Unbroken: Becoming Aria

To gain perspective on my beginnings, I am forced to rely on the memories of those that were around me and those that knew of my situation. Not all of this can be one-hundred percent confirmed because of this fact. That said, let’s get to know my biological mother, “Mary”, first.

Mary was raised in a strict, traditional Christian family in Georgia, USA. Her father was in the Air Force and they traveled often. Due to his job, Mary was neglected by her father. Needing extra attention made her somewhat of a trouble child for her mother.

In her teenage years, Mary really liked to have fun. Drugs, sex and rock ‘n’ roll, to generalize it. She ended up pregnant shortly after high school. Her daughter was beautiful and easy to care for. This allowed Mary the time to continue having fun. She eventually would meet “John”, my father, while out looking for a “score”.

John is a bit of a mystery to me. Much of his past is unknown; as is his current whereabouts. I do know this: He was balding, loved to laugh, and had one hand missing. In its place, a metal claw.

To this day, I have but 2 pictures of the man. One is a mugshot. The other is with my sister and I, on his lap. He was not a constant in my life and to this day, I have almost no memory of him.

Mary claims she loved John very much. They enjoyed an off and on again relationship for a while.

She had me on an early Saturday morning, at a hospital in Warner Robins, GA. It was March, 1986. She did NOT want a second child and John would be out of the picture shortly thereafter.

This would all set the general mood of my infant years.

This collection of memories do not entirely belong to me. To help catalogue my infancy, I am relying on the stories given to me by four separate individuals. I have remnants of memories that I can best describe as fragmented. I will be presenting four individual perspectives, followed by my own, fractured memories.

  1. Mary 

Every time I ask Mary about my early years, she instinctively flinches. She always begins the stories with the same melancholy toned, “You have to understand, it was all just too much for me back then”. This particular memory is from the first conversation between Mary and I. I was eighteen at the time and had not seen her for 15 years.

She began the first meeting with a big hug, some tears and some placating overtones. I got around to asking her why I was put up for adoption. She answered with:

“You would cry for hours on end and I, .. I just couldn’t deal with it. So I did the right thing, I asked for help. — Sometimes it was your sister that would help, sometimes your grandparents. It just got to be too much.” …. “I think Vanna learned to change your diaper when she was four! She was always such a good child. If it hadn’t been for her”… “I may not have been the best mother to you, but in the end, I did the right thing. You have to admit, you had a better life because I let you go!”

I stared at her long and hard, taking this new information in. “This? THIS is my mother?” I remember thinking that to myself, very clearly.

After gathering my thoughts, I asked “Why did you keep Vanna and not me? What was so wrong with me?”:

“Nothing sweetie! You were just so spirited and I couldn’t handle the both of you… She basically raised herself during those years. She was such a huge help with you as well. I was.. I was kind of out of it for a time. My social worker said it would be best.”

“Social worker?”

“Oh yeah, Julie was great with you. She found you several families, but none of them stuck until your parents came along. You had several trial runs before Olav and Jean found you.”

At this point, I sat down. I had no previous knowledge that I had been so transient as an infant. I was shaken. She went to the bathroom and all I could do was look at the floor. I had been in several people’s homes, and rejected?

After Mary returned I asked her my final question, “Did you miss me and think about me, at least?”

“I thought of you often. Vanna used to make a huge deal of your birthday each year. We would make a cake and she would make you these hand made, hand drawn by my birthday cards each year!”

At this point, I knew that at the very least, my sister had loved me. To this day, Mary and I do not talk.

  1. Vanna

My very first good memories are of my sister. I remember her dressing me, feeding me and sitting with me. We were apart for 15 years, yet when we saw each other that first time, years later, it was an instant connection. I asked her to relive those days with me and share the story with me.

“You cried a lot, but I didn’t blame you. You would be left in a dirty diaper for hours before I would be able to change it. Mama would just “zone out” and would often put you in your seat and forget about you. She used to get so mad because.. Boy could you scream.”

We chuckled over this together and then she continued.

“Miss Julie would come by almost every week to check on Mama and you. A few times she would take you to the home with her, because Mama said she couldn’t handle us both.”

“Home?”

“Oh yeah, the state home. I had to go twice, but I never stayed as long as you.” She continued, “I still remember when you came back from that one family’s house and you would cry every night and every time it was too dark. That got annoying. But when I asked Julie, she told me why… They put you in the closet when you wouldn’t stop crying.”

“I was actually removed from that home forcibly, by Miss Julie.”

“See, I never knew that shit. Mama always was a goddamn liar. But, I still love her to death. … I am so sorry that happened. I’m just glad you made it out of there. Your parents saved you from dealing with Mama’s shit for 15 years.”

I talk to my biological sister a few times a year. We do not talk about our childhood anymore.

  1. Miss Julie

“Miss Julie” was a social worker working for the state of Georgia. She was assigned to me in the early spring of 1987. She was following up anonymous reports of child neglect and parental misconduct. I had only 2 meetings with Miss Julie. The first meeting was a conference call with her, my parents and myself. The question at hand was “Did I want to meet my biological family?”. It was a resounding yes from me. The second meeting with Julie was several months later. It was both enlightening and horrifying.

She started off the conversation with normal platitudes but quickly dove into the darkness.

“I understand you have had some trouble forming attachments and being in the dark (Nyctophobia). I’d like you to know, you had a fairly rough time as a baby… Your mother (Mary) was on drugs and suffering from anxiety and couldn’t be there for you like she should have been. This led to you missing meals, diaper changes and eventually, me showing up and removing you from the home. I can’t tell you how many times I came over to find you with your sister, her feeding you and trying to change you. But…I placed you in several homes.”

“I had to remove you from one [of the homes] after I found bruises during our monthly check-in and the other.. The other home, I learned from neighbors, that you were being left in a closet when you cried. … You were underweight, bruised and abused. I can’t help but take some responsibility. I’m so sorry.”

She ended the conversation with, “Your parents did a great job with you. You have grown to be a fine, upstanding person, I’m proud of you!”.

I thanked her for being candid, and attempting to take some responsibility for her part in my abuse. We have not spoken since.

  1. The Parents

When I was approximately three and a half, I was legally adopted by a family of evangelical christians. I lead with that description because everything in my life with them was tied to Christian ideology.

Olav was an electrical engineer working for IBM and Jean was a certified public accountant, working for the church. She was also a housewife and mother to three, soon to be four. Her response to my adoption was short and tagged with other memories:

“We’ll never forget the day we met you. You were so tiny! I was worried you’d been starved half to death. Remember what happened later that month? The crash? That’s right! We got in a car accident and a piece of glass flew into your face. You had to get 8 stitches. You didn’t cry once. You were so brave. Wow!”

My Dad remembers this:

“I actually flew home from Belgium to appear in court for your adoption. I remember it clearly because the judge had seen my docket and asked the crowded court if anyone had traveled further than me. Nobody had, so I got to go first! I’ll never forget that, and I’ll never forget when I first held you in my arms.”

That is the most in depth response I’ve received from my parents, regarding my early childhood. At the time, the family was preparing for a transition to Belgium. Olav was being transferred and the family was going with.

