New column on the way!

Stephanie Bri is here to stay. As a result I fully intend to write a column entirely from her perspective in the near future. Obviously I’ve been letting her voice take over more lately which has been very helpful in getting me aligned properly.

It won’t mean much but what I will do is create a column just for Stephanie. It will be a combination of gaming and nerdy topic gossip, rumors and such with a mix of editorial and some fashion/cosplay advice. Basically the bitch is out of the closet and she’s going to be taking over this site. Stay Cool.

Retropalooza is next weekend: Thoughts, hopes and expectations!

Alright friends I am excited to say that next weekend I will be heading to Arlington Event Center to attend my first ever convention. I am looking forward to attending Retropalooza. I am not sure what to expect because this is my first convention but I wanted to outline my hopes ahead of time to compare this to how the actual experience turns out. This way I can see if I had realistic expectations or not.

1. Food

I am expecting this to be like any other flea market or festival I have attended which means there should be food vendors selling home made stuff right out of the food truck. I am not sure if this is a realistic expectation as I have never been to one but I am hopeful this is the case. I would love to get some street tacos made fresh on the spot.

2. Toys and games

Specifically I am thinking the vendors or sellers. I am fairly certain there will be some video game sellers. I am hopeful there will also be retro toy sellers. Specifically I am looking to dig through a big bucket or tote of random Transformers, TMNT, and GI Joe action figures, all reasonably priced I would imagine.

I am not sure what to expect but I would think there would be a sufficient variety of sellers to choose from. As for video games I have my hope list narrow down to what I will buy from a convention. Since it is a retro gaming expo I am not going to buy anything new. The newest device I would consider is a PSP because I have an overwhelming desire to get one eventually and now is as good of a time as any.

I would contemplate a Dreamcast, 3DO. 32X or Virtual Boy as those are harder to find in the wild. I thought about a Sega Saturn but that’s a pipe dream so I will lower my expectations.

3. Autographs?

I am not sure I want to buy an autograph of anyone who is attending but I might try to grab a selfie with Boogie or Wood if I can. But the real reason I am going is to have fun, meet people and maybe do some networking. I am also planning on filming some footage for a video and naturally a podcast.

4. Cosplay!

I am not sure if this is the type of convention that people normally cosplay to but if so I already have a costume purchased and ready to go. It will be my first public outing in drag as Stephanie so I am really looking forward to that. If I arrive and nobody is cosplaying then I will either feel like a fool or suck it up and stand out. Either way I am looking forward to dressing up even if nobody gets to see the costume live on scene.

5. Road trip

No matter how the day turns out it will at the very least be a nice little road trip and those are always fun. I can always use a good excuse to eat some jerky. I am not looking forward to fighting the city traffic but it’s a small price to pay for a day of fun.

That’s about all I have for now. I am hoping this experience is memorable and I can’t wait to share how it turns out. Stay Cool.

OMG I made my first public debut!

It was scary and thrilling at the same time. I put on my make up, dress and cute witches hat, sat down and recorded an entire episode of my podcast not as him but as me. It was hard. It was exciting. It was fun!

I knew someday Stephanie was going to be out. I don’t know if she will ever get to take over our life but I want to ensure she gets to be herself more than ever before. It hasn’t been easy for me getting to this point. In fact it’s been extremely tumultuous. No agonizing. No, oh there probably isn’t a word for it. Is there a word for this feeling you have doing the absolutely most terrifying soul-crushing thing that is at the same time the most liberating and soul-freeing? I don’t know whatever that word is, that’s how I felt.

I made my first full public appearance in drag on The Dark Web Podcast. I told my audience Stephanie was coming a few weeks ago. I said she is real, she is me, but she is shy. I finally began making strides towards this about a year and a half ago when I came out officially to a female friend of mine. I decided I couldn’t hold it in any longer. Ever since that day I have been slowing giving in to being more and more Stephanie each day.

