What it’s been like working from home these past two weeks

I’ve had a lot going on in the last couple of weeks in my life just like most people in the world I would imagine.

I got the word two weeks ago today that my company wanted us working from home during the Health crisis.

Fortunately as a journalist who works for a newspaper this isn’t a major inconvenience for me although it has been difficult at sometimes. I’ve learned to adjust.

The first day was the most stressful because everybody knew we weren’t going to have access to our usual tools or resources or any of our sources for that matter and we still had to get a paper out. Based on my conversations with colleagues and co-workers we came to the decision that the first week went really smooth.

The second week however not as smooth so far. One of the reasons for that is things continue to get complicated elsewhere everyday towns and counties that surround us go in the lockdown and even our own cities in our own County have started to take measures towards that end.

The upside for the most part has been spending time with my cat and also getting to hang out with my sister and her kids more. I’ve also been getting a lot of housework done a lot of cleaning things of that nature I’ve even made small repairs to the house that were necessary.

Before I went to college I always had this fantasy this Daydream this wish that I could have an opportunity to work from home. I don’t like people I don’t like being out in the public so I thought it would be amazing great fantastic perfect all things good. And for the most part it’s not been that bad.

I feel there’s an economic trade-off that I’ve not prepared myself for mentally. The office where I work is about 20 miles from my house in the city that I cover is an additional give or take ten miles depending on what I’m covering or where I’m going so it’s saving me a lot of gas money by not having to drive anywhere.

The downside at least in terms of economics is I’m home all the time which means I’m always burning electricity I’ve always been cautious with the electricity I turn every Appliance in my house off when I leave. I make sure that there’s no lights on and I even turned the switch off my amplifier to my antenna while I’m at work as well as all the power strips to my electronics devices.

Sitting at home even with the lights off and most appliances still unplugged her to say I have to have my hat minimum my phone plugged in and charging because I’m using it for the hotspot to get to the internet on my laptop which is also plugged in and charging so I can work. I have to keep the TV on at least around the times that the television news cast come on because part of my responsibility as a news reporters to keep an eye on my competition which is also a gateway to sources and stories that I may have missed.

So that’s at least three or four appliances or devices that are constantly plugged in and burning electricity that have usually been turned off during the day I fear my power bill is going to be outrageous next month and I’m already delayed this one’s power bill into next month because of financial reasons.

The only good news out of all of the money situation is I got a better job offer and I will start my new job presumably at the end of the time. That my current job is going to and it’s work-from-home status although that’s not been determined yet.

My current job of course is news reporter for publication a daily newspaper North Central Texas community. My new job will be evening news producer for television newscast in the same Market.

I’m excited for the new job and the opportunity although I have reservations not about the job but about the status the world is in. And our current county has cases that have been confirmed and is making Necessary steps to do its part to contains the disease to prevent further spread.

We’ve been encouraged to get out of the house every once in a while to take a walk and get some fresh air. The problem is this has become difficult as it is constantly raining and so opportunities to be outside have been fairly limited although the last couple of days have been dry and warm the downside to that is I don’t have an air conditioner right now so I’ve been sweating quite a bit and have a rash places I’d rather not have a rash.

On a personal note it’s been nice to have a little freedom from the norm getting away from the crowds social anxiety has been on the decline these days I haven’t been socializing but other stressors have popped up I hadn’t taken into account. For example I live in a small camper with a cat who poops a lot which means I have to scoop the Box more frequently than I’m used to because I’m home sitting on my couch smelling it all the time versus coming home at the end of the day and just going to bed. Also Care Credit the cat is handled the stress of me being home better than I thought she would but she’s been getting outside more so maybe she that’s how she’s coping.

Even now is I Pace my property writing this article on my cell phone using voice to text as that is all I have access to she sits and stares at me making noises in my direction I don’t know if she’s trying to get my attention or what.

the first week I did spend some time playing video games and after I clocked out having completed my work for the day watching movies and TV shows. Second week I’ve been doing house chores cleaning and making minor repairs to my house every chance I get.

I have another week of work from home before I end my employment at the newspaper and start working for the TV station. I’m optimistic about the change. I imagine by that time I’ll be ready to get back out into the world hopefully things will have mellowed a little bit by then.

as a precaution communities all around us have been going into lockdown or shelter in place the community I cover has issued a stay-at-home but not quite shelter in place yet. as such my employer has provided us with credentials and documentation allowing us to be out in such cases as we are deemed essential.

all in all what I can say is if this was my permanent status but it is not the dream I thought it would be.

