We tend to have this image of military spouses during deployments...
She's at home, waiting. She's counting the days, and praying them away.
It simply. isn't. true.
In our Deployment Diaries series we're highlighting incredible women who are doing inspiring things all while braving deployment...
This week we meet the incredibly talented, completely inspiring blogger, author and song writer, Courtney Frey. Courtney lives in Iowa, loves Hemingway martini's and Chinese food and can be found late at night blasting 80's rock and roll while tapping out the rhythm of her heart. She's an avid lover of her family and friends and is learning to laugh more.
Courtney is a deployment ROCK STAR! She shares her heart with the world through her writing, and her most recent project- a beautiful song titled "Soldier"- is an inspiration to military families everywhere.
Keep reading to learn how Courtney braves deployment, and how you can too!
Courtney!! Tell us a little about yourself...
I never imaged 24 years ago when I stood in the Little White Wedding Chapel in Vegas on a first date with my Marine Corps soldier that we'd be here now, on our fourth deployment, with grown children and grand babies. The military has always been our way of life, from active service to his successful 20 year career with the Army National Guard, deployment, schools, training and drill, I have gone from panic to pouting many times, but found my way through it to honor, respect, and pride. As an author I believe that each of us has a story to tell, that our voices are unique and have the power to unite and inspire. My focus in all of my writing always begins with my asking myself, "Is this going to hurt or help?" I've used my writing throughout the years for many military related events, newsletters, etc., and now for the song, "Soldier" which is the most recent. However, if I'm honest I'd have to say the best works I've ever written are the handwritten letters to my soul mate that he reads under a tiny light in a tiny room, all alone, when - for just that one moment - our love becomes the miracle that keeps us strong.
Has Your Song Writing Always Focused Around Military Service and Deployments?
Absolutely not, but it is the first song that went public. I write music mostly for family and for my children, but song writing isn't something I'm super great at. My writing career has always been non-fiction.
Your writing is so honest and emotional, how do you find the courage to share so much of yourself?
I remember the day my publisher called to tell me my first novel, "Restitution," was live. I hung up the phone and felt like someone had stripped all my clothes off and I was running around the streets naked for all to see. Had I really put my most awful secrets and scary skeletons out for the world to read and judge? What would come of it? Would it produce anything good? So many fears and questions. The thing is, when we step outside of our own shame, secrets, and fears and really truly look around ... we're all the same. So when people ask me how I can be so transparent and so vulnerable I always tell them, "We all feel it. Sometimes we just need someone else's voice to be loud enough until we find the ability to hear and speak for ourselves."
What are your must have tools for a successful season of deployment?
I gather my three very closest friends and have a pow pow. We laugh, we cry, and we talk about all the awful things ... then they hug me close and I know that no matter what, they've got my back. Then, I don't care what everyone else does or doesn't do. Comments like, "Stay strong," or, "It'll be over fast," or, "You poor thing," don't bug me. Create your circle and put a bubble over it. Protect it. Don't get caught up in needing everyone to understand, as long as you have the few that do.
Projects, projects, projects! For me, staying busy is absolutely the key. Have an easy to accomplish goal means doing something you can be proud of, the more you're proud of yourself, the stronger you get.
Get connected! You may not find your next best friend in a military related group, and you certainly have to be leary of debbie downers, but having a group of people who "get it" certainly makes it easier on days when you're frustrated or flat out feeling alone. Those are just a few of mine .... the list is long!
Do you find that deployment is a season where you are inspired to write more, or find it more difficult to write?
Honestly, it varies. Just like our emotions do during deployment, so does my writing. One month I'll be inspired to write five articles and then the next month I'll think, "Oh heck no, I'm Ben and Jerry'ing the heck outta this month." Writing for me is just like feeling and breathing ... it has its own life. And, deployments can also be both inspiring and really just plain hard. I listen to myself and follow the path my heart takes.
Besides writing, what ways do you find most helpful to de-stress during deployments?
I work! I actually like what I do and that helps, but it's also a distraction from the stress. I leave it all at the door and put my best foot forward for eight hours and I feel like I've done something good at the end of the day. I've learned, through experience, not to use shopping as an outlet (ouch, that was a tough lesson), and I've learned not to isolate. I call on my mom and dad a lot too, not gonna lie. I'm 43 years old and still need them. :)
Where can we see more of what you've written?
"Soldier" is the song I have out right now and you can listen to it on YouTube here.