November 2017
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meeting the Clay Cafe pagans with Ash / Kat, Nikki, Wolf, S / conversation with strangers = joy


I had a really interesting evening! I met up with Ash* (previously referred to as Ashley -- Ash fits better now in my opinion) and S (not sure how to spell it but that's how it's pronounced) at the Clay Cafe (which is a misnomer, since you PAINT the pottery, you don't work with clay -- I think it should be called "Drink 'n' Paint" :D), to join in a pagan meeting. For a couple of hours we just sat around and talked -- it wasn't very structured, just loosely about paganism, offshoots of that, and completely random stuff sprinkled in.

The group consisted of myself, Ash, zir friend S (who I didn't get to talk to but who seemed open-minded and interesting), Nikki (the organizer of the group, calm and strong), Nikki's partner Wolf (nickname -- can't remember the real name) (excitable, sweet, loud), H____ who dominated the conversation (a bit of an intellectual grandstander, but interesting!), two others who didn't say much (but had gentle spirits -- their presence was soothing), and Kat whom I really clicked with despite not really getting a 'read' on zir. We ended up in two half-circles, males on one side and females on the other, and had two or more conversations going most of the time. I mostly listened, poking my nose in every now and then. It was interesting to see how things flowed -- conversation in pairs, then in two groups, then in one group, and around again. Nikki told us about bellydance classes -- for $10 a session! near to me! I've been looking for that for ages -- I may start going (or I may wait until the next cycle comes around, since this 10-week cycle is half over). Ze also talked a little about the cat rescue where ze volunteers -- I think I'm going to look into getting involved with that too, if for nothing else than to assuage my kitten fever.

I was sitting next to Kat so we talked and I got to know zir a little -- we talked about the various ways we create, and ze mentioned that creating your own items takes down this barrier between you and the item, which is an interesting way of looking at it! I had always thought that creating something was bringing a part of you into physical form, but I hadn't considered the other side of it -- that there is a very real barrier between me and most of my daily items because I did not create them. I think customizing them can have the same effect as originally creating them though; I think that has been my (subconscious) motivation for customizing everything. Kat seems really cool: into bookbinding, cosplay, hooping, and various belief systems (eclectic, like me!).

Nearing the end, Wolf came over and sat on the coffeetable in front of Nikki and joined our conversation (turning zir back on the rest of the group). I found that really endearing, as it was so impolite and free! I liked their relationship -- they've been together 11 years and they have a cozy comfort that reminds me of my partner and I. It's that ease-of-balancing, that comfort that comes with having clashed so often that you've worn into each other and just fit. And Wolf said some things that were mentos in my diet coke, but I felt this affection/goodwill from zir that made me like zir anyway. The mentos: ze saw my I am a feminist sticker and said "You're not a feminazi!" (I think it was meant to be complimentary/ reassuring/ disbelieving) I didn't have a response. After I went home, of course, I thought of the perfect response -- "I'm not a griffin either!" followed by the explanation that a feminazi is a mythical creature, a straw man, as there aren't any feminists who want to mass-murder men. Later, ze also referred to zir partner 'molesting' zir -- phrasing which you all know my opinions on -- but I couldn't think fast enough then either. :-/ I do plan on going to the monthly meeting as a habit, so if ze uses that sort of term again I'll say something (I'm not invested in the results though).

This the first time I've had long conversation with strangers in a long time! I realized that it really nourishes me to talk face-to-face with new people (as long as it occasionally delves into the personal/passionate). Even though I didn't have much in common with most of the group, just the... brushing of spirits (for lack of a better term) was so good. And I really liked Kat and S; I want to know them more. Kat gave me zir facebook, so I added zir there, and we're hopefully going to meet up (other than at the next group)!

*oh yeah, I forgot that I hadn't mentioned it before -- Ash and I are rekindling our friendship now ;-)

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Comments
wolfmare ══╣╠══
Feminazi... Heh. I wouldn't go so far as to say there are *no* feminists who could be described as such. Yes, it's a stereotype, but as big as the world is... there is someone somewhere who fits it. I'm just happy not to know them.
cunningbunny ══╣oh. your. god.╠══
I was going to submit my agreement to this comment, but I think I finally hit on why the nomenclature didn't feel quite right.

I do agree that there are women who fall under the "FemiNazi" definition, because I absolutely believe there are women (and have actually known one!) who believe the world would be better if all males were dead. (The person I knew made lengthy arguments about how the advances in artificial insemination/cloning/etc. have made men useless and thus their "evil" should be cleansed from the Earth...scary shit, lemme tell ya.) The difficult part falls under classifying these women as feminists at all, since feminists by the proper definition believe in equality of the sexes. The problem is, lots of people don't know (or agree with) that definition, and thus they think feminism is about promoting womanhood ahead of manhood. This is also why those true man-annihilater types call themselves "feminists" (sometimes going so far as to call themselves "the only true feminists"--at least, that's what the woman I knew called herself) and thus gives all feminists a bad name by extension. It's like people disliking all Baptists because of the Westboro group; faulty logic, but those few fundamentalist crazies make such a name for themselves that people unfamiliar with Baptists at large will think they're an acurate representation of the group as a whole.

