Name: Nancy Paraskevopoulos
How often do you bathe or shower?
Ummm, I shower when needed or beyond that, once a week if I haven’t worked out super hard.
If you were an underwater creature, which one would you be?
Oh my God, probably a narwhal. I actually have a narwhal tattoo on my finger. I worked with Green Peace for a year, raising money and read a lot about whales in my free time. There’s a great book called “The Whale” by Phillip Hoare, H-O-A-R-E. In it he talks about narwhals: their horns are actually teeth! It’s a tooth that pierces through its upper lip and when one narwhal has it’s tooth-horn get cut off by poachers, other narwhals will swim up and stick their tooth-horn in the gaping wound. So, I always think of them as highly empathetic, misunderstood creatures.
What are you passionate about?
I’m very passionate about climate change. I’m also passionate about playing music and safety in intimate partner relationships. My passion for climate change predominately manifests in anxiety these days, but also [laughter], I donate to Environment Ohio. Because they know what they’re doing… And, I try to be aware about my single use items and where my food comes from, things like that. Because, actually, the number one contributor to carbon emissions comes from the agricultural industry.
I play music every day. I’m in three bands, one is called Blossom Hall, that’s my passion project with my friend Phil Cotter. He and I have been working on different projects for about five years now. Our debut album Pyre, is almost out! I also sing in a classic jazz trio, we’re called the Nancy P Trio [laughter]. Lastly, I sing in a funk band called Fresh Funk.
Then, intimate partner violence: I work for a couple of different organizations that specialize in working with people who have gone through intimate partner violence. I work as a crisis intervention person and I am also an advocate at a domestic violence shelter.
How does balance play a part within these different roles?
Well, music is something that I’ve done forever and also, being of service is something I’ve always done. When I was younger, I really thought I had to choose between the two. I think that kept me stifled from doing either. Now, as an adult I feel like I can’t do one without the other. If I’m just playing music, then I feel like I’m wasting my life. But if I’m doing only crisis work, then I get overwhelmed and feel terrible. You experience a lot of vicarious trauma doing it. So, both are necessary.
What is something you feel accomplished with?
The only way I’m able to do either of those things is by being a very careful listener. I have to listen carefully to my clients in order to make sure that I’m serving them, rather than doing what I think is best for them. People are experts in their own lives. And, if I have a client who feels like they need to be in contact with their abuser, then they should be allowed to do that. Even if I think it’s not a good idea. Sometimes I have clients who do that, to negotiate child care or property, or things like that. Or even keep themselves safe.
Then, with music, you can’t play with someone if you’re playing or singing over them. So listening is a skill that I’ve developed. But, you know, it could always be better.
What is something you still struggle with?
I struggle with anxiety, and being in the present moment. Just because, I do have so much going on and I am experiencing so much vicarious trauma and I know so much about climate change… It’s a struggle to do what I recommend all my clients to do. Which is to be present in the moment with where they are.
What are your thoughts on relationships? Platonic, sexual, familial and otherwise.
I think that all relationships require good boundaries and enthusiastic consent. I think that it’s impossible to change other people. I think that love is an action word and not just a feeling. And that’s all that I have.
What is your love language?
My biggest love language is probably words of affirmation. But also, quality time. I love receiving acts of service. I probably love giving acts of service to, I probably love all of them. I don’t mind getting gifts [laughter]. Physical touch is great. Yeah, I’m a lover [laughter].