Major Faren Campbell (aka Faren Aimeé) knew as a child what she would become - a member of the US Armed Forces. Aimeé's father served in the army and retired as a lieutenant colonel. She eventually enlisted in the Army while her sister chose to join the United States Navy. Both are still serving and are currently ranked as majors.
"We're a military family," she said proudly. Faren Aimeé has now served for 13 years. She works as a Logistics Officer for the Medical Service Corps and has traveled to many different locations around the world including Germany, Texas and Hawaii.
"I have provided logistical support to military clinics, hospitals, operational support units, battalions and brigades," she explained. Whether the people she worked with required medical care, maintenance, or facility management, she had to work up to 24-hour shifts when needed.
“The sun never sets in logistics,” she says. Her experience taught her several lessons. Among them was “To mitigate justice through mercy.” Being patient with people and learning more about the people you work with can help you be a better leader.
“You can take everyone's story, the experiences of the past, and in that way bond with people more, instead of just leading. You lead with compassion, understanding and understanding of the world and unity around you.”
Courtesy of Faren Aimee
With military service, there's a good chance you'll face adversity and possibly even danger. Aimeé found this out for herself while stationed at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii. However, the danger did not come from an enemy attacking their unit, but from their own home.
"I was in a relationship that went from verbal abuse to physical abuse," revealed Aimeé. "Our last argument was when I realized that my life could have been taken from me at that moment."
She said her life was never as threatened in her military work as it was with her partner at the time. Like many abusive relationships, Aimeé's struggles started with grooming.
"It started with 'oh my partner doesn't like these shoes, I'm going to wear these' and 'my partner doesn't like my hair like that. Let me carry it like this," she recalled. Over time, the abuse shifted to verbal and eventually physical.
"It was a slow process. Everything I said got yelled at. Then we had two physical altercations and I decided there wouldn't be a third."
Thanks to growing up in a military family and her own education, Aimeé began formulating a plan to remove her partner from her home and her life. t only did she want to end the relationship, she never wanted to communicate with her former partner again. Her commander played a positive role in helping her do what was necessary to keep her safe.
“My commander picked me up from my house and the cops came. I had a support unit," she said. "It really played a big part in banishing that person from my life. Luckily I didn't have my partner on my lease. So removal was easier.”
While the relationship may be over, damage has been done. Aside from the physical abuse, there were scars that cannot be seen. Like many domestic violence survivors, Aimeé had worked so long to meet her partner's needs that she was neglecting herself.
"While I was in that relationship, I realized I had lost who I was to please that person," she said. "I lost who I was as a person just to take care of that person's needs while forgetting my own."
Growing up, Aimeé was very active. She led track and field in high school and was a member of Florida A&M University's Ranger Challenge team. Faren Aimeé found that fitness could be the way to reconnect with herself.
"I really took my fitness background and dug a deep anchor into it. That was for me," she said. "I may not be motivated every day, but I will be disciplined to do this for myself and get back to myself."
Courtesy of Major Faren Aimeé
Faren Aimeé acknowledged that not every day is the same. Some days were good, others not as she had imagined. What she found was that recognizing what she had accomplished helped her move forward.
"Yes, I'm upset. Yes, I'm delirious or whatever you want to call it, but at 5 a.m. I go to the gym. Even if I only do two exercises that day, it was a success,” she confirmed. She believes that other abuse survivors can benefit from giving themselves the same grace.
“Change your narrative, change your mindset. I've heard people say, "I only went one mile." Yes, but you did a mile! Or if you gained five pounds instead of the normal 10 - at least you did something. We need to start giving ourselves credit when it's due.”
It wasn't an overnight process, but Major Faren Aimeé found her improving. She now considers herself a survivor and says the situation has no control over her. She has worked part-time as a model and pageant queen, and started out as an NPC bikini competitor in 2013, but recently rose to Figure with the help of trainer Luis Valdez Jr.
"This transition was just me showcasing our hard work," she said. She debuted her figure body at the 2021 NPC Nationals and won her Masters class. While she's proud of her win, her reasons for training stretch well beyond the next show, which awaits her sometime in 2023.
"w it's just a part of my life," Aimeé said. "I like how my body looks with the muscles, with the definition, and the muscular endurance has also helped me in the triathlon."
Serving her country, Faren Aimeé survived an abusive relationship and thrived on the stage. She knows that there are many people who have had to face such circumstances and she hopes to be a positive light for them. So she gave the following advice.
"Stay ready so you don't have to get ready! This quote might sound a bit cliche, but is it something I live by?”
Follow Faren Aimee on Instagram: @farenaimee.