Welcome to Thursday Pass!
There's been a bit of construction around here recently. I hope you like the new look and feel!
Here’s what I’ve done and not done on my wedding, which is 6 months away. Normally I’d post this over at Offbeat Bride Tribe, but I’m frankly a little burnt out on weddings, and so wanted to post non-wedding stuff over here. Then, when I got here, I realized that I didn’t really have any non-wedding stuff to talk about (weddings will EAT. YOUR. SOUL.). So, here we go. The “done” list first.
DONE, DONE, DONE!
- Date set
- Dress(es) bought
- Invites, Save the Dates, and Thank You’s bought
- Guest list started
- Rough draft of ceremony written
- Registries finished
- Venue booked
- Band booked
- Some decorations bought
- Wedding website started
- Wedding party mostly sorted
- Florist (aka his cousin Amy) found (who0!)
STILL LOOMING OVER MY HEAD
- Finishing, addressing, and mailing Save the Dates
- Finishing guest list (mostly finding some addresses, I think the list is pretty complete)
- Deciding on food (we’re making our own)
- Deciding on cake
- Deciding on photographer
- Finding an officiant
- Finding lighting, if we can afford it
- Honeymoon, if we can afford it
- Booking my room the night before the wedding, our room the night of
- Altering Dress(es)
- Finding and buying bridesmaid dresses
- Finding and buying wedding bands
I’m sure I’m forgetting sixty things, but there’s your Bridezilla Update of the Week. For those of you who are wholly uninterested, my apologies. I’ll be back shortly with something more interesting.
So there was this lightning bug. He (or, I suppose, she) was walking around on my computer screen, and I, being the photo-aholic that I am, decided to snap a few photos of a backlit lightning bug. My fiance suggested that I open paint and do something creative, since I had a lightning bug at my disposal. I promptly created a “Deluxe Lightning Bug Cage” and proceeded to label it as such. Just as I picked up the camera to document my invention, the lightning bug flew away. He’s now chilling way up on the wall where I can’t reach him, lighting up occasionally in hopes of gaining a mate. Anyway, here’s the Deluxe Lightning Bug Cage (which apparently is not so deluxe after all) in all its glory.
Also, I saw this blog post about unexpected gifts today, and it’s the best thing I’ve seen all week. Take a look!
I am. I admit it. But, just for a second, let’s consider the situation. I’m not throwing temper tantrums about handkerchiefs (I bought a lot of 15 on etsy simply because they were $5 and I needed some handkerchiefs for myself, bridesmaids, mothers, etc). I’m not making spreadsheets about chocolate spoons (though I do have a guest list spreadsheet). I’m not worried about MY wedding. Honestly, there are a lot of things that I’d love to have but can’t (a castle for the reception venue, tons of money for the dress and the photographer, a venue that lets all of the guests stay the weekend, etc), but I know that it’ll be great. Just as soon as I find an inexpensive venue and photographer, the rest is just details.
But other people’s weddings. Oh my. I’m utterly convinced that everything should MEAN SOMETHING. I think everyone should be focused on community. On meaning. On love. I think people should write their own ceremonies. And I’m looking around me, at perfectly acceptable weddings, muttering “What? But! You can’t have that ‘love is patient’ nonsense, that doesn’t mean anything to you. It’s cliched. What do you mean you’re not having a photobooth? Come on, people!”
It’s a little ridiculous that I’m so laid-back about my own wedding, and about to blow a gasket over other people’s weddings. Living on Offbeat Bride Tribe might be a significant portion of the problem, but some of it is just that I’m so convinced that I’m doing our wedding right. I’ve put so much thought into it. And now I’ve decided that I’m some kind of authority on the issue.
It was getting dark, rapidly approaching the season finale of Grey’s Anatomy (yes, sadly, I am a fan) and I decided to set up some of my photography equipment in the yard.
I didn’t set up any lighting, just a backdrop, and took about 50 shots in what was left of the light. I didn’t have a dedicated subject since my roommate was on the phone and my fiance was attempting to plant tomatoes, but I did manage to get the following shot.
The main thing that I would change about this is to switch out the backdrop. I have a black backdrop and a white one, and I’m not sure which one I would use, but I don’t like all the noise in the back here.
