Saturday, April 28, 2018

Delia's Writing Challenger #3: Text

I was sent another writing challenge, this time by the incredible Delia.  I procrastinated.  Oops.

So here it is, Delia.  Top billing.  639 words.

Topic:  500 words: you accidentally text someone something revealing, who is it? What did you write? What were the repercussions?


It was another day after work.  Retail sucks, but I needed to pay the bills while going for my Master’s degree.  I spilled my soda down my dress walking to my night class and cursed myself as I blotted it up.  All over my left breast and skirt.  Great.  I found the classroom, and was waiting for class to begin when I received a text from my friend Charlotte. 

When you first went on HRT, were you scared?  Did it affect your penis?

My coworkers didn’t know it, but I’m transgender.  I was born with a male body.  I transitioned to female five years ago, having facial surgery and “bottom” surgery as well.  It was my secret- I didn’t want to be judged as a transwoman- just as a woman.  I scrubbed my online life the best I could, and moved to a different state.  

No one knew me here.  I was safe.  

Makeup and photo by Amanda Richards

In any case, I quietly mentored other women beginning their transitions.  Charlotte was one of them- she was 20, slim, and scared.  HRT is Hormone Replacement Therapy- where one takes hormones to block testosterone and also feminize the body.

I turned off my phone as class began.

At a break, I turned my phone on again, but I didn’t realize that another text arrived.  This one was from a coworker, asking about swapping shifts.  I read it, turned off my phone again, and forgot about it.  I didn’t really like the guy: Greg.  He was a misogynistic jerk.

After class, I walked to my car.  My dress felt cold where I’d tried to clean the spill during breaks.  I turned on my phone, and typed my response to Charlotte.  I usually respond to her quickly.

HRT is a scary step.  Once the changes start, there is now going back.  Yes, estrogen will make your penis shrink, possibly significantly.  It will also render you sterile, so if you want children, get some sperm frozen.  My penis lost over half its size from HRT, which didn’t help GCS.  (GCS is Gender Confirmation Surgery- “the Operation.”)

I sent it, and forgot about it. 

An hour later, I received another text from Charlotte. 

Hello?  Was my question too personal?  No answer?

I thought “wait, I DID answer” and checked my phone. 

I’d sent the text to Greg. 

Oh shit!

By then, it was past 11 pm, and there was nothing I could do.  What was done was done.
I arrived at work the next morning for an “opening” shift on “Customer Service.”  Greg was scheduled for 11 AM, so I had two hours before he arrived.  I was very nervous.  Would he tell others?  Would he think the text was a joke? 

At 10 AM, another coworker, Bob, arrived and clocked in.  He worked in another department, and we were cordial.  He didn’t speak to me- didn’t even look at me as he passed.  Normally he’d say “hello” or something.

Did he know?

At 11, Greg arrived and punched in.  He looked at me very intensely.  I said hello, as I always did.  He replied “what was with that text you sent last night?” 

All morning I’d thought of different possible answers to that inevitable question.  I decided that I’d be honest- otherwise lies would compound on lies, and I hated lies.

“That was meant for someone I’m mentoring.  I’m transgender, and I’d appreciate if you’d keep that to yourself.”

His face twisted into disgust for a flash before he caught himself.  “Well, a bit late for that,” he said and walked away.

I felt my heart sink.  It was like I’d learned of a death in the family- but that death was me.  My secret was out- there was no way to change it. 

No one would ever see me the same way again. 

I never felt so helpless.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Men of the Skull Chapter 34: Sahn-Tah

As the semester neared its end, students' minds filled with Final exams, the Holidays (how to get home,) and, of course, getting in those last parties at PSU before break.

And so it was at Skull.  And like everything else, Skull had a Tradition to follow.

Sahn-Tah.  That's not how it was spelled- that's how it was pronounced.  Accent on the first syllable.

The way this works is explained in the chapter, so I won't spoil it.  Sahn-tah was always a graduating senior.

This was another day where I didn't know what to expect.  I would participate in three Sahn-tahs in my time at Skullhouse.  However, this was the only time I received a "gift."  I have mixed feelings about that.  In one way, it showed me that there were still people who didn't accept me.  In another, I was sort of thinking that may not be a bad thing.

Oh, and Sahn-Tah?  Usually ended up on the Campus Loop, going around and around and around.


