Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Man Behind the Curtain

In the process of transitioning back to blogging regularly, I thought I'd take the opportunity to say a little about myself.

As anyone who has followed this blog quickly realizes, this is not generally a blog about personal stuff. On the other hand, early on I assumed I could be a genderless, ageless (etc) entity in cyberspace and that allowed some incorrect assumptions to be made by other folks. I also was trying to keep personal information obscure so I could be open about some things and not alert family, coworkers, etc.

I still am not putting my name or picture here (I really don't want my personal information scattered across the internet), but I have slowly talked with my family about things and my work situation is quite different these days, so I can be a lot more candid without worrying someone might identify me. So here is a bit about me, perhaps more than you wanted to know. (And with my next post I will go back to discussing issues.)

First I am a man, and an older man at that. As a friend of mine is fond of saying, "I'm an old white guy." (Yes, surprise, surprise, I'm white.) I was raised in a lower-middle-class Catholic family in the suburbs of Boston. Most of my family still lives in the area.

I'm currently living in an urban co-op house. After years of working in hospitals (as a nursing assistant, mental health worker, and secretary), I have somehow ended up as a petty bureaucrat at a biotech firm. It's hardly what I think of as an appropriate job given my ideals, but in this economy it's a job and I am glad to be working. I have a degree in psychology and I am also a nursing school dropout.

I've written about my politics before, but to recap: I consider myself a radical, but have never quite gotten a good label: socialist? anarchist? eco-feminist? nonviolent revolutionary? Closest current label is eco-communalist, but as I wrote last year, my politics really revolve around trying to create a world based in Simplicity, Equality, Community, and Sustainability. (For more on this see my posts of 9/22/08 to 12/19/08 or get a copy of the latest issue of my zine, Bodhisattva Revolutionaries and Social Alchemists--plug, plug.) Even more central to my beliefs is that everything needs to be based in love and compassion--we need to be good to each other.

In some ways, I sometimes think of myself as 45 to 180 degrees away from mainstream American society in just about all areas of my life. I have taken to occasionally using the term queer, not only because I am bisexual and polyamorous, but because I have always felt 'different' and don't see myself fitting in to what is around me in any way, shape, or form. Little things, like being vegan, not owning or using a car, biking to work, living in a group situation, not watching TV, hanging my clothes out to dry, trying to live with less, and getting excited about compost, hardly seem like mainstream behaviors.

Even my spirituality doesn't quite fit anywhere. I call myself a naturalistic pagan but these days I am studying Buddhist philosophy and practices and I still have a lot of influences from my Catholic upbringing. I find myself connected to, involved with, living with, and working with Witches, Quakers, Humanists, born-again Jews, Buddhists, Agnostics, Methodists, Catholics, Unitarian Universalists, and a close friend who I describe as a universalist (small u) who tells me what he's finding out about the ancient Hebrews and compares the teachings of Jesus and Buddha. I occasionally go to Quaker meeting with a housemate--it seems to me to be a lot like the Buddhist meditation that I'm doing.

And I am trying to change from being a know-it-all to being someone who listens more, from being chronically anxious to being a calm presence, and from being judgmental of myself and others to being patient and forgiving with everyone--including myself. It isn't easy, but if I want to change the world (or at least the little bit around me) I know I need to change myself in the process.

Quote of the Day: "When you open your life to the living, all things come spilling in on you, and you're flowing like a river, the changer and the changed..." - Cris Williamson


CrackerLilo said...

Wonderful to get a glimpse of the man responsible for your blog! Thank you for this. Our lives are quite different, and I don't work nearly as hard for my ideals as you do for yours, but I like reading how you learn and think.

MoonRaven said...

Thank you. Part of what I enjoy about reading your blog is how different our lives are. You certainly put your ideals out there, but you also seem to have a lot of fun in the process. All that is to say that I enjoyed reading about you as well.

Austan said...

Who could hang a name on you? I'd say you were a vital human but that doesn't really do it.. Labels don't cover it. They never do when you talk about amazing people.

Still, I'm glad you're in a space where you can uncover some parts of yourself. It always made me smile when people thought you were a woman. Says more about the mindset than perhaps those folks intended.

Good luck with the zine! And as ever, bright blessings to you.

Jerry said...

Glad to know you better, MoonRaven.

I certainly know what you mean about trying to not be a know-it-all.

Thanks for being you.

MoonRaven said...

Thank you both--I appreciate the supportive comments.

LA--I'm glad to be in a safe enough space to be more open. Bright blessings on you as well.

Jerry--I think we share a lot, and a tendency to 'know-it-all' is just part of it. I'm grateful that you share so much of what you're doing--and I feel like you get to do so much more where you are. I'm glad you are willing to let the rest of us in on it.

ViolentLove said...

You're beautiful!

Thank you for taking the time to show a bit more of who you are...

It is a pleasure and blessing to share these moments of life with you.

MoonRaven said...

Thank you--that means a lot to me.