I finally got to wear I am comfortable enough painting my toe nails and wearing my flip flops sans socks in public. I’ve done that two weeks in a row now and pushed past the gut-wrenching fear. I’ve slowly begun getting used to clothes shopping, although when it comes to under things well I am still overly discrete. Dresses, blouses and even skirts I can grab without too much agony but panties and bras, well I still have a ways to go.

Things are improving. But last night I sat in front of the camera and was doing so, for the first time, comfortable in my skin, comfortable with who I am and who I’ve always wanted to be.

I will be defining more what the limits of Stephanie are in the coming days and weeks. I suspect I will set some boundaries but there is a very real chance, well now that she is out she isn’t going back in so there is a chance I let her live a little and take a back seat for a while.

If this sounds confusing trust me it is for me too. It’s not like she is a voice inside my head or a separate person or anything like that. She is me, I am her. But, well I’ve had to live a certain lie, build a life around a mask. Therefore Stephanie has a right to live, and she will! But The Rat also has to manage thing for her out of necessity for the time being.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffVemmSPh2Q

Anyways, hey check out my video where I am totally rocking that cute dress I spent all friggin day shopping for. Stay Cool.

Retropalooza is now two weeks away

I am two weeks away from attending my first ever convention. This year I will be going to Retropalooza, a retro video game convention held in Alrington, Texas. I chose this one to be my first because it was the easiest one to get to considering I am about an hour away from Arlington.

I decided since this will be my first convention I would double it as an opportunity to do my first cosplay. Since that is the case I will be going both as THERAT and Stephanie to this thing. I am not sure what it will be like walking around in public for the first time dressed as a woman but I am excited for it. I am trying to build up anticipation so that I don’t chicken out.

Gearing up for the trip I have set up an interview with a YouTuber who is known as a Transgender gamer. She will be making an appearance on my podcast to talk about being trans and a geek, plus gamer stuff and other topics. I am so looking forward to this much needed vacation. Stay Cool.

Displaying painted nails in public, a personal breakthrough

I will keep this short and sweet. Saturday afternoon I drove to town on three different occasions wearing flip flops without socks. This isn’t a particularly out of the ordinary thing for me, except I had previously painted my toe nails purple and decided I wasn’t hiding it anymore.

It was a little awkward walking around town displaying my painted toes. I tried to hide them by curling my toes everywhere but by the time I got to the third store I had stopped doing this. I decided I wasn’t looking at other people’s feet, why would they be looking at mine? Well that was how I got through it. I even walked over to my sisters house that same day still displaying my painted nails. It was a small breakthrough for me. Consider it a minor victory for Stephanie Bri. Stay Cool.

The Spiders Lair’s media picks for cross dressers

Ever since I was a kid I would play dress up with my sisters. As I was the only boy it was easy for me to find myself lured into the seductive world of the mysterious female creature. Not that I want to belittle women, on the contrary I am not only fascinated by femininity on a personal level, I have a deep respect for what females go through. Over the years there were a number of movies, TV shows, cartoons, toys and even video games that either inspired me or motivated me in some way as I explored the feminine form through cross dressing.

Below are a few of the different works that shaped my world.

Boy Meets World

It was season 3. Corey Mathews and Shawn Hunter were doing a class project to become a female in order to experience dating from the eyes of a girl. It was an eye-opening episode that stirred things not only in myself, but clearly in the writers as it really cemented the comedic running gag of the adoration the two friends had for one another.

It wasn’t the Girl Like Me episode that really tickled the girl hiding inside’s fancy. It was actually the later episode where Joey the Rat and Frankie the Enforcer dress the two boys in cheerleader outfits. By the time I discovered this episode I had already stolen my sisters discarded cheerleader uniform and claimed it as my own. Oh I wore that thing out with my secretive dance routines. Not for nothing but it was glorious for me to see my role models strutting their stuff on national TV in front of all my peers quietly reaffirming my own feminine desires. I experienced a similar incident when one of my male friends dressed like a girl to school for a class project and one of the boys in class commented how nice his ass looked in girl pants. I wasn’t in his grade, I was a couple years older but when he relayed the story to me I immediately mentioned our mutually favorite TGIF sitcom to which he smiled and got into the spirit of it.

