Anna Chlumsky’s Essay About Her Experience As A Military Girlfriend Is Powerful

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Anna Chlumsky s Essay About Her Experience As A Military Girlfriend Is Powerful Anna Chlumsky Emmys After Party August 2014 jpg

You probably know Anna Chlumsky best for being the adorable little girl in My Girl and/or for her hilarious supporting role on Veep. What you might not know about her is that before she married her husband, he served overseas in Afghanistan, and during that time they maintained a long-distance relationship. Anna wrote an essay for the November issue of Glamour magazine, in honor of Veterans Day, titled “Actress Anna Chlumsky’s Most Courageous Role: Military Girlfriend.” In it she shares some really powerful, heartfelt things about what it’s like being the loved one of a soldier.

Anna shares that she and her boyfriend Shaun had already experienced a long-distance relationship before he even joined the military, explaining how they met in college in 2000 and then worked in two different cities after graduation:

“We grew accustomed to seeing each other every other week, often commuting between New York and D.C. on the $35 Chinatown bus.”

Here’s what Anna has to say about Shaun’s eventual decision to enlist in the Army Reserve:

“He had been frustrated with merely analyzing America’s newly entered wars from a Pentagon desk and decided to gain firsthand experience in the field. Scared as I was, our relationship had been built on support for each other. I would never hold him back from anything he wanted to pursue, and I expected he’d do the same for me.”

As it turned out, she was right. Around the same time, Anna realized that she wanted to get back into acting after taking a break from it to go to college and try out a career outside of show business. Shaun was supportive:

“I asked Shaun’s opinion, and he said, ‘I can barely sit here training for the Army and tell you not to take a risk with your life.’ So we both went ahead with our risky ventures.”

Anna goes on to explain the difficulties of maintaining a relationship after Shaun was deployed to Afghanistan. She shares how hard it was for people back home to fully understand her situation, and addresses the misconceptions many people harbor about the military:

“There was a wide misconception that joining the military was only an alternative to jail—that anyone who chose to die for his country was strong-armed into it by a tyrannical and manipulative government. I’d explain that no one signs his or her name to something at gunpoint. That the military is a diverse community of individuals from all types of backgrounds. That soldiers have brains.”

The essay is long and eloquent and really interesting, and I definitely suggest giving it a read. There are plenty of powerful and beautiful quotes I could share here, but it’s ultimately more effective if you read them in context. Anna admits that she was often lonely and scared, and she details how she used her acting experiences to get her through it. She also writes about what it was like for them once Shaun returned home.

The fact that Anna and Shaun maintained their relationship for so long, with so many miles and serious circumstances between them, and that they’ve remained supportive of each other’s pursuits, is impressive and inspiring. Also, just a warning, you might start crying when you get to the end and realize the meaning behind Anna’s daughter’s name, because I definitely did.

(Photo: FayesVision/WENN.com)