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Post #11: Mom + Veteran = Invisible
New math. Doesn't make sense, does it?
I read a very nice post on Facebook a little while back titled something like, “The Invisible Mother”. It was a very sweet story about how a mother felt invisible taking care of her family, but not to be discouraged because some of the greatest builders of all time weren’t remembered by their name, but rather by the great cathedrals and halls they left behind. It was very nice. As a mom, I get that.
I also, through the same glorious medium, was recently directed to an article posted on one of the veteran pages I support entitled, “The Invisible Veteran”. This article talked about the 1% of the current veteran population in the United States that are female. It spoke to women’s issues in the veteran community and a general dismissal of female veteran complaints because the community is so small. There are something like 327 million people in the US, 20 million of which are veterans and of that less than 2 million are women. Soooo… Out of the 327 million people walking the streets 0.005% are female veterans. No wonder we’re invisible.
As one of the, apparently, few women who fall into the category of both mother and veteran, I feel like these two articles are telling me that I actually am completely invisible. My family doesn’t see me. My country doesn’t see me.
I just can’t get on board with that school of thought.
I wish someone would have told me sooner that I was supposed to be invisible. It would be convenient to go through life acting like no one knew I was here. Imagine how much time I could have spent napping!
Unfortunately, no. No one told me I was invisible. No one told me my family wasn’t supposed to appreciate me until I was gone. So, when I feel unappreciated, I remind them I’m here. I force them to speak to me. I draw them into my thoughts and my hopes and my dreams. I maintain a constant line of open communication. My poor family can’t forget that I’m here. I won’t let them.
My country has suffered the same fate. I am a member of my local VFW. I go to all our local veteran appreciation events. I wear shirts with flags on the sleeves and write the label “VETERAN” on all of my business advertisements. I claim my status with my Author Bio, I talk about my service in my books and in this blog. I post about veterans issues on my social media accounts and I am even an admin on my home state’s veteran support page.
I’m not invisible.
You’re not invisible.
If you feel invisible, consider this a call to arms. Announce yourself. Unless you absolutely love obscurity, don’t settle for it! If you want the world to know you're here, tell them.
I have two quotes for you to close out this post:
1. Well behaved women rarely make history. – Anonymous*
2. For most of history, ‘Anonymous’ was a woman. – Virginia Woolf
*Though multiple women have said this over the past several decades, including Marilyn Monroe and Eleanor Roosevelt, the origin of the statement is disputed.