I Feel So Lost

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This isn’t a new feeling for me. Many times in my life I have felt various levels of being lost. Lately I feel lost inside my mind. My mental health has locked me inside this massive dark forest. It’s pitch black and there is nothing but silence. Imagine the upside down in Stranger Things but with no light at all. I’ve spent enough time in this scary place to have it warp my mind. You become this scared creature who is twitchy and doesn’t know where to turn. My mind has turned against me and it lies to me. It’s like being put into a gigantic dryer and then forced to walk for miles.

On top of all of this, I also feel lost in life. What is my purpose and all those other deep questions. I ask myself all the time, what in the world am I doing? Most days I don’t have a clue. I’m desperate for purpose and it gives me tunnel vision. When I start to think of the suffering without any purpose my mind starts to wonder to dangerous places. The deeper I find myself lost in that dark void the more I start to consider other options.

This brings me to the other type of lost, being alone in this world. It’s like floating into outer space with nothing to tether to. You’re a million miles from earth and it’s become this small glowing dot in your horizon. I’ve become one of the old people I live with. Whose family has forgotten them. Well not forgotten just got wrapped up in the chaotic world. They just don’t have time for them. People take loved ones for granted. I’m in a similar boat. I don’t have any close friends like most do. When things go wrong I have no one to reach out to. If something was to happen to me (in my apartment) no one would know for weeks and there isn’t anything more sad than that. That’s when you know that you are alone.

That’s what mental illness does, it pushes people away. I have no one that I see regularly, other than my therapist. This just adds to the feeling lost. I’m working on new friendships but that takes time. I don’t get to do fun things with people. I spend my days alone, in a stuffy apartment. Until I get approved for SSI disability I have very little to do with myself, at least in terms of person to person connection. Plus being poor and without a car I’m limited to what I can do in terms of socially. My social gatherings are sporadic at beast. Usually my monthly transgender meeting. You can’t thrive off one day a month.

I have yet been able to find a balance with my mental health. The medicine I’m on doesn’t seem to be helping with the depression at all. My doctor is trying new combinations but so far the only thing that has started to work made me gain a bunch of weight, like thirty pounds. On top of all this I have recently been diagnosed with atrial flutter. I doesn’t take a lot of exertion for me to feel like I’m going to pass out. So right now walking a few blocks to the bus stop (to do things) is out of the question.

Lately my depression has gotten so out of hand that it’s become unbearable, even for me. I don’t do anything but hide in my apartment. Doing simple tasks like making dinner becomes unmanageable, especially if it means washing dishes when I have none cleaned. I will live off very little food at times because I don’t feel like going to the grocery store. It also affects me physically. I become lethargic and my energy bottoms out. Everything is a chore. So not only am I alone (most of the time) I am surrounded by these demons.

So I’m lost spiritually, physically and mentally. I’m trapped in this prison of suffering and I’m not sure how to get out. I’m trapped without a key or map. It’s one thing to feel lost in one aspect of your live but to have every aspect be affected is unmanageable. I wish I had just one person I could attach myself to. The only person I had was my Mom and she died in 2012. Someone I could count on. I have no one and that’s not exaggerating. I have people who love me but I’m just not in their radar. They have their own lives and struggles to deal with. I don’t blame them. This world is a topsy turvy place. I’m just collateral damage. That’s not a fun place to be.

I see people on Facebook with full lives, sharing moments with their friends and family. Going out to the movies or on vacation. Laughing and enjoying life. I’m desperate for that kind of life. I know I deserve it but it feels like this life is just out of reach. I have a good year of this level of suffering, of not having many options in terms of meaningfully, long term connection. I have my comic book but that still means spending all my time alone in my apartment and these days the depression zaps every last ounce of creative juices I have left. So everything in my life is a struggle, which again just ads another complex level to being lost.

Then there is the whole being lost in my identity. I could write a whole post about how I view my body and my gender, I’m MTF trans. Like I said there isn’t one area that I don’t feel some level of lost in and because I’m aware (and dealing with it) that means it’s even more painful. I no longer can bury it. That’s probably why this time in my life is so difficult because the shit has hit the fan.

I just hope I find the key fast. I don’t know how much time I have. With having my health scare this week it’s brought my mortality right to the front of the line. Not to mention when I’m at my lowest I start to think of ending it all. I fear there will be a day in the future when I completely turn off the switch that’s keeping me alive. I know that mental illness can eventually be terminal and because I’m aware enough it scares me senseless when I start to slip and slide down the depressive slope. I don’t really want to die. I just don’t want to suffer anymore. I want to enjoy the time I have left on this earth and create a legacy for when I’m gone. I don’t want to die as the miserable depressed person, who didn’t make something of their life. My life has to have more meaning then my illness.

