Family is such a hard word for me

Family. It’s a word I struggle with. When I was a kid my parents told me we always do for family, no matter what. It’s not like they were lying exactly but they didn’t specify what do included.

When I was in 3rd grade I woke up one day to find a strange girl sleeping on the floor in my bedroom. I was confused what was going on. After all of us kids were awake they informed me it was my cousin who was going to be living with us for a little while. This wasn’t the first time a stranger came into our house who I was told was “family” and it wouldn’t be the last.

My parents constantly talked about how important family is. My dad, who was an orphan, referred to his adopted family as his real family. In my mind the woman who adopted him wasn’t a stranger he called mom, she was my grandma. There was no question in my mind. This continued into my teen years. I kept meeting random people at family reunions and such that I was supposed to care about for no other reason than because. Eventually I became overwhelmed keeping up with them all so I withdrew.

My sister married a man once that due to the union became my brother. After she divorced him he remained my brother to me because we had already bonded. We were already family. The same thing happened with her second husband, he became my brother and I didn’t question it. Deep down inside I was terrified what would happen if they discovered I was trans, queer, or a witch.

As time went on I couldn’t suffer any longer. I had to live my life as myself. I began transitioning and the first person I told I was transitioning was my mother. She didn’t take it that badly at first. In fact as time progressed I see she has been trying in her own way. I made some remarks, she did so too but over all we’ve both made the best of it to the best of our abilities considering our individual circumstances.

It wasn’t long, however, before many of those so-called family members turned their backs on me. While some claim they did it out of “love” because they want to force me back into their strict religious box, the truth is they never loved me in the first place, not the real me. When I confronted that I realized it was time to move on. Unfortunately I conflated much of that with other things going on and ended up pushing my mom away, then withdrawing myself. All while she was still trying to keep me in her life.

Ultimately I learned a lesson about family. This is especially true when you are LGBT. Family is not the people who share your DNA. Family are the people you let into your heart. Right now Robin is a part of my family, as is her wife AJ and her adopted sister Gea. She has applied the same family is family principal that has burned me time and time again so I remain hesitant to call everyone she does as family. I feel close to her, safe with her but not yet ready to extend my own family beyond her and AJ at this time.

I know this may surprise and possibly offend some of her extended family. The thing is, she can adopt whomever she wants but it’s like that day my mom threw a stranger in my bedroom, I don’t know you and I don’t trust you until you give me a reason to. Over the years Danielle, that’s her name, and I became close enough. But even within that our only bond is the blood our parents shared.

It’s the same with me and my adopted family. I adopted a budding young adult in New Mexico. I have taken them under my wing and hope that the world will let this person live their life as they see fit. They are a fairly genderfluid individual in a way. We share our witchcraft and love of horror movies. We also both have interest in computers. We also share the same circle of friends which allows us to stay connected with others we both care about.

Then there is Christina. The love of my life. The woman who makes my heart beat faster and harder each day. I don’t know what the future holds for the two of us but I won’t rule out the possibility of starting a family with her someday, should we both agree that is doable. Whether that family is us cohabiting while we raise one or more children, or we just extend our mutual love to someone like Lilith and make that our family, I am good either way. Christina knows how much I love her. I know her desires and limits in life.

Right now I am reevaluating who I consider to be a part of my family. I won’t let others adopt me into their unless I am truly ready. In the meantime if you wish to get close to me feel free to reach out to me. Get to know me. Show me I can trust you. I’ve been hurt too many times by the very people who claimed they were looking out for me. There are a couple other trans women I am very close to. I consider us good friends.

Family is hard for me so please don’t take it personal if I don’t just adopt everyone right away. I am hesitant to get hurt again. I fear I don’t have the strength to live through too many more family betrayals. For now, if we connect on any level know that it probably means way more to me than you will ever know. If I do get to where I consider you family rejoice because it means I can trust you.

What to do with Harry Potter today as a trans person?

I am a witch. This isn’t code for I like magic or I cosplay a stereotype it’s  a big part of who I am. I have feel drawn to witchcraft my entire life. As such there has always been a part of me that’s been wanting to watch these films for a long time. I am also trans.

Recently the creator of the series has made some vile, hateful transphobic comments waging war on transwomen in particular. Since that time the trans community has responded with boycotts of her work along with constant attacks not only on her and her supporters, but also any trans person who attempts to enjoy the fictional works she created.

This is where I get conflicted. While I agree she is a hateful person and I absolutely refuse to support her, or her cause, I don’t know how I feel about attacking trans women. We’re under constant attack as it is. So going into something like a discussion on Harry Potter immediately puts a target on my back. Not that I am not prepared to lose followers again as I’ve gotten used to losing people as a trans woman. What I don’t do is block or unfollow people based on their views, even those I disagree with. Here’s why.

