Women of the Military

True Feathers - Finding Healing through her story

Episode Summary

Carolyn discovered writing for healing after leaving the military. It started when she and her husband each wrote their military story to share at their retirement. When she transitioned out of the military after 26 years of military service she found the transition hard and began writing every day. Through the writing, she wrote the book True Feathers. A fictional story of Coo the dove who was raised by Hawks and goes on her own journey of self-discovery.

Episode Notes


Women of the Military would like to thank Sabio Coding Bootcamp for sponsoring this week's episode! Sabio Coding Bootcamp is a top-ranked coding Bootcamp that is 100% dedicated to helping smart and highly motivated individuals become exceptional software engineers.  Visit their website www.Sabio.la to learn how you may be able to use your GI Bill benefits to train at Sabio.  Your tuition and a monthly BAH stipend may be paid during your training period.  They also are 100% committed to helping you find your first job in tech.  Don’t forget to head over to www.Sabio.la to learn more today. 

Check out the full show notes at https://www.airmantomom.com/2021/07/writing-for-healing/

Check out the full transcript here.  

Thank you to my Patreon Sponsor Col Level and above:
Kevin Barba, Adriana Keefe, Lorraine Diaz

Thank you Patreon members for your support. Become a Patreon member today! Click here.   

Episode Transcription

Amanda Huffman00:00

Welcome to Episode 144 of the women in the military podcast this week. My guest is Carolyn Patrick, and she is the fifth and final author for the woman veteran author series, and I'm doing this summer. I really loved Carolyn's book, true feathers. It's a memoir of sorts, but it's also a fictional novel. And it was really interesting to read. And it went really quick. I read it in less than a day. And I really just enjoyed the story that she wrote. And I love talking to her and hearing about how to use writing to find healing after leaving the military. I'm really excited to share her story this week. And if you haven't had a chance to check out the authors that I've interviewed so far this summer, go check them out and go get their book support the work that they're doing. And thank you so much for listening. Let's get started. You're listening to season three of the women on the military podcast. Here you will find the real stories of female servicemembers. I'm Amanda Huffman, I am an Air Force veteran, military spouse and Mom, I Korean women in the military podcast in 2019. As a place to share the stories of female service members past and present, with a goal of finding the heart of the story while uncovering the triumphs and challenges women face while serving in the military. If you want to be encouraged by the stories of military women and be inspired to change the world. Keep tuned for this latest episode of women on the military. Women on the military podcast we'd like to thank saburo coding boot camp for sponsoring this week's episode savea coding boot camp is a top ranked coding boot camp that is 100% dedicated to helping smart and highly motivated individuals become exceptional software engineers visit their website@www.sabio.la to learn how you may be able to use your GI Bill benefits to train at savea your tuition and monthly bH ipen may be paid during your training period. They are also 100% committed and helping you find your first job in tech. So don't forget to head over to www.sabio.la to learn more. And now let's get started with this week's interview. Welcome to the show. Carolyn, I'm excited to have you here.


Carolyn Patrick02:28

Thank you. I'm excited to be here. Like I told you earlier, when I found that I was gonna be on the show. I started binge listening to your podcast and I am so impressed with everything that you've done. And the way that you're encouraging women to speak about their military experiences. Because I know a lot of most of my friends or female friends are military veterans, and they don't talk tell their story very much. And like you know, you hear a lot of men telling war stories, women tend not to talk about it as much and most of you are very humble badasses. But you know, it's so nice to hear their stories. Now here, especially the variety you've seen, it seems like for other ones I've listened to you've talked to everybody from you know, Novartis secretary, the Air Force, all the way down to people who just have just started their military career or without after just a short period. So very impressive. So glad to be here.


Amanda Huffman03:24

Thank you. Thanks so much. That's really exciting. And I really do love that I get a chance to talk to people from like, all different varieties. And it's really important that we hear all the stories because all stories matter. And they're so important. Oh, people won't know this because they're listening, but we're doing this in person. So if I say I'm more nervous than normal is because we're actually which is funny because when I do zoom, I can see you but it's weird or to have someone right across the table. kind of funny. But let's start with why did you decide to join the military? 