5. My Memory

The most significant memory fragments that I recollect are of Vanna, my sister. I remember her feeding and dressing me. I also remember her chasing the car when I left forever with my new family.

I also remember small dark places, associated with fear and anxiety. I remember getting in trouble but not understanding why.

I remember family; something new and not to be trusted. I remember chaos and I remember my first airplane flight…

Soon, I’d become an international child.

With adoption comes change. For me that meant a new home, a readymade family and a new country. I was adopted in 1989 by Olav and Jean, an American couple in the process of moving to Belgium. Shortly after becoming part of the family, I was on a plane across the Atlantic.

When I arrived at my new home, I was awestruck. It was a looming white mansion, with french gutters and shutters on the windows. The yard was large and had an enclosed private Tennis court.

The house was on a block with several other homes, each more extravagant than the last. It was located in a private neighborhood in Braine-l’Alleud, Belgium. This was about 20 miles outside Brussels, where I would attend school.

Saint John’s International School

My brother and I were made to attend an English speaking International school. In fact, I went to all the normal classes for K-2 AND a special class to teach us common French. They offered meals and some of the menu items were: crepes, waffles, and even fries and sauce.

We rode a large charter sized bus to school each day. The trip from home to school would be around 30-45 minutes. One memorable moment of my early childhood took place on that bus. My older brother was being picked on and a larger kid took his lunch box. I hit the kid and took my brother’s lunch pale away. I held the boy hostage with the pale as a weapon for a short time, until my brother calmed me down. I wasn’t allowed on the bus for a while after that. I was 5.

New weekend, New country!

The most common theme to my memories of childhood is: Travel. Throughout my early life, I always had something new to look forward to. Some of my greatest memories are catalogued below.

-Paris

I was about 6 when we visited Paris, France. I remember it being very cold, especially when we made it up to the top of the Eiffel Tower. We visited the Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre. Also to be noted on that trip, I walked the beaches of Normandy.

-Legoland

Visiting Legoland was by far my favorite theme park destination, ever. We went several times through the years, each time seemed greater than the last. Imagine, an entire theme park made of [or at least made to look like] Legos. It was one of my favorite toys as well.

-Sweden

I especially remember Sweden, but not for the sights and food. Though, the incredible architecture and potent foods are to be noted. No, I remember it because it was the first time I had ever met “Royalty”. Our family was invited to attend a luncheon with the royal family. I bowed super dramatically, and the King laughed. I’ll never forget that.

-Stonehenge

England was pretty fun. I got to ride the double decker buses and we had some incredible foods from street vendors. When we visited Stonehenge though, it caught my attention. I couldn’t believe that these massive stones were stacked without modern machinery. Science and astronomy had me, young,

-Austria (Alps)

I learned to ski on the slopes of the Austrian mountains. The Alps are beautiful and very cold. I remember when I was on the bunny slopes, learning the ins and outs, and had a fright with the children’s lift. I was so undersized, the seat lift didn’t have the counterweight needed and lifted me off the ground. They had to stop the lift and get the ski patrol to pull me down. Good times.

The Travels End

All in all, my travels were incredibly positive experiences, early in life. I feel humbled and grateful for these experiences. I hold them dear. I would go as far to say that my travels helped mold me into the person I am today.

Alas, the grand European experience came to an end in 1992. My father was offered a job in the evangelical association “The Navigators” so we packed up the house, said goodbye to all our friends, and headed back to the airport. Everything I’d associated with family was being left behind. I was nervous and worried that things would never be the same.

Up we went leaving Brussels behind. I knew that in 10 hours, we’d be landing and yet, I had no idea what awaited me in the Garden of the Gods…

I remember the first time I saw the Rocky mountains; they were brilliantly lit, a hue of burning purple against the dusk light. The house we drove up to was much smaller and homely than the one in Belgium. My brother and I quickly made it our new home, claiming entire floors for ourselves. Our parents won that fight. Colorado Springs in the 1990’s, what could go wrong?

Emi

My earliest memories of romance are with Emi, a girl I met in my Colorado neighborhood. In fact, they moved in not long after we did, and just down the street. We started off as besties. Riding our bikes through the park, showing off for each other and playing around with stuff in our basements. The same day we kissed for the first time, was the same day we prank called the cops together. We were both 8.

The Hornets

I attended public school at an elementary school in Colorado Springs, CO. I remember dancing in gym class, playing football or swinging on the jungle gym during recess. I still have scars from the field we used to play on. It was layered with red gravel.

I was placed in GT (Gifted and Talented) early on. It was a great experience but in hindsight, why were the other students not afforded the extra hour? I got to study brains, astronomy and much more than other students. It must be noted, I was also placed in the class because the conventional classroom was not engaging enough for me. I was, “spirited”.

“Therapy”

My parents had become increasingly exasperated with my behavior and turned to counseling for an answer. They had also become increasingly active in the Christian church. They turned to the pastor and deacons when looking for “therapists” to help me. Naturally, it was disaster after disaster.

One of the most religiously unique experiences I’ve ever had within Christian faith was with Dr. Rosario DelCastillo. Our “counseling” sessions began fairly normally, “How was your week”, etc. They would quickly change tune, however. We would huddle together, kneeling sometimes, and Dr. DelCastillo would lay her hands on me and “cast the demons out of me”. It taught me one thing for sure, I am going to Hell and I am EVIL.

The worst “therapy” I have experienced was at the hands of a “Therapist” who practiced “Holding Therapy”. I do not recollect his name but I dubbed him, “Dr. Make you wanna puke”.

I would enter his office, my parents behind a two way mirror, and we would sit together on his couch. It would open with the general banter of “how was your week, how could you have done better if you’d open up?” etc. It would then lead to him laying next to me, wrapping his body on mine and tickling me. Constantly. The tickling would be so long and painful I would vomit sometimes. This was his treatment for “Attachment Disorder”.

I didn’t trust therapy or therapists for a very long time.

Baptized

I eventually gave in. I remember thinking “if I get baptized and go super churchy, everyone will stop paying attention to my weirdness”. I told my Dad I was considering being baptized one Sunday morning… I had never seen such a huge smile.

Later that morning at church service, the pastor called for new believers to come forward and to be washed clean of their sins. I meekly walked forward… The pastor whooped and danced and when I finally made it down the aisle, he boosted me up on his soldiers and paraded me around the church yelling “The Lord had conquered a “spirited soul, Praise Him on high”.

The next week my baptism was held, my fourth grade teacher would be the officiant. I shit you not, my 4th grade teacher dunked me in a holy pool and said “You’re clean now. Now you can go to Heaven”. I have never had the guts to tell my parents, or anyone else but my wife, it was all just for attention. I needed good attention and god was an easy tool.

The Navigators

Speaking of tools, my father. We left the paradise in Belgium so that he could work for Billy Graham’s organization, “The Navigators”. My dad would often take me to Glen Eyrie, a castle in which The Navigators used for their meetups and international affairs. The bighorn sheep that flocked the grounds made it all worth it.

Up the road, my dad’s office was nestled just a few miles from the Kissing Camels, in the Garden of the Gods – Red rock formations that are of international renown.

While part of this organization, my dad would drag me along to conferences like The Promise Keepers, NavPress conferences and retreats at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, CO. I got to stay a night at the Stanley Hotel while there, so it was worth it.

