Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Confessions of a Hearing Impaired Woman

#1: I chose my alarm clock based on the fact that when I tested it the lady in the next aisle over thought it was the fire alarm.

#2: I take my hearing aids out when I play Beethoven, so I can experience playing his music in a way most pianists cannot: with his ears.

#3: I rarely wear earrings because they draw attention to my hearing aids.

#4: I have "selective" hearing much more often than my husband realizes.

#5: I sleep through thunderstorms very well.

#6:  I told my best friend that I was the best best friend ever, because when I sleep on their couch she and her husband can still enjoy their marital bliss - and I would never know.

#7: I get extremely annoyed when movies label their English subtitles as "SDH" or "Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing".

#8: I am uneasy about staying by myself or being responsible for my sisters overnight, because I am afraid that if something happened I wouldn't hear it.

#9: I am occasionally approached by little old ladies who want to know how I like my hearing aids.

#10: I really love getting to say "Yes!" when frustrated strangers ask "What are you? Deaf?"

I am partially deaf. You should all know this by now. I'm usually fairly open about it. For one thing, humor is how I deal with nearly everything. For another, it would be incredibly bad if I were walking around at a pool party with my hearing aids in and someone thought it would be funny to push me in. That would be a very costly mistake. (A $5,000 mistake, in case you're wondering.)

And yet, somehow I still manage to come across friends who apparently never realized that I'm deaf.

Actually, since I can still hear without my hearing aids (albeit not very well), I'm technically "hearing impaired". But I have what's termed a "moderate to severe" hearing loss. I've lost 50 decibels in the left ear and 55 decibels in the right ear. To give you an idea: imagine we were at a pool party and you had to raise your voice to talk to me over the crowd; if I was not wearing my hearing aids, then you would sound like you were talking at a normal conversational level. (Even though through your body language I would know you were speaking with a raised voice.)

There is some debate over when exactly I became hearing impaired.

For simplicity's sake, I usually tell casual inquirers that I've been deaf since birth. But the strange reality is that I passed all of my audiology exams until I was 4 years old. My father swears that one time pre-hearing aids he told me he loved me, and I responded "I love you, too" - even though I also had a speech impairment. The latter impediment was most likely the result of not being able to hear properly. In addition, my mother was very ill when she was pregnant with me - during the time that hearing normally develops in a child. So the general theory is that I was born with a defect which caused my hearing to deteriorate until it became really noticeable when I was 4 years old.

Though when we watch home videos it's painfully obvious that I can't hear them calling me.

When I was four, I got my first pair of hearing aids. They were gargantuan. And ugly. But I could hear. This was before the internet was really popular and definitely before YouTube was invented, so sadly, I have no video of my first hearing experience. However, I have a vague recollection of going to get my hearing aids and going to Burger King afterwards. My mother says we walked into Burger King, and I immediately looked around with wonder.

"Music!" I exclaimed.

My parents, thankfully, remarkably, didn't treat me like I was handicapped. They didn't set me apart from my siblings in any way. I never felt like a second rate human being, and they didn't lower their expectations for me. Quite the contrary. The public education system tried to label me as "special needs" but my parents insisted I be treated normally. They gave me a biography of Heather Whitestone (first deaf Miss America) and told me I could be anything. There is only one instance in my whole life in which they treated me differently as a direct result of my hearing impairment: they didn't allow me to get piano lessons when I first asked (at age 6) because they didn't think I would really enjoy music because of my hearing. They were wrong, of course, and they eventually took me to piano lessons (beginning at age 10). And that was the only time my parents ever doubted me because of my hearing.

Me, on the other hand, I doubt myself all the time.

When I switched from middle school to high school the government became extremely concerned that I wasn't in a special needs program, and I had to go to the doctor to be evaluated so that I could continue with my education as planned. The doctor shook his head over the bureaucracy and stated that I was "well-adjusted" and by no means did I need special education.

And that's how I've always thought of myself. Well-adjusted.

After all, I function normally. I joke about being hearing impaired all the time, because saying "I'm deaf" makes a great punchline in far more situations than you would think. I'm very open about it. I mean, here I am blogging about it. Sometimes people ask me if I ever wish I could hear normally (stupid question, really), and I usually reply with something kind of cheesy about how I'm looking forward to the fact that it will be Jesus speaking the first time I hear with normal hearing. I don't seem to have a problem with my state of being.

