The Silent Ranks: When it’s Scary to Have a Voice as a Milspouse
It’s been said that military spouses are the silent ranks, and to be honest I thought that was some dependa bullsh*t until now. But recent experiences made me see “the silent ranks” in new light.
Related Post: Closing the Gap on 5 Military Wife Myths
It’s a Military Wife Life Story-Time:
About how a Facebook post of mine almost went viral. And how I kinda freaked out.
Today’s post is going to be a story time of sorts. And this story is about how I became a member of the silent ranks. After fearing that my voice as a milspouse may have been too loud.
I like most milsos use Facebook groups.
For me part of engaging with my milso audience means actively engaging in milso Facebook groups. I read posts to learn of spouse struggles and triumphs. And I post polls to hear spouse interests and opinions. I share info I think will benefit the lives of others. And of course, I use Facebook groups to navigate daily life at my duty station.
If you haven’t heard about the decrease in cost of living allowance (COLA) for service members stationed in Guam, it’s something to be concerned about. Paychecks are lighter this month for thousands of military service members, due to low response rates on two optional surveys.
And so as many military spouses do, Guam military spouses took to Facebook to ask questions and share information. Myself included.
But as a blogger I have a voice louder than some.
Upon the notification that COLA would be decreasing a Guam milspouse started an e-petition to reopen the surveys. And I saw a way to take it one step further.
I have virtual connections with others that call the internet their office. My Facebook and Pinterest followers extend further than my personal friends. And I know a little bit about what makes an engaging Facebook post. So I figured I would use these skills to help.
Now I’m not an expert on the Facebook algorithm, but I do know the more likes, comments and shares your page gets… the more Facebook promotes it to person’s whom have interests aligned with your page. And this is what I was thinking about as I framed a post to elicit feelings in others.
So I crafted a Facebook post to elicit feelings.
I crafted a post on my public Hil Meets Mil page to elicit sympathy and anger amongst the military community and civilian communities alike. By asking my readers if they would be pissed.
I posted about the anger that I would feel if I came into work one day and found out that I would be making $2k+ less annually (how much less my husband is making). All because I didn’t do something that was optional to begin with.
Then I asked my friends and my local Milspouse Facebook group to like and share the post.
And like and share my fellow milspouses did.
And like and share their friends and families did too.
When I checked back a day later the post had a couple thousand views.
And that’s when my anxiety set in, had I spoked too loudly?
The internet can be a scary place. And bloggers need real tough skin. Every post, picture, and opinion you share, can throw you into the ring with a bunch of internet trolls.
I began to think, am I going to get myself into trouble?
Has my appeal to the emotions of others painted a false picture of the truth?
I’m a firm believer that “done is better than perfect” and “seeking perfection delays progress.” But you always have to balance risks and against rewards. And the risks of your opinion offending some one are always higher in small communities. Like military communities.
So I deleted my original post.
I don’t regret speaking up about a topic that affects service members and their dependents alike. And I appreciate all the positive feedback I received on how my post helped civilians to take a walk in our shoes (or rather our flippy flops here on Guam).
However, I’ve decided to speak more softly about this topic. Because negative press on Facebook doesn’t always turn out in our favor, as we learned with the whole United Petsafe policy change.
Here we sit as military spouses, trying to lobby for change without rocking the boat.
The honest truth is, if I found out I would make thousands of dollars less to do the same job, yes, I would be pissed. But this doesn’t mean I’d be angry at whomever I reported to, my chain of command, or even the current process. After all, you can’t fix what you don’t know is broken.
While anger has a place in motivation, the path we take to arrive at progress matters.
It took me into my mid-twenties to figure out how important attitude is. It’s one of the 30 lessons I learned before turning 30 (coming soon, please subscribe).
Thus maybe for the first time, I am falling in line.
I am part of the silent ranks.
PLEASE COMMENT BELOW!
Am I guilty of creating click bait?
Did I overreact and forfeit traffic to a good cause?
As a military spouse have you ever regretted something you brought attention to?
Will you share your story in becoming part of the silent ranks?