Super Mario Bros. 2

This one is two fold. First it was the perfect opportunity for me to play a video game as a female character. It was a way to cross dress in plain sight, even if it was only virtually the case. Still playing the game as Princess Toadstool (peach) was such a revelation for me. I enjoyed it a little too much at times I must say. It quickly became one of my favorite video games of all time. It was easy for me to justify picking the princess too because she had that floating jump that made her useful as a character.

In later years I would learn to use video games to express my girly side more often. I had to be sneaky at times with some games but it started with me running around Subcon as the princess of the Mushroom Kingdom on a quest to return home.

All of that by itself was easily enough to stir things in me. However Nintendo Company Limited, or NCL, the Japanese parent of Nintendo of America, sneaked a nifty little cross dressing surprise in the game just for “girls” like me. Birdo is a pink bird enemy boss in the game that shoots eggs at the player. Fortunately in the official lore Birdo is actually a cross dresser pretending to be a girl bird but is really a guy bird. They never explain how he/she is able to shoot/lay eggs but that’s not too important, after all it is a fantasy game.

Being John Malkovich

I cried. I literally cried when I got to the end and heard the voice over of the adult male swimming in the pool inside the body of the young girl. I had long desired to not only look and act more like a girl but there was always this part of me that really wanted to have a female body, complete with all the stuff most girls complain about.

The movie itself is very weird. At first I was only passively into it out of morbid curiosity. However as the story progressed it captured my imagination and held my attention until the very end. To this day I feel a stirring whenever I think of this movie. In fact it was such a powerful feelings I’ve since decided to ration my viewings of the film in order to preserve some of that mystery. I would hate to watch it too much and wear it down.

Mrs. Doubtfire

If this movie didn’t make a list of a budding cross dresser as something to explore I’d say that person isn’t digging deep enough. A combination of heartfelt, awakening and a little on the creepy side, it has that perfect blend that makes you just uncomfortable enough with how comfortable it makes you feel about cross dressing, transgenderism and even homosexuality if you go that route. It was one of those movies that was hiding some subtext I picked up on quickly under that mask of a kids show. Don’t think that was lost on someone like me who enjoyed heavily seeking out forms of entertainment that either normalized, if not glamorized the ideas I was fostering.

The Sims

This. This game was heavenly. The first time I realized I could create an imaginary world where I could live out my fantasy of being a woman entirely from childhood into adulthood was mesmerizing. Of course I was already a fan of sim type games, Sim City, Sim Earth, Sim Ant, etc., but to get to create a female character with her own hopes, dreams, personality and style and then set her on the path to success, OMG it was beyond heavenly, it was absolute ecstasy.

Chasing Amy

This one falls more under the category of exploring lesbianism as a potential lifestyle. Still, as someone who was fascinated with all aspects of femininity I couldn’t help but consider the need to also learn about the females who were sexually attracted to other females.

The movie is considered archaic today by the LGBT community for it’s stance on being gay being a choice which is not the common view point held by many in the community. Still, it was one of those movies that, at the time, did a lot for breaking down walls and getting people like me to ask the questions my parents were hoping I would avoid.

The movie itself doesn’t really do much for a cross dresser but it still helps normalize the alternative lifestyles as they call it which something.

The Secret World of Alex Mack

This one isn’t so much about cross dressing in particular but it was one of the earliest examples of a female super hero that really stuck with me. It was a teenage girl trying to live her normal life while being granted super powers. Of course the far superior and vastly more popular Buff the Vampire Slayer would soon replace it in the cultural lexicon but you have to give it props for being able to lure young boys into a watching a TV show where the main character is sort of an action hero and totally a chick.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

I already mentioned it above but this show broke down barriers. It obviously left a mark on me. Now truth be told I already had a crush on the young Alyson Hannigan from her appearance in My Step-Mother is an Alien a few years prior. It was easy for me to get into this show as it featured her as one of the prominent characters throughout.

