Who Am I? Getting To Know You.
“If we knew each other’s secrets, what comforts we should find.” – John Churchton Collins
I suppose anyone that reads this will want to know a bit more about the person behind the computer. Well, I guess I should tell you that I can’t really tell you everything in one post alone. You’ll come to know me a bit more as time wears on, and there’s a both nothing and a lot to tell.
I’m both ordinary and yet also a bit whimsical. I am a realist, but I don’t let that get in the way of my dreaming. I love words. Some people say to take so many pictures, of places, yourself, people, and let them tell the story of your life, but I wonder, if we have words, why can’t they do the same? There’s so much beauty in them, and different expressions in different languages can mean the most beautiful things… I’m a passionate lover of words. It’s called logolepsy, an obsession with words. I love to learn new words, even if they are completely nonsensical. And that’s only part of why I love books. 🙂
Some of my hobbies, aside from reading:
- writing (currently trying to start my own novel)
- spending time in the woods
- playing flute
- studying Mvskoke (Creek) language and my heritage
- playing Quidditch for my university’s team (I’m a chaser right now, probably about to switch to keeper, though)
- playing with my cats
Let me explain some of my hobbies. I think writing, singing, playing flute, swimming, playing with my cats, and sleeping are all kind of self-explanatory. Though, I was on the city’s swim team for a few months when I was younger, and my high school band got a ton of awards back when I was in high school (I’m super proud of all of that – we even got to go to Disney World and play in the Dreams Come True parade. Half of us were crying because it was the biggest thing we’d ever done. It was really amazing.) I also used to do gymnastics and dance, but my mom took me out of dance when I was six because she didn’t approve of the costumes, and I quit gymnastics at eleven because they were being unprofessional and could have seriously hurt some of us.
Anyway, my hobbies… I really love the woods. I’m not really sure what the draw is for me there. But whenever I need to think or just need time to myself, the woods (or the beach) is my go-to place. It’s so peaceful. I love feeling connected to nature, and knowing that I’m a part of all of it, and that even when it feels like I don’t, I do have a place in this big crazy world. I love being able to just listen, not to people for once, but to all the sounds around me, and to feel the earth beneath my feet. I love the smell of the fresh air and the trees and flowers. Maybe it’s the cliché, “Because you’re Indian,” (which I kind of hate, by the way), but I just feel right when I spend time in the woods. Like I’m reconnecting with a long-lost friend that I haven’t seen in years, but we’re picking right back up where we left off. No, I don’t feel like I should live there, but it’s just like a reset button for me; when I come back from my time with the woods, my head feels clearer and I feel calmer somehow. Soothed. The woods and the ocean are like a balm to my soul.
And here comes the Mvskoke (Muscogee/Creek) heritage. This can’t be explained in one post, and I’ll definitely talk about it often. Don’t be surprised if I put in a Creek word here or there every so often. I’m still studying the language, and I’ll probably be studying it until I die. I mean, that’s what you do with any language, isn’t it? Words become forgotten and overlooked, shortened, tossed away, or substituted, just like in English, so I’ll probably be constantly studying the Muscogee language until I die. But I love it, because it’s my heritage. Sometimes, though, I am judged for it. I have been called names before, things like ‘half-breed’, and it hurts. I have been called a ‘savage’ and that my heritage is savage, and how could I love something so cruel? The people that say these things are ignorant. Here I would like to dispel a few misconceptions that people may have about Native Americans in general:
- We don’t have our own ‘religion’; I can’t speak for the tribes up north in Canada – those are mostly the ‘totem’ tribes, the ones that made totem poles – but we don’t do crazy blood sacrifices and weird stuff like that to some unknown god. At least, the Creeks don’t. We have a specific name for God (yes, the same God as the Jews and Christians believe in) and we call Him Hesaketamese (heh-sahk-et-uh-me-see). And, yes, it is possible to practice the ‘Muscogee Way’ and be a Christian. The Muscogee Way is more of a code of ethics and how you live according to your walk with God. It’s possible to merge the two, and they actually work very well together.
- No, we didn’t all make wigwams or teepees, or even all have pow wows (if you even know what that is). The Creeks traditionally are not a ‘pow wow-people’, and that only comes from inter-mingling with other tribes.
- Don’t just call us ‘Indians’ and be satisfied at that. It’s kind of offensive, because then you’re offending two races of people at once, and no one knows which one you’re talking to. If you want to call us Indians, put Native American before it and specify. Or, find out which tribe you’re referring to (Muscogee/Creek, Choctaw, Seminole, Shawnee, Apache, Chickasaw, Cherokee, etc.) and use that name. It’s a lot more polite.
