Why I hate being told to take my meds

“Take your meds” or “Have you taken your meds today?” These are two thoughts I get from other people all the time. It’s no secret I have been diagnosed with Bipolar disorder, I talk about it a lot not to mention anyone that has met me can pretty much figure it out. However the most frustrating thing is for people to make comments regarding whether or not I’ve taken my meds for the day. Let me explain.

I have mood swings. That is a part of bipolar disorder. The thing is, everyone gets mood swings especially transwomen on HRT. Nobody tells a transwomen have you taken your estradiol today if she goes off on a random crying tangent, do they? Of course not. The thing is being bipolar is only a small part of who I am. I have other diagnosis too but I don’t let those define me either.

I have a complicated history with medication. Before I was diagnosed bipolar my earliest diagnosis was border line personality disorder with social anxiety and general depression. At the time I was in counseling I was in a dark place buried under the depression. My doctor prescribed me a host of anti depressants, mostly SSRI’s, none of which helped me. The doctors were treating only the symptoms I had expressed at the time. Because I did eventually come out of the depression the SSRI’s stopped working as intended I was having suicidal thoughts, inability to feel anything at all and complete loss of libido. These things were not things I was okay with at that time.

Getting off the wrong medications was a good thing for me. It meant I was free to feel again. I never recognized the manic episodes as such partly because I didn’t have words for it, also because mine manifested mostly in the form of anger. I burned that anger as fuel for all the different life ventures I tried from my DJing to videos, breakdancing and everything else. It took me a whole other decade before I was diagnosed properly. It took a comprehensive testing session that dug deeper into my brain than any doctor ever had before. Once I had a word for my troubles, bipolar, nobody I told was surprised. Even my mom said she assumed as much.

I had a pretty terrible experience with meds being on the wrong ones. I tried to kill myself, I made threats that landed me in hot water with the police, I was even kicked out of college and thus the college owned apartment where I lived at the time. I nearly found myself homeless. If my aunt and her husband at the time hadn’t taken me in I might have been homeless.

Whenever someone suggests I should take my meds or asks me if I have it offends me deeply. It’s something I will handle in my own way, on my own time. What I mean by that is I know how my meds make me feel. It is my decision to take them as directed, or to skip a dose so I can trigger mania. Why would I want to do that? Because the way the meds make me feel. Sometimes I feel dead inside. There are times I would rather feel manic than feel dead inside.

The other reason it bothers me is because it’s not everything about who I am. Sometimes I just get full of energy. Just because I am happy and bubbly doesn’t mean I am manic. Sometimes I have high energy just because I am having a good day. I shouldn’t be judged for having a good day no different than I shouldn’t be judged for having a bad day. I can take my meds as directed and still act loopy for a day, I’m a big old dork after all sometimes I just wanna goof around.

There is another reason it upsets me whenever someone inquires into my meds, it’s none of your business! I take 12 pills a day. Some of my medications conflict with others. While I know what the instructions are, I also know I have had conversations with my doctor. Missing a dose can actually be a good thing if it helps balance me out. That’s between me and my doctor.

There is one final reason I despise this line of inquiry. I don’t like being told what to do. It sounds childish but it’s true. Whenever someone tells me to do something even if it is the right thing to do and I was going to anyways as soon as someone tells me to do it I shut down. I refuse to do it then. While my bipolar disorder gets a lot of attention from those who know me and are close to me, it’s not the whole picture. I also suffer from PTSD. I am constantly on edge. I am in fight or flight mode literally 24/7. Even when I am a sleep I am rolling around in bed hyper aware of my surroundings. Part of where my PTSD comes from is being bullied. Therefore I get defensive naturally whenever I feel attacked. This isn’t a symptom of bipolar disorder. This is a symptom of my PTSD, again something my doctor is aware of. I do not take medication for PTSD, nothing more than just anxiety meds.

I can’t calm down. I am never at rest. The quickest way to get me into defensive mode is to tell me to do something I already know I should, or sometimes decide I don’t want to do for whatever reason. At the end of the day it’s nobody’s business if or when I take my meds.

To be perfectly honest there are days I just forget. There are also days I miss a dose on purpose for my own reasons. There are also days I put it off but take them eventually because guess what being bipolar does make me kinda scatter brained. Sometimes I just forget. Even with reminders in my phone. Trust me I take them when I need to. If I forget or I chose not to, either way it’s my business not yours.

