Member Questionnaire 1 (JuneBlythe)What is beauty? What is love?
Beauty is an aesthetic preference, but it's also a choice. Not only are there a limitless number of ways to see beauty, there's also the possibility of not choosing to see beauty at all.What are your most important values?
Love is a passive form of validating a person's worth and their place in this world. If someone respects me and wishes me well in my life, I consider that more loving than a lot of demonstrations I usually see tagged as love.
My most important values center around equality for all people and an unfailing respect for their autonomy.Do you have any sort of spiritual/religious beliefs, and why do you hold (or don't) those beliefs in the first place?
I consider myself to be a Neo-Pagan, though I'm rarely outwardly religious (as far as talking about my religion or performing any rituals). I believe that all creatures have a distinct spirit, from humans, to animals, to plants, to rocks. I believe that because I feel it to be true. Ever since I was a little girl I've always felt that everything around me was alive and intelligent in a way that I couldn't describe. I tend to pray to physical things around me (trees, the Sun or Moon) because I feel like there's a sympathy between us that brings me comfort.Opinion on war and militaries? What is power to you?
My vision of an ultimate God is of a genderless, intelligent, generally passive energy that lies in everything. I believe in that because it makes more sense to me than a God that is separate and judging. I don't feel like I even could believe in no God.
I think in this day and age, given all of the ways that we have to communicate and all of the knowledge that we have of what war does to both the participants and civilians, the fact that we can't (or won't) solve our problems with discussion and reason is ridiculous and shameful.What have you had long conversations about? What are your interests? Why?
Power to me is personal. It's about options and freedom. If people have the freedom to make the choices they feel they want or need to make and those choices are available to them, then they have power. A lot of people who are placed high up in society seem to feel that restricting the freedom of others brings them more power, but since I think power is a personal thing, I don't believe that any person can have more power than is granted to any one person. It isn't a thing that you can accumulate, like money. I don't see power and control as the same thing. Power makes a society stronger because it makes individual people stronger. Control kills a society because it kills the individuals in that society.
Long conversations are not something that I get involved in very often. It's not so much that I wouldn't enjoy that (I would), it's just that I don't know a lot of people with similar interests to me. Off the top of my head, the long conversations I've actually been a part of usually revolve around healthcare, alternative healthcare, the school system, politics, cultural patriarchy.Interested in health/medicine as a conversation topic? Are you focused on your body?
My interests: Alternative religion, feminism, popular culture/media, foreign cultures, mythology, spirituality, architecture, dream interpretation, cooking, keeping various journals (from personal impressions to things learned, recipes made, future goals, to do lists), drawing, painting, travelling, road trips, gardening, herbalism, art history, astrology (medieval or Hellenistic). Why? Because I find them personally fulfilling. Some of them help me understand the world I find myself in, some of them help me express myself. I think the biggest benefit is understanding, though. If I can understand how society works, how people work, I guess I feel more at home and comfortable in the world.
Definitely. I think health and medicine are important topics to talk about because so much of who we are depends on our health. I am focused on my body, but in a way that's helpful rather than harmful. I practice HAES (Health at Every Size) and believe that body acceptance, towards myself and others, is one of the biggest keys to true health. I think that focusing on healthy eating to the exclusion of the fact that many people can't afford/don't have access to healthy food is extremely harmful. I think I should stop here, because I could go on a rant that lasts for 100 years.What do you think of daily chores?
I think that chores need to be attended to, but generally aren't as big a deal as people make. As far as I'm concerned, if you see something that needs to be done, do it. If you don't want to do it, don't complain if the people around you don't get to it right away. If there are dishes in the sink that I need and I wasn't the last one to use them, I'll simply clean them. If there's clutter in the living room that I didn't make and I want it clean, I'll pick it up. I don't understand the people who make a fuss over things like that. The whole idea that in order to pick up you need to first form a committee, discuss what needs to be done and who's going to do it, yell a little bit, and then do it. What a waste of energy.Books or films you liked? Recently read/watched or otherwise. Examples welcome.
Films: The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Hugo, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Amelie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Practical Magic, Inkheart, Shirley Valentine, Sleepless in Seattle, Woman on Top, Chocolat, Real Women Have Curves.What has made you cry? What has made you smile? Why?
As for books, I read a lot more non-fiction than fiction. The non-fiction books are on any topics that I find interesting at the time, from mathematics to cooking. Off the top of my head (I'm in the process of moving and my books are packed away), my favorite non-fiction books are:
If You Want to Write-Brenda Ueland
Women Who Run With the Wolves-Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Christian Astrology-William Lilly
The Houses-Temples of the Sky-Deborah Houlding
The Book of Herbal Wisdom-Matthew Wood
The Herbal Medicine Maker's Handbook-James Green
Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes-Tessa Kiros
... and anything by John Holt, John Taylor Gatto, Grace Llewellyn, Joseph Campbell.
