Interviews, Camping, and Swordfights, oh my!

Hello everyone,

I must say that this is the first time in a long time that I’ve felt a sense of enjoyment of the summer.  This is the first summer passing as a man.  I feel more myself every week and it’s fantastic.

I went to Moorhead, MN for the job interview and it went very well. I’m expecting a call back sometime this week.  My current job is going okay, but it’s undergoing budget cuts this month. Initially, my plan was to put in my two weeks notice after I hear back from Churches United, but because of the budget cuts I may actually just leave sooner.  (Everyone’s hours have been cut at my current job. Yikes).  My move date is still up in the air.

After Memorial day I went camping at Cross Ranch State Park! I had a great time! It was exactly what I needed. I had been struggling with appetite and after my walk it came roaring back. I made chili and campfire sweet potatoes.

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Beautiful twilight

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Later in the evening I made some tea and Jiffypop. While sipping my tea and munching on popcorn I watched lightning bugs dance and heard the coyotes sing while junebugs lazily buzzed along.
I was feeling very happy and sleepy when suddenly I heard a twig snap…
I turned around with my headlamp on and stared straight into two glowing eyes that stared back at me.

 

Turning my other flashlight on I saw the silhouette of what appeared to be a raccoon. I shine both flashlights, thinking the bright light would startle him, but he fearlessly kept walking towards me. I know Jiffypop really makes it a party…but I wasn’t anticipating these kind of guests. I walked away from camp quickly and turned around to capture a picture of those eyes.

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I’m really amazed that I managed to capture this moment.

I went to my car for a little bit and when I returned he brought a friend with him. Two trickster raccoons indulged on my popcorn! After about 45 minutes they moved on. I wasn’t even done eating yet to put anything away. These guys just invited themselves right in! I was nervous because of how fearless they were of people, and I was worried if they were rabid. I also didn’t feel comfortable confronting them which could not always go as planned. I figured they’d leave eventually. Looking back I suspect that previous campers must have fed them, making them think that all humans are safe to go near.
At 3am, those rascals returned!  I did not have anything outside my tent or car, and they finally meandered off…probably to find more snacks.  Next time I’ll be better prepared. I read that if you sprinkle around your camp some cayenne pepper that helps deter them, among some other humane methods.

Although I had a rough night of sleep,  I had a really splendid morning with campfire coffee and the sunrise.  I can’t wait to camp again!

 


 

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Today I enjoyed an event called WHAM, which is Western Historical Arts Martial (They spelled it that way to create a better acronym).  I’m very happy that I went to an event where I knew no one. I felt anxious but went anyway.  I was still really quiet and spent the majority of the time observing. I sparred a little bit with some of the foam swords.  There’s a HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) practice group in town that will be meeting next Sunday.  There’s also some SCA, and Dagohir groups in Fargo-Moorhead and I think I may check them out when I’m moved in down there.  It could be a fun hobby, something new.  The clash of cold steel is a very satisfying sound.

It feels so good to just put myself out there and enjoy life.

Until next time,
Ravn Thor

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New moons, whimsical walks, & serendipity

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Hello,

6 days ago marks 1 year and 7 months on testosterone. I think next month will be 1 year on injections.

Acne continues to clear up.  I did have a few break-outs last week because I caved and started eating dairy again.  Now I know for certain that dairy triggers my acne. So much for cottage cheese.

Last weekend I had two over-night shifts in a row.  I am definitely never doing that again. It has taken me a week to recover from that.  I used to be able to pull all nighters no problem but this time around it pushed me into a mild depression.  I wasn’t so much ruminating on depressive thoughts but more so experiencing the physical symptoms. I had no appetite, stomach issues, and I had severe insomnia. All around I just felt out of balance and as if my chi was blocked.

My fitness goals are continuing to be reached. It’s a burst of dopamine each week that I lift heavier than the week before. My weight has fluctuated, but I think that’s because of the over-night shifts.  This should even out soon.

On my days off I spent time reading, and going for walks.  I went on a very interesting walk a couple days ago that really broke me out of my funk.

There’s something mysterious about this particular campground.  There’s a strong vibe of energy emanating from the area.

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On this outing I stumbled upon some strangeness.