So I just gotta keep on walking, crawling if I must. Even if it’s at a snail’s pace I’m still moving. Just keeping a commitment to go to therapy each week is a huge sign that I’m moving forward. I have had many times where I didn’t want to go but I forced myself. I knew what it would lead to. It’s the one bright spot in my life. Something to be proud of. I have been in therapy consistently since 2013, something I have never done. I have been with my therapist for over two years. I’m so blessed to have her in my life. I just wish I had others like her in my life, who weren’t tied to my healing.

Million Dollar Mama

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To some tonight probably wasn’t the best night to watch Million Dollar Baby but to me it was something I had to do. I kind of dreaded today being you know what… Up until the evening I was handling it okay, even with the countless status updates wishing everyone a “Happy Mothers Day.” It wasn’t until I saw a endless stream of all my facebook friends posting pictures of them with with your moms or moms with their children that knocked the wind out of me.

My sleep schedule has been disrupted and I found myself not sleeping last night. Normally I would have crashed at some point but I knew that I couldn’t do that with having a very important meeting tomorrow about a job… So I spent most of the day lounging around in bed watching tv, fading in and out ever so often. My nieces had watched a scary movie and came downstairs to get me to come upstairs to keep them company while my sister was outside.

My nephew came inside and started to watch Million Dollar Baby. I had heard about it but knew very little about it other than it was a boxing movie with Hilary Swank. As sports is really not my thing, neither are sports movies. As I watched I became intrigued for some reason. Here was this girl, as boss called her, that against all odds was willing to do what it took to get her one shot.

She didn’t give up… neither in herself or boss. There was something about her resilience that hit a chord in my heart. I guess in a way I saw my self in Maggie’s eyes. It was then that I realized that no matter how many times I was kicked, knocked down to the ground that I would always get back up…

The odds were stacked against her but that didn’t stop her from breaking free from the mold that imprisoned her. She saw something in herself that no one before had ever seen. She was born into trailer trash but that didn’t mean thats he was trash. She had plenty reason to stay down with how her family treated her but she got back up and kept swinging until she broke through.

The only way she could survive was to fight and I’m not talking the punching she gave in boxing but her will to survive. She wasn’t going to give up without a fight. Each day i’ve hid from the world was another day my naysayers won. The only way I’m going to get through this world is to go out fighting with all my might. It won’t happen hiding in my room.

We all deserve our shot… our one moment in the spotlight. The spotlight is living our dream whatever it may be.

Watching the movie wasn’t easy for me to do being as it reminded me of what my Mom went through the twenty one days in ICU. It was like I was reliving those moments all over again from the bedsores to the sounds of the respirator to the last few breaths. Maggie wanted to go out fighting on her terms to the sounds of other’s cheering her on chanting Mo ChuisleIt was a reminder of that would have been my Mom’s wishes as well.

My Mom also went out fighting on her own terms. I wouldn’t have wanted her last days or years in misery not being able to enjoy the life she lived willed full of love and laughter from her family. It would have killed her more to live a life full of complications and pain. One where she wouldn’t be able to do the things she enjoyed and loved, like playing with her grandbabies. Mom wanted the last memories of her grandbabies to be one of love and happiness.

It wasn’t easy living that day all over again visually. I have certainly re-lived that day over and in over my head but to see it on screen was quite different. I forced myself to endure the torture as there was deep lesson to be learned. It was then that I realized you don’t have to win to be a winner. Even though Maggie lost the title fight she still came out of it a winner. All she wanted was a chance and she got it plus something she didn’t bargain for the family she so desperately needed. When her own family was only interested in their own interests Boss was there right by her side until the end.

I was also reminded of the last few weeks of Mom’s life and how my sister and I surrounded her with love. I know often she questioned many things in her life, including whether she was love. Mom’s life wasn’t easy, she also had to fight for everything. She departed our world for heaven knowing that she was loved deeply and unconditionally… That we saw her for who she really was, just like Boss saw Maggie for the fighter she was.

I always thought the biggest gift my Mom gave me was her love but I know realize it was her determination and willingness to fight. That’s a true sign of a winner. It’s not the number of wins or losses but it’s the willpower to make it to the final round.

So watch out world I’ve got my boxing gloves on and I’m ready for my shot in the ring.


Giving Survivors a Voice!


As a survivor of sexual abuse it’s common to feel like you’ve lost your voice. Saying a simple word like NO becomes very complex and difficult. Often times you are so desperate to scream out those words like STOP and only air escapes your mouth. It’s easy to become helpless and hopeless.

