I’m Getting A Sandbag!

Heavy-Hitter---400lb

Brute Force Heavy Hitter I sandbag (image courtesy of Brute Force).

I’m going to partake on a new challenge later this year (around summer). I’m going to get myself a sandbag for my birthday and start doing dedicated strength training and bodybuilding using sandbag training. This is something that I’ve been meaning to do forever now but haven’t had the chance to because of lack of proper equipment and because I didn’t have my diet dialed-in yet. The diet thing I’ve got under control (I’m finally fully-Primal/Paleo!) but I still have yet to get the proper equipment and that’s finally going to happen soon with the sandbag. I live in an apartment so that means I don’t have room (or money, for that matter) for traditional weights or anything like that (you know, traditional gym equipment).

A sandbag is the perfect solution to this problem – its inexpensive and its portable, so that means I can also take it with me anywhere and doesn’t take up much room. Through research, I found out that sandbag training is in a lot of ways more superior to conventional training. Sandbags help with stimulating several muscle groups at once, something that traditional weights cannot do. Its also more challenging than using traditional weights because the contents of the bag (the sand, in this case) shift around a lot and that also means that you have to use different grips – which also means a more intense workout (which is what I’m looking for). This type of workout simulates lifting heavy things in real-life, which are also variable, unlike traditional weights which are much more rigid. Sandbag training also happens to be one of the oldest (if not the oldest) form of training – before gyms and weights came along, we trained with sand.

The primary reason that I’m doing this is to build more muscle mass, and then of course, the second reason I’m doing this is to build more strength. I’ve always been a ‘smaller’ guy and I’ve always hated it. I’ve always felt insecure about it and it just doesn’t reflect my personality very well. I still have yet to fill out my shirts, in fact, I often try to avoid wearing certain types of shirts (like t-shirts) because they make me look skinnier. I’m very much looking forward to changing that. I have engaged in strength training/bodybuilding before, however, I’ve never engaged in it to this degree. The last time I did it, I used bodyweight exercises to do it. But over time, I’ve found out that they don’t really challenge me to the degree that I want. I thrive on short, intense exercises (I even have more energy afterwards) and bodyweight just doesn’t cut it. I’ve also never engaged in a dedicated long-term strength training and bodybuilding program before and so this will be my first time doing it and are also very much looking forward to making this a regular routine (I’ve done something like this but with bodyweight exercises once, but that was only for a brief amount of time).

Overall, I’m really excited to start this new challenge and build my dream body. Gaining muscle isn’t easy, it takes a lot of work (its much easier to lose weight than to gain it, especially when we’re talking about building muscle). I’ve finally got my diet dialed in, now its time to get that sandbag and get to work! I can already see myself having a great summer! (I’ll also be posting updates on my progress when I start.)

If anyone’s interested, this is the sandbag I’ll be getting. Here’s an article detailing some of the benefits of sandbag training.

9/30/2015 Update

Hey everyone! I just wanted to give you all a little update on what’s been happening with me as of recently and the direction I’m going to be heading with this blog, my personal YouTube channel, and my career.

Monday was a pretty rough day for me. As some of you might know, I had a dispute with David Pakman on Twitter when I tried to tell him that his story about Lenovo spying on its customers was false and that he needed to backtrack it. I seemed to have failed at it and it really took a toll on me. I seem to be recovering from all that nicely, but I definitely felt very burned out earlier in the week. I just felt this sense of defeat and it was unbearable.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and I came to the realization that maybe being a YouTube commentator full-time is not for me (at least right now). I made the decision to do this full time during the summer but things have changed now. My ordeal with Pakman made me realize this as well as a video that Mr. Repzion made earlier in the week callled “Time is Valuable“. I realized that there are simply too many stupid people on the internet these days (but particularly on YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook) for me and its difficult to educate them properly on stuff, debate them, ignore/dismiss them, etc. (something that Mr. Repzion mentioned in his video). Not only that but, it made me realize that music is where truly belong at (full time, of course). I see myself working in music for life (its always been that way), and I feel like I haven’t been paying enough attention to that lately (despite my new schedule). Plus, even though there are stupid people who comment on your music, its much easier to debate, ignore & dismiss them. Overall, the culture in music is more laid-back & more positive and I like that (especially when we’re talking about EDM).

