I was left with two questions needing answers on March 23, 2016. After serving 5 years as a Hospital Corpsman in the United States Navy, the day I had been looking forward to finally came, discharged. At the age of 18, I had determined with the experience, money, and tuition for college; I would be set once I finally got out, while at the same time escaping those hometown troubles that always seem to be right behind oneself.
On March 23rd, as the whole world suddenly became available to me again, I questioned the past five years of my life. “Who am I, and what do I do now?” I do not want to say my experience in the Navy was all negative, but then again it is the military. Young people joining the service to provide for a better life will find themselves being trained and educated not necessarily as a productive member of society, rather, an obedient and loyal soldier, who follows orders without question, adhering to strict guidelines and long-standing traditions. It didn’t sit right with me, but I signed the contract so there wasn’t much more I could do. Luckily for me, the contract kept me from giving up and going home. It allowed for me to assess and learn from the experience myself, in my own way. For that I am grateful.
As I made my transition from a military lifestyle to that of a civilian, one quality became my most obsessive thought. Empathy. The ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Coming from a culture that places little importance in the exploration of one’s feelings and emotions, I set out to create this body of work as a study of compassion, of a connection to the world, an examination of love.