Coming out as a survivor is never easy and at times even as difficult as the traumatic act itself because often it’s clouded with doubt and negativity. In a perfect world a victim survivor should be embraced with love, understanding and validation but often the opposite happens. Shame is a common and occurring feeling for the survivor. This is only amplified when other’s discount the trauma you have endured.

For a male survivor this is very true. We live in a world where society tells us that Men can’t be rape or victimized because we are suppose to be strong and invisible. When your abuser is also a male that can really make the event even more traumatizing, especially when you have to tell others what happened. The shame of having another male abuse you might bring you to secrecy to cover up the abuse because what it might mean to others that you allowed another man to abuse you.

That was the first thing that crossed my mind after I was sexually abused, what will other’s say that another male touched me in that way. Honestly I didn’t think anyone would believe me, so I chose to hide it and the longer I hide the abuse the more shame I felt. The shame grew until it was taller than Mount Everest but secrets have a way of coming undone. After trying to climb that horrible mountain I grew tired and weary, to the point where I couldn’t climb that mountain anymore.

The risk of coming out didn’t come close to the pain of holding it in. Just like a balloon I couldn’t hold in anymore shame and finally one day I exploded, and everything came gushing out.


Yesterday I saw an article posted on Facebook about Project Unbreakable, an initiative to increase awareness of the issues surrounding sexual assault and encourage the act of healing through art. As I read and viewed the pictures the tears began to swell up and gush down my cheeks like a river overflowing.

Project Unbreakable has featured over two thousand images of sexual assault survivors holding posters with quotes from their attackers. As I read each picture in the article I began to think about my own sexual abuse and wondered what I would say in my picture. Instantly I was stumped because my abuser never said a word to me because everything done to me was when he thought I was sleeping.

As an adult I beat myself up for not standing up for myself. I’ve wondered a million times what would have happened if I would have let him know I was awake and why did I return to that bed each night knowing what could happen. I blamed myself over and over again, until it became my fault because I coulda, woulda, shoulda stopped him!!!

For a moment I thought I didn’t fit into Project Unbreakable because I couldn’t write his words but then I remembered it wasn’t his words that hurt me, it was his actions… and then I realized I had every right to be apart of Project Unbreakable. While he never verbalized his words what he did to me spoke volumes and I had filled in his blanks with words he was saying to me by taking my innocence.

“You deserve this!”

“You’re weak!”

“You’re powerless!”

“No one will believe you!”

“I will beat you up if you tell anyone!”

“I’m God!”

“You don’t matter!”

“You’re an object!”

I could fill a book with everything he said to me…

For eight excruciating years filled full of pain, silence, secrecy and a victimization. I didn’t know there was another way, nor did I believe I deserved anything else.

When I came out of the closet about the abuse I was met with anything but compassion. Those eight long years were only enforced that I should have stayed silent. I think how others in my family handled the news traumatized me just as much as the act itself.

My father made it clear of this by going hunting the next day with my abuser. When he found out that I was upset, he told me that I needed to forgive and forget. Here was someone who was suppose to love and protect me telling me that I had no reason to be traumatized and that I should just move on with my life. His words cause me to relive the shame and hurt from the ripping of my soul.

When you are sexually abused the person rips a hole in your soul. It is the attempted genocide of a persons soul. A child without their innocence grows up feeling less, vulnerable and unprotected. They grow into adults without being able to shed that clout of shame, fear and ugliness. How others respond to their trauma can only add to all of that.

It has taken twenty years for me to realize when other’s respond to your abuse with dissent, disbelief and negativity it’s their own shame that they are trying to hide. It’s much easier to cover the abuse up and pretend that it never happened, than it is to face it and bring it to daylight. They are blinded by their own guilt and shame, and the fears what others will think about them. They do everything they can to protect the families reputation. I call it sweeping it underneath the rug.

There is still so much stigma in regards to sexual abuse, making it very important that we continue to spread awareness to help protect others. Bringing the abuse to the light of day will only help the healing process and give survivors the much needed voice. It will also give others the courage to stand up and use their voice that previously they didn’t know existed.

We are not alone. While there will always be others who will try to silence us, doing whatever possible to keep the secret hidden, there will always be others who will give us a platform to use our voices. Those who offer healing, love and understanding.

If you are a survivor and would like to share your story by picture you can send an email to Project Unbreakable.

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The Voices Inside My Head

So I woke up this morning feeling funny/off. Full of negativity. It’s probably cause I had a realization last night about wanting to move on from my current situation. Anytime I have something positive happen to me it’s usually followed by a negative thought or feeling.

So I woke up feeling worthless. It’s funny how the voices inside your head will do anything they can to keep you down. They fight with all your might to keep you from what you deserve.

