University of South Florida home page

USF Main Links: A-Z Index | Campus Directory | Calendars | Search

USF Home > College of The Arts > Institute for Research in Art

Breaking Barriers logo




Still in Motion Home  //  Leslie Elsasser - Introduction  //  Selina Roman - Mind Currents  //  Christian Cortes

Roxi Cato - US Army  //  Wildalys Class - US Air Force  //  Agustin Collazo Jr. - US Navy and Marine Corps  //  Michael Congdon - US Army  //  Giovanna Delacruz - US Air Force  //  Amanda Dodd - US Army  //  Dawn S. Hargrett - US Navy  //  Evan Fountain - US Air Force  //  Mark Freeman - US Army  //  Robert Kidney - US Coast Guard  //  Mikko Maki - US Marine Corps  //  Alicia Morales - US Army  //  RaeAnne Swanson - US Air Force

James Alexander - US Air Force  //  Wildalys Class - US Air Force  //  Dwight English - US Army  //  Loretta Fields - US Army  //  Mikko Maki - US Marine Corps  //  Matias - US Marine Corps


Wildalys Class, Cookies Are My Everything, 2021

Wildalys Class, Cookies Are My Everything, 2021


Cookies Are My Everything

I love cookies. I could part with anything, but never with cookies. Cookies brighten the day and are reminders of home, goodness, sweetness, and childhood. Like life, these cookies are both orderly and disorganized. They are playful yet purposefully arranged with care. I cannot leave the cookies alone. Once I take a bite, I immediately want more. More cookies, more memories, more sweetness, more goodness, and more reminders of home.

As a child, we did not always have much to eat. Yet despite our struggles, we always had cookies. They didn’t need to be expensive cookies. We bought a small daily bag of cookies at our neighborhood bodega, and they always made me happy. It is one of the happiest memories of a happy childhood that I carry with me every day.

I was deployed to Iraq and would occasionally receive care packages. Foreign service members cherish packages from home. I treasured my care packages especially when they contained Chips ‘Ahoy sent from the U.S. The cookies became my touchstone to home, happiness, and warmth. I would share the cookies with my colleagues and friends. The cookies created a sense of community and a thread to a world, our world so very far away. They were also, at times, the only real food we had.

 When I returned from Iraq, there were many dark and difficult days. I struggled to maintain an even emotional keel. Yet through the sadness, anxiety and depression, cookies were a lifeline to my happiness. Cookies were my childhood, my home, comfort, and a round baked link to goodness. I cannot imagine a day without cookies. Cookies are my everything.



Wildalys Class, Hue, 2021

Wildalys Class, Hue,2021

Wildalys Class, A Cowboys’s Peace, 2021

Wildalys Class, A Cowboys’s Peace, 2021



For more information:
Email Leslie Elsasser at

Breaking Barriers is a project by USFCAM in collaboration with the USF School of Art and Art History, with Support from the USF Office of Veterans Success, Community Arts Impact Grant Program of the Arts Council of Hillsborough County, Love IV Lawrence 2020 Waves of Change Grant, and additional support from the ACE Arts for Community Engagement Fund and the Florida Department of State.