FRIENDS

This show started off with the lesbian leaving Ross for another woman right off the bat. It also sported three equally interesting and very strong female leads who carried the weight of the show as much as, if not more than, their male counterparts.

Over the entire course of the show’s run I took flack for liking it so much from many of my male compatriots. It was called a show for chicks, a show for gays, or both. I didn’t care I replied, Rachel is hot so whatever. Hey, Rachel was hot so there is that. Nobody needed to know I was equally checking out the cute outfit she was rocking each week while also appreciating the rest of her beauty. There was also the episode with Ben playing with his Barbie. Obviously this stirred things up in me as well.

Rainbow Brite

I know I’ve talked about this a lot but you know what, if my older sister hadn’t introduced me to the lovely world of this amazing super hero with her cast of colorful friends, who knows what I might have ended up liking. The toy and cartoon both had an impact on my interests in life early on. I especially liked the purple girl that wore glasses. She was my favorite.

There are many others, too many for an article such as this. Here are a few quickies to round out the spectrum.

G1 Transformers and Arcee, a female robot made by male robots to understand females.

Super Metroid for staring a bad-ass action hero that looked somewhat masculine to trick boys into playing but was totally a woman underneath it all.

Clueless, a teen comedy all about fashion and shopping. What’s not to like.

Herman’s Head. He had a chick living inside his head controlling his sensitive side.

And there you have it a brief list of movies, cartoons, video games and toys that either inspired or influenced the cross dresser in me. Stay Cool.

Discovering my place in the world

These last two years have been the most complicated time in my entire life. I have spent a tremendous amount of my life trying to figure out who I was. What I was. Where I fit in. Two years ago I started coming to terms with things I had kept hidden for most of my life. Things I was either afraid of, or ashamed to admit. That is no longer the case. I don’t have to talk about things that are personal, things that are nobody’s business, but I want to get things off my chest, as they say set the record straight.

When I was 11 years old I discovered I had an inclination to explore the taboo world of cross-dressing. At first I considered the implications. Does this make me gay? Well I was attracted to females so I thought if it did I must be a lesbian. I continued to struggle.

I had a friend who was a cross-dresser turned transwoman who eventually transitioned fully. After I discovered the internet I began exploring other things. Seeking different perspectives and opinions. I never how to come to terms with my confusing sexual identity with my strong Christian faith. It was a struggle I had to discover for my self. It took years of agonizing over this one fact, my personal relationship with the Lord is, in fact, between me and God. Once I came to terms with I didn’t need to let people run my life. I know who I am now. I know what I am now. I am a Christian. I am a gender queer person with masculine and feminine tendencies and I am still a Christian. I am not homosexual, not in the strictest sense. At least I don’t know fully since I do question my own gender identity obviously this causes some confusion in the rest.

But, I determined it is my life to struggle with. I am the one who has to make the decisions. I am the one who has to decide who to let in, and who to cut out, of my life. I have decided that my life is my business. Of course I have to reconcile my choices with my beliefs but again, that’s for me to decide. God will judge me and I am comfortable with my relationship with him. I am comfortable in my unwavering faith.

Now as for the rest. Here is my stance. I am not going to undergo surgery or transition to becoming a woman. For a number of reasons I don’t want to discuss here, I don’t need to go through with that. I don’t want to be a drag queen in public either. You might be wondering if I am going to basically keep it, well to myself in private why bother coming clean? Well every individual who harbors these out of the ordinary feelings has to find their own voice. Every person’s struggle is personal. Does this mean I am “coming out of the closet” well if that term helps you understand what I am saying sure why not. Does it mean I am gay, trans, or gender fluid? Well again whatever helps you sleep at night.

No, what I want to make sure is this, I am who I am and I don’t care what other people think. I don’t want to hide anymore. As far as why I wrote this. I had to. I needed to make sure I set the record straight. I am not entirely gay nor am I completely straight. I am not entirely trans nor am I entirely gender fluid but I am not going to fit into a box. That is all.