Coming to terms with my conflicted southern identity and what it means

I live in Texas. I grew up in Kansas. I was born in Idaho. I went to college in Nebraska. My sense of self identity has never been tied to a single place. Whenever people ask me where I am from I often say “everywhere, and nowhere at the same time.” I am not just saying I am not from anyplace, but rather the places I am from all constitute nowhere on a map.

I write this with a heavy heart. I write it with all the confusion of my past just ever so slightly clearer. I write this knowing it will confuse some, anger others and alienate more still. Yet here I am pouring out my own situation for the whole world to read, or at least the 12 or so who read this blog.

While I grew up in Kansas there is something you oughta know, Kansas is a state itself with as much of a cultural identity crisis as my own. Technically Midwestern geographically in the West, socio-politically Great Plains, culturally southern. How is that possible you ask? And what do I mean by these statements?

If you’ve never lived in Kansas you’ve never fought with your neighbors over whether or not it qualifies as a southern state. It does however, regardless of geographic locale, qualify as southernish. What I mean by that is complicated.

First southern and Confederate are not equal terms. While much of what we consider Southern Culture today stem from, or have roots in, Confederate Culture, they are not identical. That being said Kansas was an interesting place in regards to the overall slave story. Legally a free state, but technically a slave state too. It’s complicated just look up “Bleeding Kansas” to get an idea. It’s largest city isn’t even in it’s own geographic borders, Kansas City, which does actually spill into Kansas despite being in Missouri.

Why am I talking southern culture if I was a damn Yankee? It’s complicated. Before coming to Texas I never thought of myself as southern. I did, however, know people who tried to convince me Kansas was. Now Kansas as about as Midwestern as it gets while being truly it’s own thing. It shares a lot in common with the Wild West too. Kansas is unequivocally  country. Yet I don’t want to equate country with Southern either. I knew in my mind Kansas was in the Midwest but in my heart, it feels very southern when you live there. Having now lived in Kansas and Texas I can tell you they’re more alike than different.

That alone doesn’t make them southern. Again I don’t mean to make this complicated but a quick Google Search “Is Kansas Southern” will turn up countless articles debating the issue. It’s not as cut and dry as the Mason-Dixon line after all. I am not trying to equate Slave state and Free state to mean Southern and Northern either. There were slave states fighting on the side of the Union and Free states fighting on the side of the south. The civil war was absolutely fought over slavery but it wasn’t as cut and dry as North means slaver is bad south means Slavery is good.

SO what makes it feel southern when it ain’t? Culturally speaking Kansas is the Great Plains. It’s farm land. There are some ranchers in the southern and western parts of the state and it’s big cities have industry, hell the state is even an oil producing one. It’s got all the cultural earmarks of a Southern state. It has the southern hospitality down for the most part. People there by and large are deeply into country music. They are largely ultra conservative. I don’t have an answer. This isn’t an essay on is Kansas southern just an expose on the reality it feels quite so if you’ve ever lived there, there are those who claim it is and it has strong ties to the South culturally and economically speaking.

Where do I fit in? I never felt southern but at the same time I kinda did. Then I moved to Texas. I never felt out of place. I am a white country girl after all. I bleed small town. I cry whenever I get on Interstate 635 in Dallas. Cry real tears. I don’t consider myself a southern girl, per se, but my parents sure were hillbilly adjacent growing up. We never really had an identity our own either as a family. If you asked my mom she’d say we were Midwestern. Here is the thing though, the arguments for is Kansas the south are often repeated by Northerners trying to argue it ain’t the Midwest or West either. Geographically it is smack dab in the middle of the country.

I don’t want to equate country with southern either. They’re similar but unique in a lot of ways. It’s more like a feeling you get. I lived all across the Western United States from Kansas to Nebraska, Idaho, Nevada and Texas. I can tell you they each have their own feel. Kansas and Nebraska are culturally more alike than different yet the two states are as different as night and day. Nebraska doesn’t want anything to do with the South, Nebraskans are allergic to the idea of Souhernism. Not Kansas. Depending on what part of the state you are in you could mistake it for being Kentucky, Missouri or even Texas. It has rolling hills. It has desert. It has forest.