Chapter 34: Sahn-tah

Friday, December 12, 1986 South Africa moves to silence dissent

            Like many large groups, the Skulls had a “Pollyanna” for Christmas.  Several of the guys were Jewish or whatever, but it didn’t matter- the Skull celebration had nothing to do with religion and everything to do with busting each others balls!
            Garbo filled me in after it was mentioned at chapter.  The gift could be as mean as you want it to be- or not.  The hat passed around, and I drew Chumpy.
            As I mentioned before, Chumpy was powerfully built, but short- five foot five at most.  He’d been dating Becky, the Zeta he met at Homecoming, since October.  Chumpy was the Gamma, which meant he was house handyman.  That was everything I knew about Chumpy.  Hell, I don’t think I knew his given name at that point.

Club Room: Post Sahn-Tah 1988.  I know I took more pictures, but they are lost to time.

            Judy and Virginia helped me shop.  I didn’t know nasty I should be with my gift- I mean after all I was still trying to be accepted by these guys.  Still, part of me just wanted to be mean: fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke.
            Eventually I settled on my first idea.  We shuffled through the falling snow to the Hardware store at the corner of Allen St and Highland Alley where I bought a metal step stool.  It was small, maybe a foot or so high.
            I didn’t know how seriously the brothers took this event, so I didn’t know how to wrap it.  Marni suggested the house colors, so off we went through the light snow to McClanahans.  There we found shiny gold wrapping paper and Melissa found black ribbon.  Figured I’d write a short verse to explain the gift, and this was done on my old Skull stationary.
            I wrapped the box an hour before heading over to the house for dinner.  I didn’t know that as I wrapped, Sahn-ta was also getting ready.
            The event started at seven, and was held in the Club Room.  We all finished dinner and most helped clean up!  After all, we needed the chairs.  A few guys had dinner brought upstairs to them, among them was King.  King was Sahn-tah this year.  The others were Flounder and Sauce- they were Sahn-tah’s elves.
            In front of the blazing fire was placed one of the large black leather high backed chairs- for Sahn-tah.  A dining room chair flanked either side for his elves.  All of the gifts were piled on the piano side of the room.  Most of them were wrapped shabbily in newspaper.  My gold and black box stood out- and everyone wondered about it.  What the fuck was Chumpy getting that rated such a wrap job?
            Someone put Christmas music on the house speakers and Sahn-tah made his appearance- staggering badly and supported by his elves.
            “You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout I’m tellin’ you why- Santa Claus is comin’ to town!”
            King was dressed in a red sweatshirt, fake beard, and a Santa hat.  He was so drunk it was a wonder he was upright.  His elves, dressed in green with red Santa hats, steered him to the large black chair.  “HO HO FUCKIN’ HO!”  Sahn-tah yelled, holding his arms up in a V, then he chugged the remaining beer from the bottle in his right hand and threw it to the floor.
            Everyone chanted “Sahn-tah!  Sahn-tah!”
            Flounder Elf handed Sahn-tah another beer, and Sahn-tah chugged that one as well.  The elves then pushed him into his chair, and the gift giving began.
            Ok, when your name was called, you came forward, drank the shot handed to you by an elf (cheap whiskey) then took your gift.  If there was something written attached, you read it out loud, then you opened the gift and held it up for all to see. 
            I figured that all out while watching everyone else.
            We were on tap of course.  I stood in the back by the keg, where I filled the occasional stray pitcher handed back to me.  I knew I didn’t need nor want to be sober for this. 
            I watched as the elves handed boxes to Sahn-tah, who read the names as best he could.  He was slurring and drooling drunk.  Every so often, an elf would declare “SOCIAL!” and we’d all drink- including Sahn-tah.
            After maybe ten others, my name was called.  King was surprised as I was- he called “Lance?”
            I walked around the gathered brothers to Sahn-tah and accepted a shot from Flounder elf.  Gulp!  Down it went, burning all the way to my stomach to the cheers of the assembled brothers.
            There was no card or written piece to accompany the flimsy item wrapped with that day’s Daily Collegian.  I opened the package and found a battered old white t-shirt.  I held it up and saw that someone wrote FSK on the front with red magic maker.  (FSK’s colors are red and silver.)  The brothers screamed and laughed.  High fives through the crowd.  Someone shouted “SOCIAL!”  I had no beer, so I turned and gestured to Flounder Elf for the whiskey bottle, which he gave me.  I gulped a big mouthful of whiskey, trying to drown the humiliation.  A couple of brothers cheered “Go Lance!”  After finishing, I shook my head, twirled the shirt around over my head and went back to the keg.  I needed a chaser.
            I tapped myself a beer, then another one.  Sahn-tah passed out, his chin resting on his chest, drooling into the now disgusting yellowish beard. 
            Finally, Chumpy was called.  By that point, he was fairly drunk.  He’d torn off his t-shirt and was wearing just khaki shorts.  When his name was called he walked over to the elves with an exaggerated strut that reminded me of a cross between John Wayne and Grape Ape.  He drank his shot, burped loudly into Sahn-tah’s face (Sahn-tah didn’t wake up) and accepted the gaudy gold box with black ribbon.
            Chumpy opened the envelope taped to the top and opened the paper inside.  “This must fuckin’ be from fuckin’ Lance.  Who fuckin’ else has Skull paper?”  He held up the paper for all to see.  Some people shouted and mocked, but not many.  I guess I wasn’t the only one who had that stationary. 
            He then started to read.

