Friday, January 10, 2014

Intro to Me, and About my Blog

Who I Am

     In case the title is in any way unclear, this post will be a brief (at least I'll try to make it brief) rundown of who I am and how I ended up where I am. If you only feel like reading about certain things about me, scroll down to the appropriate subtitle. If you're intent on reading everything in one sitting, I suggest you grab some snacks and get comfy; depending on your reading speed and attention span this could take a while. If you get bored to tears, then you only have yourself to blame as you could easily stop reading at any time and move on to something else more exciting. So, without further adieu, let's get started.

My Early Childhood

California and Texas

     I was born in southern California early one morning in December 1988. I don't remember my parents being in the same room together very often and I only have a few memories of my mother before I reached the age of six, almost all of which involved copious amounts of alcohol consumption (on her part, not mine). The last memory I have of being in California at that age was climbing into the front seat of my grandfather's large Ford truck late at night with a couple of my friends from down the street wishing me farewell and one of them handing me an alligator-foot necklace.

     I don't remember any portion of the trip to Texas, but at some point during his divorce with my mom, my dad decided it would be best for us to live on the campground my grandparents owned on the shore of Toledo Bend lake. I'm not sure if the campground exists today, but it was called Bean's VIP Campground. And no, my last name is not Bean. My dad's mother remarried and that became her last name. This usually confuses a lot of people so I won't get into explaining it, just know that I have three sets of grandparents.

     Anyway, my dad and I lived in an old, spider-infested motor home on the campground. Fortunately, my grandparents were accustomed to having motor homes and RVs stay at the campground, so we were connected to services such as water and electricity. My dad and I ate our meals at my grandparents' house and we took care of our bathroom needs at the bath house provided for the campers. 

     We lived this way for about two and a half years and some of you may be thinking, "dear God! How can anyone live like that?!". Well, the answer is simple, at least for me: I didn't have any choice in the matter, I had to live that way. It wasn't so bad, I love camping and that's essentially what I was doing for those years. I also had three individuals who I would calls friends: Adam, who I in recent years reconnected with on Facebook; B.J., who was one of those fat annoying kids, but I still called him a friend since my dad was friends with his grandparents; Finally, our dog, Target. She was a black lab, german short-hair mix and my absolute best friend. When asked why he named her Target, my dad would always respond with, "Because that's what she's gonna be if she doesn't fetch game!" (my dad was a hunting enthusiast, ducks were the target during our stay in Texas). Good thing she was well trained!

From Texas to Montana

     I'm not sure what prompted our move to Montana, all I know is that my dad wasn't happy in Texas and we had family in Big Sky Country. I remember some of the trip north, most of which are memories of my dad making fun of the flatness of Texas. At one point we passed a mound of dirt on the highway and my dad named it The Texas Mountain.

     I spent most of the time in the front seat passenger seat of my dad's small white Chevy truck. It only had front row seating so Target sat between my dad and me. We were followed by my grandfather in his much bigger Ford with a horse trailer in tow that contained all our stuff. My dad had a small Uhaul trailer hitched to his truck that wouldn't stop fish-tailing.

     I'm not sure what the date was when we left Texas, but it took us three days to complete the trip. Whenever I think about my early years in Montana, one story never fails to come to mind.

Yellow Jackets
     Shortly after our arrival to Montana, could have been days or weeks after, my dad, aunt, cousins, and friends of the family all took a trip to a cabin up in the mountains (I can't bee certain where this cabin was though). In any case, my dad decided to take me fishing with him down the river from the cabin. We had to walk through dense undergrowth to get to our fishing spot. Unfortunately, we never made it.

     As I was following my dad down a very narrow trail, he bumped against a bush, and as I walked past it I felt a sudden sharp pain on my left hand. Having come from Texas my immediate thought was a chigger had bitten me. Well, I was wrong. Moments later I was surrounded by a lot of buzzing and started feeling a lot more stinging all over my body. Once I realized that the source of my pain was coming from a swarm of angry bees, I took off running towards my dad hoping he could save me from the onslaught.

     By this point, I was screaming and crying from the overwhelming pain (I was eight, gimme a break), and as I ran to my dad, I tripped and fell at his feet. I felt him grab my shirt, followed by a sudden jerk, then I was weightless for about two seconds as I watched the world around me spin. The stinging pain I was feeling was replaced by icy daggers as I plunged into the cold water of the rushing river. Thankfully, I landed in a calm pool caused by a downed tree.

