UNstuck in Six Decades, a lyrical memoir with ArtPoems

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Graduation Year


Writing Track

Narrative/Poetic Medicine


Master of Arts


Creative Writing

Program Director

Judy Halebsky, PhD

First Reader

Judy Halebsky, PhD

Second Reader

Marianne Rogoff, MFA


How does a kid from the low-income housing projects end up a retired (resigned) Army combat commander? My memoir is presented as decades of my life beginning in December 1960 and into my 6th decade.

I am a Daughter (born and living binary), Sister, Granddaughter, Niece, Cousin, Aunt, Wife (traditional), Mother, Partner (non-traditional), Friend, military dove (anomaly), artist, poet, and a perpetual student. Navigating these relationships, identities, and obligations while in a near-constant state of hypervigilance, was both exhausting and exhilarating.

In striving to be the best vision of myself, and with a high adventure drive, my life took many turns. Quite often, I found choice overload (a first-world problem) to be more depleting than the actual effort required for accomplishment. I tested many strategies to combat high anxiety, bouts of depression, and psychological exhaustion which were all hard-wired in a torturous childhood.

Truly, my Son, my innate resilience, a few life-long mentors, very insightful and trusting Behavioral Health Pharmacist and counselors at the Veterans Health Hospital campus in Sacramento, California, saved me!

Until (if) you and I meet in the real, this is me being held — in your hands. You might even recognize yourself in these pages.


This 120-page memoir, as uploaded, is a "work-in-progress," otherwise known as an excerpt.

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