Trigger Warning: sexual abuse; the day my uncle tried to molest me

Content Warning: Sexual abuse/trauma

When I was 16 years old my parents let my uncle Ed move into our backyard. He lived in an RV camper while we lived in the 3 bedroom trailer house. I lived there with my two younger sisters. 

My uncle took to me instantly. He would invite me to go to the flea market with him. He used to make planter boxes for house plants and gardens out of wood. We would build them together. They came in two varieties, the first was a simple wooden box you would put flowers in. The other one was a large wishing well that would house a bush or small tree. 

We would go to the flea market and sell his junk as well as those homemade planter boxes. He paid me a commission on sales and a flat fee for helping out. While there he bought me lunch as well as toys plus comic books and video games. He spoiled me. At first he quickly became my favorite uncle.

The spoiling continued. He would take me to the mall to go shopping at the video game store. Sometimes he would take me out to eat at restaurants or we’d go to the movies. It felt like I had an uncle that I could really bond with. It sure as hell didn’t feel anything like grooming at the time, yet that is exactly what it was. 

I remember my mom got him a job volunteering as an assistant youth minister at our church. There were two boys that he became quit fond of. I won’t share their names it’s not important to the story. What I will share is they were best friends, they did everything together.

My uncle soon began taking the three of us to places. Some days he would hire them to come over and do chores around the house, including yard work. He was disabled. He had polio as a kid so he couldn’t turn his neck. He also walked with a cane and was unable to bend over. Eventually he would get in a wheelchair. Before that he began the grooming process of those two boys also. 

Then things got real all of a sudden. 

One day I was invited over to his house to help him fix his new laptop computer. It wasn’t brand new it was a used one he picked up at a flea market somewhere. I think he said he wanted to use it for email and stuff like that. It was the late 90s so the internet was still fairly new. 

Often times I would walk into his camper he would be sitting there in his underwear watching an action movie on VHS. Sometimes he would invite me into his house to sit and watch a movie with him. I never asked him why he was in his underwear, I just pushed it out of my mind and watched the film he invited me to watch. This happened a lot until that day I mentioned with his computer. 

There I was working on his computer trying to get it connected to the dial up modem he purchased. He had a dial up internet account from the local phone company. That was when he made his move. Sitting on the chair next to me I felt his hands move across my thigh.

Eventually he made his way further inward while patting me on my bottom. I immediately became uncomfortable and walked out. He grabbed me and said sit down. He asked what I was afraid of then proceeded to tell me a story about his first blow job. I became repulsed and said I wasn’t into that kind of stuff. He said what are you a faggot or something? He said that while trying to rub my shoulders allegedly to help me relax. I had enough. I walked out for good this time. I left his house and promptly went home. 

A few weeks went by I started to piece together the events in my mind. As I lay in bed wondering what I did to lead him on, questioning if maybe I was gay, I recalled all the times we would hang out sorting through my mind looking for clues. 

We moved to right on the border of Southern Idaho and Nevada. One day I was sitting in my living room watching TV when my dad called me on the phone. “Yeah?” I asked. 

“You remember your friend, B.” dad said. 

“Yes what about him?” I asked. 

“Well, He’s a goner. They found his body at the bottom of the river last night. I guess he jumped in they said. He’s dead.”

I fell to the floor in tears. Over the course of the next few weeks I would learn he had in deed taken his life allegedly as a result of his girlfriend breaking up with him. It was at his funeral that other friend of his, the one from earlier in the story, told me in a cryptic manner it was my Uncles fault.

It didn’t take long for me to piece together what that meant. He had been grooming them the same as he had done me. I wondered what he could have tried, or worse, with either of them. During the course of the death investigation allegations came out from other boys from the church. It was ruled as hearsay and thus nothing was done about it. He was asked to resign his position from the church and died a lonely old man a few years later. 

I don’t like to talk about how when he was rubbing my private parts he was in his underwear fully erect. The image of his underwear burned into my brain forever haunting me. I never confirmed to anyone what he did all I ever said was “I believed the allegations” and left it at that. 

I didn’t even tell my mom about this until several years after his death. It was after I began transitioning she told me how he spent time in jail for being a pervert. I asked if she knew he was a perv why did she let him live in our backyard. She said something about rehabilitation and you take care of family no matter what. She told me she was so concerned with protecting her daughters she never thought about protecting her son. I told her flat out he did molest one of your daughters, it was me. I never told her the details. Even now there may be things I have suppressed as I have spent most of my life trying to bury the events of that time in my life. 

