February 7, 2005 ~ Goddess Questions
These questions were compiled by the WordGoddesses for our monthly collaboration.
1. "What would your My Little Pony name be?" - Alicia
Heh. Shooting Star. Because life is one brilliant streak and then it is over. I try to live as fully (burn as brightly) as possible before I fade and fall. (And can I be one of the unicorns? heh. Or how about a Pegasus with a unicorn?)
2. "What do you think of when you look up at a brilliant night sky?" - Athena
I think about how ancient that starlight that I am seeing is--looking at stars is literally viewing history, not the present, for it takes that light so very long to travel here. I think about the enormity of it all, and feel very small. But I also feel a great sense of connection. Those same stars have greeted the eyes of humanity for ages. They have helped the lost, inspired the curious, called to explorers, and given light in the darkness.
More personally, if I see a shooting star, I think of Morgan, of God, of fate.
Now that we've moved to the college, away from the city, every clear night is such a treat, for the stars are so much brighter out here, away from the light pollution in town.
3. "Have you ever felt prejudice towards anyone, or felt it aimed at you? Describe/explain." - Becky
What a thoughtful question.
prejudice toward others: I could take the easy way out and say that no, I have never felt a twinge of racism, nor any of the other typical prejudices like sexism, ageism, or those based on sexual orientation or bodyweight. But there are plenty of other sorts of prejudice (think: unfair stereotypes). For instance, in high school I sure did harbor plenty of prejudice toward the popular kids, introverted outcast that I was. I grew out of that, though. The prejudice that I have had to work the most to overcome, I think, has been one toward people who are very well off, people who are rich. I've lived most of my life skirting poverty, and I've found that I had developed some unfair stereotypes about people of higher means because of it. Thankfully, with a much wider experience of the world, I have learned better, and I can usually stamp down such thoughts before they get very far. I think we all struggle to put aside our judgments of people based on what they seem to be, so that we may know them for who they are underneath the initial generalization.
prejudice aimed at me: Oh, plenty of times. Frequently, men (and sometimes women) have judged me incapable of doing something just because I'm female. There are places in the South where my lack of a Southern accent has caused a palpable tension. (I've even been called "Damned Yankee" to my face, as if Oregon were even a state during the Civil War...). I've had some pretty hateful words aimed my way just because of my liberal tendencies, too. Oddly enough, people frequently misunderstand me to be a lesbian, and I often get a lot of flack for that--one woman spit on me and taunted me as a "queer" when I passed her on the street. Most of all, though, I have had prejudice aimed at me because I am poor--because of my shabby clothes, or my lack of affluence. I think class issues are almost as tense as race issues, in America, and it certainly shows both in the way that I've been treated on numerous occasions, and in my own struggles not to return that animosity to the other side.
4. "You suddenly notice a doorway in your home that you've never noticed before. You open it and find *your room*! Describe it." - Carrie
A corner room. Floor to ceiling windows take up two whole walls, and they look out onto deep woods where a stream runs by. Wood floors, dusty-green walls. An antique wooden writing desk, and a laptop hidden away to use on it. A few comfy chairs, a small area rug--all in natural green and brown earthy tones. Lots of houseplants. Bookshelves with perfect-for-me books lining the two walls that don't have windows. Dog beds on the floor (though they'd be allowed on the chairs as well).
5. "Pick a song that can make you cry every time you hear it and explain the reason why it does." - Cricket
Lyrics that tell a story-ballads--when done well, usually get to me. I always end up at least getting teary when I listen to Harry Chapin's two CD set, The Gold Medal Collection. "Taxi" or "Sequel" are often the offenders. "Mr. Tanner" does it too, though, and "I Wanna Learn a Love Song." "Better Place to Be."
But most of all, "Tangled up Puppet." It's about a young girl growing up too fast, shutting her father out, sung from her father's perspective. When I was fourteen, I walked in on my father listening to that song and crying. Ever since, it has brought tears to my eyes as well, especially now that my father so rarely contacts me. Bittersweet. What I mean to him, and what our relationship has lost.
