Names I Have Been Called (To My Face) And the Me’s That Resulted From Them

Rebecca (with two c’s) Sue Riebsomer Snedegar Rebekah (with a kah) Spivey Hocke Spivey

 

 

I was born Rebecca (with two c’s) Sue Riebsomer.

When I was very young my family called me Becky Sue.

My teachers called me Rebecca.

As I grew to the towering height that I am now, my family began calling me Becky, dropping the Sue.

My Grandpa Wentz called me Sis and when we were grown, my brother called me Sis.

Beck is my favorite nickname. It feels independent and strong.

And then there was a special someone who called me Becky Beck, when he was in a certain mood, if you know what I mean.

For twenty-four years my married name was Becky Snedegar. A name I strongly identified with as a part of that family and the business we ran together. My name was known in ditch-digging, gas-line laying circles, and racing circles. A me I have no connection to any longer. Another lifetime.

When I had been divorced for a couple of years and back in school full-time at the age of 47, I decided to re-invent and rename myself. I liked Rebecca and didn’t want to change that but with names like Riebsomer and Snedegar I was really tired of always have to spell my names and listening to the butchering of said names. So I changed Rebecca with the two c’s to Rebekah with the kah and chose my paternal Grandmother’s maiden name Spivey for my new last name. She was a strong role model for me and I loved honoring her in that way. Of course, some people insisted on pronouncing it Spivvey as if it had two v’s. Or, totally missing the mark, in the case of the telemarketer who pronounced it Reebekah Spivay.

My second married name was Hocke. H O C K E. In 1996 I married an Englishman, whom I had met when I lived in Scotland; his name was Tom Hocke. My mother insisted on pronouncing my new last name Hokey, turns out she was right. Tom’s father was Czechoslovakian and my friend James wondered if Tom and I got a divorce, would he be a returned Czech. After four and a half years of marriage, he did, indeed, become a returned Czech. And that brings me back to Spivey.

In my writing community I’m known as Rebekah Spivey, it feels like a writerly kind of name. It sounds grown up, Becky Spivey, not so much, too sing songy. I like having a grown up sounding name, even though I may never achieve that status myself.

Each of these names represented the me I was at the time I carried that particular name. Each had its own weight, sense of responsibility, gifts, and challenges. I wonder who I’ll become next.

 

Rebekah Spivey for the Poplar Grove Muse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shattered

It begins with a whimper.

A small crack

That we hardly notice.

Perhaps just a pinhole

Quietly waiting

Innocent .

A small accident.

Nobody’s fault,

But a fault,

Even if not owned.

Just a whisper

No need to hush

Because after all

After all

What harm can such a tiny defect

Do beyond that

Miniscule imperfection.

And so it is ignored.

We cannot see

The spreading spider web

On the weakened surface,

Do not look for it

Until the whimper

Is a low groan

Of pain

And still the groan

Seems unrelated

Temporary

Like the groan

Of a tree limb

Sagging just a bit

Under the burden of

The ice, weighing it down.

A crack, unheeded,

Between it and

The trunk that bore it

So many years ago.

One small part

A little injured

The whole seeming

Still strong

Nothing to worry about.

And then the season

Changes

The cold sets in

And settles in the crack.

Frost finding a home,

A place of refuge

And a place where

Its presence will expand

To make it fit .

The spider web cracks

Cannot abide.

And the whole

No longer stands.

The limb falls.

The glass breaks.

The world is not

As we believed.

The whimper is a shout.

We are all shattered.

 

Bev Hartford

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Riding the Wave

This morning page is forming in the cocoon of the great windowed room, of the green chair, the purple couch, the sleeping dogs and slow risings of dear visiting sister-friends, their twin drums against the wall, and my husband risen early to greet his busy day. Crows cackle in the pine trees, my body has unstiffened in a warm shower, the coffee is good enough.

We pull Motherpeace© Tarot Cards to center a bit of writing and conversation. Yep. It’s something we do/I do some days when I’m not sure where to focus my thoughts or guide my own intentions.The six of cups. Six women are rising on a cresting wave, cups like lanterns held aloft. As always, I have no memory of the deeper significance of cups –or sixes (although there’s a symmetry to the number, a sort of balance there, and in this image, a feeling of vanguard, of promise of safe landing with the sun at their backs, and sturdy horses underneath). I choose to see this card as a sign of rising, empowerment, of riding the wave. Which, aren’t we now?

Whether the riders on the high crest of the wave stand the chance of bowling over those who find themselves lower in the upswell might signify something to be wary of in this moment is unclear, I ask myself what I should be paying attention to this season. The cautious me pays attention to both the crest and the upswell, knowing full well from experience that trying to catch a wave too soon, might mean you’ll simply be washed over by big waters, smashed down and tumbled by the boulder wave. Catching it in time, can mean a thrilling ride to the shoreline, a sleek, streamlined landing.