But appearances can be deceptive. Even to oneself.

This becomes very evident every year or so whenever one or both of my hearing aids break and have to be sent in for repairs. This is a process that usually takes weeks. In the meantime, I have a complete meltdown. I stress about everything, because any "normal" situation can now be considered hellish. Conversations become very difficult and frustrating. I worry that I won't be able to do whatever job I happen to have at the moment. I get angry when the hearing aids finally come back and we have to reset the settings, because the audiologist will invariably ask me what sounds normal. I just want to shout at him "I'm deaf, you idiot! I've always been deaf! I don't know what normal sounds like!" And then I realize, that I never will. I become reclusive, and I begin to hate myself.

Though to be more precise, I should say that the hate that I have for myself becomes more evident.

It's then that I finally realize that I've never really been okay with my hearing impairment. I know that there are things I can never do because of my disability, and I allow myself to be discouraged and give up on dreams because of it. At the same time, I've used it as an excuse to get out of things - say, learning a foreign language - I shouldn't have and I wish I hadn't. I hate it when I am labeled as "deaf" or "hard of hearing" and treated differently without a second thought, but then I find myself hypocritically hoping that my "disability" will be an angle that will boost my desirability for that scholarship or that job. I used to ask God to heal me, before I "matured" out of that hope. I was stunned when I heard of an acquaintance's miraculous healing. I felt jealousy and rage bubble up in me only to be drowned out by pure hopelessness.

I want to hear the rain drops on the roof while I drift to sleep. I want to be pushed into the pool. I want the questions "what?" and "say again?" to be expelled from my vocabulary. I want to wear large earrings without obnoxious little voices asking "what's that?!" I don't want to have a mild panic attack every time a battery dies. I want to be able to spend that $5,000+ on something else. I want to sleep soundly without fear. I want to have the option of doing whatever job I feel like doing. I want to earn my jobs because I'm good enough to get it - not because I'm a statistic. I want to whisper to my husband in bed and hear him whisper back.

My real confession is this: I want to be normal. I want to hear like other people can hear.

I'm not sure I will ever rejoice in my impairment. I'm no saint. But I do know that I can make the best of it. I can talk about it with humor. I can relish my unique abilities. I can be extremely grateful that my hearing aids last an average of 10 years. I can wear whatever kind of earrings I want. I can trust God to take care of me when I am alone. I can determine to do what I want to do regardless of my "disability". I can break stereotypes. I can strive to be the best at what I do. I can be happy for people who are in better circumstances..

I can be glad that I can hear.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Rose By Any Other Name

"What's in a name?" Shakespeare once asked.

Apparently, a lot.

I recently learned that a prospective role I adored was filled. Naturally, I was disappointed. But I was shocked to discover who had been cast. This person is not a professional actress, but happens to have a rather well known name. 

And I don't.

One of my acting coaches at Tandem Media recommended that I start my own Facebook page and blog regularly. The more people who "like" me on Facebook and "follow" me on my blog the more likely it is that some director someone will want to cast me. Apparently, they check up on these things to see if I have a following. Because it will appear that I have a name.

But I don't. 

I was never the popular one. The life of the party could usually be found far away from me. (That is, until I married him. Ha.) To be honest, I was usually content as a wallflower. I didn't care for the scrutiny of the spotlight, and I recognized that my sense of humor was not appreciated by everyone. I loved my small circle of nerdy and slightly odd friends. I didn't need anything or anyone else. 

Until I decided to become an actress.

Bigger names tend to draw more attention and crowds. Most of the time, Hollywood and the indie filmmaking business is just a popularity contest. Public relations for any given actor or movie means playing the people. Movies earn the big bucks when they employ well known actors. Sometimes casting calls will come through, and they will say something like "A-list only" or "name talent only". It's not a stretch to say that having a well-known name is almost required in this business.

And that's exactly what I don't have.

Learning such things about my wannabe profession makes it easy to despair. Why do I even bother? It's tempting to be jealous and bitter. Why should she get that role? And almost subconsciously, I begin to think of myself as a nobody. If no one wants me, then it must be because I am unworthy.

Welcome to the last few weeks of my thought life.