Looking back on it I 100 percent believe my friend took his life as a result of what my uncle did to him. I sift through my trauma-scarred memories looking for clues I may have missed of my own grooming. Once I knew what that word meant everything he did for me suddenly made perfect sense. He wasn’t my favorite uncle, he was a monster trying to get me to do things I was no willing to do.

Unfortunately I am convinced he got to my other friends instead. What I am certain of is what he said to me that day. I will never forget the way he accused me of being gay because I didn’t like him rubbing my privates. 

I wish I could sit here and tell you that was the only instance of sexual abuse and sexual trauma I experienced in my life. I won’t go into specifics but I had a girlfriend once attempt to lure me into bed and when I refused she proceeded to do something to me she thought would change my mind. When I further refused her she broke up with me. I didn’t like to tell my friends what happened because I was ashamed. I also hearkened back to what my uncle tried. I felt guilt and shame so I withdrew from girls and friends. I stopped dating for a long time. 

There are a couple other instances I won’t go into here. One was the woman I had become engaged to that one time. Same story she wanted sex, I said no so she took something from me instead hoping it would lure me into bed. When I refused she accused me of being gay as well. I explained how I was ultra religious and not ready as I wanted to wait till we were married. 

In all three of those instances someone tried touching me in a way I was not comfortable being touched. In all three of those instances I felt guilt and shame. I felt like there must be something wrong with me. I felt like I was a freak who needed to get over it and do the thing the girls wanted me to do. 

All of my sexual encounters in my lifetime were events that left me traumatized. None of them were consensual. None of them were pleasurable experiences. All of them left me scarred. 

I don’t like to talk about this stuff because it is triggering for me. I know as I write this it is likely to be triggering to others who perhaps have gone through worse. I don’t share it to bring attention to myself. I recall it simply as a matter-of-fact. Something that happened in my life I have largely suppressed.

I never told a living soul any of these events before tonight. The first person I opened up to was my loving, kind and understanding girlfriend. I knew opening up to her I was in a safe space. Now I write this here hoping maybe my story will help others face their own demons.

Sexual trauma is nothing to laugh at nor is it something we should hide from. It is difficult to talk about. It should be difficult to talk about. Our most private moments should only be shared with others whom we choose, not selfish individuals who violate our trust.

I stayed up late watching cartoons on Tubi and this is what I learned from it

I recently discovered Tubi has a bunch of old retro cartoons from my childhood on its streaming service. This has left me wandering down a nostalgia trip of late as I revisit shows I had long forgotten. I suffered a pretty traumatic event this week for my and my girlfriends relationship. Because of that I have found myself watching old cartoons from my youth as a sort of comfort entertainment.

Obviously I am not a psychiatrist nor therapist of any kind. To be honest I don’t even know if it is good for my mental health to be watching things from that far back in my life. What I do know is nostalgia is a powerful drug, one that I can absolutely use a strong dosages of right about now.

I don’t want to discuss the friendship that ended. It’s complicated and frankly I am still processing everything that went down. What I am doing is trying to stop crying from the pain it inflicted upon me. Thus I turned to Tubi.

The first show I found myself revisiting was Scooby Doo Where Are You? This was a show before my time quite honestly. My Scooby Doo was A Pup Named Scooby Doo. Fortunately for my childhood psyche this show did exist in reruns on Saturday and Sunday mornings as well as weekdays in syndication from time to time. I watched the first episode where the Scooby Gang encounters the famous Black Knight.

Truth be told I am a big fan of Scooby Doo as a series. I enjoy the concept and characters quite a bit. However, being further honest I have never watched very many of his shows. There is a simple reason for this. I was born in 1982. After Pup went off the air he was basically out of sight, out of mind throughout my teen years. In fact my next encounter with him would be the live action feature film released in 2002, when I was a full 20 years of age.

Moving on the second show I watched was an episode of Super Mario Bros. 3. This was a cartoon I remember obsessing over in my childhood. I had a Nintendo Entertainment System starting when I was six years old. I formed an instant bond with the character and the imaginative world he encountered in his video games. The main reason I enjoyed SMB3’s cartoon more than it’s predecessor, the Super Mario Bros. Super Show, was because it felt slightly more faithful to the source material. Last night I had an epiphany though.

The episode I watched was one I had no memory of watching previously. I stopped and asked myself should I be watching episodes I don’t remember? Since the purpose of the comfort food is familiarity it felt like I should be watching a favorite of mine. Trouble is I couldn’t recall any specific details from a single episode in my memory. This led me to the epiphany.