It’s amazing to all the respect you’ve found.
In fact, you’re known in the house all around.
Your ability to fix things is without a match.
It’s almost as bad as the way you get snatch.
We’re glad you found Becky so you can finally get laid.
We wonder sometimes how much she is paid.
In fact we’d salute you, yes we would,
If only we could see you when you stood.
So accept this help so thoughtfully given
It should help in this short life you’re livin’
A giant like you sometimes needs a hand
So enjoy this stool on which you can stand!”

Hey, I never claimed to be a poet. 
            Brothers were laughing their asses off as Chumpy unwrapped the gift to reveal the stool.  I guess I did all right. 

            The brothers were still laughing as the next name was called.  Chumpy stomped back to the keg and looked up at me with an angry look.  He then softened and started laughing and shook my hand.
            “Drink, you asshole!” he said, smiling.
            We toasted and drank.

            Now, the deltas never put away dinner.  Turkey, mashed potatoes and all that were sitting out in the kitchen as we all drank and laughed.  Nine o’clock rolled around and Delta Gamma (DG) showed up for the social we all forgot.  The House was a mess- paper everywhere- nothing was ready.  A bunch of guys helped King upstairs while the rest of us did our best to clean the house. 
The DGs thought it was really fucking funny.  We got them beers and they kicked in to help clean the club room.  We had a wrapping paper fight that ended up in one of the girls having the whole trash can dumped over her.  (She started it!)
While we worked(?) in the Club room, some of the sisters helped in the kitchen.  They helped put the food in the fridge and the pantry.  However, no one locked the pantry.
With the house in passable shape we started the social “officially.”  Groups sat at tables in the dining room talking or playing Thumper or Quarters.  I joined in a Quarters game called Chandeliers. 
In Chandeliers, you have a central cup filled to the top with beer.  Each player places their full beer cup around that central cup in a circle, rims touching.  The player with the quarter bounces it as normal.  If it lands in someone’s cup, they drink their beer and it becomes their turn.  They don’t have to chug, but don’t take all fucking night either.  If the shooter misses, they drink.  If the shooter gets the quarter in the center cup, everyone shouts “Light bulb!” and chugs down their beer as fast as possible.  Last cup on the table loses and chugs the central cup as well. 
Yeah, it got ugly in a hurry. 
So I’m dead last and chugging for like the third time when Chumpy came over with the whiskey bottle, his stool and two empty plastic cups.  He slapped me on the back, put down the stool and stepped up on it.  Smiling, he looked down at me (barely), poured two shots and handed one to me. 
“This fuckin’ rules” he said, toasting.  Down they went, burning as only whiskey could do.  I winced.  My stomach started to toss.  The other players “smelled blood” and Bix called a social.  Drink more!
I don’t know how I made it to the bathroom behind the kitchen in time, but I did.  I think I puked up everything I’d eaten since 1981.  After I finished, I staggered through the kitchen, where all these sisters were eating.  Turkey, potatoes, they were having a grand old feast.  I could care less.  I had to get back to the apartment.
What I didn’t know, is that the meal was supposed to be our lunch the next day as well.  DG completely finished it all off.  Not a scrap was left.  It was a great social…
Especially if you were a hungry DG.

Next Chapter

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

How Do We Survive This?

How do we survive this?  Seriously?

Think about it- what does Gender Dysphoria do to a person?  It tears apart their soul.  From the moment you are cognizant of Gender, you KNOW something is wrong.  You may not be be able to verbalize it- but you KNOW it's wrong.  And if you don't know what the problem is- you can't solve it.

I KNEW I was a girl.  I didn't even tell my parents: I was beaten for playing a "girl's game" with the girl across the street.  "I'm not raising a sissy!"  He doesn't remember doing this.  Why would he?

