Farewell.

It is with a heavy heart and a tight chest of anxiety that I will no longer be writing on this blog.

I really enjoyed sharing my story with all of you followers.  I will not delete this blog. Maybe some day I will come back to it. I enjoyed the comments, and I really hope some of my posts helped you.

Due to painful personal reasons, I can’t write here anymore.  It is what it is.

To some of my followers who wish to keep in touch with me, I would love to be email pen pals.  Please drop me a line.

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8/14/2017

Hello,

My apologies for the long bouts between my entries.  I’ve been a little tired lately but after today I feel recharged.

A week or so ago I visited my Women’s Studies professor out on her farm! It was such a great time and space to get away and be out in nature.

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I’m grateful for the fact that I’ve kept ties with my professors from college, and have moved from being a student into more of a friend.  Keeping and maintaining connections are very important to me.


Transition-wise my peach fuzz is turning terminal! The hair on my face is darker and more coarse. I’m so excited for what the next month will bring.   I have a feeling that I am going to have a beautiful beard someday.  It doesn’t look like much, but it is more than what any one else thought I could grow.

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Fitness-wise I’ve gotten stronger!  It just takes patience. I started doing more cardio and that’s been helping a lot in my cut phase.  I’m still waiting for that six-pack to reveal itself. Someday.

I’ve gotten better at saving money now.  I have savings goals that I hope to reach. My first is to save $500, then $700, then $1000.  My biggest goal is to save up to $5,000 because I feel that’s a good safety net to keep as a just-in-case.  I’m so grateful for my full-time job.  It is stressful but I’ve surprised myself that I am able to cope.  To be honest, I love working full time. It makes me appreciate my days-off more.   I’m also super excited that I actually have insurance.  I am so lucky. So. So. Lucky. I’m going to keep doing my best to ensure I maintain this job and health stability.

I am studying to take the motorcycle permit test. I do have a daydream to ride a motorcycle.  My plan is to gain the permit, take the beginners course, and then the intermediate course to learn all that I can and get a handle on a bike. Then through out the next year save up for my first bike as a happy turning 30 present.  I’m looking at some pretty nice below 700cc 1970s-1980s Honda’s as a good starter bike before I move on to something bigger like a Victory or a Triumph bike.  Do I really want a motorcycle or just an excuse to wear leather all the time? Well, maybe a little bit of both.  For real though I have always wanted a motorcycle.  I watched Easy Rider recently and man, I am all about it!

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I know in a previous post I stated that I wasn’t going to cut my hair until January. It was looking kind of straggly and so I figured a trim would be okay.

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I have naturally wavy/curly hair and little by little I’ve been embracing it.  I feel so exposed when I let it be ‘natural’ I suppose.  I’ve received nothing but compliments on it.  The hair stylist wanted to know what my secrets were for hair care, like what shampoo I use and all that. She said that I had barely any split ends.  To be honest that made me feel really good. It felt good that my efforts in taking care of myself are noticeable.  It also feels good that it inspires and empowers those around me to follow suit in taking care of themselves.

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There’s something timeless about a white T-shirt, Levi 501’s, and converse sneakers.

My self-esteem and self-respect has risen exponentially.  A couple nights ago I had this thought, “I have self-respect now. I don’t have time for bullshit.”  It’s so liberating.

Apathy, misanthropy, cynicism, and cold-hearted nihilism is tired. It’s not edgy. It’s lazy. Being an asshole is easy because it requires no effort–just a shitty attitude.
Caring requires effort and courage to be vulnerable.
I am all about radical kindness, genuine earnestness, and authentic sincerity.

You know what else I found to be so empowering?  Taking care of myself. Cooking for myself. Cleaning up after myself. Truly loving myself as a human being.  I find it sad that there are people out there who feel entitled to someone else doing it for them (this is not referring to the elderly or disabled).  I feel so whole when I can rely upon myself. I am secure in that I do not need an ‘other’ beneath me to subjugate. I am no king, I refuse to sit on a throne, I refuse to dominate and control others.  I empower myself, I empower those around me. I change myself, I change the world. I challenge oppressors, I challenge my inner demons. For the first time I feel so free. I feel so present. I still have my own challenges and conflicts of course, but I don’t let pride get in my way to ask for help or to help myself.   As the eloquent Gloria Anzaldúa has said, “No one is going to save you. What you have to do, do yourself.”

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I guess to surmise, I feel like my own man. A free man.  I have goals that I’m working towards and I know I will eventually reach them.  I’m not afraid to fail, I embrace failure. Failure is an opportunity to another way I haven’t seen before.  It’s an opportunity to grow.  It’s the storms that are good for the soil. We all know what we can see after a storm. The vibrant colors of a rainbow.