I realized when I was a kid I was excited to see a new episode I hadn’t before. I was obsessed with the characters so getting to see more of their world meant more joy for me. Due to living with three sisters of varying ages older and younger than myself the battle for the television remote did not always go in my favor. Thus I didn’t get to watch many episodes growing up. I was often outnumbered. I decided to satiate my kid self and indulge in the episode I had no recollection of rather than seek out one I thought I might vaguely recall.

The next cartoon on my list was an episode of G.I. Joe A Real American Hero. I watched the Season 3 post movie episode which was a part one of a five part story arc. I realized I didn’t have the emotional stamina to watch more than a single episode of any cartoon so I left on a cliffhanger to return at a later time. I didn’t care much for G.I. Joe as a kid. It was mostly that show that came on after Transformers. I mostly watched it just to maintain control over the TV remote as previously mentioned.

Finally I decided to dust off a show I thought I imagined. I needed a strong dose of nostalgia this time. I decided to watch the pilot episode of the animated show C.O.P.S. It’s a futuristic TV series about a group of superhero cops. It wasn’t what I remembered the show being. To be fair I hardly have nothing more than what amounts to a fever dreams worth of memories of the show in the first place. I was at the end of my rope during this episode. I feel asleep watching it. This was exactly what I needed as the whole purpose of me watching these retro cartoons in the first place was to induce sleep while putting my mind at ease.

I wish I could say it worked. I barely awoke an hour later due to the storm. AS a result I made a midnight run to McDonalds to continue the mental health self care by ordering myself a Quarter Pounder with Cheese value meal. I returned home to get a couple more hours of sleep before the storm woke me up once more. This time I decided to write about my experiences with Tubi and the resulting interrupted slumber I am now longing to restore.

Sometimes nostalgia can be a blessing. When we are hurting taking a trip down memory lane can often bring fond memories to the forefront of our minds, thus allowing our hearts to heal from whatever ails us. However when our hearts are as broken as mine currently is nostalgia feels more like alcohol, a painful escape with negative consequences more than self medication.

Needless to say my sleep was largely disrupted because the events of the weeks traumatic experience replayed in my head as I tried to drift into dream land. I am struggling with a mixture of guilt, worry and anguish over losing a friend with a mere touch of relief she is no longer in my life causing me harm. Ending a toxic relationship can also be a double edged sword much like nostalgia. It feels good, at first, as the pain subsides and you catch your breath. Then once reality sinks in all the energy you spent on the relationship that is gone which you can never get back begins to haunt you. The kind deeds you did to help someone unwilling to seek help brings up feelings of regret not doing more while also feeling regret for possibly doing too much. In the end I am going to need a few more days to recover from this one.

I am a broken person to begin with. Going through the experience of a further broken individual trauma dump on me then threaten to end her life while blaming me has shaken me to my core. I will recover in time but for now I am going to be watching a whole lot of cartoons, drinking a ton of Kool Aid and eating a bunch of sugary cereal as I try every tool I have in my toolbox to mend my broken heart.

What the Celtic Goddess Brigid meant to me while she was in my life

When I took the pagan goddess Brigid to be my matron goddess I felt something stirring within me. I felt her calling to me. I felt her telling me she was choosing me to be her follower. Then I performed a ritual binding her to my heart on Mabon, the Fall Equinox. She was with me every day from that moment on.

During our time together Brigid wanted little from me at first. She expected me to learn about her. I was tasked with reading the legends and myths she was associated with. I learned as much about her history as I could as tricky as it was with a Catholic Saint running around bearing her name and all. Still I kept trying to grow the relationship.

The entire time we were together I kept going back to my left over fears I had from my Christian upbringing. One night I had a terrible nightmare and in the dream I called to her. She came to me and saved me. In the dream she said she would always be there to protect me. I could rely on her. A few weeks later I had another even scarier dream which I called upon her again and she was there then too. She said I could always call on her. Then the third time I had a nightmare I called to her and she left me. She didn’t laugh at me but she indicated she sent me the nightmare to get my attention.

I was frightened by her. Why would she do this to me? I accused her of being either a fallen angel or an outright demon. She scoffed at the accusation and we got into a fight. She left me, or at least I told her to leave. I got the sense she stuck around watching me for a bit off and on but she no longer answers my calls. She no longer responds to my pleas. I fear I may have chased her away, for good.

Yesterday I consulted the tarot cards. I was given the indication she could return if I was willing to put in the work. I am doing that starting with this. I wanted to write yet another blog entry on what she meant to me.

During our time together I felt the warmth of her motherly figure. I even considered her my spiritual mother, my matron Goddess even. She accepted the motherly role. I gave her offerings every day. Sometimes I would pray simple prayers to her. Each day I would say my daily devotion to her. A ritualistic prayer I wrote specifically to her. For a while she seemed to be okay with my dedication to her. Then she asked me to become her priestess. This was not something I was ready for when she called me. Looking back on it I am not sure I even knew what she was asking. I dare not just anoint myself her priestess that doesn’t work to well.

