This is Marbelyn Cepeda, a Marine veteran who served in Afghanistan and is transitioning back to civilian life.
While she was serving her country, Cepeda said she felt like she needed to suppress her femininity.
"Before I joined the Marines, I enjoyed being all girly and done up. But while I was in, I just felt like that would have put more of a spotlight on me that I didn't want," Cepeda said. "It just felt like I couldn't be as feminine as I wanted to be."
Julie Lewit-Nirenberg, founder of Operation Reinvent, an organization that helps female veterans transition back into civilian life with mentoring and career counseling, told BuzzFeed Life that the feelings Cepeda expressed are common. Women make up about 7.11% of the Marines and 15.7% of the armed forces, but enlisting in the military means shifting the focus away from every societal norm of what it means to express confidence as a woman. Boot camp, training, and duty are meant to standardize every person in uniform. But after they've finished their tour of duty, Lewit-Nirenberg said women can be left feeling like the identity they cultivated in the military doesn't have a place once they leave.