I have been bullied and pushed around my entire life. I don’t take kindly to people telling me I have to like something, I am not allowed to like something or that I am supposed to hate something. I will like whatever I choose to like. I do not care how evil or disgusting a creator of a fictional work is because I work in the business. I know all works are collaborative. Harry Potter is a huge franchise and I know that buying the DVD’s doesn’t ONLY support the woman we’re told to hate, it also supports the GOOD people who have spoken out against her comments. There’s more to it than that.

The common criticism I hear from angry trans women is people only like HP because of nostalgia. They won’t let go of something they grew up with. Here’s the thing. I have never seen any of it till recently, right before all this controversy started was when I saw the first one for the first time. In fact if anything due to my estranged relationship with my youngest sister, who was a big fan of these books and movies, I should be immediately repelled by my own hurtful memories associated with it, on top of the transphobic comments now tied to it’s creator. But I am not deterred.

I have no nostalgia for Harry Potter. I didn’t grow up with it. I avoided it for so many reasons. I never read any of the books. I didn’t play any of the games. I understood zero of the pop cultural references made in regards to it. I am not a Harry Potter fan. Yet I feel compelled to defend others right to enjoy it to this day, even, no especially if they are themselves trans and here’s why. We get attacked all the damn time by everyone that hates us. The last thing we need right now is our own people turning on us. If you can’t enjoy HP any longer because of the controversy that is absolutely fine go ahead and boycott it all you want. But DO NOT go after other transwomen period. Ever. Under any circumstances. We don’t need it, we don’t deserve it and like you we’re fragile too looking for any form of comfort.

If a transwomen, or transman, or nonbinary person or however you identify wants to enjoy these movies, then do so. Have fun. Find anything you can in this life to mitigate your suffering. I hate to lose more people, especially people that should be supportive of me as they are going through the same thing, but I will be damned if I let anyone tell me what to like. I refuse to boycott anything just because someone else said so. I don’t go out of my way to proclaim it’s not important but we have to pick our battles. Going after J.K Rowling is perfectly fair she brought it on herself. Going after innocent trans people, especially YOUNG kids who are seeking comfort in a movie series or book series that was written to comfort them, shame on you!

I suspect I will lose followers over this stance. I have the entire film collection on DVD. I bought it a while back, before I was out and before I was even paying attention to trans news. I am going to watch the movies and make up my own mind, for myself. I am not going to be shunned or shamed for doing so. If my watching a movie makes you hate me, then I have no use for you in the first place. I need movies to survive. If you try to take that away from me I’m likely to turn hostile towards you.

I also won’t respond kindly to people saying it’s okay to buy the dvd’s used. No, I will buy whatever I want. I know that a tiny fraction of that money does go to the author, but some of it also goes to the director, the actors, the producers, and the studio. But I don’t care. I have Jeepers Creepers on DVD and I don’t care about the pervert behind them.

I am not going to alter the movies, music, or books I enjoy just because there are bad apples in the world. For crying out loud our entire society is out to get us and so many others are outspoken transphobes yet for some reason Harry Potters has become a battle cry, a lightning rod for hate. Fine, if saying I refuse to boycott HP or saying I’ll watch whatever I want costs me people, then those people probably  weren’t worth my time. And that right there is what makes me sick about all this.

Every single trans person is worth my time. I won’t block or unfollow or attack a trans person who’s very real pain prevents them from enjoying these works of fiction. I won’t, if it hurts you then by all means avoid it. I feel your pain. I share your suffering! I do, I am trans too after all. But please, do not go after other trans people for just enjoying something that lessens their pain. We have to find a way to get along. I don’t mean to sound hostile or confrontational but I am tired of defending myself to people. I do that on a daily basis 24/7 just being trans. I am not going to defend my right to find anything I can to lessen my own pain.

25 Scary movies to get a budding horror fan started

I love horror movies. One aspect that every horror fan immediately jumps to when watching a new one is was it scary? Well here’s my list of the 25 scary movies wort watching. Enjoy. These are not ranked but number 1 is the scariest to me.

1.   Poltergeist

Others don’t find this one as terrifying as I do. To me it’s scary on several levels. One the movie itself has some good freights. But the real terror is the behind-the-scenes horrors associated with the making of the film. Not just the stuff about using real dead bodies in the making of the film. I am talking things like two of the children in this film DYING not long after it’s release. The movie itself is about a family who lives in a haunted house built on top of a cemetery.