I did go through the steps of reaching out to the Universalist church and a couple others Wiccan covens to see what it would take to become a clergy of hers. It turns out the process is extremely complicated. It would require a lifetime of dedicated service to a single deity. The last time I was that devoted to a God was the Christ. I didn’t want to be that devoted to a single god or goddess again so soon after breaking up with him.

Then after Brigid left me I did what I expected I would do, I returned to Christ. I did this as I often do as he is like a safety net for me. However he was not welcoming me with open arms. Although the priest did read the story of the prodigal son at church so I suspect he was telling me he would welcome me back, I did the unthinkable. During the silent prayer section of the service I prayed to Yahweh to mend my broken relationship with Brigid. I am not sure he was receptive of that prayer.

Mother Brigid, my Matron Goddess and the source of my spiritual fervor, if you can read this I am deeply sorry for the way things ended between us. I would gladly welcome you back into my life if you will have me. I know we need to work things out, but I am willing to make the effort. Starting with this essay on what you meant to me. You were my world for a while. I would like to restore our relationship if you would give me yet another chance. In the meantime I wish you nothing but peace and prosperity in your existence. I pray you return to me. So May It Be.

My long and complicated relationship with Spider-Man

Spider-Man is one of those iconic comic book superheroes that symbolizes everything that separates Marvel Comics from DC Comics. He’s the every man superhero. He’s basically been the companies mascot since his inception. As popular as the character is I have had quit a rocky relationship with him my entire life. Let me explain.

My first exposure to Spider-Man was Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. It was this really lame animated cartoon that came on TV that had nothing to do with my beloved Batman, so I would quickly flip the channel whenever this show was on TV. Between this aversion to that terrible show and a few choice appearances in NES games I rented out of curiosity, I started to develop a dislike for the character. I was too young to know anything about the Marvel vs. DC debate. I knew that the Transformers comics I read said Marvel Comics in the corner and Batman comics said DC, that was about all I knew. I hadn’t discovered X-Men quit yet. 

Then I did. 

Once I was introduced to the X-Men I was hooked. Batman was suddenly less interesting. The first X-Men comic I ever read had Nightcrawler I think in a Santa Clause costume if I remember correctly. I hardly remember what was in the story just that cover was all I needed to get me to read that book. I was in 3rd  grade. I was still firmly deterred from giving any attention to the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. 

Then I met a Spider-Man fan. 

I was in 6th grade. I had a friend who was a Spidey super-fan. This friend had Spider-Man comics, toys and video games as well as the official Spider-Man Magazine. At first I thought he was crazy to be obsessed with this weird spider character. Then he let me read a couple of his favorite books. I started with a story where he meets Venom. I instantly found myself drawn to the Venom character. At first I only wanted to get into Venom comics but my friend kept pushing.

Fox Kids changes everything.

Hot on the heels of the Batman and X-Men animated cartoons Fox Kids was primed to add another superhero comic. Enter the Spider-Man animated series. Produced along side the X-Men animated series it got me hooked on the character. The show finally broke through to me. At age 12 I was finally becoming a Spider-Man fan. I started reading the comics myself month to month. It was the best time to get into Spider-Man comics too as the clone saga was just getting started. I read through the entire saga along side the concurrently running Age of Apocalypse saga running through the X-Books. 

Then Paperbag Man happened.

At this point the Onslaught saga was tearing through the mutant books. Somehow Spider-Man had to wear a paper bag on his head and run around shirtless. This was when I stopped reading his comics. At this point I decided the character just wasn’t worth following anymore. This was around the time I gave up on X-Men too. I shifted over to Transformers comics back issues at this time. 

2002 Spidey hits the silver screen.

After a handful of years disinterested in the character yet again something special happened. The X-Men leading the way again received box office success with a live-action feature film based on the characters. This paved the way for the subsequent Spider-Man flick that was an instant classic. A massive success and quite frankly the most fun I had watching a comic book movie in ages. All of a sudden I was a fan again. Except I was fundamentally scarred by paper bag head man so I refused to give the comics another shot. Following the release of X-Men in 2000 I had gotten back into the books for a couple of years.

