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The Veteran Woman

By KeishaMarie Douglas

My entire life, I knew I was destined to get out of my hometown and see the world.

Born and raised in Columbus, Georgia, there wasn’t much to do or see on the other side of the railroad tracks, but I knew I was destined for more. The military allowed me to get immersed in and learn about different cultures, make new friends, try new delicious foods, and travel.

My military experience may be similar to yours, from basic training to the formation, marching, and carrying the Lackland laser in the left hand, to arrival at the first duty station with all the on-the-job training and CDCs (Career Development Courses) to teach us how to do our jobs, the recalls, mandatory fun runs, and lots of training exercises.

Sure, there were some not-so-fun times, but in my experience, there were more good times than bad.

You just can’t put a price tag on the people, the experiences, and the relationships built into my military experience. Reality hits hard when you realize how much you will miss that old life once you get your DD214 and complete that final out-processing appointment.

Leaving the gate that last time and seeing the entrance in my rearview will be a memory forever imprinted in my heart.

Getting out was such a bittersweet moment. I delighted in the ability to be free and make my own choices, but there was also a fear of the unknown.

Why is it so hard to fit in? Where do I find friends? Why do I feel so awkward? What do I do for work? Where are all the veteran women hanging out? There were a plethora of questions that needed answers.

It wasn’t until I found a community within a network marketing company and the opportunity to serve others through the local church that I found my identity and the things I liked.

Most importantly, being surrounded by a positive community helped me on my journey to re-acclimate back into civilian life.

If you are looking for a positive community of your own, thankfully, with the help of social media, numerous groups are bringing like-minded people together. Start there to find your tribe, and if push comes to shove, you can always call me.

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