Then, he heard of a special summer camp for up and coming spiritual leaders. Off I was sent…

Eagle Lake

The sight of the camp itself was absolutely breathtaking. Just a few miles shy of the treeline, on the eastern face of the Rocky Mountains. The lake itself was naturally formed into the shape of an eagle [roughly]. Atop the hill beside the lake, a massive cross.

The camp activities were filled with fun and challenges. In fact, one of the longest zip-lines in the world hung across the lake and the campers could earn rides across by being good little campies. There was a great tower on the lake and a ginormous blob [air bag] floating beneath the tower and zip-line.

I had to wake up at dawn, pray in a circle with my group and head to camp activities. From obstacles to crafts, all with Bible verse reciting and songs of praise. Points were assigned and removed for attitude and participation.

I had very low marks up to the last day and was in danger of not being allowed to participate in parents day (when parents join and do all the activities with good campies). If I had missed that, my parents would have punished me, harshly. So, I went for the gold…

“The Hill” which I referenced earlier, the one with the cross? It was a 3 hour climb to the top, at a swift pace. There was no trail, as a good Christian blazes their own trail to the cross. The points for doing this trek? Do it with a group- 10 points. Do it alone – 15 points. Do it alone, without food, water, or map – 25 points. I did the latter. I got 25 points and a few scrapes and bruises.

Sex

After camp, I was able to lay low for a while. My parents let me outside and off I went to make new friends. One of these friends would end up being my first sexual experience. Hindsight, I suppose my parents fears were legitimate that I would “sin” on my own.

He was a year older and lived a few houses down. I remember he was originally from Canada, and had just the slightest accent. He had a smirk, always laid into his smile, just stuck on one cheek. Tristan, what a hunk.

We used to hangout, him, my brother, our neighbor and myself. We would play street hockey and basketball, and of course, video games. We would always go to his house to watch shows like “The Simpsons” or “MTV”, because we couldn’t at home.

One of these times, everyone had left and we [Tristan and I] were alone. He had offered to rub my back and I laid down. He took my top off and rubbed me all over. It gave me my first real, intense sexual reaction. Without many words, he removed my pants and we ended up having sex. I don’t remember any pain, I only remember “This feels so good”. It never happened again, nor have we spoken of it since.

Gender Recognition

This experience helped confuse me even further. At the time, it felt more right than anything before. I felt like a woman. Or, in my ignorant view at the time, what I thought would make me be more womanly.

I always knew I was different. I enjoyed cooking, fancy dresses and things generally associated with femininity. I never knew how to express it and rarely challenged the status quo for fear of instant persecution. While I was attracted to feminine people at the time, sex, in which I was penetrated, had gotten me closer to feeling like myself than ever in my life.

Here we Go, Again.

Life in Colorado Springs had a lot of ups and downs but it was mostly great memories. However, my father was not done moving around. 4 short years after the last move, we would be moving again. This time, we’d move into the shadow of the peak…

My father had been offered a better position with IBM, and he couldn’t pass it up this time. The downside of this decision, we would have to move, again. I remember packing my bags, saying goodbye to my friends. Loading up in the family van had me filled with sadness and rage. This time, the drive was only 2 hours, but it still felt like forever. As we pulled into our new driveway, I looked to the west and beheld the shadow of Long’s Peak, cast over parts of this new city, Longmont, CO.

My new neighborhood was very new and clean. In fact, they only finished our house weeks before we moved in. I remember the workers coming and laying the sod in our front yard. The street cleaners came everyday for a week to clear away the mud and dirt from all the construction vehicles.

Our backyard had a garden, a dog run for our 2 dogs, and a patio for family night grilling. I spent many hours in the yard. I’d read on the patio, or help my dad in the garden. I was inevitably the chore holder of cleaning up after the dogs and feeding/watering them.

I’ll never forget my neighbors. To the left, the “Ned Flanders” look and act alike. That man mowed his yard at least 3 times a week. To the right, a younger couple with a massive dog. A bernese mountain dog if my memory serves me. Finally, to the rear of us; these neighbors were my favorite. I had a huge crush on the daughter, who ended up dating my brother for a time.

Our new house was equipped with a pool table. I would challenge my brother and almost always win. He would flip out everytime. He’d get so mad, he would throw things, punch walls or break random stuff. I definitely had a love/fear relationship with him.

Sixth grade was a particularly rough year for me. I spent half of the year in one school, and was stuck doing the 2nd half in a new school. Being the new kid can always be a challenge, but I was especially outspoken and hyperactive. I was quickly labeled a class clown and I frequented detention.

My parents did not receive this well. They strongly encouraged me to be more active in my youth group at our mega church. It was easy to meld into this new church youth group. I was handsome and knew all the right words. [Verses and Bible stories]

At the time, I enjoyed the easy network making that the church youth group provided. Aside from those nights with the churchies, I continued being very defiant and stubborn towards my parents, teachers and my “boss” (I was a ranch hand).

My parents decided they had no choice left but to send me to a religiously indoctrinated, military school. I had not really believed in hell up to this point in my life. Upon being sent away from my family and friends, again…

I could tell that hell was right around the corner.

St. John’s Military School. I’ll need to break the years down to cover this subject because they are so packed full of deeply ingrained memories, feelings and emotions. Six years of my life was spent at this “school”, 9 months of each year.

Seventh Grade

I still remember this first trip to Kansas. I was 12 years old and about 68 pounds, soaking wet. Everything around me seemed bigger than it was. The other kids, the buildings, it was all a shock for me. I was absolutely overwhelmed.

The first month at St. John’s was spent as a “newboy”. This basically painted a target on my back. The hazing was brutal at times. As a small child, I was picked on with special zeal. My spitfire attitude and tendency to start a fight did not help me much either.

One such fight stands out that first year. Outside one of the buildings stood a massive oak tree. This tree had a large aged knot hollow, big enough for a person. It was naturally, the trash hole for the uncaring kid. The fight began, as usual over me mouthing off and a foot chase. ensued. It ended when I was tackled under the “Holey Oak”. I ended up face first, stuck in that tree for over 2 hours.

After the first few months, I felt more settled and had made a few friends. Several of these friends would become sexual partners, regularly throughout the remainder of the year. The barracks had rooms set up for roommates of 2, 4 and 8. My first year, I had a room with 2. My roommate rarely stuck around the room at night.

The campus itself was quite spralling. It sported: a High School building, with a basement, A dining facility and rec room, with basement, 3 Living quarters and a Headquarters building for adult and Cadet (kid) staff, with basements, A large sports facility with Basketball courts, wrestlings mats and locker rooms. A football field and a Soccer pitch. It even had some residential housing for executive school staff and the “Father” and his wife.

The chapel stood out the most when entering the campus. Just off to the left off the entrance , a cozy white chapel, with a tower bell and steeple. Inside, over three-hundred people could squeeze in and would, three times a week. Episcopalian practices are very ritualistic.

The hazing, daunting size of the campus, and student body aside, my seventh grade year was academically one of the best years in my life up to that point. I received better marks, and was still in trouble often, but my test scores were high. My parents called it “a good learning year”.