I have lots of questions at the moment about what shoreline I’m hoping to reach or whether there’s a shoreline in sight at all in the ocean of upheaval we’re all swimming in. Riding waves takes effort. There are rip tides and deep swells. Going back again and again to catch the perfect wave is an awesome metaphor for a rat race I’ve long ago left behind. Knowing the ins and outs of floating or fighting the currents is an acquired skill. Still, I’m a sucker for fun for fun’s sake, and riding in to shore for a rest at the end of the day. I could use some of that!

After many years now of circling with women in service to our stories, the empowerment, the waves, the troughs, the sometimes still waters of the journey to find and speak our stories….and on the cusp of the cultural zeitgeist of so many of us telling things that disturb the waters of patriarchy, I’m also old enough and tired enough to suspect that this current fierceness can and may very well be met with some of the worst of the destructive powers of men. The universe is shaking, if you haven’t noticed. So I gird my loins a bit in anticipation of the boulder waves that might be coming our way.

AND…we are Brave AND Brokenhearted (read it here) Women I know who move in waves to change what is…have seen the sun shining, the waves rise and crash. And still, as Brene Brown says, we rise. And rise again. It’s part of the pattern. I’m at peace with that.

 

Beth Lodge-Rigal

 

Random thoughts in December

  • I have begun practicing yoga and my favorite pose is called cobbler’s pose–the pressing together of the souls of the feet with knees bent out. Favorite because I can do it fairly easily—unlike say lunges or tree poses—and because the sensation of pressing the souls of my feet together is utterly unique. You think you know your body, you spend your whole life in its shell and then at 52 you discover that the souls of your feet have never met each other. They are complete strangers and they shouldn’t be.  They should have met and touched years ago and what kind of a beast am I to keep these two lovely body parts apart for so long.  The souls of my feet get together all the time now, and I am much the better for it.
  • I love my annual Christmas tree ritual. Throughout the year when I am traveling or having an adventure, I buy an ornament as a souvenir. Then in December, we put up a tree, and I decorate it with memories of travels with my family or special events. Mornings when I am up alone, I love to sit in the dark by the light of my tree, drinking coffee and enjoying the peace. After the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I have come to refer to this time of year as the long dark teatime of the soul.
  • (I am shocked, simply shocked to hear that men assault and manipulate women to get what they want at work, at church, at home, at the doctor’s office, on the street…)
  • I can never see Elf enough times. I especially love the last scene where Santa flies over everyone’s head and Buddy waves to all the former non-believers below.  It makes me cry every time.  Ahh, Christmas magic. Candy, candy canes, candy corn and syrup.
  • In my early 50’s, I have come to have both chronic pain, chronic indigestion, and hot flashes. My body is truly feeling the tears and tatters of age but inside me, I feel as giddy and insecure as a 12 year old. How can that be? When does emotional age begin to equal bodily age? Or maybe it never will. Or never should.  Will I be sitting in my old age home, feeling like I want to skip and have tea parties as they insert the catheter?  I guess I will have to wait and see.
  • One of the great un-spoken pleasures in life is chocolate cake with black coffee.
  • My lovely daughter is what I would describe as a sensate. She takes pure pleasure in serving her senses. I notice it because it is the opposite of my way of taking in the world. From the earliest age she refused to wear pajamas to bed. The cold feeling of sheets on skin was magical for her. She loves soft fleece blankets and cannot go by a blanket or stuffed animal in the store without stopping to luxuriate in the feeling of tuft on hands and face.  Her love of softness has given rise to a blanket collection each one softer than the last. She also loves submersing herself in water, and bending her body in gymnastic configurations; she begs to burn incense and smell the thick cloying scent, and has a constant soundtrack of pop jingles playing in her head. I wonder what it would be like to inhabit that kind of body.  Although I do take great pleasure in the taste described above, I am less a sensate. I wonder if bathing in our senses is learned behavior or just simply intrinsic to who we are.  I must practice more hugging and eating chocolate cake.
  • Today my yogi, at the end of our time together says, “Everything is as it should be.” Adriene, you sweet naïve yogi, how can you say that?! Everything is not as it should be.  Black men are getting killed in the streets. My government has just mortgaged our country for the sake of 1% of wealthy Americans. My president is a fool.  I have nightmares about nuclear holocaust.  Not to mention person woes, aging, aches and pains, endless worries about the kids.  How can you tell me in this transcendent moment of Zen that everything is as it should be? And yet, when I carry that thought through the day, it gives me power and strength.
  • I love the final moment of yoga when the teacher bows his or her head in prayer and says to the class “Namaste.” I return the greeting in earnest.  It means something to me.

Namaste.

Amy