There is another person living inside my mind, heart and soul. Her name is Stephanie Bri. I don’t give her a voice as often as she would like. But I have come to accept she isn’t a part of me, or rather a separate part of me. She is me. We are one. One person, one mind, with one goal. You will likely hear more from Stephanie in the future. At the very least I can finally admit she is real and I am okay with that.

Remembering political icon Ross Perot

I was in grade school the first time I saw Ross Perot on TV. I was instantly enamored by the way he spoke. Even at a young age I knew I was fascinated by the things he talked about. I was young enough I didn’t fully understand, after all I was barely in the 3rd grade. But he is absolutely the reason I became so fascinated not only in politics but also business. The way he presented his argument with those charts, it just mesmerized me.

It wasn’t long before I started developing that interest in politics into a passion. I still remember Nickelodeon making fun of Perot in a number of skits as part of its All That program. The show might have contributed to my awareness of the individual. While I was in 5th grade my interest in how our government works increased tremendously following a field trip to the state capital. It was one of those times where I knew whatever life threw my way I was going to find a way to be involved in politics one way or another.

When I was in high school I turned my interest in politics into a term as student council president of my entire school. That experience was a game changer for me. I distinctly remember the first time we sat down in a room to discuss something as simple as hosting a dance for the school. It turned into a divisive yelling match that demonstrated how polarizing politicking can be at even a young age. Ultimately we never came to terms on the dance and it was handed down to the eighth grade body who took it over while we washed our hands of it. It wasn’t the high note of my young political career. It was a hardy reminder of how different people can be and how hard it is to get them to agree on even something as basic as hiring a DJ.

Even following his passing I was reminded how complex people can be listening to all the responses of others who had their own memories of the man. I admittedly never met him nor did I have any work related to his life. I have interviewed politicians before for my newspaper but never Ross Perot, sadly. Based on the stories I was told by colleagues who had that opportunity I can say I kind of wish I had been given a chance to cover him at some point but alas it is not to be.

I don’t want to write an editorial on his life or even a commentary on his political views. Rather I just want to remember as fondly as I can how one man’s campaign for president inspired me to get interested in politics in general.

The darkest days of my life

In order for this story to make sense you have to step into your time machine and head back to the late 90s. It was most likely around 1999 or maybe even into 2000. Hard to say.

During that time in my life my friend and I were spending most of our days sitting around listening to hard core gangsta rap. Mostly 2Pac but we dabbled in Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, N.W.A., and others. My friend had gotten himself into a crime ring. I won’t go into the specifics but he got caught and I kind of stood up for him. This wasn’t the first time I stuck my neck out to keep a good friend out of trouble. It won’t be the last.

There was a young girl he kind of had a crush on. I was about four years older than he, he was about 2 years older then her, so I was beyond crushing on a child. But he did a job for her step-dad. Nothing major like fixing a bike or mowing the lawn, kids stuff. He ended up not getting paid for the job and the girl talked some trash or something. In the end my friend ended up taking a knife from a tool box laying in the alley. He wasn’t 100 percent who’s knife it was but he took it and gave it to me not so much for safe keeping but as a token of our friendship or something along those lines.

I don’t want to dig too deep into the power I felt holding that knife in my hands. My lust for power mostly centered on my desire to not be bullied or pushed around anymore. I wasn’t a gun person but that knife gave me an edge. I took it with me everywhere. It was more or less a hunting knife I told myself. I don’t know a whole hell of a lot about knives. Honestly it was just a thing a friend gave me. But there always lingered in the back of mind, partly because the origin of the knife, partly well other things. I always feared if I lost it and it was used for I don’t know something bad, I would get blamed, or at the very least questioned.

I chose to ignore it. I put it my pocket where it lived. I would take it with me everywhere I went. Sometimes I would flip it out if I thought doing so would back up my claim of please don’t mess with me I am not stable. I was always perfectly stable but I had some anguish over things from my childhood. There was also me dropping out of high school and going right into the work force unprepared. I struggled to find my bliss.

