Photo by Rick Hatch on Unsplash

My name is Happy Mystick Rainbow StompingBear. Everyone always asks why I changed my name, what was my motivation, and what is the meaning behind the names. 

The ‘a’ in Happy is a star; it is legally there and it represents me in several ways. I’m bright and shiny. I’m up all night, and I am normally the star of the show, not intentionally, but people like what they see and watch. This makes me mindful so I always try to behave in a respectful way. I named myself Happy because I’m always happy; well, most of the time (I do have moments).

Mystik is to justify it being a religious name change. But I am pagan, a shaman, a mystik, and a witch. I deal in the occult, the esoteric mysteries. I am a lover of nature. The gods I pay tribute to, pour libations to, pray to are Gaia, GreenMan and Fortuna (though I frequently deal with Dionysus, Pan, Nut, Thoth and the Fates). I’m a “soft polytheist,” meaning I believe in one God, I just celebrate aspects of Him/Her/It/Them. 

We all know what the Rainbow is. But that was me coming all the way out of the closet. I am transgender, male to female, my pronouns are either xe/xim or she/her. I’m fine with any of those. 

StompingBear — capital ‘b’ and no space, everyone messes that up — has a funny beginning. I am Native American, a member of Muscogee (Creek) Nation. But the name came about as a joke; a group of guys making fun of the way I was dancing. They said I looked like a stomping bear. #DoTheStompingBear.

I’m part hillbilly, part hippy. I love the outdoors, especially the night air. I love rain and bodies of water. I’m bisexual, transgender (male to female), polyamorous, Native American/Irish/Dutch and — very fittingly — an Aquarius. I’m an eclectic pagan: Wiccan, Shamanist, Hinduist, Qabalist, Animalist. I love tattoos. I play chess and build my knowledge bank. I’m a jailhouse lawyer. 

Sometimes I’m an artist (when the muse strikes) and sometimes I’m a writer. My power/spirit animal is the fox. EDM (electronic dance music) makes me dance, but I also like a wide variety of other music, from country and blues to jazz and rock. I learn quickly and retain information easily. I’m easy on the eyes, open minded, and can generally see both sides of an argument. I have big ideas and huge goals. I’m always working on projects of change; I feel I must change this prison system, it’s run all out of whack.

I’m an Okie. I was technically born in Arkansas, but only due to my mom driving from home (Colcord, Okla.) to Arkansas so she could access a better hospital. Nevertheless, I’m an Okie through and through; I grew up there until I was 15 when we moved to Arkansas. I got my GED high school equivalency at 16 and started working. Around that time I got into some trouble here and there, did my first ritual at 17, partied a lot, couch surfed, and lived between different flop houses. Every summer I would live on the rivers. That was pretty much my life, partying on the river or creek. 

Then in 2006, I had a daughter. Poor girl, she lived on the river with me, but we had fun, swimming every day and camping every night. I had her hugging trees at two, waving bye to the sun at sunsets. Then I lost her to the state. I was in jail and the officials didn’t transport me to the hearing, leading to the state terminating my parental rights. I’ll always love her, and I just found her recently, so I’m in the process of trying to reach out to her. 

I’m expected to be in prison until around 2030. Once I get out, I plan to start a self-sustainable, resilient homestead. I have some land lined up, and some people to help with this adventure, but I’m always looking to have some more sovereign-thinking people to join me. 

This is me. Please feel free to contact me, ask about the Bear Circle or the Bear Clan.

 

 
Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. The Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned. The work is lightly edited but has not been otherwise fact-checked.

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Happy StompingBear

Happy Mystik Rainbow StompingBear is a Native American, transgender writer incarcerated at Ouachita River Corrections Unit in Arkansas. She said Happy should be written with a star instead of an “a” because she is bright and shiny. Mystik represents her faith, Rainbow her transgender identity, and StompingBear, her heritage as a member of Muscogee Nation.