Yesterday, I was murmuring a melancholy tune about a rose when Shakespeare's famous line came to mind. In a world where a strict class system reigned, Shakespeare dared to suggest that a man is who he is regardless of his name or social rank. I realized then that though I may not be the most optimistic person alive, at least I have my stubbornness. Or naivete. Whichever you prefer.

Put quite simply: I refuse to bow to the belief that my name validates my skills as an actress.

I may not have the largest following. I may not be well known. I may not have starred in anything anyone has heard of. But I am an actress. A good one. Period. My name is irrelevant. I have been an actress my whole life. I learned my trade through never ending experience and training, and I am continually striving to become ever better through even more training and experience. This is what I'm good at. This is what God has given me. This is what I do: I inspire ideas. I invoke feelings. I create art.

This is my promise: I will not abandon my aspirations because the majority of filmmakers seem to believe I must be someone in order to be an effective actress. 

"A rose by any other name is just as sweet."

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Pain of Perseverance

Remember several months ago when I shared my exciting revelation regarding my acting ambitions? Let's call that a spiritual high. Did you notice the last several weeks when I didn't post anything at all? And the week before that when I just posted a gluten free blueberry muffin recipe? That's called a spiritual low and finding loopholes in my promise to keep writing no matter what. Even if it wasn't pretty. But lately I've had one big thing on my mind, and it wasn't something I wanted to write about. Sadly, the issue isn't going away. So I'm done avoiding it.

Let's talk about the Waiting Game.

There are days or years when you feel irrevocably called by God to do something important with your life, but nothing is occurring to make it happen. Sometimes it's just a matter of money. At other times, the opportunities are lacking. Or you could just be waiting on your life circumstances to change. But whatever the case, you feel that you ought to be doing something else. But it just isn't happening.

For some reason, God is telling you to wait.

Since writing about my exciting revelation, I have updated my resume, acquired professional head shots, signed a contract with a casting agent, put up various professional acting profiles (including IMDb - please "like" - but only if you like), taken on acting classes, spent several hundred dollars on professional development, and auditioned for no less than 16 feature films - and counting. Wanna guess how many times I've gotten so much as a callback? Wanna know how much money I've made out of my new profession?

Zip. And zilch. Cue doubt.

Don't get me wrong. I don't expect to be an overnight sensation. I know that success means failing often. Theodore Geisel's Dr. Seuss books were rejected by as many as 43 publishers. The Beatles were told they'd never amount to anything. Someone important at MGM told Fred Astaire he couldn't act and could barely dance. There are quite a few stories about famous people who overcame doubt and obstacles to achieve their dreams. It takes time. And it especially takes time to break into the acting profession. But you know, I want to have children eventually, and I don't have a whole lot of "married with no kids" time to waste. Oh, and I'd rather not throw away a ton of money either.

So if this is what God wants me to do, why doesn't he just lead me to my next film role already? Or at least send a callback to encourage me along the way? How do I know that this isn't just a foolish dream of a girl who thinks she can act? What if I'm pursuing something that God doesn't actually want me to pursue?

How do I discern between "wait" and "no"? When should I graciously concede that this is not for me?

This is one of those difficult times in my life when I don't have the answer. I've been down this road before and concluded that whatever happened, God would do what he deemed best. I even expressed excitement about seeing what he had in store for me. But God does require a little human action in his plan, and I am conflicted about whether or not I should keep persevering in this specific direction. I do know that if I hadn't tried, I would have always regretted it. I'm just not sure how long I want to keep trying.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins

Yesterday I had a really stressful work day. So basically, I decided that the best thing to do was make myself blueberry muffins. Because there really isn't anything quite so gratifying as beating eggs when you're frustrated. Except perhaps tenderizing meat. But sadly I didn't have any to tenderize.

So I ended up adapting a blueberry muffin recipe to make it gluten free!

Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp xanthum gum
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp grated lemon peel
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 quinoa flour
1 cup gluten free all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups blueberries

Preheat oven to 375°F. Mix together all the liquids in a bowl. Add the salt, xanthum gum, baking powder, and lemon peel. Stir thoroughly. Gradually add sugar and flours. Fold in blueberries. Dip into greased muffin tin. Bake for about 20-25 minutes.