Let’s get to the point. Now that you have the background let’s discuss the events leading up to the darkest days of my life. In 2010 I had basically been kicked out of truck driving school. With no education beyond a GED which I fumbled my way through and mostly experience bouncing around from job to job, town to town, I wasn’t on a solid path in this world. I kept my faith in God but I was losing my faith in myself. God forgives us for our sins, I was beginning to rely more on the forgiveness part less on the stay away from it altogether.

In 2011 I got my life turned around. I was accepted into a university where I studied Broadcasting. My dream, or one of them, had been to get into television production or film making. I figured I would major in broadcasting and minor in theater. I changed minors basically every semester but things started to finally look up in my life. The days of me losing my temper over stupid things were gone. I held onto the skeletons from my past but they were safely tucked away in the closet where they belonged. That is until one day.

I woke up from a dream. I was back in 6th grade. For the first time in my life I was looking at my 6th grade self from the eyes of an adult. I no longer saw this innocent child who had his spirit beat down by kids who thought they were better than him or whatever it was. I saw a dirty kid who didn’t follow the rules, swore way too much, pushed people out of his way and wore torn clothes despite his parents buying him better things than that. In other words I saw the mangled, troubled youth I was pretending not to be for the first time. This prompted me to seek counseling. I was tired of not knowing how to talk to people, especially females. If you have ever seen that TV show The Big Bang Theory, I was Raj. That was me. If two or more people were in the same space as I, my voice turned off and I sat there, a wallflower wishing I could connect with people.

At first the therapy was going well. I was on a new medication and I was talking to people. I was making friends, using my social skills not relying on close proximity in class or leeching on my sister’s friends. I was finally getting my life in order. Everything felt good. Until that fateful day.

I literally, truly, 100 percent honestly cannot revisit in my mind exactly the chain of events. Somehow I either blocked part of it out or it happened so fast I never processed it properly. Here is how I do remember it.

Monday I call the counselor, who always told me in our sessions going was optional, I was feeling better. I didn’t need the visits anymore I was going to wing myself off the medication and go back to normal. We talked about the side effects and I figured I had improved. I was happy. I didn’t, nor did I ever actually want the pills.

What ended up happen next I can’t be too certain. Somehow it escalated into them searching my apartment. Then going to my mom asking her invasive questions she didn’t care to answer. They threatened both of us, my mom was also attending school. I don’t know how she talked me into it but the counselor got me to turn  my friends knife over to campus police. They cited some no tolerance policy or whatever. I had never threatened anyone and explained it was a damn souvenir  it didn’t have any sinister meaning. Still they wanted it for evidence or whatever. Then someone in the faculty, they never told me who, accused me of lying and making threats. I got defensive and scared. I was being kicked out of school and my campus apartment. I was being told I would be homeless and unemployed without a proper education. I was having flash backs to the life I was saved from. College was supposed to prepare me for the real world and all it did was send me back to the life I was escaping. Fine but the story takes a nasty twist.

I don’t know who it was or how it happened but the police were called. I was asked, not court ordered but asked by the school if I checked myself into a mental health clinic for 24 hour evaluation if I was cleared I could go back to school and stay in my apartment and it would all be over. I did as I was asked.

Day one was a nightmare. I paced the walls of my, they called it a room I called it a cell. I had a room mate who sat on his bed crying the whole time. I couldn’t leave the room. I had a bathroom I could use but that was it. We had designated social sessions, group therapy and individual visits with their therapist. My parents visited me late at night when they were allowed. I had nothing, no phone, no watch nothing to occupy my mind. By the end of the first day it felt like I had been in there fore days. I was resisting. I wanted out but I knew I did nothing wrong. Nobody, not my college, not the state, not my parents had a right to deny me my personal freedom without just cause. I didn’t even have a proper accuser. I just kept following suit. Do what they tell you. Eat breakfast, do chores, sit in group, ask questions, socialize. It sucked. There were people in there that NEEDED to be. People who were fighting real demons. I was a kid from Kansas who moved around a lot. I didn’t have real struggles. I never did drugs. I was a Dean’s list student. You know any problems I had I knew were internal. Still I was there and there was nothing I could do to get out.

