Exodus

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 the 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 others arms for a good thirty minutes before finally making in to the car with her husband and on 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?

Sacred Tension: Aria DeSatanas’s Path to Satanism

In this episode of Sacred Tension I’m joined by Satanic community leader and Baphonet co-founder Aria DeSatanas. We discuss her escape from evangelicalism, her exorcism, her path to Satan, the danger of social media, and much more.

Sacred Tension: Aria DeSatanas’s Path to Satanism

Military School, with “God”

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 time throughout my second year at SJMS..

One of the reoccuring 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-Sophmore

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 this 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 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’ house. 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…

In 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.

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 at 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 normal, “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 “spirted 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 challenge. 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 neath 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 group- 10 points. Do it alone – 15 points. Do it alone, without food, water, or map – 25 points. I did the latter. I got the 25 points and a few scrapes and bruises.

Sex

After camp, I was able to lay low for awhile. 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…

International Childhood

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 process of moving to Belgium. Shortly after becoming part of the family, I was on a plane across the Atlantic.

When I arrived to my new home, I was awestruck. It was a looming white mansion, with french gutters and shudders 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 road 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 Triumph 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…

The Early 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 instant connection. I asked her to re-live 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 the 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.

In my Beginning

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. 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.

~Aria

Unveiling

As a transwoman, Satanism has had a very strong positive influence on my life. When I discovered that there was a religion that didn’t reject me, I was overjoyed. TST community has not only accepted me with open arms, but they celebrate diversity and bodily autonomy.

Learning to love myself was difficult. Learning to celebrate myself, even harder so. After reading book after book on Satanism and taking part in events like “Black Mass”, it has become infinitely easier to understand and love myself, completely. Daily rituals of focus and self love have allowed me to concentrate on things that truly matter to me. Learning how to focus my empathy and compassion on those that deserve it, rather than wasting it on those that could never accept it, has been freeing.

The fight for justice and equality will always be paramount to me, and TST has helped me learn how to be more effective in these fights. Living life by seven fundamental tenets is difficult at times, but the reward is great. I live deliciously, love un-apologetically, embrace science with a prying mind and have a real place in my community AND religion.

Today is #UnveilingDay (Baphomet statue unveiling in Chicago July 25, 2015). It not only stands for the respect for diversity and religious minorities, but has ushered in a new Satanic era for everyone to see. I can only hope that Baphomet will serve to free countless minds and help us keep religion and government separated.

I am a Satanist. I am a transgender woman. I am proud and unbroken. Happy Unveiling Day! Hail Baphomet!

~Aria

Genesis and a Warning

Before you read this blog, be aware that I will not be censoring the content of my life. There will be raw, triggering subjects. I understand how hard it can be to read about abuse, hard times and many other things in our modern world.

Life is messy. Many times, life gives us the worst it has to offer. We only have power over ourselves. No matter how bad things get in these posts and in life, know this: I overcame – I will always overcome. So will you. You have the ultimate power: yourself!

If you don’t think you are able to handle triggering events, do yourself a favor, read something else.

Be ye warned.

~Aria

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