My little ordeal is similar to the one that pro motocrosser Chad Reed went through recently: after realizing that he couldn’t handle being both a team owner full time and a rider full time, he made the hard decision to close down his team and is returning to being only a full time rider for another team (at this time, he is either still searching for a team, or he has found one but can’t reveal the details just yet). I, on the other hand, came to the realization that I couldn’t be a music producer/audio engineer/DJ/songwriter/recording artist full time and be a YouTube commentator full time. PROJEKT61 is still in its infancy, I have huge plans for it, and it needs all the attention it can get (especially since I’m either at a place or almost at a place where I can finally keep up with the heavyweights – something that I’ve been working on for 5 years). If I want to become a highly respected, highly sought-after artist, then I need to focus more on that as I still have a long way to go (just like Chad Reed wants to try to win another championship and therefore has to focus on that as much as possible).

I love commenting on stuff – I’m highly opinionated – but I just can’t do it as a full time job (at least not at this time) because I have other things to tend to. People seem to expect a channel to be focused on one type of thing – they don’t want it to be scattered. The expectations that come from being that type of YouTuber are just too much for me to handle (long time YouTubers like Mr. Repzion and Dave from Boyinaband.com seem to be feeling burnt out from that). Sorry to burst your bubble but that’s not my thing (and it doesn’t seem to be Mr. Repzion’s thing either). I originally created this channel to be experimental (just like this blog) and therefore its going to be scattered, and its going to stay that way (it is my personal channel, after all). If you want more focus and consistency, then go over to the PROJEKT61 channel since that’s only focused one thing and that is music. So if you love music, EDM, and bass music go over to that channel (I haven’t uploaded much over there but expect more from there soon).

So with that said, my personal YouTube channel will become my side-project again – it will become my hobby and part-time gig again, where I will post whenever I have time or whenever I feel like it – while the PROJEKT61 channel will become my main channel. I will be working on growing that channel more, and growing the brand as a whole (again, I have big plans for it). Obviously, I’m still a YouTuber, but with different priorities now. I’m still planing to go to VidCon but mostly for PROJEKT61 (I want to meet up with other musicians on YouTube & get some more networking and business tips). Overall, its full-steam ahead for PROJEKT61. I can change my plans/mind at anytime but that’s my plan for now. I need to do what feels right for me and I need to do what makes me really happy. In fact, ever since I made this decision, I’ve seen a big improvement in my happiness.

I’ve learned a lot from being a YouTube commentator (including learning more about myself) and I have really improved my skills in regards to commentating on stuff. Obviously, I’m still going to do commentaries on YouTube but its not going to be a full time thing. I know I haven’t been putting out a lot of fully written content on this blog and that’s because I felt quite a bit of writer’s block and I just didn’t know what was I going to do with this blog next (I have an easier time saying things as they come as opposed to just sitting down and writing them). But I think that making videos has helped me re-ignite that fire. I seem to feel motivated to write again. So with that said, expect me to publish more blogs in here again very soon! (Which is great because I have so much to say at time but don’t always have room around here to record.) Its obviously going to be a part-time/hobby sort of thing (like with my personal YT), which means that I’m only going to post when I have time and/or whenever I feel like it, but I’m going to do it. I might even be turning select posts in here into vlogs/podcasts so you can listen to them on-the-go, or while doing something else in general. They’re going to be sort of like audiobooks except that they’ll sound more ‘natural’.

I’ll catch you all tomorrow with a post about my Twitter scuffle with David Pakman, and ethics in journalism!

I’m 25!

Well, its my birthday today. Supposedly, I’m 25 now. But the thing is that I don’t feel 25. I feel more like I’m 18. I don’t exactly look 25, I look more 18 or so. I find it hard to believe I’m 25 now.

I’ve had to get started on life much later than everyone else due to me not really knowing what to do even though I thought I did (I had the “too many gifts” dilemma, so common with people with a lot of passions. Its where you don’t really know what to do with all your passions). Plus, I’ve had to deal with a gender transition (legal & social) due to me not knowing I was born biologically male but intersex and being misassigned female at birth as a consequence (a gender which I’ve never identified with in the first place). I had to deal with confusion surrounding my sexuality for the first 21 years of my life. Additionally, I’ve had to deal with hypogonadism (Low Testosterone, Testoterone Deficiency, etc.), which lead to a reduced puberty (hence why I look very young). So I’m definitely a late-bloomer.

I just wish more people understood this – especially those closest to me. Its not easy being born intersex, going through a gender transition, dealing with a hormone deficiency, not knowing what to do with all your gifts (especially when everyone around you treats starting a life as a competition, and are under constant pressure to do what they want you to do at the expense of your own happiness and well-being), and its especially not easy taking an unconventional career and life path. Everyones experiences are different and everyone deals with them differently. There’s no one “ideal” or “right” way to deal with these things. So to anyone who has an issue on how I’ve dealt with this: that’s your problem, not mine. Deal with it.