Eighth Grade

By the next year, I had grown very little but had gained more confidence. I was a returning cadet. I knew how some of this worked now. Sure enough, I was in trouble, quickly.

The worst punishment would be considered expulsion. The thing next to that? RATT. Rehabilitation, Training and Testing. It was a “Rank” assigned to those that were under punishment and consisted of verbal abuse, constant physical training and public humiliation. I found myself lowered to that rank several times throughout my second year at SJMS..

One of the recurring reasons that I would end up demoted to RATT, was my fighting. I would start fights with the bigger kids and take them on chases across the campus. I had something to prove. I just didn’t know what yet.

Several of the Cadets that also returned had taken up bedding me again. I enjoyed the attention, even if it was in secret. But, word inevitably got out among the other Cadets. Not all my sexual experiences that year were ones I chose to have.

I took up smoking [cigarettes] that year. I was busted seveal times for smoking and reduced in rank or made to march circles, hours at a time. I was in full resistance mode. I did NOT want to come back again the following year.

Freshman-Sophomore

I was anxious and dreading the return to Kansas my Freshman year. To begin with, each trip to the school was made in a charter bus, with 30-40 other kids from all over the region. Uncomfortable and smelly to say the least.

My previous encounters Kept me very cautious and quiet at first. I was a lower classman now. It was a new reason to be hazed. I knew I had to do something to get involved. So, I joined choir, the basketball team and even did track and field.

Choir was one of the most positive experiences in my 6 years at SJMS. I loved to sing. Even though we sang mostly worship songs, sometimes we didnt/ I lived for the music. I sang Tenor and became a soloist.

My first brush with complex love was actually after the school year ended. I was back home, in Longmont and attending youth group, to keep the good attention flowing from my parents, and to fit in. That’s where I met Alicia. We spent the summer sending letters to each other and tied to our phones, fighting our family for the line. Our relationship would end as my summer closed and the trip to Kansas approached.

I was offered a chance to return early and take part in Officer Candidate School. This would mean that other cadets had to respect me and I would be in charge of a group of them! I took the chance.

Junior

The first day that everyone returned I knew it would be a different kind of year for me. I was now an Officer. I had 30 peers to lead, and guide to success. I would train with and lead these kids throughout the year.

Much like a real military unit, the Cadet corps was broken into Companies, PLatoons and squads. The entire corps (a battalion) was led by a group of seniors, the battalion staff. One of the staff members let me take on a roll as their assistant. It allowed me to learn the job and I was pivotal in the success for our Annual Formal Inspection that year.

The annual Formal Inspection, or AFI, would happen every year. The entire corps would do drills, drill team presentations, and uniform and living area inspections. The inspectors were always retired Generals and/or Active Duty Flag officers.

I was fairly repulsed from sex at this point. I had several off and on again secret friendships with three of my classmates that year. It didn’t feel right anymore. Something had to change.

Senior Year

My sixth and final year at SJMS was my best year there for a multitude of reasons. I did very well academically and won several scholarships to colleges I applied to. I was on the Battalion staff as the Adjutant. I was Choirmaster. I was allowed to go off campus in normal clothes.

There was one main mall in Salina. Everyone ended up there. The girls from all around also knew that this mall was the mall “all those military school boys come to”. I hit it off with a group of these girls and became “one of the girls”, because I was cool and cute.

At my graduation dinner, I sat at the head table and 5 of them were up with me. Every one of them stood and introduced themselves as my girlfriend. I will always cherish the horrified looks that got. In reality, I was only dating one of them. In fact, after that dinner I would spend my very first night with a woman.

Yes, my senior year was not entirely sour. I was in charge of myself and 250 other people. I was succeeding and thriving on it. My graduating class set a record as well. We were the first class to have 4 consecutive years as the highest scoring school during AFI. 999 out of 1000 points. Not a small feat.

The Last Supper

This all finally came to end at that dinner and aftermath. My parents had arranged it to be a celebration of my success and progress in life. They invited family, friends and about half my graduating class. In fact, this dinner ties into one of my earlier blogs. This was my first physical reunion with my biological mother, Mary.

There I sat, 5 girls beside me, looking out at faces of strangers and friends… and suddenly this lady starts singing some churchy hymn to me. After she finished her song, seh exclaimed, “Oh hi, I’m your Mom.” I cried and laughed, almost simultaneously. Later in the evening I complained to my parents that it was not how I imagined meeting her again.

After the dinner, I went to an after-party with 4 of my “girlfriends”. We watched movies, smoked cigarettes and got super drunk in the basement of one of the girls’ houses. There were three other cadets there as well. The eight of us all ended up coupling and having sex that night – in the same room as each other.

We were all 18 and headed our separate ways…

The ride home was quiet and awkward. I remember my dad trying to spark conversation a few times, only for it to die off shortly after. After getting home, my parents continued to guide my future, having already made plans for me…

After School

The college visits came first. I had several phone interviews and we [My parents and I] then flew out to Roswell, NM. I had received a full scholarship to New Mexico Military Institute which was in the Roswell area. NMMI is a 2 year commissioning program for military officers. It speeds the promotion process up considerably by 2 years.

NMMI was not far off from the looks of St. John’s, in Kansas. It had an old fashioned look and was a very large campus. Military plaques and busts littering the otherwise pristine landscaping. When we finished the tour, I could feel the tightness in my chest rising. I couldn’t do this.

I thought about the visit for weeks. One of the requirements to get into the scholarship program was to attend a “Leadership Education Training” camp, prior to the first semester. After a short argument with my parents, I was off again. This time to Fort Knox, KY.

The military training style reminded me so much of St John’s, that I remember the nightmares coming, almost every night. I would wake up covered in sweat. I was NOT going through this again. We had “live fire exercises” coming up.

I made it to the grenade range and decided to show some buddies something cool. I took one of the grenades, pulled the pin and put my kevlar helmet on top of it. I then quickly ran behind the shelter, for safety. BOOM! We all celebrated how high some of the pieces of the helmet flew. I was escorted away from the range by the military police.

I ended up in front of the commandant of the program and the post general. I explained myself; that it was a bad joke and all just unhealthy frustration. I then expressed my deepest apologies and asked if I could work it off somehow. They agreed. I went on to work maintenance for the last week of the rotation, before heading home.

My parents picked me up at the airport. They were silent the entire ride home. When we finally got to the house, I went straight to my room and packed everything I could fit into my bags. I took a taxi to the bus station early the next morning, to catch a bus to Texas.

Vanna

The bus ride was one of the scariest times in my life. Nothing was sure anymore. I had disobeyed my parents for the last time and barely averted federal jail time…

I got off the bus and there she was. My sister, Vanna. We cried in each other’s arms for a good thirty minutes before finally making it into the car with her husband.  On off I went, down the road to a new life.

I have to note this fun fact. The first 2 hours in the car ride were spent talking. Vanna and I went back and forth with stories mostly, but her husband spoke a few times as well. We had to make a pit stop for a few hours. This would be the stop where I first smoked, Marijuana. My sister got me so blazed I fell asleep and woke back up, high, twice. Meanwhile, in the back room, her husband was literally cooking meth. Good times. We all piled back in the car, with her husband’s merchandise, and headed “home”.