2. The Last House on the Left

This is a classic. It’s from a time when movies moved much slower than they do now so it won’t grab modern viewers the same way it got me. This movie has a subtle terror as it’s a tale of two country girls going to the big city, getting kidnapped, raped and then worse. The twist towards the end is what makes this one work though.

3. A Nightmare on Elm Street

Freddy Krueger is the clown prince of horror. But before he was a wise-cracking Spider-Man wanna be he starred in a legit scary horror film about teens dying one-by-one at the hands of a serial killer out for revenge.

4. The Exercist

This movie deserves the praise it gets for being terrifying. No matter your religious beliefs this movie should chill you to the bone. It’s about a young girl who becomes possessed by a brutal demon that doesn’t want to play nice as it taunts the priests trying to expel it from within her. It’s a slow build but well worth it in the end.

5. The Omen

Yeah I know this list isn’t looking that different than others but the Omen scares the shit out of me. The scene with the dogs in the cemetery is enough to cause chills down my spine. It’s about a boy who is supposedly the Anti-Christ. That’s all you need to know.

6. Friday the 13th Part 2

Of all the slasher films this franchise is the most well-know for the body count. But it’s not known for being scary. While the franchise relies heavily on jumps cares, this first outing with Jason at the helm does in fact offer some good scars. Mostly it’s the mood and the tone of the film but it works better than all the others as a legit scary film. The rest are shock value at best. It’s a serial killer flick.

7. House of 1000 Corpses

To some a modern retelling/knockoff of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, to others it’s a deep dive into the fucked up mind of southern country folks with nothing better to do. As a trans woman living in the south this movie chills me to the bone. I know people who could be this family.

8. The Ring

Not instantly scary or gut wrenchingly terrifying but it has an aura of freight to it. This was one of the few scary movies that chilled me as much on the third viewing as it did the first. It’s about a ghost that kills you after watching a haunted VHS tape. Doesn’t sound scary but it works, for me.

9. Oculus 

This one took some twists I didn’t expect. The reveal at the end helped make it all come together. This one plays with your sense of reality so that’s where most of it’s scares come from. You feel fear for those kids and their tortured mother. The premise is chilling too, a haunted mirror. Mirrors are often used as windows to other dimensions in horror so to have it be the killer was interesting.

10. Human Centipede

After clean up the vomit from watching this film you’re going to question everything you know about humanity. This movie is a twisted film about a sick scientist that sews humans together ass to mouth. It’s as fucked up as it sounds.

11. Saw

More about the visuals than the story but it has some good scares. The rest of the series is trash so stop here. It’s a madman who murders people with elaborate traps.

12. Silence of the Lambs

More a thriller than pure horror this one gets its scares in the tension it builds. It’s about an FBI agent trying to save a kidnapped woman who turns to a famed cannibal in custody for assistance. It’s more in the details this one.

13. The People Under the Stairs

This is the SCARIEST fucking movie I have ever seen. I refuse to rewatch it to this day. It’s about a family that kidnaps kids and tortures them in their basement. View at your own risk.

14. The Hitcher

This is about a man is stalked by a hitch hiker. It’s probably not scary anymore but as a kid it messed me up.

15. Hellraiser

This is about a man who summons demons that drag him to hell to torture him. He some how escapes and spends the rest of the movie piecing his broken body back together using the blood of the living. Then his niece get’s wrapped up in the hell raising and the demons unleash their terror on her too.

16. Psycho

It’s a classic but it’s damn worth it. Norman Bates is a staple in the horror genre. This dude is fucked up in the head. One of the earliest true horror movies.

17. The Changeling

This is a story about a man who’s wife and child die in a horrific car accident. He moves into a haunted house where he uncovers deep dark secrets about a certain red-leaning politician that unleashes a scared ghost with a will to cause trouble.

18. The Conjuring

The whole series should do the trick but that first film scared me to my bones. It’s about a family being terrorized by demon. It has a dead witch who sacrificed herself, allegedly, to Satan, and a couple of ghost hunters in over their heads.

19. The Hills Have Eyes

It’s a family on vacation lost in the desert. They get found by cannibals and gore ensues. It’s also scarier for someone who’s lived in that desert and knows people like this.

20. Pet Semetary

The original is the scary one. This is about a family who buys a house in the mountains that is built near a haunted pet cemetery. The book is far, far scarier but the film captures it’s essence well enough.

21. Needful Things

Speaking of the devil, in this film he comes to a small town to trade treasures for souls. He ends up causing some terror along the way while amusing himself in the process. Perfect for those while a slight evil bent in their own souls.