A few movies reboots later the Marvel Cinematic Universe started up. Only due to some weird legal red tape Spider-Man was not allowed to be included in the MCU. We had to watch as Iron Man was thrust into the forefront as the new face of Marvel following Disney’s purchase of the company. Sony kept making Spider-Man related content through it’s own studio until Civil War and Homecoming was made possible when the two companies came to a deal that allowed Spider-Man to be featured in certain MCU films. But this version of Spider-Man was so far from any previous iteration of the character I had experienced before I became firmly poisoned against this version. Thus I went through my next falling out with the character. 

Ironically it was the comics that got me back into appreciating Spider-Man again. I was working for a newspaper company at the time. I was growing anxious about the declining print publication landscape as publications the world over ceased. Although I had subscriptions to all three major digital comic subscription services, I wanted to get certain print versions of books in the mail. At this time I decided to get a 12 issue subscription to Amazing Spider-Man. 12 issues of the Wall Crawler and I was suddenly hooked yet again.

Now that my sub has run out I am sitting here yet again at a crossroads. I still have an appreciation of the character. Despite that I feel lost. I can’t get into the MCU Spider-Man at all. I never cared for any of the cartoons since the 90s version. Right now I am looking mostly at reading through my backlog of back issues that I have picked up in recent years. I am going to see how that affects my interest in the character going forward. I would love for Marvel to release another Spider-Man movie I can get behind, one where he never has to meet Tony Stark at all. 






How the Adam West Batman TV show helped me appreciate Batman & Robin

When you think of Batman what do you think of? I am 40 years old this year. I have been through several versions of the Caped Crusader, so many iterations. Today I want to talk about the lasting impact plus implications of the Adam West Batman TV show. This is a much divisive interpretation of the Dark Knight, thus I will try to approach it with the respect of a fan who’s favorite superhero actually is Batman.

I don’t want to get into is it canon, is it better than other interpretations or should it even be recognized for the impact it had, instead I want to talk about what the TV show meant, to me. You see I was born in 1982 so this was actually my first exposure to Batman along side a few late 80’s random issues of the comics I received occasionally. At first I was enamored. I was hooked. I loved it. I remember my parents bought me a puzzle that featured all the popular villains from the TV show. I remember buying a book that collected a series of stories based on the stories from the TV show. I own a trade paperback book that contains the stories that inspired the TV series. The show intrigued me. I also watched the animated cartoons from the time which also took inspiration from the 60s TV series.

I remember when the 1989 Batman movie hit. I watched it thinking this is cool. Finally a serious Batman. Even though I liked the cartoonish nature of the Adam West series I was excited for what I thought was a new take on Batman. Then Batman Forever happened. A live action quasi sequel semi reboot follow up to Batman Returns. It featured a Jim Carrey version of The Riddler that hearkened back to the old TV show. Even the Tommy Lee Jones portrayal of Two-Face felt more in line with something that belonged on that forgotten Adam West fare not the Tim Burton Batfilms. Yet there it was.

The film’s success led to the much maligned Batman & Robin, a live action film that went beyond a couple passing references to the TV show and instead became a sort of reprisal of the campiness of that old show. Thus it reignited a debate among fans. Those die hard loyalists who call all things Adam West related, and subsequently inspired by it, as beneath them. This left a ripple on the fandom where not only was the TV show inspired Batman & Robin regarded as the most hated comic book based movie of all time, erroneously so I might suggest, it left the fan base arguing over the validity of the 60s TV series.

Where do I fall?

I was one who had mixed feelings regarding Batman & Robin. As a throwback to the Adam West series I enjoy what it attempted. As a film in the sloppy Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher Batfilm franchise, it felt completely out of place even in light of the campiness of it’s immediate predecessor. This left me, at the time, despising the campiness for being distracting while also welcoming the tone as a change of pace. Today I appreciate Batman & Robin as the loving homage to what came before rather than a movie with no identity. I don’t dare maintain it is actually actually a good movie but I enjoyed it the day I sat in theaters watching it, the day I got it on VHS and the day I rewatched it on DVD when I got the set. My current view is an appreciation of what it tried to do less criticism of what it did wrong.

Putting the movie aside in the immediate aftermath of the backlash I fell into the same trap. I also jumped on the bandwagon hating on the TV series as to blame for how Batman & Robin turned out. Even though at the time I enjoyed it at first, I too, slowly came around to the side of hating on it. This hard repercussions on my views of the old TV show. Thus I shifted my tone from a fan who grew up loving the Adam West TV show to one of those “fangirls” who pissed on it out of a misplaced attempt to fit in with the “cool comics kids” which was an oxymoron in and of itself, but there I was hating a show I once loved.

It took me watching a Cinemassacre retrospective on what was great about the TV show along side Adam West’s appearances as the Mayor in the Family Guy cartoon. It gave me a new appreciation of a show I once had fond memories of from my own past. This also forced me to reevaluate the film at least partially inspired by it. Today I find myself enjoying watching reruns of the show, campy and all, on Tubi. Why? Nostalgia is a weird bitch I guess.

