What does it mean to you to be in the Air Force? At first I had thought that I knew that answer. I thought I was doing it just to escape the jail that my hometown had established for me. That it was my ticket out, to see the world. It wasn't until this assignment that I know realize the true answer behind that question. An answer that not only defines who I am as an airman but also a person.
I would like to take you back on a cold December night during 1990. I was born to a mid-class family in the bay area. The first born son of Fabian Palafox and Ophelia. Cunningham (if you're wondering why I’m telling you my life story right you just have to trust me. I assure you it will start to tie in at 8th page) A coupling that defined every odd but someone how there I was born by a rare contradiction. I was a child who was afraid of it’s own shadow. My imagination would always get the better of me and I would always find ways to either hide or run away from my problems.
Years would go by and it wasn't until I was around the 3rd grade that I soon begin to notice that schoolmates began to grow taller than I, becoming more athletic in the process spawning a new form of obstacles in my life...bullying. For years I was at the end of every short, small or fat joke which threw me in a spiraling depression. As cheesy as it may be it wasn't until I submerged myself in movies that I soon realized that I was going about things all wrong. I didn't have to out-muscle or out-grow anyone I had to simply out smart them.
The more I emulated the comedic relief found in my movies the more talkative and charismatic I became. My depression was over, I had a close group of friends and I felt like I was king of the world. It's now my sophomore year in high school and I know find myself associating with a much older crowd boosting my ego turning me from a charismatic talkative kid to an egotistical, self-righteous, condescending socialite. Which in turn meant that I was now cutting classes and going to block parties with said older crowd. That's when things took a bad turn for the worst.
My grades began to plummet downward and the lack of sleep would make me a far more irritable/condescending person. At this point you are probably wondering, "where the hell are these kids parents!?! This kid needs a severe kick in the ass. You can definitely trust me, they did. Till this very day i have the scars and x-ray scans to prove their form of intervention existed. But the more they punished me the more I found myself distancing myself from my family. It wasn't until I caught myself bullying some small freshman that I realized that I have now become that which I hated the most. The realization hit me harder than any punch, slap, or beating that I ever received. I either had to change immediately or continue living this hypocrisy.
For all the years left from high school and the first year of collage I became a recluse. If I weren’t destroying the jagged edges of my sobriety you could find me also trying to escape via music sometimes O would partake in both. (I would usually come up with the best music when I did.) I still had a close group of friends but other than that I had no goals in my life. I was just letting my life slip by. After my first year of collage I soon realize that collage was becoming too expensive so I elected to drop out of college and simply work at my place of employment which was U-Haul at the time. October, 13, 2011 was the day my life changed forever
It was four o’ clock in the morning when I received a phone call from my father saying that my brother was involved in a potentially fatal accident. He had lost control of his vehicle and hit a tree going around 50 miles per hour. My heart sank, the world shrank and spun in circles. It was as almost god himself stabbed me in the back. Piercing my spine and send shock waves throughout my body traveling through every vein in my body. I was simply...
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