Our destination was a trailer park on a back road loop in Livingston, TX. Vanna and her hubby lived there in a camper. The same camper that I would call home for the next few weeks. I didn’t care. I had discovered weed, my cool sister and I had money.

The Loop

After a few weeks with Vanna, I had made a few friends around the loop. One of them, Randy, offered me a room in his house as long as I helped out around the house. We would party hard almost every night. At one of these parties, a local girl Lynn showed up. We flirted for a bit and then we got high and spent the night talking. She invited me to come to church with her the following day. I accepted… but only after we’d had sex the third time.

Lynn

The church wasn’t like I was used to. Southern Baptists are animated. Lynn and I attended several times together. I even tutored her sister in vocals for a short time so that she could perform her church solo. Lynn and I would find time to balance church, helping her sister and Mom, while also raising her 3 year old, Dawn.

Dawn was a lovely child. She was very easy to handle, and quite smart. I remember feeding her in the kitchen many times. She was being raised around nine dogs. All of them would poop in the house. It was everywhere! In my opinion, it was not a good place for kids or anything to be raised.

Lynn and I talked of escape as our fiery romance grew ever stronger. I was six months out of high school, when Lynn told me the news. “I’m pregnant”.

I was as shocked as she was. We had known each for twenty-seven days. Well… fuck.

28 Days Later

On the twenty-eighth day of being with Lynn, I asked her to marry me. I wanted to be the parent and support her 100%, as her spouse. Lynn and I talked it over carefully and then we shared the news with our families.

My parents were shocked. They refused to attend any kind of wedding. They even told me to get a paternity test before I made any commitments. That was the first time I really saw my parents as apathetic, selfish creatures.

Lynn’s Mom was irate. She not only kicked Lynn and I out, but banished her and her daughter from her property. We had nowhere to go. We had nothing. I was broke, having spent all my money on drugs, partying and wooing Lynn.

Now what?

After the Wedding

Being banished and shunned is a very disheartening status. Family suddenly acts like the enemy and will even actively try to stop you from climbing back up. I reached out to my parents again, telling them we had no place to turn. Nothing they can do… I had made my choice.

We ended up on the couch, and eventually tent, of Lynn’s uncle. Lynn is several months along and Dawn, almost 4. The uncle was a strange individual, but mostly, just a drunk. One night he got too drunk and expressed his feelings of lust for Lynn and Dawn. We escaped in the night to a hotel for two nights.

On the day we had to check out of the hotel, I called my parents for the final time. They lectured us both for over an hour including several prayers. They eventually gave us a number to a shelter owned by some friends of friends. We got there later that day and right out front, a large neon blue sign “GODTEL”.

Godtel was a ministry run shelter for families and women. Lynn was able to stay with the other women and children, but I had to go to work. I ended up with two jobs. One as a baker and the other as a shoe salesman at Sears.

For several months, as we prepared for our baby to be born, I was working 18 hours days and living in a shelter. 10% of what I made would go to the shelter off the top. My supervisor at Sears knew my situation and suggested I “look into State jobs. The government has good insurance for your kid and wife”.

TDCJ

Working in corrections was an unforgettable experience. It shattered many of my preconceptions of prison life, while also cementing others. I was hired on as a Correctional Officer after a 5-week training course. In the sixth week, I was inside a prison with three-thousand offenders.

The unit was mainly made up of non-violent criminals or lowered danger rating offenders. I always looked forward to working the protective security wing, I learned so much from some of the queens there. I witnessed fights, attempted rape, riots and death within the first year as a prison guard.

By this time, we had the money to get out of the shelter so we rented a small trailer and got the hell out. Shortly after, Lukas came into our lives. He looked just like me and was strong and healthy. I was so proud and overjoyed. I was a parent.

My parents finally came around when they received pictures of their grandchild. They flew out to visit us. They stayed for several weeks and before they left, we had a new home. My parents had cosigned a mortgage as a wedding and first baby present. Things were looking up.

The Unethical Past

Lynn and I grew apart within several months of moving into the new place. I was always at work and she would go into town and wander or be stuck home with the kids. I would make excuses not to come home, and go out with friends. She would have girls night, but be elsewhere. We both would catch each other in lies and finally openly cheated on each other.

I continued my work and ended up moving out for a time. I moved in with a girl I had met while out with friends from work. We talked of divorce and further plans and exploring different things. One of these nights was my first real threesome. At this point, Amy and I were “dating”.

She had her friend over and they ended up in the bed together, naked. I was invited in to watch and eventually join in and I had no complaints. It was awkward but also fun. Right up until Britney stopped riding me and looked Amy dead in the face and said “Is it fucked up that I can ride your partner longer than you?” with a snort. Things did not stay peaceful. Amy chased both Britney and myself out of her house with a knife.

Oops.

Be all that you can be…

At this point I knew I needed some grounding. I returned to my wife and we discussed the possibility of trying to work things out. We decided to leave the state and head for her father’s land, in Arkansas. So, off we went, Lynn, Dawn, Lukas and myself, a small Honda and everything we could fit.

We were in Arkansas for several months before I found a new job. This job required a lot of processing and exercise but Lynn told me it would be easy for me. She also convinced me it was my decision, not my parents.

Next stop, Basic Training.

With money running low and our stay being ever more burdensome on Lynn’s father, I set off to Fort Jackson, SC. I would do what my parents wanted from the start. I would become a military man.

Basic Training

The intake was fairly neutral. Medical tests and some shots. Long lines formed to gather equipment and assignments. Finally, we were loaded onto buses towards our training units. I was ordered to keep my head down and be silent. I complied. Those who didn’t caught hell from the Drill Sergeants.

Right off the bus they were yelling at us. Simple, loud commands. I followed each with candor and precision. I knew full well how to act. My six years of military school were about to come in handy. Sure enough, I got the question “Who knows how to handle a guidon?” My hand shot up and I ran up and took the flag and showed my skill with it and was assigned to be it’s bearer.

Being out front allowed me to set the pace for the group, that way I would never be too tired or fall back from the group. I do love a good trick. The days were long, the training tedious. But the weekends held some respite. On Sundays, we were allowed an hour for church and an hour after for prayer. Unless you were Mormon. Mormons were allotted two hours for church and one for prayer.

Naturally, I was a Mormon during basic training. One of my new friends, Katie, also became a mormon for basic training. Several of the times we were at church, we would sneak to the shed out back, and we would take turns kneeling… Basic training had some ups and downs.

Running. Everything involved running. If we were outside, we ran. Marching drills were easy for me, thanks to my training in school and many times, I would get a break because of it. The break that was to be remembered however, would come in Combatives week.

Near the end of CQC week, the Drill Sergeant asked me up front to help demonstrate a new hold. He instructed me to tap out when the pain was too intense. I did not tap out. My shoulder gave out before I did. He had torn my rotator cuff, one week before the end of basic training. If i could not complete the final week, I would be forced to start it all over. I asked the doc for pain killers.

The final week of Basic training was absolutely the worst week of my life thus far. It rained everyday, and we were out in it, 6 of the 7 days. I was high on painkillers, with a sixty pound rucksack on my back, my arm in a sling. After the training, we had a final PT test (Physical Skill assessment). On the march out to the field where it was to be hosted, I lost my card several times because I was so messed up on my painkillers. The drill instructors found it amusing, lucky for me. I did over 70 pushups in under two minutes with a torn rotator cuff.

