How I used sports to bond with my significant other

I never understood the power or draw of sports before. Growing up I was so anti-sports, anti-athletics I took the stance all athletes were bullies who didn’t deserve my time, or respect. It took meeting my girlfriend to change my mind. You see she is trans, like me, but she did something I never did; she played football in high school.

After I finished gushing over how neat I thought that was, trust me she will tell you I gush over how cool she is quite a bit, I discovered there was more to sports than meets the eye. I always thought it was all superficial, and frankly, a waste of time. Then I met Christina and my perspective began to change. Slowly I began to understand why sports are so important to some people.

We’re both shy in our own ways. I have social anxiety disorder, she is on the autism spectrum. Neither of us excel in social situations. Thus we discovered we could use sports as a gateway to opening conversations between the two of us. I have to say watching sporting events with her and then discussing them have really enriched our relationship tremendously. As a result my life has improved as well.

It started with a casual watching of NFL games together. We basically had a rule we’d watch the Dallas Cowboys games together until playoffs then it was everything till Super Bowl Sunday. This worked for the two of us as it gave us both plenty to talk about during some of the rockier days in our relationship. I won’t go into the details why things were rocky for us then but I will say having football to bring us together helped us get over some slumps during the dark times. That was when I began to realize in our own way we kinda needed sports in our relationship. Not to fill the gap or pass the time but to ensure we both had something we could talk about passionately. While her passion for sports exceeds my own, as well as her deep knowledge of the teams histories and players, etc., we’ve gotten to a point where we both use sports as a jumping off point to other conversations.

That is when I realized why sports are important to people, they foster that social connection between individuals who might not otherwise be able to do so on their own. You get to share in the triumphs and tribulations of your respective teams but the real benefit is having something to talk about that generates passion. This opens the door to other conversations and in our case allows us to have deeper intimacy than we otherwise might have achieved on our own. I know there have been times when one of us was left in the dust conversation wise which often led to resentment and occasional fights. We resolved those but it put a strain on our relationship. Once we learned to utilize the power of sports together we quickly expanded our repertoire.

Today we watched the Stanley Cup Finals come to a conclusion. Last week or thereabouts it was the NBA finals. We also began watching the WNBA games of our respective teams as a side quest in our journey if you will. To me having sports has been a wonderful way to get closer to the woman I love. Something I never would have thought possible previously. I finally see the power of sports and it’s the power of love.

The simple belief that keeps me from losing all hope

Sometimes I wonder what I am doing with my life. If you asked me to answer the question who I am I am not likely to give you an honest answer most days. I know I am a fighter but how hard do I fight? Where do I draw the line?

More often than not when I question my life it is because something is not right in my personal world. Here I sit for the first time unsure of my future. Will I get another job soon? Will it be enough to pay my bills? What will I do if I get evicted from my apartment? Where will I go if I lose my home? These are questions that have been on my mind a lot lately. Because of this I have not had the energy to do much in the way of fighting for others. Right now I am using every ounce of my energy to fight to survive. I don’t have any energy left over to get down into the trenches at the moment.

This is where I am right now. I am lost. I thought I had a job that was going to solve all my problems then it turned out to be only part time. I am still going to do the job, and enjoy it tremendously, but I have to fight even harder now to find a secondary income that will supplement my earnings from that job. It’s a battle I don’t have the energy to fight but I must keep going. I have no choice I need any income I can get at the moment.

What about my friends? When do I turn to them? How does that help me leaning on others? What if I can’t stand on my own? This thought cripples me most nights. I try not to be a burden on my friends yet here I am a drain on their own consciousness. I don’t feel guilt, however, as that is what friends are for you lean on them when you need them and they do the same when it’s their turn. I have to get to a place where I can stand on my own two feet in order for me to be a pillar for my other friends to lean on if need be.

What is the point of it all? This thought enters my mind quite a bit. I don’t have thoughts of self harm often but when they do creep up they usually jump start with this doozy first up. Once I find myself contemplating the merit of my own actions, the usefulness of the choices I make, that is when things turn bleak. It is during these times when I begin to lose hope. I lose hope in myself while also losing hope in humanity. I even take it a step further and lose hope in the society I live in. This in turn leads me down a path of despair that often makes me feel hopeless. Yet throughout it all I remain optimistic deep down.

