I know nothing. I’m like John Snow on the wall, figuring out how not to die. I didn’t say a successful John Snow either. I would probably be the last person to recommend my advice. There are far better resources about human interaction. So, here’s what I am going to do. I am going to explain who I am, my storied (and not necessarily always a good way) romantic life and my evolving gender identity. Then, you can decide for yourself if I am worth an equal hearing. I mean people take life advice from a guy who made a career out of getting punched in the head, why not a guy who got hit in the head with a brick.

I grew up working class in rural Pennsylvania as part of the generation that left. When I got to college age, you did whatever you had to do to leave - college, miilitary or running away in a rusted out La Saber packed full of sleeping bags and egg crates full of Doors albums and ukeleles. The rust belt was disintegraging. Therapy was something that involved electro shocks and our parents struggled with the collapse of the “American Dream.”

I was raised by women. My mother left my alcoholic father when I was six. In a time when this wasn’t done. Unless the church granted you an anullement, you were the other woman, the one who left, the one who broke the rules and the one who everyone blamed. My mother did what she had to do and it cost her dearly. Still does. The family reunion is a pressure cooker of Trump supporters, catholics who inwardly think I am going to hell and then the queer, childless 43 year old drag queen who traps everyone in a lake house every year. She is the matriach but everyone has a long-standing and partially resolved vendatta against her. She stares at us, gives the old lady silent treatment as the “fuck you” of a woman who never swears. And her name is Joan. Joan. Wire hangers and a persecution complex suitable for matyrdom. She’s a hell of a woman and taught me how to respect people. She may have quite literally beat it into me in the younger days, but she taught me invaluable life lessons.

My sister is a candidate for sainthood. Saying she is a nurse is like saying Mother Theresa was a volunteer. She came up from nothing. Put herself through nursing school. Spent a large part of her career working the Pallaitative Care ward and then the intensive care unit. She went on to build a beautiful famuly capstoned by my adorable niece who is one of the most beautiful creatures alive, talented and endlessly expressive. My sister taught me the value of being kind and giving up parts of yourself.

I met my first wife at 19. She was a righteously angry feminist just leaving the barrel of taking a pretty good shot at the patriarchy. She came from the Pennsylavia coal region as much as I did. Well, she was on the wrong side of the Appalachias by Hazleton Standards. She was in Amish country. She hacked her way into Bucknell University and went on to get her doctorate. She currently lives in somewhere

I am an English major and a manager at a banking. I read too much. I watch too many youtube video eassys. I have two marriages that ended. Note that I said ended and not failed. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I fucked up those relationships with the practice aplomb of a nuero-atypical queer who grew up in rural Pennsylvania in a home broken by divorce, staunch catholicism ib a time when it was only unfashionable to beat your children in public. I ran away from home at 17 and never really stopped. I was in the Army. I was a distinterested college student who became a life long learner. I went from the