As far as fiction goes I love Terry Pratchett, Jane Austen, Jack London, Agatha Christie, Hermann Hesse, Douglas Adams, Alan Bradley, Diana Wynne Jones.
Arguments make me cry, almost every time, as well as problems at work. I think I cry during arguments when I don't feel like I'm understood and about problems at work (never actually at work) when I feel overwhelmed by my work load. Watching happy moments, like on tv shows or movies, makes me smile. It's usually pretty unconscious. I think it makes me smile just because other people are smiling. Happy moments can be pretty contagious.Where do you feel: at one with the environment/a sense of belonging?
I feel that way at the beach. There's only one town I've ever been in where I felt that way, which really says a lot since I've moved about 15 times since I was born. It was really small, in the mountains, with a decent tourist trade because of a music festival. The energy of the town was so laid back, but still interested in life and creative.What have people seen as your weaknesses? What do you dislike about yourself?
I think people see my passiveness as my biggest weakness. Of course, I've also been called opinionated and prideful, so who knows.What have people seen as your strengths? What do you like about yourself?
I dislike my passiveness. I have a bad habit of accepting really bad treatment from the people around me so long as they're usually nice, especially family members. I wish I were more confrontational and not so afraid of confrontations.
I think people see my intelligence as my biggest strength.In what areas of your life would you like help?
I like that I'm intelligent. I think I have good taste in art. I love my curiosity and that I don't feel like anything is too difficult for me to learn. I like that I'm willing to learn new things and see things from different perspectives and that I don't always have to be right.
The concrete aspects of my life. I don't really have any goals for the future that are solid, I don't have any plans. I just feel like I'm aimless.Ever feel stuck in a rut? If yes, describe the causes and your reaction to it.
Yes. The most recent time I've felt stuck in a rut was because I was living in an apartment out in the country, during winter, and didn't have easy or cheap access to the closest city. I didn't want to go out and walk in the gross weather, so I just sat inside, day after day. I became increasingly withdrawn and moody and just generally felt bored. There really wasn't anything around that I wanted to be exposed to and all of the things I usually rely upon (books, internet, cooking) felt totally insubstantial.What qualities do you most like and dislike in other people? What types do you get along with?
I don't like people who are very aggressive or people who are emotionally manipulative. I like people who are calm, who don't have to fill every moment with conversation, who are always learning something new.How do you feel about romance/sex? What qualities do you want in a partner?
I don't really know what types I get along with. I don't usually type the people around me.
I don't really talk about this subject often. I don't usually feel attracted to someone unless I know them very well-their emotional and intellectual makeup is more important than the way they look, so I don't date a lot. I would never feel comfortable sleeping with someone unless I felt like I really knew them. I feel kind of blank trying to think about my opinion on romance. I'm not really demonstrative like that and I find overt romantic gestures to be kind of weird and awkward.If you were to raise a child, what would be your main concerns, what measures would you take, and why?
In a partner, I'd like someone who is kind and intelligent. Interested in the world, not aggressive or controlling, not prone to spending money on a whim. I think I'd like a partner who's a good friend, more than anything else. Not to say that I don't also want passion, but I think feeling understood and emotionally safe is generally more important.
My main concerns would be making sure that said child grows up feeling loved and taken care of. I grew up in a good amount of poverty and I'd hate to think that any child I'd raise would go without food or clothes that aren't gross. I also grew up with a parent who was a hothead and I would love to combat that tendency in my family by being calm and understanding. I would want our home to be a safe place, where it's possible to be yourself without fear. I want any child I raise to feel like they can go out into the world as a whole person, rather than going out into the world feeling like nothing.A friend makes a claim that clashes with your current beliefs. What is your inward and outward reaction?
As a child I wouldn't have said anything, but now I would probably say that I don't agree. I wouldn't necessarily get into a confrontation with them, but I would make it clear that that's not a topic I want discussed around me. My inward reaction would be me asking myself if I actually want this person in my life.Describe your relationship to society. How do you see people as a whole? What do you consider a prevalent social problem? Name one.
My relationship to society is weird. I think I'm a decent person. I get my work done and I do it perfectly (according to my bosses!), I pay my bills, I'm respectful. Still, I don't really feel like I fit in with anyone. Even with people who have the same interests I do or people who are very accepting. I usually make choices that don't line up with any one group, so it feels like there's always something about me that people give the side eye.How do you choose your friends and how do you behave around them?
I think people as a whole could do with a lot more...thought. Consideration of their actions and beliefs.
So many. I think if I had to choose I would say that rape culture and the culture of victim blaming are two of the biggest problems our society has.
Honestly, I don't do a whole lot of friend choosing. My friends are usually people that I've worked with, but I wouldn't say I'm very close to them. How I behave depends on the person. If I trust them and know them well I can be talkative and say what's on my mind. If I don't I'm much quieter and usually don't give straight answers.How do you behave around strangers?
If the stranger is outgoing and talkative, I can be talkative too. At least to a certain degree. Most of the time I'm quiet and don't do a lot of talking. I really don't initiate conversations.