At the doctor’s office the other day, the person collecting my basic information asked if there were any cultures I felt strongly about or considered myself part of. I said “the Cascadia bioregion.”
“Nobody’s ever given that answer before,” she replied. “It’s so nice to get an Intuitive in here once in a while.”
I immediately recognized her reference to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, in which — for decades — I’ve scored as a strong INFJ.
“How did you know I was an Intuitive,” I asked.
“Are you kidding me,” she laughed. “Look at these answers to your questions.”
To “race,” I said my cleanest lines were most likely Chickasaw and Choctaw, with a heap of European lines thrown in to muddy the waters. (Not surprisingly, there was no check box for that so we went with “White” instead, which was a disappointment.) To “sexual orientation,” I said there should be a continuum dial for that question which patients could turn up or down at each visit, depending on where they fell on that particular day. To “religious preference,” I noted that I was Buddhist — which surprised me — with Christian influence — which also surprised me — and that my main concerns were compassion and detachment, mostly because the former is so important and the latter is something I need to be less bad at. (See? I even have an attachment to the desire to not have attachment.)
All in all, I was, in fact, looking either very Intuitive or very noncompliant. (And maybe even very annoying.) I tried to claim, as my defense, that I was a poet and this is just what poets do. You can’t give us open-ended questions without expecting unexpected responses. And you can’t give us check boxes without our challenging what’s listed and what’s not, as well as the interplay between some or all of the present or absent boxes, not to mention bringing up the fact that continuums might better represent aspects of experience, desire, orientation, belief, religion, faith and other aspects of identity and its construction, continuance and evolution.
We got through the list of “basic” questions eventually. I left an imprint of myself in the doctor’s database that reflects me in small ways, perhaps, but provides no real insights into who I am — like a fingerprint as a stand-in for the heart and mind of the person whose finger left the mark.
But at least I got bioregionalism in there. I’m pretty excited about further exploration of my bioregional identity — and that of others. In fact, I am launching an online poetry publication that serves the Cascadia bioregion. It’s called Cascadia Review. Visit the site to learn more about bioregionalism, the Cascadia bioregion and how to submit work.