By the end of week 2 will see how I’m feeling I got one more day to go and I’m already starting to feel the anxiety starting to get stir crazy twice I’ve gone over to my sister’s house and harassed her to hang out with me just to get up just to have somebody besides my cat to talk to. I’ve also spent more time making phone calls to family members who are at a distance to me both of my parents live across the country as do two of my sisters that’s an unfortunate way of wording at my parents live together they just live on the other side of the country I should say.

And throughout all of this I’ve been fighting off a cough that just won’t go away. it’s not the virus and I’ve been quarantined enough at home away from the public to know that I would have had the virus by now but I have been to the doctor. it’s just seasonal allergies with all the rain the plants in my yard or growing exponentially so I do need to get that under control if it never dries up enough for me to cut the grass.

we’re supposed to have clear skies and a dry sunny day today so today might be the day. I get Amusement watching my cat chase the Wasps around my yard until she manages to chase one into my house before she attempts to eat it. I have successfully seen her eat to wasps so far so she seems to enjoy them. I did watch her eat a honey bee that must have stung her while she was in the process of doing so based on her reaction.

another somewhat negative is because I’m working on my computer and phone constantly I haven’t been checking Facebook or Twitter or other social media is much so I’m out of touch with my online community.

as I check in from time to time I noticed that most of their comments are long sign same lines as I’m feeling which I don’t fault them for that.

I’ve also noticed at least in a casual setting sitting on my couch I become somewhat complacent my work has not begun to suffer but I’ve been in a rush at times overlooking things that I probably wouldn’t for shouldn’t overlook under normal circumstances.

it’s excusable on my blog I’m My Own editor therefore I make the decisions anything I didn’t catch anything I missed oh well that’s on me. But that doesn’t work for the newspaper I do have editors looking over my work but I have to do a better job cross-checking the things that I write I’m trying to be aware of that. but that’s the thing from working from home you kind of get comfortable and it’s hard to switch your brain back to work mode.

I’d rather write about a comic book I read recently on a video game I just discovered or a new YouTube video or channel that I’m watching that’s not the way the world is right now I have to write about what’s happening when I seen what I’m feeling what I’m experiencing. I don’t have advice for others I haven’t found the trick yet myself unfortunately.

what I can say is this be careful what you wish for because sometimes when you get it it’s not what you expected. I have social anxiety and despised professional sports with a passion so I first seen the world shut down and all sports being destroyed for all intents and purposes I found it amusing it first aside from the fact that people were getting sick and or dying. but then I had a need to venture to a grocery store to pick up some Necessities for my own house and that’s when the reality sunk in people are losing their minds right now. I don’t think we need everybody on the planet in the middle State I operate in, it’s my Norm I’ve adjusted I know how to deal with it but it’s not healthy for everyone else and that makes me worried for the people who don’t know how to self isolate the people who don’t know how to distance themselves from social Gatherings as I have learned to do I desire and crave social contact as much as everyone else but I limitit to small doses but other people who aren’t used to that can’t adjust as easily. And that’s what worries me what will they do how will they react when they snap when the stir crazy becomes other kinds of crazy.

I said on my podcast recently I thrive in chaos which is a tagline to my show this is the spider’s Lair where chaos resides. and while that does ring true most of the time I can honestly say I’m at a point where I just want a little normalcy.

I do believe the upside to all of this is once things get moving again people will be relieved to get their lives back to normal and therefore activity will be more active than it was before I suppose that could be a good thing.

I’ll end this by saying that the most difficult part has been not having access to church as a Christian that has been important to me and so I have to evaluate my own values. I’ll save the effects of that for another article imagine I’ll have plenty to say. in the meantime stay home and stay safe and as always stay cool.

Why it isn’t that easy to define non binary folks in binary terms

Reach down your pants and see what you have, that is all it takes to decide if you are a boy or a girl.

How many times have you heard a similar line thrown your way? If you are trans gender, bi sexual, pan sexual or gender queer chances are you have heard someone in your life make a similar statement.

Last night I was watching an episode of That 70s Show. It was season 1, Eric’s Buddy. This was always one of my favorite episodes as it helped illustrate how confusing it can be to have non-standard non-binary feelings.

