+
upworthy
More

They went to war but felt uneasy when they got home. So they stuck their hands in some dirt.

Sonia, Althea, and Anna went to war but felt totally different when they returned. Filmmakers Christine Anthony and Owen Masterson tell their story in an awesome film called "Terra Firma."

The film tells the story of three of the over 280,000 women who were deployed to the Middle East since 2001.

Sonia Kendrick was serving in the Army for several years before she was deployed to Afghanistan. So was Anna Mann, who served in Kuwait and Baghdad. Althea Raiford, a 20-year Navy veteran, also served in Kuwait.

When they returned home, all three were diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


Sonia in the Army

"If you went through that experience and you got to feel the fear everyday — the uncertainty, those things alter your life."

The three women describe PTSD in different ways.

When Sonia came home, she says, "my bubble was popped" and that she just didn't feel safe anymore.

"I don't even know when it happened or how it happened," Althea explains. "I just know that one day I woke up and can't go into a store by myself."

For Anna it's more like "a little bit of stress over something really stupid and little, [it] becomes this huge stress. ... I really didn't think that I was good at anything."

Despite not having met each other while in combat, all three women found the same way to cope with their PTSD.

What's their secret? Farming.

Althea spends her time at Gilliard Farms, a property that's been in her family for over 100 years.

"All of the things that I've seen in the world over the years that I've served in the military, those unseen scars that people don't know about, when I come here, I feel them healing." — Althea

For Sonia, farming is about having a mission.

"The food that I grow is going to food banks and food pantries. It's going to homeless shelters. ... I can't fight in wars anymore, but I can fight hunger." — Sonia

As filmmakers Owen and Christine told me via e-mail, by growing crops, Sonia continues "to serve her country by providing food for the hungry."

And in North Carolina, farming helped Anna her find her purpose.

"Being my own boss has let me give myself space where I'm not judging myself. ... It's built a lot of confidence back. I'm good at this. I own my own business. I am a mom." — Anna

Since the film was shot a few years ago...

Sonia, who "was only farming at one church" will be growing food at 23 different sites around Cedar Rapids, Iowa for food banks.

Anna is getting her master's degree at the University of California Berkeley, focusing on developing sustainable agriculture. She also became a board member of Acta Non Verba Youth Urban Farm in Oakland, California, which was founded by another amazing female veteran.

And Althea retired from the Navy and is rebuilding Gilliard Farms with her brother, enjoying their lives as sixth-generation farmers in Georgia.

Christine and Owen were super grateful that Anna, Sonia, and Althea all agreed to be filmed. They initially had trouble finding female vets that wanted to share their stories but were determined to show women's lives post-combat.

"(Female vets) are an often overlooked and underserved segment of the population. We also like to make solutions style films in relation to our broken agricultural system. America needs more farmers and veterans need jobs." — Christine Anthony and Owen Masterson

What a fearless bunch of ladies! I'm so glad they decided to share their struggles and triumphs. Check out their stories here:

Image from YouTube video.

An emotional and strong Matt Diaz.


Matt Diaz has worked extremely hard to lose 270 pounds over the past six years.

But his proudest moment came in March 2015 when he decided to film himself with his shirt off to prove an important point about body positivity and self-love.

Keep ReadingShow less

Millenial names are now "old" names.

You can’t turn back the hands of time and so it’s impossible to avoid being labeled “old” by younger generations, no matter how hard you try. For many of us, our names are tied to the times when we were born and can start to sound really dated, no matter how fashionable they were at one point.

TikTokker Amber Cimotti found this out the hard way when her daughter noted that she has an “old” person's name.

“My daughter told me the name Ashley or Amanda — or my name is Amber — are like old people names and I never thought about it this way,” Amber explained in a video with over 3 million views.

Keep ReadingShow less
via Imgur

Memories of testing like this gets people fired up.

It doesn't take much to cause everyone on the internet to go a little crazy, so it's not completely surprising that an incorrect answer on a child's math test is the latest event to get people fired up.

The test in question asked kids to solve "5 x 3" using repeated addition. Under this method, the correct answer is "5 groups of 3," not "3 groups of 5." The question is typical of Common Core but has many questioning this type of standardized testing and how it affects learning.

Keep ReadingShow less

Woman shows her misbehaving cat to 'the trenches'

You always hear about a "bad dog," giving the furry goofballs a reputation for getting into mischief, but what about bad cats. Not all cats are angels just lounging around the house until someone gives them food while fanning them with a giant palm leaf. Some cats have a sketchy "catigree" and every once in a while they let that wild streak show. When that happens, what is a cat owner to do?

A cat mom that goes by the user name Lambo Licia on Instagram posted a video showing exactly how she gets her cat in line when he's misbehaving. No, it's not with a spray bottle. She shows him what life is like in "the trenches." You know, the area of town where homeless cats roam and cat burglars have real whiskers and thumbs that don't work, leaving a strange fish smell wherever they lurk.

If Scared Straight: Cat Edition was an actual thing, Mega, the orange tabby would be the first to turn his life around. He looks absolutely petrified from all of the unruly cat behavior he sees out the window and his mom's commentary.

Keep ReadingShow less
Science

College students use AI to decode ancient scroll burned in Mount Vesuvius

“Some of these texts could completely rewrite the history of key periods of the ancient world."

When Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 C.E., it buried entire cities in volcanic materials. While Pompeii is the most famous site affected by the natural disaster, the nearby villa of Herculaneum was also laid to waste—including over 800 precious scrolls found inside Herculaneum’s library, which were carbonized by the heat, making them impossible to open and recover their contents.

Which brings us to the Vesuvius challenge, started by computer scientist Brent Seales and entrepreneurs Nat Friedman and Daniel Gross in March 2023. The contest would award $1 million in prizes to whoever could use machine learning to successfully read from the scrolls without damaging them.

On February 5, the prize-winning team was announced.
Keep ReadingShow less
Keith Allison/Wikimedia Commons

Shaquille O'Neal retired from pro basketball in 2011, but he's still one of the most famous players ever.

Fame comes with a lot of challenges, but it also comes with some pretty obvious perks. There's the money that frequently follows fame, of course, but there's also the special treatment people automatically offer you.

Some famous folks might revel in that special treatment and some might even express gratitude for it. But occasionally, you find a celebrity who refuses it altogether.

Take basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal, for instance.

Keep ReadingShow less