alexmegami: (Default)
Hey guys,

As you may have noticed (:P), I've been participating in LJIdol for the last several weeks. Now we're down to about 150 people, and my continued ability to stay in the competition is in question (I've had rather low standings the past couple of weeks).

So, if you feel so inclined, could you drop me a vote? I'm in Tribe 3.

And I promise not to shill any more after this. ;)
alexmegami: (Default)
"If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now." - Zaphod Beeblebrox, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy


Your hobbies are intrinsically about you, some core aspect of your personality. Even if your hobbies only go as far as "that's what my friends like to do", that tells you something about yourself - even if it's just that you're a follower who's more interested in going with the flow than actually figuring out your own likes and dislikes.

The worst is when you have hobbies that no one else around you enjoys. Extra points if they've never even heard of it, or have only heard of the most basic examples of it. ("Japanimation" =/= "Sailor Moon"! Do you remember the days when it used to be called Japanimation? Now I really feel old.)

My fellow-geeks-well-met will recognize this, but I suspect it's true of anyone with a really obscure hobby (model trains? stamp collecting?). The first time you meet other people like you - people who love to dress up as their favorite characters, who can discuss the endless minutiae of the slight differences in stamp print runs, whose goal in life is to own the entire set of the American Flyer series - that's the greatest moment in the world.

You've been validated. Other people not only understand your love, they share it.

It's coming home.

There will always be the crotchety elders of the family ("I remember when you had to walk six miles uphill both ways in the blazing heat just to get a glimpse of Shatner while filming Wrath of Khan!"), and the younger generation with their boundless energy and their complete lack of social etiquette (I was that kid that would use Japanese words in every other sentence, regardless of my conversational partner) and there's sometimes, yes, the creepy old uncle who takes it too far, even by family standards.

Because they're still your tribe: they understood, when no one else did. And sometimes that can hurt, when they fuck up. But it can be fantastic. It can keep you going when nothing else can.

And sometimes you'll move on, find another family of choice, but - barring severe exceptions - you'll probably look back on that time with fondness.

What is it like to have a deep, abiding interest in something that's well-accepted by the world? Is there such a thing? (TV probably doesn't fit this - I have a suspicion that your average Joe would look askance at your average Troper, for example. Nor your job - we call those "workaholics". Celebrities? Sports?)

What is your deep, abiding love? What kept you going when nothing else did?
alexmegami: (Default)
I was not raised as a religious person.

Unlike most of my friends, I didn't go to church as a child. My father was an ex-Catholic (as of age 14) and my mother was ostensibly Anglican, although if you'd ever asked me I would have definitely called her a New Age spiritualist (she claims now to be Buddhist). I was baptized, but other than funerals, weddings, or youth group meetings, the number of times I have been in a church can be counted on one hand, and I am 27.

I know some people who grew up hurt by their church, in a direct fashion - such as verbal and emotional abuse. I know some who were hurt indirectly - through teachings that said they were somehow lesser. I know those who were hurt because their church had no answers for the tragedies of the world - the deaths of those we thought were too young to die. I know people who love their church and I know those who left it for other spiritual paths and never looked back.

I consider myself basically an atheist, or sometimes a henotheist lacking a deity. All gods could be equally real, and are; whether they are archetypes, actual divine beings within our universe, or transcendent beings matters very little to me (although I tend to lean towards the former, hence the atheism).

I've tried many religions at varying points in my life. In fifth grade, when we got our little red Gideons, I read it nightly for about a month, following the guide in the front of the book to learn about Jesus. I prayed. When nothing happened, I decided God didn't exist or didn't want to talk to me, and that was the end of that. I still enjoyed churches the few times I went into them, but it always felt the same way, as though someone was saying "this is not the right place for you".

At various points, I have tried different flavours of paganism - Hellenismos being the one I most frequently circle back to, because I adore the Greek gods, but I poked at the Roman gods, Wicca, Kemeticism (Ancient Egyptian reconstructionism, which I also circle back to), eclectic witchcraft (both religious and not), the Norse pantheon, and the Celtic pantheon. I got varying levels of response to these attempts, ranging from "eh, this doesn't really work for me" all the way through to "everything about this feels wrongbad".

And yet, sometimes I feel like there is this ritual space inside my head and it is taking up space, waiting to be filled with... something. But what?

This is what I have been struggling with for... many months. It's strange to talk about with people. How can you need ritual without someone to dedicate it to? We have so few non-religious rituals that it's almost impossible to conceive; the ones we do have are generally markers of the passing of time (birthdays, graduations, weddings, funerals).

I started reading about orthopraxy (right acts) and orthodoxy (right belief). It was... at least a little illuminating. Maybe I don't need the belief in the god(s); I just need to find a set of acts that makes sense in the world, above and beyond the religion they are attached to. Maybe what I need is a theology that has me put away the shopping carts.

But isn't that just taking my ethical views and implementing them? Walk the walk as you talk the talk.

Maybe it is. But there's still that niggling need for ritual... But maybe as I walk my talk, the ritual will become obvious.
alexmegami: (Default)
So this is how I'm going to do it: as part of LJ Idol Season 8. :D

Now to get to work on my Week 1 entry. *rubs hands together*

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