In the episode the main character, Eric Foreman, befriends a rich kid named Buddy who is is lab partner for a science class. During the course of the episode it is revealed Buddy is actually gay and interested in Eric romantically. Following a moment involving a kiss Eric clearly rejected, the two friends have a slightly awkward conversation about why he chose Eric and it quickly moves back into comedy territory. The moment was brief and the episode certainly wasn’t ground breaking by any stretch. It presented being gay as somewhat normal behavior but in the context of the decade it was taking place there was an obvious treatment of it being abnormal. Later in the episode the character Steven Hyde even uses the phrase “love that dare not speak its name” when referring to homosexual tendencies. It was one of those episodes when I was younger I thought oh cool they normalized this is a way I can relate but also stayed true to the time period.

Looking back on it I think episodes like this had a positive impact on my experiences where as someone who was more out in the open during that time might not have seen it the same as I had. I remained firmly in the closet until less than a year ago. It opened up slightly to some extent to a very small group of people over the years but it wasn’t until attending a pride event I decide to tackle my own issues head on. Up to that point I had shrugged it off as something inside of me I could never act upon.

The more I am confronted with figuring out what my trued self is the more I wish I could just tell people I don’t know and I don’t want to figure it out. Maybe part of that falls on me. It could be that I struggle to find where I fit in the binary world while accepting I am not quite fully binary in nature. I know from a Christian perspective this is difficult to consider. However, I found that what works best for me is saying I consider myself gender fluid these days. Some days I wake up more feminine feeling than others. Some days I wake up fully masculine. Other days I want to be some where in the middle.

This has come up as I began to develop the Retro Witch character. A part of me wants to present her as female. A small part of me wants to present her as more of a shemale, the old stereotypical transvestite. In other words, male presenting as female but not fully female. I think trans women face the same cultural pressures as cis women to be sexually appealing to society. Because women have to place so much of their identity on their outward sexuality it makes it hard for a tranny to say I want to wear panties and dresses but not shave my beard.

I want to be a woman internally but I don’t need to do so in a way that satisfies your sexual fantasies about me. The first time a guy commented on a YouTube video of mine, presenting as female, about my sexual desireability I felt very akward. I didn’t put on a dress, wig and makeup for men to find me attractive. I do it because it feels right. It makes me feel right. That is, when the mood strikes. There are times when jeans and a t-shirt feels right. I would rather not be defined by the clothes I wear, the way I do my hair or even the music I listen to. I would rather be defined by my personality and my value as a person.

I think this is a big part of why I have such a hard time making friends. I have so little self esteem because I see myself as invaluable to the human condition. I am no binary which means I am also not a breeder. I don’t express my sexuality in a way conducive to procreation, something quite contrary to my Catholic faith.

I cling to the word transgender, internally calling myself tranny for short or queer girl in my mind. I do this not in a self loathing or deprecating way but as a way to define myself in the context of the societal norm. I read a story about how this new super hero movie celebrates its bisexual character and the comments are all negatively attacking the so-called Hollywood agenda to push the gays onto the world. I get sick of being told we are pushing outselves onto the world when it is quite literally the other way around. All I want, I don’t speak for all non binary queer folks, but all *I* want is to live my life and not be told I am doing it wrong. Let me decide what works for me and you do what works for you. I get there are people who hate change. There are people who hate for the sake of hating. There are those who use their religion to justify hating. As for me, I just wish those people would leave me alone and let me figure it out for myself. What is it hurting YOU if I decide to be gay, bi or whatever else?

Oh no I deleted my videos! Read on to find out why~

I’ve made it no secret that internally I feel like a transgender person. Specifically, woman. Female. She. Her. But, my life is far more complicated than that. I am a Christian. A Catholic. I am looking into, considering possibly going into the ministry or doing more to serve God in the church. No matter what I end up doing, as I grow in the church, in my faith, unfortunately I will have fewer opportunities to express my feminine side. I am not giving up my femininity. I will keep cross dressing and doing make up as needed. I will continue to grow my Barbie collection and as with my Transformers I will continue to play with my dolls. Yes I said dolls.

But what is going to change, for the time being, is my public discussions of trans gender related issues. I have things I struggle with that I have to settle for myself. Does this mean the Retro Witch is done? NO! Not even close. In fact what it really means is I expect to rebrand my show to be more inline with how I really feel. Retro Witch was a character I played. Obviously the real me, the woman inside is not the retro witch, she is Stephanie and that will never change. Nothing is going to remove her from me. Ever.