Though really, "FemiNazi" tends to be just an exageration used to describe women who believe in female superiority (but not necessarily that men deserve to die), and again, aren't truly "feminists" in the equalist sense, but give the group a bad name. And I've unfortunately known plenty of those women, and it makes me angry that they poison feminism like that...frankly, I wonder if the term has become so corrupted that it should be replaced with "gender equalists" or something of the sort. ("Sex equalists" would never work, in spite of correct grammar, just because people would always think it was about equality in fornication, heh.)

Wow, long comment. Done now. :-P
xochitl ══╣Daria╠══
The "feminazi" comment would have pissed me off too. Yeah there is a stereotype that all feminists are angry at the world. But sometimes I think-- well if you're a woman and you're not angry about SOMETHING, you're clearly not paying attention!
clown_frog ══╣╠══
Aww, yay!!! I'm glad you had such a good time with people!! It seems like that is sometimes hard to find, so I'm so very very happy for you (you may not find it hard to find, I don't know, but I'm still happy!)

Kat's thing about creating taking down barrier... wow, that really clicked. One of those moments. Makes me want even more to learn how to make furniture (would kind of need a class cos can't really go sawing things up in my wee rented flat! Sawdust everywhere!).

Although at the moment I'm wanting to live in a tent. An established tent, with a clay over for baking bread in (outside the tent, of course), and a vegetable garden. Spring is in the air!
saturnsdaughter ══╣╠══
Ah feminazi, I've had that tossed my way a couple of times. There just isn't enough time to educate all the ignorant people out there.

I wish I was as content among a group of strangers as you seem to be. I'm one of those people that will stick close to the one person I know, with conversation practically being ripped out of me. Overcoming social awkwardness is such a long process :|
tralfamadore ══╣╠══
Oh, I love the sentiment about creating being a means of taking down a barrier between yourself and the object in question. I don't often think about it, but now that I've paused for a moment to consider it, I wonder if this could be a rationale for some of my difficulties in touching/interacting with certain objects. There are underlying sensory difficulties, or so I've always explained as a means of fostering understanding in others before, but this seems much more fitting to me. I'm sure we've all had experiences where a certain object just didn't "feel" right. Didn't have the proper energy behind it.

Oh, now my mind's racing and I don't even know which way to take it! I apologize if I ramble or seem to get off track, but my thoughts are just flowing like mad. It's so funny to think about all the different objects I touch and interact with on a daily basis. They were all created by a person -- even those that were "hand"made by machine still had the sentiments of humanity behind their creation/construction. I can think of this as a person implanting their own sentiments and emotions into that object and a lack of connectedness from those that don't sit well with me. But now I'm thinking of it in a different way.

What if these objects that I don't particularly care for are just strangers to me? I've always had an aversion to new people, situations, and things. I've always been one to look before she leaps and to hesitate at the idea of a new experience (when I'm not in a "manic" state, that is). So what if these objects are merely requiring a deeper need for understanding from me?

Eh, I'm not sure I'm making any sense. Perhaps this is ridiculous. I need to think this out a bit more and let my thoughts fall into a more appropriate place. Suffice it to say, this really has me thinking!
sidheblessed ══╣╠══
I hope you do get to keep going, I have a feeling you will find a lot of growth and connection there. I suspect you may be encouraging Wolf to grow. ;)

This post makes me miss the regular Pagan meetups we had in Canberra, that ended last year. It was just good to connect with toher like-minded people in person. I can relate to the quite people who just seem to bring this calming, grounding energy.
sidheblessed ══╣╠══
Oh and I forgot to say, I remember you hinting that you and Ash would like to rekindle your friendship - I'm glad that you're trying to do so and hope that you can be close again.
aerialmelodies ══╣Aurora╠══
I love the idea that creating something breaks down the barriers... it's true, I think. It's much harder for me to give away something I've created than it is for something I've bought.

I'm glad the meet up went well for the most part! Hopefully Wolf can respect your wishes to not hear certain phrases. It sounds like a good group, so I'm almost certain it won't be a big problem. <3
theindiequeen ══╣╠══
Oh, I think I know them..vaguely..I definitely know Nikki, who was briefly in a writing group that I was in, and she was very nice. And I think this is the same group who used to do the Borders Pagans meetings at the Borders in Kennesaw. I went to a few of those meetings about three years ago. I doubt they remember me because I hardly ever said anything at the meetings. I mostly just listened and wrote in my journal.

Where is the Clay Cafe? I always wanted to go to one of those paint your own pottery places, but I just...never have. And the idea of drinking coffee while I do it makes me happy :)

And as far as the feminazi comment, I think there's just this idea that people have--well, people being mostly males...but some females, too--about the word "feminist." To these people, it sounds like "a crazy woman who hates all men." I see it more as just a person who believes in equalism and dismantling the cultural imaginaries that have to do with gender. It reminds me of that Ani Difranco song/spoken word piece where she says, "Why can't all decent men and women call themselves feminists?"

Oh, and by the way, I was ordering some things on Amazon the other day (some guided meditation CDs--I've never tried these, and I figured I should, a self-help book called How to Survive the Loss of Love--I've never really read a self-help book either, and I could use some help with my loss right now) and then I decided I would also order The Mismeasure of Women. It sounds really interesting, from what you've said and what I've read about it. It sounds kind of in line with things I read in Feminist Philosophy class, which I really miss. I ordered a used copy for 75 cents! But I'm excited to start reading it when it gets here :)

Wow, that was a long comment. Hehe. I always read your journal entries, and usually have things to say (especially about gender and the relationships you have with people and spirituality) but I don't usually comment. So, I figured I would change that!
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.