I’m in this transition where I still have these innate feelings to hide. It also probably doesn’t help that I’ve had little contact with people in the real world. Tonight I actually have plans to go see The Rocky Horror Picture Show in the theatre and there is a part of me that wants to tell my friends that I can’t go, even though I really want to go. The voices tell me to stay home, that it’s not worth getting out of my comfort zone.

I have to stop listening to these voices. So many times I’ve taken them as fact, when in reality all they are is fiction. Made up stories that I tell myself.

Yesterday I saw the picture below and it might as well have been me, for this is how I see myself… Not beautiful, certainly not sexy. Hideous is more of an accurate way to describe my body. Voices are like fire, the more you feed them with gasoline the more they spread and destroy. They start of as a whisper until they become a roar.

I’ve been at war with myself since my breakdown in May between my healthy and hurt self. The hurt part of me wants to stay in the comfort zone while the healthy side of me wants to move on. The harder I pull the more resistance I get. I guess I just have to let it be. It’s like when you are drowning, the more you thrash around in panic the quicker you’ll sink to the bottom.

I can’t let these voices win, nor give them a stage. Positive reinforcements via repetition will be the key to overcoming these voices. Replacing them with good voices. Saying to myself these voices are not real, nor do I have to listen to them.

My voices are not my reality. Just because I feel I’m ugly doesn’t make it true and that’s just one example. I’ve built my life upon these lies. I’ve tolerated less because I thought that’s all I deserved. I let these voices control me because I believed them, like a child whose abused.

Some people don’t understand how growing up feeling less can impact you as an adult, even I am just getting to the point where I do. I didn’t just turn into this person who hated himself, I grew into this person. I’ve held onto every bad thing everybody has ever said to me and that negativity has ate me alive.

You can have a million people tell you that you are worthy but all it takes is one person to tear you down. As a child that’s all you know. God is a parent in the eyes of a child and when one of them puts you down constantly you think that’s reality. While my Mother gave me love, my father gave me fear. It’s was like a form of brainwashing.

It goes back to if my father didn’t love me, that must mean I am unworthy of his love and if I don’t deserve my fathers love then I’m unlovable. Certainly my love life has mirrored and reinforced those fears. I’ve been blinded by what other’s fears, insecurities and flaws, to the point where they became my own. As a child I had no way to know that my father’s inability to love me had nothing to do with me and everything to do with him. The same goes with anyone in my life who has hurt me deeply.

I have to remind myself that I am no longer that child trapped in that house of lies.

I can build my own house built on the foundation of love. A place that I can call home.

I must realize that I have my own voice and these other voices don’t belong inside of me anymore. I am no longer a child anymore, no longer defenseless. I have the ability to speak up and say NO, even if I have to scream at the top of my lungs!!!

I must do whatever it takes to drown out other people’s voices, stop allowing them to rent out space in my brain. Stop believing and caring about what other people think, feel and believe about me. I mean who gives a fuck, right? So what if someone think’s I’m fat or ugly, that doesn’t make it true. Some people do a great job of projecting their fears and insecurities onto other people. It’s easier to put someone down, than to feel it yourself.

Well I’ve had it, no more. I’m worthy of love. I’m beautiful. I will continue to say these things until they sink in. I’m worthy of love and I’m beautiful. So are you!

I’m worthy… and it’s eviction day for anyone that thinks otherwise. Voices be gone!


Good Enough

I started to title this post, not good enough… then I changed it to good enough because I am learning to fight these negative feelings deep within that tell me that I’m not good enough. Today I woke up with those feelings deep inside the middle of my chest, this aching dull roar that won’t go away.

Typically whenever I get these feelings I try to push them away, not think about them but lately I have been forcing myself to face things that made me uncomfortable. Push through the fear. I am realizing that by not dealing with these uncomfortable feelings I am only closing the door to that fear and not letting it out.

I wonder what causes me to feel that I’m not good enough? Probably from various people in my life who have rejected me. Let’s face it, reject sucks… BIG TIME!!! If you have it happen to you on a regular basis it’s easy to get a complex. So yeah got a complex and it’s difficult to shake.

I think one of the difficult types of rejection is romantic and one that I’ve never got use to.

When it comes to romantic rejection I deal with a double sided sword. One sided is my personality where I feel like guys don’t like me because that I care too much and the other side has to do with my size. I’m not sure which one is worse?

When you have someone run away because of the capacity of your love, it’s easy to wonder if you should hide who you are the next time around. I have had so many guys run that I have come to expect it. I’ve had guys try to make me feel like my gifts were a weakness to, try to tell me I acted like a woman, etc… Try to put me down for my size… Yada, Yada, Yada…

Well I’m damn tired of it. Tired of putting up with other peoples insecurities, fears and projections. Tired of chasing after guys that aren’t worth it.