However, as I move towards a public life of service to the church I will have to align my outward appearance with that which is more edifying to the church. I have been told as I heal spiritually, as my heart heals, then Stephanie will go away and I will become more man, masculine or comfortable with my outward maleness. I am not so sure. I did that. I lived that life. Stephanie is not a part of me, she is me. No, she isn’t me. I am Stephanie. Period. There is no RAT. There is no, him. Only me. That is who I ~AM~ and nothing is going to change that. How far I want to take it is another story.

Every time I try to cover her up, deny the truth and hide, in shame, I feel bad for a while until the overwhelming, no over powering desire to be my authentic self bubbles up and I sink back into a slump. Dresses, makeup, dancing, etc., that is when I am the most happy. But, I still have to fight the urge to give into sin. Male or female, queer or straight, trans or cis, I am still celibate and as long as I remain single, unmarried, that will continue to be my state of being.

This is not easy. I wish I could get HRT, change my name, come fully out of the closet and eventually pursue GRS. Those are things I desire above all else in life. With one exception. To serve the Lord Jesus. How do I reconcile being a Godly man with being, internally at least, a transgender woman? OR gender queer? At the very least extremely effeminate person with strong desires to just be left alone? Maybe, at the end of the day, I need to be comfortable living alone. Living by myself. As me, the real me.

I was told if you feed one nature it will grow. The more I give into femininity the more feminine I become. I don’t feel myself feeding the masculine and becoming more masculine, I find myself becoming more, depressed with the prospect of having to be force into a box I do not wish to be in. This mask I wear, sometimes it kills me inside. Sometimes I long for the day I can, in a red dress and red leather boots walk confidently out in public and shop for makeup without feeling guilt, shame or worse.

Last year I made big strides in freeing myself from the burden of my bondage. This year, this new year has begun to tie my hands, push me back into the cage and proceeds to beat me back into submission. I suffocate. The woman wants to roar. But she wants to be accepted by her female peers, trans or otherwise. She wants to be feminine. She wants to be feminist. But she also wants to be a devout Christian living life pleasing to the Lord and obedient to the stewards of his Church. For the first time in my life as Stephanie I think I might make a plea to the Holy Mother of God, Mary, whom the Catholic church has taught me to admire and adore. In the meantime I deleted all my Stephanie videos and will let the fear that keeps me enslaved continue to keep me from living my life, my way.

~Stephanie Bri.

Super Gobot Baron Von Joy and what he means to me personally and my collection

This is not one of those tales of how I fell in love with a Gobot over a Transformers because of the superior quality of the toy compared to the other brand. Nor is it a story on how nostalgia clouded my judgement into thinking the Gobot was inferior to the Transformer brand.

This is a person story of how I left a particular toy from my childhood in the past as it remained tied to a painful memory I had every intention of avoiding. This is the story of the day my grandpa died and how my dad comforted my with what became my first Gobot toy.

I have been a toy collector, off and on, my entire life. It started when I was a kid. I have dabbled to varying degrees well into my adult life. I recently began the quest to get back fully into the collecting of toys and collectibles from my childhood. I have spent much of the time focused on Transformers that I had as a kid or those I picked up the first time I got back into adult collecting.

I had avoided buying Baron Von Joy for a number of reasons. The first and foremost is Gobots are not a top priority for me. As my financial resources are fairly limited I concentrated on the Transformers that were most important to me personally. The second reason I held off on seeking this toy out was the painful memory associated with the passing of my grandfather. Obviously as time has passed the pain has diminished as I have aged. Recently I lost another grandfather and decided it was time to honor the memory of the one I lost ages ago as a way to move on.

I wasn’t much older than somewhere between the ages of three and five. I have no more than a barely confirmed fuzzy memory of sitting with my grandpa before he passed. What I do have is a very vivid memory of my dad, the man I looked up to most as a kid, being away from his family for what felt like forever to a child when he went to California to attend his dad’s funeral. As a kid all I knew about California is it was where my grandpa went to die. It left me with a feeling of California is a bad place where people go to die. It wasn’t a rational fear but it stuck with me for a very long time.

Upon his return my dad filled the void in my fragile little heart by bringing me a present. It was, at the time, a fairly impressive Super Gobot toy. I knew it was special because all my Transformers were plastic but this was metal and had rubber tires. It was like those metal cars you see in the collectible aisle at the toy store. You know the ones old men were always looking at.

It was a sci-fi alien robot like my existing Transformers, except it also turned into a realistic car, in this case a Porsche. Little did I know that the Transformers toys that predated my late entry plastic possessions were also die cast metal with rubber tires. Hey, I was a kid and it was the late 80s the Gobots had already met their maker and Tranformers was taking over the world of young 80s kids.