It might sound superficial but it all comes down to my faith. I don’t have a universal faith God will always allow good to triumph over evil. I do not have a comprehensive faith God will make the world a better place. Rather what I do have is a simple faith of my own personal relationship with God. This is tricky as I have dabbled in paganism, Wicca, witch craft and other forms of religious expression that one would argue strays from my Christian upbringing. Yet it is my faith God will take care of me, throughout it all, that keeps me going. It is not rooted in my being good or deserving of faith. It is not rooted in my being faithful and thus expecting to be rewarded. It is rooted in a simple matter of belief. I believe he will take care of me because he has always done so. It is a matter of habit.

What specifically my faith looks like has changed over the years. What I put my faith in has largely remained the same, although I will admit my relationship with God has become quite rocky in recent months due to my feud between him and Brigid, my former Goddess whom I was devoted to loyally for a spell.

I don’t know what my faith will look like tomorrow. I don’t have faith in the government to protect me. I don’t have faith in the system to offer me respite. I don’t have faith in my own family to protect me from the dangers of this world. All I have faith in is a simple belief that no matter what happens, deep down, God will take care of me somehow. I maintain this unwavering faith even in the appearance of a lack of reciprocity. At the end of the day I hold onto a blind faith because that is all I know.

My faith in the Christian God is not rooted in a belief that if I adhere to the teachings of the Bible he will bless me for being a good Christian. Instead my faith is rooted in a simple belief that I am his child and he said he would take care of me in his book. That promise is what I hang my hat on. He does not promise me wealth. He does not promise to provide me with riches. He does not promise to lead me to my dream job. He promised only to provide for my basic needs. As far as I can assess he has kept that promise despite my complaining at times. That is where I stand. On this dark day in our nations history I stand here with nothing more than a simple faith God will provide for my basic needs, nothing more, nothing less. I hold onto it for one simple reason, it’s all I have.

The dismantling of our republic has begun, but where do we go from here?

If you are a queer person you have heard these words your entire life, the Supreme Court case X decided that in our favor. We stand on SCOTUS decisions to grant us access to birth control, equality under the law, our right to non discrimination and equality to marry whomever we choose. These so-called, hard-fought rights are now in danger of becoming yesterday’s news. Relegated to the history books of yesteryear. A time long gone. Our rights are now at risk of being dismantled one by one with the destruction of Roe V. Wade which was the centerpiece holding it all together.

Our democracy died on January 6 2021. We knew that the day those first news reports came about. The other side, the hate mongers who rely on fear to control the masses, won the battle of public opinion. They were treated as political protestors rather than traitors to our republic, now as we watch the January 6 committee dig deeper into the lies that led us here we now have to sit back and watch that very Supreme Court that granted us our rights in the first place hack them out from under us with a machete. There is no going back. We now have to either face the reality of the dark timeline we live in or we have to revolt. The time for fighting in the courts is long gone, we lost that battle. We’re not likely to gain any grounds in that realm going forward as the political landscape has shaped itself in such a way that the conservatives will rule the courts for decades to come. Now we sit back and watch them gut our rights right in front of our eyes as we are now powerless to fight back.

I won’t predict which rights will get tossed next. I can’t live in fear of that. Instead I will do what I can to ensure a brighter future by voting for those Democrats that might, just maybe, have a chance at legislating some of our rights into codified law so we don’t have to depend on SCOTUS decisions that could easily be overturned.

Whenever I heard someone say X was settled case law I wanted to remind them all the cases I learned about in my communication law class while I was in college where fundamental rights were often over turned without any regard to precedent. The Supreme Court is under NO legal obligation to respect the decisions of past courts. This is the reality we find ourselves in without realizing we were already here the entire time. Nothing is settled case law in this country not as long as we have politicians deciding the make up of those same courts.

