Posted on November 22, 2011 by Cat
Our last post was tiny, you could walk from one end to the other in less than an hour. Not only that, it was in Germany.
While neither of these things are inherently bad, it does make for an interesting social dynamic. There were a lot of younger adults, away from their country for the first time, not only that but the pressures of repeated deployments, child-rearing, the expense of entertainment off post and for some, an *anxiety* about going off post, meant that things got very insular.
Now while it can be nice to live in a place where you know most of the residents, it also has its downside. Most spouses were unemployed and only had the social outlets that come from child-centric events or events organised by the ‘Protestant Women of the Chapel’.
To say that gossip was rife, would be an understatement. It’s probably also no surprise that that post was described by one of the chaplains there as being the most fundamentalist that he’d ever served on.
For the three years or so that my husband and I lived on that post, we thankfully remained largely off the gossip radar and I attribute this to our adherence to the old Heathen concept of ‘inner-yard’ vs ‘outer-yard’.
Basically, a person’s ‘inner-yard’ is usually a person’s family and good friends. These people are the people whose views you care about. These people are *worth* that consideration and to be protected at all costs.
The ‘outer-yard’ is everyone else. Now you can choose to interact with people in the ‘outer-yard’, after all, if we all stuck to our inner-yards, none of us would ever make new friends. However, usually when you interact with someone from the ‘outer-yard’, you’re doing it because you’ve made some kind of estimate of that person’s worth based on what you’ve seen or heard from them and judged them to be worth your time.
When you apply this to the problem of gossip within a military community, the benefit of dividing the world around you in this way becomes clear. Why should you care about the views or words of people that you don’t really know, or are at best merely acquainted with?
During the three years on that post, we only really became subject to the gossip mill once and that was minor and about our differing worldview rather than anything scandalous. We didn’t care, not only it was coming from the ‘outer-yard’, but it was also true. We are Heathens! If there was anything about the situation that annoyed us, it’s that we were living in an environment where people that weren’t connected to us considered our religious choices to be their business.
Another key to avoiding military drama is honesty within your family group. Especially during deployment. My husband and I made it our policy from early on to cover our asses by telling each other everything. The importance of this honesty really proved itself when Josh was either down range or TDY. During these times away, I would go for girls nights out out with my friends in bars and a couple of times, soldiers came to let him know that I’d been seen in whatever bar, getting drunk. He of course, had already known, I’d told him before going out and he’d dealt with my drunken, repeated ‘I love you’ text messages/yahoo messenger messages all night!