Day two.

I keep pacing the floor. I tried reading the books on the shelf. I was allowed to bring one from home, a school book from my film class. My film class I was failing because I couldn’t attend. I was saddened, and angered by this. Frustration. Fear. Despair. These began to compound. I went in knowing I had to get out. By the end of the second day I was afraid I was saying the wrong things. I had seen enough horror movies to know you can get stuck in these places if you don’t learn to say the right things.

The therapist asked me a thousand and one questions. I answered honestly. He asked me if I was lying. I said I had no motive to do so. I said I want out. I have no reason to be here. I explained how my life was going good, counseling school they were all the tings I needed. I asked why they were taking this away from me?

He said he didn’t have any reason to keep me but the deal with the school went from 24 hours to three days. It was only day 2.

This man, I never knew his name, I never cared. He told me I needed to stop pacing the floor. Not reading the books. He said socialize more. He said if I wanted to be released I had to prove I was sociable. He said if I did that it would look better. So I did. But the problem was those people. They were damaged. They were broken. They belonged there. I was normal. I had trouble talking to females but other than that I had no voices in my head. I had no drugs in my blood. I had no thoughts of ending my life. Not the first or second day.

Day Three.

I am getting really irritated. Why does it take so long to meet with the therapist? Why do they drag their damn feet? How much longer is this going to take? They said I could check myself out anytime I wanted. Finally the man came to me and pulled me into the private room. I have been there before I knew something was wrong. He told me point blank their staff didn’t see anything wrong with me. He said the school has something else going on but he couldn’t say what. He could say, he told me, they were NOT going to honor their agreement and if I wanted out I needed to start the process or they were going to put me past the voluntary watch and keep me there another week just to be safe. I pulled myself out and went home.

As I sat here putting these words down I realized I wasn’t able to go into all of my details that I thought. I realized there was no chance in hell I was going to open that scar and share my actual inner thoughts. Not if I am to put this dark past where it belongs. In the past. I knew someday I would need to work through it. I know someday further I will probably even find myself completely healed from it. Still, there is the small part of me that wants to scream on top of my lungs until they flatten like a tire with a nail in it. I don’t suppose that day will be today but I imagine it is coming.

The story has a somewhat happy ending in that it pushed me to be a better person. However, I can honestly say it also put the fear in me. I now know to be far more careful the things you say and who you say it to.

Every word of this is true to the best of my recollection. Of course there are details I am leaving out. But I can also say it is not intentional it is how my fuzzy brain remembers it. Stay Cool.

Facing depression, self esteem and our inner demons- THE RAT

Every once in a while I decide to take on a more serious topic. This week on the podcast I am sure to be discussing PiewDiePie and the mass shooting in New Zealand. However, before I get to that I wanted to take a look at some personal issues I have always faced in my own personal life regarding self esteem and depression. This is something I think most people can relate to. I am only now starting to get to the point in my life where I can sort things out. I hope that if someone were to read this article it might help them reflect on their own lives.

I want to put something into perspective. Why do I struggle so much with connecting to other people? What makes it so damn difficult for me to learn names to go with the endless sea of faces? Read below to get a little insight into the twisted mind that is cluttered with a spider’s web of confusion and frustration.

Let me start with stating I am currently 36-years-old as of the time of this writing. I have lived in more than 36 towns or cities over the years. I attended almost half that many schools growing up. I have moved damn near every year of my life either to a new town, new house or some other major change has occurred. Last year alone I move three times.