     The water wasn't very deep so I was able to stand up, but there was still plenty of movement to the flow so walking was a little difficult. By the time I gained my bearings and was able to look around, my dad was already in the river running towards me. We spent a few minutes flicking the most determined bees off my shirt.

     He hauled me out of the river and we began our trek back to the cabin, with a little more urgency than we had when we left it. The next thing I remember is being fed Benadryl (they didn't know if I was allergic or not, so they were just being safe) as all the grown-ups counted and removed stingers from me.

     All in all, sixteen stingers were removed from my skin that day, and I grew up with a much higher respect for our buzzing friends.


     Getting back to the main story here, my dad and I lived with my aunt and cousins for a while, then we moved and they, in turn, moved in with us. We lived in a small town called Polson on the southern tip of Flathead lake. After some time, we as a family built a house for my aunt and cousins up on a hill overlooking Polson.

     Everyday during the summer, if my dad hadn't recruited my help on the job site (he was a carpenter), My cousin William would ride down to my house and we would scrounge up all our change we had saved throughout the year, and we would spend it on junk food to eat while we swam or fished at the docks. During the winter time, I would visit my buddy Brandon on the weekends and we would head up to Blacktail or Big Mountain and go snowboarding.

     Long story short, I lived in Polson from third grade through fourth grade. Lived in Great Falls for half of fifth grade and moved back to Polson. After sixth grade we moved to Bigfork, three weeks before the end of seventh grade I moved back to Polson. The summer before eighth grade my dad and I moved to Belt, which is a small town outside Great Falls. My dad and uncle, with a little help from me, built a house for my grandparents next to a canyon about twenty minutes outside Belt. After eighth grade, I decided I wanted to live with my mom who lived in Southern California. I'll omit my reasons for this decision, just know that my dad wasn't the most pleasant person to live with. Unfortunately, my dad wouldn't take kindly to my decision, so that summer, as I did every summer, I flew to California to visit my mom. But instead of getting on the plane a month later to go back to Montana, I called my dad and told him that I wasn't coming back.

Adolescent Years to Current


     Now that I was  older and I was getting ready to start high school and a new chapter in my life, living in California seemed to hold a new life for me. I was a little nervous being back in Cali because my dad made certain that I was aware of the gang activity, and my anxiety was compounded by the thought of starting high school. Because of all the moving around I did in Montana, I was used to being the new kid at school, but I still dreaded the possibility that my dad wasn't exaggerating the violence of gangs in school.

     I completed all four years of high school at Orange Glen in Escondido, which was the longest I ever attended school at one time. I did have a few run in with claimed gang members, but no fights. I was actually able to make friends with a few individuals who were allegedly members of the East Side Diablos, which I think was just a local gang and the three that I met were probably the only members. There was one moment when I could say that I was honestly scared for a moment. I was walking home one day and I heard behind me a very distinct whistle that members of some gang used to communicate with each other. I turned around and saw about twenty to thirty latinos, dressed in blue t-shirts, black shorts, and knee-high socks. All of them had a golf club in one hand, and they were all running in my direction, but they were on the opposite side of the street. I got ready to run, but they eventually just ran past me and around the corner.

Navy, Washington

     After high school I joined the Navy with a paygrade of E3 because I completed four years of JROTC. I enlisted as an Intelligence Specialist and was stationed on the USS Nimitz out of Coronado, CA. After the '09-'10 deployment, my ship changed homeports to Bremerton, WA where it was in the dry-dock for about a year. Afterwards, my ship switched homeports again to Everett, WA. Let me tell you, if you've never been to northwest Washington, then trust me when I say that it is arguably the worst place in the continental US.

     While in the navy, I visited numerous countries, including: Japan, Singapore, Bahrain, UAE, Thailand, Malaysia, and Hong Kong. I also visited Guam for about a day when I first flew out to the Nimitz, and if you ask me, I think Guam is way more beautiful than Hawaii, but it's much more humid.

     After about a year and a half in the navy, I decided that it wasn't for me. Unfortunately, the military is a job that you can't just quit, so I had to finish my six year contract. That's not to say that I didn't learn a lot or that there weren't any perks to being in the military, because there definitely were. I just fell victim to the propaganda on television and posters. Not once did I come up out of the water with a knife in my mouth while Metallica played in the background. But I did my job and did it well, even advanced to E5 before I hit my two year mark. My supervisors all wanted me to stay in, but I didn't feel that my full potential was being brought forth, nor did my personal goals ever sync with the goals the navy set for me. Some people love the military, and some, like myself, didn't.

