Tags: coffee

spiritual

my self-labels, part 3: atheist Quaker spiritualist, energy-weaver, color/light worshipper...

icon: "spiritual (a photo of a snow leopard with (edited) violet eyes staring straight into the camera)"

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.


[energy-weaver]

energy-weaver


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.


[color/light worshipper]

color/light worshipper


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.


[photographer]

photographer


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.


[jewelry maker]

jewelry maker


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.


[digital/fractal artist]

digital/fractal artist


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.


[coffee clergyperson]

coffee clergyperson


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.

[curious questioner]

curious questioner


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.


[growth-seeker]

growth-seeker


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.


[content creator]

content creator


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.


[critical analyst]

critical analyst


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.


[writer]

writer


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.
intrigued

date w Evelyn: meeting Demeter, intense emotional & philosophical discussions, many cuddles & kisses

icon: "intrigued (a photo of a snow leopard with ears flattened, peering intently over a log)"

So I had a date with Evelyn on Saturday that was surprising, nourishing, exciting, scary, and overall quite magical. Part of our time will be described in my my sextalk filter, but this whole experience is so long and complex that I decided it was fine to put it in two separate posts.

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Evelyn asked me about my life and I talked about frustrations with biofamily, then asked about their life. They didn't know how to answer at first and said that they have been feeling a particular kind of anxious that means they are avoiding something but don't know what it is (I do the same thing) and as they talked around it, the thing that had been weighing on them came up. They looked really sad and I asked if I could lay next to them -- they said yes so I climbed next to them on the couch and pulled them into my arms.

They talked about the thing that was making them so sad and cried, and apologized and said they felt bad for imposing their vulnerability on me. That made me laugh because it is so the opposite of my experience, and they said "I know, I know" when I laughed because they know that I feel it as a gift and not an imposition but still have the guilty response. We cuddled that way and I listened while they talked about it until their housemate arrived home, and then we went upstairs to their room.

We talked a lot for a while, about all kinds of things. I talked about my philosophical stance as an idealist and how I see 'objective' reality as an illusion, that to me all minds contribute a nearly-invisible layer of reality and 'objective' reality is merely the conglomeration of all that, a sort of 'average.' That the more complex a thing is, the easier it is to change the reality of it through thought due to a domino effect. I mentioned my experience of my self as five parts and how my non-physical parts are capable of shapeshifting. I can't remember all we talked about but it was really interesting.

They wanted to be spooned several times, so I asked them what being spooned meant to them and they talked about it: being small, being held. As they talked about it I realized that I do like being spooned also, but I like spooning someone else more. I like that feeling of enveloping someone. They also talked about how they find themselves more and more attracted to traits commonly referred to as masculine. I listened and didn't say much as they seemed to be working out a self-perception, but I think in me they're attracted to my assertiveness and power (which I do not consider masculine, as nothing about me is gendered).

I asked for coffee so Evelyn made french press and we sat in the living room to drink it. Demeter came to sit with us and Evelyn scooped them up and cuddled them, telling me how Demeter had helped them through the emotionally difficult times they've had lately. Evelyn said they had never connected with a cat before (partly due to allergies) and had considered themself a dog person, but that Demeter had changed that. Evelyn blamed the effect on toxoplasmosis, which I like as a general theory but in this case I think it is more about Demeter's personality; they seem very nurturing and sensitive.

We talked about the fetishization of coercion/non-consent, and about my insecurities around the fact that people might like someone being careful with consent, but they don't fetishize it, they don't think of it as actually sexy, and how sometimes that really gets to me. I can't NOT be careful about consent but I don't want to be considered unsexy because I check in and don't do things without discussing it beforehand. They told me that they find it sexy. I think still, not in the way that I mean, but I appreciated them saying that.

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They are outrageously beautiful and sexy to me and I remarked on this several times, to which they responded with hiding their face and laughing in seeming disbelief (with maybe/hopefully some happiness to it). I told them that they will eventually get used to it because I will do it a lot! I feel very strongly about them and so I notice every gorgeous aspect, and they have several aspects that I find aesthetically pleasing as well.

One feature I find sooo aesthetically pleasing is their lower eyelid shape -- their lower lid comes part-way up the curve of the eye, enough that there is a crease under the eye. I don't know why I find this so beautiful but I do! (Angelina Jolie has lower eyelids like that, which is one of the reasons I find them so aesthetically pleasing) Evelyn also has very mobile eyebrows, lips that are very sharply defined, a full lower lip, and very pronounced smile lines as well as dimples! all of which I adore because it makes the face seem more expressive to me. And their face is very expressive overall, and their eye color is gorgeous, and their smile is so radiant! I am more than a little smitten.
hopeful

evening w Evelyn: amazing conversation & cuddles

icon: "hopeful (close-up photo of me wearing cat-eye makeup, jewels on my cheek, and a violet glitter goatee. I'm gazing off to the side with a hopeful smile.)"


I am behind on LJ, sorry loveys. I really want to make some memory notes -- I didn't talk with anyone about it so I wrote stuff down so I wouldn't forget.

Evelyn came over (quite an ordeal as they went through rush hour traffic) and we had what I am now 95% sure was a date (it's always hard to tell beforehand with non-monogamous people). It was really wonderful in a bunch of different ways.