22. 28 Days Later

The only truly scary zombie movie ever made. That’s all you need to know.

23. Phenomena 

This one is weird but it has scares. It’s about a girl who talks to bugs. She is alone and has no friends. She uncovers a serial killer murdering girls her age and it comes after her. She isn’t sure if it’s human or what but it’s got some gore, some scares and really cool nightmare scenes.

24. Candyman

The original. This is a movie about a former slave who was killed and his specter returns to enact revenge. A nosey reporter uncovers his story and also sparks his interest. He spends the movie courting her while framing her for his kills.

25. Sorority Babes in the Slime-Ball Bowl-O-Rama

Not at all a scary movie but well worth the watch just for the title alone and the cheese ball factor. It’s not even trying to be scary. But it has some amusingly bad acting.

Is a sexless relationship really that bad?

I watch a lot of television and movies. One common theme across nearly all of it is the never ending quest to find a sexual partner. Sometimes this quest is disguised as seeking “true love,” most of the time it is flat out raging hormones. But it’s always presented as those who don’t have sex are miserable while those who do are happy.

This couldn’t be further from the truth, especially in my case. I have mentioned in the past how I masturbated as much as the next “guy” growing up. I never cared for it but I felt compelled because of the hormones. It does feel good in a way but it also felt wrong to me. Not residual guilt from my Christian upbringing, I was able to tune that out. What felt wrong tome was how I didn’t want sex to be the focal point of my life. 

Even when  began telling people I was trans I didn’t say I was gay, or even bisexual. It took me a while to declare bisexual because I knew I could see myself exploring things with either gender or sex. But reality quickly sunk in. So here is a confessio wrap in a summary of my sexual experiences. I will refrain from being too explicit.

I won’t talk about underage stuff when I was a teenager, that I chalk up to development and hormones, being a kid. My first close encounter was at the age of 20. I was dating a Mormon girl who was also a single other. Her child didn’t live in her house but that’s a long story. She was constantly pressuring me to explore sex with her. She tried not only showing me her breasts but asking me to feel them when she learned she had breast cancer. At the time I was taken back and declined the offer. She kept pressuring me suggesting it was my Baptist upbringing. I insisted I wasn’t comfortable with that. Many other times she tried to tempt me to mate with her. I resisted and she accused me of being gay. I told her I liked girls but wasn’t ready for sex. Aside from those incidents her and I rarely did more than occasional kissing and holding of hands. Not much sexual there.

A year later I am in my second adult relationship. This was Carmen, the woman I almost married. I won’t recall the specifics here but she was 19, I was 21. After a brief period of flirting then casual dating I asked her to marry me after a few deep conversations.

Carmen and I told our families we were getting married. We set a date and were making plans. We didn’t have firm plans but we were going to make it work. She was definitely willing to try things out. After a few sessions of fooling around she invited me into her bed where she wanted to make things official. After a few minutes of cuddling, groping and kissing I became erect but pushed her away. I decided I wasn’t ready to partake in that.

After my relationship with Carmen ended I never had another close encounter again. I sometimes thought about having sex or being sexual with someone. I sometimes considered, contemplated what it would be like. The truth is I could never actually see myself as the person in those scenarios. Even in my self exploration in my fantasies I was never present. I could watch a dirty movie, but I couldn’t see myself as the star. 

Fast forward to today. 15 months on HRT and my sex drive is gone. Completely diminished. I have read some say HRT brings out what was under the surface. I have heard others suggest your sexuality can change. After getting into a close intimate relationship with another trans person who shared similar feelings as myself I discovered something about me, I don’t think I am bisexual or lesbian. I think I am probably on the asexual spectrum. I figured this because sex doesn’t motivate me, it doesn’t interest me nor does it appeal to me. I can’ picture myself doing it with someone else and I never truly could. I suppressed this feeling believing it was shame from my Christian teachings. I always knew people have sex but in my mind I always figured I was one of the rare folks who wouldn’t. I detested being called an incel or whenever someone would say you’ll find the right person whenever I said I was a virgin. I don’t need people telling me I will or should find a sexual partner. I have learned that I am comfortable living a sexless life. Thanks to having a wonderful and supportive girlfriend who shared similar feelings with me I think I can safely say this feels right for me.

I have joked about things in the past. I have explored things in my mind but deep down I discovered I don’t feel sexual attraction like most. When I see a clearly attractive person I don’t get horny for them or declare what I’d like to do to that person. Not since removing the disgusting hormones from my body. I am happy I don’t have a sex drive. It allows me to have a deeper relationship with the woman I love without getting bogged down in the pressures of scoring, whatever that means.