Carolyn Patrick03:59

When I went to college, I knew I wanted to career and I tried a lot of different things. So I started off as pre that and then biology I thought about nursing. I tried a little bit of everything changed my major so many times that I got to the point where I had four years of college and nowhere near ready for a career. So my dad was in the Air Force and I had loved the airforce lifestyle. I loved everything about the military. I never thought I was going to go in but I moved from Reno to San Diego and saw they had a RTC program in Air Force ROTC program. So I went to San Diego State and signed up to go through the Air Force ROTC program in the Scott same time I settled on a major finally I decided to study psychology. I love psychology. I'm just fascinated with why people do the things that they do. And so I went to the two year program. Air Force ROTC has normally a four year program but they had a two year program for people like me who are coming into it a little bit late. So I went to a basic training type summer camp, then two years of ROTC, and then I got my condition.


Amanda Huffman05:11

Okay, so you picked out which major you want to do. And then you were able to do you did the summer camp before you did your last two years of ROTC.


Carolyn Patrick05:20

Yes. started off with my summer camp and then did two years ROTC and then that commission those nice My dad was able to commission me. He's a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and I met my husband there. We weren't, we were actually just best friends for quite a long time. He was a cadet there as well. And he got commissioned through San Diego State as well, within within ended up getting married for another five years until I get a little taste of our careers. And then we decided it was meant to be but at the time, we just get conditioned with your separate assignments. Yeah, I met my husband during ROTC to make some of your best friends. And you know, he's still my best friend. So basically, the Spencer RTC is in touch with a lot of them.


Amanda Huffman06:05

Yeah, I've lost track of a few of them, but I know what most of them are doing. So what were your first five years on active duty like?


Carolyn Patrick06:13

So when I came in Air Force, I was lucky to be able to use my college degree in psychology I worked first, before I came in, I worked for the Navy doing sleep research. And then when I came into the Air Force, I work as a behavioral scientist, and actually in San Antonio, Texas, where I ended up retiring from so as a behavioral scientist working on pilot Candidate Selection programs. So we were trying to find a way at the time that the attrition rate and the number of people watching the pilot training was really high. Can you try to find a way to select people who would succeed at pilot training, better chances to succeed? training so I worked with ecologist and then I became the program manager for this program called the basic attributes test of the candidate selection method. And we use that we brought that online to screen cadets and OTS applicants who wanted to be pilots to try and find the people who had the highest success rates. So I did that for three years. And then while we were doing that, research, we found that the test because it was mostly developed on white males, those who was pilots at the time, we found that there were some issues that it wasn't as predictive for minorities and for females. So the airforce, I helped to develop this job at Arizona State University. Therefore, seminude Arizona State University to work with the psychology department there and Lufthansa had a big play program there, we found some better diversity of people to test this program on and we made some changes to it based on the research we did there to make it more equitable, more predictive for everybody was a Ph. D. program there actually didn't finish it up. Because what was going on, I decided to get married after that, that assignment, and we he's a helicopter pilot. And so we'll go with Okinawa, where we can be stationed together. So I cross trained into personnel, and then a lot of different jobs just so we could stay together.


Amanda Huffman08:16

Yeah, that's the challenge of being dual military because my career field of civil engineering and my husband's is developmental engineering. And it was like oil in the water.


Carolyn Patrick08:26

When we tried to figure out like, as we went up in rank, where the heck are we going to get stationed together because they just don't mix very well. So that was the thing with his job. And behavioral science is very few. And at the time, that Air Force was drawn down as well to do what they do few years ago. And everybody was saying, We don't need so many behavioral scientists anymore. So I was very fortunate that then that because training to personnel, an opportunity to continue to grow and get promoted in that peripheral.


Amanda Huffman08:57

So you guys went to Japan as newlyweds


Carolyn Patrick09:02

We actually got married. He was still finishing up training in Albuquerque. So he didn't he showed up a week before our first anniversary. So we we have a good assignment, there is beautiful place to be stationed and we learn to scuba dive and we worked really hard. We wish we would have traveled more in hindsight, but we traveled a fair amount and then after her assignments there we came back to get stationed at Nellis in Las Vegas. And I almost immediately had to deploy when on my first deployment to Turkey. And so my husband got to move in to the house by himself, figure out how to unpack and put up ceiling fans and do all that. When I came back from from from my first deployment, we have episodes long partly afterwards, I found that we're expecting our first baby she was he was born there in Las Vegas.