It might have taken a long time but I’m realizing that I’m good enough but the biggest realization I’m having is they are good enough for me…

When Somebody Loved Me


When somebody loved me,

Everything was beautiful

Every hour we spent together lives within my heart


And when I was sad,

She was there to dry my tears

And when I was happy,

So was she

When she loved me


Through the summer and the fall

We had each other, that was all

Just she and I together,

Like it was meant to be


And when I was lonely,

She was there to comfort me

And I knew that she loved me

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So the years went by

I stayed the same


She began to drift away

I felt alone

Still I wait for the day

When she’ll say I will always love you


Lonely and forgotten,

I’d never thought she’d go away

Wishing she would smile at me and hold me just like she used to do

Like she loved me

When she loved me


When somebody loved me

Everything was beautiful

Every hour we spent together lives within my heart


Oh Father…

It’s funny that way, you can get used
To the tears and the pain
What a child will believe
You never loved me

You can’t hurt me now
I got away from you
I never thought I would

You can’t make me cry
You once had the power
I never felt so good about myself

Seems like yesterday
I lay down next to your boots and I prayed
For your anger to end
Oh Father, I have sinned

You can’t hurt me now
I got away from you
I never thought I would

You can’t make me cry
You once had the power
I never felt so good about myself

Oh Father, you never wanted to live that way
You never wanted to hurt me
Why am I running away

Oh Father, you never wanted to live that way
You never wanted to hurt me
Why am I running away

Maybe someday
When I look back I’ll be able to say
You didn’t mean to be cruel
Somebody hurt you too

You can’t hurt me now
I got away from you
I never thought I would

You can’t make me cry
You once had the power
I never felt so good

You can’t hurt me now
I got away from you
I never thought I would

You can’t make me cry
You once had the power
I never felt so good about myself

I got away from you father, never thought I would. You once had the power, I never felt so good… about myself. Seems like yesterday I laid down in my bed and I prayed, for you to go away. You never loved me, that’s what I grew up believing. I got use to the tears and the pain. Oh what a child will believe.

Those are the words, feelings and beliefs I grew up with. Oh Father by Madonna has always resonated with me deeply. Actually Madonna’s whole album “Like A Prayer” did. I can remember believing back then that Madonna was sing about me because it eerily mirrored my life.

I’ve known the kind of man my father was from a very early age, before many even realized. Growing up with him as a father I felt trapped and scared. I wanted nothing but my Mom, sister and I to be able to get away from him.

As I became an adult I began to distance myself from him. My father and I never particularly got along, we were like oil and water. I grew up believing that I wasn’t the son he bargained for, especially since I didn’t like the things he did… like hunting and fishing.

The final straw for me was when he divorced my mother about ten years ago. I saw what he put my beautiful Mother through during the thirty plus years of marriage. I saw the pain it caused her to go through the divorce and forced to try to make it on her own in her fifties. Once he was done with her, he threw her away. Just like he did me.

For over ten years I only saw him when I was forced to like at our family Christmas. It wasn’t something I looked forward to. Even then I was always very short with him and avoided him at all costs. All these years I felt such contempt for him that I forgot about all the hurt feelings and the grieving I have never allowed myself to go through.

It wasn’t until this past Father’s day that I realized how deep I had been cut. Previously Father’s day wasn’t ever a big deal to me, it was just another day. I certainly didn’t contact my father because in my eyes he was not worthy of appreciation. So this Father’s day came along and I noticed myself feeling angry when I saw anybody talk about Father’s day, especially advertisements. A few texts from retailers almost caused me to throw my phone a few times, of course I am over exaggerating but still.

The day of Father’s day was extremely difficult to endure. I felt an intense sadness and loss of the father I wish I had. All these years my anger masked the depth of my hurt. I guess I never really paid attention to it because having my Mama in this world always made up for it. She was my everything and made up for not having a positive father figure in my life but after her death it all hit home.

Recently I had this dream where my father died and in the dream I was devastated. I woke up feeling horrible. It is one thing to have a random nightmare but another thing to have the nightmare bring up some deep insecurity and hurt. I guess there is still a small part of me that hopes that one day my father will change and give me what I need. I believe in a way that dream was a way to remind me that those days are over and I must move on.

I struggle with father figures as a whole. That is part of my issue to my spirituality, is that I still view God in the same light as my father. My history with me hasn’t always been favorable, so I tend to stay away from most men. Even with gay men it hasn’t always been favorable. I certainly have issues with any man in authority, especially when they have an ego and/or power trip over it!

When you lose your parents you lose your safety net, a place to come home to. Sunday was just a reminder of that, what I had lost… So I am grieving over the loss of my Mama and the loss of the father I never had… and so wished I had. I would love a relationship with him but I know that comes at too great of a cost, something I am not willing to put myself through again.