I have gotten off track. That was the point. Do I consider myself southern today? I don’t know. I consider myself an American but so do Californians and they very much ain’t southern. It’s not about lines on a map or U.S. Census data. It’s about the people. Kansas ight not think they are southern out right, I can assure you there are many who long to be considered such. I grew up in that camp if we’re being perfectly honest. I longed to move to Texas in my younger days. Never thought I would but a lot of Kansas do desire that for some reason. If you read your history books you will discover the two states have strong ties to one another.

My southern identity is as in flux as any aspect of my identity. I firmly identify as from The West. I can make a claim to that all day long. I was born in Idaho, went to high school in Nevada, drove through California cuz I was bored once. I feel very Western in my blood. Texas is a part of the West. Kansas is a part of the West. I never once doubted my Western heritage in this context Western United States.

I can’t help but wonder if Country/Western just feels Southern in a lot of ways? Again like Southern isn’t automatically Confederate, Western isn’t automatically country. They’re twined in ways I can’t describe, but completely their own thing. You can live in the rural parts of New York and consider yourself country folk. I’d be right okay with that.

I consider myself 75 percent Western, 25 percent Midwestern, 10 percent Southern, 90 percent small town, 25 percent country and 100 percent American. Don’t worry about the math, there’s overlap in some of these it’s not a recipe it’s a weird concoction I made up in my brain. Truth be told I don’t know who I am most days largely because if you look where I came from it’s hard to say I equals X. Consider me a very southern girl from Kansas.

How I remember Gilbert Gottfried

Some remember him as the voice of the bird from Aladdin. Others that weird comedian that seemed to pop up everywhere in the 90s. As for me I remember Gilbert Gottfried as the host of USA Up All Night. It was a schlocky TV series where he and a co-host would watch B horror movies as part of a mock Saturday evening horror party. It was pure entertainment.

I discovered my love and appreciation of b movies watching that show. Don’t get me wrong, saw Aladdin in theaters too, I remember all those annoying TV appearances and commercials he would pop up in. The man was an icon of my youth. It’s just the way my brain works, how I remember people sometimes.

I guess this isn’t really an expose on the life of an iconic entertainer. I’d rather save that sort of tributary writing to those more well versed in his body of work. I was affected by the news nonetheless thus here I am writing what  can about it in the only way I know how.

By unpacking my personal memories of an pop culture icon following their passing away I can reflect on the impact they had on my own life. Did I mention my love of B movies comes from this man? It goes beyond just that though. I used to rush home from school to catch the weekday afternoon airings of Aladdin the animated series. Oh and you can bet your booty I was right there along the rest of us for his appearance in Saved by the Bell Wedding in Vegas. Still, it goes back to USA Up All Night for me. Why?

We grew up mostly in small, rural towns or often out in the country far from a video store, far from the reach of cable tv. It was a rarity for us to live in a populated enough town to have a cable company when we did get that rare luxury I would latch onto all its offerings like a bee on honey. USA Network was like WGN in that we often lived in small towns that barely offered the most basic of cable packages. USA was among those channels we had access to growing up. Disney, HBO, Discovery, even Sc-Fi as it was known then were channels you had to either pay extra for, or live in bigger cities with better cable companies.

The unbeaten path is where I venture most of my life. I was a huge fan of horror as a kid. Any opportunity to watch a horror movie, be it a VHS rental or a late night cable broadcast, I took it. USA Up All Night was one of those shows that spoon fed me additional horror content at a time when my options for access to the genre were fairly limited. Thus the memories that stand out to me are watching flicks like Sorority Babes in the Slime Ball Bowl o Rama, a flick Gottfried aired one of those late nights.

That’s what is was to me. That shrill voice introducing me to schlocky horror flicks I would not have otherwise experienced. Hell it was even one of those late nights I got to watch my, then, favorite Elm Street film The Dream Child when it aired on the program. Now truth be told he wasn’t the only host, but he was the one who stood out in my memories the most.

Say what you will about the man I’ll say this, he’s going to be remembered in different ways by different people. You might remember him as an obnoxious parrot. I remember him as this weirdo that showed me horror movies when I was supposed to be in bed.

