I had just separated from the military, and being a civilian wasn’t really familiar yet—not when so much of my life was bound up in the service. I met my husband on our ship, and when my enlistment term was up, I decided to get out. I reasoned that it would be easier to become a civilian, to do my own work (and for only one person’s occupation to dictate moving considerations).
I approached the window, I handed over all of my documents. I was asked for my husband’s Social Security number, along with my ID.
After the specialist looked through the records, he politely informed me that I would need a power of attorney if my husband wasn’t present.
When I took off my uniform, I lost a sense of my professional and personal identity, along with any requests for my own Social Security number and the ability to navigate a system I knew so well.
Going from active duty to military spouse felt like I was going from having one hand on the wheel to being thrown in the trunk and going along for the ride. [Life] used to be focused on our careers. When I left, it felt like the goals and dreams I had for me no longer mattered. It was a hard transition, and one I still sometimes struggle with.
Amanda Huffman, blogger at Airman to Mom