6. "If you could, in retrospect, change one thing about your childhood, what would it be?" - Danielle
I don't think I would. I mean, yeah, I had plenty of horrible or unfortunate experiences growing up, but they all made me who I am today. I'm proud of how far I've come, and I wouldn't shy from the painful experiences, for they brought me here.
7. "What was your first job?" - Debbie
Aside from babysitting (which I did a lot of ever since I was thirteen or so), I worked at "The Foxhole," a G.I. Surplus Store (Army/Navy/etc. supplies), getting hit on by survivalists and Veterans, listening to combat stories, watching the prostitutes in their rotations on the corner, and selling gasmasks and MREs to millennialists. One day there was a drug bust at the 7-Eleven across the street, and twenty police cars converged on the intersection. We locked up the shop and hid behind the concrete barriers in back in case shooting broke out. I spent my down time there learning how to pick my way out of the several varieties of handcuffs we sold. Heh. Riding the bus home in that part of town was quite an experience, lemme tell ya.
8. "Explain the name of your journal. How'd you come up with it?" - Heather
Basically, dawn is symbolic to me of how I try to live my life, putting the dark behind me and forging ahead into the light. Living fully, wakefully, gratefully. See the Introduction for a full explanation.
9. "Describe your bedroom when you were 17. And now?" - HMW
I shared my room with my 11-year-old sister. It was painted light blue, but you couldn't see the paint on my side, for I'd completely covered the walls (and ceiling) with collages made from magazine cuttings. These featured mostly nature scenes, animals, space images, weather phenomena, and artwork from National Geographic, nature, science, and biology magazines that I'd fished out of recycling. Interspersed were quotes from my favorite books and a lot of my own artwork (which tended to the surreal). I remember that I placed the picture of the snake killing the mouse right above my sister's bed at the edge of my territory, and it scared her. heh. On my bed was the quilt that my mother had made me, the quilt that I still have (but, now that we have dogs on the bed, I've moved it to the guest room so that it doesn't get damaged). Next to the bed was the yellow-painted dresser that I had when I was a baby. On it was a stereo and lots of candles. The bed stand was an apple box turned on its end. A tall bookshelf stood at the foot of my bed, filled with books. My desk was next to the window, drawers filled with art and writing supplies. In the closet were lots and lots of black clothes, goth that I was.
Now, Morgan and I are still settling in to the new house, in the process of getting everything moved into the place we want it. Currently: Master bedroom with a bathroom off of it. THREE closets (Halleluiah!). One has Monty's crate in it. The futon/bed is under the two windows, next to the door that leads into the side yard. A floor lamp next to the bed. Morgan's Wicca books against one wall. His computer desk against another, with some of his artwork above it. Rose's crate is in the middle of the room, which needs to change. Green oriental rug next to the bed. And... Well, some unpacked boxes off to the side. *sigh* I want to work more on that bedroom.
10. "What does being a woman mean to you?" - Jenn
It means I get to be pregnant, give birth, and nurse! (Hopefully.) Other than that, I think that most things stereotypically "female" are more social constructions (reinforced by social expectation) than actual natural traits. I'm not very good at being typically feminine. So, essentially, on the day to day level, being a woman means not fitting into the boxes that people generally expect me to fit into.
One day at the wolf rescue, for instance, we were putting up fencing. I was nailing the cattle panel to the 4x4s, getting into a good rhythm, and this older man comes up to me, takes the hammer from my hand, and says in this demeaning tone, "Let me get that for you." I glower at him, but hold my tongue. He tries to hammer in the nail. It goes flying. I chase it down, hand it to him. He tries again. Nail goes flying. I hand it back to him, he avoids my eyes. Tries again, and this time the nail goes flying far and I can't find it.
Finally I say, " How about you let me keep doing that, and you can look for that nail so that the wolves who end up in this pen don't eat it."
I quickly sink three nails, and he says meekly, "You know, you're pretty good at that, for a girl."
For a girl. For a girl! ARG! Why I oughta...
11. "Name one thing you to did today that made you step outside your comfort zone." - Jolene
Well, Morgan is gone on a business trip for a few days, and I miss him like crazy. Taking care of the dogs on my own has also been a handful. Other than that, I called several strangers and asked them several questions, for work. I am achingly shy, and every day is an exercise in stepping outside of my comfort zone. Every day, I work on overcoming my introversion enough to function normally.
