The Liebster Award

liebsterSo… I got nominated for the Liebster Award by Anonywitch, which is probably the coolest thing to happen to me all day.  It’s a mix of a getting-to-know-you, get-more-followers, and someone-thinks-you’re-pretty-awesome award.  I’m very flattered to be nominated.

So the way that it works is this: I share 11 facts about me, answer the 11 questions I was given, nominate 11 people who have less than 200 followers and ask them 11 questions as well.

So let’s start with the facts:

1) I live in the southeast in probably one of the more-or-less conservative areas . This might not be a surprise to anyone since the tagline for this blog is “Confessions of a Lesbian Pagan in the South,” but what might surprise you is that I actually like living in the south.  I was born and raised here, and while it has faults, it is my home.  I lived in Massachusetts for a year during graduate school, and enjoyed it, but I was happy to be home.  My family comes first, however, and if some laws don’t change soon, I may be forced to move to protect my family’s basic rights.

2) I listen to the Christian Satellite Network to unwind after stressful days at work. It is a super guilty pleasure.  Preachers/Ministers generally have a certain tone to their voices, and listening to them talk after work helps me focus and unwind.  It’s also a lot less energy and low key after dealing with high school kids all day.  Every now and then, they’ll pop out with some anti-homosexual or anti-pagan commercial or comment, which makes my eye twitch, but it’s not as common as you might think.  And sometimes it’s just entertaining, especially when they try to guilt trip their followers into paying them money.

3) I have a nervous habit of picking at my fingers.  To the point of making the bleed sometimes, and I think it might be related to undiagnosed adult ADHD.  I have a lot of the classic symptoms (inability to sit still, focus, or stay organized), and I’m considering talking to a doctor about it this summer once school is out.  I would prefer to avoid medications, so I’m going to try other things to help me focus first before I resort to medications about it.  I’m going to wait to see how getting back into my workout schedule over the summer helps, and if I don’t feel improved by the end of June, I’m going to make an appointment.

4) I’ve considered, on multiple occasions, to go to Seminary. I feel as if I ever decide to get out of education, I’ll go into ministry.  I’m not sure where I would go: There’s Cherry Hill Seminary in Columbia, SC, but there are also multiple Unitarian Universalist seminaries around as well.  If I decided to, I’d also get side-certified to do Cosmic Masses, which is the service of a branch of Christianity known as Creation Spirituality.  Howard Hanger from Jubilee Community Church in Asheville, NC, has a Creation Spirituality church there that I love.  He makes everyone feel welcomed there, Christian or otherwise.  He trained a woman in Columbia, and there’s a church there as well, but you can get certified online at any point in time too.

5) I’ve been Kemetic since I was in high school. And I’ve seen the Gods work amazing things in my life.  They gave me the strength and the patience to graduate from college and graduate school.  They directed me onto the path I am currently, and through Them, I have had a fairly easy journey.  I firmly believe that when you are on the path the Gods desire you to be on that you will flourish where you are.  They will open doors where They will and give you the opportunity to walk through them.  It truly is amazing.

6) I purposefully refuse to teach the top-of-the-class students. My education for teaching was concentrated in urban education.  I completed my student teaching and intern teaching in a high-minority, low-income, low-performing school.  I stressed during my interview my desire to work with underprivileged teenagers, and in the three years that I have taught here, I’ve refused honors level students (even when they tried to give them to me).  I love teenagers.  I think their age and world-view is fascinating.  They’re open to listening if you’re open to listening.  My state test scores have been (this year and last) in the top three for teachers with low-performing students.  (Last year was 98% passing with over half with an A or B, and this year is looking to be around 83% with a large percentage of those kids being second-year ninth graders.)

7) I don’t have naturally curly hair. I get it permed, but I go through cycles where I will get it permed, then cut it off, then grow it out, and then perm it again.  This is the longest time I’ve had consecutively curly hair, but I’m in the process of growing it out so I can start wearing my hair up more.  I use to wear it really short, but after I went into education, I worried that I wouldn’t be able to get a job.  That’s proven to be NOT true, but that was my original fear.

8) I am completely out at my job and many people know of and have met Erin. My boss even welcomes her and shakes her hand each times she visits.  She’s helped out with club induction ceremonies.  Many of my students have met her, and love her.  It’s a wonderful feeling to feel okay about my family at work and not have to worry about my losing my job in a state where they can fire you for being gay.  I was nervous at first, but over the last three years, I’ve had lots of reassurance and welcoming smiles.

