This is just a quick blog post…it’s for me as much as for those who’ve been following my posts. It’s my promise to keep writing. Soon.

I left Afghanistan a few days ago and I am staying with dear friends in Kuwait. There is plenty of light and love where I’m staying. Laughter and good food. Stories from our shared pasts and conversations about the future. People who know the life I’ve lived, appreciate the work I’ve done. Who understand what it’s cost me, the toll it’s taken. And give me the space to come undone and put myself back together again.

These days I want to write…I have so many more stories to share…and photos. I cannot muster the emotional or physical energy I need to write well, to write from my heart. To write. Period.

While I edit my photographs and regain my strength, I’ll offer you a story I wrote when I left Afghanistan the first time in January (see the link at the end of this post.) It’s a profile of Lt. Col. Brian Payne, battalion commander of the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment. Those of you who have enjoyed my work from Afghanistan, you should know it would not have been possible without the support of Lt. Col. Payne. He invited JR and me to visit his soldiers. He gave us his blessing to do our work and the access we needed to do it. And when time’s got tough and I knew I wasn’t the most popular gal on the block, I knew Lt. Col. Payne and CSM Ernest Bowen had my back.

Lt. Col. Payne said he was proud of his soldiers and he wanted their stories told. He also knew the risks of inviting the press to join them.

When things got tough, I went to CSM Bowen for advice (on the advice of my father.)

“Do your job,” CSM Bowen said, telling me that he pisses people off all the time when he does his job. And doesn’t sweat it one little bit.

Thank you, Lt. Col. Payne. Thank you, CSM Bowen.

And thank you to the soldiers of the 1-5, who let a reporter walk among you…and in front of you and behind you. I am not a soldier and I have not made the journey you have made, though I followed in your footsteps the best I could. I did my best, as a reporter and a human being, to share your stories with others outside the wire.

Here’s the link to the PDF of the profile of Lt. Col. Payne.

ATM_0312_MyStory_vfuji

Advertisements