Letter From Ms. S—

Prologue By Damien Knight

When I was younger I stayed in Ten Broeck, a Louisville, Kentucky mental facility. Ms. S was one of the few supportive an encouraging people I had growing up. She wrote the entire letter in all caps and left it on my desk on Christmas day.

_______,(Blank for Deadname)

MERRY CHRISTMAS! I HOPE YOU HAD A GOOD VISIT WITH YOUR FAMILY TODAY! I’M GLAD YOU HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE THIS SPECIAL DAY WITH PEOPLE WHO LOVE AND CARE ABOUT YOU VERY MUCH.

(I want to comment that while I am sure my family does love me at that time I felt very abandoned by them. It was very hard to see through my own struggles with depression and dysphoria.)

CONGRATS ON MAINTAINING YOUR LEVEL. YOU SHOULD BE VERY PROUD OF YOURSELF AND YOUR PROGRESS. THANK YOU FOR BEING SUCH A POSITIVE ROLE MODEL FOR YOUR PEERS. YOU HAVE DEMONSTRATED SUCH GREAT MOTIVATIONAL/LEADERSHIP ABILITIES OVER THE RECENT WEEKS.

(I wrote a lot of motivational pieces and poems when I was in. I would read them at the end of the day to the girls during end day group time.)

YOU ARE WISE FAR BEYOND YOUR YEARS AND COULD TEACH THESE GIRLS SO MUCH. I APPRECIATE YOUR WILLINGNESS TO PROVIDE DIVERSIFIED INSIGHT. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!

MERRY CHRISTMAS,

MS. S—

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Town Name Prompt

By Damien Knight

My town’s name is Russellville. If I had to rename the city I’d just respell it Rustleville. We are a small town that occasionally “rustles and bustles.”

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The Shadow Self an Update

By Damien Knight

Back in 2010 I wrote a blog about my journey for a spiritual name. At the time I followed an Egyptian Pagan practice. I am still a Kemetic Pagan though I am now more of a solitary practitioner. Part of my faith is the selection of a spiritual name that would be my “magickal” name. At the time I picked Scaledshadow to honour both my faith in dragons and my fight with the concept of shadow self.

The shadow self is a spiritual belief that we have two versions of ourselves. One version is who we are based on hereditary traits and conditioning by society. It is the face we wear in public, who everyone thinks we are.

The other us is what the “shadow self” is. This self is the one we deny and suppress. The “shadow” carries all our dark desires, the things we view as sin. These can be true psychopathic thoughts or things society has told us to deny. Lust, Greed, and the other 7 deadly sins are things our shadow self might hold as values. My shadow self held something central to my identity as a value: Masculinity.

I took myself to task to find my spiritual name without realisation that I had my name long before that journey. That journey I took ScaledShadow from wolf as he slept. If I had listened to my own dreams, I would have known I was Koraki. It’s cliché to have the name Raven in pagan circles. For me though the Raven is an archetype that fits. He is the light giver and trickster in various folk traditions. He also goes through a transformation.

I will write the story I once read about the raven later for this blog. Koraki is my shadow self the darker aspects society locked away. The desire for masculinity, the hunger that burns and I see him in my dreams fighting to be acknowledged. He tells me I am stronger than I think I am. I am a fighter, a king and that I can still be a man.

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Speaking Up: A Childhood Tale of Bullies and Love

By Damien Knight

When I was 10 I was best friends with a girl I will simply call Sailor Mars. Sailor Mars was this cute epileptic girl with nerdy pink glasses. When I met her she took my arm and said “You’ll be my best friend.”

I was in a new country I needed a friend. Well Mars was a regular target of school bullies. I had just came from a school where I was the target and knew how awful that was. The first time I witnessed it with her it was 2 boys known for being trouble makers. They spat on their pizza and offered it to her.

It was such a cruel thing to do. Sailor Mars would have ate it if I hadn’t spoke up. Apparently this was a common game for them and I ended up in a few scuffles over her. I was always careful about these though because I wanted to avoid the principals office.

Mars was on of my few friends that year. She was my first girlfriend. It hurts that I can’t even talk to her anymore.Anyway thats the story of the first time I stood up for someone else being bullied.

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WKU Geology Trip to the Mojave: Preparation’s Made

 

By Damien Knight

 

A week ago, I was waking up on the desert floor cold, wet, hungry and excited. I had been halfway through my trip to study the geology of the desert regions of California and Nevada. This week I will post several short posts about this experience and my thoughts on it.

The semester started back in January but my plans for this trip started way before that. I put my name on the list sometime in November just before the winter term started. I and 15 other geology students met at the first meeting Dr. Andrew Wulff, a volcanologist and WKU geology professor, held for the course. We discussed price, around 650 for Study Away plus the airfare, we discussed food, hotel accommodation and potential projects.

I knew I wanted to do this but as most of my followers know I suffer from epilepsy, asthma, and chronic pain issues (diagnosis still unsure “fibromyalgia?”) so any hiking expedition would be a challenge. I couldn’t bring my cane on such a trip and at 200 lbs I was (still am) obese. This meant I had to prepare.

My preparations started with an intense diet program. I dropped my calorie consumption to 1200 a day. I exercised at 5:00 am every morning for 15 minutes and 30 minutes in the afternoon. By time March arrived I had lost 23 lbs, and no longer used my cane.

The next step was packing luggage, taking notes at meetings and writing my project. I choose rock deformation, specifically faults. As time went on my project took on a wider role as I promised to blog about the trip and cover other aspects of structure such as folds and other deformation. I wrote a pre-trip information post on faults and created a power-point. With our presentations presented, our bags packed, and my personal goals achieved it was off to the airport.

Ahead was a week of adventure, excitement, and a touch of agony. My next post will be the revised “Faults and Fold” post and over the coming weeks snippets from my hand written journal concerning the trip.