I was born in March of 1977, on a small Army base in Oklahoma, which doesn’t have much significance to me other than it predetermined my role as a “military brat”- the term being like a badge of honor, because of the moves, stressors and cultural experiences that make us ,“Brats”, more resilient than our civilian counterparts. As many other military children do, my brother and I traveled the world with our parents and grew-up as modern-day gypsy’s- moving to and living in over 10 different places during our school-age years.
Being part of this American sub-culture, a unique culture that makes up less than 0.5 percent of the U.S. population, has provided a plethora of rich challenges and opportunities that helped shape who I am as an artist. One of the most prominent characteristics that I attribute to this Army Brat sub-culture and to myself is-resiliency.
Resilience is a skill that you CAN learn and strengthen. Start with awareness- awareness of situations, awareness of your own emotional reactions, and awareness of the behavior of those around you. In addition to awareness, you can strengthen you resilience, through understanding that the world is full of challenges and problems, and despite that, you have the ultimate power to choose how you will feel and how you will react in every situation. This is your ultimate power-deep within the human-spirit. Claim it! No one else can make you feel a certain way or make you react in a certain way.
“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”
― Maya Angelou
Today, I express resiliency through my art. Despite my traumas and challenges, I choose to use the creative process as an opportunity to heal and overcome them. Despite conditions of depression and anxiety, I choose to express colors of joy! There is an overwhelming need for light and healing in the world today and I cant ignore the voice that keeps reminding me “be the change you wish to see.” Art, for me, is a reminder of and a way to share my humanity, my purpose, my connection to all that is, and my power to choose how I want to feel and how I want to literally create my life and impact others. Art can do that!
“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”
― Margaret Thatcher
This is why I paint, and this is why I am an artist today.
Check out this beat by King Mez, titled, "Lifestyles of a Military Brat" that poetically tells the story.
"I wrote this song for all the military brats out there right now and those who don't understand what its like to be grow up a military brat. This song is dedicated to all those serving in the armed forces and to military brats now and then, all around the world."
-Napoleon Wright II King Mez
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