May 12, 2007

Meme: 8 True Things

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:17 pm by nevavegan

Note: I’m burying this post because it’s really just TMI, but I’ll link to it for Pattrice

Tagged by Pattrice Jones of Superweed I’ve been asked to write 8 True Things about myself and then tag others to do the same.

I won’t tag anyone, but I will say that if you think this is fun, you should definitely do it. If you like it, consider yourself tagged.

I’m trying to think of 8 things that I haven’t already covered on this blog.

Funny that Pattrice also tagged Isa and she said much of her life is embarrassing or TMI. Um, yeah, me too, and then some. I think I’ll post it anyway and I really hope you guys will laugh, not recoil in horror. I hope all this doesn’t make me look insane. People have strange responses to things sometimes.

1. I really like “vintage” (read that as from the thrift store) full slips. I love things like that, lacey, feminine, but old and soft, washed until they’re practically transparent, layered up over each other. But over the years I wore out my collection I got from the Salvation Army in Harrisonburg (they finally just gave out and crumbled into dust—I had more repaired holes than I had original fabric on them), and it seemed like too much of an indulgence to go out and hunt for vintage slips when there are so many animals to take care of. But I loved that feeling I’d get when I’d find one for $1.50 hidden in rack full of junk and it was so beautiful. I have a few still that don’t fit sadly, hence the not-worn-outness. Maybe one day I’ll renew my vintage clothing collection, though I think it’s harder now. There are more Salvation Army hunters than there used to be. I also loved vintage peasanty type dresses and anything lacey or frilly. Though now that I’m not in school, I don’t really have much occasion to wear such things. It’s not like I can wear them to work. So now when I second-hand shop I tend to get stuff that’s more work appropriate, though there’s always that temptation to get stuff that isn’t work-appropriate if it’s really cheap.

2. I really, really love the show Battlestar Gallactica. The new one, that is. I’m obsessed. But I never watched the original, so I get kind of lost if I try to discuss anything Battlestar with the really hardcore fans.

3. Apparently I have a phone voice that doesn’t match my appearance. I recorded the messages for Sean’s voicemail. One time when I was working at a non-profit my male co-worker called Sean. Then he said to me “I want you to introduce to the woman who’s on Sean’s voicemail. She has a beautiful voice.” I said “Stop being stupid, that’s me!” He didn’t believe me. He kept insisting it had to be someone else.

This also might be related to the nervousness I often feel speaking to people in person. Face to face my voice tends to gets higher, I sometimes stutter, my voice gets softer too. Unless I’m comfortable with the people I’m speaking with in which case I might get really loud. Anyway, on the phone I’m less apprehensive and my natural speaking voice comes through.

4. As a child I think I was the opposite of many girls and I wonder if this is really abnormal, and how warped it means I am. For example I liked spiders and snakes, but I had an intense fear of horses. This meant a certain alienation from some other little girls who only wanted to play with their collections of 100 plastic horses. They’d say, come over and bring your horses (because you didn’t touch another girl’s plastic horses, just your own). I didn’t have any horses; I was scared of them (not the small plastic models, but having a phobia of the real thing didn’t make collecting the plastic ones all that appealing).

I think I was scared of horses because I thought they’d stomp on me and crush me.

But I was the only kid in my 3rd grade class who would hold the tarantula in my hand when we took a field trip to the Natural History Museum. The woman leading the tour asked who would hold and pet the big furry spider and I said “hey, me, me! I want to hold the spider.” (yes, I realize now it’s bad for museums to keep live animals in tanks.) Though maybe some of that had to do with my love of spiderman, who knows. Another possible explanation, I lived with spiders, rats, mice, and bugs on a continuing basis and so I was accustomed to and also fascinated by these creatures. This doesn’t stop me though from freaking out when I accidentally walk through spider webs while walking the dogs and wind up with a spider in my hair or on my face. Spiders belong in webs, not on my nose crawling toward my eyes.

I no longer have a horse phobia and I’ve petted rescued horses in sanctuaries, but I think I’ll always be a little nervous around them.

Also, not like other girls, while most of my friends talked a lot about wanting to marry their crush of the moment or talking about how beautiful their weddings would be, I had terrible nightmares about weddings and marriage, culminating in the worst nightmare right after my uncle’s wedding. I was given a piece of cake in a small box and told to put it under my pillow so I’d dream about the man I was going to marry. I dreamed that I was forced to marry this awful, old, obese man in filthy overalls and then as soon as we were alone together he started chasing me with an ax trying to kill me. There’s more to that dream but I’ll stop while I sound only mildly insane.

5. I spent my younger childhood belonging to what is more or less a religious cult, albeit one of the older, more established, and somewhat less harmful cults. It was my mother’s thing—my father never joined, but my mother went and took us kids. We didn’t live on a compound or anything like that. We apparently got some hate mail when we were discovered by neighbors to be cult members.

I began noticing as a young adult that many “Christians” really railed against the religion I grew up in and accused adherents of all sorts of strange things, the majority of which were not even remotely true. Funny to turn on the radio and hear some Christian broadcaster saying that the religion you grew up in practices polygamy (no, that’s a different group and even they don’t do that any longer), believes that Jesus appeared to Native Americans (no, again, that’s the other group), and that angels talk directly to them, but what they’re actually hearing are demons (no idea where that one came from).

I’ve had people say pretty inflammatory things around me about that religion because I think they assume that people who are in/have been in cults will look and act different from everyone else.

As with everything, there were some really good, kind, dedicated people involved with that religion, and then there were also some really lost souls. There are certainly aspects of that religion I didn’t like and for me at least, some very good reasons I didn’t stay with it. I think that it’s still illegal in some “developed nations” to belong to this religion. Though I could definitely go anywhere in the US and probably much of the world and seek out the little circle of believers and fall right in and have a ready made family waiting, if I just return to the faith. Which is really, really strange to think about.