At 36 years of age I have already had more than 40 jobs over the span of my life. I began work at age 12. I started as a kid shoveling snow, mowing lawns, racking leaves and helping pull weeds in gardens of elderly individuals in the neighborhood. I also threw newspapers at people’s porches and in the summer I worked in the corn field for the farmers. I sat down recently once, more than a decade ago, to count the number of places I have lived, jobs I have worked and schools I attended. That as a decade ago and I was already over 35 jobs worked, 28 towns and twice that many houses. I forget how many schools it was because that was before college. Speaking of college, I attended 4four years of university. I attended three different colleges over that time. There have been times I was juggling two, or more, jobs at a time. So when I tell people I have a hard time remembering where I was in June of 2017 I can assure you it’s not because of drugs or alcohol.

Speaking of vices let’s put those on the table. I do not drink alcohol. I will have a drink but it is very rare. I have consumed literally, I checked, no more than what would be the equivalent of a 24 pack of 12 oz cans of beer. I have had maybe fewer than 12 total shots of hard liquor and less than 20 beers in my entire life. Alcohol is not an issue. I have smoked no more than what would amount to half, at best, a pack of cigarettes spread out over at least 20 or more years of trying to give it a shot. Vaping and chew I have at zero experience with save for second hand smoke and accidentally taking a drink from a soda can some asshole spit his chew into that one time.

What about sex? I am a devout Christian. I have remained fully celibate my entire life. Fully is not a stretch. I avoid situations where I might be compromised. I have never even been to a strip club and the extent of my exposure to pornography, outside brief nudity in slasher films, is being at a party with friends who had the videos playing on their computer. I have glanced at some out of curiosity before moving into a mind of withdrawal. I recuse myself from those situations that would tempt me into digging deeper.

None of this is to say I am perfect. Ha, far from it. Listen to my podcast and it takes no more than the intro before I am dropping the infamous F-bomb. I have lost my temper and engaged in, mostly defensive, physical violence. I say mostly. I was defending my sisters honor that one time I caught a former friend jumping out of her bedroom window. That was aggressive in nature but the cops sided with  me so there was no arrest. Punches were thrown I cannot lie but charges were not filed. In fact I have never been arrested in my entire life. I have been questioned. I have been detained. I have been interviewed. But I have never been charged with a crime. Not that I have committed any crimes either, aside from skirmishes the local law enforcement chose to chalk up to a learning experience in being a man.

If you asked some of the ultra-right wing religious folks in my life I am a vile person because I watch hard R-rated gory horror films, listen to graphic gangsta rap and so-called Satanic Heavy Metal rock music. I am not perfect by any means. I had a friend introduce me to file sharing. There is a certain gray area in the law regarding some things, especially digital backups and time shifting, but I dabbled in the gray areas a until I got a muddy then cleansed myself off. I do, however, dig unashamedly into the world of roms and emulation.

What is the point of this, what is it a confession or soul searching? Honestly I don’t know. I realized today in my examination of my self why I have such a hard time taking the time to get to know people. Not to mention I have severe social anxiety and next to little self esteem.

I have other vices, if you will, secrets I keep to my self. My own skeletons I hide in the closet where they shall stay until Judgement day I suppose. I was raised baptist for the most part. Although even that is a stretch. You see I have attended likely as many churches as I have lived in towns because, well every time we moved I had to find a new church.

I am currently in the process of becoming Catholic. That is to say I have begun attending the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. I have been given permission to begin the process of coming into the church at the upcoming Easter Vigil. A part of what has drawn me to make this life altering change of direction is in fact my longing for something that has a real deep history. The Catholic faith goes directly back 2000 years as an established religion and several thousand more as an off shoot of the more ancient Judaism. I don’t use my religion to judge others or attack people I disagree with. In fact, doing just that goes against all Christian teaching regardless of which denomination a person adheres to. The truth is we’re told not to judge instead to love our enemies. I can say many of the so-called Christians who don’t share in that value are probably not true followers of the teachings of the Christ who they claim to follow. Turn the other cheek hardly sounds the same as some of the hatred people spew online.

The other stuff, the darker stuff that lurks in the hearts of the sinful man, well that’s why I need to attend Christs’s church. I want to shed my evil self and make every effort to become a better person, while simultaneously loving everyone and letting them live their lives in accordance with their own convictions.