Lani Hankins served for six years in the US Army, during which time she did one deployment to Afghanistan as a member of a female engagement team.
A lot of veterans have experienced a significant amount of trauma that cannot help but infuse their art. That is certainly the case with Lani, but this episode felt a bit different. For one thing, Lani is an artist in many media – publishing books, poetry, starting a blog, hosting a podcast and creating visual art. But her art – so far – revolves around three significant traumatic events: the sexual assault she suffered upon arriving at Fort Riley after basic training, the suicide of her battle buddy, and the domestic abuse she escaped in her first marriage. Her art has purpose beyond therapy, I would say it gives voice to experiences that most would not share. There is something humble, hard and healing in the Savage Wonder of Lani Hankins.
Bottled Away: Confessions of a Struggling Veteran by Lani Hankins
The Gaslit Heart: A Story of Service and Survival by Lani Hankins
Eased Pain: Poems About Surviving Domestic Violence by Lani Hankins
Follow Lani here.