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The Collection of Invisible Wounds

Coming home from the Marine Corps was such a depressing time. I had to go back home to an environment that I typically wasn’t happy with. Having to face everyone and having to explain things that I knew most no one would understand was so stressful. Part of me was really ashamed of being discharged even though I knew that I had done nothing wrong. Honestly, I felt like a failure. And it wasn’t that I hadn’t failed at anything before, but it was the fact that I felt as if I failed at life. The Marine Corps was a dream that for so long felt unattainable. I felt like all the things I went against and went through to get there were in vain.

I knew I was coming home to a lot of shit talking from people that already didn’t think I could make it in the Marines, including my mom. Well, it’s not that my mom didn’t think I could cut it, it was that she thought they would screw me over. Which they did, and everyone knows there’s nothing worse than an “I told you so”?. I never was one to worry about what others thought or said, but this was so different. It was my pride and my self-esteem that had been trampled already. I was in such a weak state physically, mentally and emotionally. This was one of the most vulnerable states I had ever been in my life.

Part of my heart stayed behind. Life as I knew it was over, no more “freedom” for me. I left my closest friends and boyfriend at the time back in North Carolina. Everyone seemed to move forward in life, while life for me felt as If I was moving backwards. I came home to nothing, no job, no car, and a bunch of debt. I came home with nothing, but injuries, trauma, self- doubt and fear. Oh and debt!!!!! Lots of debt and legal issues!!!! I don’t know if I mentioned it before, but my recruiter never submitted my soldiers and sailors act and I came home to a bunch of debt and a shit load of lawsuits. Life as I knew it had fallen apart in every aspect possible.

For the first couple weeks I was hiding out, which didn’t last for long since I’m from a small city where word travels fast. ‘Cus were a bola of chismosos (a bunch of gossipers, we like the scuttlebutt). “Pasadena where you at?!” (Tupac). Just kidding, just kidding y’all now I love my town. But really though? We are. At the end of the day business had to be handled though, so I did what I had to do which was find work, I started at a temporary book shop in old town and back at a restaurant I used to work at before I enlisted. There were moments of relief and humility, and definitely moments of shame.

My isolation didn’t last long. It didn’t take long for people to reach out or see me. Soon after starting work, I ran into a high school classmate that wanted me to make peace with another classmate because we were both Marines. I was really reluctant given the fact that we never had the greatest of relationship. But after a long time of convincing, I gave in and ended up re-connecting with that person and that is where the next round of invisible wounds began, it was the continuation to the collection of my invisible wounds.

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