Some of my story I will never tell. It simply is not just my story to tell.
But some stories are just mine to tell, and I suppose I haven’t had the courage to talk about them in any amount of detail..
Maybe part of me believes that it will make others focus on negative…
Maybe part of me still has some wounds from not being believed in the past when things happened to me.
Either way, I feel it’s part of my journey to share more, so I am beginning here.. with my tribe.. I hope this serves you in some, yet to be determined way.. ❤
I remember the moment I began to feel like maybe there was some small amount of justice in this world…
Up until this point… people had always gotten away with whatever they did to me. Fists, words, betrayals, abuse…
But not this time.
Looking back I can see how it was all for me.
My GOD… I’d never be willing to go through it again, but today… from today, I can be grateful it happened.
Some epic sht went down in the Marine Corps, which is not really a surprise as I was an easy target. I was a 17 year old girl that grew up with countless abuses and zero repercussions for any of the perpetrators.
I was taught what was a sin and what would happen to me if I didn’t be good. Basics like.. going to hell to burn for eternity.. getting my head chopped off if I took the mark of the beast (I used to be shown videos of this happening when I was a child)
But I was never taught common sense, worthiness, or how to protect myself. What to do if I was violated. This also makes sense as I was surrounded by women who had been through so much of the same… they didn’t know any damn better and had latched on to religion as a way to feel safe.
I remember a man at the church I was going to in Rindge, NH telling me he could see the devil in my eyes. He was the youth pastor there (imagine that)…
I remember later booking a meeting with the pastor.. and after 10 minutes of trying to talk to him he said he had to go he had something he had to do.. and then he walked out into the hallway and began chatting with people… nothing particular he had to get to.
I remember the seance that a group then did on me to get the “demon” out of me.
LOL.. I know, this is crazy makings… but it is what it is. This is one little glimpse into what was my life.
My point is.. it left me vulnerable. Really vulnerable.
I didn’t feel worthy.
Didn’t believe anyone would ever be accountable for what they did.
Didn’t think there was a point in telling anyone anymore because I’d just get belittled or told I was possessed or some other weird crap.
I believed I was a thing to be used and discarded.
BUT…..It’s really unbelievable how one small act of kindness can transform a life, and we will NEVER know how much.
So, there I was, off in Japan, 18 years old, 100% naive.
This is the part I’ve been afraid to tell.
In MOS school, the instructor slept with my roomate, and I was questioned about it.. I was told, “Mandy, You will not get in trouble for ANYTHING you say to us.”
I wasn’t about to tell them the truth, as that had NEVER gotten me anywhere up until now, and I wanted to protect my friend.. so I told them I was drunk and didn’t remember. It wasn’t true, I was in bed sleeping early.
They ran me up on my first charges the next day.
In my first duty station, the Staff Sargent told me daily how I needed an older man to show me good sex.
The Gunny, a massive black man, grabbed me in the bar right off base and in front of everyone, groped me and shoved his tongue down my throat.
I ran out crying and only one man came out to see if I was ok.. His name was Cpl White. I remember him. Nothing else happened.
The military police would threaten to arrest me if I didn’t let them in my room.
At the Marine Corps ball, they bought me alcohol. Then they busted me for drinking underage. Guess who?
This was their way of making sure I stayed silent.
I had a third charge in the mix of this for giving my percs away at the dental unit on the near by naval base.
Later, when I was at my court marshal, the Captain who was my lawyer asked me what happened. I said nothing.. many times, but he was patient and kind and … he wouldn’t stop asking.
Finally I let it fly.. YOU WANT TO KNOW? YOU really want to know? Fine.
I told him everything.
He didn’t say anything…
At the trial they told me I could stay and lose a stripe and pay fine or I could go to the brig.
I asked where the brig was.
I asked for how long.
I asked when I would leave the base.
The next morning.
I asked then would I have to come back?
I said “I’d like to go to the brig.”
I wish I knew who this man was because he truly changed my life… It wouldn’t happen for many years.. 15 years or so later.. but he changed everything.
I got out of the marines, never got my discharge papers, never got properly processed. I called many times to get the DD214 but it never came. I had long since forgotten when I got the phone call.
It was my sister.
I was single mother of 2, living in a basement apartment.
“Mandy, some guy from the marines contacted me on FB and is looking for you. Says he has something for you and left his number.”
So I call him.
“Ms. Greene, I’ve been searching for you. I have the biggest pay out I have ever seen in my career with your name on it. To the tune of $160,000.”
I ask why
“Your file was lost and you were put in appellate leave. Your charges were overturned back in Japan and you were never notified. So we owe you 10 years of backpay.”
Let me connect the dots that took me a while to put together (best as I could).
The captain, had fought for me after I left to the brig.
He knew I wanted off the base and he got me off safely.
Then he went to bat for me without my ever knowing.
He got the case overturned.
He then put me on appellate leave so that I did not have to come back into the Marines and could go home safely.
Then, 15 years later someone was cleaning up old files in the computer and saw I was still on the military insurance and in order to close it out had to pay me for 10 years in the core.
The money was in my account 3 weeks later.
Now, I’d love to tell you that I was wise with that $, but I spent 1/2 of it on someone else. Someone who didn’t deserve it, but that was a lesson that served me WELL later.
MUCH MORE IMPORTANTLY, I saw a GOOD man, and I saw JUSTICE.
That began my true journey of healing.
Something inside softened just enough for me to slow my sprint to a run and begin to look around ever so hesitantly.
This was one justice out of HUNDREDS of injustices, but I didn’t care.
If there was ONE good man, there was more.
If one justice could happen 15 years later, more could happen.
If one persons actions could make such a profound difference in my life, I could do the same for someone else.
And here I am today.
One of a handful of moments that I can clearly define was a huge turning point in my life.
We can make a difference.
You never know when an act of kindness changes EVERYTHING.
One person can truly change the world.
His effect has now impacted tens of thousands of people, and will in the end, impact hundreds of thousands, and thats just through me, ONE person he helped.
We. Are. In. This. Together.
Give all you have to give.
You NEVER know how big of an impact your kindness or right doing is having, and will likely never know.