Update later in the evening: Okay. I came home to find Rose very ill. Cleaning dog diarrhea from the floor, the crate, the rug, the desk, the chair, and the wall, followed by cleaning up from the rug vomited dog diarrhea (that she ate before I got home, ugh!), THAT put me WAY out of my comfort zone, thank you very much. UGH.
12. "If you could do anything, knowing that money, opportunity, talent, etc. weren't considerations, what would you do for a living?" - Katherine
I would write, rehabilitate animals, and be a mother.
13. "When you're feeling down, what can you always count on to cheer you up again (even if only temporarily)?" - Kathy
14. "When you're having a bad day, what do you find most comforting?" - Lissa
Some quiet time with Morgan.
15. "Have you ever had a friendship go sour? If so, describe what happened to tear you apart." - Lynda
Yes, three different friends, but out of respect for their privacy, I'd rather not describe it publicly. Suffice it to say, losing all of them was incredibly painful and still hurts.
16. "Using MapBlast or MapQuest, find the distance between your current home and your hometown (or, if you moved a lot while growing up, your birthplace). How many miles or kilometers separate you from that place now?" - Melissa
2,650 miles from here (Swannanoa, North Carolina) to my old house in Portland, Oregon. (I realized, when answering this, that I now live so far out in the boonies that MapBlast can't find my address, and MapQuest can't even find my street!)
17. "What would be your ideal job?" - Nance
Quite frankly, my current job, working with a Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing is pretty ideal for my life and interests. The only thing it is missing is more outdoor time. But I make up for that with my hiking and volunteer work with the wolves.
18. "Do you Google people you know or come in contact with, and do you think Googling people is a good thing?" - Noreen
Heh. Yes, I Google people, usually people whom I've lost touch with. In several instances, I've been pleasantly surprised when someone I know Googles me and ends up here. Thus far, it's been a good thing.
19. "If there was one thing you could change about yourself, personality-wise, what would it be and why?" - Reb
My tendency toward depression. And I've come a long, long way toward being able to channel it in healthy ways, but there is still work to do in that regard.
20. "How does your current life differ from what you thought it would be like when you were 10? How (if at all) is it the same?" - Robyn
Well, I don't have children yet (though not for lack of trying). And I certainly never expected to be living in North Carolina of all places. I didn't expect to be such an avid hiker, and I certainly didn't expect myself to be working with wolves. I could, even back then, though, see myself writing or working in some writing or creativity-related field for a living. And I expected to go to college, and I expected to be happily married, and those have happened.
21. "If someone were to gossip about you, what do you think they would say?" - Say-Say
Ha. How about, "She talks to trees and does energy healing with her hands. What a fruitcake." Or maybe, "She doesn't shave. That's so disgusting. She never wears make-up, either. She's either lazy or doesn't care about her looks." Perhaps, "She's insane, working with wolves. I won't be surprised if she ends up mauled." I'm sure there's plenty about me that people can (and do) gossip about. Not something I'm going to waste my time worrying about, though.
22. "If you could spend 24 hours living the life of one other person, just for fun and the sake of seeing how someone else lives and feels, who would it be?" - Sherry
I keep thinking about this question, and I honestly can't answer it. Maybe Morgan, for even more intimacy, though we already share everything with one another. Maybe a mother, for I want badly to experience motherhood, but I hope to experience it on my own soon. Perhaps someone living in an extremely harsh environment, one very different from any I've ever known. Or something to build compassion: someone who is dying, someone living in a war-torn area, someone extremely alone. Or perhaps, for a twist, I'd be in the shoes of a terrorist or a war criminal or a Hitler or an abuser of animals or children, for I can't for the life of me understand how someone can live in that sort of mindset. I'd like to live a day as an animal, because I bet the way that they think would be very interesting to experience. It's a really good question, but I can't narrow it down to one person. I do appreciate how online journals allow me to see into the lives of others, their day to day thoughts, feelings, and experiences. But to actually be someone else? It would take a lot of thinking to narrow it down to one life.