Hiding it all my life.  Knowing I was living a lie.  Even at the best times, it was like having something stuck between your teeth that won't come out.  A rock in your shoe.

Constant.  Uncomfortable.  At times fierce and painful.


What does that kind of Pain do to a person?

Well, for many of us- it kills them.  So many suicides- it's numbing.  It seems like every week on facialbook I see that another friend of a friend is dead by their own hand.  It killed my best friend- my Sister- Lisa.

When Lisa died, it set off a wave through the community.  She was well loved, and everyone thought that, if any of us, SHE would be the one to succeed- SHE would be the one to live a happy life after transition.  Lisa waited until her wedding anniversary...

Then, she killed herself.   

Me and Lisa.  August 2013

Her death nearly killed me.  Still may.  If she couldn't survive this, how could I?  And how could I do it without her giving me strength?

Yet, here I am.  Still.  Nearly five years later.  I started living my Truth in 2014, and Yes, it does help.  But it isn't a "miracle cure."  The rock may be out of my shoe, but I've walked into a patch of sharp thorns.  They tear at me.  "SIR!"  "Are you a man?"  "I can see right through you."  "We've hired someone else for the position."  "Who do you think you're fooling?" "Bless your heart."


That last one is one of the many lovely comments I get on my blog.  Anonymous, of course.  But still, they read it.  Gotta wonder why.

So- the question stands: How do we survive this?

I can't answer for everyone.  There are so many people who not just survive, but thrive.  They are all over the media.  They are on facialbook, where they have thousands of friends.  They get published in newspapers and magazines and books.  They do TV and radio.  They are CEOs and move among the elite and powerful.  Their transitions go relatively smoothly (notice I did NOT say easily- there is nothing easy about transition.)  Or they are anonymously having incredible lives.

I am not one of those.  Obviously.  Would I be in this much Pain if I were?  Good question.

Some survive this with a "social network."  One cannot transition without one, really.  The "Safety Net."  In this community, we catch each other as we fall, or at least we try.  We are the only ones who understand each other- who understand This.

Picture and makeup by Amanda Richards, April 2018

I know many people.  I built a support network.  I rarely see them anymore.  I still get the occasional invitation, for which I am VERY appreciative, but I just... never feel like going out.  I often feel sick.  More often, I don't think it's fair that I inflict myself on their good times.  I stay home. 

Today, as I write this, is my 25th wedding anniversary.  We were married in 1993.  We are still married, but we've lived apart since August 2013.  I saw Wife today.  Sent roses to her work place.  Gave her candy that she likes.  We had lunch together at a Mexican place (we had our first date at a Mexican place.)  She went back to work.  That's all.

I've spent most of the day lying in bed, alternating between sleep and crying.  I really didn't think this day would hurt as much as it does.

How do I survive this?

Minute by minute.  Hour by hour.  Day by day. 

I really don't know.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Men of the Skull Chapter 33: BSB

This is the third straight chapter featuring a "game."  This was intentional.  Remember all the chapters I skipped?  None of them had Anything to do with the fraternity.  They were all about my relationship "drama" (as it would be called today.)  

The multiple fraternity chapters were an attempt to balance that out.  Also, because the personal stuff was... on hold.  Also, these chapters happened pretty quickly.  The 'Hood wanted to get through this part of the pledge program before Christmas break.  They wanted to be at a certain "point" when classes resumed.  It made sense, if you knew the arc of the pledge program.  I didn't.  I just thought the program was really intense.  

Well, it was.

Of all the games, this was the only one I participated in.  I was chosen during my last semester.  I was shocked and honored, really.  I felt "included."  There's another word for it:  Complicit.

Oh, LPC means "last pledge class:" the last group of guys who were initiated.  You're not done pledging until you're done LPC!

