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To resemble any person’s story is to start from the roots of it all. Growing up, it was not the typical Chinese family nor was I being submerged in loving and kindness. My father was a single dad divorced when I was four. A four-year-old not truly knowing the meaning of days, let alone being stripped away from my biological mother. Moving to the United States was the plan for my father since I was his care now. At the age of eight, I came to Los Angeles with boxes of trauma and trembling heart. However far away from my birth town and mother, the images of my father beating my mother were still encapsulated into my head while trying to adjust to things around me, the culture shocks!
School was by far not the most enticing nor was it the most fun thing as I didn’t truly make friends until we moved to Idaho where my father decided to open up his restaurant. So, by day, I went school and struggled immensely with the language and friends and just an emotional wreck and down spiral of turmoil. By night time, I’d be ordered to go and help out with my step-mother until closing time. All I could remember was lots of cursing and yelling and pots being thrown around and my hair being pulled and face slapped for being “stupid” and “slow." Yes, this was a normal occurring factor since the family Chinese restaurant is such an easy task right?
It was May in 2001 and you guessed it, yours truly decided to join the Marines. I know the absolute astonished and shock value since I did not look like the example of a stellar military member to be. Through it all, I did and I think it has pushed my limits of pain even further and to become cold as nitrogen oxide throughout the three months of training. The screaming, molding and demeaning and constraining indented a permanent mark onto my mind and as one of my alter personalities.
Things have surely gotten smooth as butter and better as we graduated (sarcasm) in MOS school. It was like an imitation of high school and then amplified to about more cursing and degradation as well as sexual experimentation. Did I mention that I was not popular nor was I well liked in high school? Naive and dumbfounded Aiyan once again found a tunnel to make herself much more of a spotlight of unwanted attention. Battered with body image problems and hormonal driven desires, many of us fall in lust or lush-filled of infatuated temporary love-like relationships.
The coldest months of my life was also the first time that I’ve been to North Carolina, aka Camp Lejeune. During the dew of mornings and the time where I’d sit outside in the dark when no one was awake where I fell in love with someone that I will never see again. My bobbed hair cut was primped with massive amounts of hair spray and since I had problems with keeping long hair into a bun. The young man would always meet me around 4:50 just outside the corner and we’d share a Newport cigarette for good ole times!
Tucked tightly in my poncho liner and heavy lined jungle boots and my breath fights against the October windchill was our stroll around barracks. My eyes gleamed up at the midnight blueish sky as it slowly turns to a purple hue of velvety tone. We never kissed nor did we touched our hands. Two souls simply shared a Newport as platonic mates along a journey that we’d never meet again.
Days slipped away into weeks as hours jigged us since when you are so young and full of adrenaline, you fail to realize that slow and still is what your heart yearns to be. Seats filled as many of us were separated and into rooms to sign the oversea contracts since the September 2011 hits. In my case, I have never been to japan and thought it wouldn’t hurt since at the time, I don’t feel pain anyways.
My memory doesn’t allow me to drift back what the plane ride was like in 2001, but I know for sure that falling in puppy love or blindly in love was not my sole plan. Camp Kinser was our destination and I remember my cargo pants and red shirt somehow matched the guy next to me on the way back to our “supply barracks.” Prior to all of this, the PT, and beer cans kicking and etc...was the talk about how female “boots” were and how we were once called “walking mattresses.”
As you all have guessed, it and foreseen it, as just three into arriving to Japan, camp Kinser my first and one chance to make a somewhat “decent” impression, I got pregnant. All proud and power went down the gutter for me anyways as two E3’s looking lost in the sauce trying to explain to each unit how did this happened and what are we to do? Remember, it was still 2001 and lives are at risk and here I am getting knocked up.
Having a child alone was already not the walk in the park nor the icing layer of the cake and stuffing cake in my face and yelling “Congrats.”No, it was shame on my part and being pregnant in the barracks with other barely legal men and women were not what we’d expect at the time. Throughout the duration of the months I was in the barracks with roommate and wobbling like a penguin and trying to look “normal” as being the one of two females carrying a child unwed and being constantly mocked and talked behind had induced me to go into an emotional tornado.
One night, I pointed at my swollen tummy and slapped at it and with wet eyes and teary dripped nose, I screamed at FJ. Some may say it was normal for women to be emotional and edgy but deep inside, I knew that I was not balanced mentally nor was I ready to take on all of this external stress and hormonal inflamed body and mind of a barely 19-year-old legal girl facing drastic changes. At the time of the moment, I was miserable every single day and night. Money was a bit tight and it was 2002 and barely even legal to vote and not even to drink and pregnant! I was or still am a mess throughout my life. F.J did not or was not allowed to join me until early November and it was then we got married. Shortly after that or nine days, Nena came. It was horrifying and beyond complacent of pain and I was a lost soul.
As you may already know, recovery was not well at all and at the time, females receives only six weeks of leave to rest and to recover and renew and get back to work with tender breasts and leakages and sore bottoms. As for me, I was not well in the mind nor the body by a slim chance. I had nightmares, weird dreams of killing myself and scared to death of losing her. I knew something within me was wrong. No, no doctors or well known mental doctors for me yet. The stress of commuting and baby added with lack of sleep had possibly taken all of me and the deep-seeded anger, frustrations and lack of sufficient of rest and marital conflicts took an evil turn.
We fought constantly and usually he’d leave or I would sleep with the door locked or one of us would be away overnight. At the time, my aunt was there to watch over me and Nena since I was not in a shape to care for her on my own juggling with full-time work and long hours. To recollect to my best of ability to the night when I was arrested is far blurry than cloudy rain mixed with acid clouds. I remembered cooking and ironing my blouse and then the bantering and external fuse amplified and bam! The iron was on his left upper arm. Time seemed to have frozen in a distorted way as my mind was not right and in crimson hot air.
