let's play, Personal stories

Community Service: 2 weeks at the Food Pantry

Hey cool kids,

I finally finished my community service on Wednesday (11/22) and I thought I’d go ahead and share what the experience was like.

So to start with, I was required to do 80 hours of community service after I was given a reckless driving citation in June. (If you want to hear more about that, let me know in the comments and I’ll gladly share that experience with you). I put off doing the community service until this month partly due to procrastination and partly because I justified working full-time and going to school part-time as not having enough time to do it (even though I was free on weekends). Anywho, this continued until this past month, when I left everything in GA in a rather dramatic fashion to spend more time with my family and work on personal things, like this blog.

lancaster food pantry

So fast forward, with Tara’s (my partner) help, we found a food pantry here in Lancaster that allowed me to work as much as I wanted a week. We arranged everything and the next day I went in after dropping Wyatt off at school. Well, surprise! When I get there I find out it isn’t just a food pantry, no, it in fact is a Lutheran run food pantry. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have nothing really to say about Lutherans in particular. I’ve heard some less than ideal talk about them in the past, but it was so insignificant to me that I don’t even remember what I heard. So there I am, walking in wearing a black women’s sweater, skinny jeans, and boots. I check in with the volunteer coordinator, Carin, and of course she’s using my legal name. I’ll admit, at this point I was too nervous to tell her that I was trans (given the Lutheran bit) so¬†I literally just went along with her calling me my birth name. So yea.

So there’s the setup, I spent 2 weeks pretending to be a boy. It wasn’t horrible, but I will say that it started to get to me after the first week. It’s never easy to get incorrectly gendered, and having it happen for a whole 2 weeks because you’re afraid sucks even more. I had a lot of issues trying to find clothes, because for the most part, I don’t have any “Manly” clothing anymore. I had some t-shirts and jeans, but even my shoes were hard because my only sneakers are pink/purple. The only plus side to it all was not needing to shave every day, but after awhile it started to make me feel disgusted with myself and really dysphoric.

Image result for lss food pantry thanksgiving

As far as the actual food pantry work, it was pretty monotonous. Every day I’d go in and restock the shelves with food from the warehouse. Then I’d clean the floors and bathrooms. By this time it would normally be around 9am and the pantry didn’t open to the public until 11am, so I would either clean up, help do some busy work, or just sit on my phone. All of the people I met there and that worked there were really nice, though many of them weren’t very helpful during the day because they were old as dirt. Of course that makes sense since the only people who have time to volunteer at places like the food pantry are old retired people.

Anywho, while there wasn’t a lot going on while I worked, I did meet some “interesting” people. One guy, I swear, was high as shit when he was working. He works on Fridays and his name is Mike. He spent the whole time we were working talking about how he’s a thief and how the pantry was “Like Mecca” to him. Then he went on about how he loves to take steaks and other donated meat from the freezers home with him because “It gets me [Mike] tons of pussy”. If you couldn’t tell, he had a ton of respect for women.

Another guy, also named Mike (maybe it’s a trend?) was kind of the same way. All he did when he volunteered was try to find food he could take home with him. That was literally his only reason for being there. Then, when we got a donation from the local prison (it was a bunch of confiscated food from prisoners) he got super excited and kept reminiscing about his time in prison. Personally I don’t get it. I used to eat tons of MREs, but I definitely would not be excited to have any if someone donated a box.

Now at this point you’re probably wondering: did Scylla take anything? I’ll be honest with you, yes I did. Some of the meat that was donated had holes in the packaging and was going to be thrown out even though it was good. So I took that home. I also took home bread that was donated that was going to be thrown out before it could all be used. I don’t feel guilty about it because for one, I wasn’t bragging about taking it, two it was going to be thrown out and wasted, and three, I’m poor as fuck. So if you want to judge me, go for it.

Wrapping this all up, I would definitely say that I didn’t hate my experience doing my community service at the food pantry. Even though it wasn’t great, I got to help a lot of people and I genuinely feel like I did something productive. I even plan to go volunteer there once in awhile now that I’m done, though admittedly it won’t be anything consistent or anything. I would encourage anyone reading this to consider volunteering when they have free time once in awhile, too. It really does feel good to help other people (or animals if that’s what you’re doing) and I personally feel that I can sacrifice playing video games for a couple of hours to do it ever now and then. That being said, here’s another Battle Chef Brigade Let’s play-

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let's play, Updates

Holiday update and Battle Chef Brigade Let’s Play

Hey cool kids!

So Thanksgiving was yesterday and like with everyone else, mine was super stressful! I went to Tara’s (my partner) mom’s for lunch meal, then her dad’s for “Dinner”. The food was pretty good, but it was really awkward trying to hold conversations with people who:

a) Don’t understand me being trans

b) Hated my guts until earlier this year

c) I have nothing in common with other than my son and partner

I didn’t do anything with my family because they either live in other states or didn’t invite me. Still, I definitely feel like I’ve had worse Thanksgivings and I’m thankful that it went as well as it did.

