What are the parts of your identity that you have labels for? (list and then define)
Part 3: my heart and spirit parts.
How I understand the world and express myself (heart): these are parts of me that form my lens for understanding myself and my tools for expressing myself.
[atheist / nontheist Quaker spiritualist]
atheist / nontheist Quaker spiritualist
I'll work backwards on this one: I am a spiritualist because I believe in finding meaning in things that are objectively meaningless. If I find a perfectly heart-shaped rock, I choose to assign the meaning that I am on the right path and the universe is affirming me. If I find a phallus-shaped mushroom, I choose to assign the meaning that a benificent magical being is jokingly reminding me of a dream I had once. If I want to make a change in my life I will write a spell and chant it because when I do that, I get what I asked for -- I don't care how it works and I'm not gonna disbelieve in my own experience. I don't care if these meanings only exist for me.
I'm a Quaker because I believe that everyone has the ability to find truth and create meaning. I value the same things that Quakers do, particularly equality and community. I love that Quakers literally will put their bodies on the line for equality, and are careful to consider it in their organizing: it's not just lip service. I love that Quakers believe in consensus decision-making and reject the practice of outsourcing their responsibility to a leader, whether religious or political. I feel very nourished by the Quaker practice of unprogrammed communal worship/meditation with optional sharing (if someone has a realization which may be helpful to others).
Technically I believe in what I call gods, but what I think many would not. I believe in ideas as forces of their own, which are created by shared thought. Sometimes these ideas can feel very person-like and some people can interact with them in beneficial or harmful ways; I call these deities. Deliberate worship is the most effective way to make one but it can be done accidentally, and most often is. I think the flying spaghetti monster has been made pretty real, which is hilarious. Other accidentally-created gods are every person depicted on money, many military leaders, everyone who has had multiple biographies written about them (including and especially hitler), the victoria's secret angel (who people worship by torturing their own bodies) and infinite others, some living only for a few weeks.
I choose to worship certain deities that I resonate with, and I have had strange and wondrous things happen as a result. I don't care if I am making it up and it is not true for anyone else: it is true for me and I like it, so I retain it. Deity worship is not a pillar of my belief system but it is a very soft warm rug that I sometimes lay on.
So if I believe in gods, by my definition, why am I an atheist? This one evolved very recently - as in, after I started writing this post. I was talking with a friend about why they don't consider me a theist, and why atheism is an important perspective, and that made me realize something new to me. Previously when discussing this I got stuck on the fact that I don't think there is anything inherently wrong in believing in gods, but while that is true it doesn't mean there is no harm done. An appeal to authority reinforces all appealing to authority, which I do not want to do. Since I think that I both believe and don't believe in gods, I have a choice to make identity-wise and I choose the anti-authority identity. I'm not yet sure if non-theist or atheist is more true of me, so I will keep both for now.
This relates to my spirituality: I sense idea-things in and on people that I can interact with if I choose to. Sometimes this is highly metaphysical; I might feel a string tied around someone's wrist or a shard in someone's energy center, when those don't exist in a visual reality. Sometimes it is more physical; I might feel static 'in' someone's head when they have a bad headache, or I might feel body parts that don't physically exist (one of my exes had dragon wings).
Weaving energy is when I do something like take the shard out of someone, or pet their wings. Some people can feel this when I do it, even when they have their eyes closed. People have told me that my energy weaving has eased their physical pain or soothed their emotional distress. One person thought I put a heated pad on them when it was just my hands. Another told me that I made a migraine go away at a point where medication usually would not work. An insomniac fell asleep as I worked on them. I haven't yet tried it on anyone who couldn't feel it, though it varies in effectiveness.
Light was my first word, and my first love. Color is an illusion created by the absorption of light, so I love it as an expression of light. I love light and color very much, and for me it ascends to worship because I make it a central aspect of how I design my space, clothe my body, and choose and customize my companion objects (like my water bottle and car). I also worship by creating art: light through photography and color through mixed media and digital art.
I also worship light through awed contemplation: I gaze at reflections and refractions of light, especially colored light. I love everything that glows in the dark. I love fairy lights and black lights and color-changey lights. I love everything that glows or shimmers, everything transparent and colorful. Glass connects to this because of the way it can hold light, cradle it, focus it, split it, direct it. I love all transparent glass and to a lesser extent translucent glass.