But I’ve figured everything out. I’m on TRT and no longer are hypogonadal, I’ve (almost) made the legal transition to male, I’m now living as my true self, I now know what and who I really am, I’m advocating for my favorite computer/technology brand (Lenovo) and I’m being backed by them, I’ve met a lot of great people and made great new friends just by doing this, and I’m finally pursuing the career and life path I’ve always wanted (something I’ve been doing since 2012 – and not without drawbacks). I feel like I’ve really grown up these last few to several years. Life is good and its only going to get better.

I look forward to the future and everything it has to offer. I look forward to growing the PROJEKT61 and Eli Turner brands, showcasing my music, designs, art, and ideas to the world, and engaging in additional business ventures (among other things) and being an entrepreneur, as well as meeting new people and making new friends. There are so many things I want to do and I’m very much looking forward to that. These are not short-term, get-rich-quick type of goals, but rather they are long-term, get-rich-slowly goals, so don’t expect me to accomplish these goals overnight.

Thanks to everyone who has been so patient with me and who have been with me through all of this. I feel so lucky to have such great, supportive people around me.

P.S. I originally posted this on my personal Facebook and thought I would share this with you guys. I have also shared this on my personal Tumblr.

Reincarnation: The Transition 3

Time for another update on my (social) transition from female to male. Here is the latest:

Doctor’s appointment and health insurance. Went to my first doctor’s appointment since I was about 11 or 12 years old on April 24. On April 26, I returned to the doctor’s office to fill out the application for my new health insurance program (a program called Medical Services Initiative – or MSI – available exclusively to low income folks in my county). The nurse who helped me fill out the application said that I have to wait about 2 months for my letter and card to come in the mail (6 weeks for the application to be processed). After that, I can see an Endocrinologist. At this point, it looks like I will probably be on TRT (Testosterone Replacement Therapy) by the end of summer – certainly by the end of the year. I really can’t wait any longer, I wish it would come sooner! Fortunately, I’m on the 6th week, which means I should probably get my stuff in the mail in two weeks.

Social life, body image, and well-being. Have slowly, maturely been coming out of my shell. I feel much more comfortable in my own body and really enjoying this. I’m starting to be less shy, although there is still work to do. I think that after I start TRT, some of my shyness will be relieved. I will very likely no longer feel anxious and jittery (which I heard hormone imbalances are responsible for), I will feel more at ease and calmer. In additon, I will have no more body image issues and gender dysphoria after I start TRT.

Fixing my ID’s sex/gender marker. It turns out that I can fix the sex/gender marker on my (California) state ID by having my primary care physician fill out and sign a form. I’m going to see if I can get my physician to sign the form on my next appoinment (which should be were I get the refferal to the endocrinologist). I may not be able change my name on my ID right now but at least I can fix my sex/gender marker.

Selective Service. How does it apply to me as an Intersex person? Do I still need to register? I mean, I’m a biological male who was misassigned female at birth. A better idea would be to get rid of the SS entirely. I don’t think we’re going to have a full-scale war anytime soon or in the future, and even if it does happen, we have a whole bunch of voluteeers in the military that can be called upon anytime, therefore making the SS irrelevant. It was required back in the mid-20th century but not anymore (times have changed). Plus, I don’t like the fact that it makes (only; cis, assigned-at-birth) young males sign up, but even more so, that they’re forcing us (them?) to sign up against our wills (I’m pretty sure this is unconstitutional). Some of us don’t want to go to war because some of us don’t believe in war (me included). Those of us who don’t believe in war think that it only does more harm than good and doesn’t resolve anything – it just creates more tension, innocent lives are lost, is usually fueled by ideology, and its just pure senseless violence. In addition, it makes Transwomen 18-25 sign up – even though they fixed their identity documents to display their female gender/sex, and doesn’t allow Transmen of that same age group to sign up – even though they changed their identity documents to display their male gender/sex (see anything wrong with this picture? If you guessed transphobia, and even sexism, then you are correct). Do us all a favor SS and just die.