I loved how the flours I milled with my new mill and my gluten free flour chart helped me make delicious and real tasting muffins without a second thought. Gluten free baking couldn't be easier! Or yummier. There may or may not be any muffins left after a mere 24 hours.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Gluten Free Flours!

When I found out that I was gluten intolerant, I was relieved. I was so glad to finally know what was wrong with me! The journey to my diagnosis was so hard, I didn't even mind that I had to stop eating bread. Even though I grew up baking and eating bread every day. (I always thought it was strange that eating nothing but bread and water used to be considered a punishment!)

A year later, I'm a little less content with this state of affairs.

On the bright side, I have significantly more experience in cooking gluten free; and I think I am finally ready to venture into the world of gluten free baking. All I have to do is figure out gluten free flours. Which may be slightly more or less easy than figuring out the War of the Roses. But in any case, I've spent the last couple of weeks researching different kinds of gluten free flours online, and I finally made myself an RDC. (For all of you who aren't lucky enough to have a chemist for a father that means Reference Data Chart.) 

I totally laminated this so I can keep it handy in my kitchen. (Life hack: instead of spending money and effort on a less than perfect lamination job, just put it in a sheet protector - then it can go in a cookbook if you want!) 

A few notes about the RDC:

1) It does not include all gluten free flours. I just put in the ones I thought I was likely to try based on their potential deliciousness and relative ease of economic acquisition. (I mean, arrowroot, really?)

2) Buckwheat is not a wheat. It's actually a fruit related to the rhubarb. On a similar note, you will not see spelt, semolina, kamut, barley, or rye flours on here, because they are either made from wheat or related to wheat.

3) The percentages are the maximum amounts recommended to substitute for wheat flour in any given regular recipe. For example, if you have a bread dough recipe that calls for 4 cups of flour you should only put in 1 cup of almond flour.

4) Most of the information I found on all of these flours recommended keeping them in an airtight container and refrigerated, so I just started refrigerating mine even though I haven't noticed a problem in the past. But I still keep my all purpose flour in a canister on the counter.

5) Even with the large variety of gluten free flours to use, they still lack one thing: gluten! Gluten is a protein in wheat, barley, and rye, that is responsible for making things you bake stick together as well as keeping your dough strong enough to stand despite all those little air pockets. As a result, a lot of gluten free doughs you make may be crumbly or experience difficulty rising when you bake them. Add eggs or milk to help with the former problem and use xanthum gum to help with the latter.

6) Feel free to print the RDC out and use it yourself. As most of the information on the chart was found online and not through personal experience, I cannot guarantee that it is entirely correct. (And I would definitely recommend doing your own online research before beginning.) I will probably be making changes to the chart myself, but I would love to hear if you have any tips or changes to make.

In other news, I got myself a mill! I'm truly excited about this, because I am tired of paying $6 for 3 cups of gluten free flour. (True story.)

Yesterday, I milled my own white rice flour, potato starch, oat flour, and quinoa flour. In an hour. And it's sooooo much cheaper. Seriously. I went to Costco and spent $45 on bulk size rice, instant potatoes, oats, and quinoa. I milled 45 cups of flour, and I still have 3/4 of a ten pound bag of rice, a large box of instant potatoes, and an even bigger bag and a half of oats in my pantry. So that's already about $1 per cup of flour - and it will ultimately be even less! (As soon as I figure out how much flour all this stuff makes!)

I also made my own gluten free all purpose flour using 6 cups of white rice flour, 2 cups of potato starch, 1 cup of tapioca starch. I had to buy the tapioca starch, because my mill's warranty says I can't mill tapioca. Sad day. But I totally love having flour back in my canister. (PS: Don't forget to add in xanthum gum when you're making a recipe!)

A few lessons learned:

1) Always attach the hopper to the mill before you start milling. Otherwise, you will end up with flour all over everything. (I might have been a tad bit too excited to try my mill. Haha.)

2) Use a plastic tablecloth for easier clean up. Because even if you manage to obey rule #1 you will probably still end up making a mess. A big one. Oh, and everyone says use a damp paper towel ... nuh uh. Use a broom instead. You can thank me later.

