“When I attended the SongwritingWith:Soldiers retreat in Belton, I found my voice. I found the courage I needed to share my story. I realized how much I could help others.”
— Brandy Davidson, US Army Veteran
Brandy Davidson, a US Army Veteran attended our first all-female retreat near Fort Hood, TX in 2014. She shared challenges and insights with SW:S Co-Founder Mary Judd during a “Creatively Strong” online interview.
“It was hard for me to get to the retreat. I was going through so much stuff. I am so glad I pushed through because I was able to write a song, ‘Iraq’, with Mary Gauthier and it talked about what happened to me. That gave me more confidence.
At first I was nervous for others to hear it. Sometimes your truth doesn’t always make everybody else look good. But, I was to the point where I was ready to tell my truth. It is never the intention to make others look bad, but it has every intention to relieve you of some stress. So, with that on my mind, I was able to push forward, tell my truth, what I went through, coming from me.
Mary Gauthier told me she had veterans and active duty soldiers come up to her after hearing my song. They’d say they weren’t aware and it gave them more understanding of what was happening. It felt good to know that the message was clear, that it reached somebody. That feels really good.
I went through a lot of depression and fortunately pushed through to continue writing. I found my voice through that retreat. I found the courage I needed to share my story. I realized how much I could help others. (Since the retreat, Brandy has had her work published in two anthologies: Beyond the Rank and Where’d I Go?)”
Her message to all today: “Be a person of change.”
“I have had a lot of conversations that don’t feel good. But if you come in with an open mind and listen, and to hear what the individual is saying, I think change will come.”
We are thankful to Brandy and all the veterans who have bravely shared their stories to help ignite change.
Brandy Davidson in Texas in 2014. Photo: Stacy Pearsall