Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The loneliness of secrecy

A friend of mine emailed me these pictures this week (as always, click on the images to see them larger), and I just have to share.  Since we are about two weeks away from leaving for our first real non training duty station, I've been thinking a lot about how true it is that the submarine faction of our military really is the "silent service" in more ways than one.  Already we've run into situations where not only can Colin not share his day with me, but I can't share things with our friends and family either.  This is especially hard for me because I share just about everything with my close friends and family.  Keeping something from them, especially when it's about something so big, is really tough for me.  It's definitely going to be one of the hardest things about this lifestyle that I'll have to learn to adjust to. 

In all honesty, during our time with the navy I've probably already over shared at some point, mostly just because I didn't know any better.  Luckily, until now it hasn't been too big of a deal, and the "classified" or "top secret" information Colin has told me about I either don't fully understand, or couldn't find another person who would be interested in hearing about it to share with.  However, this is all about to change because now we're in the big leagues :)

Things like scheduling, and what he does during his days at work seem so trivial to a civilian normal person.  If I had a business trip to go on, you can bet that everyone in my immediate life would know all about my schedule and why I was going.  This just isn't a luxury Colin has.  I don't want to get too "big brother,"  but what it really comes down to is his safety - which is and always will be a top concern of mine.  When you look at it in terms of life or death (drastic, I know), keeping quiet doesn't seem like such a big sacrifice to make. 

This is also why it is so important to find a good group of fellow spouses that are going through the same thing.  They are quiet possibly the only people you can confide in, in both times of happiness and sadness.  So here's to hoping this new batch is ready and willing for just one more addition!  

With all that being said, as a future preface for those unavoidable awkward conversations - if you ask me something navy related and I get all run aroundy and fidgety, understand that I'm learning, and that if I could share, I definitely would.


  1. Wow I have not seen this card, but I would like one to carry with me. :) I like to show it to people who like to ask many many details and I just dont know where to draw the line in giving up information. Just recently in sharing information with my parents about my husbands current orders I think I had them looking at me cross eyed. Nothing I said made any sense and it had my dad saying hes surprised the military is even up and running. Finally, furious with his statement I said, I dont know everything and you can know less so its pointless to even talk about it. Its hard, very hard. I misunderstood before any deployment how much was keep quiet. I was used to seeing all my friends, wives of husbands on a surface boat, always talking about their whereabouts and missions. I cant brag, I dont know when my husband will be home, I dont know where he is or what hes doing and I hate that it comes off as naive. I find myself convincing myself that the 5 mins of satisfaction I will get from sharing our adventurous life with strangers is not worth risking the off chance that that person would like to use the information to harm my family, the Navy, or anyone else. It does take major practice and voice volume control :)

  2. It's it such a great way to explain the situation? I just thought that it was so great. It's such a tough situation that's impossible to understand unless you're living it - so it's nice to have a way to explain to people why you're not actually naive, you're just protecting your family.