A few months ago I received an email asking me to join the board for the spouses club out here. For those of you who don’t know, spouses clubs on military bases are one part sorority, one part volunteer organization, and one part charitable organization. It’s a recipe that adds up for one hundred percent drama most of the time. Even better, out here in the boondocks of military bases, we have a combined spouses club. So, everyone from the commander’s wife on down are all in the same club trying to reach out and help the same community. At least, that’s the line that’s fed to us.
I had misgivings. A lot of them. Spouses clubs are known for their drama. Spouses aren’t supposed to wear their husband’s rank. But, as surely as the world turns, some try to wear it, some try to ignore it, and some try to prove that they’re better than you regardless of whether their husband has a stripe on his arm or a board on his shoulder. It’s sad really. I had hopes too though. So I said yes. Our first board meeting was before school let out, then we had a break until it was back in. Especially overseas, military life seems to get put on hold over the summer so children can be taken home to visit family.
I resigned today.
We had a couple of votes go out via email between our last meeting and now. I had concerns. We were handed a budget that was almost completely overdrawn due to the last board not paying attention to how much money they had. We were also being asked to give money to temporary items, something we try not to do. We’re looking to make an impact in the community and single use items are not the best way to do that. So I voiced my concerns. Only to be told that the President of our club decided that they weren’t important concerns and to disregard them and vote anyway.
I don’t work that way.
Sometimes I wish I could just go with the flow. I wish I didn’t feel so strongly about standing up for things. I wish that I could just let it all go and ignore like the rest of the world seems to be able to. It’s lonely here. Standing up for things, even, maybe even especially, when it puts me at odds with the rest of the world/group/whatever is an essential part of who I am. But sometimes? Sometimes I don’t want to be the person on the outside anymore.
I stand alone in a crowd.
I can’t be the yes person they seem to want on the board. And I don’t have the energy or desire to throw myself on my sword again and again for the sake of rhetoric. I already have an uphill battle to integrity to fight at work. Things have been allowed to slide and I cannot and will not stand for it there. But here? This one didn’t have to be my battle.This one didn’t have to be my stand. I can only fight on so many fronts before I have nothing left to give.
With regret I walked away.
I sent it via email. Short, concise, citing work load and irreconcilable differences. The email back asked for detail. I probably gave more than she wanted. But she did ask. No names. No accusations. Simple statement of the facts of what has driven me to leave before the year begins. This way they can find time to get someone who will blend better with the philosophy of the board. Even if I disagree with it, they are allowed to have it. But I can’t fight the mindset on my own.
Tonight I stand alone in an empty room. I’ve left the lights, the bustle, the group behind. My integrity means more to me than having a social circle. Tonight I cry soft tears of regret for what I wanted it to be. I’ve let the dreams of what this board could have been slip away beneath the reality of what it actually is. Truth can be a harsh reality but it is real and it must be faced. Tonight I remember that I do not always have to want to be myself, but I do always have to be true to myself.
Tonight I gave up. Tonight I quit. Tonight I walked away. Tonight I triumphed in freeing myself from the weight around my neck. This will not be my albatross. This will not be my battle. Neither will it be my triumph nor my glory. But see, I’ve freed myself from that expectation as well. Tonight I stand alone in the face of walking away. Tonight I stand alone accepting of what it means to be me.