To me, a photographer is someone who documents life for the sake of memory and/or sharing truth or beauty. So people who take photos for money are not necessarily people that I would call photographers. I am not as much of a photographer now as I was years ago, but I am trying to be. I am more myself when I am a photographer.
I've been making beaded jewelry since I was about 8, and making complex, unique jewelry since I was introduced to nylon-coated flexible wire at 19 (15 years ago). I haven't done much of it in the past 3 years, but I am still very passionate about it and I generally don't wear or gift jewelry that I didn't make. I've played a little with natural stone beads but glass is my medium of choice. I make necklaces designed with reflected symmetry, with shape as much of a player as color and texture. I make earrings of many types but my favorite involve making a wire shape from which strands or chains dangle: I call these "chandelier" style earrings.
I have been using photoshop since about 2004; I am extremely good at photo editing and am skilled at graphic design as well. I fell in love with fractals after discovering them on deviantart, and began making them myself in 2012. I identify as a fractal artist because I feel that I have a distinctive style to my fractals and I feel that I can express myself in fractals more than I can in any other medium. I identify as a digital artist because most of my photos are digital as well as my fractals and I do post-work that is also digital.
I used to call myself a coffee snob or coffee geek but clergyperson is definitely more accurate. I know a lot -- a LOT -- about coffee and I love it dearly. The preparation ritual adds to it for me, whether I make it myself or go to a temple and pay for service. I have worked at a number of coffee temples and I have my own shrines at home, at work, and at Topaz'.
Inherently me (spirit); these are aspects of me that I think would always exist -- aspects which come from the truest part of me, which have existed as long as I was cognizant and which have never changed, even though I might not have specifically identified with them in the past. Everything else about me comes from these parts.
I think the very most core trait of mine is curiosity -- even more than justice, even more than love. One of the few stories that my parents tell about me as a child is when someone was reading a book to me and I asked "what's that?" so many times that the person reading to me got impatient and just started telling me before I had a chance to ask again.
I question everything and everyone as much as I can. Anyone who knows me at all, if you asked "who (among those you know) is the questioner?" I would instantly come to mind. Being asked questions -- real, meaningful questions that only I can answer where the person is invested in the answer -- makes me feel more loved than almost anything else.
This is a key part of my identity because it informs everything I do. I seek to grow and learn in every way I can, at every opportunity. I made a decision to consciously develop into a continuously better self 19 years ago and I have maintained my success. I don't have any particular aim, as long as I can always look at last year's self and notice improvement.
It took me a while to realize that most people don't do this. All my in-person friends were crafty and all my internet friends were writers and mostly artists too, so when I randomly met someone who didn't create at all, I thought they were the oddity. I've since been exposed to more normates and I would guess that at least the majority of USians don't create anything at all.
But content creating is something so necessary to who I am and who I have always been, even since a child, that I don't feel capable of relating to someone who does not create anything. I mean, even creating memes and putting rhinestones on your phone case counts to me. Writing reviews about media counts, making meals from random ingredients counts. Creating solo I can relate to in a distant way but I relate best to people who create content that is intended for sharing, like LJ posts or artwork that they share online and/or in person.
I analyze everything, both personally and academically. I'm really talented and skilled at using data analysis programs, and I have an intuitive understanding of statistics and surveying. I make spreadsheets for fun. I really love analytics. I also believe in critiquing media and human behavior, and I do both pretty much constantly. I don't really have the ability to turn this off, and I find it baffling (and very unappealing) that others just absorb and experience without analyzing.
I am a writer because I am not whole when I don't write. Writing is something I do to understand myself, to keep from losing important parts of me into the dark tangles of my memory, and to help others understand me, as well as to teach and explain things. I have come to the conclusion that if someone doesn't like writing/reading or isn't comfortable with reading/writing, it will be almost impossible for us to maintain closeness because so much of me is lost if a person tries to separate me from my LJ. In any lifetime with this level of sentience, I feel sure I would want to use shared symbols to record things I think, feel, and learn.