I love my career in the military. It is fun, exciting, and supremely better than anything else I could have ever done in the civilian word. The only problem is that I haven’t done anything yet, not really.
It all started in November of 2011. It was nearing Earth day of my senior year in high school. The one day of the year when hippies get to plant trees.
I live in the very diverse community of South Whidbey Island, where you will find a very large percentage of old people who retired here after decades of activism and rebellion. Needless to say, Earth day is pretty big around here. If, by big, you mean a few decorations in town and a concert at the local community building.
I got a letter in the mail from the United States Army National Guard. I was going to throw it away, but there was a picture that said “free tee shirt” on the outside. I read the letter, and it said that if you sent in you voluntarily submitted your information to GoGuard.com, then you would get a free Earth Day themed National Guard tee shirt.
I love free stuff.
A few weeks later, I had forgotten about it. I was going to school and rehearsing for the All-High School play every day. I was attending scout meetings and doing my homework.
I got a call on my cell phone at five o’clock, around dinner time.
It was my first time speaking with my recruiter. SFC William Borego, recruiting command Bravo Company, Camp Murray, WA.
And that was that. After my first drill, I was hooked.
I was contracted as a 12B, Combat Engineer, to be stationed out of Bellingham, WA. I was going to attend BCT/AIT OSUT at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri in July after high school graduation. After that I would attend WWU in January and be enrolled in college while drilling for the guard.
It was a great setup I had going for me, until the day I was supposed to leave. The doctor at MEPS asked me if there had been any problems medically since my last visit to MEPS. I told him yes, I had had some blood in my stool, so I took some Clearlax to help solve the problem. It had gone away.
I told him the truth, and my life changed. I was temporarily disqualified for 60 days until such time when I could prove that it wasn’t an issue.
I was also not allowed to go to recruit training at Camp Murray, either. I was “in limbo,” as SFC Borego called it. He told me to forget about the army for a while. I did.
I spent my first three weeks doing construction work and odd jobs.
Eventually I realized that this was the summer of my 18th year of life. Maybe it was a gift from God that I was delayed. I hadn’t socialized since graduation.
I visited a good friend, and eventually I found out that there were quite a few of my friends from high school still around here. Now we were all old enough to get smokes, get laid, and go clubbing. I don’t smoke or drink, but I do like to drive. It was decided that I was the designated driver because I was always sober.
This island is a pretty cool place to come back to after a long night of partying. It’s just far enough out in the country where gangs are thought of as pathetic and sophomoric to most kids, so there really aren’t any. It’s also just a ferry ride from civilization, and 40 minutes to Seattle after that.
I found myself waking up in other people’s homes, in Bell Town at four AM, getting comments on my “nice size,” and wondering when I fell down the rabbit hole.
This was another side of life I had never really experienced before, and the more I fell into this lifestyle, the better I felt about myself and about the chance that I had been given. I am still living it, but I don’t have a job and I spent my $3,000 college fund on pre-college fun.
I have not written one blog post since the day after my high school graduation, and for that I feel very deeply guilty. I have been having too much fun. In the meantime, I have been developing my lifestyle, and my writing form. I have a new novel in the works, and that’s all I’m saying at this point.
I have submitted my temporary application for employment to Nordstrom for Santa’s workshop, as well as a few other local businesses. I am going to be getting some money soon, I feel it. Nothing that bad can really happen, and I just feel that in my very bones. If something does go wrong, I hope to be able to face it with courage.
Today, I am helping out around the house (or not, in my father’s opinion). He’s pretty awesome though. If I show that I am dedicated to something, he lets me pursue it.
Now I wait for January, for Winter Quarter at Western Washington University, and for a college experience totally different than what I was expecting. You see, at any moment, anywhere, I may get the call from my NCO to report for duty. I am still a soldier.
Now, if only I can get some money…