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This was all near a hidden secret structure.  I sense that the whole area is a place were people come to mediate or do whatever ‘magic’ work they want to do.

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In the trees someone tied black doggie bags on some branches to signal a hidden path.

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I call this the hidden pagan church. It’s a structure that’s hiding in plain sight, but those that are very aware of their surroundings can find it.

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Here’s the front

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A pentagram drawing, indicating to me that it’s a ritual or spell casting space for the wiccans or pagans around here.

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An old saw used to cut new branches

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The inside looking outward

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Notebook paper used perhaps for kindling  and maybe sigil burning

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The coals were buried and still warm.

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This place was used recently. I assume because of the New Moon.

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After leaving I spotted something out of the ordinary again

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Someone put a jar of tiger balm and a pillow that says, ‘A Home with a little dust and lots of laughter will win the Heart of God everytime.’  I wonder who put this here and why?

 

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I thought this crescent moon shape in the stump was beautiful

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The next day I decided to come back and explore some more and was met by this deer. This was located behind the mystery structure.

Being out in nature was exactly what I needed to shake me out of that funk. I felt balanced again. A little serendipity to break up the monotony of life can be good medicine.

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I asked a pagan friend  of mine about the structure and he said that he knew about it being there but has no idea who built it or who else uses it.  It’s a nice place to go to relax or meditate. I definitely plan to go more, and investigate the story behind it.

After that mini adventure my appetite came back and I’m able to sleep again.

A couple nights ago I had a small cook out in the driveway which was very peaceful but it gives me the itch to go camping soon.

At work last night I got to use the grill. I made baby-back ribs out of pork loin.

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Good news! I got a call back from the place I applied to last month–the place that said they would keep me on file.  I have a job interview on Tuesday for that full time position. I really hope to get it.  I haven’t told my current job anything yet because I want to be sure I have a job lined up before I put in any notice.   This move is coming so fast that it’s a little overwhelming.  It will be nice to make more money and be able to actually save up.  After I’m all settled in after the  move I plan on going on a much needed solitary camping excursion. I feel a strong calling to hike and camp this summer and I may just have to heed that call of the wild!

Until next time,

Ravn Thor

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Mane and body hair

In this post I’m going to talk about hair.

“Give me a head with hair, long beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen
Give me down to there, hair, shoulder length or longer
Here baby, there, momma, everywhere, daddy, daddy

Hair, flow it, show it
Long as God can grow, my hair!”

Hair
The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical
1968

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To me, long hair is incredibly masculine.  I jokingly say that my hair is “the source of my powers” like in the story of Sampson.  I think the last time I ever had a super-short haircut was probably when I was in 4th grade.

I’ve always identified with men who have long hair.  

I can’t quite articulate the meaning of long hair to me, because it’s much deeper than aesthetic.

The thought of cutting my hair has crossed my mind many times, but even the thought of it makes me cringe.  There is a lot of significance in the meaning of hair length in many cultures, and significance in cutting it.  To some, the act of cutting hair is an act of letting go of a time in ones life, an act of moving forward and healing. In another way, cutting the hair is a way to express grief.  In history, forcibly cutting the hair of a warrior was an act of humiliation and oppression.

Keeping my hair long is a way for me to feel closer to my indigenous heritage.  Being a mixed-race adoptee with no access to birth records that have the paternal father on it makes it exceptionally difficult to enroll in my tribe, but that doesn’t invalidate the truth in my blood.

I’ve gone in and gotten a trim about once or twice each year.  Every time I go, the hair stylist always compliments at how healthy my hair is.  I suppose the reason behind this is that I don’t dye or bleach my hair, and I eat a diet that is high in Omega 3s and vitamins and minerals that are good for skin and hair.  When people make comments about how young I look or how healthy my hair is, I tend to say that it’s because I eat a lot of avocados. Which is only partially true.