What the Transformers Autobot Blaster meant to me and why he remains important to this day

blaster 1

Blaster was a Generation One Transformers action figure that turned into a radical “ghetto blaster” boom box stereo. Like his Decepticon counterpart, Soundwave, he accommodated small robots that transformed into micro cassettes. (Photo by Stephanie Bri)

Blaster is one of those Transformers I wanted really bad when I was a kid. Between him and Soundwave I was really into the whole concept of them turning into a tape deck that could house transforming tapes. I thought it was the coolest gimmick back then. I was finally able to get my hands on a Blaster action figure when I was in 6th grade. I remember trading a bunch of G.I. Joe and TMNT toys I never played with for him along with a few other pieces of Transformers. I was super happy to finally have one.

My memories of that particular Blaster were short lived not to mention somewhat tainted. I don’t remember exactly what happened to him. If memory serves me correctly I think I traded him and other toys for Sega Genesis carts, but I can’t be too certain of that. What I am certain of is the joy I felt for the brief period of time I owned one of those figures.

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Blaster stands tall for an Autobot. At nearly 8 inches in height he towers over the vast majority of other Transformers figures released around the same time. (Photo by Stephanie Bri)

I didn’t own a lot of Transformers when they were new. Even as a kid I bought or obtained most of my toys second hand. Usually I would get toys via trades with other kids or else whatever I came across at thrift stores. – Stephanie Bri

When I was growing up I was really into Transformers more than anything else. Even as obsessed as I eventually became with Star Wars, I was doubly interested in Transformers. I was always on the hunt for a new toy. I didn’t even care if it was just broken piece of a figure as long as I got more toys to add to my miniscule collection. I didn’t own a lot of Transformers when they were new. Even as a kid I bought or obtained most of my toys second hand. Usually I would get toys via trades with other kids or else whatever I came across at thrift stores.

Blaster was the first cassette type Transformer I ever owned. For that reason alone this toy holds a special place in my heart. Like the one from my childhood I bought this one used in well played with condition. I often buy my toys as cheap as I can but going for the ones that were well used by their previous owners. Since I fully intend to play with my toys even as an adult I don’t mind buying them in that state.

Blaster, like his Decepticon opposite Soundwave, remains among the toys I spend the most time paying with. As a former DJ and broadcast journalism major with an affinity for radio these two robots appeal to me on multiple levels. I can’t really describe how significant this exact toy is to me. It’s more than an action figure to me, it was a symbol of the creative freedom I learned to express through music.

When I was a kid I took my toys with me everywhere. They were my friends. I even took them to school in a duffle bag as well as on field trips. I distinctly remember one such field trip I went on with a church group where I sat upstairs by myself playing with my toys instead of joining the other kids. I remember one of the girls noticed I was alone so she came over and asked if she could play with me and my toys. I said yes reluctantly. I told her the names of all my robots. The one I held onto the most tightly was Blaster. I didn’t mind sharing my other toys except him. He was special to me.

To this day this is the third Blaster Action figure I have ever owned. Accordingly I have never owned one with a functioning tape deck mechanism nor complete with all it’s weapons and accessories. I don’t care. I just love the figure. He isn’t a piece of plastic to me. He is a childhood friend who has remained loyal to me all these years. I love him the same as my real life friends.

Content Warning: What to do with girlbulge in public spaces, including social media?

Content Warning: Sexual content

Trigger Warning: Gender Dysphoria

Sometimes we use the euphemism “girlbugle” to refer to transgender women who are assigned male at birth either who are pre gender confirmation surgery or who opt not to get bottom surgery for whatever reason. The term itself is about as polite a way of telling people our genitals are none of their business.

I have gender dysphoria about my body. When I say I am comfortable in my skin what I mean is that I am okay being over weight. I am fine with the shapes of my curves. I am as happy with my breast development as I can be, but I have one area I refuse to let get me down, my downstairs bits. I don’t need to talk about what I got, what I intend to do about it or anything but I do want to talk about girl bulge. I feel the need to get my feelings on the subject off my chest, especially since now I got boobs there’s not much room on my chest for extra stress these days.

I write this as delicately as I can knowing there are other transwomen who have tremendous dysphoria regarding their junk. When I first came across a picture on Twitter of a transwoman sporting a bulge I was grossed out. I immediately thought that’s not very passing of you and wrinkled my nose. Once the shock of it wore off I remembered passing is not a goal for everyone so I calmed down. Then I had to spend some time with my thoughts to determine what I think about the whole concept of passing.