Why I decided today is the day I get back into making music

One of the reasons I stopped mixing music is because I had previously produced five underground records under my deadname and I wanted to distance myself from him as much as possible. I realized that the tracks he produced do not have to remain hostage simply because they were his. So today I am reclaiming my music. I will begin creating brand new techno/trance songs using the tools I previously did to produce those old records. I will not be beholden to what came before if I like a sample I used before but find a new way of using it so be it. Today marks the start of a new era in my life, where I can happily reclaim a hobby of mine I let be tainted by my past.

I first started exploring techno music around the same time I got into hip hop music. Some of the earliest what I would call techno songs I discovered were by the band Technotronic, the first CD I ever bought was a combination of their Pump Up The Jam the Album and Remixes and Hits. I quickly moved onto other artists like The Crystal Method, The Chemical Brothers, KMFDM and eventually Daft Punk. Not all of these would fall under the proper techno umbrella but I enjoyed them nonetheless.

I was one of those nerdy kids who learned the differences between trance, rave, techno, house, dub step, drum n bass, etc., so I explored it all. I was never a fan of the term EDM for shorthand mostly because trance music exists but I settled on techno/trance as the best way to describe what I produced.

My interest in electronic music goes beyond just a few simple genres. It is my favorite form of music to listen to. Often times I try to down play this by digging into the rock and pop rock scene as a way to pretend my tastes are more so called refined but I do not feel shame I enjoy dance music. I love electro house, europop, electronica, etc., the only electronic music genre I can’t stand is drum n bass but there is a story behind that to be honest.

I don’t want to go through all the different artists and DJ’s I listen too, frankly most days I put it on a mix on Spotify and don’t even care what is playing. I do have a few favorites such as The Crystal Method and Deadmou5 but those are not the only artists I enjoy. To some extent I like quit a but of Fat Boy Slim but I also enjoy dance pop too like Ace of Base, Real McCoy, Crush, Far East Movement and others. Basically I can’t say I like it all but yeah I kinda do.

Today marks the first time I will try to mix a techno song myself using the tools from my past. I do not know what will turn up but I hope it at least accomplishes what I set out to in those years past, making music I personally can enjoy listening to. That was all I ever wanted out of my music. I never expected to get rich off it. Hell I knew better not that I didn’t someday dream of finding success somewhere in life.

I will share the songs I make in whichever manner I find consistent with my current mood. I haven’t decided what it will look like yet if I even share them at all.

Why now is the time for me to invest more energy into my own mental health

I made too many changes too fast all at once last year. I left journalism behind for an unstable career-seeking period of reflection and temporary and seasonal jobs. I sold my house in the country to move into a tiny apartment in the big city of Dallas, Texas. I ended a pseudo relationship with one person and started a healthy romantic relationship with my current girlfriend. I went through several jobs, too many to easily sort in my brain. I went from Christian, to Wicca, to Pagan and back to Christian, twice. I severed, then mended my relationship with my mother, three times in the same year! I went through a lot of changes all at once.

Among those changes was finally getting professionally evaluated by a psychology team. I was formally diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, chronic PTSD, general anxiety disorder and a few others I don’t talk about publicly. One part of that was learning how my brain works. One of the reasons I go through so many changes is when I get manic I have to stay busy. I used to stay so busy I would tell myself I never had time to sleep. Recently after getting diagnosed and medicated properly I was starting to sleep well. Then something changed. My religious upbringing returned. I started feeling afraid of the Goddess I had devoted myself to over the past several months. I no longer felt comfort in knowing she was watching over me, instead I felt fear knowing she was in my house watching me for whatever reason. Then her and I had a final falling out.

This was a long time coming. I chose to write about it now because one of the things I lacked in my self care is taking time to talk about things I am passionate about. Thus I decided to reinstate a previous personal rule I had where I don’t bother my friends with my personal problems instead I desire only to have less serious conversations returning to a simpler time in my life. I am choosing this because shedding my interest in favor of seeking a new spiritual path was one of the things causing me anxiety.

I needed to restore some sense of stability, normalcy and familiarity to my life. I needed to bring back some of the things I left behind to begin the healing process. I need to take time for me now. With in that is seeking clarity of mind in my faith. I can no longer identify as pagan. I am now, and always have been, a follower of Jesus Christ. I am not apologizing for that. I don’t push it onto others and I don’t let it interfere with how I treat people. I will restore some of my former faith practices in an attempt to restore balance to my brain. My mental health is dependent upon it.