Amanda Huffman09:55

So what was a transition like from going to be like a couple And then to be in a family when your daughter was born?


Carolyn Patrick10:03

Our daughter was born shortly after September 11 2001. So it was a very stressful time I was nine months pregnant, doing an exercise with the base when, when September 11 happened 10. So I spent most of that day and part of that night in the command post. My husband was he was supposed to be working the night shift on exercise. So he spent at home and it was it was very stressful. But it's like, as soon as things settle, we found out my husband's his helicopter pilot, he was going to have to be deployed to Afghanistan, somewhere around there. And so it was funny, I was about to have the baby and my master sergeant came up to me is Sergeant bird, I remember, he was so sincere, and he said, Man, you need a birth coach, I'm here for you. And everybody really rallied around me, my boss at the time sort of came to see me at the hospital. But he luckily was able to stay until until she was born. He deployed shortly after that. So that was a challenge. Having a newborn having to work. You know, at the time, women only had six weeks after pregnancy come in saying just recently made that longer. But it was only six weeks. And that was not really long enough. At the time I was before she was born, I wasn't sure if I would be able to go back to work. I wasn't sure what it would like, be like being a mom, I was the youngest. I was like, well, I might, I might want to get out and might not be able to handle this test. Everybody's different. And I found that after six weeks of being home with a baby that had to work, I was not cut out to be a stay at home mom, I just didn't have the money it took it takes a very strong woman, I think stay home with the kids. And and I couldn't do that. So my husband and I decided we would every step of the way we made these decisions together, we decided we would hire the best childcare we could. And we were both continued to work as long as we both enjoyed it. And it was those few years after September 11. He deployed a lot. And I was home a lot with my daughter and I was exhausted and few times, you know, I would fall asleep, you know, all dinner after dinner and she's still alive. She turned out great. Not great. But it was very challenging.


Amanda Huffman12:28

Yeah, like a bunch of things changing within the military. And then your life changing as you went from a couple to a family and then dad's gone. And you're working and that's a lot.


Carolyn Patrick12:42

It was it was a lot and i'm i'm really encouraged by the changes I see happening in the Air Force now to not just for women. But for you know, at the time I came in the military 1990 ones but I was conditioned. The women who came before me worked really hard to make sure women were allowed to and not be respected. That there was still a lot of talents that weren't open to the military. And when I came in was right after tailhook which was a sure if you remember, but it was a big Navy convention where the aviators would get together. But there was a scandal that happened that year in 1991, where some of that was done. But it was the first time that actually got reported was they would have like a gauntlet in the women anyway, coming down the hallway, subject to being harassed or assaulted or whatever. So the women who had been assaulted at this convention in Las Vegas called tailhook they reported it. And they also reported a lot of the gender bias and discrimination they were experiencing. And it really hit the fan about the time I was going to the Air Force. And so when I first came in, there was still a lot of people saying why why do you want to join the military? Why would a woman want to be in the military? My answer was I was the same as same as a man. Because I'm patriotic. I love my country, love the military love the mission. And it was hard for people to understand that it was my peer group. And now I can see that women probably have been part of that group that helps normalize women in the military, and that I didn't have role models for someone who was dual military, and had a child and who was making that work there at the time. That didn't happen very often. I didn't know anybody can never wear a costume. But so I was made kind of my goal to make sure that I helped other people who want to have both a career and child and a family. see somebody who is successful at it. So it was it was difficult, but I'm hoping it's easier for people now if they want to do that. Take that flag and run with it. The ones who do choose because it's not just about the women in the military, either. It's about men who want to be men want to be part of their family to the most men have working wives now. And whether they're working in the military or the Working at home, it's more of a partnership than it used to be, at least when my dad was in your mom stay at home. And that was her job. And that's it. And my dad was done a lot. And I didn't see him interact with him. But today's families, it seems that the parents, they both parents, they both want to be at the place and the baseball games and all that. And, and they both want to work. And I think that's, that's perfectly normal. I think most people want to have a career, something that they can be proud of for themselves. And they also want to have a family. So I'm happy to see the military starting to get to that point where it's easier to do both. It's still difficult.


