A Description Of This Blog

This blog exists for the purpose of working through the travails of life. It serves as a kind of therapy for me. Sometimes, writing down one’s thoughts helps one work through things much more readily than simply sitting in thought, quietly pondering the world.

If you wish to comment here, please review the House Rules before you do.

You may contact me at: nocturnalyam (-at-) gmail (-dot-) com.

I’m also on Twitter: @timberwraith.

A Description Of Me
Who am I? Ah, but this is one of the most loaded questions a person can ask herself.

*sigh* OK, this part turned out to be a bit long-winded. You might want to grab a cup of coffee.

As the years have passed, I’ve grown to feel uncomfortable with political and philosophical labels. There are many philosophies, social movements, and political theories that I believe hold merit. However, I have found that turning a philosophy, a social movement, or a form of politics into an identity is dangerous ground for me to tread upon. Incorporating these things into my identity leaves me unable to step outside of these notions and engage in critical reflection. No social theory or hypothesis accurately describes the world and it’s inhabitants. There is always an exception, always a margin of error. As imperfect beings, we see the world through a set of imperfect lenses. Basing my identity upon the uncertainty of theory leaves me feeling that I am basing the very core of my self upon shifting and uncertain ground.

What I will say is this: I am disturbed by oppression of all kinds—sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, ethnocentrism, classism, ageism, religious repression, political repression, and so on. I believe that a just and caring society is one that exists in the spirit of recognizing each other as equals, each with our own unique talents and ways of being. I believe that a just and caring society exists in the spirit of love, connectedness and a desire to help each other. We are all dependent upon each other for our continued survival. It’s about time we collectively recognized this and behaved accordingly.

Philosophy and politics aside, let’s move on to labels of a more personal nature. I’m a queer woman of European decent. I grew up in a working class family in Baltimore, Maryland. I moved to Minnesota a while back. I love hiking, nature, science fiction, trains, yummy vegan food, long country drives, the smell of roses, pansies (the flowers and the people), snow, and thunderstorms.

I am a pagan of agnostic flavor.  I am deeply spiritual and nature features prominently in my spirituality. My spirituality also strongly intertwines with my experience as a woman.  I worship neither gods nor goddesses.  My approach to paganism can not be accurately placed within theism or atheism.  It’s kind of hard to describe without getting into lengthy details.  I rather dread proselytizing and exclusivism, by the way.  People who hold other kinds of spiritual beliefs or no spiritual beliefs are just fine by me.  Live and let live.  The more approaches to life, the merrier—as long as no one gets hurt.

So, what does the descriptor queer mean? Well, I much prefer dating women over dating men. That doesn’t mean that I don’t find myself attracted to men. That’s far from the case. However, there’s a certain kind of emotional and spiritual connection that I share with women that I simply don’t experience with men. Does that make me a lesbian? Sort of. Although, bisexual and panssexual seem to apply in some ways as well. I’m attracted to a variety of people.  Mostly though, I prefer living my life solo. Single seems to be my preferred state of existence. If you’ve ever tried to consciously exist as a single person in a sex/romance/couples-obsessed world, you’ll discover that preferring to be single is kind of queer, too.  In many respects, I am on the asexual spectrum.

I am queer in another sense of the word: I am a trans woman. At some point during my childhood, the whole boy thing became painfully cumbersome. So, when I hit 17, I decided that I would never identify as a man. I did, in fact, start to think of myself as a woman… in spite of hauling around an ill-fitting body. Living in such an uncomfortably formed body got to be exhausting, so I started medical transition when I was 24. That was in 1993. A few years passed, 1,200 miles were traveled, and here we are. Yay!

Whew!  That was long.  Time for more coffee, eh?


14 Responses to “About”

  1. Hey there, I said as much on my page, but I want to make it a point to let you know that I apologize for offending you (assuming I did). I was making a rational-logical argument divorced of emotion because the subject doesn’t touch me in a personal way. While I stand by my posts and logic, I want you to know that it matters to me whether I offended you. As I said before, I’ll be back to your blog as a reference and source of interest, and I hope you do the same! Hetepu.

  2. Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the comment.

    This issue has been one of internal conflict for me. I have
    recently settled on not taking any personal issue with the LGBT community because it’s not really my place. More importantly for me and my political beliefs, it makes no sense to exclude an entire section of my people because I disagree with their sexual preferences or gender performances.

    What your words tell me is this:
    a) You recently started to change your beliefs about LGBT people. This process is fresh and new to you.
    b) At one time, you disapproved of our lives and given that you wrote that last sentence in the present tense, you probably still disapprove of our lives to some degree. At the very least, you probably have lingering feelings of discomfort surrounding LGBT people. Those feelings of disapproval/discomfort might be on an unconscious level, or you might be quite aware of them.