I shampoo my hair now once or twice a week at most. I also brush my hair twice a day with a boar bristle brush. This stimulates and exfoliates the scalp encouraging growth and also keeps the hair clean and protected by distributing the hairs natural oils.
After a shower, I use pure argan oil as a leave-in conditioner. This protects my hair from heat when using blowdryer or flat iron.
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When I do shampoo, I use a bar shampoo that does not come in a plastic bottle(plastic bottles tend to be made with BPA).  I avoid any shampoo and conditioners that have sulfates, parabens, and phthalates in them.  These chemicals are known endocrine disrupters that have a feminizing effect on men and in both men and women these toxins can cause hormonal imbalances and premature hair loss. Hormones also play a key part in mood, and since I deal with the daily struggle of Bipolar disorder I am hyper vigilant on anything that can throw me off balance.

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Once a week I deep-condition with a homemade serum that’s made out of coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, tea tree, peppermint, and rosemary essential oils. I leave it in my hair for a couple hours before I wash my hair.
My hair is actually naturally wavy/curly but I feel more comfortable with it straight. I would make a pun that this is because ‘nothing about me is straight.’ Some day though I may just let my  hair run wild and untamed.

January 2018 I turn 30 years old. I’m considering getting my hair cut that day and donating it to locks of love.  It could be a symbolic way for myself of releasing and letting go of my turbulent 20somethings and embracing my 30s renewed.  I may change my mind, but it’s a thought.


Facial hair is coming in more! Looking forward to this getting thicker.

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Another area where hair has really started to grow…

0518171459_HDRYeah this is really starting to crawl up to my chest now.  I didn’t think I’d be a hairy guy. Who knew?

Until next time,

Ravn Thor

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5/15/2017

Hello,

I may as well just come out and say it. I am Lucifer, the fallen angel and dark lord of the Illuminati.

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Yep. This synchronicity proves it.

Anyway, I thought that was pretty funny getting this rung up today while I was out and about. I don’t see it as a bad omen at all, I see it as perhaps a stroke of good luck. 😉

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Duke 

I’ve been enjoying the hot weather we’ve been getting lately.  I decided to wear my kilt more.  I found that I quite enjoy wearing a kilt. Yeah, I’m a nerd. However, walking Duke down at the park made passers-by, especially women, smile at me.  Well, maybe it was at Duke. But still.  Man in a kilt with a pupper makes for a nice outing!

I’m very close to reaching my 10lb cutting goal!  I’ve lost 7lbs of fat. I’m really happy with the results and progress. I’m lifting heavier than I ever thought before, which is a great indicator that I’ve only been losing fat and no muscle during this cut.

Acne is continuing to heal!

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I’m also getting a bit visible facial hair. It’s staring to get thicker. I’m so excited to see where it will be next month.

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I’ve been going in and out of depression lately. I suppose the upcoming move has been getting to me.  I applied for that job my friend suggested, but that fell through. They said they’d keep me on file for 30 days though.  My next idea is to write a letter of request to transfer. I really hope that works out. If not, there’s always a landscaping job I could fall back on, but that would be a 5$/hr pay cut, and that’s not really livable. I could manage but not very well.

I’ve also been feeling really restless.  I would like to go on a roadtrip by end of summer, camp along the way. I’m not sure where I’d go, maybe explore the Southwest.

Sometimes when I’m in the midst of a mixed episode  or really depressed/stressed, a good cry can release that built up cortisol and alleviate the pain.  The thing is, I’m having difficulty crying., which is pretty common among some transmen.  I still feel feelings, I still get moved by things, but I just can’t cry. Hopefully, this is temporary. I’m not ashamed of tears.  Not having the ability to cry has some serious repercussions, not being able to release that stress and anxiety makes me feel like a bunch of knotted up tornadoes. I really need that release.

Anyway, that’s all for now.  Take it easy.

-Ravn Thor

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May 4th, 2017

Hello,

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Things are going well. I’ve been taking the week off of weight training and that has helped regulate my sleep cycle back to normal.  The cut phase is showing some results. In 2 weeks I have lost 4 pounds of fat and the muscles underneath are beginning to reveal themselves. On my week off of work and weight training I’ve been enjoying my leisure time through reading, cooking, meditation, and stretching.  Transition-wise I’ve gotten much hairier and my stubble is starting to come in much more visibly.