Unfortunately the original one from my childhood failed to survive all those moves my family made over the years. I honestly cannot remember what exactly happened. What I do know is when I returned to the hobby as an adult collector I intentionally avoided buying this specific Gobot. In fact, I didn’t get nostalgic for the brand at all until I was in my late 20s.

It started slowly with my stumbling into a junk store in a small lakeside town in Nebraska. There on the shelf was a retro Gobot toy I had never seen but it had the branding plastered on its chest. I immediately bought it, took it home and looked it up on Google.

As I began researching the toyline that nostalgia began swelling up.

I took a few years off from collecting entirely before I came back around to collecting last year. As I decided to get back into collecting I made a choice to get the toys from my childhood. I had struggled with whether or not I was going to get this one or not. I decided it was time and so I made the plunge.

Once it arrived I was overwhelemed with emotions as the memory of my grandpa came back to me.

My first Micromaster

I did it. I did something I never thought I would do as a Transformers collector, I bought my first micromaster toy.

It’s kind of a big deal for me because I grew up really despising the micromasters. I’ve encountered them at flea markets and yard sales over the years and I always dismissed them I never wanted micromasters in my collection.

What changed my mind has been a long path I won’t get into the whole story but it started with Armada and the mini cons. Now to be fair I’ve always liked the Target Masters, Headmasters and even the power Masters. But I never had any interest in micro Masters or action Masters they just kind of disgusted me really.

I have to start by saying part of it goes back to my disdain for the Micro Machines toy line. Over the years my parents made the mistake of buying me Micro Machines at various occasions birthdays, Christmas, Even Easter at times. And I could never complain or tell my parents I don’t like Micro Machines because you don’t want them to get mad at you because they bought you a toy. That’s enough reminiscing let’s get into the toy itself.

I picked up my first micro Master it was storm cloud one of the Decepticons from I believe the Air Patrol or air strike Patrol I’m not a hundred percent I haven’t done my research yet. First step I want to say that I’m still not a fan of micro machines so I don’t want to sway from that too far. However one of the things that I always hated about getting a micro machines was usually when I got a Power Ranger or Star Wars toy that felt like a slap in the face it was we know you like Star Wars but we’re not going to get you a real Star Wars toy we’re going to get you this Micro Machines. So this isn’t exactly that this isn’t real transformer made by Hasbro or sold by by Hasbro so it actually counts as an authentic Transformer.

I’ve seen micromasters in the wild and I usually dismiss them so I never really took the time to actually examine any of them. One of my cousins growing up had countdown which was probably the only micro master I told myself I would ever consider getting and it’s really just a base. Now as far as the Decepticon jet goes I have to say I am kind of slightly impressed because it has a more complex transformation then I assume micro Master would it’s not quite in terms of complexity at the level of a full size Transformer I guess we would say deluxe class or larger but it’s comprable aside from scale to a Decepticon cassette or an Autobot minibot for example his transformation is at least as many steps as Powerglide although he’s not at the same scale as Powerglide.

And this is where I’m torn he is the same complexity just about as one of the other Masters and that includes the modern micro Battle Masters or the mini cons whatever you call them.

He doesn’t stand as tall as a Decepticon cassette or an Autobot mini car so that’s kind of an issue for me because it means that these are definitely at a much smaller scale and that’s the problem they feel like a separate toy line and that’s why I’ve always dismissed them it doesn’t as I hold it in my hand it doesn’t feel like a Transformer it feels like yes it has the plastic in the wheels are the same material as other Transformers but it doesn’t feel like a Transformer it feels like not quite a knockoff but it does look like a Transformer though I don’t know I think I would have preferred the micromasters if they would have been in the same scale as the original microman / micro change mini cars because then you could have kept them in the same toy line and they would have felt like they belong. They feel like you have a micro Master collection separate from your Transformers collection almost like its own toy line. I feel very similarly to the heroes of Cybertron PVC figures or figurines if you will. But those are intended to be a separate toy line these were intended to be the continuation of the original generation 1 toys and that’s what kind of I think I never liked about them that’s what always bothered me.

As I hold storm cloud in my hands I will place him in the box with my other Transformers and see how he fits in it feels really out of place but fortunately the scale to be fair it’s not consistent throughout the toy line anyways.