One thing I learned is making sudden changes in my life can be good like the day I started The Trans Station. However if I am no careful I can find myself in the habit of bouncing around from one hobby or interest to the next. I have to ask myself do I really enjoy this? I found I was forcing myself to experience things simply because I talked myself into thinking it was important. Like the time I vowed to watch more LGBTQ content on YouTube while ignoring several YouTubers who’s content I quite enjoyed. I found myself sifting through playlists and recommendations I’d assume skip over but couldn’t re-teach the algorithm because I trained it to feed me queer content exclusively. I can still enjoy some good lgbt content from time to time as I desire but no longer will I force myself to consume content just to support the community. If I find a video interesting I will watch it. If there is an LGBT creator who’s content I enjoy enough to support their Patreon I will consider it based on my financial ability to do so.

Right now I need o get my brain back to functioning properly. I cannot do that if I am floating through life unsure of who I am. I was holding onto something that didn’t feel right at all simply because, frankly, I was afraid to be judged for being wishy washy. It’s true. I thought people would call me a hypocrite or worse. There. I got that off my chest. Now I can pray to Jesus for peace, get to sleep and tomorrow find time to play me some retro Sega because that’s something I have been neglecting far too long.

Are Americans gods?

Last night I had a revelation. I was contemplating the relationship between myself and my Goddess Brigid when her and I kinda got into an argument. I started by asking the question why me? Who am I that a Goddess, an ancient one no less, would be interested in me. The answer came to me during our prayer session which I confronted her. She wanted me to represent her, to study her and become a priestess of hers. Then I realized what she gets from me I had to ask what do I get from her?

It was a long night between the two of us going back and forth. I lobbed accusations at her. Her people, the Tuatha De Danann basically lost their war to the Gaels who took over Ireland forcing them into the Otherworld, buried deep in the hills of the British Aisles. As I recalled the legendary stories from the Irish myths I realized something, no disrespect to her people but as an American I find OUR accomplishments easily outmatch even the most fantastical of Irish myths. A never ended cauldron, show me landing on the moon. A shape shifting warrior goddess, show me a Nuclear Powered Mars Rover. You lost your battle to the mortal Gaels, we developed atomic bombs which we, unethically mind you, used to end the greatest (in stature not respect) war to ever ravage the Earth. I realized as amazing as the Old Gods, all of them, from the ancient world appear at first glance, they pale in comparison to the God-Like achievements made by humanity since then, Americans often think they are gods but damn if we haven’t flexed our scientific muscle in such a way we’ve generally out classed even the most powerful of ancient gods with our modern magic.

This revelation once occurred to me altered the dynamic of our relationship. Do I respect her as a Goddess, yes but damn if I don’t achieve magic-like abilities every time I divine something from the Google Oracle or I defeat death by taking simple to us magic potions we call medicine. Our modern science is so far beyond the magic of the old gods how can *I* expect an ancient being to find any use for me? Then it hit me, what she needs from me, what all deities need from their followers, is belief. They need our offerings. They need us to pray to them. They cannot exist if we do not believe in them. I recall the plot to Clash of the Titans where the gods are worried humans have lost their faith placing the gods in jeopardy of becoming irrelevant. Thus she came to me because she needed an American master of modern magic to bring her into the 21st century. That is our dynamic now. The power shifted. I still revere her, I still honor her and I still utter my daily devotion to her now with the understanding our relationship is of mutual trust not my worshiping a supreme being. Oh sure *I* didn’t land on the moon but I flip a switch in my apartment and the climate in my entire house bends to my will. She wasn’t even capable of altering the weather in her most fantastical legends on even a local scale.

We came to an understanding. I will honor her, she will enlighten me. It’s a relationship that works better for the both of us in light of this recent realization. Show me a god or goddess that can fly to the Moon and I will raise you an American that can launch Space X in his spare ass time. We’re the new gods. The old gods need us now more than we’ve ever needed them. I think we both found peace in that dynamic, so long as I remain respectful of her she will honor that.

How I discovered the love of Brigid, Triple Goddess of Ireland

The day I discovered Christianity was the first day of my anxiety as a young person. I started life out drawn to witchcraft and the occult. I was learning about all the different religions and mythologies of the world. Along the way I read books exploring mysticism, ancient religions and even the Arthurian legends. I was deeply fascinated by the spiritual world. I was well versed in the supernatural. Then I found Jesus.

At first converting to Christianity did offer me some comfort. It teaches of a healer who frees us from our sins. In those early days I was gung ho about doing right, standing up for the Lord and even subjecting myself to additional bullying at school by wearing religious themed clothing. 