We hung out in my room, lounging on my bed (which is a comfysack - a giant beanbag that allows for many sitting/laying positions) and talking. I asked about their recent breakup and they told me about it, and when I mentioned a similarity between that and my breakup with Kylei years ago, they asked a follow-up question even after we had rabbit-trailed into other topics. I felt like this showed a depth of engagement with my sharing that I rarely get and really love (I went back and read what I wrote about hanging out with them the first time and they did this then as well).

I had an interesting realization about coffee through some rabbit trail. I realized that as a child with undiagnosed ADD, coffee was the only medicine available to me, and it gave me relief from having to exert so much effort to keep control of my mind. I hadn't realized why I fell so much in love with it as a kid -- I knew it wasn't wanting to be 'grown up' because I never wanted to be an adult (I was given too much responsibility as a child and knew that it would only get worse as I got older). Coffee (or black tea) is a sacred ritual for me because it has this very long-term association with comfort and relief. I feel about the smell of coffee the way kids who felt loved by their parents might feel about their parents' perfume/cologne/laundry smell.

When they arrived and I thanked them for braving the traffic, they mentioned that it was important to them to come here. Later I asked why it was important, and that was a looooong winding trail with many offshoots, but the gist that I got was that I am a catalyst for a particular kind of growth for them and they want that. They mentioned how I am analytical and challenging, and compared time with me vs time with most people as brussels sprouts to candy. This hit a nerve, as people often end connection with me because I am too much work and they'd rather have fun. I struggled for a minute to find words because I really didn't want to start crying but I also really wanted to be open. I want to be desired not just for the outcome but for the process, and I want to be desired for my physical & emotional being as well as my mental being. I didn't really manage to find words, I think I explained about half of it.

We also talked about love languages and caretaking, about our insecurities (me with feeling like people will stop loving me if I stop giving to them). We talked about how we're both very analytical and self-examining but most people are not. I told them I really like how honest they are, how fully they answer my questions. They said they like how I am unpredictable, which I expressed confusion at, and as they explained I realized that I think of myself as predictable because I am, from a macro standpoint, but from a micro standpoint I am not. So, you can predict that if I am given a new piece of information, I will analyse it and use it as a lens in various ways to get new thoughts, but you can't really predict where those thoughts will go. Evelyn said that most people are predictable in where they end up more than in the process and I thought that was interesting.

Don't remember how we got on the subject, but Evelyn feels a sense of connection and responsibility to Atlanta also, which is hugely important to me. I plan to spend the majority of my life in/around Atlanta working to make it better for oppressed peoples, and the white queer flight that I see is upsetting because it feels like a betrayal. This is why part of my identity is being southern and an ATLien with no intention of leaving. My sense of civic responsibility is here. I will not be leaving to find an easier life for myself.

At one point Evelyn was talking about the difference between reading a description I wrote for a cuddly communion and listening to me explain those same things, and said that text is the ultimate Rorschach test, you project onto it your own thoughts for tone and such. I thought that was brilliantly true and said so.

Evelyn played and sang a song they wrote on the ukulele, one that was funny in that almost-painfully-true kind of way. They were so fuckin cute while playing and singing, omfg.

A few times, they referenced 'things they do at the beginning of relationships' which they were doing tonight. I've gotten better at reading these things, I'm 80% sure that was an expression of romantic interest. Still 20% unsure just because indirect communication is so not my skill set, so I have to leave a large margin of error.

We cuddled little bits through the first part, mostly me petting their (incredibly sexy) arms and playing with their hair. After the brussels-sprouts-vs-candy part of the conversation I snuggled up to them with my face in their chest and arms around them and belatedly realized that I hadn't asked first and asked if it was okay and they said yes. Later they mentioned that it felt very familiar to be cuddling with me, and I agreed, and said that that was why I didn't think to ask first before burrowing into them (I am usually cautious and ask before each new cuddle with a new person). I felt a really strong pull to be physically close, and really loved cuddling with them. I spooned them (their idea) and they snuggled into me and intertwined our legs, fitting close. I haven't ever felt such a desire to be physically close with someone other than Topaz, Kylei, or Hannah. When we were talking, I kept wanting to touch their face, especially when they smiled (they have amazing dimples).

I asked if they had any sensitive or triggery places/actions and explained mine, mentioning that my wrists are as much of an ask-first area as my genitals. They asked what I call my genitals, which lead me to explain how I experience myself as intersex. They listened intently and I felt understood talking about my experiences related to my non-physical parts.

They asked to kiss me (again, like they did at the burn) and I said yes and we kissed but it ended quicker than I would have liked. Of course I'm pretty sure all kisses end quicker than I would like as I love kissing so much. Later, just before they left I asked if I could kiss them and they gave an emphatic yes. Then I bumped my face into their glasses and asked if I could remove them and they took them off and tossed them on the couch which I thought was charmingly dramatic. I kissed them and really loved it but was distracted by not having discussed what kind of kisses they like and also not being able to sink into it because they were leaving. I told them that if I was a worse person I would try to convince them to stay longer. I really didn't want them to go!

I'm nervous about being excited because I got excited about them last year and then they disappeared from my life for eight months. I'm tired of investing in and then losing people. But my gut is saying that they aren't going to vanish soon, so I will just enjoy the connection for now.
pensive

the history of coffee -- Ben, be warned! heh heh

1453: Coffee is introduced to Constantinople by Ottoman Turks. The world's first coffee shop, Kiva Han, opens there in 1475. Turkish law makes it legal for a woman to divorce her husband if he fails to provide her with her daily quota of coffee.
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