Day five is the conclusion of Paths of Transition; a five day performance where I wore an army uniform covered in speakers with stories of soldiers transitioning to civilian life, spouses experiences being in the military, and news coverage of the war. The work is representative of transition to a new community which may be accompanied by a sense of loss; a loss of community and identity along with anxiety and isolation. The memories of where we have come from delays the acceptance of new surroundings and the creation of a new identity.
Day 5: It seemed like this performance would never end. After 4 days of wearing the uniform I was extremely exhausted. I gave a final presentation Thursday evening about the performance and the experiences I had had wearing the uniform. I still struggle discussing the difficulties that many veterans and spouses experience during and after their military career. Wearing the uniform that constantly played stories of soldiers, spouses, and media coverage was difficult and I was unable to tune it out. Especially difficult was hearing the crackling voices of spouses who struggled to find others who understood what a military family went through every day.
I felt that people were disappointed to know that I wasn’t a real soldier – only the spouse of a veteran. I do not know if this was caused by my own self-consciousness or if my audience devalued my performance because of my experience being the family member of a veteran. I constantly wondered how others perceived me and whether being a woman in uniform altered those perceptions.