Amanda Huffman15:39

Yeah, I mean, the Air Force has changed a lot. Because when I, when I got out in 2013, you only got six weeks of maternity leave, and now it's 12. And now husbands get six weeks of maternity leave in the Air Force, which I'm like, that's crazy


Carolyn Patrick15:54

That's awesome, kids need both parents and both parents have to have an opportunity to be present and enrolled and active in their lives.


Amanda Huffman16:07

Yeah, no, it's a good thing. I just was funny, because my husband told me I was like, What?


Carolyn Patrick16:11

They are all positive changes? I see. So I think a lot of ways the military needs this way. Or else? I don't? I don't see a lot of that in the civilian jobs. I don't know a lot about them. But I think it's nice that the military has directed that men be allowed to have maternity leave as well.


Amanda Huffman16:31

Yeah, there's a new law that's been legislated. I don't know how to what you would actually say, but it's being worked in Congress. And my friend sent me and they're trying to extend women's maternity leave, I think to 18 weeks, and then extend male maternity leave to 12 weeks. And so they are working to expand it and and you like you said the military kind of expected people to do this work all the time. And people are like, no, like, I have a family I want to call home instead of just like always being at work.


Carolyn Patrick17:06

So I think that's changing, taking a while to turn that ship. It's history, I think it's I think it helps create better, more balanced humans. Because that is something I struggled with this with my career is finding balance, you know, because I felt like I had to prove myself as a woman that a woman could do this job. And I felt obligated to do everything that my mom did for me as a child. And I was a stay at home mom. And I it was an internal pressure that I felt I had to do both of those things equally. Well, very fortunate, my husband was the type that he wants to be held down as well. And you know, we had our jobs. And we both did our parenting together. Unfortunately, both of us actually had to deploy a lot as well, that's a unique part of the military that that is done now.


Amanda Huffman17:58

That that is a challenge. So you guys did both end up deploying at the same time, and did you have to use your family care plan.


Carolyn Patrick18:05

So the Family Care Plan is challenge is difficult, because that's when you have to have somebody identified within two weeks of getting to a new base, who would is willing to take your child if you both deployed or if something bad happens to both. So I was fortunate my sister agreed to be our family care plan person. So only one time that we overlap a little bit. And it was happened to be when my daughter was still vaping. And so that was one of the more stressful times in our lives. My husband was in Afghanistan. I was actually just on a TTY, temporary duty assignment. And our daughter found out while we were both gone that she was allergic to penicillin, and he had an ear infection. And so she, my sister said she was blue. She called us on the phone and she's like, she's blue. She's not breathing. And you know, as a parent, you're just like, sick that you can't be there for that. So that was that was hard that other than that one short time we both were our deployments were staggered. And so he deployed to his water with the helicopters more frequently, but for shorter periods of time, and I deployed for longer periods of time, but not as much. And did the unit work around your guys's deployment schedule? Or was it just luck that you were able to work that I think they tried, they tried to work around it. At the time when were younger and their daughter was younger. One person's career field usually takes priority over another so for my husband because he's a pilot and he had more foresight invested more in him and I was really a personnel as my career field took a backseat. So I was able to manage my my deployments a little bit better than only volunteer when when I knew his unit was not going to be on the hook and being a personnel is to get to know things like having that system a little bit better. So it worked out well. I was at the motor personnel flight down For the mission sports water, that's where all the deployments are managed through. Right?


Amanda Huffman20:06

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Yeah. And I guess your husband learned how to help out. Because if you weren't there, then he had to take care of your daughter. And so do you think that had an impact on like, how involved he was with you not being home? 