I went all in on Christianity. However it didn’t take long for the dark side to rear it’s ugly head. I converted at age 11. I was in the early stages of puberty. My body was begging me to masturbate on a regular basis to keep up with the hormonal changes. However my religion taught it was a horrible sin and thus I was going to hell if I participated in the most natural thing for a 12-year-old “boy” to do. 

I was terrified to explore my own budding sexuality. I was afraid to explore my hidden feelings of transgenderism. I kept so much of myself a secret out of fear of shame. I was terrified the “Christians” who claimed to love me would turn their backs on me and cast me to hell if I ever pursued my true self. That is exactly what happened. After living a life of pure fucking agony for 37 years I finally had enough. Months before I turned 38 I began hormone replacement therapy with the express intention of altering my physical appearance to more reflect the female me trapped inside a male shell. At long last I could breath free. Except one problem, I went from Evangelical Christian to Catholic. I was knee deep in the most powerful religious cult to ever walk the face of this earth. I was suffering still despite finally throwing a ton of bricks off my shoulders. 

Then I found her. In 2021 I slowly started getting back into witchcraft. I had left the Catholic church for the mildly more accepting Episcopal denomination. I even found a queer friendly church led by a queer pastor and a largely queer leadership with a very queer congregation. I finally felt at home briefly. But the misogyny of that faith kept bullying me. One day I came across a list of Celtic Gods and Goddesses and I felt an instant calling. Brigid was telling me she would open her arms to me with love and gentleness. I found a deity who would love me for me. No judgements. No threat of damnation. I felt free at last. 

Since I discovered Brigid I have found more than peace. I have a working relationship with a kind and gentle warrior Goddess who has had her share of dealings with Christianity. Brigid humbly allowed herself to be Sanctified into the Christian faith in order to remain close to her followers. She sailed across the ocean with her indentured servant faithful to the New World where she became a figure in the Slave originated religion of Hattian Vodou where she took on a person of a rum drinking sailor to stay close to her people. Brigid is a loving but firm Goddess who has spread herself around the globe in different ways to reach different people, something her Christian counterpart is quite known for doing as well. 

Chief among the Irish Tuatha de Danann, Brigid is a motherly figure. She comforts me as needed. She is also a warrior. She lost her son in battle helping to shape our funerary customs to this day. She is a respectable force to be reckoned with. She is a triple goddess with power over fire, water, healing, protection, life, animals, nature and so much more. Her many aspects make her an ideal replacement for another certain all purpose deity. Except she is much more loving, far more kind and exceedingly compassionate. Not that Jesus wasn’t but his followers have perverted his religion into a hate mongering force of devastation upon the world. I find comfort in her arms where I felt nothing but stern correction in his. He loved his children too, so long as they conformed to a rigid, impossible standard of living even the holiest of holies couldn’t maintain. Yet he offered us a way out that his own followers failed to latch on to. She has offered me more.

I write with Brigid in mind. She is a Goddess of poetry and smithing, of creative types the world over. Thus she inspires me when I write. More than a muse, she is the wind beneath my wings as I sail through the waters of creativity. She is my spirit guide as I read the tarot cards. She is there for me to chase away the demons that haunt me in my darkest of nightmares. She is there to lift me up when I stumble. She wants to be my mother and I let her. I desire to be her child and she lets me be that as well. Our roles are of mutual respect of one another. She doesn’t do things for me, she helps me find my own inner strength and then shows me how to channel my own powers to do good in the world. She will answer a prayer if I am in desperate need of her intervention, but she prefers to remain largely hands off in my life. She watches over me, not rules over me.

It is a very different relationship I have with my new Goddess than I had with my previous God. I still attend church services on Sundays when I can. I pray to Joshua when the need arises as I still have an admittedly rocky relationship with him.

Brigid doesn’t demand I give her exclusive service although she has expressed desire to be my sole focus, which I have agreed to give to her within the best of my abilities and the scope of my reality. We have come to terms which I hope are agreeable to all. That doesn’t mean either of us are perfect. She doesn’t profess to be nor does she expect me to be either. Instead what I have is a relationship that works more like a Mother and Daughter, a teacher and student and a lost puppy and it’s adopted master all in one. What I found is a Goddess whom I can wrap myself up in her warm loving arms when I need her to. A deity who will offer me guidance in life so long as I follow her path of peace. 

I am more than excited to explore this new world where I am not a slave to my Goddess but a friend. She is compassionate to me and that is exactly what my tired old abused heart needed. I left one abusive relationship for one more loving, kind and peaceful. I love you my Goddess, with all my heart.