I do not tuck. I wrote about that previously if you want to read it go here. I m not sure if my feelings have changed all that much since then. I rarely wear makeup. Passing is not my goal. Being comfortable with my body is. That includes finding a way to live with the shortcomings I am stuck with. Surgery is not a topic I want to discuss for myself. What I sport downstairs is nobody’s business and I want to keep it that way. What I want to talk about is why I think girlbulge is something we should be less afraid of but also mindful of others.

At first glance when someone is told what they can or can’t do with their own bodies even in public spaces, it makes that person defensive. Body autonomy is a huge part of what being transgender is all about. My body, my right. It goes hand in hand with reproductive rights and sexual orientation rights. The freedom to do with ones own body as they please is the ultimate goal of the LGBTQ+ movement if there was a so-called agenda. Yet there is a caveat we must take into consideration.

Unlike the conservatives who are trying to suppress us when they try to hide our differences from their views, we do need to remember to respect those of us who suffer from intense gender dysphoria regarding our own bodies. Especially the genitals. It’s a sensitive subject but it’s like this, when a transgirl has the confidence to say “I don’t need Facial Feminization Surgery” I am comfortable in my skin, she is not saying nobody needs FFS. It is the same with girlbulge. Some people are comfortable not to tuck. If their junk is sufficiently endowed they might sport a noticeable bulge wearing certain outfits. Keeping in mind others do get dysphoria though it becomes an issue of when does your own confidence become a trigger for someone else?

Going back to FFS for a second if someone shares online they desperately want FFS and someone else who is fine with their features replies something like “oh you are beautiful you don’t need it,” that is not helpful. It can trigger the other persons dysphoria. Same with bulge. Someone who is in agony over their own genitals does not want to be subjected to pictures of other women showing off theirs. Same for those who have had bottom surgery sharing pictures of their own accomplishments. This is where one must be mindful of public spaces. This includes social media. It is far more polite and respectful, for those with gender dysphoria to either not share those pics publicly, or at the very least provide sufficient spoiler/content tags to give the person a chance not to be triggered.

By all means I support shoving our body autonomy choices down the throats of conservative busy bodies. But I likewise request caution when doing so might inadvertently cause our sensitive sisters harm. AS for me I don’t mind seeing it so long as I get a fair warning upfront. Others might not be so lucky so I have chosen not to share pics when I come across them or even posts discussing the topic. Even this one will come with a full content warning.

Dealing with bipolar depression is worse when you chase the high

The worst part of being bipolar is not the lack of sleep during a manic episode. It is not the impulsiveness or even the racing thoughts. The worst part is the depression.

I can handle all the negative aspects of mania all day long. The rush of energy. The surge of inspiration, those are things I can live with despite the lack of sleep. Depression is much harder to live with. In fact it’s such a major symptom most people who have bipolar get diagnosed with depression first before ever learning they have the disease.

That is the key too, remembering it is a disease. It’s a mental illness we’re afflicted with which is why treating our symptoms properly is so important. When I get manic I feel like I can take on the world. I am often my most creative. When depression sinks in, however, I don’t even want to get out of bed. I feel like sleeping for days on end. Sometimes I do too.

Depression is our body’s natural response to the mania. We swing so hard when the highs hit we burn ourselves out. When the depression hits we’re exhausted. The mania has wiped us out. It’s during the depression we catch up on all that sleep we missed during the mania. It’s also during the depression we cry the most. Our bodies need the tears to help it heal. The wounds of our trauma run deep. Depression is an inevitable downside to having a disease that swings our moods to such extremes so hard, so fast it literally sucks the life out of us.

Every time depression hits I want to cancel my shows. I want to delete this blog. I want to quit whatever job I found myself in which often happens. This illness is a killer. Believe me it’s hard on us in ways you can’t imagine. Even just putting a name to it and understanding how it works is a tremendous improvement to facing it alone.

When I first learned I had bipolar it was during the worst bout of depression I had faced in ages. I was desperate for medication any thing to provide me relief from the symptoms. Today I am getting help and yet the symptoms persist. Sometimes the disease is so over powering that even our medications can’t defeat it. Right now I am sinking into depression. I am coming off the high of a recent manic episode. Sometimes we chase the mania to avoid the depression. I wish I hadn’t done that because once we swing back down we always crash super hard.

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.