3) To prevent clogging the mill put a small square notch in the side of a plastic cup you don't care about and place it over the grinder before you pour in your grain. Turn the cup as you mill, and the grain will enter the mill at a steadier rate.

4) Get more canisters before you start! (Shout out to my mother in law who made me take a large storage container home with me after vacationing at her house.)

5) Make a delicious homemade pizza as a reward when you are done.

More recipes and tips to come, I'm sure!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Glamour of Gluten Free (Or Not)

If you've gone out to eat or gone grocery shopping in the last year chances are you've seen something labeled as "gluten free". You probably wondered to yourself what gluten was and then dismissed it as the latest diet fad that would die out as soon as everyone realized that the food was nasty and the corporations increased prices over a silly label. Or when the next diet fad came along.

(Maybe next time someone will decide that vegetables are actually unhealthy!)

It's not just a diet fad. There are people who are actually allergic to gluten. And I am one of them.

And it's anything but glamorous.

My journey into the gluten free life began almost 2 years ago when I started to feel sort of ill all of the time. I didn't really think much of it at the time because I was working a lot and then commuting an hour to a neighboring city where I was starring in the play "Wait Until Dark"; this hectic schedule necessarily meant eating a lot of fast food or not getting enough food, period, or enough sleep. That was enough to run anyone down, right? But then I quit that job, my play finished, and I was still feeling ill.

I thought.

I wasn't very sure about myself because the symptoms were initially very vague. They varied from digestive troubles and fatigue to muscle spasms and brain fog. So I kept making excuses. Maybe I'm just doing my weird I'm-never-sick version of that stomach bug that's been going around. Maybe I'm pregnant! Or maybe I'm just imagining that I'm dumber now than I was before. And I kept at it until Christmas when I had a really bad episode: I experienced excruciating abdominal pain, almost lost consciousness, and ended up going to bed at 8pm. (Which is really early for night owl just-graduated college students.) It was after that episode that Allen made me promise to go to the doctor once we returned home.

But the doctor thought I was a hypochondriac.

By this time, I knew that I was ill. Almost every bodily function I had was not working. And it was downright discouraging that I couldn't persuade my doctor that I was sick. I asked him about the possibility of a gluten allergy right off the bat because my look alike aunt has one, and I figured if I looked like her I might possibly be sick like her. He dismissed it with disdain. So we went through a random battery of tests but I felt like we were just going through the motions. Especially when I discovered my birth control affects thyroid function tests, and my doctor refused to rerun the test. Eventually, my doctor determined that I would always have to live with these symptoms and sent me home with a few bottles of pills that might allay them a little. Maybe.

And I asked him to refer me to another doctor.

I probably would've been better off finding a gastroenterologist on my own, because the new doctor was almost as skeptical as the old one. He came to the same conclusion. I was beyond frustrated. Fortunately, for the doctor, I still had some semblance of manners left. I commented that there were a plethora of illnesses one could have which encompassed all of my symptoms. He agreed. So I asked him why both he and my previous doctor were so ready to consign me to a lifetime of ineffectual pill popping. I will never forget what he said then: "Because I've treated thousands of patients like you and the chances of actually discovering what you have are very minimal."

I went home and cried. A lot. For the zillionth time.

This particular doctor had "pity" on me and offered to do a colonoscopy "but we're not going to find anything." At this point, I had been ill for 9 months. I was depressed, antisocial, and very desperate for an answer besides "you'll just have to live with this", so I agreed. I think I regretted that decision most when I was sitting on the toilet with the pre-surgery laxatives in my system reading Les Miserables and I just happened to be in the part where Valjean is hauling Marius through the sewers of Paris.

All time low.

I was extremely nervous about the procedure, but the anesthetics worked great and I don't remember a thing about it. When I woke up, I was in rare form. I flirted with my husband, I informed the nurse that Dr. Pepper is the blood of Texans, and I felt great. Really great. I felt like myself for the first time in almost a year. And I was really hungry. My entire system was devoid of any trace of food.

That's when I realized that it must be something I was eating.

Once, I had determined it was my food, it was pretty easy to figure out. I ate rice for a week straight. I was too afraid to eat anything else. That this living a normal life would turn out to be just a dream. Eventually, I would try a little bit of corn or soy hoping it wouldn't crush me forever. But I determined that it was actually gluten combined with a slight lactose intolerance.

