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What Defines Me is Lack of Definition

I wrote for SearchWarp from July of 2012 until the site was closed to submissions in May 2013, and now I write for Soul of Wit. Most members of this site have become familiar with seeing my face, if not actually reading my writing, but it's never a good idea to assume anything about anyone, or make the assumption that anyone actually knows who I am. With that in mind, I believe introductions are in order, and possibly long overdue.

I'm turning 42 this month, I'm a feminist and activist for both human and animal rights. I'm a writer, a mother, I've been widowed, divorced and separated. I've been on my own for some time now, happily single, and I'm currently temporarily disabled. I spend a lot of my life in a great deal of pain, which either limits me directly, or limits me because I'm on medications to manage the pain. I also have no tailbone, as it was surgically removed a couple of years ago.

I love to dance, both performance-wise and just general dancing with a partner in a club. I love music, I can sing and play a few instruments, and I have two cats and a ferret. The cats are more my daughter's pets than mine, but Pepper, the ferret, is my baby.

When it comes to work, I'm Steve Kovacs' producer for The Kovacs Perspective, I write for Feminspire as a staff writer, I have my own pet toy manufacturing company that donates profits to animal shelters, and Steve Kovacs and I are in partnership on a new venture - The Kovacs Literary Perspective. I also have Woodland Literary Services, where I provide author services, which partners with TKLP. I'm generally pretty busy, you could say, although WLS and TKLP are both in the early stages.

When I'm not working on my computer, I'm usually still using it. It's an addiction I admit to readily. In my leisure time I read (either in actual book form or eBooks on my laptop), play computer games, watch movies (on my laptop), and will watch The Big Bang Theory during the viewing season (again online - I don't subscribe to television services, and TBBT is the only show I actually watch). My computer and I have a relationship, you might say. I also talk back and forth with my friends, such as Steve Kovacs, Susan Thom, Marlin Woosley, and Bruce Horst, along with a number of others - all of whom I met because I joined SearchWarp back in July. I have friends from other times and places in my life, but I don't communicate with them as regularly.

I don't fall in line with your typical definition of anything, to be honest. I'm a bundle of contradictions. I don't believe in gender stereotypes as I seem to break most of them - and shatter others. I'm constantly learning new things because I can't stand letting my brain sit idle usually. I love movies but now have a hard time sitting still to watch them. Same with reading books.

My daughter is grown and will be turning twenty-four this year, but we share an apartment (and the bills - she's no freeloader). I'm thankful every day that I have the relationship with my daughter that I do. I considered myself a bit of a hard-a** as a parent, yet we seem to have a great relationship. She's said on more than one occasion that she was thankful I raised her the way I did, because she'd hate herself if she turned out like a lot of people she comes in contact with in her age group.

I'm open-minded about a lot of things, but there are things I'm extremely rigid about. My morality mostly involves not hurting others, but beyond that people should be allowed to do what makes them happy. I stand up for people and animals when they need a voice, but I hate confrontation. I'm a workaholic in some ways, but then a lazy git in others. I like a clean environment, but not enough to bother doing domestic work. Cooking is about the only domestic chore I'm interested in doing, and only because it's easy for me.

I write a blog called Torrential Rain, where I talk about my life and my writing. I vent my opinions freely, and believe in true equality in the world. I think of feminism as the belief that all genders are equal, and that they should have equal rights, privileges and responsibilities, with no gender being given more or less work or difficulties than the other. I think there are ways in which men get the shaft in this world, just as there are ways in which women get the shaft. I don't believe there are real differences between men and women, with the exception of the ability to bear children. If there were real differences I wouldn't be interested in power tools - or be getting lost in the Home Depot every time I go in there because I can't stop looking at all the things I want to buy, as I imagine what I could be building if I had this or that tool, or that sheet of wood with those fasteners.

I'm the sort of person that people usually confide in, and since I'm not interested in gossiping about people, I would assume that's the reason. I'm willing to listen, and I'm willing to keep everyone's secrets. I have better things to do with my time than stirring up trouble for no good reason and hurting other people. I grew up fairly well-known where I lived because I was a figure skater who was in the paper a fair bit, so I know what it's like to be talked about all the time, and it's not something I'd willingly inflict on others. Not all of the talk is nice, and anyone who reads tabloid headings can see the kind of talk that people can be interested in. Whenever anyone has more of anything, there will be people who want to tear them down.

One of my most prevalent traits is my empathy. I will bawl my head off for someone else's pain, or for the pain of a living creature, even when it isn't something that would make me cry in my own life. The only thing I've gone through in a very long time, that actually made me cry about myself, was when I lost my other ferret, Stimpy, to cancer. That little guy was my heart and soul, and it killed a part of me when he died. I'm still not over it, and I don't think I ever will be.

As much as I might be skeptical about a lot of things in this world, and even the tiniest bit cynical, I still have tons of hope for humanity. I think a giant majority of people are inherently good. It's been shown statistically that the people who are truly bad make up a miniscule portion of our population. In the United States about one in every 3 million people might be an active serial killer. There's no way to know for certain, of course, but when you look at it by the numbers you can see how rare that kind of evil really is. When we look at all Muslims as terrorists, if we looked at the actual comparative statistics we would see that they equate to similar numbers as the serial killers. Terrorists make up a miniscule portion of Muslims, just as the Timothy McVeys of this world make up a small portion of white people. However, if you watch any television news you'll see that mainstream media would have us all believing there's no hope.

I pay attention to the news, but not usually mainstream media groups which are owned and operated as corporations controlled by special interest groups. Not one of the big media outlets has anything to gain by broadcasting the real news, and they've all got quite a lot to lose. So, when I look for information I find it in places that aren't being funded by big money. Everything is done with an eye toward making more money, and that means they get bought.

I'm an optimistic realistic, a tough-as-nails empath, a feminist who's fighting for everyone's equality and not just that of women, neither a liberal nor a conservative. There are no labels that will work, and to be honest I don't think they really work for anyone. Everyone is a person, nobody agrees on everything, and no one falls in line with the stereotypes. I'm everything and nothing, all of the above and yet none of it. I'm just living my day-to-day life, doing what I have to so that I can look at myself in the mirror and respect who I am.

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Rain Stickland is a Canadian writer with a passion for ferrets and a love for sentient creatures. She produces The Kovacs Perspective, hosted by Steve Kovacs.

Her professional background includes freelance writing, consulting, technical writing, procedures manuals, payroll and HR, investment analysis, and accounting. She owns a company that develops and manufactures safe pet toys, and donates the proceeds to ferret shelters in Canada and the US.

Rain's writing background includes topics such as stem cell transplants and feminism, and position papers on charitable organization development. She's also a staff writer for a popular online feminist publication. A crime-fiction series is in the works, as she continues to contribute to various online and print publications.

Follow her on Twitter @RainStickland

You can follow her blog at: Torrential Rain

Future articles can be found at: Soul of Wit where she will contribute articles formerly written for SearchWarp.com.

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