Filmographer and Advocate
Branch: U.S. Army
Years Served: 2 1/2
Rank: E-4 Specialist
Military Occupation: 88M, Motor Transport Operator/crossed trained as an 88N (Supply) I was part of 21st Theater Sustainment Command out of Kaiserslautern Germany. Attached to 386th Movement Control Team (MCT) supporting SETAF and the 173rd Airborne Brigade.
Tours Served: Stationed at Caserma Ederle Vicenza, Italy. A year tour in Iraq, Camp Anaconda.
Power of Being Female: “My self-healing of PTSD after being at war has been one of my greatest personal accomplishments. I have trusted my heart’s process, and I have allowed my spirit and soul to re-awaken after I had it closed for many years. I was numb to life after giving myself to my country. Today, I give back to the community and focus on what matters most in life.”
Civilian Career: “Last year I was accepted into the Academic Symposium at Mount Saint Mary University with all other Ph.D. professors; my presentation was titled, “The Art of Healing” and “The Connection from War to Peace; A Veterans Story of how Filmmaking Changed her Narrative to Healing” (Feb of 2018). Shared my writings of healing, ‘Reins of Hope’ Equine Therapy in Ojai California.”
On Her Military Experience: “One of the most memorable moments in my life was when I was struggling to pass the last physical test in basic training. Our unit was to low crawl in a specific amount of time, under barb wire across a field that measured a two-length football field in full battle rattle. IBA bullet-resistant vest, M-16 rifle, Kevlar headgear, with over two-hundred Soldier all moving under fire. Legs would hit you in the face, low crawling in soft sand not seeing where you were going because of other soldiers kicking to increase their own pace. It was here I truly felt alone and to the test of my endurance, belief, trust, and the further perspective to survive. Before the race and test ended, I was struggling, and my knees had begun to bleed, and my eyes were filled with sand and being shot at was on my mind. The next thing I heard was a voice. “Come on battle buddy, you can do it”. As I turned my head, I saw a skinny short boy with his brown birth control glasses falling down. I wondered how the guy who was always picked on who didn’t fit the mold was the one inspiring me. It proved to me that it is truly what lies within that matters most. Stepping outside stereotypes of what strength is, or how the heart may move is a great lesson. It was because of him, that I passed since I found the inner heart calling me to the finish line. When you least expect it, someone can inspire you.
The overall experience of being in the Army taught me a lot. Life lessons of empowerment still serve me today. From people to life, independence, and most of all, overcoming the hard times. What once took my life away from me, taught me how to rebuild my own again. As I journaled my daily life in Iraq I wanted to learn about war, about the people I would meet. I realized that I was a leader underneath my uniform but did not always get the chance to prove this. I realized that my inner truth was the same as others who had deployed many times or those who were captains or warrant officers. Even though I was an E-4 specialist I still exuded my leadership capabilities and expertise. And I found that as a woman I was not seen, but I found places in the war where I could serve a greater purpose. Those that needed my help I gave of my heart. Soldiers would come to my room at night as I was their counselor. Helping them to deal with war, death, and harassment. Higher ranked officers wondered why I was not an officer because I had a particular walk that did not seem like the rank I held. I was harassed for who I was, and in my life today I find the freedom to make the changes, to what was not learned. As an empowered woman, I believe we need to break down the barriers of the language we use with one another. We need to take the time to hear the truth from others and find ways to serve both sides to empower. Learning personal growth must be experienced authentically and organically for real values to be seen, heard, and understood. Self-healing my PTSD after the war has been one of my greatest personal accomplishments. I have trusted my hearts process, and I have allowed my spirit and soul to re-awaken after I have had it closed for many years, being numb to life after giving of myself to my country. Today in my life I give back to the community and to seeing what matters most in life.
Favorite beauty routine: “Today in my life I practice meditation, yoga, and hike in nature. I also keep a healthy lifestyle for both mind and body. My routine is that I find things in my day that remind me of being grateful and I make sure to set intensions of one thing I can do every day that can make a difference. As for using products, I make sure to keep a good skincare routine that has mineral sunscreen in it. I enjoy buying eco-friendly products. Most of my skincare is from Europe.”