If you have a friend who says they are asexual don’t tell them they haven’t found the right person or it’ll happen when it happens. Instead just support their decision and respect their desire to not engage in those discussions. I became revulsed to the point of near vomiting when my sister showed me her fake boob she wore exploring breast sizes. She commented at that time I had no business talking about sex. After meeting my current, ace, girlfriend I discovered something. She was right all along. I don’t think sex is for me, at least not in the traditional way. That’s not to say if my partner and I ever decide to explore whatever we do find we’re both comfortable with I won’t give things a shot. But for now I am happy where I am. It certainly takes the pressure off. It also gives me a wonderful peace of mind. I understand it’s not for everyone and it’s fairly rare. But hey I am a trans woman with multiple mental health conditions. I am already among the rarest of the rare. I am not at all surprised whenever I learn something else that is considered so-called normal behavior isn’t for me. It makes me feel better about knowing each person truly is unique.  

Why it’s hard for LGBT folks to find faith

Finding a church can be difficult for anyone. There’s a lot to consider. Religion is a deeply personal experience. Yet it is especially frustrating for LGBT individuals who want to have the same faith as others.

Growing up as in the evagelical mostly Baptist church circles there was one thing I had constantly beat into my head, God hates gays. Some churches taught it subtly by saying God only hates the sin not the sinner, others outright said he despises them for being an abomination. Whichever approach they took it always resulted in God, whom you were trying to love, hating you or something fundamentally integral to who you are. That extra layer of self loathing makes it exceptionally hard to find a church that is affirming and accepting.

When I started reading up online about being trans the very first thing I searched in Google above all else was Is it against the Bible to be trans. I spent a lot of years agonizing over that question. It took me far too long to answer that question than it should have take. Most of the time I’d come across a Focus on the Family article and put it to rest. I couldn’t be trans if I was God would hate me.

The feelings never went away so I was ashamed to pray, attend church or fellowship with other believers because I was terrified I couldn’t hide it or that I would confess to the wrong person. I went through a long period where I was so conflicted over this issue the best I could do was suppress it by becoming the very thing I hated, anti-LGBT. Attacking my fellow queers was how I coped. I figured if I could tear them down, straighten them out so-to-speak I could find the inner strength myself to “overcome” my overpowering “sinful” desires to be myself. It took my praying point blank “God, is it okay if I am trans?”

I can’t tell you how relieved I was once I settled that issue. Once I started my journey I realized my spiritual well being was not any safer than it had been. That fear of my Christian peers turning on me became reality. I had a few who remained by my side but I lost more than I’d care to admit. There are whole denominations of churches I used to frequent I am not afraid to attend their services. Afraid to practice the religion that was so near and dear to my heart.

That is when I began to see another pattern emerging among queer folks. So many of use, especially lesbians, turn to witchcraft and similar Pagan or Wiccan alternatives to Christianity. I have always felt a calling to magic. The reason I was Christian in the first place was because I have a deep connection to the spiritual world and felt safe aligning myself with the self-proclaimed Almighty Holy Spirit. If that was the spirit to commune with then I was set. However I began to realize it wasn’t just Christians I was having an issue with, it was the religion entirely.

Going through a longer period of soul searching than I will admit, I reflected deeply on everything I had learned over the years. I eventually came to the conclusion that although I had found an LGBT affirming Protestant church whose services and people provided me some fellowship, it didn’t take long before someone responded to my health crisis with God will take care of you just believe. I was asking for legit advice I was concerned for my well being and I got a stonewall response. The same we don’t have answers answer you often get from far too many people of faith. Just trust God. Yes I did TRUST God but I wasn’t getting answers so I felt like that response was disrespectful. I finally saw Christianity for what it was, even the Good queer Christians were causing harm, albeit inadvertently. What made it worse was I was diagnosed with an incurable medical condition that forces me to make major lifestyle changes. I was lamenting that seeking advice. What I got was trust God it’ll be okay. No it’s not always okay.

Walking away from ones faith can be as difficult as living within it. Despite all my fears of damning myself to hellfire, I felt much freer and at peace once I declared I was distancing myself from Christianity and devoting myself to paganism. I have been invested in witchcraft my entire life. Now I found a way to follow that path while finding peace with my previous religion. 

In a way it feels like a divorce. I was married to a deity I felt safe with, except at times I felt ashamed and afraid. Once I realized following that spirit was causing me harm I was more comfortable accepting I had to find another path. One thing Pagans will tell you is many feel called by a particular deity. I was called by Joshua when I was 12. I still pray to him when I feel the need. But I have also opened myself up to the possibility of finding one or more other Goddesses to revere.