Wear Pink This Friday June 14th and Take A Stand Against Gay Violence and Hate


UPDATE: If you don’t have anything planned for tonight, consider protesting the recent hate crimes by walking the streets of Columbus in PINK! People are meeting at Southbend Tavern (where one of the crimes was committed) at 6pm tonight and will be walking to all the places hate crimes happened recently.

Here is the link to the facebook event for the Southbend Event! Please share it with everyone you know in Columbus! 6PM tonight at Southbend Tavern (126 East Moler, Columbus, Ohio 43207)

The LGBTQA Community in Columbus is rallying their support for the three men who were involved in the latest hate crimes to hit the Columbus area the past week, by wearing pink this Friday. During a span of less than a week these three separate attacks occurred. Ironically Chris Kratavil, one of the three victims, was wearing a pink shirt when he was attacked as he was walking home.

Chris Kratavil

A picture of Chris Kratavil after his attack. Taken from the Outlook Media Facebook page.

Kratavil was punched from behind, knocked down and kicked repeatedly, said Sam Schisler, the marketing manager for Union and Axis Nightclub and a friend who accompanied the 32-year-old to OSU Medical Center later Monday. When a second man joined the attack and the two didn’t let up, the trained black-belt knew to protect his head and face, he told friends. (Outlook Media)

Hearing Chris scream for help thankfully a friend came to his rescue, causing the attackers to flee the scene. As shown in the picture (left) Kratavil suffered cuts, bruises and fractures around his eye.

Taken from David Conley’s facebook

Earlier that Monday, in an unrelated hate crime, David Conley was also attacked by a group of men in the Old Town area of Columbus.

Frightened by the three men who were walking behind him he called 911 but that didn’t stop the three men, who used vulgar language during the attack that indicating an anti-gay bias, from attacking Conley.

The three men were arrested after the Columbus Police arrived quickly.

Chris Ashcraft shown during an interview with WCPO ABC 9 Cincinnati.

Chris Ashcraft shown during an interview with WCPO ABC 9 Cincinnati.

Earlier that week, Christopher Ashcraft (visiting from Kentucky) was also attacked by men asking Ashcraft to jump-start their car. Ashcraft stated that the assailants kicked him in the face, until he was unconscious. The attackers left him unconscious in an alley outside the Southbend Tavern in Merion Village.

“It was a hate crime,” Ashcraft said. “I was hanging out at a gay bar. It’s Pride Month,” he told a reporter for a local Cincinnati ABC station.

With Pride in Columbus (June 21-22) approaching, Gloria McCauley, executive director of The Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization (BRAVO) states, “We’re so out and proud in June, and people are out there who don’t like it.” BRAVO is an important link to survivor advocacy and assistance regarding hate crimes, discrimination, domestic violence, and sexual assault. They do a great service for the LGBT Community in Ohio.


Bravo regularly offers self-defense classes for the LGBT Community, free of charge. Outlook Columbus reports that BRAVO will conduct safety workshops for any group that asks for free of charge as well. McCauley also stated that the local LGBT establishments have really rallied behind helping to promote safety.

Including Wall Street Nightclub which has scheduled a safety workshop for employees of LGBT bars and clubs on Monday July 15th at 7pm, conducted by BRAVO. In an article posted by Outlook Columbus the owner of Wall Street Nightclub, Scot Hafler, said employees will get tips for their own safety as well as the safety of their customers. The article goes on to state that local bars and clubs have been telling their patrons and employees that they’ll walk them to their vehicles to ensure their safety.


Skreened, a Columbus business, that creates custom apparel has stepped forward and offered the donation of 500 t-shirts to help those who don’t own a pink shirt. The founder of Skreened, Daniel Fox has graciously offered up the service of his company to provide shirts for Friday to help those take a stand against gay violence.

Skreened will be giving away pink shirts at Outlook Columbus Magazine at 11:30 am this Friday June 14 at 815 N High St, Ste Q, Columbus, Oh 43215. The shirts will be first come, first served. Donations accepted will go to BRAVO (Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization).


Alison Rose wants to do their part to support the GLBT community. So they will have a few of our most popular designs printed on pink tees! 100% of the proceeds will be donated to BRAVO (Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Association).

Look for them in the shop (3039 Indianola), Thursday evening and all day Friday.


Nina West, a local well known celebrity who is well loved by Columbus, created a facebook page encouraging GLBTQ people and their allies to wear pink this Friday to show solidarity with the three men. So far the event page has over 25,000 invites, with over 3,000 confirmed that they will be wearing pink on Friday.