    Education and logical arguments can be useful in this stage of challenging your feelings about people like me. In the long run, however, it takes getting to personally know lesbians, gays, bisexuals and trans people to challenge those feelings. Since prejudice is based in emotion, logic only goes so far.

    I’m not trying to imply that you are an evil messed up person for feeling these things. We all have our respective prejudices to deal with. It’s an unfortunate part of being human.

    I grew up in a racist family. When I say racist, I’m not talking about the form of racism that is unconsciously expressed by most white people. I’m talking about the old school version: pure, conscious hate. I was raised in that mess, and I internalized quite a bit of it.

    When I turned 17, I realized that what I had been taught about African Americans (and many, many other minorities) was a pack of lies and at that at it’s core, these beliefs were morally corrupt.

    So, I decided to embark on a journey of disproving these beliefs through knowledge (and logic, and reason). I took a lot of course work in college that dealt with issues of oppression. I eventually decided to make one of my majors sociology.

    That course of action helped and it helped quite a bit. However, at the end of that process, the damage from my prejudiced upbringing was still there. It was deeply attenuated, but it was still there. As I interacted with people of various ethnicities different from my own, a little voice from my childhood would click on and whisper horrible things about the person I was interacting with.

    A few years later I went to work for an organization that had a very diverse staff. At least one third of the people there were of origins other than northern European extraction. The bulk of that one third of the staff was composed of African immigrants and African Americans.

    I worked there for ten years. At the end of those ten years, something funny dawned on me: that nasty little voice from my childhood had grown very, very quiet during that decade of my life. My exposure to people different from myself challenged a lot of deeply unconscious prejudice.

    I’m not saying I’m now devoid of prejudice against people who’s ethnicity differs from mine. I grew up in a really sick environment. I’ll be challenging that sickness for the rest of my life.

    What I am trying to say, is that logic, reason, and education only go so far. I needed to interact with the people that my prejudices once rejected. In many respects, it was more important than logic and reason because logic and reason are often inadequate at addressing emotional concerns… and prejudice is based in emotion.

    While it’s risky to equate different forms of oppression and prejudice with each other (racism, sexism, cissexism, heterosexism, etc.), I do believe that certain key patterns of social interaction and emotional response repeat throughout all of these phenomena.

    Anyway, that’s my 2¢ on the matter.

  3. Thank you for sharing your personal experiences, as I imagine that to be a difficult undertaking.

    You are right that my prejudices are current; however, you are also right that I am only beginning to do the knowledge on issues of gender and sexuality. Actually, my interest in these issues is borne of a sincere desire to unite the Black community which really cannot stand for anymore fractures.

    I obviously have a ways to go, and if you will give me a little lattitude, I’ll be back to possibly get to know you.

  4. Thank you for sharing your personal experiences, as I imagine that to be a difficult undertaking.

    You’re welcome. 🙂

    Actually, my interest in these issues is borne of a sincere desire to unite the Black community which really cannot stand for anymore fractures.

    That’s understandable. The feminist community and the LGBT community have both been fractured by racism and transphobia (and various other forms of prejudice). It’s difficult to fight the oppression that your community faces when your community is torn asunder by internal prejudices.

    I obviously have a ways to go, and if you will give me a little lattitude, I’ll be back to possibly get to know you.

    Your willingness to learn is what matters. You are certainly welcome to return. However, if the need arises, I will call you out on statements and ideas that venture into the territory of prejudice. I try to be gentle yet firm when I do this. However, anyone who has had to deal with issues of prejudice throughout their life can be triggered under the right circumstances.

    Of course, it’s a two way street, as I’d expect you to call me out if I said something racist.

  5. Well, thank you. I should expect nothing less, and you can expect the same gentle correction from should the need arise, but hopefully, that will never happen.

  6. So, what does the descriptor queer mean? Well, I much prefer dating women over dating men. That doesn’t mean that I don’t find myself attracted to men. That’s far from the case. However, there’s a certain kind of emotional and spiritual connection that I share with women that I simply don’t experience with men. Does that make me a lesbian? Probably. Although, bisexual and panssexual seem to apply in many ways as well. I’m attracted to lots of different kinds of people.

    I thought I’d comment on this since we have been having a nice discussion about spiritual things, and this is more on a personal note. I would describe myself in the same way, except from the male perspective. I’m currently in a relationship with a great guy, and have been for 3 years. Unlike you, I find myself in constant relationships (2 in total, but long lasting and hardly any “down” time).

    • Hey communiosanctorum! Thanks for visiting my little space on the internet.

      C, I’m glad to hear that there’s someone special in your life. Even though I’m a bit of a “crusty loner”, I’m always happy to see two people who love sharing their lives with each other. I’m also glad to hear that there has been no shortage of love in your life.

