Daughter of Diversity

So…this might take a bit of explaining. My name is Ami and Ami is the name my parents gave me; just not my biological parents.

Just for make things clear from the beginning, I’m also a trans girl as well, although I feel the two are only related by coincidence.

So, I’ve known I was different, ever since as far as I can remember. My entire life up to 2015 has been figuring out who I am, and that journey still isn’t over, even if I do feel I’m aware of all the most important things. I know, based on what I say, you may feel I’m also deitykin but I don’t feel that. As a teenager, I recognised I didn’t feel human; at least, not in a way I could relate to others. But I have always had an almost obsessive love of water. Films that featured water in any kind of important context were very gripping for me. It would have to be more than just an athlete splashing their face after a long run but I especially found myself drawn to water wizards and water elemental life and gods of water and anything else of that nature. Inversely though, while I did appreciate films involving seas and oceans, it wasn’t the same. I more appreciated them from a distance. I kind of feel I was lucky in that I’ve always been a bit on the creative side and, over time, as I’ve grown to be more accepting of myself, I’ve increasingly incorporated my search for myself into what I write, especially with Naiads, fresh water nymphs. I was especially fascinated to find that, even if by different names, there were myths about them from all over the world in every continent. But even the myths didn’t feel, precise; very close but…not right. And so I used my writing to explore them more and more and, in time I managed to describe, generally, how I felt about myself, except I didn’t feel it personally. I felt it in the sense of, these are my people. It’d be wrong to say I’ve rewritten the mythologies. For me it’s more the mythologies were written by humans and aren’t really all that reliable. You’d still easily recognise the naiads as I see them but, I feel I filled in the holes and corrected the biases. But I still didn’t feel it explained me fully and that’s where…religion…came into it. I came into the pagan umbrella as an independent in 2006 and I’ve always felt drawn to Iris and Arke above all others, although I consider myself very omnitheistic. But my heart told me that while they were referred to as gods of the rainbow, the rainbow was just the visual part of the spectrum that represented their true responsibility; diversity. Iris was felt to be the chief god of diversity and Arke was her second but…I felt more drawn to Arke than to her sister. In time, with myths being very vague, and in some cases, disagreeing with each other, about their origins, my own heart filled in the blanks and made the compromises again. And then one day, I can’t explain this bit even to myself but I came to feel that Arke was one of three mothers; all wed to each other. I also felt that somewhere out there, I have two human siblings, a brother and a sister. However, while all three of my parents were gods, Eris and another god from another pantheon, my siblings and I aren’t. I feel that we were conceived in Tartarus and due to the nature of our relationship, we had to be born together. And they wouldn’t allow Arke a temporary release for it. Because of that, we were born in Tartarus. My feeling is that you can’t be a dead god and you can’t be born living in the Underworld. We were raised by our grandparents, Elektra and her first husband in the Underworld but every spirit should experience life at some point and so we did. I was born as though I was human and I’ve been raised as though I was. But I never have been. While my siblings took our other two parents’ species, I took Arke’s.

My biggest shame though is my fear. Ever since I hit 20 in 1997, I’ve been happy and willing to accept who I am, as and when that awareness came to me but, after a one time coming out about being otherkin to my care coordinator in Luton and seeing his reaction as well as the reaction of the rest of the team when he told them, and there was also another case in a very small trans community I was part of which had an equally bad reaction, I’ve always kept my awareness to myself and to my novels.

Anyway, that’s my story. That’s me.

Oh. If I can add one thing to this. I don’t feel being the daughter of a god makes me special. I believe being me makes me that as it does everyone. Besides, I’ve never considered gods to be rulers of the universe so much as its servants; its carers.

Is diversity more than Political Correctitude?

[Ed: This was originally written in a discussion about the vampire
community, but the concepts apply equally well elsewhere]

So, now we’ve seen some examples of “I’m Real, You’re Not” and some
examples of “Can’t We All Just Get Along?” I’ve been thinking about how
to keep this tangle from shattering us the way it does so many
communities, and I came up with three different tools we might be able to
use.

Tolerance – So far, we’ve been pretty good at Tolerance. Tolerance is a
social contract – people come together and say, “Look, I don’t understand
some of you, but I’ll take your word for it that you belong.” It’s an
external framework that we voluntarily plug into in the hope of finding
SOME common ground to build on. Being external, it doesn’t require any
internal cognitive dissonance – Sue can think Ellen isn’t a real vampire,
but just kind of deal with the fact that Ellen thinks she is because
Ellen, like anyone else, probably has some interesting things to say.

Respect – Respect is the most stable and reliable tool for community-
building, but it’s totally different from Tolerance because it’s
completely internal. You respect some people, you don’t respect others.
You can TREAT people you don’t respect as though you respect them, if
you’ve got the personal strength for that sort of thing, but most people
don’t, and write it off as “hypocrisy” because they’ve got so much to
prove that they can’t just let it go. The important thing is that you
can’t just decide to respect someone, any more than you can decide to
love them or hate them, because it’s a feeling. Until someone has
*earned* your respect, you can’t genuinely respect them. Respect is
rare, and rightly so.

So how do you bridge the gap between the inherent tensions of diverse
people practicing Tolerance, and the rarity of Respect?

Courtesy! I know, it seems too simple and old-fashioned to be at all
useful – but it really does have meaning, and could save us as a community
if enough individuals decide to use it. It’s not completely external,
like Tolerance – no matter what community you’re a part of or not, it’s
totally up to you whether to treat your fellows with courtesy. Neither is
it totally internal, like Respect – it’s kind of a programming language
that translates between the machine language of what you really feel and
the outside world with its possibilities for functionality.

A nice perk of Courtesy is that it actually leads to Respect. A lot of
times, Respect is hindered by personal insecurity and lack of information.
But if you get a critical mass of diverse people practicing Courtesy, the
flow of information is unimpeded, and people are more likely to shrug off
the capes & masks and allow as how maybe someone totally different from
them might be for real too.

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