I encourage you to change your profile and cover photo (at the bottom of this post) on facebook to help promote this worthy cause and spread the awareness of hate crimes, as well share the Facebook event page with everyone you know. The key to prevention is awareness and empowerment. Something good can come out of these senseless tragic events. These three courageous men need all the support and love they can get.

I have also wrote an article on my blog that gives individuals in the LGBT community tips on how to stay safe when in the public. These events have confirmed that we still need to be cautious of our surroundings.


If you live in the Ohio area and have been a victim of a hate crime contact Bravo, 866-862-7286. BRAVO also has a helpline available for resources at the number above. Their helpline is staffed weekdays from 10AM to 4PM, and Sunday through Thursday from 6PM to 10PM. As I mentioned previously BRAVO also has self-defense classes available at various times. If you are interested in taking a class or having a safety workshop for your local group (whether its a euchre group, softball league or any other group) contact BRAVO. Services provided at BRAVO are free of charge.

You don’t have to live in Columbus or even Ohio to take a stand against gay violence. Even recently cities like New York City has seen an increase in their hate crimes as well. We are all in solidarity and together we can stand up against hate. I strongly believe that love will always conquer and defeat hate. A voice is a terrible thing to waste and for a survivor something they can struggle with as they recover and heal from the experience. Take a stand and help amplify their voice by wearing pink this Friday in support of the three men attacked in Columbus, as well as all the other survivors of hate crimes.

We will keep wearing pink, until we don’t need to. This conversation is one that will need to go further than Friday. Diligence is going to be key in helping to prevent another one of these senseless acts. The time has come for us to take care of each other, watch each others backs. Offer support and a helping hand when someone is in need, for we are all brothers and sisters. What makes our community so wonderful is the diversity, love and acceptance we share, as well as we all come together during a tragic event. We have a responsibility and no longer have the luxury of sitting on the sidelines because these hate crimes can happen to any of us. Until these crimes hit home, do we see how close they really are to us. Make a difference and be the change you want to see.

Lastly be alert and aware of your surroundings, travel in groups when possible especially during pride and at night. Always remember if you experience violence it isn’t your fault at all.

Join in the movement and help unite the LGBTQA community against hate and anti-gay violence. Continue this conversation well past Friday because hate won’t take a day off and neither will we!!!

To make a donation online directly to BRAVO you can do so here via the Network For Change.



Taking Everything Personal

This is probably my achilles heel, my one tragic flaw. I have worked really hard recently to overcome this but it is a daily battle. Every interaction, especially bad, I find myself taking it on. Lately I have become aware when I am starting to take something personal but that doesn’t always prevent me from going down that spiral of a road.

The biggest part of my life that I personalize is my love life or lack thereof. I tend to take a guy not being interested in me as a result of who I am, whether it’s because something I am lacking or a quality that a guy is too intimidated by. Either way there is something about me that I feel keeps me away from love, many times it’s probably me.


I can remember my first heartbreak feeling devastated, wondering where things went wrong. I was young and naive, thinking love lasts forever. When it didn’t it started to chip away at my self esteem and self worth. One pebble usually doesn’t shatter a glass wall but after time it can leave you shattered. The pebbles start to pile up and one crack turns into multiple cracks and before you know it all you can see are cracks.

My track record is falling for guys who aren’t available emotionally and usually have major commitment issues. The more they pull away, the more I want them. I have lived my life trying to make everyone love me and I have learned you can’t force like or love. I recently watched The Great Gatsby and it really got me thinking about that subject. Jay Gatsby does everything (and I mean everything) to be with a lost love and in the end it isn’t enough to bring her back.


Then there is this idea of how can you love someone else, if you don’t love yourself. I don’t quite believe in this philosophy completely but I think there does lie a little bit of truth. When you don’t love yourself you view the world in a hazy, discolored tint. You accept less from others and yourself because you have a low value of yourself. You take unkindness and everything else in between as love, or at least you accept these things because you think the person loves you.

Trying to get a guy to love me back wasn’t the first time I tried this. It started early on with my Father. I never felt like I lived up to my Father’s expectations of a son. I grew up believing he didn’t love me, why else would he treat me the way he did? I didn’t realize that he didn’t love himself and this was how he treated others close to them. I accepted his behaviors and actions as fact, and my own.

One of my favorite quotes is from Moulin Rouge.

“The greatest gift you’ll ever learn is just to love & be loved in return.”

Romantically I haven’t felt that love returned and that stings. After a decent number of the stings you start to get a complex, that is where taking things personal comes into play. We live in a society where we are constantly told we need to pair up in order to be happy, just look at the movies. I grew up believing I wouldn’t be whole until I found the love of my life, so I went most of my adult life feeling like something was missing. I am constantly having to remind myself that I don’t need someone to make me happy, that I must do it.