Since then I’ve never wanted to join another cult and react pretty strongly against environments in which questioning and free-thinking are discouraged. Despite that I nearly got swept up in quite a different cult when I was 17. I was going to “meditation meetings” and the members of the group wanted me to lie to my parents and leave town with them, even though I was still a minor, and even though they were being evasive about exactly why I needed to leave with them. One was a teacher and offered to lie to my parents and tell them I was going with her on a required field trip for school. I got out of there pretty quickly.

6. One summer during college I sublet a room in an apartment and I ended up sharing it with “Jesus freaks.” Talk about a cult…

Anyway, they were part of some small evangelical group that not only believed in baptism, but also believed that Jesus spoke directly to his followers and intervened in daily life. This was somewhat funny when the wife would ask the husband what he wanted for dinner and his response was “Don’t ask me! Ask the lord!” and then she would go to spend some time in private prayer over what to fix for dinner.

This was less amusing when Jesus apparently told the husband that his wife needed to be punished for her excessive pride and the punishment Jesus wanted was for her to have to wear underwear on her head in front of the neighbors as she marched outside to the dumpster to throw away all her non-religious pictures and posters.

Even less amusing when the old man who was the leader of the group came over to visit, and slept with the 19 year old sister of the husband, and they all called him “Daddy.” Eeep, was I glad to move out of that place.

Looking back I can’t believe that when I moved in and they said “We just really love Jesus” I was thinking “That’s good. This is going to be so much better than having roommates that party and drink all the time.” Oh, I could kick myself.

But sometimes when someone asks me a stupid question I have this awful temptation to reply “Don’t ask me, ask the lord!” The line also works better when said with quite the Southern accent.

7. My real actual name is Neva, but sometimes people don’t believe me. It’s a family name, my grandmother’s name. It’s also a river in Russia. Sometimes when I give someone my name they then ask what my “real name” is.

My friend asked me go to her Wiccan Equinox celebration with her (National Geographic channel was there to film and I asked them to please not film me and they were like “we understand, you’re afraid of persecution” and I said “no, I just have no idea what I’m doing, I don’t know the ritual, I’m just a guest, so I’m not going to be a good example for your ‘the hidden world of Wicca.’ film”*). Anyway, people kept saying to me “Oh, that’s your ‘craft name,’ but what’s your real name.” I hadn’t realized I was going someplace where people would introduce themselves as “Star Wolf” and just assumed I was doing the same.

Once when I called the help desk at work, the tech answering asked “what’s your name?” When I answered he started laughing and said “Whoooeeee, what were your parents thinking when they came up with that one?”

On a few occasions there’s been someone who knows my name and I’ve spoken to them on the phone and then when I finally meet them in person they’ve said “What? You’re white? With a name like yours I thought you were Indian/Black/Asian/Hispanic/etc.” Sometimes people will say “oh, your parents were hippies too? I came this close to being named Rainbow Moonchild.” So then I have to explain.

There are other Neva’s out there though, mostly I only hear of them second-hand though. There’s another Neva with my company but she works from a different office and I’ve talked to her on the phone. Sometimes though people at work will call me up and launch into a conversation and I’ll have no idea what they’re talking about and it’s kind of frustrating until we realize they meant to call the other Neva.

Sometimes when people meet me and learn my name for the first time they lecture me on the origins of my name or tell me that I pronounce it wrong. Some people have said that “Neh-vuh” is the right pronunciation, which I hate. One guy said the right pronunciation is “Ni-Ave-uh.” Strange. People have told me that my name is Native American, but originally a male name, or that my name is Spanish, Indian, African, etc. They’ve told me it means snow, they’ve told me it means white, they’ve told me it means shaman or angel.

Only Russians don’t tell me I mispronounce my name or say anything about the origin. Instead they smile and say “Neva? So, you must be Russian.” When I say I’m not Russian, they persist “How did you get this name?” “I’m named for my grandmother.” “Ah, that’s it, your grandmother is Russian.” “Um, no…” “Then her mother was Russian?”…

There is a Neva in the book “House of Spirits” and also in “The Martian Chronicles.”

8. When I was in Italy with my brother, he spent a lot of time making out with/having sex with his girl friend in fairly public places and so it became incumbent on me to get lost, but also not to go too far as women (especially really young looking women) tend to get harassed in Italy.

On one such occasion I went a little away from my brother and his girlfriend in a public park. I was wearing a really long flowered skirt, I kicked off my shoes, my hair was really wild and had taken on a mind of its own. I sat on the grass, barefoot, surrounded by dandelions and buttercups.

To pass the time I picked them and began weaving and braiding them into necklaces and bracelets as I often did for my sister at home. People somehow got the impression that I was some kind of homeless wild girl (I was 22 but honestly I looked about 14) and started lining up to buy my weedy jewelry from me and seemed perplexed when I just gave it to them and waved away the money they offered me. I wasn’t going to take money for dandelions and buttercups that were going to wilt in 15 minutes in the sun and heat.

*Funny thing about the National Geographic film. At one point in the ritual we were supposed to be passing around bowls that represented the elements and then tossing stuff into a “fire pit.” Anyway, I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I was wearing some unusual rings and bracelets, so the film crew started filming me up close. I asked them why and they said “Don’t worry we didn’t film your face, but it was such a great image of your hands so we zoomed in on them.” So somewhere there’s a film on Wicca with images of my hands, unless they cut them out. Which again, is strange to think about.


1 Comment »

  1. SuperWeed said,

    My phone/radio voice also leads people to imagine a woman who looks very different than me.

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