He’s small enough even as a toy that turns into a jet he can ride on the back of laserbeak comfortably and not look out of place. Is almost small enough if the doors open he could fit inside Bumblebee and he could certainly fit inside gold-bug if his doors opened. But let’s just talk about the complexity of the transformation and the material he’s made out of I like the colors he’s not really slick purple that’s my favorite color purple and he’s got some black on him and his colors look really good together his transformation isn’t too complex but it’s not as simple as I thought it would be.

Starting with the robot you fold his hands down at his sides which is pretty simple you fold the nose cone down and push the legs up into the body of the Jet and then flip the wings down that’s basically it is very simple. I was kind of surprised that the legs folded down but I was somewhat at that point disappointed that they didn’t separate but that’s a common design flaw with the original G1 toys so I can’t complain too much. In terms of so-called articulation he really doesn’t have any his hands or arms I should say swing up and down but that’s about it nothing else really to say. Why does someone special to me it’s simple because I’ve never owned a micro Master before and while he has it ignited my interest in the toy sub line quite yet but he has impressed me enough that I’ve added purchasing micromasters to my list of things to do in other words I’m going to start a small micro Master collection on the side. I’m not quite yet sure if I’m going to group them in with my G1 toys or separate them out in their own toy line. I don’t pay much attention to Hasbro’s official marketing I have my own sub toy lines subgroups that I tend to follow and I disagree with a lot of the fans or I should say I don’t fall in line with a lot of the other fans. I see everything from Generation 1 1984 to the end of robots in Disguise around 2003-2004 has one continuous toy line. but I also see the individual sub toy lines as their own separate group of toys. So if you collected only Headmasters to me you would have a Headmaster collection that’s not the same as Dinobots are a category insecticons or a category they’re not their own separate toy line.

As I sit here and mull over this first micromaster I fully suspect as I add more to the collection this one will continue to hold a place in my heart as my first but I don’t know if it will end up being my favorite. At this point in time all I can say is I have him I’m slightly more impressed than I thought I would have been but I’m still not 100% sold on the subgroup as of yet. But on the positive side I don’t hate them nearly as much as I used to. Stay cool.

The winding road from paganism to Catholicism

As the season of Advent begins and the Christmas season is in full swing I wanted to recall the long and complicated journey it took for me to go from pagan to Catholic.

My earliest exposure to religion came in the form of an awkward costume party my non-Christian parents sent me and my sisters to. I was in second grade. We were invited to a church Halloween party.

Or, at least we thought it was a Halloween party. Turns out it was one of those anti-pagan substitute “harvest” celebrations some churches put on to distance themselves from the pagan origins of certain aspects of the Halloween festivities. I said it was awkward for a reason.

My friends and I went in our costumes we intended to wear while trick-or-treating. There was a witch, a vampire, a princess and a Jason Vorhees among others in our group. We stood there in the church standing out like a sore thumb surrounded by shepherds, wise men and other “Christian” symbols like angels and others I didn’t recognize at the time.

My actual religious belief at the time was simple. I knew in my mind there was a God out there and there were likely angels, demons and other spirits. I had read plenty of books on various mythologies from Greek and Roman to Celtic and Norse and even some Anglican Arthurian legends through in the mix. My beliefs were not well defined.

I started exploring paganism through dark magic. I wanted to be a warlock. I desired to learn the dark arts. Not in a cartoon or comic book way, no I was a legit pagan seeking to master the spiritual forces as best as I could. I was deeply attracted to the occult and its temptations of power and lust.

Needless to say this led me down a path where I was reading books on Satanism, witch craft, demons, ghosts and magic, all sorts of magic. I never became all to proficient in spell casting during this time but I developed a strong connection to the spiritual world that has been with me every since.

Early Beliefs

I was in the first grade when I took it upon myself to make my earliest plea to whichever deity would respond.

At an early age I knew internally I desired to be a girl more than anything else in the world. Thus my prayers were intensely focused on begging any God to please let me wake up tomorrow a girl so I can stop being a boy. I hated being a boy more than anything. I didn’t know which god to pray to so I prayed a generic pray to “god” without defining it.

I also dabbled in fairy tales like wishing upon a star and other incantations children learn through various means. I believed in ghosts, UFOs, Big Foot, Dragons, Leprechauns, fairies, monsters, demons, angels and other general supernatural phenomenon including vampires and werewolves.

I took the broad approach of accepting anything until disproved.

When I was around the age of 10 my parents began sending me and my sisters to this church every Sunday. It was a way to get us out of the house apparently.