Chapter 33:  BSB

Wednesday, December 10, 1986  Ex-Advisers keep silent on arms deal

            “You maggots fucking suck!”  Double D shouted down from his perch on the landing.  The pledges were bunched up beneath him.  “We’ve never had such shitty pledges!  Something needs to be done!”
            “Games!”  “Games!”  The shouts rose from the brothers on the carpet behind the pledges.
            Then, the inevitable suggestions from the Hood:
            “CIRCLE JERK!”
                        “ELEPHANT WALK!”
                                                SPIT SWALLOW!”
            It gained a rhythm as the hood chanted.  “B-S-B!” “B-S-B!” “B-S-B!”
            “B-S-B!  HEY!  B-S-B! HEY! B-S-B!”
            Double D held up his hands to stop the shouting.
            “B-S-B!”  he shouted.  “And like all games at Skull, there are a few rules!”
            “A FEW RULES!” the Hood shouts into the pledges ears.
            “First rule: No talking!”  Double D shouted.
            “NO TALKING!”
            “Second rule!  Line up and each of you chooses the brother you want to party with the most!”
They lined back up in order.  One by one, the pledges shouted the name of a brother.  The Hood would shout stuff like “Bad choice!  He’s the best at this!  “You’re fucked!”  Then the pledges were sent running back up to the pledge closet as the brothers set up.
LPC took the lead in this as always.  The dining room lights were turned on.  We were using the 4 tables visible from the foyer.  All chairs were removed from the “inside” side of the tables except one at each.  Opposite that seat were two chairs for brothers.
The full name of the game was “Bourbon, Scotch, Beer” after the George Thorogood cover song.  It was a relay race- the pledges vs. the brothers they picked.

The first table in was the shot table- first a shot a bourbon.  Then the player would move to the second table, where they’d chug a can of beer.  They’d go back to the first table where they’d down a shot of scotch.  Then they’d run back and tag the first person in line and it would be that person’s turn.  First team done wins. 

Now, as always, we knew what was coming, so during the pre-meeting all of us cracked open beers and drank about half.  These beers were on the hood’s table.  Each of the shot tables had two bottles of bourbon and scotch.  On the Hood table, one each was filled with iced tea.  In addition, as the pledges were upstairs, we shook the shit out of the cans on the pledge table.  While we set up, the selected brothers were upstairs getting “dressed.”  For some reason, this was a “costume” event
            After the brothers were ready, they told Double D how they wanted to be introduced, and then waited at the top of the Brotherhood steps.  The lights in the Foyer, Club Room, and dining room were turned off.  The siren sounded, and the pledges scrambled down the back steps to their position lined up in front of the Hood, and counted off.  The Hood shouted for them to turn around and face the Iota, who instructed them to line up behind Brother Good, who stood at the entry to the club room.  They did so, and then all the lights came back on.  The pledges looked at the set up and their faces seemed to say “what in hell do we have to do this time?”
            Me?  I sat at the brothers’ beer table with Wags.  Best place to sneak a few drinks myself.  “Watch me the first few times so you get the hang of it” Wags said, smiling as we toasted beers we’d just opened.
            Double D came down the stairs and stood in the middle of the foyer.
            “OK maggots!” he shouted.  “The name of the game is BSB!”
            “BSB! BSB! BSB!”  The Hood chanted until Double D motioned for quiet.  The Hood stood to the sides of the foyer and dining room, leaving the playing field clear.
            Double D explained the rules: shot, beer, shot, tag the next guy in line, first team finished wins.
            “As always, anyone who does not wish to participate may step away now.  No one will feel any less of you.”
            The pledges looked insulted, and stayed in line.
            “Are you ready to meet your opponents?”
            “Sir yes sir!”
            “First!” yelled Double D, pointing to the stairs, “From the jungles of the New Guinea: CHIEF BEEF!”
            Beef hopped down the hood steps dressed like an island headhunter complete with headdress and spear, shouting some kind of made up gibberish, while the brothers cheered and chanted “Hood! Hood!  Hood!”  Beef took his place at the head of a line next to the pledges, who were laughing their asses off.
            “Next: master of the martial arts and ninja extraordinaire: Kung Fu Ninja!”
            Ninja trotted down the stairs, wearing his gi and black belt, bowed to Double D, then to the pledges, and struck a kung fu pose.  He then got in line behind Beef, who high fived him.
            “From Ancient Rome: Doggus Maximus!”
            Dogger strolled regally down the stairs wearing a bedsheet as a toga. 
            “Hood!  Hood!  Hood!”
            After a few minutes, all of the brothers playing were introduced and lined up next to the pledge that chose him.  The rules were explained to the pledges.  Ask permission to sit down, ask politely for the drink, permission to drink, permission to leave.  Of course, the brothers didn’t have to do any of that shit.  First team through their line wins.  Simple enough.

