About a month or two ago, I told my husband something that a good Army wife should never say out loud to her spouse: I don’t like it here.
It was really hard for me to admit. You see, I am the type of person who likes to look on the bright side of things. Maybe it’s because I’m overly optimistic. Perhaps it’s because I’m a bit naïve. Maybe it’s because I am non-confrontational. It might even be because I am a bit lazy, and simply hiding this place’s suck with happy thoughts seemed like a quick fix to my problem. But over the past several months I have grown tired of “well, at least it isn’t…” and “it could be worse” ways of thinking and I have just been stating it plainly:
I don’t like it here.
I don’t like the humidity. I don’t like the copperheads. I don’t like the ticks. I don’t like the moles that dig in our back garden. I don’t like the bunny burrows that my dog finds in our front yard. I don’t like the horrifying drop-off at the end of our street. I don’t like always having to go to “The Wal-Mart” to get what I need. I don’t like the hokey radio commercials. I don’t like the lack of sidewalks and the plethora of loud, angry people who honk at runners on the road. I don’t like the tiny, winding two lane “highways” that require said runners, farming equipment, large trucks, Bocephus-dogs, and turtles to play chicken as we try to cross each other in opposite lanes. I don’t like the lack of decent Mexican food. And I don’t like the fact that I live in such a transitional post that making friends has been especially difficult for me to do here.
It hasn’t been easy not liking where I live. As much as it sounds like I am being a big crybaby, I really do want to like it here. And as much as it sounds like I have thrown in the towel, I really haven’t given up hope. Not liking where I live is no fun, but it is a bit liberating at the same time.
First of all, it has given me ample opportunity to be overly obnoxious about how much I love Texas—and that’s always a plus. But also, it has allowed me to cut myself some slack. At first when I would hear someone talk about how much they loved it here and how many wonderful friends they’d made, I figured I must have been doing something wrong to not share the same sentiments. I must have not been trying hard enough or getting involved in the right things or sending off the right vibes. I was left with this nagging feeling of “maybe it’s me.”
But it’s not me that’s wrong. I have joined groups. I have embraced new hobbies. I have achieved new personal heights and earned new certifications. I have gone out of my comfort zone to try to make new friends—some attempts being more successful than others. I came to this place with a hopeful heart and I really did try to like it. I just don’t. It turns out that Mizzurah and I are not a match. It’s as simple as that.
This is not the first time that I have put effort into something that didn’t pan out the way I wanted it to. And I am sure that it won’t be the last. But I am not mad—at myself nor at this place. I know that I tried my best to find my roots here and I won’t blame myself for the end result, whatever it ends up being. (And quite honestly, my obnoxious love for Texas means that I will be perfectly fine remaining a tumbleweed.) But I am discovering that taking a risk is always worth it, whether the reward shows up or not. I may not like it here, but I am braver here. I am more assertive here. I am more discerning here. I am more goal-oriented here. I am becoming a bit tougher here. I might even have become a bit more stubborn here, which I am finding is not always a bad thing.
It’s that stubbornness and growth that keeps me pressing on to find my happy place in this duty station. Mostly because I hate to lose, but also because I know that the moment I stop fighting is the moment the dislike becomes my fault and not Mizzurah’s. And I don’t want that kind of negative juju getting into my head. I still want to save some room for my happy thoughts.