women’s march

Last Saturday, January 21st, I was a part of a huge, wonderful protest. I took my sign that said (in hot pink marker) “this pussy grabs back” to downtown Austin and walked, cheered, talked, and cried with thousands of women. It was incredible. The hope of that roar echoes in my bones.

The march began something in me that has changed the way I see my world. It has helped me to be less afraid of women in public. Less afraid that they are judging me or thinking I’m ugly or that my shoes don’t go with my outfit. Fuck that. Every woman I see is my sister. Whether they are with me, against me, or don’t know I exist, we are together. In the last week, I have said hello to more strangers than ever before. Just a friendly reminder that I see you, and I care that you exist enough to acknowledge your existence.

I know it might be shitty, but I tend to avoid any sort of unplanned interaction with most strangers. So, for me, the way I want this march to change me and to continue to ripple through me, is by being kind and loving to my fellow woman. (And my fellow man, don’t worry, I love men, too. But this is about women right now, so deal with it)

I was talking with my friend over coffee last night about how I want this march to change me. I am a straight, white woman who was born (in America) with a vagina and has always identified with it. I was born to a privileged family, went to good schools, and lived in a gated community (it wasn’t always gated, but it might as well have been). I have struggled, I will never belittle my struggles, but there is something to be said about how fucking privileged I am.

I heard the other day (I think it was on Saturday Night Live) that the further away from being a straight, white male you are, the shittier things are for you. And I am not too far away from the center of that circle of privilege.

I marched on Saturday, and I will march everyday. I will march at the gym, at the grocery store, at work, and online when I am deciding where to donate (or impulsively spend) my money. I will check my privilege every hour, and I will miss it sometimes because there are things I assume and think about the world that I believe because I have never had to see the world any other way. I will never pretend to “totally understand” the struggles of being anything other than a nice white lady. I will listen, I will trust, and I will fight next to my fellow woman no matter what she looks like or where she was born. This march needs to continue to ripple through all of us, no matter what that looks like.

I am going to write an entire other blog post about how all of this crazy shit is happening in our world and at the same time, I scream-giggle every thirty seconds because I am about to get married. It’s definitely a weird, contradictory slew of emotions and thoughts.

 

okay, but are you sure?

“okay, but are you sure?”

This is the question I have been asking Jonny for the last week. For the last 8 months, I have been so proud of what a “chill bride” I have been. I have seen crazy brides, I have seen breakdowns, and I have been so committed to not being one of “those” brides. But I have to be honest with you, I am freaking out.

The wonderful thing about Jonny, and one of the reasons I am marrying him, is he receives my freak outs so well. He knows how to diffuse me. With kindness, acceptance, patience, and humor.

My emotions have been all over the place this week, and I didn’t want to tell Jonny. I wanted to tell my maid of honor or my sister or my parents. I didn’t want Jonny to know that I was asking him if he was sure because I am not sure. However, he’s my best friend, and he’s the person I am marrying, so I figured he should know that I am asking all of these questions about the future and I am totally tripping over it.

I asked him about one hundred questions: what if you hurt me? What if you tell me a big lie? What if I tell you a big lie? What if I fuck it up? What if one of us starts using and ruins the other person’s life? What if you get fed up with my depression? What if I get really fat? We don’t want kids now, but what if one of us ends up wanting kids? What if I stop achieving my goals and you stop thinking I’m cool? How can we possibly be sure?

Letting Jonny into my freak out made me feel so much better. The thing about marriage (you can disregard this because I don’t know anything about marriage) is that it is inviting someone into the behind the scenes of your life.

Jonny has been behind the scenes of my life for a couple of years, and he has been witness to a relatively consistent shit show. I’m neurotic, I overthink everything I say and do, I love people and I don’t like people in the same second, I don’t cook, I have body image issues, I have a slew of diagnoses and one of them flares up as soon as I get another one under control. Jonny witnesses all of this and it baffles me. Day in and day out, he is kind to me, he respects me, he lets me be and feel everything that I need to be and feel. He gives me space. He comforts me. And he thinks I’m a total badass. He has my instruction manual.

This isn’t to say that he doesn’t have his behind the scenes, but I don’t need to tell his story here. We are the backstage managers of each other’s lives. And the answer to all of the questions that I have about our future is so simple, and it’s something I think about everyday.

The answer is, we are going to take it one day at a time. We love couples therapy, and we love the therapist we see. We have a rule that if one of us wants to go to therapy, we’ll go within two weeks.

When I met Jonny, he was a newcomer with a killer jaw line and a terrible haircut. We started dating. He relapsed. I wasn’t sure then. I went with it because my rule was: It’s either going to work out, or it’s not going to work out.

We have watched each other grow, we have given each other space to be individuals, we have held hands through rough winds. Jonny is an incredible man. He is hard working, caring, hilarious, patient, brilliant, creative. He is my best friend.

We have something wonderful. We are a family, and we have so much fun supporting each other through this weird gift of life. I am so grateful. Twenty days from now, we’ll be married and we will continue living our lives together one day at a time.

 

letting go of unproductive character traits

I haven’t posted in a while, and I’m sorry about that. Every time I sit down to write, this all-encompasing feeling of “you should be doing something else with this time” comes over me. It’s anxiety-inducing.

Today I have the day off (one of two days off in row, might I add). While I have a shit ton to get done, I definitely want to take some time for myself today. And part of time for myself includes writing for this blog.

I have no idea what the point of this post is going to be.

I’m thinking a lot about my character defects in a self-loving way, which is refreshing. I have a lot of character defects. I don’t love the term “character defects,” I prefer to think of them as unproductive character traits. They’re not bad, and they don’t make me a bad person. They just don’t currently serve me or contribute to the larger purpose of my life.

The interesting thing about these unproductive character traits is that I learned and engrained them in myself, for the most part, to keep myself safe. I just don’t need them anymore. And sometimes, the thought of letting them go feels a lot like letting go of safety. And it’s hard to get to a place of willingness with it all. I have trouble unbuilding this lovely wall that I’ve worked so hard to put up around my heart. It’s just scary.

I’ve been working on essentially the same character defects for these few years, and sometimes I get frustrated that they continue to linger in specific situations. However, I am so proud of the fact they are smaller and have less control over me than they did when I began this work.

I think maybe what I’m getting at is the fact that sometimes I ask for these defects to be removed, but I secretly hope they don’t get removed. Because, what if I need them later? What if I get hurt by letting them go completely?

On the other hand, I am potentially more likely to hurt myself and others if I don’t let them go completely and become completely willing to have them removed.

I wrote a list of the big things I am thinking of today, and this is one of 14. Who knows, maybe I’ll get some good blog posts out of them.