- We aren’t raving mad, uneducated drunkards who want solely to steal everything of value from you in the name of reclaiming some of our losses roughly 200 years ago. I am not a drunkard. I am highly educated. These rumors have been spread thanks to a few unfortunate incidences on some of the poorer western reservations. It’s sad really. People hear these things and then they think that all of us are out for blood and revenge. But we aren’t. Just acceptance, like everyone else.
- Being Native American does not automatically give you a ‘kinship’ with nature and the woods. I’ve always loved the woods, as did my dad. I love all the animals that live in it, but my brother doesn’t share my perspective. It’s quite hysterical. He and my nephews hate bats. They’re terrified of them and they had one in their house. I nearly died laughing. Kind of like I hate snakes and spiders and creepy crawlies. Yeah, just like that.
- Please don’t think that just because someone is Native American that means that they’re incompetent in some way. This is something I’ve always dealt with, and something I always will. All through school, I’ve had to deal with teachers that underestimated me (unless they knew my mother) because they saw the ‘I’ for Indian under ‘race’. I had teachers that were surprised I could read and write as well as I could, because I’m Native American. Do you have any idea how discouraging that is? Hearing that a teacher had basically already written you off as doomed to fail because of what you were born? And not just once, but countless times. And I also had a teacher attempt to get me in trouble with the office, just because of my race and my gender. He did it to other girls in the class, even to the boys, but my parents wouldn’t let him do it to me. When the entire thing was over, all the strikes from him against the students in his class weren’t counted, and he was fired for more serious reasons than just that. My dad went through things like this too, from his family telling him to lie about being Native American (my great-grandparents were born just after the Trail of Tears era, and grew up being told to tell people they were black if anyone asked, so my great-grandparents told my dad to do the same; they still lived in that fear of being uprooted and sent across the Mississippi), to not being allowed to vote when he came back from Vietnam – Native American/Indian wasn’t recognized as a ‘race’ back then, only black or white, and the stricter places weren’t allowing black people to vote at the time. As my dad was neither black nor wholly white, he couldn’t register as his card would be rendered invalid for ‘falsification’.
I think I talked about my heritage enough for one post. I hope no one thought I was trying to be mean. Just blunt. That’s just how I am. I hate sugar-coating things. I would rather someone tell me the straight truth, even if it’s hard to hear, than trying to be nice and say it to me easy and I end up not understanding the gravity of the situation. I think that’s worse. Also, I hope that people might read between the lines and see that some of what I say can be applied to other races too. I’m not a ‘bleeding heart’ for my race – I know that Native Americans (even Creeks) did some things in the past that’s nothing to brag about, as did other races. Every time I see what each group of people has done to each other, no matter what side, it hurts my heart. There has been so much fighting on every side, so much bloodshed, and so much hurt. When will it end? Why can’t we all just accept that we are human, we are all part of this earth, we are God’s creations, and we need to appreciate what time we have with each other?
Moving on… Quidditch! One of my most favorite things! I love Harry Potter. I’m kind of obsessed. I even have a Harry Potter tattoo. (I’ll post a pic of that too.) So a friend and I got together and started a Quidditch team at our university. We are the Chimaeras! I am a chaser currently, but I might be switching to keeper for the new season. There are six positions in Quidditch, keeper, chasers, beaters, seeker, snitch, and referee. The keeper guards the goals, and the chasers try to get the ball (quaffle) through the hoops the keeper guards. The beaters throw/hit another set of balls (bludgers) at the players and get them ‘out’. The snitch’s job is to keep a little ball (the snitch) away from the seeker. It’s like a mix of basketball, volleyball, dodgeball, and hide and seek. It’s kind of obvious what the referee does. It’s the best game ever, and it’s very athletic. I love it. Our keeper isn’t very good, and she’s a bit of a wimp, and I can be rather vicious when it comes to defense. So it looks like there are going to be some changes made to our line-up this coming season. I’m also Vice President of this whole charade, and I’m very proud of that. 🙂 But I’m in my junior year, and so I need to figure out what to do to help this continue and who will take my place when I graduate. It’s a lot of work, but I don’t know if I can give up my position to someone that doesn’t love Harry Potter at much as I do.
So that’s a bit about me. I think I’m done for now. I’ll post some more later, but I just wanted to do this, and kind of get established. I’m gonna go off and do one of my other favorite hobbies and go get some sleep.