From the time she was a child, Major Faren Campbell (a.k.a. Faren Aimeé) knew what she was going to be when she grew up – a member of the United States Armed Forces. Aimeé’s father served in the Army, and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. She ended up joining the Army, while her sister opted for the United States Navy. Both of them are still serving and are ranked as Majors currently.

“We’re a military family,” she said proudly. Faren Aimeé has been serving for 13 years now. She works as a Medical Service Corps Logistics Officer, and she’s already traveled to many different places around the world, including Germany, Texas, and Hawaii.

“I have provided logistical support to military clinics, hospitals, deployment support units, Battalions and Brigades,” she explained. Whether the people she worked with needed medical supplies, maintenance, or facility management, she may have to work up to 24-hour shifts if needed.

“The sun never sets on Logistics,” she says. Her experience taught her several lessons. Among those was “tempering justice with mercy.” Patience with people and learning more about the folks you work with can help you be a better leader.

“You can take in everyone’s story, everyone’s past experience, and that way you build more of a bond with people instead of just leading. You’re leading with compassion, understanding, and comprehension of the world and unit around you.”

Major Faren Aimeé wearing her army uniform
Courtesy of Faren Aimee

Serving in the military means there is a good chance you will face adversity, and may even be in danger. Aimeé found that out for herself while she was stationed at the Schofield Barracks in Hawaii. However, the danger didn’t come from an enemy attacking her unit – it actually was from within her own home.

“I was in a relationship that turned from verbal to physical abuse,” Aimeé revealed. “Our last altercation was when I realized my life could’ve been taken away from me at that very moment.”

She said that her life was never as threatened in her military work as it was with her partner at that time. Like many abusive relationships, Aimeé’s struggles began with grooming.

“It started with ‘Oh, my partner doesn’t like those shoes, I will wear these,’ and ‘my partner doesn’t like my hair this way. Let me wear it this way,” she recalled. As time went on, the abuse shifted to verbal, and ultimately, physical.

“It was a slow process. Anything I said, I would get yelled at. Then, we had two physical altercations, and I decided there would not be a third.”

Thanks to growing up in a military family and her own training, Aimeé started formulating a plan to have her partner removed from her home and life. Not only did she wanted to end the relationship, she never wanted to communicate with her former partner ever again. Her commander played a positive role in helping her do what was needed in order to be safe.

“My commander picked me up from my house, and the cops came. I had a supportive unit,” she said. “That played a really huge role in getting this person out of my life. Fortunately, I didn’t have my partner on my lease. So, removal was easier because of that.”

While the relationship may have ended, damage was done. Aside from the physical abuse, there were scars that can’t be seen. Like many survivors of domestic violence, Aimeé had worked for so long to meet her partner’s needs, that she neglected herself.

“While I was in this relationship, I realized I lost who I was to please this person,” she said. “I lost who I was as a person just to cater to this person’s needs, whereas I forgot about my own.”

Growing up, Aimeé was very active. She ran track and field in high school, and she was on the Ranger Challenge team for Florida A&M University. Faren Aimeé found that fitness could be the way to reintroduce her to herself.

“I really took my fitness background and dug a deep anchor into it. This was for me,” she stated. “I may not be motivated every day, but I’m going to be disciplined to do this for myself and get back to myself.”

Major Faren Aimeé working out with a trap bar
Courtesy of Major Faren Aimeé

Faren Aimeé acknowledged that not every day was the same. Some days were good, while others weren’t as she designed. What she found was that recognizing what she did accomplish helped her move forward.

“Yes, I’m upset. Yes, I’m delirious or whatever you want to call it, but at 5 AM, I’m going to the gym. Even if I do just two exercises that day, it was a success,” she acknowledged. She feels that other survivors of abuse can benefit from giving themselves that same grace.

“Change your narrative, change your mindset. I’ve heard people say ‘I only did a mile.’ Yes, but you did a mile! Or if you did five pounds instead of the normal 10 – at least you did something. We have to start giving ourselves credit when it’s due.”

It wasn’t an overnight process, but Major Faren Aimeé found herself improving. She now looks at herself as a survivor and says the situation has no control over her. Working on the side as a model and Pageant queen, she started as an NPC Bikini competitor in 2013, but recently moved up to Figure with the help of coach Luis Valdez Jr.

“That transition was just me showcasing our hard work,” she said. She debuted her Figure physique at the 2021 NPC Nationals, and she won her Masters class. While she is proud of her victory, her reasons for training are far beyond the next show, which she expects to be sometime in 2023.

“Now, it’s just a part of my life,” Aimeé said. “I like how my body looks with the muscle, with the definition, and the muscle endurance has helped me with triathlons as well.”

Faren Aimeé is serving her country, survived an abusive relationship, and thrived onstage. She knows that there are many people that have had to face circumstances like hers, and she hopes to be a positive light for them. That’s why she offered the following advice.

“Stay ready so you don’t have to get ready! This quote can be a bit of a cliché, but is it something I live by.”

Follow Faren Aimeé on Instagram: @farenaimee.

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