From that day's Daily Collegian

            I'd put together a tape of the Thorogood song played over and over for forty five minutes.  I had a dual tape deck, so it was easy.  And it put me in the brothers' good graces.  I hoped.  One brother (LPC) stood at the top of the stairs, and another at the stereo closet across from the Alpha suite.  When Double D shouted “music!”, the guy at the top of the steps would relay the order to the other guy to start the tape.  Same for “stop!” at the end of the race. 
            For the pledges, it sounded like this:
            “Are you ready pledges?!?!”
            “Sir yes sir!”
            “I said are you ready pledges?!?!?”
            “SIR YES SIR!!!”
            The guitar riff started and faded in. 
            As George started singing “Wanna tell ya a story… about the house-man blues” I watched Beef do an exaggerated bunny hop/ tribal dance to the first table.  As he sat down, his pledge opponent was still asking permission.  Beef leisurely sipped his iced tea as the pledge asked the brothers behind the pledge shot table “May I please have a shot?  Pretty please with sugar on top?”
            Beef did some kind of tribal spinning dance from the first table to the next, where he sat in front of me.  Wags handed Beef a half filled beer, and he put his feet up on the table while drinking it.  The pledge was just seeking permission to leave the shot table.
            The pledge ran to the next table, eventually was seated, and asked for a beer.
            “Do you really want it?”  Clothsline asked.
            “Sir yes sir!”
            Clothsline opened the well shaken beer so that it sprayed all over the pledge, to the delight of everyone watching.
            By this time, Beef finished his shot of “scotch” and hopped back to the line, tagging Ninja as he passed.
From that day's Daily Collegian
            The pledge finished his sudsy beer, secured permission to leave and ran to the shot table.
            And so it went until all the pledges completed the course.  The brothers won by quite some time, of course.  The assembled spectators chanted “Hood!  Hood!  Hood!” and Double D called for the music to stop.  The whole first floor smelled badly of beer- worse than at a party.
            “Do you think you won that game?”  Double D asked the pledges.
            “Sir yes sir!”
            “Did you enjoy that game?”
            “Sir yes sir!”
            “OK!  Let’s do it!  Music!”
            George picked up where he left off  Well I ain’t seen my baby since I don’t know when. I’ve been drinkin’ bourbon whiskey, scotch, and gin…
            Beef tangoed to the first table with Double D.
            This time, the pledges were actually allowed to be competitive.  And the pledges all puked after drinking the warm foamy beer.
            The Hood won again.  LPC cleaned up.  I turned to Wags as we both finished a beer.
            “What was the point of this game?”
            “Point?  Does any of it have a point?  It’s just fun.  That’s all.”  He smiled and offered me another half empty beer. 

Friday, April 20, 2018


I've written many times about how blog entries happen.  I write a LOT, but only some of the things make it to the blog.  That's because a LOT of what I write is too personal for public consumption- even for this blog.

However, lately I have some topics I'd like to explore, but I'm afraid to do it.


After all, what secrets could I still have?  I revealed to the world that I'm transgender years ago.  That's a mortal sin to so many.  Being transgender cost me my career, my marriage, friends...  almost everything.  I've revealed my innermost thoughts, fears, triumphs, and heartaches in this blog.  That's why this blog exists.

So what am I afraid of?

As my regular readers know, I am unemployed.  I have been since February 13, 2018.  At 9:06 AM.  But who's counting?  I'm living off my retirement savings.  This means that I'm looking for a new job.

Hire Me!

And everyone says "Scrub your social media!" "Corporations look at your social media before hiring!"  "Erase everything!"  "BLUE MEANIES!"  "BENGHAZI!"

Sorry.  Channeled the GOP there.

Ok, my social media is set for "friends only" and always has been.  Besides, I don't use my legal name online (except linked in.)  I use my nom de plume: Sophie Lynne.  Unless they have super-ultra-can see everything-programs.  Like the Illuminati use.  ;)

Pretty sneaky, sis!

But then there's the blog.  THIS blog.  The only way to "scrub it" would be to take it down entirely.  That's Nine and a Half Years of entries.  That's my entire journey as Sophie: My thoughts, confusion, Pain as I struggled to come to grips with who I am.

So- shall I scrub this as well?

Scrubbing Bubbles to the rescue!

After all, I NEED a job.  The money won't last forever, and I make no money writing this blog.  (The advertising has yet to pay.  I should ditch it.)  Will the blog, with its rawness; its look inside my head- cost me a job?

Maybe it has already.

I mean after all, who would hire someone who needs to write to vent?  Or who has had so many bouts with the Darkness?

Or who is over 50 and Transgender?

Well, so far, the answer has been NOBODY.

Five interviews- four rejections.  The fifth just happened, so no answers there yet, as of this writing.  I have high hopes for this one. 

I'm trying to keep the tone of this entry light, but the fact that I'm being Judged scares me.  There are things I want to write about, but I'm thinking that a prospective employer may frown upon them.  I'm not even employed, and I'm worried what "the company" will say.  How pathetic is that?

