Gift Box

I changed my name a few years ago, a court gag order protecting me from my father. For several years before this I used the name Kateryna Fury on anything not legal. I don’t answer to the old name, and flinch when someone uses it, even to call another. The name is perfectly reasonable, a good Jewish name. I am not Jewish, but my father might have been. As with many things he told us, there is no evidence, no proof and usually proof to the contrary.

I found my name in the grocery store. I am not joking, it was a gift. The gift box came wrapped in the form of a wizened old woman. She looked like something out of a science fiction book, the wise old leader, the person put in place to lead the hero. She had a soft voice, not craggy but gentle and looked at me her voice too held an accent. I believe she was born in India. “You are Kateryna (middle name) Fury.” I was quietly confused. She then walked back behind the tuna fish can display. I had no idea who she was, and when I tried to catch up, got way laid by a crowd of people deciding to railroad and push around the young woman with a walker, after all, pushing her is a convenience her humanity is not a necessity to them.

I entered research mode, looking up each facet of my name. I had gone my variations on Kat for years, I knew that was part of my name. One of my ex boyfriends, before he landed himself in jail for trying to rape me, kill me and steal my soul, had declared too that I was a Kat. There was something pleasing about this, as I never really wanted to be human as a child. I wanted to be one of my cat’s kittens.

I spent most of my childhood refusing my given name as well. Usually this was strongest during the times of parental betrayal. It took me years to find the granny gift box. She merely identified what I was hunting for. My SCA name is Kata Hrafnsdottir, another name with another meaning that speaks to me. Kata is related to Kateryna grammatically though is older and is Old Norse, the text of course translated for the English Speaker’s benefit. In the philological history of the words, there is a root and universal definition. Hrafn is raven, a reference to one of my dieties, and dottir means simply, daughter. I kept the definition that was most dear, it is my universal theme and it is a part of me.

Many people protest the idea of a name change. My legal excuse was safety, but a part of my identity was wrapped up in the quest for the name I could answer to. Many people claim a name does not matter, yet, if you name your boy child Sue, such as in the Johnny Cash song, he might be teased. Some names are cruel. My nephew Red is going to loathe the color red. People decided upon his birth he would like this color. He is overloaded with bright red toys, clothes, and already likes to go by something else. His middle name is Storm, but, no one thinks to buy him any Xmen toys. He has decided to be Bob this week.

So, here is what I found when I opened the gift box of my name.

Kateryna- Pure. Kateryna is Ukrainian and Russian in origin. It fits a part of my heritage that may not really exist, but the sentiment is beautiful. I am pure. No one had called me that before. This is a name without shame

The middle names, I have multiple, mean individually, Halo or Golden Light, Warrior, The next means Strife, the last means Royalty. One of them comes from my great grandmother, an honor to hold that name. She died when I was small of Alzheimer’s. She was beautiful in her time however, and smart. I am honored to have her name, and it is all that remains of my original.

The last name is a reference to the Erinyes or Dirae, the angry ones. I chose to accept this title for I often see myself as avenging in my actions. I avenge the murdered child in my own heart by living well and fighting for my rights.

Pure golden warrior of royalty and anger. That is what my name means.  The anger aspect does not mean I am full of rage, yelling, or bitter. It is merely an honest reflection of my life. Much of it has been angry, and anger is often seen as power. It was all the power in the world I once knew, and I honour that part of my life too.

Names have meaning, and I treasure mine. The old name was given to someone else, she was named for me and that stands. I will never dishonour that by malinging the name meaning. I am not bound by god however. I am bound by myself to live not just well but with conscious acts of greatness.

A Response to “What are Service Animals?”

This conversation was held on MSN. My friend is using the Alias Tiffy, in respect to her cat. She asked the question about service animals and our discussion illuminates a bit more about what a cat is capable of. Eventually I will (hopefully) post video of my cat performing her tasks. I am sad to say my cat has an Upper Respiratory Infection courtesy of the shelter system and our new housemate. This doesn’t mean that you should not adopt, just make sure to get your cats medical care when they need it. All typos are left as is in the conversation, though emoticons were removed.

Tiffy says:
Ah, makes sense but scince I can’t see you, how can a cat help you walk?
Kateryna says:
My cat naturally shifts her weight to not fall. So, I trained her to shift her weight to help me not fall. What this means is that when I am walking and start to tip too far in one direction she goes to the other side of me and I can compensate.
Kateryna says:
She has cut my falling down by over 90%
Kateryna says:
Not enough   To stop me needing a wheelchair but I can go pee without falling five times in the six step journey
Tiffy says:
I think I understand
Kateryna says:
Awesome
Kateryna says:
Any other questions?
Tiffy says:
What else is she trained to help with?
Kateryna says:
She alerts me when I forget to take my meds. There is thankfully a lag time between the morphine leaving my system and the pain slamming back into me, and she can sense it. The trained response is for her to either get my med bag for me, or to yowl three times in a row.
Kateryna says:
If I need my meds and cannot reach them she is also trained to retrieve them.
Kateryna says:
She can also dial for an ambulence and can even call Locke on his cell if I fall or somesuch
Tiffy says:
Wow
Kateryna says:
She is trained to warn me when someone approaches from behind me, which cuts down on flashbacks and/or protects me from a random hand right on the injury
Kateryna says:
She used to do more but she is aging and has been sick enough times that the training had to be forgotten for her own sake.
Kateryna says:
Her mouth got torn up, she used to pick up objects etc.
Kateryna says:
She is even trained to “read” some packaging for me at the store, because i am blind as a bat and cannot see much anymore. So, she identifies the shapes or however she does it and paws the package
Tiffy says:
Ow
Kateryna says:
Yeah, she is allergic to poultry and the reaction cut up he rmouth,
Kateryna says:
The other things she does are more instinctual responses with trained reactions
Tiffy says:
Poor thing =/
Kateryna says:
She has a particularly shrill warble she gives when I am going to pass out, and if I stay still she calms down
Kateryna says:
If i am going to have a seizure she will yowl until I either stop doing what I am doing, it hits, or until I sit down, depending on what I am up to.
Kateryna says:
during the pass out time she calls for help, by going to every room in the house and making a ruckus
Kateryna says:
When it is a seizure she moves up to my chest and sits there unless I signal her to get help
Tiffy says:
So I guess most people who have service animals are pretty attacted to them, they’re really amazing
Kateryna says:
she is too sick to work right now, and I cannot get out of bed.
Kateryna says:
Direct correlation.
Kateryna says:
Without my service animal I cannot go outside, I cannot function.
Kateryna says:
It is worse actually than what it was like before she came into my life, because although my back is broken and my legs barely work, with her I feel as free as I did before my injury, and in some ways freer.
Kateryna says:
I lack saftey, I lack security, I fell four times this morning trying to do my daily things like peeing, because she is sleeping off her sickness.
Kateryna says:
I am also terribly worried about her, so I am not as efficient in my work.
Kateryna says:
A service animal is another limb. I love her more than Locke, but he understands why.
Tiffy says:
I hope she gets better soon
Kateryna says:
When she was electrocuted a year ago, he sent me money we needed for him to move out here, it took another six months to get him here but she would[ve died without it, and i am not sure I could survive without them BOTH. One I can handle being without but it sucks.

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