Frank, holy shit was that really the guy's name? That invented the Pap smear? That is a NAME! If I were him, I'd shorten that to "Pap", too!
My name is unusual enough that people have come up with nicknames. It's Teressa, but pronounced like Clarissa. Like "Ter-AH-sa". I've been named Tressa, Tress, T, Tess, and Ann (my middle name.) As a child, mispronunciations of my name drove me bonkers. Not so much these days. I joke and tell people "I'll respond to anything but cursewords, and even then that depends on how close we are."
It's something I discussed with Rayhawk and Sistersolace, actually. Names, especially online names, and how they often eclipse our actual names. It makes sense - if you've been calling someone one thing for years, (say by LJ moniker) - it's going to feel a little unnatural to call them by their real name. So in meeting these people who are terrifically close to me, it's funny to note that using real names, personal names, is tricky. I mean, you'd think someone so close could easily be called by their first name. Not so in the world of online relationships.
Although it turned out Rayhawk IS Rayhawk's actual name. I remember being incredulous when I found that out. It's such a cool name that I was like "Really? How is that possible? NEAT!"
I don't clearly remember how "Quirkytizzy" came about. Maybe from an old friend who said something along the lines of "you're quirky and you're always in a tizzy." A fair and accurate statement. And as Rayhawk said, "You're always going to be Tizzy to me." Given the amount of material, work, and intimacy I've shared in this journal, under the name Quirkytizzy, I find it a term of honor and endearment.
Recently Pat joked about LJ being full of angsty 14 year olds. I corrected him, saying that if they are still on LJ today, those 14 year olds are now in their late 20's and generally less angsty. I don't think there are ANY 14 year olds on here today. Livejournal hasn't been relevant in a long time.
But I find that okay, as it means those of us who ARE still here, who DID stick around, are in a very tight-knit community. Even outside of our Flist, the site itself is small and we circle each other. The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon abounds on LJ. And the nice thing is that no matter who I've talked to, if I disagree with that person's content or not, everyone seems to recognize that about LJ. We've drawn in on ourselves and as a result, the threads that connect us are strong.
Plus, the current managers of LJ are finally doin' it right. That's a relief.
And yeah, Cm, I am pretty much a crazy cat lady. My happy place is four cats. It would probably be five or six or ten, but space is an issue. I find cats to be regal. I know one of the draws of dogs is that they can be very human and connect on a very emotive, human level. I find the general alien-ness of cats comforting. And I like how independent they are. I generally have no need to entertain my cats (save for kittens, but kittens need the extra interaction), as cats entertain themselves. They are not needy. They also don't bark, which I appreciate. Loud and sudden noises upset me.
It's not that I dislike dogs. Dogs can't help but be needy and loud, that's just what they do. Can't blame them for it. It's just that they have characteristics that I'm not a fan of. Besides, apartment living is hell on dogs - even the little ones. There are scores of people in my building who have dogs. Big dogs. Even if you are walking them twice a day, it's not fair to confine a dog like that.
Cats have been, in more desperate years, my sole connection to this planet. Who would take care of them if I were to simply sign off one day? I have a responsibility, an obligation, to stay and be alive, be healthy, if nothing else to care for these animals I've taken under my care.
I do not want to be a mother to human children. That level of sacrifice in caring for something is far beyond my wish to do so. But I do like caring for living things, especially living furry things you can cuddle. Seeing as I don't want a dog and I have a black thumb when it comes to plants, cats are it.
I would have rodents (I looove mice and rats!) but there's no way to have rodents AND cats in a small apartment without stressing out the poor rodents. Not only would the cats be constantly staring at their cage, wondering why I've put their meal in such a complicated lunchbox, rodents need to be handled by their owners. They need interaction, too. Couldn't do that without risking the cats jumping in and biting off their little heads.
And a decapitated pet is just not something I think I could handle. Couldn't blame the cats for it if that happened, either - that's just what cats do. Best to just avoid the whole situation altogether.
God, I ramble about the most pointless things. It's part of the morning process, though, writing. Even if it is inane, banal, babble-y, it's still necessary to do so. This is the one part of "practice" that occasionally makes me laugh. I hold so dearly to the concept of practice, but in reality, my "practice" is and has been just decades of rambling. Writing down every passing thought in that self-obsessed way that journaling requires.
It doesn't always sound special. And while yes, it's work in that I occasionally have to force myself to write, it also feels like the most natural and welcome form of discipline in the world. Like, from the first journal entry I wrote in my first journal at 12 years old, it felt like I was coming home. I was excited to write every day - and did so, religiously. And I have continued to do so, religiously.
Is that practice or is that just finding the right thing? I guess it could be both. I consider myself exceedingly lucky that I found the "right thing" so young.
In a moment of infuriating irony, my stepfather once told me that God told him to get me that first journal at the age of 12. In my head, I went "Did God tell you to burn all of my journals when I was 17, too?" Yeah. I'll always carry a grudge about that. Wouldn't have been so bad but for the fact that they knew, they knew that those journals were the most treasured of all my things.
I have no doubt had I held something above those journals, that's what they would have burned. My books, my clothes, were returned to me in shreds. But the absolutely violent act of fire? Of burning something? It was the years of the loudest abuse that they reduced to ashes. The effigy of me, of what I lived through, of what they put me through. A shame it doesn't ACTUALLY erase those years. Then they would have been doing me a favor.
Oh well. In a most delicious irony, it was their burning of my words that made me hold fast to all the future words I would pen. They did tell me that they burned my journals - told me only a year or two afterwards, no less. My mother's voice held with it a sense of glee, of waiting for validation that their act of destruction had in some way destroyed ME.
But it was I who was gleeful in telling her that what they did only made me write more, only made me more willing to share what I wrote, made me all the more verbose. She actually sputtered. I mean, honest-to-God sputtered. It was glorious.
There but for the grace of God and abusive parents go I. Or at least, I and my continued need to write. I know enough to know that I would never have wandered away from words completely. But in their desperate attempt to make the words go away, it made the words all the more important to reach for.
Never let it be said that all things done out of spite are bad. What they did jolted the enjoyment of writing into a need to write. Out of spite, out of rebellion, out of a dawning understanding that words have POWER - power so strong as to make others respond to it with fire.
In my case, literal fire. They may have burned those journals. They may have destroyed my words into complete oblivion. What they did not destroy was the healing power of words. What they did not destroy was me.