This Veterans Day...
I read somewhere that women are the most visible servicemembers and the most invisible veterans. I joined the military in 2008 and closed that chapter ten years later. And I have to be honest with you; it wasn't an easy transition.
In the military, we constantly get reminded we are the 1% who chose to serve, and I always wondered, of that 1% who are Latinas, and who among them are first-gen?
When I joined, it was like assimilating all over again while holding on to unresolved trauma and then piling on more of it while trying to function. Since getting out, I have struggled to navigate life and to feel like a part of something. My coping mechanism is avoidance and isolation, and I became a master of it during my decade-long career. So when I joined civilian life again, it felt like I had to jump on a moving train and catch up with everything and everyone, all while actively trying to rewire how my mind worked.
And honestly, it felt like it was impossible, like I was too late to the party, and my version of "normal" was different. At some point, I almost became part of a statistic, but one person helped me hold on, my sister--your favorite fashionista-- Ale.
Why am I sharing all of this with you? Well, friends, because unbeknownst to you, YOU played a massive role in restoring a sense of purpose, a sense of community within me.
To me, Cadena Collective has been a love letter to my life both in and out of the military. Our experiences are so nuanced, but we are all cut from the same cloth. I cherish this idea, and I hope you see yourself reflected in some way. This is just the beginning, and I truly hope you stick around.
Happy Veteran's Day, especially to my fellow sisters in arms!
Mabel, you are such an inspiration! Thank you for your service. Sending you a big hug!