I was sore for the next 2 months… all spent as a “Hold Under”.

Advanced Individual Training

After Basic training, new soldiers are sent to Advanced Individual Training based upon their chosen assignment in the military. I had chosen Logistics. It was an overcrowded job and therefore I would have to wait for training. The wait was 83 days.

So, here I was, a new soldier fresh out of basic, on a new army base in Virginia. I had nothing to do but morning PT and to go bowling, to the movies and “make new friends”. All my new friends were ladies.

By the time training rolled around, I had made a name for myself around the place and really enjoyed my time there. I had many “partners” and learned quite a bit about logistics and military life. While there, a recruiter from “Airborne school” came and told us we could get paid extra to jump out of planes. I considered it.

Midway through training we had Christmas vacation. Instead of heading home to see Lynn and the kids, I went to New York City with a group of army buddies. Our marriage was rocky with my absence and I wanted a break from the stress of work and home. NYC was absolutely fun. I got my first tattoo in a small shop in Manhattan. I had sex on liberty island and a few subways. It is a treasured time for me.

Upon my return to training, I received a legal notice from my wife. She was filing for divorce. I read everything over and signed the papers. The divorce was finalized before I finished my training. Lynn and I are still friends, but I am not an active parent in my son’s life.

WIthout anything holding me back now, I went wild. I decided I was going all in. Airborne school would be my next challenge. I don’t need anybody or anyone. Maybe the parachute wouldn’t open…

Airborne School

Running. It’s a theme for the Army I think. Every moment from waking to sleeping is spent running in Airborne school. I would run to a training field, so we could do sprints, and then run back from the field, so we could do a ruck run. It was tiresome and irritating. It was also in Fort Benning, GA, in JULY.

It was so hot that they didn’t even bother having A/C in the barracks where we slept. I was wet the entire time I was there. We had formations twice a day for MANDATORY hydration. They would pass around electrolyte packets that tasted like actual chalk, and make us drink it with an entire 32 ounce canteen. Airborne upped my chugging game.

Jump week was exhilarating. We woke up early and strapped into harnesses and ran, or wobbled, to the aircraft hangar. We would sit in that hangar for 5 hours. It was 95 degrees and we had full fatigues, with helmets and rigged up. When we finally loaded onto the planes it was almost shocking the drop in temperature as the plane lifted us into the air.

Nothing. For just a few seconds, I was floating. As the parachute jerked me from the trance, I got it all straightened and myself on the path to the dropzone. I remember it being so quiet. Just falling through the air gently, silently. It was magnificent, right up to the point I had to land. It didn’t exactly hurt the first few times, but it was scary as hell.

After 4 jumps, and a fifth at night, I was through Airborne and all my initial military training. I was a soldier now. An Airborne soldier, headed to Fort Bragg…

3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne)

When I arrived at Fort Bragg, I was taken aback at how different it was than a training post. The Special Forces unit I was assigned to would be my unit for the next 5 years. The first day I walked in the door, I was greeted by my superior, He was not in uniform and asked my first name. None of this felt like the military.

The unit was relaxed at home because when in combat or training, we would go all in. I was sent to XXXXXXXXX training and XXXXXXXXX training to prepare me for the upcoming missions, sort of a crash course to get me up to speed. During this time, I was able to stay on or off post. I had a few friends in the area so I stayed with them.

Three months later, I was married, again. Leigh was a soldier as well and she did not have any kids. We were friends prior to Bragg, but had not interacted a whole lot. We hit it off and my parents attended this wedding. It was extravagant and all my family came to it. They wanted to see their soldier marry the pretty preacher’s daughter.

A month after getting married, I was sent to XXXXX for a month of Pre-Mission Training. I had a lot of fun and learned more in that month about combat than I had in my entire life. I made many friends and even received a promotion and an award for helping balance the unit’s books. We were preparing ourselves for deployment. Two weeks after PMT, I was saying goodbye to my wife again.

This time it would be for 8 months. 

Afghanistan

It felt like an oven. The air was dry and unbearably hot. It had an Earthy taste. As I stepped off the back of the C-17, I had to turn with the wind, to spare my eyes more dust. I hated it already.

The first day was spent getting the lay of the airfield, my unit compound and the social area within the secure zone. I was assigned a room, which was just a plywood hut with a cot and window AC unit.

I was having a bad day by the time I made it to the DFAC (dining). I had arrived on a Friday, so it was “surf n’ turf” night. I had a steak, half a plate of shrimp and a lobster tail. Not bad for my first night in a hostile environment.

I settled down in my room after dinner and was just dozing off when the klaxon and sirens started wailing. I jumped up, gearing up with weapons and armor and was out the door with a minute – only to gather and get a headcount of the troops. We had been attacked by hostile mortar fire. No injuries, minimal damage.

This was my first day in Afghanistan.

Combat

Mortar and rocket fire continued regularly throughout my tour. On average, we would be attacked 5 times a week by random fire ranging from small arms to rockets.

One evening, while I was working security at the gate to our compound, a mortar struck 20 meters from my position. I hit the ground hard as the shockwave burst the glass behind me, sending a shard down into my leg. That… was a close one. The dental assistant ended up stitching me up.

Not all Bad

Our camp was highly secure. Being a Special Operations Task Force or SOTF, security played a huge part in EVERYONE’S day. It did have benefits, however. We had the best DFAC, Fitness facilities and Medical care.

We would also get special visits by celebrities. USO tours in 2007-08 were amazing. I watched Kid Rock perform and then Robin Williams did stand up. I shook his hand afterwards and he replied to each person “Thank you, you’re a badass!”.

Other visits included Toby Keith (had a beer with him), David Blaine (His magic trick still has me guessing) and Jon Stewart (We spoke about scorpions, the desert, women and the Afghan people).

The most notable “celebrity” meeting for me in Afghanistan however, was from a different military. Prince Harry had been coming through and we all had a chance to shake his hand.

The first trip to Afghanistan was a dynamic one for me. It had some very hard times, but also many joyous moments. Loading up into the plane home was still a major relief. I knew I would be home soon.

Back Home

Leigh was waiting for me at the hangar when I got home. It was an emotional reunion. We quickly started making up for lost time. Within a month, Leigh was pregnant.

Leigh went into labor on Valentine’s Day at 3 am. Krash was born 28 hours later. That experience was scarier than any moment in Afghanistan. We made it home 6 weeks later and I was on my way to Fort Knox for pre-mission training.

Fort Knox was a different kind of training for me. I would be learning a brand new system, outside my core MOS. I was excited and anxious. The vetting process was in depth. They even contacted my friends and family. Five weeks later, I was back on the plane.

Afghanistan, Again

This time, I was based out of a larger secure position. My tasks however, would have me flying to multiple forward positions, regularly. One such FOB, had only 2 rolls of razor wire keeping the hostile forces out. Those were some sleepless nights when I stayed there.

Just as my first trip, rocket and mortar attacks were routine. In the time I spent in Afghanistan, 5 people I knew personally, were killed in action. Many more humans were killed directly or indirectly because of my actions, all while following orders.