9) I absolutely HATE things going towards my eyes.  This includes contacts and that devil-made air puff things at the doctor’s office that checks you for glaucoma.  I was fitted for contacts one time in my life, and I wore them twice, and never went back.  It FREAKS ME OUT.  You are touching… your EYE with those things…  It just… ugh.

10) I taught myself to knit. Back when I had this idea that I was going to go to medical school, I studied for the MCAT for two months.  Three days before the exam, I realized all this stuff that I still didn’t know because I hadn’t gotten to that section yet.  Instead of cramming, I went to the local craft store and bought a book, some yarn and a set of needles.  I spent the next three days knitting.  It helped me calm down.  I ended up bombing the MCAT, but it’s okay because I realized that my heart wasn’t in medicine anyway.

11) Out of all the spiritual-elements, Air is my favorite. And I spent a lot of time denying that while I was growing up.  I use to be fascinated by fire, and use to try really, really hard to be a fire-focused pagan, but it never worked out.  I felt like I was trying to hard.  My sign has always and will always be air, and I’m okay with that… now.  It’s the element of thought and planning, it’s the only element that can touch each of the other elements and have an effect on them without being harmed itself.  It’s the element of mediation and communication.

And that was the hardest thing I’ve done all day, and I’ve managed to quiet 28 teenagers for 3 hours to take a state-exam, so I think that’s saying something.  Hopefully the question section to follow will be easier:

What is one thing about you that people can’t tell just by looking at you?
I just asked this question to a student (it’s after exams, and they are getting an XBox day to celebrate to doing so well on the state exam).  She just responded with, “That you’re a man.”  And then she said, “That you’re gay.”  And then she said, “That you’re the best teacher ever.  I’d probably agree with all those, and then add that I’m pagan on top of that.  I don’t consider myself cis-gendered, I’m not really obviously gay when you look at me, and I’m just including the awesome teacher bit to stroke my own ego.

What’s your favorite dessert?
Chocolate cake.  Or anything chocolate, really.  I love chocolate.  Chocolate ice cream, chocolate candy, chocolate covered fruit… I have a chocolate addiction, and it can sometimes be bad.

How do you wake up in the morning?
Generally to the sound of my alarm.  And then the sound of my second alarm.  And then the sound of Erin’s alarm blaring, “Wake me up when it’s all over… When I’m wiser and I’m older.”  I feel like there’s some irony or something in that somewhere.  After that, Erin usually pulls me back into a cuddle, so it’s usually after my first snooze alarm goes off before I actually get out of bed.  If it’s a weekend, I’m usually up around 8:30AM to 9:00AM because I work on weekends doing homebound teaching for students who can’t attend school because of medical reasons.

Who do you think has the most potential to fix the world: politicians, activists, or regular folks (or none of the above)?
The people. By becoming vocal.  Politicians’ jobs are at the mercy of the voters.  Activists tend to be vocal, but sometimes get on the general public’s nerves and end up doing harm to their cause instead of good.  Changing the minds of the people ends up changing the world, and minds are changed through education and desensitization through communication and understanding.  The world will change eventually, and it’ll happen because the people want it to.

Which book has most changed your life and how?
This is going to sound really funny, but the book that most changed my life is called F*ck it: The Ultimate Spiritual Way by John C. Parkin.  This book is all about getting into situations that might be out of your control or better left not in your complete control and learning to say “Fuck it.”  It’s a way to gain control over stress, anger, and control issues in your life by forcing yourself to let go of the things in your life that are beyond your control.  Often times, we spend so much time trying to be in charge of our lives that we end up creating more stress and negativity.

Another book that has really done a lot for me is called Awakening Osiris: A New Translation of the Egyptian Book of the Dead by Normandi Ellis.  This book has given me a deeper spiritual connection to the Gods than any other book I’ve read so far.

Whom do you admire? Why?
My brother.  He is 22-years-old, with learning disabilities and other medical things, and has been through more stuff in his short life than most go through in theirs before they die of old age.  And through everything he’s been through, he’s always been upbeat and positive.  He’s insanely smart when it comes to electronics and is always will to help others when they need it.  He’s friendly to everyone he meets, and I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t like him.  He’s definitely my hero.