As far as blog posts go, I was going to do a post on gun control with my opinions on it and the opinions of other people, but getting people to agree and getting different view points was more difficult than I had anticipated. Once things settle down a bit, I’ll probably give it another shot, but until then, please be satisfied with this garbage.

I do, however, have some exciting news about my book! No, I haven’t accomplished anything major with it, but I did finally figure out how magick is going to work in the world. I won’t spoil anything, but I will say that it is going to make writing characters casting spells a lot harder for me to write.

Finally, there’s some Battle Chef Brigade news from me! I’m officially one of the moderators for the Battle Chef Brigade Reddit, an honor given to me after someone called me out for all my leader board scores on twitter. I’m stoked to get to be part of the community now that I’m not working on the game and really hope to help the game grow as a consumer. That being said, here’s my shameless plug about my most recent Let’s Play!

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My Experience as a Transgender Mother

To start, I’ll preface this with letting you know that my experience is unique in that my son did not know me at all before my transition. Because of this, I will not be sharing anything about what it was like for him to have to switch from calling me dad to mom or anything like that.

My son, Wyatt, is 6 years old. If I’m being honest, he’s a bit of a brat and all he really cares about is playing video games. Due to various reasons, I was not in his life for 5.5 years, but I fortunately, I get to spend every day with him now. When I first came back into Wyatt’s life, I lived in Atlanta, GA and he lived in Ohio. This meant that for the first 3ish months, our only interactions were on the phone talking on calls or video chat. I remember when I first started talking to him, I was super self conscious about my facial hair and would only talk to him when I had makeup on. I also tried to feminize my voice as much as possible, something that I don’t tend to do with people that I’m comfortable with. To me, making sure that he saw me as a woman was super important, even if he didn’t know I was his other “parent”. I wanted him to know me as Scylla, not as the person I was before.

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Fast-forward and it was March, 2017. I came to Ohio to visit Wyatt for the first time and then we saw one another once a month from there on out (I would come to Ohio to visit or he and my partner would come see me in GA). In the beginning, my partner, Tara, and I were hyper-vigilant about Wyatt not seeing any part of me that was male. That lasted about as long as you’d expect with a kid who barely understands boundaries. I remember there was a point where we thought he might have seen me naked coming out of the shower because he peaked and I remember there was this whole time where we didn’t know what to do. Eventually Tara talked to him and asked if he had seen anything, to which he promptly lied before finally giving in and admitting he’d seen my privates.

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Here’s the thing: Tara and I had thought it was going to be some sort of super complicated production explaining what I am to Wyatt. In reality, it wasn’t. He was incredibly receptive to it and ever since hasn’t questioned that not all boys and girls fit the “norm” that he has believed his whole life. If I’m being honest, I think that all he really cared about is whether or not I’d play video games with him or at least talk to him about games. I don’t think my genitalia or my gender matter to him in the slightest.

There was one issue that came up a few months later. In one of my own episodes of self-doubt, I asked Wyatt how he felt about not having a dad. Unsurprisingly to me, Wyatt admitted that he was sad that he didn’t have a dad. This had been a huge fear of mine since I came back into his life, and I know that it had been asked several times by both my family and Tara’s family, and I felt horrible for being the reason that he didn’t have a dad. I still do feel terrible sometimes when I think about it, mostly because my choices in my life have made him a target. When it comes to family projects at school, he now has to explain in even more complicated terms that he doesn’t have a dad, but he has 2 moms. Sure, there are plenty of families where there are 2 moms, but the whole concept is different when he’s growing up in a small Ohio town and people meet me and I’m not passing as well as I feel I should be. Then again, there’s a certain point where it’s my own insecurities and I just worry about what my status as a trans woman does to the reputation of my son.

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Honestly, most of my experiences with being a transgender mother don’t directly have to do with Wyatt. Our interactions have always been positive and even though he knows I have a “peanut” just like him, he sees me as a woman. No, most of my experiences as a transgender mother have been fear about living in a small town with my son now and what that means for his future. When I go out, I get the looks. I get the up and down where people are trying to figure out because there are still male signifiers. As Wyatt gets older, it won’t be a secret that one of his mother’s used to be male, and I’m terrified that information will make him the target for bullying. I’m terrified that as he gets older and wants to have friends come over, his friend’s parents won’t let their kids come over because of me. I’m anxious that his teachers will treat him differently because they have never even seen a transgender person before and now have to meet with one at parent teacher conferences. Most of all, I’m worried that one day, Wyatt will resent me for being who I am. I’m worried that he’ll resent me for not letting him have a father, for making him a target, for not letting him have a “normal” life.

In the end, I doubt there’s much of anything I can do about all of my fears. I’m incredibly thankful that right now there are no issues and that Wyatt has always seen me for who I am, and that there has never been a struggle to make him see me as a woman. I’ll continue to communicate the best I can with him, and I guess we’ll see what the future holds.

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