The summer of 2008 I woke up one morning and decided I was ready to retire from the military. I LITTERALLY went in to work that day and began the process of putting in my retirement paperwork…this was the most boring part and making the decision to retire was the easiest part of my transition out of the Army.


I remember being excited about all the possibilities I would have after I left the Army. I thought about all the things I couldn’t do that I would finally be able to do when I retired. But, what happened with the transition was very different than I could possibly have imagined.


As soon as I retired and started working my new civilian job I began to question who I was. How did I fit into this new way of life? What pieces and parts of me as a soldier would work well in the civilian world?


Donalsa in Military Vehicle
Helicopter in Iraq
Donalisa in Iraq

What I realized was: in an instant, life as I knew it, the life I had been living the last 20 years was gone. Everything I was used to like the structure, camaraderie, brotherhood, was totally gone. Just like that. There was no slow process to transition out of the service. One day you’re in, the next day you’re out. It is over that quick. I didn’t know what to do or where to turn for help.


I remember thinking that although the transition assistance program did an excellent job of preparing me with a resume and interviewing skills, they failed to discuss all the internal challenges that I may encounter. The questions about identity, (who am I, now that I am not a soldier?). Questions about a new purpose in life (for the last two decades, my purpose was defined by the military, now what defines me?). Questions about what I want my life to look like (what are my values?) Let’s not even get started about all the feelings that came up.


Providing female veterans the support they need through their transition.

Donalisa as a Drill Sergeant

There is a lot of stuff that goes on internally as we transition out of the service. Things we never saw coming. Believe me, I get it. I know first-hand the struggles of being a female veteran transitioning out of service. That is why I am passionate and committed to helping other female vets transition out of the military. What I learned on the other side of my transition was that I was not experiencing an identity crisis, but rather an identity evolution. Today...right now, you have the power to create the life you have always wanted to have.


If any of this resonates with you, I would love to connect with you! It doesn’t matter where you are in the transition process; thinking about getting out, just getting out, or have been out for a while and still trying to figure it out. You are not alone! I am committed to providing you the support you need through your transition. If you are rockin’ your transition, I would love to hear from you, too.