(Not Just) A Military Brat

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Being a teenager has its difficulties, and when you are a military brat, a whole new set of challenges materializes. Constant moves, deployments, and new schools are my reality. By the time I graduate from high school, I will have lived in three countries and five states while attending nine different schools. I move to new places with the knowledge that in a few years, I will be moving yet again and leaving my new friends behind. A simple question such as “Where are you from?” becomes complicated—It is nearly impossible to identify a single place to which you belong when there are at least a dozen places that you consider to be home.

The stereotypical military brat is outgoing, confident, and easily adapts to his or her surrounding environment. A common negative stereotype of military brats is that we are not able to form long-lasting friendships due to frequently moving. Although the experiences of being a military brat oftentimes lead to the development of all those traits, those stereotypes are not always true. Military brats share common bonds because of their shared experiences, but we are all diverse. Just as there is no snowflake in the world that is the same, all military brats are not the same. We each handle the stress of moves, deployments, and new schools in a different and unique way—and we should not be stereotyped based solely on our life experiences.

As a relatively quiet and reserved person, I do not fit the image of a stereotypical military brat. This stereotype of military brats is constricting to me and to the large percentage of military brats who defy the stereotype—we should not be expected to all have the same exact personality traits simply because we are military brats.

-Caitlin Shekleton