CURRENT ACTIVE DUTY
US Marine Corps
Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF): September 11, 2001, to present day
I joined the Marine Corps at 19 almost entirely because I was told I couldn't hack it. In fact, when I mentioned the recruiter had talked to me, I was laughed at. This came to be a common theme throughout my service; I was repeatedly underestimated, laughed at, and undervalued. I consider myself to have been a gloriously average Marine. I was good at my job, had a clean service record, deployed to war, came home injured, and was medically retired on my 5 year anniversary of enlistment. I loved my MOS and got along fine with my fellow Marines. I was heartbroken to leave the Corps when I did. And yet, to this day I feel I am grasping for the camaraderie I was promised. I never *quite* fit into the mold of Marine. Too small, too attractive, too slow, too smart, too artsy, too liberal, too opinionated, too much, and yet never enough.
I find I am able to best explore and process this disconnected, lonely, left behind feeling into the arts. I have always been an artist and a performer. I have worked in multiple mediums and continue to experiment and challenge myself artistically. I come from a family of artists and artisans and have seen firsthand how being cut off from creativity is detrimental to us.
My faith in the arts as an avenue of healing, community, and growth, and my certainty that creative expression is essential to us all has led me to the early stages of creating my own Veterans Arts Organization, Artists in Arms (www.artists-in-arms.com). My goal is to provide for other Veterans that which I myself have longed for since leaving the Marine Corps; Creativity, Camaraderie, and Community.