The Extension

When you sign a contract with the government, for military service, you can pick for how long. My original contract was 5 years, plus training. The end would have fallen halfway through a deployment. So, for a small bonus, I signed a year long extension. I owed one more year.

By the time I made it home, six months later, Leigh and I had grown apart. We tried for a time, but things were not going to work. We decided to go to court and get a divorce. It was long, and fairly ugly. In the end, we did what was best for Krash.

All in all, my time in the military is one I remember with pride or at least without guilt. There are a handful of moments I wish I could change, and even more moments I wish that I could take back. I received my honorable discharge in 2012, a decorated combat veteran.

I would never wear a uniform again. With no home to return to, I decided to head west. West to my parents, west to the valley…

The valley…

There I was, back on the road again. Everything I owned in the backseat of the rental car. I made it in less than 2 days. North Carolina to Arizona was a seriously tough drive. I was high the whole way.

The Stay at Home

My parents welcomed me like a hero. They had banners and even threw me a party! It was like the past had no bearing. I was their Army child now. The “do-no-wrong” continued for several weeks, which reached new heights with them gifting me a Honda Accord.

I settled in and enrolled in college online with Colorado State University for sociology. With GI Bill money rolling in and college going well, I decided I wanted fun. I had been home 6 months before running into a long lost friend and almost lover.

The Long Lost Love

Rose was one of my first “dream girls”. I met her first in my math class, but only because she had come to work with her Dad, my teacher. We would send notes when she came in with her Dad and soon found ways to write and call each other.

Rose was and still is, a dancer and ballet teacher. Our first date was a traditional date, with her parents escorting us. Her mother promised to murder me if I ever hurt Rose. I was convinced.

Fast forward to six months after returning home and there she was again, at the same pool party as me. It was only a few weeks before we were living together. Love lost, love found.

We partied a lot together. I made many friends and had some great times with Rose. We talked about marriage but it would not happen. I found an apartment and moved out a few months later.

The Job

I had landed a really great job as night shift supervisor at a warehouse in Tempe, and it was consistently the best part of my life that year. I worked 2PM-12, four days a week. Six of those hours, I worked completely alone.

I smoked a lot of marijuana while I lived in Arizona. Weed was the only thing keeping my nerves still. It helped the pain, body and mind. I would take the forklift and raise myself 30ft in the air and sit on the bucket to burn a joint and jam out to my iPod.

For $22 an hour, it wasn’t a bad gig. With that income and my college, I stayed busy. I still found time to take on a familiar. Dexter was a seven and a half foot Columbian red tailed boa. (See picture). He was mild tempered and used to go on walks with me down Mill Ave. I miss him dearly.

I had made many friends and had a good job but I was lonely again. Out of the blue, I received a call from a crush in my army years. For the next few months we would stoke the fires with long calls and promises of change.

A Honda, everything I owned and the highway. This time, pointed East…

The ride back east was fairly uneventful. I was driving towards hope and new beginnings. I was stoned the entire way, so I also don’t have much memory of the car ride itself. Maybe not the safest thing I have ever done.

Tennessee

When I first arrived in Tennessee, I moved in with an elderly veteran. I had been hired to help around the house and yard, and anything as needed. I had a small room and did my duties well.

I would have my phone out all the time, furiously texting Christy. We were in love, and it was time to tell her mother. Her mom was a powerful woman in her own, and I was extremely anxious. The talk went well and I was “accepted in” so to speak. Anytime I wasn’t needed by my charge, I would spend with Christy and her mom.

My client offered me a large bonus to help his family set up a homestead, off the grid, in a small hill country area. I accepted and we loaded up and headed out to the middle of nowhere. I was there for six weeks clearing trees and brush, digging trenches and foundations, and living life off the grid. I hated it.

After I was paid, I found another job. House Sitting. An older biker couple asked me to watch their place for 11 months. They would be there for a month at the start and end and I would offer landscaping help and such. It was my favorite job, ever.

The house itself was nestled on the side of a large lake. It had a dock with a pontoon boat, jetski and small fishing trawl. It was two sprawling stories, with a deck overlooking the backyard and lake. A hot tub sat on the deck, a grill opposite it. Inside it had a pool table, 72 inch TV, hardwood floors and more. It was grandiose.

After the owners left, Christy came and stayed with me and we took care of the house for 8 months together. It was fishing, drinking, smoking, and all kinds of fun. We even brought our kitty, Minnie Mouse. She enjoyed the time there, but tragically died giving birth the following year. I like to think she lived the best life possible at that lakehouse.

All good things must come to an end. The owners came home and I was out of a job as they no longer had the need for sitters. Using my GI Bill, I went back to school and lived off the allowance given, supporting myself and Christy for a few more months…

Coming Out

In getting comfortable with Christy, I revealed to her that I was different than most folks. I explained that my whole life I had been living in a shell. I was at the controls of the wrong body. I expressed to her that my love was genuine and unchanged, but that I could no longer live unless I changed. She was unsurprisingly, devastated. We did not make it more than a week before I was moving out.

Back in my Honda, all my things in the back, but this time I was headed south…

Alabama

I called Bree on the highway, leaving Tennessee. I told her that I had come out and had nowhere to go. She gave me her address and told me I was welcome to stay as long as I wanted to. Bree, my cousin, had never met me in person. When I got to her house, She came running out and hug-tackled me. The first question she asked me was, “So, what do I call you now?!?”. I cried in her arms right there in the yard. We went inside and got me all settled in.

I awoke the next morning to Mr. Pickles nosing about my face. He purred as I stirred and He accepted my cuddles for a time before leading me to his food dish. I got the idea. I fed the kitty and set about looking for places to stay. I had chosen one hell of a town to come out in. Montgomery, Alabama.

Over the next few weeks, I helped Bree by watching her son and keeping the house clean and stocked with food. I continued my schoolwork and started the process of getting my transition started with Veterans Affairs. Bree would help me with makeup and fashion tips in return. I found a place to stay and moved out a few weeks after my arrival.

I stayed at a house with five girls and a boy for several weeks. Three of the five girls did my makeup every other day. It was incredibly empowering, all these women around me treating me like one of the girls. I was finally there. They were all nice, and did their best to learn about gender and which pronouns to use with me.

To pay rent, I needed more than my GI bIll allowance. So, I decided I would kill two birds with one stone. For the first time, I would offer adult escort services as my true self. My very first client was a nightmare. I allowed myself to be tied up and assumed the safeword would be respected. It was not. I was beaten, raped and urinated on. Afterwards, he forced me into the car without my clothes and left me on my front lawn, naked. Not only violated, but robbed. All because I was a “dirty Tr***y who deserved this”.

I reached out for something positive. I looked to my parents and family. I came out to them and told them that I was a trans woman. They denied it and most of my family and friends that had found out, left my life. The majority have still not spoken to me since. I was falling into a dark depression very quickly.

I needed to get out of there. I had money saved, so I reached out to a friend and She was happy to have me come there. So back in the Honda I went. Everything I had left. Headed North.

Virginia

Michelle was a wonderful woman. She listened to my story and how I had come out “suddenly”. She affirmed many of my feelings and made me feel much better about myself. She was a card carrying member of the Church of Satan. We tried dating for a time but it did not work well. We did have some good times exploring the cemeteries in Virginia together however.