During my time there I listened intently to the Sunday school teachers. I was supplementing their teachings I learned from Bible stories with other mythologies I read and mixing in stuff from horror movies such as The Omen and A Nightmare on Elm Street, among others. I quickly developed a broad sense of all religions had some nuggets of truth I just didn’t know how to define my own beliefs.

My Conversion experience

I was 11 years old. It was a stormy night. My dad had been listening to the rock station jamming to a popular Led Zeppelin tune. The weather caused the station to go out and Charles Stanley came on in its place. He was in the middle of a sermon preaching how so many people think being a good person will get them to Heaven. He gave the fire and brimstone message many Evangelical preachers are fond of.

During the course of the sermon, my dad being too drunk to change the channel, broke down into tears and prayed the sinners prayer giving his life to the Lord right there. Having been deeply interested in the supernatural his words shook me too.

Seeing that incident, witnessing the instant change in my dad who got cleaned up the next day and took us all to the first church he drove to. I, too, prayed the prayer that night choosing to devote my life to the God that made it through to my dad.

It was a life changing experience for my entire family. I learned, from talking to my mom after dad’s conversion, she had always been faithful and kept praying God would intervene and save my dad. That was enough for me. I was in. God was real and I now had all the proof I needed.

I didn’t make my profession of faith and become baptized until a year later after I turned 12. My devotion to the Lord and the Christian faith was immediate, but my journey to understanding what all that entailed was going to take much longer.

Adolescences intervenes 

I started cross dressing before puberty kicked in. It was a way for me to promote my own mental health. I knew in my mind I had to present as a girl every chance I could. This put me on a path of resisting social outings in order to seek every chance I could to sit at home, alone in the dark in my bedroom in a dress so I could feel like myself.

I also began dabbling in playing the game Dungeons and Dragons as well as listening to hard core gangsta rap, heavy metal rock music and eventually discovering Marilyn Manson and Garbage both quickly becoming favorites of mine. All this was taking place during my dads deepening quest to find us the right Church to teach us whatever it was he thought would be best for our spiritual well being.

Of course it was a weird time where things that were okay were suddenly a sin then okay again. That constant back and forth began to drive me nuts. I was perfectly fine devoting my life to Jesus. I was baptized by this time so my devotion to Scripture began to shape my views on life.

I was mostly attending Evangelical and protestant churches at this time. I wasn’t long before we began running into anti-catholic preachers warning us of the dangers of Catholicism. Now I was more of the belief that we were all Christians and some had different practices so I never bought into that belief.

As someone who was deeply invested in paganism before my Christian conversion I dismissed any notion that Catholics were just pagans pretending to be Christians, I knew better. But I never did fully explore the Catholic faith.

Suicide strikes my world

I was 16 when I made my first attempt to take my life. It’s kind of a long story how I got there but it happened at a Church camp. I left the Bible Study and walked towards the side of the mountain proclaiming I was going to throw myself off the cliff and die. I was under the belief that I was ensure an eternal resting place in Heaven as the doctrine of Once Saved, Always Saved was being taught at the church I was attending at the time.

Not long after another fried of mine succeeded in ending his life where I had failed. This, of course shook my faith for the first time and I had to begin questioning everything I knew.

I hadn’t learned much in the way of doctrine beyond a few basics. I knew about the Gospel message of repentance and faith. I knew the Be attitudes. I knew about the sinners prayer and the Romans Road to Salvation. I had a basic understanding of the pretribulation rapture. I spent most of my time obsessing on interpreting biblical prophecy and less on Christian living.

I knew about the Armor of God and the Works of the Flesh so I had a rudimentary understanding of the Christian faith. But I never explored any deeper out of frustration with all the different interpretations. I stuck closely to the least controversial topics that the majority of Christians agreed on and shied away from the deeper topics, intentionally.

Catholicism clashes with my beliefs: Round One

I moved into an apartment with a friend of mine that I grew close to who had a spare room at a time I was fighting with my parents. It ended up being one of those situations where I ended up making things worse for everyone involved but I can’t gloss over this part.

I had already gone through my brief foray into producing “Christian Rap” music to the point I put on a concert for my friends that resulted in me preaching damnation to a bunch of Catholics.

They were not impressed. One came up to me and said dude we appreciate your enthusiasm but we’re already saved, we’re Christian. I rebuked him saying no you are Catholic, that’s the same as worshiping the devil. I was wrong to but I didn’t know any better yet.