What can we do going forward? Aside from voting as blue as we can? Not much to be honest. We turn to our law makers now who will be responsible for enacting laws that will protect our rights from a tyrannical party hell bent on wiping us off the face of the earth. We need to take this a lot more seriously as the mid term elections approach. Republicans will make DAMN SURE gas prices remain the political talking point as well as using trans people as scapegoats so they can continue to decimate the corpse of our long dead democracy. We need to hammer them every step of the way and make sure we see a true honest to goodness Blue Wave come November. We need to get out the vote like we have never done before! But we won’t and that is why I won’t cry over the death of our republic because it died on a Wednesday when most of us were at work living our lives.

Why Miah Cerrillo should be considered a national hero and what we need to do to ensure her legacy

Miah Cerrillo is a national hero as far as I am concerned. She deserves a medal of honor and to be treated with the utmost respect. 

You might not know who this 11-year-old girl is or why she deserves this treatment. Let me explain. According to CNN she is the child who had the foresight to survive the Robb Elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas by smearing her friends blood on herself and playing dead while the shooter rampaged through her school. 

The reason she is a national hero in my book is she stood up to the gunman and survived. While she had to play dead in order to live she bested the gunman who was determined to end her life along side several of her friends. 

She deserves to be treated with the utmost respect. Not only because she managed to survive a horrific event but because she has kept her cool in the aftermath talking to reporters along the way retelling her story. 

Miah Cerrillo should be given more than just a heroes honor. We need to ensure her life is as bright as we can make it. She deserves every scholarship her heart desires. She should be given a fast track to the best education our nation can offer a child. I want to ensure she gets the recognition she deserves. This child stood there in the face of death and remained calm. She thought quickly and now she is going to be a shocking reminder of the lasting effects these school shootings have on our society. 

I have heard it over and over since that fateful day. Uvalde changed us. It shook the American society to its very core. The fact House and Senate congressmen and women came together to actually pass a meaningful gun control measure is testament to the harrowing testimony this girl has left on our society. She not only left a mark on our hearts but she is entrenched in our consciousness. If gunman turned Conservative darling Kyle Rittenhouse can get a free ride we need to do everything in our power to ensure the brightest possible future for Miah Cerrillo going forward. She deserves nothing but respect and recognition for her bravery and solidarity. I also believe we need to get congress, if not Texas legislature as well, to pay for her therapy bills. We as a society need to foster this child with all the hope we can muster, lord knows she’s been through enough to deserve our respect. In the meantime I am going to do my part to keep her name in the news.

 

What the Robb Elementary school shooting in Uvalde Texas has taught me

There have been plenty of school shootings in this country for me to have to process grief. Yet for a number of reasons Uvalde was the first one that really hit me close to home. Partly because I work in a school now and I imagined what would be going through my mind if I was in that scenario. I also know someone personally who lost a loved one in the massacre. Then there is the matter I actually live in Texas and well that’s a recipe for heartburn right there folks. 

I still remember watching the news of Sandy Hook unfold. It gutted me. I couldn’t believe someone would do such an awful thing. Then there was the aftermath of the whole ordeal. By the time we, as a nation, began to heal from the process Parkland had taken place. It seems like these school shootings happen spread out just enough to let us start to heal before the next one. I doubt there is some pattern or conspiracy to it all I just think we never get enough time to get over these. Nor should we. We don’t need to be getting over school shootings. We shouldn’t be accepting them as a way of life. We dang sure shouldn’t be prepping teachers to fight a way they are not equipped to fight. Here we are once a gain mourning the lives of young people as our politicians debate the value of those lives against the value of a gun lobby. 

When I set out to become a teacher I had my sights set on one of two paths. Eventually I wanted to either teach 3rd grade as a primary school teacher, or I wanted to become an English teacher at a high school. Now I work for a preschool I am a little more flexible, but for the most part that hasn’t waivered. The thought that there could come a day when I am faced with laying down my life to protect my children is a thought that wakes me up in the middle of the night. I have had nightmares over this recently and I don’t expect them to let up. I am just a preschool teacher at the moment. I can’t imagine what school teachers are going through right now. I have an idea but the terror they are facing as they prepare to head back to work must be unprecedented. 