Back to Cali

     I'm already getting bored of writing this and I can only imagine you as the reader must feel. With that said, I'll wrap it up, but there are a few more things to cover.

     I separated from the navy in March 2013 under honorable conditions. Despite the decent pay I received in the military, I wasn't very frugal with my finances. I also managed to accumulate some debt that I was having trouble paying off. I realized that with a little planning I wouldn't be in the financial situation that I'm in now. In any case, I moved back in with my mom in Socal and planned on going to college at Palomar community college to get my general studies out of the way and then using my GI Bill once I transferred to a four year university. I have a buddy who left the navy before I did and was attending school and collecting unemployment insurance benefits. With his UI benefits and the GI Bill, he was able to bring home four grand a month, which was more than I brought home after taxes in the navy. So that became my plan.

     After I certified for unemployment and was granted eighteen hundred dollars a month, I started looking into college.Of course, I did give myself a few weeks of being lazy before I set out for school. Since I only had the Montgomery GI Bill, which only pays for thirty-six months of school, I thought it best to pay for my tuition at Palomar with my own money. I went to the college and met with a counselor and got everything set up for the fall semester. I also decided to apply for grants and loans through FAFSA (google it, because I can't remember what that stands for). Unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend as my mom and I decided it would be best to move to Georgia.

Georgia - Now

     It's a long story about why we came here, just know that it had to do with family. My mom and I moved in with my sister and husband and their four kids in Flowery Branch, GA at the end of September 2013. Shortly after our arrival, I decided to pick up where I left off in California with college.

     I visited a counselor and told her what my plans were and she informed me that I needed to take either the ASSET test or the COMPASS exam since I didn't have SAT or ACT scores. Shortly before I left the navy, I took an English course with Central Texas but I had to get a high enough score on the ASSET test since I didn't have the prerequisite for the class. Fortunately, I passed the English portion of the test, but I looked like hot garbage on the math portion. With that in mind, I made up my mind that before I take that test again, I was gonna study my ass off.

     For many many weeks I studied math, from books I bought at Barnes and Noble to sites on the internet. By the time I felt ready to take the test and register for classes, the deadline for spring semester had passed. It wasn't a big deal, just meant more time to prepare.

     As time passed, my financial situation began a slow descent and I have recently made up my mind that I can't pay for college at this point in my life. Sure, I could use the GI Bill, but that will only pay for three years of study and I  will spend about two at a community college to get enough credits to transfer.

     My main focus now is finding work. It is currently January 2014 and my UI benefits run out in May and finding work has been tough. Not only is it hard for me to go from an Intelligence Specialist in the navy to bagging groceries at the store, its hard to find a job that pays enough. I was recently offered a part time seasonal job for eight bucks an hour. Yeah, not happening.

     So now, I am unemployed and I live in my sister's basement. I have no money and I have debt. I continue to remain optimistic, but sometimes it's just overwhelming how close I am to failing at life. Do I regret leaving the navy? No. Am I considering going back in? Absolutely not. I may be poor and white, but I am happier now than the military could ever hope to make me.

     That's the end of that, now that you're all caught up on my life, please continue to read my blog. I promise it won't be some pity me bullshit; writing makes me happy and I don't like doing it if I'm in a depressed mood.

My Blog
     So, about my blog. First off, I have a passion for writing. I'm afraid to do it as a career since I don't want what I enjoy to become a chore. Second, I like talking about stuff and hearing other people's views on it. It seems that I can't seem to find anyone to have an intelligent conversation with. I may even put up some youtube videos on days that I don't feel like writing much, but we'll see.

     You may have also noticed a blog of mine titled: "A Year and a Day..." with no posts. Let me explain. There was a time in my life, quite recently actually, where I wanted to find out what wicca was all about. I have a very active imagination and I somehow convinced my self that magic is real. I blogged about my experienced here, but after a while, I lost interest and realized that magic only existed in my imagination, not reality. So I gave it up and deleted my posts (I don't actually know how to delete the blog off my profile).

     My blog posts may be about a myriad of things, such as my opinions on noteworthy news, religion, stupid things politicians do, or just any random thoughts I may have. Writing is a hobby of mine and I find it fun. I'm not being paid to write about certain things, and since this is my blog, I will write whatever the hell I want. Hopefully, my other posts won't be as boring as this one and I am hoping to engage some readers and potentially discuss and debate things with them.

   Okay, I can feel my attention span waning so I will clip the ending of this post here. I wish you all good luck on your current and future endeavors, and I hope you enjoy what I write. Laters!

P.S. I didn't bother proofreading, so if you see any errors feel free to let me know!

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