Carolyn Patrick20:20

Okay. So I mean, I think he kind of married the right person. Yeah, the first, my first long deployment to Iraq, you know, he had a lot of help. We had a lot of family that, you know, they really they worried about him. They were like it when I was deployed people in our when he was deployed, and I was having a lot of people don't worry so much about me because I was the mom. But you know, when the man's left alone with the baby, people worried a bit more. So his, his mom and aunts and my family, they all came out and husband stayed with him a bit. And then our second, my second long deployment after, after our daughter got into school, we realized we need to live in home, childcare, there was a fear. One time when I was deployed, my husband got stuck, like he was flying and there was an emergency and he couldn't get to the Child Development Center to pick up my daughter that night. And he, he really panicked because you'd had this picture of them putting her out on the sidewalk with her hanging out with her baking. And, you know, nobody there for her. So he called my sponsor quit. And my thought a better picture of everything was fine. But we realized after that, that we needed somebody live in to help us, especially when she started school. So we went through, we had an agency with an old pair of Ukraine, and she was awesome. She worked in summer camps. And we had moved through all the security clearance issues, but she lived with us, she taught my daughter started kindergarten, she taught her how to do homework, take care of her during the day. And then when we came home, you know, had all her homework done, and everything was great. From that all we had au pairs. And so my daughter got old enough where she didn't need somebody to stay with her anymore.


Amanda Huffman22:01

That makes sense. Yeah. And that's the type of stuff that we're, you're doing a mission and you can't get back and you're like freaking out, like, What do I do? I can't get back, and I need to get there. And that sounds like military. So yeah, I interviewed a single mom and she had an Au Pair because she said that she can always be there for her daughter. And it just made life easier to have someone living there and not have to worry about the stress of childcare. And then if you kind of get back in time, and so so that's I think that's a common dual military couple and single parent thing that people face in the military, 


Carolyn Patrick22:39

And our Au pairs like our daughters who stays just stay in touch with all of them. One of them is joined the army, and she's a nurse, another one, the first one to choose to turn out to be a nurse. She lives in New York with unfortunate Miss states. And we see them all as much as we can travel to see them if they're out of the country, I was invited back to our house to like our daughters.


Amanda Huffman23:05

That's awesome. That's great. So between deploying, and the rest of your time, like you had before September 11, you didn't have kids life was I say life without kids is pretty easy. When you're in the military, you just communicate, you're separated. But it's not that. And then September 11 happened and the whole military change, and you had a fit like you had your daughter. So what was like the last 10 years? And how is that different from like the first 10 years? 


Carolyn Patrick23:36

Well, the stresses were just different. You know, first 10 years we were working really hard and having babies is you know, having a baby at home is hard. The second 10 or 16 years after that, my husband and I both had command upgrades to command and when you're commanding a squatter that takes priority over a lot of other things. So luckily, we didn't command at the same time that I followed that command who my daughter would bring me dinner and we would eat my office. And unfortunately, I wasn't able to be there for my husband when he was in command I was deployed. But there are some awesome military spouses who really stepped in and they will take care of my daughter when she needed new clothes, they would take her shopping and one time she broke her leg and my husband came to the hospital and another military spouse jumped in to the hospital for us. They would even help him with the second is called the key spouse program. But there was a key spouse I'll never forget her April golden and she's she's like the best military spouse in the world. She even would help him with his distinguished visitor visits or she made everything in the squadron very nice for the families and for the people that work there. I could never repay her for everything she did because she did what I would have done if I was if I was a military spouse if I could have been there but it was was unfortunately overseas and can do all the things that my husband needed.


Amanda Huffman25:04

I don't think people always understand like the role that military spouses play, especially like in a unit where like the commanders spouse, in all the units I was in was very involved in doing all this stuff to keep everything running behind the scenes that you don't really think about that is it full time,


Carolyn Patrick25:25

it really is a full time job I, when I became the vice commander out at Wright Patt, there's a there's a course for wave commander, bystanders, and their spouses are invited. So I really wanted my husband to go to that, because they said, you know, when, when you have this commander, spouses course, you're going to be strategizing together about how to recall the challenges of, of command in command at that level. And so luckily, he took time off from work. And he came with me to the commander's who's only male spouse, and he was patronized a little bit, I'm not gonna say, who was the Chief of Staff of the Air Force of time came in and came with his spouse, and they were talking to us, and they said, you know, to the spouses, they said, there's really no obligation for you, as a spouse to do all these things. They're nice to do. But if you have a career and you want to do something else, you're not obligated, but then that gave to me, I was feeling in my heart that if you're having a class for military spouses, and telling them, these are all things that are nice to do, there really is an expectation that the military spouse is going to do this thing. So I think we're not quite there yet with understanding that both spouses, most cases have a career, and they have their own things. And it's not just my opinion, it's great if the military spouse can support it. But I don't think there should be an expectation that there is you know, that they have to do that.