Dealing with the SSA. How am I going to deal with the Social Security Administration (SSA) as an Intersexual? This is going to be a tough one. Currently, the SSA requires that you have proof of ‘sex reasignment surgery’ in order to change your sex/gender with them. I will have to go through a lot of red tape & bureaucracy. I, for one, don’t want or need surgery. I am a biological male who happens to be Intersex – meaning, the parts are already there, although in an unconventional way! Even more, I was not mutilated or castrated as a child, so I was allowed to become the man I was destined to be. Isn’t this enough? In my case, yes. I have come to love and respect my body for what it is. I am proud of the diversity that it brings to the human race. I am not going to alter my genitals (at least surgically, only hormonally – which is a whole different story) to a more “standard-sized” looking male genitalia just to please everyone around me who isn’t comfortable having an Intersex person around. In addition, I am not going to risk losing the sensation that I currently have down there and getting possible complications (e.g., Uninary Tract Infections). Why would I want to fix something that isn’t broken? I would only be doing this to please everyone who doesn’t like the idea of having people challenge the sex binary, and I refuse to do that. I’ll have to wait and see how this is going to turn out to be. The SSA is possibly going to be the most challeging one to fix my identity documents with and I will probably not be having my gender marker corrected with them for a long time – due to this nonsense. Fortunately, when I seek employment, I won’t need need to submit my gender to the SSA. But still, the thought fo having that stupid little “F” mark on the SSA’s records makes me feel uneasy. Either way, they need to hurry up and change their outdated, unfair, and unrealistic policy.

Seeking part-time employment. I probably shouldn’t resume this activity until I at least fix the gender/sex marker on my ID and start T. I’ll probably be better off that way. All I know is that this is making me anxious.

Well, that’s all for now. I’ll see you all later!

“No Guns Allowed” by Snoop Lion

On this day two years ago, one of my very good friends, Russell Ford, fell victim to a senseless act of violence. What type of violence, you ask? Gun violence. I want to dedicate “No Guns Allowed” (which features Drake and Cori B.) by Snoop Lion to him, so here it is (to those people who plan to abuse guns, take note):

Rest in piece, my friend. Once again, thanks for everything that you did for me, and thanks for really getting me into ThinkPads – it was essential to my growth and well-being. I’m so sorry that you did not get to see me become the man that I am right now…the man I was destined to be. I’m sorry you had to leave us so soon.

Body Image Issues & Gender Dysphoria

This past Friday (April 26), I went to hang out with one of my cousins, her girlfriend, and a few of her friends. They were all guys and just being around them made me feel pretty self-conscious. I felt a small sense of Gender Dysphoria and a lot of anxiety about my body image. I felt pretty insecure around them. I felt inferior to them. By the time I went back home (which was around midnight), I felt a sense of defeat.

I’ve been struggling with body image issues since practically puberty. Being Intersex made me have a reduced puberty, which in my case means that I did not get to virilize fully. Since I strongly identify as male, having this reduced virilization doesn’t satisfy me – I want more. But really, being misassigned female at birth has had a strong impact on my body image, since it has also resulted in Gender Dysphoria.

I really hate this feeling. One of the things that goes through my head when I’m around other guys my age, or who are close to my age, is “do they see me as a guy, or they see me as a girl”. Of course, I hope they see me as a guy. With girls (who are my age or around my age), I’m guessing they think that I’m a 12 or 14 year old boy. I would have to say that its a bigger deal with guys because, of course, I want to be seen as one of the guys – I can relate to them more. Its a real struggle – I have to fight with the feeling that they might think I’m actually a girl and that they don’t see me as a guy. I get a feeling that maybe they’re checking me out (in a heterosexual male way), and that right there makes me feel really (very, very) uncomfortable. (I mean, come on I’m a heterosexual man for goodness sake!)

Just thinking about this possibility makes me feel “violated”. It makes me feel inferior. It makes me feel like I’m not doing a good job. It makes me feel like I’m not ‘man enough’, or less of a man. It makes me feel dysphoric. It’s almost as if they’re telling me “you can’t be a guy since you’re not ‘virile’ enough” and “you were assigned female at birth so you’re clearly a girl” – stuff like that. Then in return, it’s almost like I telling myself “I will never stack up to these guys”. It feels like I’m going to be stuck like this forever. (Something I should note is that I have severe Gynecomastia and that makes me feel pretty self-conscious sometimes.) It almost feels like they’re going to check my ID out and see that stupid little “F” mark (still) on it, which will further give them power and validate their “findings”. (Of course, its obvious that these thoughts are all in my head, but still…)

Its clear that this anxiety over my body image is interferring with my everyday life (at least when I go out). It is preveting me from living my life to the fullest. My guess is that this is what’s contributing to my social anxiety (I have really gotten over it but there is still a little more work to do. I think that this – along with Gender Dysphoria – was the culprit). Truth be told, until I start hormone therapy, I’d rather stay at home and work on my music, designs, and read. It’s probably best that I don’t engage in these kinds of activities until I start Hormone Therapy (which fortunately, isn’t far away – I have an update coming soon). It’s going to suck not going out with friends and family but its only temporary (I’ll very likely be on HRT by the end of the year). Plus, I’ve been doing this for several years (I’m used to it, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy it – because I don’t. It simply means that I’m used to it.)