The other thing Uvalde taught us which concerns me is how you cannot predict where these things will happen. It keeps happening to the types of schools you would think would never face this nightmare. Yet here we are. I have lived most of my life in small towns. You choose to live in a small town because you believe it is safe. The myth of that safety is what gives many people comfort at night. It offers us peace of mind. Even if it’s just phony it still lets us sleep at night. Then things like this happen that shake us up. Now currently I live in one of the largest cities in the country, Dallas, Texas, so things are different for me at the moment. Still I work at a school in the suburbs and I expect that to be the direction I take my teaching career as I move forward. Thus I am here questioning yet again my own safety. Why would anyone shoot up a pre-K? I am sure we were asking similar questions after Sandy Hook. Who would shoot up a grade school? Why? What do you gain from it? Oh well you can’t think of it like that you have to accept it can happen and that is the scary part. 

We learned another dark truth coming out of Uvalde that does have many in this nation frozen in fear. Police are useless in an active shooter situation. Uvalde isn’t the first school shooting we have reports of officers NOT going in to stop the carnage. Here again we go back to the gun discussion. Armed officers who are trained in active shooter situations are afraid to encounter a gunman with an assault riffle, how can we expect a teacher with next to no training confront that same gunman with little more than a handgun? The truth of the matter is we are likely to learn nothing of value from Uvalde other than to fear our own police which, frankly, many of us already do. 

What I have learned from all of this is you can’t trust anyone to keep us safe. Lawmakers and gun manufacturers won’t step up, retailers won’t budge, teachers can’t, police won’t and here we sit afraid for our very lives with literally nothing we can do about it. That is the lesson we learned from this shooting at Robb Elementary school, we just have to face the reality we’re never going to be safe again.

Two dude bros pretending to be retro gamers: The CUPodcast review

I don’t write many podcast reviews because, frankly, I don’t listen to many podcasts. There is one I have listened to for several years I wanted to talk about following the gushing praise I gave my favorite horror podcast last week.

This is called the Completely Unnecessary Podcast, or CUPodcast for short. It is hosted by two gamers who talk about video games and gaming culture, for the most part. Despite how I feel personally about the two dudes running the show, I kept listening long after it stopped being healthy for me to do so.

I discovered this podcast during my pre-egg, hiding in the closet days. Ya know when I was still dude presenting myself. I was also more of a gamer then very much plugged into gaming and YouTube culture. Today I find myself less interested in these things so I will try to review the podcast in light of why I enjoyed it not how I changed.

First, the hosts. There are two. One is a former used video game store manger and the other a sorta popular gaming YouTuber from the earlier days of YouTube. I often found their insights into the world of gaming to be the types of things I would agree with. They sometimes disagreed with one another making for an interesting discussion during certain topics. However in recent listens I learned something I didn’t see when I was an angry, bitter “dude” pretending to be a guy. They are mean. Not just to each other, not just to the listeners, and not just to other people but in general they are just mean people.

I used to like that because I was mean, too. I went through the angry gamer phase myself so I kinda relate to it. However, as I grow as a person sharing more compassion with the world I try to distance myself from the types of negativity these two offer their listeners week after week. I am tired of mean people and thus I can no longer recommend this podcast in good conscious. Instead I will say this. The two are knowledgeable about retro video games, not as much modern video games. They are regulars at gaming conventions but their expertise seems to lean heavily towards retro gaming culture. When I was more into that culture the show appealed to me. Now it still might if it wasn’t for the fact I can no longer stomach how mean they are. They are actually bullies and I can’t stand bullies.

I give the show a 1 stat out of 5. They know their shit but they are such blatant assholes, far too arrogant for my liking. The show has gone downhill, especially since they became unhealthily obsessed with the Intellivision Amico. The show itself has become quite, unnecessary for me.

Slice right for Frigay the 13th Horror Podcast: A review

By this point in time I can safely say I am well versed in this horror podcast. It is a combination of NPR mixed with news, commentary, queer culture and horror all rolled up in one tremendously entertaining yet highly informative podcast that leaves the listener dying for more.

I first discovered this podcast in 2018 when I was still in the closet. I previously wrote an over view shortly after I came out but that was so long ago I now have a much deeper appreciation of the beautiful work these two wonderful humans do.

The premise is simple. They cover horror in real life and horror in the movies. The show starts with headlines in a segment they call Certified Terrifying. They then go into their primary topic in an NRP inspired commentary on the theme for the episode. The topics are always quite informative. I can honestly say I have learned a lot from this show.