The thing is, I was employed by a bookstore for 14 years, and I NEVER mentioned them by name on social media.  Ever.  (Except on pages specifically devoted to that company.)  Nor will I.  I didn't think it would be good form.  Year after I started this blog, I leaned that the company has a "social media policy" that I was following even though I didn't know it existed.  As it was, I still caught hell for some of my posts by managers who read the blog.  One even yelled at me on the sales floor- very unprofessional.  That made me quite angry.

Doesn't matter now.  That job is behind me.

But I'm still jumping at Shadows of corporate power. 

Where is the line drawn? 

Guess I'll find out, because the blog is NOT coming down.  I've had several people tell me it Helps/Helped them.  And that's enough reason for me to keep it posted and available.

I'll keep writing... and sending out resumes. 

Be well.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Men of the Skull Chapter 32: Scavenger

This chapter is about another "game."  This was definitely one of the tamest games, and, I think, one of the most fun.

In this one, the brotherhood (Hood) split into smaller groups to carry on a tradition.  For example, if a pledge was selected to be Captain America, he would go with brothers who had also been Captain America.  And so forth.  There was a sense of pride in those groups.

The brothers often remembered their Scavenger fondly, and laughed about it long after graduation.

My last semester there, Captain America was arrested and charged with "desecrating a flag."  I think the Hood paid the fine.

As a Transgender woman who was at that time denying my Truth to myself, as well as the world, the one task sort of stung.  What if I had been selected to be "the Girl?"

First off, the whole exercise was sexist as hell, AND hazing.  But those brothers went to a sorority floor in the dorms (PSU did not and still does not have sorority houses) where the sisters of that sorority joined in the fun.  It was a way of meeting many people at once (and most of them women.)  I have no idea what the sorority girls thought of the exercise, but I'm told they had a LOT of fun with it.

Would that experience have "broken the seal" so to speak, as Halloween 2008 did decades later? 

I'll never know.  But that said, that was the ONLY times I ever envied a pledge- "Scavenger."


Chapter 32: Scavenger
Sunday, December 7, 1986 Reagan Says ‘Mistakes’ Made
“Scavenger Hunt!”  Ernie the Iota said. 
            “And like all games at Skull House, there are a few rules!”  Ernie said.
            “A FEW RULES!” the brothers leaned in to shout into the pledges ears.
            “First rule: No talking!”  Ernie shouted.
            “NO TALKING!”
            “Second rule!  Stand and wait until you are called!”

            Each pledge was taken by a group of guys to a different part of the house.

            I sat in with the group back in the TV room.  Maple had a book of patriotic songs, a case of beer, and a bottle.  We all did shots but Steel, the pledge, most of all.  Maple talked about love of country, about being proud to be an American, and we sang patriotic songs.  After twenty minutes, Steel was given his name: Captain America.  His mission was to put on his costume (an American flag worn as a cape) and spread the Patriotic gospel of America at three different restaurants by jumping on a table and rousing the crowd to song.
            One brother would be at each of the first two locations.  The rest of the people who drank with Captain America (all of whom except me were former Captain Americas) waited at the last location: Roy Rogers on College Ave.
            So off Steel went- drunk and full of patriotism.  We went to Roy’s to wait.  Other brothers joined us until there were four of us in a large booth drinking cokes.  Now, Roy’s was very quiet as people were doing homework and studying.  Pretty much on schedule, this big dude wearing a torn blue muscle shirt and an American flag cape burst through the door and jumped up on the only empty table in the place (coincidentally right next to us.)
From Friday, December 5, 1986 Collegian

            “May I have your att-ten-attention!  Who here is proud to be a fuckin’ Ammmmmmerican?” he shouted.
            Two Asian students near him looked at each other, confused.
            “I said- who is proud to be a fuckin’ Amm- merican?”
            A small cheer.  The brothers cheered the loudest.
            “If you’re a proud Amerrrrican, then prove it by, by, by singing with me!”  He staggered and almost fell off the table.  We all surrounded his table to cheer him on and to catch him if he fell.
            “God bless Uh-mere-ca!  Land that I luvvvv!”
            We encouraged everyone to sing and many did.
            Steel finished the song, jumped off the table, and ran heroically toward the back entrance.  The brothers and I followed, cheering.
            Back at the house, several of the pledges had returned from their missions.  They were in their various rooms, isolated.  When the last of them returned, the Hood reassembled in the foyer and the siren sounded.  The pledges emerged from wherever they were.  You could tell some of them thought it was all funny.  Their laughter echoed down the steps as they met.  Well it WAS funny!