      Btw, it’s wonderful timing that we have struck up a conversation with each other. During this past month, I’ve had some rather discouraging conversations with straight, conservative/moderate Christians about homosexuality and gender. Some of the things that were said were really quite negative and consequently, I’ve been feeling a bit down on religion and Christianity of late. So, it’s really nice to chat with a Cristian on the web and discover that we are both completely OK with same sex relationships and indeed, have actually been involved with others of the same sex. My goodness, what a relief! I certainly know queer Christians in real life, but haven’t really met many on the web.

      Again, thank you for stopping by, communiosanctorum.

  7. Np. Indeed, I’ve read some terribly bigoted things on wordpress from ‘christians’. Nothing we can do but try to counter it when we can I guess with the appropriate speech and message regarding this topic.

  8. What a well-written and intriguing blog. Just a gay guy stopping by who always appreciates articulate and candid writers, and wanted to let that appreciation be known 🙂

    • Thanks for stopping by D.K. My apologies for taking so long to approve and respond to your comment. I’ve been a bit absent from my blog since the spring.

  9. Hey! Thanks for following my blog! I really appreciate it, and i’m glad to see that somebody finds the things I post interesting. Though I haven’t posted so much yet. 🙂

    I had a look around your blog, I really like the thoughts that’s picked up here, and I can tell you are a pretty spiritual person. In many ways I can relate to what you are writing about and the being of you; about being tolerant towards others, looking past religious beliefs and political/philosophical standpoints. A person is complex in his/her opinions, chaining yourself to one frame of opinions and lifeviews really makes it harder for a person expressing his/her complexity. It converts humans into standardized products, undermines self-exploration and reflections. To act or react upon society and our reality of life we need people who can think in complex ways, beyond the labels, cause reality is never simple, it’s as complex as it gets.

    Anyway, I will be checking your blog out some more. Hope you will enjoy coming posts of mine, I think I will appreciate yours. 😀

  10. Thanks for taking the time to follow my blog “Stones In the Middle of the Jordan”. If you poke around a bit, you’ll find that I had, past tense, some prejudices and fears of LBGT’s and “other beliefs”, specifically Pagans. I had no choice but to change those views when faced with finding out that people I had come to admire and love fit one or the other of those groups. I try to use, with their blessing and help, the things they taught me, their lives, and my own experiences to help others learn what I have. For what it’s worth, I am proof that humans are able to learn to see, and not fear, other humans.

    • Glad to hear that you came around to a place of acceptance. 🙂

      The label Pagan, btw, covers a wide variety of people with an even wider variety of beliefs. The term is vaguely equivalent in scope to the terms Abrahamic religion and Eastern religion. These terms embody numerous traditions and cosmologies that are loosely associated by geography and/or some other common trait (perhaps social/cultural, historical, theological, etc. etc.) but are deeply varied in nature nevertheless. Paganism includes spiritual/ritual variants of and influences by (but is not limited to): monotheism, polytheism, pantheism, atheism, animism, ancestor worship, Greek/Roman pantheon derived religions, other European derived religions, non-European indigenous derived religions, newly sourced contemporary religions, and a multitude of personal gnosis based faiths. There’s a whole lot of cultural synthesis going on from many, many sources. The variations are myriad in nature. In a way, the term Pagan is a kind of linguistic clearing house for a multitude of faiths that have no home under any other readily recognized religious grouping.

      It’s easy to fear a body of people outside of our own group and ironically those outside groups are usually so varied that our image of those groups—negative, positive, or in between—fail to describe the diversity of being contained therein. Each of our respective cultures, faiths, and subgroups contain people ranging from kind to villainous, as does any other community of human beings.

  11. I’ve become, over the last 5 years, how broad a spectrum the word “Pagan” covers. The trite phrase “some of my friends are (fill in the blank)” is usually used in some condescending manner by some person that is really an “ic” or an “ist”. In my case, a bunch or people I love are Pagan and, as a result, I am *grins* familiar with how wide spread a set of views that simple word covers. Aj says “ask 5 Pagans, get 5 different answers”. My experience tells me that might be an understatement *grins again* Also, from my perspective there are two words I dislike using “accept” and “tolerate”. Those feel, to me, to be what someone is forced to do. *sigh*. I don’t have a simple word to carry what I mean so, sometimes those are used. I wish there was a simple word with the meaning “respect the depth of faith of a fellow human and the culture that they have” but “accept” will have to do. Once I started on the path of loving my “best friend that is not my wife” and found out that her being Pagan was part of the package, over the past 5 years, I’ve asked a bunch of questions and done a bunch more soul searching. I ask more than one person and gain as much insight as I can. Aj was the “first Pagan” but, is far from the last. I suspect that, on line, I interact with more Pagans than Christians…Perhaps, some other time, that’s a discussion we might have. For now, being a Heretic Christian, meaning one that doesn’t see Pagans or anyone that is LBGT as having less worth than a straight Christian, has caused a bunch of on line friends to go away and caused much “discussion” with my Evangelical Christian parents…

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