The term “Military Brat” is used to describe the children of military members. Most view us as socially awkward or, as my boyfriend describes, “a bunch of weirdos”. (which is totally okay with me because we kind of are haha). What people don’t understand is that us Brats are our own subculture, and we were raised under different conditions than your average youth. The harsh realities of a military brat are probably not viewed as intriguing to someone who has never been through it.
My purpose for sharing my thoughts and experiences is to help people better understand what we face growing up, and how different the lifestyle is.
So, here we go!
We don’t know how to answer the question “Where are you from?”
Ummm…. Everywhere? Which then requires a full explanation that I am tired of repeating daily. We typically move every 2-3 years, so we’ve been around the block (well… the world) a few times.
I currently live in the south, so a lot of their lingo and local cuisines are still bizarre to me. You can only imagine how often I get asked this question when I incorrectly pronounce a word.
For example, this week at the restaurant I work at we served a dish called chicken and dumplings. Well, apparently the “g” in dumplings is silent. But I just CANNOT pronounce it dumplin’s, and people keep looking at me like I’m a freak.
Another problem we face is when we do give someone our “place of birth” (because that’s the closest I can come to answering that question) they normally don’t believe us. My baby sister was born in Japan, so people then ask her to speak in Japanese or they think she’s lying. It’s very frustrating, and adds on to the whole socially awkward issue.
You can’t say you’ve known someone since you were in diapers
This goes hand in hand with the whole moving every 2-3 years thing. Everywhere I have lived, it is difficult making friends when their social circles are already predetermined. They have ALL known each other since they were in diapers.
I will say I have managed to stay in touch with a friend I grew close to for almost 7 years now, but we normally only see each other once every 2 years.
Needless to say, I have always been super jealous of these people. At the same time, I am grateful for it. I became super open to meeting new people and trying new things, and it has helped me strive as an adult.
A lot of us are from broken households…
Military life is extremely difficult and it takes a toll on you. My father has been divorced twice, and many of my friends went through the same thing. The constant uprooting, long hours, dedication… not everyone is suited for this lifestyle.
Relationships are more difficult…
I won’t speak for everyone, but I realized that the military brat lifestyle took a huge toll on how I handled (and still kinda handle) relationships.
I got used to moving around all the time, so relationships never lasted forever. This resulted in me getting sick and tired of dealing with a guy and call it quits. I’ve stopped doing that thankfully, and I am totally about that adult life and want to settle down.
I also tend to get loud when in an argument, partly due to my extremely loud military (and Puerto Rican) father. I guess I just figure that’s the only way to get someone to respect you and listen to what you are saying. My boyfriend does not like it at all, so I’ve been working on it!
I have also become super independent and outspoken, which can be kind of intimidating when dealing with a new relationship. It is definitely NOT a bad thing, it just takes some getting used to for other people.
We grew up a lot quicker than most
This would be another reason why people find us so weird, but we really had no choice in the matter. We had to learn about the dangers of the world early on in life, considering our parents were out there facing it themselves. Those of us from broken households became the other parent to ensure our siblings were taken care of. Our parents prepared us for the real world rather than keeping us from the scary stuff.
Everyone has their quirks, us Brats just haven’t experienced life like everyone else. Personally, I wouldn’t have traded it for anything. I love the person I turned out to be, and I am extremely thankful that my father chose to serve his country so that he could provide for his family.
What realities have my fellow brats out there had to face?
For those out there who aren’t apart of our weird subculture, have you faced any situations like these?
Comment below, I love hearing from you all 🙂