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The Ex-Marine's Story

I am the ninth of ten children. I have a little sister. I was also going to have a little brother but my mother had a miscarriage. I was raised Mormon in a small town in Washington.

The town was mostly white but there were also quite a few Asians—Vietnamese, Cambodian. The first girl I ever slept with was South Korean. Her mother's boyfriend had sexually abused her and when he got tired of them, he tied her little brother and her into plastic garbage bags and threw them into the river. She clawed her way out and made her way to shore. Her brother died. Nobody knows what happened to her mother.

After the South Korean girl I found myself in a toxic and addictive relationship with a girl who was bad for me. I got out of it but it left me hurt and adrift.

I found myself rudderless, directionless, and totally without focus. I had lost thirty pounds. I did nothing but play video games all day. I was floundering. So when my buddy announced he was joining the Marines, I joined with him. I knew that was the smack in the ass I needed to bring order and discipline to my life.

I trained in Los Angeles and then was stationed outside San Diego for four years. After 9/11 I narrowly missed getting sent to Afghanistan. It was only because I had insisted on a technicality in a sub-clase a month prior. That loophole saved my life.

After the Marines I went to state college and then to Evergreen, where I studied French and took art classes and met my wife Isis. At the time she had a lot of growing up to do, but she was eighteen and I was twenty-four and at that age, that's a lot.

Later I went to France and New York and many other places. I drew and painted. I was a security guard. I worked for landscaping companies. Now I make my own beer and cook and go to school for landscape architecture.

When you're in a relationship, you have to continually work on yourself, and on the relationship. That's how the relationship survives.