Body image issues suck – big time. I just can’t wait for it to be over. I, for sure, won’t miss it. And by the way, being low on androgens (when you strongly identify as male, of course) also sucks – big time.

(By the way, an update of my transition is coming soon.)

Reincarnation: The Transition 2

It’s been a while since I posted. I’ve been so busy lately working on my two upcoming PROJEKT61 EPs “The Lenovo Album” (the PROJEKT61 version), and “The Uprising”. In addition, I’ve been broadening my music production and sound design skills. On my previous post “Reincarnation: The Transition“, I basically wrote down some notes on my transition at that point. A lot has happened since then so its time for another update:

1. My mom is (fully) on my side now. That’s right, she’s being (fully) supportive now! This is all thanks to a relative of mine who’s also studying to be a psychologist (who’s also been helping me out during this transition – since I first started. In addition, he was the first family member I came out to). He came over to my house on January, had a therapy session which included myself, and was able to make her come to her senses. As a result, the relationship between my mom and I has been better than it ever was – in the past, my mom and I had a complicated relationship. This was really because she didn’t “approve” of any of the stuff I did when I was younger, especially when I was a teenager, in terms of the way I dressed, conducted myself, etc. She always wanted me to look and act more like a girl and that sort of crap. As a result, I built resentment towards her and just didn’t want to be associated with her. But things are better now, we’re on even terms now and is treating me the way I should’ve been treated this whole time. As a result, things are better at home now and I no longer have to stress out about being at home or interacting with my mom, so I’ve been a lot calmer.
2. A few of my family members that weren’t supportive back then are being supportive now. This one speaks for itself.
3. I’m in the process of getting medical attention. When the relative that I mentioned in #1 came to my house back in January, he also talked about this with my mom. Not only that, but he also said that he is going to help me out with this! This is still a work-in-progress and I’ll keep everyone updated.
4. I figured out how I’m going to deal with potential employers about my transition and stuff. I have a fellow Lenovo Insider/Advocate to thank. He used to work as a job counselor at a college some years back and knows how to deal with this (since he knows how the job seeking and hiring process is like). He gave me some tips on navigating around this issue (and some job-seeking tips too). I was relieved to hear that I’m permitted to use my¬†preferred, about-to-be legal name when applying for jobs.
5. The hormone imbalance (androgen deficiency, in my case) that comes with my Intersex variation may be affecting my well-being and mood. I found out not so long ago how (sex) hormones play an important role in our well-being and our feelings. As of late, I’ve noticed the constant fatigue and irregular moods that I’ve been feeling this whole time (hopefully, I’ll go back to being part- (or even better, fully) Primal soon. That should give me quite a bit of relief on my symptoms and make them easier to manage). I also think that it might be affecting my cognition too. Apparently, I have some of the symptoms of Low T (Low Testosterone) – which make sense since I have an androgen deficiency (Low DHT, in my case) caused by congenital, primary hypogonadism. In addition, this androgen deficiency makes me look (and sound) anywhere from 12 to 15 years old (a lot of people tell me I look 14 or 15, instead of 22 – and I don’t blame them. I, on the other hand, think I look 12). I mean, I looked up my weight (91 ibs.) and found out that this is normal for a 11-12 year old! No wonder I look (an feel) this! (If you want to get a good example of how I’m like in real life, take a look at Justin Bieber – I kinda look and even sound like him, except that I’m a little bit skinnier than he is. Keep in mind that he’s 19 an I’m 22. And oh yeah, I’m about 5’4″ or even 5’5″ tall.) So technically, I’m a man stuck in a boy’s body (while for biologically female FTMs, they’re a male stuck in a female’s body). Bottom line is, I’m sick of this.

As you can see, Intersex people go through a lot of the same – if not similar – challenges that average Trans folks go through. At the same time, they go through some challenges that are very different from the average Transgender/Transsexual person (#5 being a good example of this).

It’s been a year since I first discovered that I’m Intersexed, as well as the term “Intersex”. So much has happened since then. I can tell you right now that I’m adjusting to my new self/life very well. I’m really enjoying this, it feels like a dream come true. Never in a million years did I think this would happen to me. Never did I think I would come to this point. Words cannot describe the way I feel. I’m really looking forward to whats up ahead.

So that’s all for this update. See ya next time!