Updated on October 18, 2017
Dear Travel Mate,
How you been? It feel like it’s been a while right? I know, I know—I missed you too! Glad we’re “reunited and it feels so good”! Anyhow, I wanted to change the mood some, because not everything I’ve experienced was all dark and gloomy. I had some surprisingly bold moments too, and today I’ll be sharing one of them. Bear in mind that I will be very cautious with some details because I do not want to incriminate myself in any way. I was young and coerced. Well now that we’re well rested, let’s journey back down memory lane!
One day I was sitting in my economics class senior year, bored as heck. Our teacher tells us that we have a guest speaker today—then a man in uniform walks in. I don’t remember his name, but I do remember him walking in wearing an ARMY uniform, commanding so much respect that he shut the entire room up without saying a word! This was back in 2004, so the United States had already declared war on Afghanistan in 2001 and on Iraq in 2003, so I already knew I wasn’t joining. I enjoyed JROTC and those pickle uniforms we had to wear every Wednesday and all—but hell no!! Why? So they can deploy my black azzz overseas? I’m goody, but I still took a listen to what he had to say.
Needless to say, I was still unaffected, and well, my day went on. Fast-forward a few weeks later. I get into a heated conversation with my father over my first boyfriend. He wasn’t just any boyfriend. He was the one I loved. The one my soul still loves—my forbidden fruit. (You know who you are—and I know that you’re reading this because your support is forever. This post is dedicated to you). Okay, enough mush. Now back to this swindling military story.
My dad was upset that we went out on a date and I got home around 11. He said some pretty ruthless things that I won’t repeat. I refuse to give those words power again. But before your thoughts start dancing crazy, my father didn’t curse me out or anything. He wasn’t like that. He was smarter than that. He attacked my self–worth and doomed any future ambitions I could have. He would attempt to destroy the potential of who I could be before I even was. My father and I had a contentious relationship that only worsened, as I got older. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I needed to get the heck up out of there and I needed to do it FAST! And that’s when the thought of enlisting was conceived. Joining was my way out!
So immediately, I called a couple people and managed to set up a meeting up with the recruiter for my best friend and me. His parle was so sweet—and my situation with my father so sour—that I was ready to join. But it wasn’t just about me. My best friend & I did EVERYTHING together since the 6th grade. So I knew that if I wanted to join the ARMY, I’d have to convince her to join with me first! It didn’t take much persuasion because her parents were strict as hell too, so she was down. And besides, we couldn’t deny the perks (I’ll elaborate on the terms we agreed upon a little later). Now that she was on board, we were ready to move forward!
First thing’s first: We took the ASVAB, which was a test determining qualification for enlistment. We passed that. Then we took a physical test, we aced that too. Then we had to discuss job placement after basic training. Now this was very important because we were still seniors in high school. We finished half a semester early, but needed an MOS (Military Operation Specialties) that would get us certified in time to make it back to walk across the stage in a few months. The recruiter promised us that a 42 Alpha was the shortest MOS training possible, and that it would meet our deadline—so we took it! There were some other physicals and documentation required too, yada, yada, yada.
Signing Day!!! We officially enlisted together December 2004 to the ARMY National Guard. My parents DID NOT APPROVE. And unfortunately, since I was 17, I was not legally of age to make that decision, but it somehow was made—and I somehow was going. We were set to head off to Fort Jackson for basic training in January of 2005. I was a little apprehensive because I didn’t want to be shipped off after basic, but the misery of staying home was greater—so I went! It was crazy. They blindfolded me and drove around for hours. Stopped the bus, shoved me off and started screaming and spitting ALL UP IN MY FACE. I over packed and had to suffer plenty because of this. I had to carry both my oversized suitcases and couldn’t let them touch the floor. I was begging my best friend and other soldiers for help. I couldn’t take it anymore. We were walking a long distance so I was forced to part ways with one my suitcases. New clothes still tagged, perfumes, shoes, curling irons all trashed! I guess I thought I was going to a beauty pageant or vacation maybe, but I was quickly reminded the opposite. I cried, but I chugged on. Anyways, if I get enough requests, I’ll write a post about the actual day-to-day experience that will blow your lid off!
So a couple weeks in, everything is going well. I’m getting acclimated and making friends along the way. I’m glad I was because that’s how I started realizing that there had been a problem. My friends that were promised signing bonuses, received their first half but my best friend and I hadn’t. I looked over my contract for the guaranteed $7,000 and where the bonus line was the number read $0. I brought this to my bff’s attention and we went to speak to our liaison. He reviewed our contracts and there was in-fact NO BONUS. Wowww. Really? Well, that’s when I found out that there was more. My recruiter was nothing but a scamming piece of pie! He was a freaking liar! There was no bonus, no tuition reimbursement for college, and no 42Alpha, which in-turn meant no high school graduation ceremony. Those are just a few things that little snake lied about just to get us to sign. So wait—we signed away the next 6 years of our adolescent lives for jack? For NOTHING? I love my country and all but I damn sure wasn’t about to vow to protect and serve it for diddly-squat!
“I’m sorry this happened to you soldiers. Ill-advisedly, this happens quite often because the recruiters feel so much pressure to keep their enrollment numbers up so they aren’t demoted. They have families. They get desperate so they prey on young students. Unfortunately, there’s nothing that can be done now because you both have signed the agreement”. I asked to speak to someone above him, then above that person and still the same thing—NOTHING! I tried to act crazy but that didn’t get me anything but more overnight duties. These people were merciless and they weren’t willing to release anyone! Well, back to the drawing board because I wanted out! Let’s just say my plan involved me going AWOL (Absent Without Leave) and could have gotten me killed if I was at large past a certain period of time since we were technically at war.
There’s so much more to this story that’s why I have to break into 2 parts!! On Sunday we’ll get into why I decided to go AWOL & how I did. But more importantly, what happened when I came back cause you KNOW I was in a heap of trouble! Not to mention, we’ll also have to discuss how I was even permitted to enlist because I was a minor without parental consent. Still, so much ground to cover. I’m ecstatic though because I get to share with you just how cunning and calculating I can be!
Well as always, thank you for sharing in my journey! I ❤ you so much for reading. To all my survivors out there: KEEP ON SURVIVING! PLEASE don’t forget to like, share & leave a comment ❤.
Remember, while we still have life; let us not merely exist–but instead, L.I.V.E.