Dedication: Christine Buckner
I share my short story of endurance with triggers of my past military wounds to help heal myself and others. To inspire you to believe in yourself and your dream! You have worth!
The war in my mind or my reality? By M. Michelle Thode
I am 50 disabled female Veteran, who moved from Utah to a very rural town, in Coastal Oregon, to live my homesteading dream, with my 2 amazing pioneering daughters. I was blessed to purchase a foreclosure in fall 2019 and unfortunately came with a lot of problems. Mainly malicious neighbors, who wanted my land and resources off my land. Their blind hatred and greed have hit extreme levels, to do anything and everything to run me off my land, including retitling the manufactured home, in their name, after I paid and installed a new roof and deck on it.
I did not realize I had suppressed 30+ years of traumas, until recent mischievous offensives occurred, when I moved during covid restrictions and communication, and human contact was very limited. Almost 1000 miles away from any family, friends, or people to help defend or advocate for us. I was stripped of my pride, ego, and reputation. To be hated, just for existing in life. It broke me mentally.
Reminded me of the blind hatred, I endured reporting to a male ship, when females did not belong, that was just allowing females onboard. Some believed that women should not be in a “Man’s Navy” and the ignorance I faced for 2 years at sea, on a ship where communication was limited to slow old postal mail, if we were in port. There was no support or crisis worker and I felt “dead in the water” as often as our ship was.
11 agencies, yes, almost a dozen, some multiple visits, at my door, to investigate false reports made against me. These neighbors succeeded in “inner-agency harassment”, Using government means to harass me on their behalf. The only reprimand I received was, a warning for not licensing my dogs in the new county I now resided. They even attempted to shut off my power and someone even took out my patriot mailbox.
Reminded me of those who condone the abuse of others, in a corrupt system so they don’t “Rock the boat” even when knowing the actions are wrong and find loopholes to protect the men who use to or still have governing power.
After paying for a lot of money for a surveyor, I bravely went to post No trespassing signs, when an stranger comes screaming and refuses to talk or take my contact information for when she is able to communicate without aggression. Instead gathers family members, with mob mentality trying to escalate the situation with yelling vulgarities and threats, while holding objects ready to be used as weapons.
Reminded me of my Shellback Initiation with such approaching hatred in the screams and yelling, it was hard to interpret who would use objects as weapons or made special objects for such this occasion. While walking on my hands and knees, head down at all time, licking any shellbacks boot, on demand, I could not recognize who was using the fire hoses with the chains hidden inside them to beat us or who wanted to cause harm by pouring hot sauce in our eyes or who was just there to do an old naval tradition that went so terribly wrong. I could not see, or sense where the attacks were coming from, from whom and in which form, method and means.
When my watch ended at 0800, they finally had awoken the officers on board, to establish safety monitors due to women being drug out of their racks by their hair, asleep and beating so bad medical attention was required before the initiation ceremony had even officially started.
July 2022 After a long hard and expensive day of installing fence posts and easement gates, an angry hostile neighbor comes to my front door, threatening to “bash my head in with a t-post” I left behind. Barely allowing time to get dressed, after showering from a demanding day. His arrogance daring me to post his threats locally, while degrading my daughter with his “sweetheart comments.”
Mysteriously 3 months later, my easement gates were viciously destroyed and still lay defeated.
Reminded me when I was in the Navy, our ship ported in Japan, in the safety of our female berthing, in my rack, asleep, when I was assaulted. With “keeping things quite” the only justice I received was extra fire and safety watches for our female berthing areas, after being reprimanded for seeking shelter and sleep in my workstation after working hours.
“The war in my mind or my reality?” With validating evidence from my past and present I’d have to say both.
The military did teach me to start recording, documenting, and photographing as much evidence as I could. Which was a challenge when I was being attacked form every direction, avenue, and agency. Collecting agency business cards with names and case numbers was a chore itself under duress the past few years.
Stepping out of my comfort zone is still a challenge I face daily, while trying to live past my own fears of repression here or retaliations, even from speaking up.
I write my truth for healing. I shall no longer carry the shame or guilt of those offensives and seek forgiveness in myself and my trespassers. Losing who I once was and everything I held dear. Let me focus on my own thoughts and actions. Including my health. Mentally, physically, and spiritual.
I’m sorry to all my shipmates that I told too “suck it up” or “don’t create waves” I’m sorry I did not at least defend you more. Listened more to you’re suffering and your own injustices.
I pray speaking my truth(s) now validates you, my dear sisters. ALL my sister’s military or civilian, who have been suppressed due to ignorance. Peace for those whom have lost their voice because of traumas too. RIP My beloved friend and shipmate Christine Buckner 9/18/2013 #22veteransaday
I recognize the parts I’ve played and seek forgiveness, even my brief marriage. I am grateful for understanding that these things helped define me under the most adverse circumstances into a beacon of love. I give you thanks for my beautiful growth and the inspiration to LIVE my life’s purpose. You have permission to share my story with peace, light, and love.
*I distinguish a couple of bad apples trees, does not reflect the entire whole of the ship, nor a community and hope you do too.”
Photo credit: Photos provided by the storyteller.