The next thing I know was my aunt in desperate tears yelling for me as my useless self sat there waiting for the police to finish me. I was in shock and in tears. I didn’t quite remember the details and the questions and my Miranda rights. At the time, I didn’t know much about the justice system and how we have rights until it was far too late. In essence, downtown San Diego we go and my life flashed in lens of shame and sour drops of lemon dust.
In many ways, my life was over. People still think that I was the violent husband abuser and cold-hearted wife. The looks that I got from both my command and his was enough shame to cast any prisoner from afar to hell. I never truly read the case since the shock value was heavy and I felt ashamed as a mother and a person that is still serving in the military. I was the scarlet and crimson brimmed whore or scum of the earth to the world around me. All I know was guilt and buckets of malicious stares and mockery eternally scarring my already torn and tormented soul.
The last and utmost convincing thing my brain remembered was when I was assigned to MCRD for a mental exam and also the command was very much indeed delved into my life both legally and personally. A part of me believed that I went crazy and never came back since my ex-husband and I were separated and living apart. Aside from me being a complete horrid mother who abandoned my baby to my aunt, dealing with unforeseen event of being forced to live in barracks was beyond the any sane person can possibly swallow.
Alcohol and gallons of vodka and whiskey came to my cravings and also one of the ways I was stupid or smart to cope with the pain. Since I was away from my child and awaiting court dates and a single female in the barracks with drunken mates, many things happened. One of the many things were affairs. At the time, my life was work and pretend to be normal and my mandated mental appointments at MCRD and nights of drunken and stupor of a pile of good old pride and dignity down the drain and toilet...in literal terms.
Infinite nights of staring blindly and blankly onto the concrete walls at the barracks of lonesome hearts and hungry desires were my affairs. By all means, go on and call and say what and how you wish to a young gal with a reasonably decent look and rage full of hormones. Yes, I do remember the days when I’d go for a two hour run and come back and wanting to strip down and pour myself a canteen of box wine. Other times, there was one person that always waited for me, knowingly of my convictions and my marital status.
To be a fuckery of honest franks, not many cared if one was engaged or married or “seeing someone.” Believe what you wish to but at the time, most were either lonely to the darkest holes and horny to the last drop of a dumpster cracked bottle of cheap whiskey. For me, I craved affection and affirmation of someone to let me know that I am still worth a penny. My husband deserted me and was arrested for something I barely remember and my four-month-old daughter is neglected due to my incredulous hell bend behaviors or mental breakdowns.
Either way, I was branded with the stigma of the “scarlet letter” of the worst wife/mother and military ever in that command or so I’ve remembered hearing the smirks and mockery whenever I’d walk across that hallway for work and whispers of laughter. Who would blame them for ostrich-rising me? Someone at her twenties and already in the legal system and wasting hundreds of hours of my command’s time and the embarrassment to them? In my core, I truly didn’t know what I did nor do I remember the factual facts of how and what and who was the perpetrator. Truth is, I took the blame. All of it since I had no more courage of the Eagle Emblem or the anchor to face myself or my family and my command. I simply said yes to everything and to anyone that would give me attention or affection.
Days went by like the never-ending nightmare or drunken nights of a bad headache on overkill and at times, I’d get very excited to be able to see my daughter with the escort of a fellow member whom I had a brief and brash affair with. At that time, I barely got my driver’s license and this man was my car rides to our old apartment where I was barred to live in since the incident and so I can see and share time with my daughter. There is a a saying, “God will never give you more than you can handle” and yes, I was grateful to have my father’s sister to help me with her.
When unforeseen and unfortunate events that happens to folks like me that were young, not well-liked and not in the higher ranks, we’re basically the “ugly ducklings” or the “black sheep” or even garbage for commands. I still was required to show up to work and P.T or Physical Training and on time and also to meet at the court ordered dates and mandatory mental health clinic at the “five star” MCRD which a Navy doctor not once but twice said that and I quote. "I was fit to perform my duties and only suffered Postpartum depression and MDD."
At time, hours would slip through me and I possibly have been too numb or frozen to have felt a thing. The Navy Doctor or MD prescribed to me or strongly insisted that I should take the drug Zoloft or Prozac and at that time, I was much too weak and ashamed to refuse and so I took it knowingly it made me worse as a person. Sometimes, I remembered not even wanting or physically can fall asleep without drinking or running until my feet were blistered and bleeding.
Now that many moons and years of sufferings and regrets I can see that the medications he insisted that I take were not as helpful nor was it even effective to my diagnosis or so he claimed I had. At the time, I was in shock and bundled with the four to five hours of non-sleep and mental breakdowns and pure muddled of putrefied emotional tornadoes, I simply once just nod like a zombie that’s been electrocuted and tortured and a dead eye stare of “yes sir.”
I was dead. Many times I was dead and been churned in the blender of both society and everything and everyone around me. There were guys that would still venture the open lines to see if I’d go out or give anything and I said yes to two of them. Hell, I fell in lust or love or whatever the addiction I had for one of them. Two shamefully and shunned affairs with two different men. The part where no one would even feel a morsel of empathy is that I actually loved one of them. A part of me has physically said and begged for one of them to love me back.
The dishonoring of my dad was enough for me to not ever want to live and the secret I had to hide through these two affairs was like the tumor that ate me slowly each day. What’s love got to do with affairs? Surely that’s what both of the men were laughing and thinking! All they ever wanted was a good ride and a fast one and I was the risky “other woman” with a side of “convicted husband abuser” and bad mother and rebellious Marine.
To be continued...