I cannot describe to you the relief I experienced finally knowing what was wrong with me.

However, I wasn't out of the woods yet. The world of gluten free is extremely confusing. What is gluten anyway? How do I know if something has gluten in it? Will I ever be able to eat out again? What about going to people's houses for dinner? What if people just brush me off as a fad dieter? Will I ever be able to eat anything that actually tastes delicious? How will I get all the nutrition I need? What if I get something that claims to be gluten free and it's not?

These were all questions I had to answer over the last year. And while it was a struggle with many unfortunate setbacks, I have answered most of them and you can expect to see many comments or posts about gluten free living. But most importantly, I finally discovered something very key: gluten free living may not be very glamorous, but it's living.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Navy Wife Life

I haven't been a Navy wife for very long, so I try not to pretend like I know everything about it. Because, honestly, I don't. But I've learned so much in 8 1/2 months that I thought I might drown. And I'm not entirely sure that's outside the realm of possibility even now!

Sadly, I even had a "head start".

I come from a very military family. My great grandfather fought in WWI; Grandpa saw action in both WWII and Korea; Opa served 3 tours in Vietnam (ever seen the movie "We Were Soldiers"? Yeah, he was there); I have an uncle who was a career Airborne Ranger; my other uncle was in the Navy; and my own father served in the Army 24 years. I grew up on stories of these men and their spirited supportive wives, and I had the chance to observe my mom in the same role. These women performed their duties with courage and dignity. They were feisty and independent and didn't need a man to hold down the fort, but they fiercely loved a man with all their hearts nonetheless. Because of these stories and my own experience as an Army daughter, I thought I knew what being a military family member was all about, and I didn't think it would be too difficult to follow in their footsteps as a military wife.

Boy, was I in for a surprise ... Navy wife life is hard.

You rarely know where he is, what he is doing, or when he is coming back. And when bad news comes, you have to keep it to yourself or rant in very vague terms to your mom for operation security's sake. You have every video calling and international texting app on the face of the planet. You check your email every 3 minutes, and you will wait for hours - all night if you have to - for a five minute conversation that may or may not even happen. You never put down your phone. Just in case. You spend hundreds of dollars on putting together and sending care packages, and then wait for weeks hoping it makes it. You keep yourself busy and sociable but at the end of the day, no matter how wonderful it all was, you still have to go to bed alone. Your best friend is not there to share your laughs with you, and you slowly realize that no matter how many letters you write, stories you tell, or pictures you take, there are literally months and years of each others' lives you will never get back. You miss birthdays, anniversaries, and major holidays several years in a row. You have to smile when you feel like crying and be supportive and patriotic when you're angry. And when he does finally return, sometimes, you have to say goodbye when you've only just said hello; and you must accept that the People need your man more than you do. Even if the People don't deserve him.

But as horrible as Navy wife life can be, it's also pretty wonderful.

You learn to converse on less superficial topics than what he did today. Ironically, you become more emotionally stable as you learn to cope with uncertainty and bad news on your own. Flexibility is your new middle name. You have less things on the "honey do" list and more on the "I'm gonna freakin' do it myself" list, and you feel like superwoman because of it. You know the value of time spent with a loved one and become disinclined to be distracted when you have a chance to talk to him. You get the joy of a generous heart when you hear how much he loves his care package. You try all sorts of new and cool activities as you keep yourself busy and find instant companionship and friendship with other Navy wives. Even if they drive you crazy, too. You become really good at taking pictures of everything and telling stories. You get to live the one-of-a-kind experience of a homecoming ship. You find reasons to celebrate other days besides birthdays and anniversaries. Small things become big causes for gratitude. You get to burst with pride when people thank your husband for his service and sacrifice. And you burst again with tears when people thank you, too, because deep down inside you're glad to know that someone recognizes and cares.

Inconceivably, somehow, some way, all the pain and struggles become worth it. As of this moment, I'm not even really sure I fully understand how or why that is. I made a commitment to my husband forever with full knowledge of his career plans. I encouraged him to pursue his military ambitions, and I promised him that I would try to be the best Navy wife ever. I don't regret that choice, and given the chance, I know I would do it again in a heartbeat. That doesn't make it any easier. Ever. But it does make me more determined than ever to own it.