be an attempt at minimizing.  

When you say, "It's only X," what you're saying (or at least what others are hearing) is, "X doesn't really matter."  

Military wives understand "Only," in a way no one else does.  They also actively campaign against it.  

When my husband was deployed for the first time, I mentioned to a civilian friend that he was scheduled to be gone six months (it was later extended).  She said, "Oh, that's not bad.  It's only six months.  My friend's brother was gone for a year."  I cringed and thought to myself, "Yes, it IS bad.  It sucks that her brother was gone for that long, but that suckage doesn't outweigh mine."  

During that deployment, at the base playgroup with my twin toddlers, another mom's husband was away for a month.  She started to vent to me and then stopped herself saying, "I shouldn't complain.  He's only gone for a month.  Yours has been gone for a long time."  

Military wives don't let military wives say, "Only."  I stopped her and told her a month sucked too.  Six months sucks.  Twelve months sucks.  This isn't a suckage contest.  We can all appreciate that they suck and bitch accordingly.  This isn't a contest.  There is no scale.  No one is weighing your suckage against mine.  

Luckily, early in that deployment, at the same playgroup, I had tried the exact same thing myself and learned my lesson.  Another woman's husband had been gone for a while and I started to complain.  I then apologized and said, "Your husband's been gone X months (I've long since forgotten).  Mine only left a month ago.  I shouldn't complain.  You have it much worse."  She stopped me and told me, "No.  Don't do that.  Deployments suck.  They all do no matter what."  

If something is difficult, it's difficult.  Don't "Only," it for someone else.  

Yes, yes, I hear your objection.  True, some folks are drama llama jockeys.  Everything is hugely dramatic to them even when it doesn't seem that way to others.  You get the urge to "Only," their constant drama.  "It's only a paper cut.  An ER visit really is unwarranted."  You know what?  Let them charge on ahead in their drive-by drama llamaing.  Your "Only," isn't a lasso.   Your "Only," isn't going to reign in their charging drama llama and calm it the hell down.  If anything, it'll give their drama llama a lightsaber with which to fight you (and I hear llamas are awesome with lightsabers).  It'll also give the dramatic one more fodder for the drama and everyone knows the drama llama does so love fodder (it's delicious with a nice white wine sauce).  

So, before you tell someone, "It's only..." think twice.  Picture a dramatic llama wielding a lightsaber and hopefully, you'll be laughing too hard to continue on with that thought.  

Remember, every time you use, "Only," a drama llama gets a lightsaber.  


1 comment:

  1. :) This post has been my military spouse battle cry! We're all entitled to our misery and it's unfair for anyone to "only" it away. I've probably said it myself while trying to help someone cope, but always followed up with "you're allowed to be upset and don't let anyone minimize that." No matter how long the separation from family, either two weeks or two years, it's just differing degrees of suck. XOXO


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