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It’s amazing how much my acne has cleared up. All of the active acne is gone!  What you see is the hyperpigmentation left behind that will start to lighten up as my skin continues to heal.  I’m almost certain I won’t have any scarring, and if I do it will be so minimal that it will hardly be noticeable.  The lymph node on the right side of my neck is no longer swollen, indicating that the infection has ceased.  This validates my theory that it was swollen because of the acne.
I urge anyone who has an outbreak of acne to see a dermatologist as soon as possible. It’s a skin infection, and no matter how much you don’t touch your face or mess with it, you can still get scars. Since it’s an infection it will leave you potentially susceptible to catching something else(cold, flu), because your immune system is busy fighting it off.  I’m so grateful things are turning out ok.


My cured egg yolks are a delectable success!

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I took them out of the curing mixture

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Rinsed them off

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Wrapped them in cheese cloth and hung it up in my fridge for a few days.

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And the result was an herby, smokey, crumbly goodness!

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Put it on top of this really good salad I made for lunch today.  Cured egg yolks also taste amazing in a twice-baked potato.

While we’re on the subject of food…

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Today is the day I received my first chef’s knife!

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This is the Shun Classic 8 inch knife.

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After doing research I just had a strong vibe about this specific blade.

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I made some pretty awesome sushi with it tonight.

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I know I found the right knife  for me because the minute I held it in my hand it felt like an old friend.  It’s such a great feeling.


 

One of my future roommates told me that where he works is hiring. I will be updating my resume and sending it in. Full-time hours $14-15/hr at a homeless/transition home.  It’s very similar to what I’m currently doing now, but it will be in Moorhead, MN.  Hope it works out.

That’s all the news I have for now! May write again soon.

-Ravn Thor

 

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Work and work-out burn out

Hey everyone,

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I’ve been really enjoying my week off.  I even turned down some extra days of work this week because I needed a break.  Working all those hours last week really pushed me to the limit. As much as I like my job, it can be very stressful at times when there are some very difficult and threatening clients.

I know to remain objective and not take anything personally because of where many of these clients are at.  However, when there is a client that is agitated, 6ft and over 250lbs calling you names and stalking menacingly around the building, punching walls, and yelling, there are steps to take to ensure ones safety as well as that clients safety and the safety of the other clients in the home.  And also to make sure it does not escalate.  Honestly, he really shouldn’t be there and probably should be hospitalized because he’s gotten progressively worse. But anyway, I digress.  I maintained control of the situation, but I felt my instincts tell me not to turn my back to the door or to him and to remain calm. I felt threatened for my safety, however, and it has made work especially draining and very stressful.  I continued to treat the client with respect, and did not react to his attempt to intimidate me, but I remained composed and vigilant, noticing everything.  For the remainder of the week I decided one way to keep myself safe was to dress the part.
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It’s probably laughable, but there’s a reason cat’s hair stand up when they are angry and ready to pounce and defend territory. There’s a reason a Roosters feathers get ruffled.  There’s a reason a King Cobra billows out his majestic back.

There’s reason for when in the animal kingdom some creatures will puff themselves up in some way to either bluff or to say, “Don’t fuck with me.”  I wore my steel-toe Doc Martens, Norse Heavy Metal Shirt, and Camo pants. I know I look ridiculous, but it actually worked.  This client did not mess with me or try to intimidate me any more.  I still treated him the way I had been, but I pushed out the vibe of, “I’m in charge. Don’t fuck with me.”  I work again this weekend, and since my shirts have gotten tighter around my arms, my muscles show more, so hopefully it will be a calm weekend.


My cutting phase is really wroking.  I’ve cut 3lbs of fat so far, and I’m getting stronger. I’m lifting heavier, and my workouts have been very intense and gratifying.  It’s so exciting to be reaching these goals.  However, today, I think I over-did it because I’m spent. I feel very drained. And towards the end of my sets I just wasn’t feeling it. I also haven’t been sleeping well.  These are red flags of over-training. So I’m going to take a week to recover.


Acne is really starting to clear up.  I am really surprised at how much the medicine I’m using is working.


As far as cooking adventures go, I’m experimenting with curing egg yolks!

mix of coarse kosher salt, turbinado sugar, and a smokey herby blend of spices. Looking forward to having these on salads and soups.


 

This is a little TMI and kind of embarrassing.