I’m shooting some prom photos on Saturday. My fiance’s cousin and her boyfriend are both really photogenic, and they’re meeting up for dinner before prom with a bunch of their friends, so I’m going to go over and take some pictures. I’m super excited. Here’s an example of how photogenic my subject is.
And with that, back to the season finale. I’ll post some pictures from the prom early next week.
Yep. I’m done. I now officially have my Bachelors. I’m starting my Masters this week, so it really doesn’t feel like that big of a deal, but I’m done. Stick one of those little turkey temperature things in me if you don’t believe me.
I got a new computer for graduation, which I am currently using to type this, since Josef’s computer is a bit. . .fried, and my old computer is just being mailed back from being repaired (and a good thing, too, since it looks like Josef will need a new one).
I’m doing a lot of stuff in Google Documents, and I’ve realized that it is possibly the most useful thing on the internet. I really ought to start sending Valentine’s Day cards to Google for all they do for me. I’ve heard a bit of buzz that a lot of the things that we currently get for free (Wikipedia, Gmail, Facebook, etc) might eventually come with a small (or not-so-small) fee. Honestly, I don’t really have the money to pay for such things, and I would probably have to look very carefully at what I would use and what I wouldn’t. As nice as it is to have access to all those free videos, I think Youtube would go. I would have to pay for Wikipedia, I suppose, since I use it pretty often. Facebook would go. Google, though. . .well, Google could really fleece me pretty good, because I need Google. Every aspect of my life is organized through Google, be it documents, events, photos, etc.
Other than that, pretty much the only thing of note is that I’m full of wedding plans. I love doing the planning, and I love looking over in the midst of making some spreadsheet (at least I don’t make spreadsheets about chocolate spoons, as I’ve heard that some brides have) and seeing Josef there.
Getting married to Josef is the best choice I’ve ever made.
I’ve written a lot of blog posts. Over a hundred, in fact, just on this blog. I can assure you, however, that this is the most important blog post that I’ve ever written. It’s one that I’ve been contemplating writing for a long time, but I haven’t felt like it was a post that needed to be written. I felt as though readers would finish the post, feel sorry for me, and then say “well, so?” Today I realized that the post does, in fact, need to be written. Today’s post is about women, about men, and about the dangerous attitudes that some men have about women.
The reason for this post is a webpage on ninjapirate that I Stumbled upon today, entitled “You’re not being stalked. Get over yourself.” I was shocked to see this author blaming women for being stalked and saying that women who are being stalked are just overreacting. It made me angry. I emailed the author about it, and was unsurprised when he responded that his anger against women was caused by the behavior of women themselves. He claims that women are malicious and irrational, and that I should blame myself for everything that he says that offends me. I can’t even describe the feelings that this creates in me. Granted, some women behave badly. They lead men on or deliberately hurt them. They get angry over dumb things. I won’t deny that it happens. But this in no way means that women deserve to be stalked or raped. I know that the author of this website doesn’t advocate harming women in his website, but attitudes like his are the exact attitudes that, taught to young men (who are voracious internet users, especially when it comes to humor sites such as ninjapirate), can lead to violence.
Until recently, I would never have considered myself to be a feminist. I thought that feminists were the sort of people who would say “Yes, we want to be able to do everything that men can do, but please don’t draft us or make us deal with flat tires.” I looked around me and saw almost no evidence of discrimination against women. Hell, we almost had a female president.
In college, I learned a little more about feminism, and I revised my standpoint. Here are some highlights:
- The first wave of feminism appeared in the early 1900s, and had two branches, one of which wanted general equality for women, and the other of which wanted just the right to vote. The first branch was considered too extreme, but the second became popular, and women were granted the right to vote in 1920.
- The second wave of feminism was in the 1960’s. Women had entered the workforce en mass during WWII, and they didn’t want to go back to being housewives after the war was over. They realized that they could do the same work as men, and they slowly started demanding equal rights. This is a bit of a simplification, of course, but you get the general idea. Between the 1960’s and today, women have gained numerous rights, from equal pay for equal work to the right to wear pants.
