Wednesday, October 5, 2016

How U&E Will Change & How You Can Keep It Going

By RWAN'S MaMy via Flickr cc.
Dear U&E Readers,

Why U&E Began
I started Unhinged and Empowered in the summer of 2012 because when I was a new Navy Girlfriend, a new Navy Fiance, and a new Navy Wife, I had almost no support whatsoever, and I almost always felt weak and like I was going crazy. After 10 years of marriage with the Navy, I learned that all those times I fell to the ground and screamed and balled into my hands, I wasn’t weak or crazy. I was enduring moments of extreme mental and emotional stress. The key word there is enduring. I was sticking it out even when I was falling apart—even when I was coming unhinged!

I started this blog because I wanted to reach out to women who were experiencing the same thing and let them know it is okay to come unhinged. I wanted to empower them. I wanted to show them how strong they really are.

A Place to Lift Each Other Up 
Then I learned that although Navy Wives and Navy Girlfriends are lifted up and praised by society, they are torn down and pummeled by other Navy Wives and even more so on the internet by the general public. All over Twitter, Navy Wives are denounced. In the Facebook groups created to provide a community, people start conflicts and feed off the chaos.

So I created the U&E Facebook group, a place where those of us who want to actually lift each other up can do so, and where those of us who need support and guidance can communicate without the fear of judgment or unnecessary cruelty. My heart just swells when I see the interactions in this group today.

Being There for Those Who Had No One
Shortly thereafter, I realized that although my blog, and other blogs like mine, had no intention of excluding girlfriends, we often forgot to write posts that apply specifically to them. This is when I started my Navy Girlfriend series and when I realized how many women are going through much, if not all, of the same difficulties as wives but with even less support.

So ... What's Changing ...
I will no longer write regular posts for U&E or continue the quarterly newsletters. I will continue to answer questions via the comments and my email, and I will also keep the Facebook group going. I also hope to try to write guest posts for other Navy Wife blogs eventually and of course I will let you know about that via the Facebook channels. 

Why It's Changing
If I could, I would continue to grow and contribute to this community for as long as it was needed, but I’m afraid life sometimes requires us to move in a different direction. Due to various reasons, I recently had to return to a "day job," which means I have less time for my passions.

Even though Navy Wives and Military Wives have this reputation for being mean, most of us aren’t and we don’t have to be. I came to this blog with the intention of helping those who needed help, showing them kindness and understanding, letting them know it’s okay to struggle and to cry, and empower them by reminding them that just going through those unhinged moments is what reveals their strength. I’ve seen so many of you doing just that in the Facebook group, and I hope you will continue to do so there and elsewhere online, and not only online, but also in person.

You can be the beginning—you can change the way the world sees us. You can encourage others to be different and inspire that difference by showing each other love and kindness, even when it's not shown in return. We know how other women like us are suffering because we’ve suffered it or we are suffering it. Use that suffering to create love.

Maybe I’ll Be Back
I don’t want to stop U&E, which is why I'm not shutting it down completely, and maybe if things change, I  can return and restore the blog, but until then, even though it's breaking my heart, I have to say farewell.

I hope you'll consider keeping up with my fiction work by signing up for my author quarterly newsletter or by following on Facebook or Twitter.

My Gratitude
I am so happy that I was able to use my struggles to help others but I want you to know that over the last four years, you all provided me with support and encouragement too. You read my posts, shared the blog with others, and even bought my books. I want to thank all of you for becoming a part of this. Thank you for being a part of this community. I am so happy that this blog has been able to help people, but it has also been something that has helped me too, and for that I am so grateful.

With Love and Encouragement,
Stephanie Carroll

U&E Founder

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