Happy eclipse season, friends!

Ravn Thor

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A new moon, a new phase

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View of a sunset at work

Hello,

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Feeling very ‘home’ in my body for the first time.

Many things have happened since I last wrote. Many big changes.

I’ll start on the lighter stuff.

Transition-wise, I’m growing darker facial hair on my cheeks where lighter ones once were. Over time this vellus will turn terminal.  My facial hair is definitely coming in.  I even had to get a dinky little hair trimmer for my dinky little beard.  Trimming it has made it look much neater, and I  never felt so much joy than doing this kind of grooming.

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Dinky hair trimmer for my dinky beard.

Grooming has been a source of self care that I have found to be most relaxing and empowering. I had written before about my hair care regimen and I have added a few more quirks to the mix.  I started doing an apple cider vinegar rinse and man oh man, does it make a huge difference.  I have gotten so many compliments on my hair and people asking me what I do! I love sharing about my routine because it’s something they can do themselves with very little money—and their hair will be healthier!

I daydreamed about making my own product line called Wild Mane Grooming Co. and sell my wares at the local farmers market.  So many ideas, so little time.  It’s a daydream.  In the meantime, I enjoy making leave-in conditioning oils, deep conditioning oils, beard oils, oil cleansers, and personalized cologne for my friends.

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My beard oil/aftershave

I enjoy getting compliments that I smell good and that I look healthy.  The security guard at work really liked my after-shave and said that it smelled amazing and not over-powering at all, but very perfect. He even came in close to breath it in, lol. O_O;;;; awkward. ;;>.>

Work is going well.  My supervisor gave me a very big compliment that left me speechless. He said that the way I run and handle things are the future of Churches United, and that he wants the way I and my roommate deal with things to be the way it’s done there.  This has caused a bit of a rift with some of the other advocates, but change is always hard.  Ian and I don’t take an authoritarian approach to the clients, we meet them where they are at and follow a standard of compassion and understanding through a trauma-informed practice. It works and it keeps people off the street. A little respect, kindness, and understanding goes a long way.  This isn’t to say that we let clients walk all over us, we keep good boundaries and are assertive when we need to be. It’s working, the clients like us and respect us, we work with them and they work with us. I feel very happy with this job, and it even has dental and healthcare benefits. I’m holding on to this job as long as I can.

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I added some more movies to my dvd collection. Big sale at the bookstore last week.

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Trying hard to maintain healthy eating

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Seeing number synchronicaties always make me feel happy.

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And….this is just something you’d see in Moorhead, MN.  Eight Clydsdale horses pulling a bud weiser beer buggy with a dalmatian riding along.

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Hot summer days call for a kilt!


So….for the heavy, heavy stuff…

“But you can’t jump the track, we’re like cars on a cable,
And life’s like an hourglass, glued to the table.
No one can find the rewind button, now,
So cradle your head in your hands,
And breathe… just breathe
——-
There’s a light at each end of this tunnel,
You shout ’cause you’re just as far in as you’ll ever be out
And these mistakes you’ve made, you’ll just make them again
If you’d only try turning around.

After 6 years, my relationship has moved into a new phase. We are no longer together.  I made the decision. I don’t want to talk about it too much, and I could never ever speak ill of her, she is the most important, influential, significant person in my life, and I owe so much to her.  But we’re both at different phases in this life, and I’ve been working on it for over a year and for the sake of my health I just need to be alone right now.  I’m having some sort of identity crisis and my intuition has been telling me that i need to walk alone at this time. I don’t ever want to think of her as an EX, because to me she is not. She is my friend. She is my dear, dear, special friend. And our relationship is just in a different phase now, like the phases of the moon.  I hope now we can both heal. I’ve never been the one to end a relationship, this is a huge change for me.  This is a major change. And growth. And both of these things are so painful.

This song by Anna Nalick was what was playing through my head this week. It’s one of my break-up songs.  I had mentioned in previous entries that I have difficulty crying.  And this song, this song allowed me to have the most healing cry that I’ve been needing so long. It’s so beautiful. It’s so vulnerable. It’s so perfect. It’s just….please just listen to it.

And because I’m vulnerable and healing, here are a few more songs that have been getting me through this week.  I don’t care what anyone thinks of these songs. These are for me.

I’m just trying to be the
Best me I can be
Oh when I fall down
It’s just me and the grounds
I am no king
I have no throne
I need a little room to breathe
Falling from the western shore to find yourselves alone again,
Wondering where you have been, Your lonely voice calls
across the starlit coast, Reaching out to be seen.
She cries your name,
three times again,
She cries your name,
How long can this love remain.