I am learning to love myself, it is not an easy trait to learn. It takes a lot of trial and error, and back steps. That negative voice in my head has a strong hold over me at times. The less I feel about myself the louder it becomes. I fight a daily battle with that voice. It tells be things like “you’re worthless”, “a loser”, “unloveable” and so on… For the longest time I accepted these words as reality and I listened to it. Very early on I learned to take on other peoples feelings for me, I became them. I didn’t have the coping skills to realize that the way they treated me had nothing to do with me and everything to do with him. I mean I was only a child and to a child a parent is God. I gave my father a voice inside my head and various events after that only amplified his thoughts and feelings of me.


While I no longer have a relationship with that man, I still have his voice inside of me and I struggle to kick him out of my consciousness! One voice, other than my own is enough, but everytime I get hurt I let how (I think) they feel set up shop inside my brain. To the point now where my brain is full of negative voices, to the point where they overflow. I have worked hard to kick them out, one by one but I still have some stragglers left. I need to kick them all out, especially my father, and close up shop for good, set up a barricade and not let how others view me affect who I am and how I live my life!

Protection, especially for a survivor, is very important. From an early age I didn’t feel protected, nor did I feel like I could protect myself. The doors to my garden were ripped off from the hinges and I have struggled to find them again. While I didn’t have the coping skills to heal and repair the damage back then, I do now. I have the tools to repair my door and make it so that no one will ever be able to steal what isn’t theirs to take.

Those voices aren’t real, nor are they the truth. I deserve the world and so do you. Many of us have accepted less. I will continue to fight the voices, until they disappear. I have the greatest key and gift of them all, my own voice. My voice is louder than all of them combined and I must continue to use it, over and over again. Even if it takes yelling!!! For years I didn’t think I deserved love but I now know that isn’t true. I am loveable and a good ally to have. If someone doesn’t see that, that’s not my fault. That is their issue and insecurity, not mine! I must use the Family Circus philosophy of “Not Me” whenever I am faced with this.


Healing is for me is a combination of repeating positive patterns over and over, until they sink in. I now have a wide arrange of tools in my coping tool box and now have the skills to use them. Again it is like trial and error, find what works for you. Taking a stand is the first step and intercepting those voices is a big step. Every time that negative voice pops into your head, talk (or yell) right back! When you stay silent is when you lose your power, and your voice. Repeat positive affirmations (as silly as you might feel) over and over, eventually that voice will be drowned out. If it makes you feel better do this out loud, who cares if others think you are crazy! 🙂 There will be times you don’t feel like it or you don’t believe in the words you say but eventually that positivity will seep into your consciousness and eventually subconsciousness!

For too long I have allowed my negative voice to hold my authentic voice captive. I gave my power away to it. All these years I thought it had me bound, gagged and helpless but it was all a trick. I was never trapped, it was an illusion to keep me at bay.


Holding Onto A Grudge

So this is something that I have really been thinking about lately, how to let go of my hurt feelings. I am not proud to admit that I hold onto grudges, for long periods of time. This is really true if I have been deeply hurt. I find myself holding onto to the anger for years later and I know that isn’t healthy.

I think the main reason I don’t let go of my hurt is the personalization of the act or betrayal. It is this idea if the person cared for me they wouldn’t have hurt me and since they did that must mean they don’t… Then it snowballs into well why don’t they love me? Then I conclude it has to do with who I am or what I am lacking. Many times my mind will tell me that isn’t true but my feelings always block those ideas, and I end up forming a grudge.

grudge  /grəj/

A persistent feeling of ill will or resentment resulting from a past insult or injury.

Sometimes it is very difficult to be the bigger person. I wish life was fair but the sad truth it isn’t. I must remind myself that everyone brings their own issues and baggage to the table and that not every interaction with me is personal. For me it is the collectiveness of hurts. I have allowed myself to have unhealthy relationships for so long that they all just cracked away at my self worth layer. Years later I am left trying to rearrange my self esteem.

Forgiveness for me is a tough pill to swallow because in a way I feel to forgive doesn’t validate my feelings and takes away the accountability of the action/hurt. The act of forgiveness really isn’t for the guilty party but for the person forgiving. I haven’t forgave the various people who have hurt me because I think in a way I felt like I deserved the hurt or wasn’t worthy of anything but that.

I think I also hold onto the bitterness because in a way I hope that person will come around and when they don’t it just piles more trash onto the pile of anger, bitterness and contempt. I am a people pleaser and when I can’t I crumble into a million pieces. I have to face the facts that not everyone will like me, most of the time it has nothing to do with who I am.

I don’t just need to let go of the hurt but the anger as well. I struggle with moving on from my past. I tend to linger there and set up shop, and that only does more damage.

How do you handle forgiveness?