I don’t know where my spiritual journey will take me. What I know is being LGBT and Christian is extremely bad for the soul. Even if you find a community that finds a way to accept you, there’s so many other things wrong with that religion I can no longer, in good faith, practice it’s tenants. Nor can I in good conscious proclaim myself one of it’s adherents. This was heartbreaking at first but quite peaceful soon after.

I consider myself quite a spiritual person. If you are also LGBT and seeking spiritual guidance know you are not alone. Finding the right religion for you should be personal. The one piece of advice I will give you is do not let others influence your faith. Find what works for you. Don’t stress about the possibility of what others proclaim. 

The story of how one dark afternoon began to turn into a fairytale romance

Back in June I reached the darkest point I had been in my life for a very long time. Since moving to the city with my adopted sister Robin I felt frustrated as nothing was working out as expected. Several months had gone by and not a single writing job had come my way. I was still working for lousy temp agencies doing jobs my heart wasn’t into. 

My health complications began in May. By June I was already frustrated and getting tired of being sick. Robin and I had been fighting over the podcast as well as my financial struggles that were affecting my hopes to get into an apartment. After a particularly brutal fight that drained me of all remaining hope I texted Robin I was done. Tears in my eyes I walked into the kitchen, found a very sharp knife and began preparing to take my life. I was done with everything. I was losing my family, my dreams, my hope for independence, my motivation to do the podcast and, above all, my sister. I had nothing left to live for.

After she returned from her dinner with her friend she talked me out of my desire to die. She left a dinner she needed to recharge her own emotional batteries tot end to her sister who was in pain. Once she came home and we hugged it out things begane to improve. After a few drinks, a game of trivial pursuit and a long talk I decided I was leaving her podcast behind to step back from all of my creative projects. I needed to clear my head. I needed to realign my interest with what I was capable of getting done.

During that dark time I had a few friends reach out to me on Twitter to ensure I was okay. Some of those have become my sisters. Heidi and Gea are among the two I admire the most and am eternally grateful reached out. Kat has lifted me up in ways she may never know. We’ve shared some zoom calls and cooking triumphs with one another that gave me small bits of joy.

Then there is Christina. The angel sent down from Heaven to give me hope. When she first started messaging me it was very casual. She started by telling me how much she related to the things I said on the podcast. At first we chatted about NBA playoffs as they were happening at the time and it was a pretty memorable historic run for a team nobody expected would be in it, let alone win the title. Basketball was something we both shared with our respective fathers so we bonded over that.

Slowly our conversations became even more personal. Unprompted she began opening up to me as I began opening up to her. After two months of DMing on Twitter we had our first Zoom chat. I say our first, I zoomed with her earlier as I interviewed her for an article I’ve yet to write. It’ll get written for sure but I have to be cautious considering how things began to develop. During that first chat we awkwardly fumbled through a conversation as we both do as we started laying down the foundation of what was to come.

After a few more zoom calls we started really connecting. At one point we each shared on Twitter we were both crushing, in our own way, on a fellow trans mutual and reading between the lines I surmised it was her and I. She confirmed my suspicions and we began having even friendlier talks.

Two weeks into our discussions I told her I as developing feelings for her. She shared those feelings herself so we took things to the next level. After a very emotional chat I asked her if it was okay if I called her my girlfriend. She agreed and I shared my first public post I was seeing someone. It took her another week to go public as she trickled out very obvious clues to which I playfully went along with.

Behind the scenes we’ve opened up with one another in ways I never thought possible. I’ve confessed some of my dark secrets to her, to which she helped me find closure. She’s confided her deepest fears in me to which I offered comfort in my own way. We’ve bother shared our intentions and our expectations. We know who we’re pursuing and what each is capable of. We’ve each had to pick the other up off and lift one another back to stability.

After only a few weeks of chatting with her my crush began. That is what prompted me to write a series of articles asking the question “What is love” as I explored my past experiences and near misses with the most valued human emotion. I began to develop stronger feelings and interest in this wonderful woman as she would read each of my articles then comment on them with her own insights. I knew she wasn’t just a super fan, there was something special going on. I would sprinkle in tidbits into my articles hoping to get her attention. Seeing as how it worked I began feeling even closer with her than before.

A week after my birthday I told her in a way I was comfortable how much I loved her. She responded in her own way, reminding me to take her difficulty expressing emotions very seriously. After we discussed what that meant to us both we agreed I wouldn’t put pressure on her. She agreed to let me express myself anyway I was comfortable with. So I shared a public post telling the world I had said I loved her. This garnered much positive reactions from our friends and followers. It also came up in our following call. I knew she wanted to express herself so I took it upon myself to give her the words in a way I knew she’d find favorable.