RIP Chester…..

I want to heal,
I want to feel,
What I thought was never real
I want to let go of the pain I felt so long (Erase all the pain ’til it’s gone)
I want to heal,
I want to feel,
Like I’m close to something real
I want to find something I’ve wanted all along
Somewhere I belong

Pain is a warning that something’s wrong
I pray to God that it won’t be long
Do ya wanna go higher?
There’s nothing left to try
There’s no place left to hide
There’s no greater power
Than the power of good-bye
—————————————————————————————————————————————–

Okay…this is all for now.  I can’t be a mess before I go to work.

Until next time, new moon blessings.

Ravn Thor

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Thunder storms, Thunder Moons, Thunder hearts

Greetings,

Things are going okay for the most part.  I went to the walk-in clinic today because I had a bit of a strep throat scare, but thankfully it came back negative.  I do have a sinus infection, however.  I was anticipating this sort of thing to happen when working in human services—exposure to many illnesses and so on.  A client at the shelter has strep and there is some sort of bug going around.   The doc said that because I’m currently taking minocycline (for acne) that it staved off potential strep.  Still, this sore throat is killing me—makes it hard to sleep.  I’ve been eating lots of raw garlic, gargling with salt water, drinking throat coat tea and echinacea/elderberry tea with ginger, lemon, and honey.  I’m using some Ricola throat lozenges and at night I make a rub out of eucalyptus, peppermint, and clove essential oils that I rub on my neck, behind my ears, and on my chest to alleviate the pain.

A week or so ago at work we had a staff picnic at Buffalo River State Park.  It was nice to be out in nature and get to know my coworkers more.

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A few of my co-workers playing lawn games

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This is Tootsie, Paster Sue’s dog.  We have become pals. 

 

I worked on the 4th of July and I’m perfectly okay with that considering it was time and a half pay.  There was a storm that night and I enjoy Mother Nature’s fireworks more so than gunpowder.  The sunset was beautiful and the lightning awe-inspiring. I love a good thunderstorm.

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I’m starting to get used to work, I don’t get phazed by things as much anymore. Like last night a man off the street came in all bloody having been jumped and claiming he had been stabbed. That was a while drama-fest but I’m surprised I handled it well. It helps that there are 2 people on staff during the evening shift.  The job is still emotionally taxing though, and so I maintain a good boundary and ensure good self care after I come home to de-stress and to not carry it with me. A good smudge with sage helps clear my mind.  I’m not desensitized to their pain, but I keep a protective barrier around my energy field.  You can’t pour from an empty cup.

 

I finally made a menu plan and stuck with it. I meal prepped a chickpea/potato curry with some curried cauliflower.  Packing a lunch has saved me some money and kept my mind sharp.

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Jerky and Blueberries for a snack keeps me alert at work.

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I got a rosemary plant. Rosemary is so lovely. It’s certainly one of my favorite herbs.  Here she is, all cheery in the sunshine.

Fargo opened a Food Co-Op and so I decided to check it out. My friend Jamie was working there and she showed me around. It was really nice to see her.  I’m pretty smitten with the place. Kombucha on Tap!  It’s pretty tasty.  I’m always down to support local farmers and artisans.

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There’s a store in Moorhead called RetroDisc.  It’s a perfect place to go when I’m wanting to build my physical media collection. I found quite a jack-pot. I’ve been looking for Tank-Girl for years.  Also, now that I have Spinal Tap, I have the whole Christopher Guest collection!  Next pay day I’ll be checking it out again.

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On my day off I finally got around to putting together a bookcase—a goal I’ve had for quite awhile.  It always feels good to reach a goal, even if it’s seemingly small. It’s like a little level-up or victory.

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I’m pretty okay with my dvds in my make-shift cardboard stand. No shame!

I’m breaking everything up into chunks when it comes to purging my stuff. If I over-think it I get paralyzingly overwhelmed and nothing get’s accomplished. So instead I just focus on one thing at a time. Little by little I’m shedding the things I don’t need.

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Having a coffee with Paul Bunyan and Babe

Transition-wise I’m noticing more facial hair sprouting.  My acne is clearing up, but I still encounter a break-out here or there and that’s because of the sun. I wear really good sunscreen but it’s not enough.  Minocycline has a side effect of photosensitivity, and so even though I’m wearing sunscreen I still burn–this is a new experience.

