Updated: May 5, 2020
My military background is an important identity component of mine as it aides in shaping the way I handle and organize myself academically and professionally. As a result of the many physical, mental, and analytical training experiences I encountered from Bootcamp to intelligence school to deployment and beyond, I’ve developed a different level of self-discipline and structure that, in many situations, separates my experience from those around me. It brings a different standard of organizational skills, task and project management, social professionalism and more toward the people I work with or for.
In addition to my veteran status, as I continue to modify and critique my website and freelance work, it continues to be more and more a part of my everyday routine or thought processes. That said, I have been using opportunities wherever possible to brainstorm and potentially act on ideas that may further push the business forward. No matter the environment, there is a potential business opportunity present everywhere. Although the world is currently experiencing the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, my freelance work and its depths of "behind closed doors" tasks it encompasses still holds its latch on me.
In my personal time, I like to get a little bit groovy! You may recall from "My Identity and My Community/ies," the EDM community is a safe-space for all as we are firm advocates of PLURR and “All Are Welcome” mindsets. When people have something in common it makes bonding with them that much easier. Music, as one example, is an artistic approach to how individuals can come together forming communities. This community is important to me because the community is strong when we are together, and just as empowered when we are apart. When we carry this same energy from our crowds into our day-to-day lives it seems to empower us with determination to make personal accomplishments.
The below image is an example of a small community of entrepreneurs, filmmakers, and storytellers I've worked alongside and built social capital with.
My Social Capital Networks & their Civic Engagement
Below are three separate social capital networks, each from a different community with which I identify, and I've narrowed them into a shared purpose: “together we rise.” As we grow in this world, we [more often than not] seek opportunities for growth, knowledge, self-improvement, and more. “Pillars of growth,” if you will. I’ve identified an experience I’ve encountered from each of the aforementioned communities that has helped me grow as an individual while building social capital within that community and with a community member.
Firstly, and most pridefully, the military. Training to be part of the “world's finest fighting force” brings about its requirement to build trust among those training with you. If worst comes to worst, you’re trusting that person with your life in their hands. These close personal and professional relationships built with those I served with and our relationships continue even in our academic careers, post-military. In this way, lasting trustworthy friendships can be seen as one example pillar of growth. Together, members of this community engage in social engagement simply by being a part of the Department of Defense. Upon one's enlistment or commissioning into service, every member is obligated to swear an oath to “Protect and Defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic.” In this case, that means despite who is in office and no matter your political viewpoint, you are expected to obey orders to do what’s best for the country in the eyes of the political figures running it. Having built stronger relationships with some of my brothers and sisters, I maintained those networks even now as some currently live near me and attend ASU.
As a beginner entrepreneur in the arts, having a similar solid trustworthy support system to help you up initially can certainly be advantageous to your growth professionally and personally. I’ve had a handful of local creators allow me to create freelance media work for them which has boosted their social content as well as improved my skill set and experience in the field. This experience has carried over from those shoots into my following projects and creative workflow. That brings me to my second pillar of growth for the time being, experience. When members of this community of creators and entrepreneurs are together, the creative juices flow, propelling forward a means of social engagement. Not only does this encourage people to participate in the arts, but it also supports small business growth and ultimately a work-force members’ living income.
What's more, is the trustworthy family-like friends that spawn out of connections with members of the EDM community. Meeting “internet-friends” across the country or world sometimes makes it a challenge to see them again, at least not for a while. But even with that gap of geographic distancing, we find it in our minds and hearts to welcome those members back into our lives with open arms as if we were never separated to begin with. Having traveled across the country in 2018 to visit family in New York and New Jersey, I ended up making a last-minute decision to attend a festival, Electric Zoo ("E-Zoo"), in the NYC area, one where a community-friend of mine was also attending. He happens to live in the area and graciously opened the comfort of his home to me where we relaxed and ultimately ended up attending the event together most of the weekend. Pillar of growth example three, reliability. Engaging and connecting with members of the EDM community is a sure way to build social capital and, if necessary, groups to start a movement towards civic engagement. Recall “My Identity and Community/ies,” when we asserted our stand against sexual assault as a prime example of the change our community can make with our voices en masses.
Combined, I feel as though these pillars of growth examples are only a fraction of how my social capital networks and communities in these cases bring people together and what their purposes and impacts are on communities and its individual members.