After things fell apart romantically, I moved into a room in an apartment with a couple as roommates. They were a nice young, “spiritual” couple. They were both CIS folks and new to the knowledge of trans people. They listened intently and acted on it! My birthday had come around and they baked a cake with my chosen name on it and then took me to get my ears pierced. They were very important to me at that time in my life.

After a few months, disaster struck. A fire had started in the apartment several rooms away and spread fast. We were evacuated out and watched as the building roared with flame. The flames were over 60 ft high at one point. We had been quick, and lucky, so most of our things were saved. Thus ended the stay with that couple.

Back in the Honda again. But where now?

Back to Texas…

At this point I had been active online and had made a lot of friends in my new community (LGBTQ+). One of these connections was Jaime, another trans woman. She invited me to be her roommate in order for me to get out of the situation I was in. Back in the Honda again.

Killeen

I arrived in Texas on a late summer evening. It was hot and I was very tired. Jaime helped me inside and I crashed down onto her bed. I awoke the next morning to find her gone and a note on the table. She had written, “You looked too cute to disturb, so I slept on the couch. See ya tonight, beautiful. – J-Me”.

We had a quick and very physical romance. However, it would end as fast as it had begun. Once we really started talking to each other; I began realizing we could never be together. She believed the Earth is flat and that some races of human beings should be held to different standards. I packed and left that day.

I had made a good friend and she offered her couch. Kim is easily one of my best friends. While we do not talk nearly as often as we used to, I am positive that whenever we do, it will always be like almost no time has passed. She saved my life in many ways. I can never thank her enough. I made many good memories with her, her family, and her friends.

By this time, I was on Hormone Replacement Therapy full time. I was beginning to look different and I was loving it. I was getting more attention from suitors than I ever had in the past. It was intoxicating. And it would prove dangerous for me.

The Trap

I had been working for sometime as an escort and had a few regular clients. One of them was an older gentleman, who was always very kind and very easy to please. I remember him having the cleanest place I had ever seen, even from my time in the military. What really made him stand out however, was his sweetness and willingness to help me. I told him I could never be tied down again and he agreed with me.

I moved in with Doe a few days later. He had a small apartment filled with odds and ends. It was all very tidy and well placed, but it was cramped. We had agreed that I would serve as his housewife and we would be allowed to have other relationships, so long as we informed everyone involved beforehand. I explained it to him as Ethical Non-Monogamy.

Doe was very easy to please, emotionally and physically. He just wanted company in his later years. Someone to talk to when he got home from work. Someone to rub his back and tell him what a man he was. Doe was not a very sexual man. In fact, in the 3 years we spent together, we had sex twice.

After the first 6 months in the apartment with Doe, we moved into a small duplex. It had more room and it was very cozy. I had everything I needed. I didn’t even notice the emotional and verbal abuse at first. I didn’t even notice this man that was supporting me, was also chipping away at me each and every day.

The Trump Problem

As Donald Trump has been more flagrantly racist and authoritative, Doe would be increasingly outspoken in support of him. I would have nightly arguments with him about how Donald Trump was tearing away at LGBTQ, Religious, and Immigration rights at record speeds. He would laugh and tell homophobic or transphobic jokes and walk away. The next day he would buy me a new game or bring home some really good food. I would forget about the night before.

I told him that he would have to decide between Trump and Me. He said that he would choose Trump any day. I packed some bags and fled to a friend’s house. After making it through his body block, I tore down the road, leaving him behind.

Escape to Austin

Lily accepted me with open arms. We had a lot in common and were both going through some incredibly trying times. We were still coming into our own, with our transitions, and we were both dealing with relationship issues. The two huskies that stayed with were a big perk, however.

About a week later, Lily revealed her talent in doing tattoos. I asked her to draw me some and dictated a design for another. I loved two of them so much, I had her do them on me! One is on my right foot, the other on my left wrist. My foot has a butterfly on it and my wrist, a reminder to not end my own life.

A few weeks later there was turmoil with Lily’s boyfriend and myself. It began causing issues with their relationship and Lily’s and my friendship. I knew I had to go. I sent a text to Doe. I was coming back and he was enthusiastic…

Back in the Trap

Doe was very happy to have me back. For the first several weeks back, he stayed quiet about Trump. He showered me with things and was overall a changed man. Then, it started again. He would rant about Trump and how my being trans didn’t make me a “real” woman. My depression deepened again. I reached out to the community on Facebook.

Finding Satan

I was scrolling a Trans group on Facebook and came across a post from Sadie Satanas. I was intrigued and messaged her directly. To my surprise, she responded! She took the time to explain TST to me a bit and then sent me towards their website. I can never thank her enough.

I browsed TST’s website and I got excited the moment my eyes fell on their “Seven Fundamental Tenets”. I read them aloud and knew at that moment, I wanted to know it all. I needed to know more. I had believed in these Tenets all my life, but never seen them written before. I was home.

This new feeling of empowerment helped me be more outgoing. A lifelong atheist, Catie, took notice and reached out to me. When I finally responded, the feelings and moments that followed are indescribable.

The Soulmate

Catie is slightly older than me and about five inches shorter. She makes me laugh everyday. Our romance began in earnest when she came over for the first time to see me. I had another guest, but when they left, Catie and I hit it right off. We had both never felt this way in our lives. She wanted more for me. She wanted me away from Doe, and his abusive ways. So she invited me to leave him and come with her. I resisted at first. I was tired of running.

She came to see me, and I met her several more times over a few months. Each time it was harder to say goodbye. Finally the time came when we couldn’t. We couldn’t say goodbye to each other any longer. I told Doe that it was over. I was done taking his abuse and that I was leaving. We gathered all my things and piled them into Catie’s Prius and took off towards Houston.

Catie had stayed in a studio apartment in downtown Houston, Texas at the time. It was a beautiful neighborhood and I will forever remember our time together there. Catie had two cats: Jordache and Patience, though they usually went by “Jordi” and “Boots”. We took to each other very quickly.

Caite and I got married on September 12th, 2019. I have never been happier in my entire life. Without Catie in my life, I do not know where I would be. Baby, if you are reading this, I love you!

With my move to Houston, I was able to become active with Houston TST. My first major event with them was Black Mass. It was held at a wonderful brewery in Houston, with great music and merchandise for a good cause. I remember being spanked with a Bible in front of about 60 Christian protestors. Good fuckin’ times. Even though I have since left the Houston Chapter of TST, I still look forward to attending any future events they hold.

Now that I was married to the love of my life, active in the Satanic community and afforded a lot of free time, I was ready to do some good! Do good, give back, anything to help this world be better. I had finally embraced myself:

I have become: Aria deSatanas!

My story is still being written and I hope to continually add new adventures, with new people. I will strive to continue writing this blog to share my perspective with the world. I am still working 40-60 hours a week to maintain BaphoNet’s operations and media outlets. The user base growth and quality is reward beyond any other. I also look forward to personally and continuously volunteering with TST in future and current projects. It is truly an honor to be able to serve the community in ANY capacity.

Hail Thyself, Hail Satan!

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