- The third wave of feminism, popular now, focuses on protecting women in third world countries from such practices as female circumcision and sex trafficking, as well as on ending violence against women everywhere.
- Feminists are not man-haters or lesbians. They are simply women who believe that they should receive the same treatment as men.
Here’s a very brief list of the things that feminists, and women all over the world, are fighting against:
- Rape – stranger rape, partner rape, acquaintance rape, date rape
- Sexual harassment
- Sexual abuse – both child and adult
- Female circumcision – also known as female genital mutilation
- Sex trafficking
- Domestic violence
I know that feminism is a controversial issue, and I know that several of the above items are surrounded by their own mini-controversies. Some men (and even some women) believe that many of the laws designed to protect women can be used against men who have done nothing wrong. This may be true in some cases. I want to make it clear that I know that life is not a playground for men either. They can be accused of rape just because they had sex with a girl who was drunk. They can be accused of sexual harassment for telling an off-color joke. They have no say when a women wants to abort their child, and they often find it difficult to get custody of their children in divorces. I am aware of these things. However, if one were to tally up all of the abuses of men perpetrated by women (the list would include murder, domestic violence, and rape, among others) and the abuses of women perpetrated by men, there is no question that men have had it much easier than women. Until very recently, women were essentially property with no say over their lives. In some countries, such as Afghanistan, women still have essentially no rights.
Why do I suddenly feel the need to write about this, you ask? To explain that, you need to know a little about me. I am not a religious person, but instead live by a sort of moral code. The only formal, important rule is that I do my best not to hurt others. I feel as though almost every rule, law, or commandment can essentially be boiled down to this simple statement: Don’t hurt other people. Because of this, and for other reasons that I’ll list below, I find violence against women, particularly sexual violence, to be one of the worst things about our society and our world. Sexual violence against women hurts women not only physically but emotionally, and the scars can last a lifetime.
The following is something that I’ve told many people in an effort to heal and with the hope that telling my story will be able to help others heal and will prevent men from harming women. I haven’t mentioned it on this blog because I couldn’t find the appropriate time. Now I have. For ten years of my life, starting when I was only three years old, I was sexually abused by someone that I knew and trusted. I finally escaped from this abuse when my family moved to another state. I went off to college and started dating, only to find myself back in an abusive situation. It took over a year, but I escaped that situation as well, and I can say with confidence that I will never let myself fall into such a situation again.
Since then, I have learned a lot about sexual abuse and about violence against women. I have gained unbelievable amounts of strength, and I have learned not to blame myself for what happened to me. I have learned to walk with confidence and pride, and I have turned the label “sexual abuse victim” into “sexual abuse survivor,” a label that I wear very proudly.
I look around me and I see that the world can be very bad, but I also see that if we fight, we can beat the violence and anger. I feel that the most important tool that we have is education. If women know what abuse is, that they don’t have to put up with it, and that there are people who can help them, then maybe more will escape, as I did. If men are raised to respect and value women, fewer women will be abused.
It is important to remember that not all men who abuse women are sociopaths or killers. Many are just regular guys who saw their father hit their mother if dinner was cold, or drunk guys who have been taught that women in skimpy clothing want to have sex. These regular men are the reason that education is so important. It’s difficult to make a murderer or sociopath change his (or her behavior), but it is very easy to teach children that violence against women is unacceptable. We need to prevent violence before it begins, by thinking carefully about the impact that our behavior, as well as the media and other sources, has on our children.
We need to take responsibility for protecting one another. We need to put the drunk girl at the bar into a taxi. We need to befriend the coworker that we suspect is being abused. We need to teach our children about being kind to each other, and about how to protect themselves. We need to spread the word about violence against women. We need to combat misconceptions. We can’t just stand back and hope that someone else will fix things. We can’t assume that all of the problems that women face have been solved, as I used to.
We need to stand together and fight this, even if “this” is just one page on one website. On my college campus, we have something called the “Green Dot Campaign.” The idea is that every time you do something that prevents violence against women, such as telling someone that a certain joke is unacceptable, offering a girl a ride home, or reporting a crime, you create a green dot. At our campus Violence Intervention and Prevention Center, you can write what you’ve done on a green circle of construction paper and post it on a wall. The idea is to cover the wall, and figuratively the campus, with green dots.