Amanda Huffman26:55

Yeah, we're like, you can't be like, here's a list of things that you should do as a military spouse, but you don't have to do because it's like, well, then who's gonna do all these things?


Carolyn Patrick27:07

I think the motor is changing a bit now, where it's not quite as expected. I mean, definitely, it's better than my mom was in and they had to have parties and posts and go to the, you know, officers, Wives Club events, in order for your husband to get promoted and be of you know, being in the in group is I know, it's not like that anymore. It's just that there are still, and there's some people who want to do that, which is Craig makes definitely, life in the squadron and in the units better, better know, for a lot of people, but I don't think it's right to expect that people when they have their own career,


Amanda Huffman27:44

So did you or your husband transition out of the military at the same time within,


Carolyn Patrick27:48

We did actually, I retired him and he retired me. We had had a ceremony in 2017. And was interesting, because we both we decided I would retire him, I would tell his story, and he would tell my story. But we started off by each writing down our story. And then we get to each other domain. It's amazing how many edits we did and how much we changed. And it was a very healing process to write the story of your military experiences, to tell that story. So we told each other stories, and it was our goal was keep it under an hour. And we were able to do that. And we had a nice event at Randolph Air Force Base, in a hangar, lots of airplane noise. And then we had a big barbecue at our house. Who is less of it is nice having done that career, having taken that journey with my best.


Amanda Huffman28:43

Yeah, that sounds like the perfect way to end it. To do it together and each share each other's stories. I love that idea. 


Carolyn Patrick28:51

It was great. We have a lot of stories, and I'm not really a storyteller. But I feel like I have a story to tell him as well. I'm so proud of you doing this and getting other women to tell their stories in the military. So people know what it's the second case a lot of stereotypes out there about what military women are like a lot of stereotypes about what military life is like some of them were not portrayed very positively honestly, in the media right now for military women. There's a lot, you know, problems that same problems that we have in society, but unfortunately stories sensationalized by the media more than the everyday normal person like me who know, challenges that a great experience overall a long time.


Amanda Huffman29:36

Yeah. So what was your transition? Like out of the military that was 2017. So it's been about three to four years.


Carolyn Patrick29:45

So it was not an easy transition. I was really looking forward to retirement that I grew up growing up in military or grown up and my dad was an Air Force. It was really the only life I knew and I wasn't sure about my purpose was going to be have to monitor my battery's getting to meet, I want needing to retire she wanted. She's a high school, sophomore guess. And we want her to not have to change schools again, my mom had just passed away. And I had regrets for not having spent more time with her. My dad needed help needed more help. And I thought it was time for my, for me to really support my husband in his career, like he had supported mine. So I decided to not work not to go right back to work. And I felt like I had, you know, I love your podcast on the stages of grief is regards to retiring or suffering from military, I thought that was perfect. And I love that you shared such personal feelings about how it really is like going through grief in other stages. So I went through all those I didn't, I didn't seek out the help, like you did, I probably should have. But what I did was found, I found your birth medication. And that really helped me. And then I found writing. And I started writing a book, which I just love that. And I found that writing everyday really helped me reflect deeply on what I was thinking and what I had been through and some of the traumas that I have experienced, it helped me to write it and rewrite it. And to understand I understand that myself.


Amanda Huffman31:33

Yeah, so let's talk about your book, which is true feathers. And it wasn't what I was expecting. I was expecting a memoir, and I mean, it is a memoir, but it's also a story. I really loved how I let Well, why don't I just let you explain it, but I really loved reading it, it was so easy to read. And then I love the last chapter how you tied everything together,


Carolyn Patrick31:57

I'm not the best at talking about my book, because it's just not good at talking about me so much. So this is challenging for me. And I found you know, one of the things about writing the book is afterwards, you have to be able to explain what it's about. And it's to me, it is complicated, because it's about my journey, as a grown up as a military child and going in the military. And then as I transitioned trying to find my authentic self, but I told that as a fable, like the modern day fable of a dove raised by hawks, who then has some some trauma happened to her and then she goes to see who she is, let her purposes after, after the after leaving the Hawks and she, she finds peace and she comes to understanding by with the help of little beach mouse, who shows her that everybody, every creature is important in every picture has experiences that happened to them in their life that lead them to what their purpose is. It could be as simple as you know, the vows that raise a family and they're happy in their you know, they're peaceful. There can be you know, the Hawks who their purposes to, to hunt, and to keep the robot population down. The Beach was had a very special purpose in this book as well.