The more masculine I look, the more native I look.. This is something I did not expect during my transition, and it’s something I need to learn how to cope with—micro-aggressions and the way people interact with me has changed and I’m not sure how I feel about that. It’s conflicting and alienating. I try not to over think it. I’m a quarter native, and I’ve ‘passed’ as white the majority of my life, raised by white parents, etc.  What’s weird is how often I get asked “Where are you from?”  because I don’t look like many people around here.  it’s odd to me because I was born and raised in NoDak, but I don’t really have the accent or blend in so to speak.  It’s okay though, we’re all Earthlings after all….or am I? 😉

Anyway, I hope to nip this sinus infection in the bud.  Next weekend I’m going back to Bismarck for a visit.   I still have the itch for a road trip. I hope that happens for me. I’d like to do something fun and memorable this summer.

If you haven’t seen the moon yet, be sure to look tonight. It’s called the Buck moon or Thunder Moon.  Nights of full moon are good nights for intention setting and meditating.

Take it easy,

Ravn Thor

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First Week on the New Job, and adjusting to the move.

Hello,

I’m listening to a song off Jagged Little Pill in a coffee shop called Moxie Java.  It’s walking distance from my apartment.

This week I worked 7:45a-4pm shifts to be trained in.  I got thrown to the lions on the second day so to speak—I say that affectionately. =)

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Strength Card from the Tarot

There were times I was in the office alone having to handle things (even while I’m still a trainee) but I am picking up on the job very easily—and I think that’s because of my previous job.  I really get along with my co-workers, and Collin (my supervisor) said that all the other staff have told him that they really like me. That felt good.  Starting today I’ll be doing the hours that I’ll be doing dominantly from now on, 3-11pm shifts.
I had anticipated that this job would not only be physically and emotionally demanding, but I hadn’t really thought about in what ways it would be emotionally taxing. My co-worker, Nick, said that compassion fatigue is real and it’s important to maintain good boundaries.  It’s a homeless shelter, so I will be witnessing and handling various different people in many rough and difficult situations.  There are going to be times where the shelter will be full and we have to turn people away.  Yesterday, towards the end of my shift, I answered the phone, and since our shelter is full I had to turn him away. Understandably the guy was upset and he went and piled on the guilt trips, taking it out on me.  I was a little rattled after that to be honest because I wasn’t prepared for this sort of situation. According to my roommate this will be something I’ll be dealing with on a regular basis during the 3-11 shifts.  I have to remember to not take anything personally, and there is only so much I can do. So much of everything else is out of my hands. But as an advocate, we have to bare the brunt of the emotional labor.  I keep in mind that I can’t pour from an empty cup, and so it’s important I take care of myself too.

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Work selfie

On my day off I did go and check out the Viking Festival for a little bit.

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Vikings in the park

 

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I was feeling a little depressed that day so I didn’t hang around much.  Sometimes it (depression) comes out of nowhere, or is just the build-up of many stresses. I’m glad I went out of my comfort zone and checked it out, even if for an hour.

I’ve also been going on many nature walks. Every time I go on one I see a critter. It makes it special and memorable.

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Wee bunny

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A a beautiful doe in the park

I finally managed to unpack some books and dvds. I still need another bookcase because I have 3 large boxes of books left.

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A pawn shop in town had a liquidation sale, so I decided to start a physical media collection of dvds.  I hope to find some more gems around town. I’d like to have a good collection of films.

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I’m still sorting through things to donate. I just have this urge to purge so many things lately.

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My goji berry plant is one hardy fella!  I can’t believe it’s still growing strong, as I hadn’t been the best caretaker.  The pot also has an infestation of some sort of grey mini wormy bugs.  I buried a clove of garlic to ward some of it off, and come payday I’ll be getting him into a new pot with fresh soil.   I’ll be getting paid on Wednesday, and then a paycheck from my last job on the 1st.  This present job will be paid bi-weekly.

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This is my meditation alter .  I got some more sage to smudge with and also some palo santo wood to burn.  I make it a nightly bedtime unwinding ritual to draw a tarot card and just meditate.  I smudge to clear the space and any negativity or baggage of the day, and it puts me in a mindful mode.  It feels good to just clear my mind.  The sense of ritual can be therapeutic.  It’s better than ruminating on bullshit.

I plan on keeping a synchronicity journal and write more of my spiritual metaphysical exploration reflections in there.

As far as transition updates……my facial hair is still coming in, little by little.  Acne has cleared, and I’m still waiting on the hyper-pigmentation to heal.

I still need to get that gym membership, because I miss my routine.   I also have next weekend off, and so I will be making the drive back to Bismarck for a visit.

To be honest, I’ve been really isolated lately. I need to make it a goal to be social once a week—go out and visit a friend.  I like my solitude but I’m also human and friendships are important to me.