Regardless of whether or not you consider yourself a feminist, regardless of your gender, regardless of whether you’ve ever been a victim of violence, it is up to you to start creating green dots. Help me cover the world in green dots. Do it for your sister, your mother, your daughter, your friend. Do it for me. You don’t have to donate money to stop violence against women. You don’t have to volunteer your time, wear a ribbon, or participate in a march. You just have to step in when you see that something is wrong.
We can beat this, but we can’t do it without you.
If you’re a victim of violence or would like more information, please visit the following websites.
After Silence – a message board for survivors of violence against women
If you have more resources to offer or simply want to talk, please contact me at strongtogether at gmail dot com
Our new roommate moved in this past weekend, and one of his first projects has been wedding planning. He’s getting maried in August, a decision that was made only a few weeks ago. Because of this, he’s been calling venues, thinking about budgets, and discussing his plans with me. He even called the county clerk, at my request, and learned that despite the forbidding text of the local marriage laws, you can be married by virtually anyone in Kentucky. Supposedly the person has to be ordained, but they have to provide no proof of that. Also, according to the person that we talked to, the Universal Life Church is acceptable. This means that virtually anyone can be ordained and marry us. In fact, you can be ordained RIGHT NOW.
We’re a little unsure about who to ask, because we don’t really know anyone who is that important to us and who would also be a logical choice to marry us. We thought of asking one of his uncles, but they’re religious and probably wouldn’t want to officiate our non-religious ceremony. We then thought of asking one of his cousins, something that just might actually happen, despite the cousin of choice being younger than us. It’s something that we do need to be thinking of, but, as we have realized, we can just pick a name out of a hat on our wedding day and almost anyone there can marry us. It’s a relief not to be worried about it, since finding someone to officiate a wedding that we’re writing ourselves seemed virtually impossible and added yet another expense.
Another thing that I’ve realized lately is that I want to feel like me on my wedding day. I don’t normally obsess over my appearance. I don’t obsess over what people think of me. I am a laid-back, simple person, for the most part (though I do love decorating and planning details), and I want the wedding to reflect that. I don’t want to wear ridiculous heels and have a ridiculous bridal shower (though I would agree to one were it fun and not dumb). I don’t want to promise to spend the rest of my life with Josef if I don’t even feel like myself when I’m promising it, so this has become a really important part of the planning process. On that note, Josef asked me the other day if I would walk down the aisle barefoot, and I immediately jumped at the idea. Originally, I had just planned on wearing some comfy, bright-colored shoes. I just didn’t care about the shoes, and so I put them near the bottom of my priority list. And now, thanks to Josef, I just need a pair of shoes to slip into for the reception. Whoo! I think his idea was a brilliant one. The reason behind it was that he wants me to come down the aisle just as myself, offering myself as I am. Somehow being barefoot helps represent that to him, and I sort of agree. I think some of his idea comes from the wedding in Braveheart, which I need to watch again (no luck finding it online, guess I’ll have to get out ye old VCR).
Also, we’re kicking around the idea of having our reception at a little place near here that is half roller rink, half bowling alley. I’ve never been there, but I know that the place is frequently rented out for boy scout events, so it can’t be too expensive. At this point I have no idea if it will be big enough to host all of our guests, cost effective, if they will let us bring our own food/alcohol, etc, but I’m already getting excited. We’ve already pretty much decided to have the wedding in Bardstown, instead of Louisville, because it is a friendly community and because some of Josef’s family has a lot of ties there. We’re hoping that Josef’s family will be able to suggest vendors/venues and that we might also be able to get them cheaper there than in Louisville. In Louisville, a venue for four hours costs over a thousand dollars, which is simply unacceptable.
Well, that’s the wedding update for you. More soon, hopefully in a more organized fashion. In the next two months I want to do a year-to-go roundup and see what is planned, what’s done, and what needs to be done. I’d also like to start thinking really seriously about the venue and photographer. Anyone else out there planning a wedding and going bonkers trying to keep from going bonkers? Drop me a line in the comments section!