            Pledge one was assigned to find a used tampon.  A fresh one.

            Two was taken to the Tri Delt floor, where the girls gave him a makeover, a dress, shoes, and did his hair.  He was then to find two handfuls of tuna salad.  The tuna salad oozed between his fingers.

            Three smelled very bad.  He coated himself with limburger cheese and rolled around in some dumpsters.

            Four was Captain America, smiling drunkenly.
            Five stood dressed in a black graduation robe.  When spoken to, he responded only with “Rhe-ee-ee.”  He looked and smelled high as a kite.  Several brothers also wore black robes and giggled to each other.
            “Did you enjoy that game?”  Brother File asked the lined up pledges.
            “Sir yes sir!” “Rhe-ee-ee!” 
            The Hood said quietly, but getting louder as the requests went on.
            Their Iota told the pledges to sit, which they did.
            “Who wants to go first?”  Ernie asked them.
            “Sir, we all do sir!”  “Rhe-ee-ee!” 
            “Number one!”  Ernie said.  He was sitting above them up on the Iota stand.
            “Um, well I had…” Number one said.
            “Stand up you fuck!”
                                                “Stand up!”
                                    “What’s your fuckin’ problem?”
            He stood.
            “I, um, had to find a used tampon.  My girlfriend isn’t on the rag but I asked her is anyone on her dorm floor was.  There were a couple and she helped me um get one.”
            “Boring!” someone shouted.
            “Anyone catch you?”  Brother File asked.
            “Some chick walked into the girl’s bathroom while we were there but my girlfriend pretended that she was helping me cuz I was pukin’.  Then we quickly left.”
            “Show us the tampon!”
            He held it up like it was the Golden Fleece or the Holy Grail.  It was red and gross.
            “Lick it!”
                                    “Lick it!”
                                                                                    “Lick it!”
                        “Lick it!”
            Pledge One licked it.
            “Ohh fuckin’ rude!”
                        “Shit man!”
            “Number two!” the Iota said.  One sat down.  Two had a hard time standing in his heels.  He was totally smashed.
            “She’s hot!”
                                                            “Show us your tits!”
            “I, um,went to the Tri Delt floor where they uhhh did thhhis to me,” Two said.
            “Is that all?” 
            “Ummmm yeah,” Two said.
            “Did you have to get something?”
            Two held out his hands and showed the tuna salad which by now had oozed all over his hands and forearms.
            I had, had, had to go to Bubbas (a local sandwich chain, now long gone) drrressed like this and ask fffor tuna salad.  Guy looked at me really funny.  I thought he was goona call the cops.”
            “Probably wanted a date.”
                                    “Who wouldn’t?”
            “Did he call the cops?”  King asked.
            “N-n-no,” Two said.
            “Pose for us!”
                                    “Show us your tits!”
            Two posed, then fell over.
            “Three!”  Ernie said.
            Three stood.  “I…”
            “Oh God you fuckin’ stink!”
                                    “You smell like VD’s ass!”
                        “Fuck you!”
            “Four!”  Ernie said.
            Steel stood, barely, and told his story.
            “Did you enjoy yourself?” King asked.
            “What are the objects?” Saint asked.
            “Rhe-ee-ee rhe-ee-ee rhe-ee-ee rhe-ee-ee rhe-ee-ee rhe-ee-ee rhe-ee-ee rhe-ee-ee rhe-ee-ee rhe-ee-ee rhe-ee-ee rhe-ee-ee rhe-ee-ee rhe-ee-ee rhe-ee-ee rhe-ee-ee rhe-ee-ee rhe-ee-ee rhe-ee-ee.”
            The brothers laughed their asses off.
            The siren sounded just a little, and the pledges turned and bunched up under the Iota stand to look up at their Iota.
            “Did you have fun?” Ernie asked.
            “Sir yes sir!” “Rhe-ee-ee!”
            “Do you want to do it again?”
            “Sir yes sir!” “Rhe-ee-ee!”
            The pledges around Three tried to edge away from him.
            “Get out of here guys.  Shower if you need it,” Ernie said.
            Off they went, back up to the Pledge room.  Three was given new pants and a shirt for the night.  Two was helped into the shower.  He ate most of the tuna salad.  The rest was in One’s hair.
            Five disappeared again with the Rhee-ee-ee’s.
            For the rest of us?  Just another night at Skull.