That’s all for now. Take care!

-Ravn Thor

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Back to the Land of Dragons

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Greetings,

I made the big move on Friday and it was a pretty stressful 4 hour drive.  My trusty Camry and I arrived unscathed.  Moving is certainly stressful especially when it’s by oneself.

I did not eat that whole day until I arrived in the evening.  This pizza was heaven.

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My roommate had to go work a shift, and so a couple of college friends stopped by and gave me a hand hauling in some stuff.  I spent the weekend unpacking and I’m not quite finished yet.  I need to save up for a few odds and ends. I also need to make some bigger purchases whether through online craiglists/garage sales/thrifts to find a big bookcase and a dresser.

I went for a pleasant walk in Viking Ship Park which is nearby the apartment.  It was nice to see this old Stave church again.  This weekend coming up is the Midwest Viking Festival, and it just so happens that Friday is my day off! I’m definitely going to check it out—a big part of my heritage is Scandinavian, and it will be great to taste some fresh lefse.

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The reason why I call Moorhead “The Land of Dragons” is because it’s my college town, and Minnesota State University Moorhead’s mascot is a dragon.

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  I hope to be more involved in the community.   I met up with a film professor yesterday and I realized how much I have missed talking film and film-making projects.  I told him a couple film ideas I’ve been sitting on and he invited me to join a potential creative screenwriters group.  I also decided to be on the jury panel for the Fargo-Moorhead LGBTQ Film Festival for this September.  I need to hurry up and get internet in the apartment so I can start screening and judging film submissions!

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Today was my first day on the job! It was a lot to take in, but I think I’ll get the hang of it.  Since it is a full time position I am eligible for a health insurance package. However, they are switching insurances, and so my ability to switch won’t happen until around September.   The waiting game….sigh.  I’m hopeful that it will cover a big chunk of top surgery, because a MN judge overturned a state ban on transgender health coverage.

A few loose ends I need to tie up is to find a good gym and a good counselor.  I think on Friday I’ll get a gym membership set up, and ask around for recommendations for any counselors in the area that are good but also take my current insurance.

That’s all for now, I’ll try to write again soon!

 

 

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Everything turn, turn

Hello,

A few updates.  I did get a call back from that job and I got the full-time position.  It will be so great to finally work full-time with benefits and have enough money to sock away.

I start this coming Monday, and so I’ll be moving on Friday.  I got a truck with a car tow and will be doing the moving process alone.

I don’t want to disclose too much, but I will just say that things are really, really intensely rough right now. This move has me tied up in knots more so than feeling excited. Good vibes are most appreciated during this time.

I put in my two weeks notice a little bit ago. I rearranged some counseling appointments and got those loose ends tied up yesterday and today. I also cancelled my gym membership.  Leaving work has been kind of hard.  The clients said that they really like me and are going to miss me.

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Me in the office at my last week-end of this job.

A  co-worker of mine when she heard the news said that it really bummed her out because she had taken a liking to me.  She’s around mid-to-late 60s, and whenever I would come in to relieve her shift we always had nice conversations.  She said, “It’s too bad, I’ve really taken a liking to you. It’s rare to come across someone with such a great work ethic.” It felt really good to hear that. And then she gave me her number. I feel a sense of kindred spirits with her, and we will keep in touch.  My supervisor told me that if I ever wanted to apply to the branch in Fargo that he would write a really great letter of recommendation. I’m really happy I left the job with great ties, and that it could be something I could fall back on if this new job doesn’t work out.  I work tomorrow morning and then my last day is on Thursday.

This weekend I experimented with making Dr. Pepper bbq chicken.  I cooked it low and slow, with some hickory smoking chips.  It turned out amazing.  The clients really loved it.  The clients said that my cooking was something they always looked forward to when it was my rotation to work.  I’m happy that my passion for cooking has been a source of comfort, empowerment, and something to look forward to for them. Little things like that can make a huge difference.

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Here is the June Strawberry moon.  I took it with my phone, so it’s really not the greatest photo.  It was beautiful to watch rise on Friday.

Nothing is permanent. Everything is in a constant state of change and growth.  Sometimes, growth hurts so much it’s unbearable. But this too is only temporary.  I trust that things are going to go how they’re supposed to go, and I have the strength and resilience to get through it, as well as a strong support system in place. Frodo didn’t carry the Ring to Mt. Doom alone.

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Things are really rough right now because this is a huge change.  I don’t know if I made the right decision with this move or not, but I can’t undo it, I have to go through it now because of the decisions I have made.  I really hope it all will turn out okay.

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven
A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together
To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

 

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