Amanda Huffman33:26

Yeah, I really, I really loved how the different characters saw the world through different lenses and how she was when she was talking to the dog couple. And she's like, no, like, What's your purpose? They're like, just fine, are happy. And she's like, no, like, what's your profit? And I was like, I felt like that really explained. Like when I was transitioning, I was like, Ah, what am I supposed to be doing? And I really struggled. And it was like, my purpose was to be a mom and to like, love my kids and like find, find my new way forward. But it was so hard in that like moment where I was like struggling. And so I really, I really liked that part of the book when she was asking, like, What's your purpose? They were just, like, more happy? Why do we have to have a purpose. And I was like, that just reminds me of me in my transition, because I was like, I would ask people the same thing or like, What do I do? Did they like to see you and I'm like, I don't know. And so that's I really I really enjoyed it and I really love the end and how it like parallels back to your to your life and how you can see the stories interwoven because you use the same names right for your mom and your husband and


Carolyn Patrick34:41

For my husband I used his callsign and then I just changed the names a little bit for my mom and for my mom and dad but you know the win to the main character. When she does see those doubts. No, I'm glad you said that about being able to identify with that because it is something that when I retire You know, I was thought of myself as a hawkish though when I retired. And I bet the who's talking to represents me as well, because I was like, Well, I'm just a mom, am I just a spouse and I just think just a and then I'm like, I am just me, and just that I'm fine, just being just who I am. And that's the military, you have a very important role. And you know, you have a lot of, you work really hard to have a command respect and have a job that it's, it's fine to be just you and I think that's so neat that you have found your, your your purpose in doing what you do, you're who you are, and you're in, you're letting other people talk about who they are. And that's so important. And I love your description. Everyone has a story, because it's true. And you can only say the book, you know, you don't have to chase tomorrow for it to show up, it's kind of show up and have to go chasing everything down.


Amanda Huffman36:04

Yeah, I really loved it. And it was such an easy read. I've been reading a lot of military books, and they're, they're more rigid. And this is just like a story in it. I love fiction too. That's my author, like I really love like Finn, I'm not as much of a nonfiction writer. So it was really fun to read. And then to have all the like hidden meanings within the story. It was really fun.


Carolyn Patrick36:28

I think a lot of military people will relate to. And I've given it to a lot of people who are getting ready to retire transition, hoping that they find some peace and healing through making sense of their story making sense of their experiences. Some of them have been through a lot of trauma. So they've seen some terrible things. And it's important to reflect on that. And I found that a lot of resources in the back of that helped me in learning about writing in the healing powers of writing, writing your story.


Amanda Huffman37:01

So my last question is, what advice would you give to young women who are considering military service?


Carolyn Patrick37:07

Yeah, I said, listen to all your podcasts before I came over here. And it sounds like a lot of people said the same thing, which is do your research and know you know, that about your career field, you want to go to what branch and all that and I think that is that is solid, strong advice. Once you decide to go in the military, though, I would say to women or to anyone is learn your job, and be very good at what you do. It's important and it will make your life much easier. If you're the expert at your job and you know what you're doing and you won't have to won't have to worry about chasing down promotions or the next level of recognition or whatever. Just focus on knowing your job.


Amanda Huffman37:53

Do I like that? That's really good advice. Thank you. Thank you for listening to this week's episode of women of the military podcast. Do you love all things women in the military podcast become a subscriber so you never miss an episode and consider leaving a review. It really helps people find the podcast and helps the podcast to grow. Are you still listening? You could be a part of the mission of telling the stories of military women by joining me on patreon@patreon.com slash women of the military or you can order my book women of the military on Amazon. Every dollar helps to continue the work I am doing. Are you a business owner? Do you want to get your product or service in front of the women of the military podcast audience get in touch with a woman of the military podcast team to learn more all the links on how you can support women military podcasts are located in the show notes. Thanks again for listening and for your support.