After that they offer up a segment called Wha’cha Been Watching, Bitch! where they tell listeners the latest movies and TV shows they have consumed. This section is spoiler free where they offer recommendations of what to watch and what to avoid. Everything culminates in their honest, no holds barred reviews of two horror movies that tackle the theme of the episode. Each episode is titled Something is Terrifying where something can be cults, video games, pop culture, etc.

The show usually wraps with a slightly lighter hearted, sometimes humorous mini game. Each episode features its own mini game from Slice Right where they pick the hottest person from the movies to more game show trivia fare. I will be honest I tend to skip the final segments as once the reviews are done the show has wrapped as far as I am concerned, for the most part.

The show is one of my favorite podcasts. I try to never miss an episode. In addition to their main episodes they also do bonus episodes where they take on a single film or news story often with guests.

The best part is the entire show is from an LGBTQ+ perspective! Both hosts are gay men who often stand up for trans rights in several of their episodes. The show is both entertaining and informative. Sometimes I leave an episode with homework and I am never disappointed reading further on the topics they introduced me to. Other episodes offer me suggestions of great films while some episodes are insightful looks into how awful the world can be at times. They are two very vocal, highly opinionated and very intelligent individuals who really know their horror stuff.

I highly recommend this show. I give it 5 out of 5 stars, a perfect show for passing the time. I never miss an episode.

Why I decided to start streaming Minecraft Skyblock at this time

I have a lot of projects I take on. I don’t always finish every project but every project I do work on is worth while to me even if I never finish. The reason is simple, I enjoy it! Hobbies are supposed to be for fun. One of my hobbies is making videos. Not every video I make has to turn into a long running series. Sometimes I just wanna goof off. That is where streaming comes in. 

I enjoy a nice relaxing Minecraft stream where I can build while talking about whatever enters my mind. The best part of streaming is it combines multiple hobbies into one. While I have never taken streaming all that seriously I do keep trying it. 

My goal is not necessarily to find success. Sometimes I wanna do something just for me, whether nobody else ever sees it or not. I have short films and videos I have made just for myself I never shared anywhere. This will always be the case. SO when I step into streaming I am doing it for me. As a way to share the game I love with others. I might try to get set up to stream other games but for now it will just be Minecraft, mostly Skyblock to be honest. 

That is all. I just want to stream for myself. I hope I find an audience if others enjoy my content but honestly the Minecraft field is so crowded enough as it is I doubt I will attract too many followers to this project. I do it for me. That is all.

Blog entry bipolar and day care work

Every single job I have had was found on a list of the worst jobs for someone with Bipolar Disorder. Oops. Apparently I wasn’t aware of the way this disease affected my past job history other than it absolutely did.

Whenever someone asks me what makes keeping a job so difficult for someone with bipolar disorder I have to go into a detailed explanation of how the disease works, with a focus on how it affects me specifically.

Whenever I am experiencing burnout on a job I tend to shift from productivity mode to coasting on auto pilot. Once this happens it is probably a sign the job I have is about to end. Other reasons I might walk out on a job could be having a bad day I might take everything personally. In this scenario I feel so threatened by the events of the bad day I can’t see myself returning to that job without having to put myself in danger. So I walk away.

Whatever the reason for losing a job I have gotten to the point where I need to find something that does work for me. That’s where teaching comes in.

Although teaching is high stress and can be the type of environment that could potentially trigger my stressors it does provide me with some attributes that are good for combating my symptoms. For starters the hours are ideal. Right now I am working a 7-5 shift with a 2 hour lunch break. It comes out to an 8 hour shift with a sweet break smack dab in the middle of the day. This break affords me an opportunity to decompress. One of the things that can overwhelm me is when I am over loaded and I can’t get away. My current job allows me several opportunities to step away for a few moments throughout the day.

I didn’t have a plan with this. Sometimes I write essays to better understand the world around me. Sometimes this is just a diary where I can jot down my thoughts and see how they lay out. Today is one of those. I didn’t have a plan just wanted to share a few thoughts I had.

How the tactile world of comic toys enhances the comic book experience

Ah comic books. I have written quite a bit in the past why I love them so much. They are a medium that combines art and storytelling in a way that resonates with me. Today I want to talk about the link between comic books and action figures. I want to specifically talk about comic book and super hero action figures.