On Friday I called a florist near her location and paid them the money to deliver her some flowers I thought she would really enjoy having. Knowing her home situation I clued her in on a pending delivery so she knew to keep her eye out on it. We chatted all day while she sat impatiently by the window waiting for her surprise to arrive. Mere seconds after she received the flowers, with her on camera so I could see her reaction, we both tearfully shared our intimate development with the world via her timeline. Once she successfully shared all her thoughts I was given permission to retweet and comment on those posts, which I did enthusiastically. I’ve been in a state of blissful joy ever since. 

Christina brought hope into my world. She brought happiness into my life I never thought possible for me. She has filled my heart with feelings of love, appreciation, kindness, trust, desire and more. I feel I am falling in love with a woman, who thankfully is doing the same, and it’s the most amazing feeling I have ever felt. She is someone I can relate to in so many ways. We connect on so many levels I am in awe at how it is all developing.

Letting her into my life was the best thing I ever did. I have written her into my heart where she will remain permanently. For the first time in my life I can actually envision a future with someone I love there by my side. I have written her poems which she hasn’t read yet. We’ve shared adventures in online games as a way to bond beyond face-to-face video chats. We’ve secretly, and not-so-secretly, been texting and tweeting at one another near constantly. And we’ve both shared things neither of us thought possible. It warms my heart beyond words seeing all the people on social media rooting for our budding romance. That level of support in and of itself is beyond my comprehension, yet I welcome it with open arms.

Christina knows how I feel about her. I know how she feels about me. Right now we’re going to continue seeing where this goes. In the meantime I am going to keep losing sleep as I dream about the wonderful angel who decided to enter my life at a time when I needed her most. I don’t hear the dark voices tempting me to end things any more. All it took was for me to say point blank I have Christina, she gives me something to live for. That renews my strength I had nearly given up. Those voices have been replaced by the love song of an angel whispering into my heart. This is one of those love stories for the ages. I hope we get to give it a happily ever after. For the time being I’ll settle for a tale as old as time.

 

Why I am more than okay working at Starbucks for the foreseeable future

When I decided to seek employment with Starbucks I knew I was making a decision. I was choosing to accept my station in life. I wasn’t able to get adequate employment sufficient to pay for my needs as well as my transition related healthcare costs. So I decided to buckle down.

This isn’t the first time I have taken a job in the food service industry. I spent many years working as a delivery driver for various pizza chains. I worked multiple Dominoes, Pizza Hutt, Papa Johns and Little Caesars jobs. Mostly I stuck with delivery because I was afraid of people in the past. I felt my social anxiety would get the best of me and most times it did.

I could barely muster the words to deliver a pizza most days. If the customer went off script I was lost. Since working in the news field I learned how to think quickly in my feet. I now have developed the customer service skills necessary to accept a front line service job. Of course this doesn’t mean I want to make this my primary source of income. If I find myself in a situation where I have to depend on working for a coffee shop I might not last long.

I don’t want to sound ungrateful, on the contrary I am super excited for this opportunity. Not just because the money will go a long ways in lifting me up. There is also the benefit of if I make it work I can get my transition costs covered and that’s a big deal for me. Plus as a side bonus I get to work for a company that actually goes out of its way to let people know it is LGBT affirming. That alone means the world to me right now.

I am not sure what this next chapter of my life will look like. I suspect I will grow tired of juggling two jobs while simultaneously enjoying the two incomes. I know I will have to make adjustments to my schedule to make room for the important people in my life. I am not yet certain what that will look like but I know one thing is for sure, I am absolutely resilient. I will get through this. I will rise to the challenge and when the time comes I will come out on the other side a better person. That’s my promise to you. That’s my goal in this life, to keep moving forward.

A brief run down of my morning panic attack

I woke up feeling depressed again for no good reason. I filled out the intake form to talk to a mental health professional my insurance covers. Once I got to the part where I pay my portion I was overwhelmed at how expensive it was. In that moment I went into panic. Why does insurance not pay for shit? Why does mental health even cost money in the first place? I freaked out and went on a Twitter rampage.

After a few minutes I had settled down. This is a common cycle for me. Before I would bottle it all up, hit the wall and scream into my pillow. Among other things living with a married couple has put limits on my coping mechanisms. I can’t get my sister to understand I have no coping skills right now. The things I do I can’t do because I am in someone else’s house. So I struggle.