So, before I started T, I had zero sex drive due to severe depression and dysphoria. That drive just wasn’t there, and it was devastating–that feeling of being alive was gone. No drive for food. No drive for sex.  Since I started T, my drive has come back. In a lot of ways I understand that T does that, but I also know that before my fall into depression I had a healthy sex drive, and so I believe that T has helped me feel at home with myself and alleviating that dysphoric depression.  My sex drive is mine.  Lately, however, it’s become very….in over-drive let’s say.  I  never been one to watch pornography, and for awhile I had not done so in quite a long time. Then I’d watch a little here or there. Now it’s like I watch it every night on top of a couple times during the day.  I masturbate 4-6 times a day. It’s gotten excessive and honestly I’m drained. It’s combined with over-exercise.  It’s like my life force is exhausted.  I have other things I want to be doing. I’ve been playing with the idea of not masturbating or watching porn for a week. I’m conflicted, because on one hand, masturbation is healthy. It relieves stress. But on the other hand it’s gotten to the point of disrupting my life.  I also am concerned of becoming addicted to porn.  I was watching it last night and felt really, really bored with it.  Like getting desensitized.   I don’t see anything wrong with watching porn, but for me personally I don’t like having my desires manipulated, and I don’t like the passivity of watching a fantasy I did not create myself.  If I am able to have the discipline to workout at the gym 5 days a week, I can have the discipline to control my drive.  I can channel this energy into other things and perhaps doing more creative projects.


So that’s it for my weekly update that I can think of.

Until next time,

Ravn Thor

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1 year, 6 months

 

The months are really flying by. On the 22nd will be 1 year and 6 months on T already. I’m looking forward to what the next 6 months will bring.  I look much different than a year ago, and I think a big reason is because of this acne outbreak.  Now that all that active acne has cleared the scars and hyperpigmentation will start to heal.  I’m looking forward to having that behind me.  I can say with confidence that I’m a hell of a lot happier than I was a year ago, and that I never thought I could ever feel this sense of embodiment or peace.  I’d rather deal with acne and putting a needle in my leg once a week than die an early death by suicide.  It feels good to truly feel like I’m in the present, rather than dissociated and caught up in ruminations of things beyond my control.

(Acne is clearing up. I feel hopeful that I won’t get the kind of scarring I thought I would.  Time and patience is what I need and I trust the medicine I’m taking to do it’s job).

I had a therapy appointment today and it went pretty well.  It felt good to be told of how much progress I’ve made since I started going in August.  Indeed, my depression and anxiety has become much more manageable.  There are many reasons for this. Number 1 is job security. That has made a very big difference.  2 is I’m looking more like myself and that alleviates so much dysphoria. 3 is that I’m exercising at the gym. Being able to tangibly see my goals coming to fruition has been a healthy channel for the anxiety or depression I have.  It’s also a mode of self expression and an act of self love by taking care of my body.

The Cut Phase of my fitness routine has been a bit of an adjustment.  Before I was like Garfield, eating as much as I could, getting all the calories. Now that I’m cutting, I have to be much more mindful.  I’m at a 500 calorie deficit.  I decided one way to start shredding fat is by integrating a bit of the cabbage soup diet to my regimen.

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I don’t follow the cabbage soup diet strictly.  I add a lot of protein via tofu or chicken and sometimes Buckwheat Soba or Udon noodles to the soup.  So I have a pretty hearty bowl of low calorie, high fiber, high protein, nutrient dense soup.  I’ve also been eating a lot of baked russets and playing around with twice baked potatoes.  Yesterday I had a twice baked buffalo chicken potato, and then today for lunch I had a Mediterranean chicken twice baked potato with olives and peppercinis.

Work was really intense last week. I covered some shifts and resulted in working 6 days in a row.  I’m very happy to be decompressing this week.  I spend my days maintaining my space, reading, going to the library or bookstore, working out, cooking, browsing the web, walking the dogs, going to the park, playing a video game here or there.  Nothing very eventful but I’m enjoying the mindfulness of it all and also am finally comfortable with doing things alone.  I’m wanting to go camping somewhere next month  for memorial day weekend.

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A kilted Gallivant on Good Friday with Duke

So things are in a nice homeostasis right now.  I’ll just keep on keeping on.

Until next time,

Ravn Thor

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