I read a lot of different types of comics. My interests include comedies, horror, action, drama, irreverent, science fiction, fantasy, and of course, super hero. I have never been one to limit my enjoyment to sticking with a single genre or book. I enjoy a good Archie or Scooby Doo as much as I enjoy reading the latest Batman adventures.

That’s all fine and all but what do comic books have to do with action figures? I mean aside from the fact they allow you to own a physical, real world representation of my favorite comic characters. The best part for me is having a tangible item I can hold onto. It brings the world of the comics out of the pages and into the real world where I live.

The first comics toy I remember owning as a child was a Batman figure from Batman Returns. Of course this is before I discovered Transformers originated in comics so I never considered my TF toys as comics toys back in the day. I don’t know if that is a controversial opinion or not. Either way I do remember getting a handful of Batman Returns figures including the Penguin, a penguin soldier and a couple others I forgot which ones plus the Batmobile.

It was the Teenager Mutant Ninja Turtles that really brought me into the world of collecting action figures based on comic books characters. Today I have hundreds of toys ranging from dozens of different sources including largely comics. If I am being honest the vast majority of the toys I own are comics-related in some way. I love comics. I love toys. I love combining them even more.

When I was a kid I didn’t have a lot of friends. I am sure I have written quite a bit before about how I took my toys with me to school. They were my only friends for the most part. I used to sit in my bedroom for hours playing pretend with those different action figures. I especially enjoyed mixing and matching toys from different fandoms. Having Robocop fight Transformers or G.I. Joe soldiers chasing Star Wars “rebels” were some of the fun scenarios I would simulate with my toys.

Another thing I have written about a lot I am sure is how I do not collect toys, I play with them. I am not ashamed of that. I don’t just pose them and repeat dialogue to myself like I see some people do online, I reenact scenes from my favorite stories whether those originate in movies, tv shows, or yes even comics. I also rather enjoy creating my own stories around the characters. It’s my favorite thing to do.

The thing I love most about owning toys based on my favorite comics is the level of creative freedom it affords me. I can create my own stories with those characters free from the limitations of my lacking artistic skills and also expanded beyond the restrictions placed by the comics industry in their story telling. If I want to envision a scenario where Barbie marries G.I. Joe or Megatron gets defeated by Cobra Commander, I can. I am free to create a scenario where the Scooby Doo Mystery gang visit the Mushroom Kingdom from the Super Mario games. I love it.

As a storyteller myself I am fascinated by the story telling potential action figures presents. Sure there are some limitations in regards posability and the physical toys you own. However you can overcome any of these limits by using your own imagination. Of course this is only one step removed from using your own imagination for pure, unfettered role play, but still it is exciting in it’s own right.

Having a connection to the characters I admire is the key element I admire the most. The fact I can touch a representation of my favorite characters make them more real to me. That’s the best part. While it is fun acting out scenarios, sometimes I just have fun holding and admiring a favorite action figure of mine. The tactile rewards that come with physically touching the item help create an emotional bond with those characters making them more authentic to me. This is what I believe a lot of comic book toy collectors experience with their collections. Having a physical copy of their favorite hero helps them get closer to that hero. When I hold a toy of Megatron in my hand I am bringing the *real* Megatron into my home.

The reason I connect more with comic book toys is because I also enjoy reading the books, it’s a simple as that. It goes both ways. Reading a story about the Transformers brings those characters to life in a way my best imaginary play session couldn’t even dream of. I can get a glimpse into the every day lives of my favorite toys. When I read a comic book that features a character I also own a toy of it draws me deeper into the story. As with the emotional connection I feel touching the toy, I feel even closer to the characters events as they unfold in the pages of their books. It adds a level of intimacy with comics hitherto unobtainable. The fact comic books themselves provide a tactic connection to the story telling by being a physical thing we hold whilst we read further adds to the mystique.

Combining comics and toys creates a magical world that allows my imagination to run wild. It helps me to connect with my heroes emotionally. It provides me alternative story telling methods that go beyond the traditional, but above all it gives me an intimate connection to the characters I admire. Comic books and toys go hand in hand for me.