What fictional character are you most like?
This is a tough one.  I’m going to say Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  She’s a witch, gay, and a nerd.  She’s wickedly smart and loyal to her friends.  But she isn’t without her faults, and she doesn’t handle hurt or pain well.  She has moments where she lets her emotions get the best of her.  I feel like that fits me pretty well.

Tell me about your tattoos. If you don’t have any, what tattoo(s) would you like to get?
I have eight tattoos.  Four on my legs and four on my shoulders/upper body.  The first on I got was an ankh tattoo on my upper left chest.  The flash art that I found was a cross, but I liked the way it was drawn and told the artist that I wanted it to be an ankh.  The artist redrew it into the shape of an ankh.  The next are in no particular order:  I have a scarab beetle on my left upper back.  I have an eye of Ra on my right shoulder.  Next, there’s a set of runes on my right shoulder (Algiz over Dagaz: Protective transportation).  The next set of runes on on the back of my right leg: Algiz, Kenaz, and Mannaz (To safely gain knowledge of oneself as well as mankind as a whole).  The tattoo that I have that means the most is the one on my left calf on the side: it’s my zodiac symbol and my sister’s.  She has one that matches.  My most resent are my favorites as of right now: There’s my alchemy element tattoo on my left leg and the DNA strand on my right.  The alchemy tattoo was drawn specifically for me from my (horrible) drawing idea and the DNA tattoo I drew up.  If you follow it out to the protein, it spell out the word AIR in one-letter protein symbols, which is what my element is.

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You can click these for larger views
What do you find beautiful?
I find life beautiful.  I think this planet, with all its inhabitants, is beautiful.  I think there is beauty in creation.  As they say at Jubilee Community Church in Asheville, “All creation is wisdom and Holy word.  All creation sings of wisdom and God.  Hallelujah!”  And that, my friends, is beautiful.
What is your signature dish? (Something you actually can and do make.)
I think I can safely say that my signature dish is my curry recipe.  I’ve made it with chicken and with tofu, and it’s pretty damn good both ways.  It’s a modified recipe that I found on Pinterest to make it more creamier because Erin and I both our curry saucy.  It took me a few tries, but I want to make it a family recipe, so I need to get the exact measurements and write it down.  Right now I just eyeball it, and it is absolutely FANTASTIC.  Erin says it’s her favorite too.

How do you channel your creativity?
Through writing.  I’ve been working on a novel, but it’s a slow going with work.  It’ll probably never be published, but it’s fun to story tell.  I love writing.  And I’m fairly good at it: fiction and non-fiction.  I’m the writer on my advisory board at work.  If they need anything written, they give the assignment to me.

So here’s my nominations, and unfortunately, I don’t think I have eleven blogs (because I’m super picky) and I’m not sure if the following are under 200 followers either (some didn’t have they numbers listed), but these are some that I’ve really enjoyed reading for various reasons:

  1. ChickletsMums
  2. Attempting to Find Sunshine
  3. Upholding Ma’at
  4. Setjataset (Madam Magick)
  5. The Crossroads Forest

And those five are all I have!  I need to find more blogs!!  So if the five above so choose, here’s my eleven questions for you:

  1. Are you singled, dating or married?  If dating or married, how did you and your partner meet?  If you’re single, are you looking to date someone are you happily single or both?
  2. Do you have any pets?  What are they and their names?
  3. What is your favorite book and why?
  4. What class did you enjoy the most in school?
  5. Who was your most influential teacher growing up?
  6. Where do you go to unwind or relax?
  7. If you could vacation anywhere on the planet, where would you go and why?
  8. Where do you see yourself in five years?
  9. What movie could you watch every day and not get bored of?
  10. Do you have a favorite category of food (like italian or mexican)?  What is it?
  11. Why did you start blogging?

Okay, so to keep it going: give eleven facts about yourself, answer these eleven questions, nominate eleven other bloggers (or as many as you can in my case) and then create eleven new questions for your nominees to answer!  Don’t forget to link back to this blog if you decide to participate.

Have a great evening!

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Posted on May 23, 2014, in Blog Awards and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. That’s very cool of you to refuse to teach top-of-the-class students in favor of those who need more support. I’m also very glad you’re able to be out at work. I live in a really liberal area, so am blessed in that way that being out is no big deal at all. I’m glad you’ve had good experiences in your area, where it seems far more dicey. ❤ (from one lesbian teacher to another)

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