Earlier in the summer I had a therapist I was talking to once a week. She was great and I always felt better after our sessions. But then I took a new job where it became difficult for us to continue our sessions so we mutually agreed to terminate our relationship. This left me sans coping mechanisms and without anyone to talk to.

Sure I have my sister but she is going through her own challenges. She can’t provide me support, her support is made out of straw and it’s been raining on her since we met. I’ve been working, hard, to improve. I keep busy. I find time for myself, I met a wonderful woman who makes me beyond happy, and yet I still find myself getting overwhelmed. It’s frustrating. I know I need help but I can’t seem to find it. I get told try harder. Believe me if I could I would. I am screaming on top of my lungs in my head to do better but nothing works.

I don’t know where all of this comes from. I understand the PTSD I went through hell as a kid. I get the anxiety, people make me nervous. The depression confuddles me. Aside from feeling lonely, which I now have help with, I have little to complain about, so why do I feel like I am worthless sinking into a abyss of despair every day when I wake up? Some days I hide it or cover it up but as my girlfriend pointed out, I kinda wear my emotions on my sleeve. This, naturally, has cost me more than my share of jobs.

I know I need help. I know I outta qualify for state assistance but they don’t make it easy. I need someone to walk me through the process but there isn’t anyone to do that. I need someone to offer me step-by-step instructions but they insist I figure it out myself. Then, I get distracted and forget to follow up. I’ll start feeling better and dismiss it as a moment of disillusion I needed to get over.

The truth is I recognize I need help. I just don’t have the skills necessary to seek it out on my own. I fear not getting help will continue to compound my problems.

How you can help this site grow with a small contribution to my Patreon campaign

You notice something about my website you don’t see on other websites? Let me help you out, there are no ads. I pledged to keep my websites ad free from the beginning. The only websites I have ever ran ads on where the ones I didn’t have full control over. I do this for the love of it not for the money.

Here’s why I bring this up. I don’t get paid to write articles. I get up at 5 am every morning Monday through Friday to write an article. I try to write something relevant to Trans people or something personal about my life, which consequently includes my trans experience. Sometimes I’ll dabble in a fun what if type topic or movie discussion but the point is I do this every day. I don’t paid for it. I don’t run ads, and I likely never will. I will accept sponsorships but that’s something I can have more control over.

Right now I am asking for your support. I am doing this because I am low on funds. I currently pledge two Patreon accounts. I also give blood every other month as they let me. Between that and sharing everyone else’s gofundme’s which I try to contribute, I am spread pretty thin these days.

I can’t offer you much in the way of bonus content right now but if you do goto my Patreon page, found here: http://www.patreon.com/stephaniebri you can sign up for three different tiers.

The base tier is $2 a month. At this level you get access to my weekly podcast a few days early. Public episodes air on Wednesdays at noon central time. Patrons get it on Sunday as soon as I can get it uploaded. You can also vote in a poll to help me pick a topic for a fun game I play at the end of the show. I might also write bonus patron exclusive content for the Patreon blog.

The second tier is $3 a month. At this level you can get everything from tier 1 plus a full, unedited video of the podcast with bumpers between segments. This tier is the one that helps me out the most.

If you wanna meet with me face-to-face once a month you can sign up for the $4 tier and get access to a monthly zoom hangout in addition to everything else mentioned above.

If you just wanna support my writing but aren’t interested in the podcast content that is understandable. If you want to pledge at whichever tier you feel comfortable with to help me out, that’s great! I’d appreciate it tremendously.

I hope to have more bonus content in the future. For now I want to make a pledge of my own. I will continue to get up early every morning so I can write something for you, the readers. I will commit to recording my podcast on time barring unforeseen life events, each week.

I do have a job. I am trying to get a second one. I am struggling to pay bills, with medical expenses and of course transitioning costs. My insurance does not help with anything. My job does not offer benefits because I am through a temp agency. It’s tough right now. I am not asking for a ton of money just if you can help with a small pledge. Even the $2 a month pledge helps. Every little bit will take some of the burden off me. Right now I have two wonderful Patrons who support my content. I am super grateful for both of them. Thank you each for helping out. What I can say is the amount they’ve pledged doesn’t even match what I give to two other trans creators, one you all know very well, so I could use a little more love y’all.

I don’t like asking for money. I am taking down my gofundme because I am going to find another way to get my surgery covered. One thing I can do is create content for your pleasure. I hope that you enjoy my writings, videos, or my podcasts enough to help me out.

As of right now I am feeling much better about the way things are going. With your help and support I can get where I need to go. Remember I will keep fighting for your rights ever chance I get. Thanks and stay cool.