Needless to say I was working hard on converting my Catholic roommate and any of his friends as I could. What I succeeded in doing was turning one former Catholic into a Mormon and then giving into temptation for a night of drinking the resulted in the death of another good friend.

What really ended up happening was I discovered I was deflecting my repressed transgender bisexual feelings into a scathing condemnation of others in order to bury my own flaws and try to build myself up spiritually speaking by winning over other converts. It was how I stocked up on the Holy Spirit if you will.

2008 changes everything

I was  a devout Christian raised in the Midwest with very conservative values. It was no stretch for me to pledge my loyalty to the political ideology that closely aligned with that upbringing. Everything changed in 2008. I was white, sure, but my friends were not. I was the only white kid in a ton full of Hispanics, African Americans and other non whites.

For me, the election of Barack Obama, while certainly a blow to my political leanings at the time, was a major victory culturally speaking for those I cared about. This began the wavering period where I started to question everything I had previously held as firm.

It was one year later, in 2009, that I began applying to colleges. I had dropped out of high school, with no education floated from job to job amassing a pretty lousy credit score and thus it was not an easy road getting into a decent university.

By the middle of 2010 I finally found a university that would accept me and offer me student loans to begin my education.

Catholicism clashes with my beliefs: Round Two

I was in only my first semester of college. I was taking an art appreciation class and an American History course. Both of these began to challenge my long held beliefs on the origins of my then Christian denominational allegiance.

I was challenged with the reality that before the Reformation, for the most part, all Christians were basically Catholic. There were some underlying complications to this but it was an unavoidable fact I had to grapple with.

During this time I began exploring the Catholic faith. I also began learning more about the Eastern Orthodox Church which I had always assumed was just a branch of Roman Catholicism.

By this time my years of video games, specifically role playing games, and Dungeons and Dragons reminded me that there was a very strong interest in my mind to explore the medieval period in Church history.

It was also the time I started to really question everything I thought I knew about the Bible and Christianity. No matter how much I looked for an excuse to label Catholics as a false branch of Christianity I couldn’t escape the calling.

How an Anglican changed my mind

Last year I started a new chapter in my life. Aside from starting the journey to accept my transgender identity I had been struggling with I also began realizing that I had never found a church family or single denomination that worked for me.

I spent all my life moving from town to town, state to state bouncing around from one branch of Christianity to another. I had resisted any that even resembled Catholic at all. I knew I couldn’t find the right church for me just it couldn’t be Catholic.

I started working at a new job where I met an Episcopalian who invited me to his Anglo-Catholic style church. I was instantly scared away by the very mystical liturgy the church practiced. It reinforced my fear these were pagans pretending to be Christian.

I went home and prayed about it. This whole time I had never wavered on one central truth, my belief that Jesus was in fact the Son of God and the Savior of Mankind. Nothing was going to shake that. Even if I struggled with defining sin and living with how to grow spiritually, nothing would ever shake my belief in Jesus as my Lord.

After meeting with the Anglican priest over the course of several months and talking to some Catholic co-workers I did some intense research using Catholic Answers as a starting point. I slowly settled all my fears and doubts. I prayed intensely about it and decided to take the plunge.

I signed up for the Right of Christian Initiation of Adults at my local Catholic Parish and by the time the Easter Vigil was nearing I went to the priest and request an exception to the year long wait. I was anxious to join the Church and complete my conversion to a devoted follower of Christ that I started all those years ago.

In my mind I struggled to settle issues I didn’t quite fully understand. But that wasn’t what mattered. The first time I participated in the Holy Sacrament of Reconciliation I felt an instant healing of my broken soul. The Lord assured me, through his Holy Spirit, I found my way back into the comfort of his flock and the safety of his Church.

The first moment I received the Holy Host in the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist I felt the real presence of Jesus’s Body in my soul. I have never felt the power of the Holy Spirit, the blessings of God nearly as much as I have since coming home to the Holy Roman Catholic Church that Jesus founded over 2,019 years ago.

What does the future hold?

I didn’t think I would get here where I am today. Finally, at peace with my Faith and a growing desire to get closer to God renewed my spirit.

It took me watching a Netflix series that focused on actual devil worshipers to really wake me up to the reality that despite my early affirmation of Faith int he Lord , I needed to get my life right so I could begin to not only get closer to God through prayer and Bible Study but also to better serve him.

Today I proudly introduce myself as Catholic after spending over three decades wandering this earth trying to define my religious beliefs.  I have recently signed up for a number of opportunities within my Parish family and I look forward to growing in Christ daily. Stay Cool.