Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Holding Hands

Today Lina and I went on a date. And it was nice. We went to Cheesecake Factory, walked around the mall a bit (because the restaurant is half in the mall), bought some mother's day's cards, spent way too much time walking around Babies 'R Us, got some groceries at Trader Joe's, and ended it with some ice cream. It isn't often that we go out and hit up five different places, and it was nice. Well, we actually ended up looking for this overlook that I sort of knew was around, and we ended up driving down a "No Outlet" road, found an outlet, but that outlet ended in a creepy dark single-lane tunnel that ended in rail road tracks. So we turned around and came home.

But it was so nice to just spend some time together. And for the first time, I let her hold my hand while we walked around the ritzy mall. We've held hands there before, but usually just in the parking lot. As we get closer to the mall, I always squeeze her hand, let go, and put my hands in my pockets. But not this time. I decided that if other people didn't want to see us holding hands, they could deal. And it was nice.

It was a long evening. By the time we needed to get some groceries, we didn't want to because we were still stuffed from dinner. We almost got lost in the creepy dark side street. But we spent time together, time exploring, time talking about our jobs and our future wants. And we spent a lot of time holdings hands.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Gay vs. God

It's been one year since I told my mother that I was in a relationship with another woman. One year since I was told that I was going to Hell; that my relationship was not blessed in the eyes of God.

It's been two years since my first kiss with that other woman--my best friend. Almost two years since we decided that we were in a relationship. And two months since we declared to each other that our love is a gift from God in front of our closest friends in the most wonderful marriage ceremony ever.

I love my wife more than I can ever express.

And yet, it's taken me this long--and I'm sure it will still take me longer--to come to terms with that love.

I was raised in a conservative, fundamentalist, right-reaching Christian household. My sexuality was never even given the opportunity to be questioned growing up. I was straight. I dated boys. The end. Until I got married and had lots of babies, of course.

After plummeting down the long road of whether I could pursue a relationship with another girl or not, I decided that yes, I could. But what I never could do is call myself a lesbian. I could never affiliate myself with "gay" things. When I told friends that story of how I told my mother about my relationship, I used those words: "I told my mom about my relationship." I don't have a "coming out" story. I didn't come out. I wasn't gay.

I just fell in love with a woman. And I happen to be one, too.

But now, after two years, I'm wondering if I can start accepting the gay side of my personality. Previously, it's been too much. Christianity plus lesbianism equaled too much too squared. Being gay was easier to accept when I dwindled down time I spent thinking about Christianity, but recently, Christianity has been cropping back up into my life, and the gayness is anything but retreating.

It's like they're vying for equal space. Or, if not equal, at least as equally heard.

Then I ran across something a United Methodist church is doing--they're letting gay people know that their gayness is a gift from God. And then I ran across a long article that Soulforce has, about sexuality and faith coexisting, even biblically speaking.

My brain on overload, I hopped into the shower. And then it hit me. What if my loving my best friend, a woman, is truly a gift from God? What does that mean for me, for our relationship?

It means that God has blessed us. That we are a fulfillment of Godly love. That, all the times I feel inadequate in our relationship, that I feel homophobic, that I feel our relationship isn't "right," is actually an evil force at work in our relationship, driving a rift between what is good and holy. Talk about a severe altering in perception.

(I realize that this sounds a little charismatic, but that was the first religious language I learned, and given that this religious epiphany is new, it's easier to first view through my old religious tongue.)

It was a long road, but I was eventually able to decide that yes, God is ok with same-sex relationships--but that didn't stop me from seeking validation from every liberal Christian I met. There has always been some small nugget of doubt, some small "well, God prefers straight relationships," etc. But if being gay is a gift? Then, well, it actually makes me want to go hug my wife, squeal, and jump up and down a bit. And if you think about it, doesn't that sound Godly?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

David's Bridal: An Invective

Today was a test of my will.

Given that I am a nanny, a story about a determined two year old who kept throwing mashed up carrots on the floor and putting them everywhere but her mouth should follow. But this is no such story.

This is a story about David's Bridal.

I had never been into a David's Bridal until about two years ago. One of my roommates was going to be a bridesmaid, and she invited the house along to her fitting. Cool, I thought, this should be fun. Right? I've never been a frou frou type of girl, but I love colors and fabrics and to a certain degree, glitz.

However, after entering the store, I was immediately overwhelmed. Mirrored walls lined the perimeter and off to the side one sales associate was talking a moderately over-weight lady into a buying a dress that obviously did not flatter her. I mean, I know you want to make a sale, but you're David's Bridal. Your store looks like a machine of dresses, and you're trying to talk her into the drop waist dress when probably an A-line would be so much prettier???

I digress.

Witnessing that exchange churned the contempt I was building for David's Bridal. Next, our roommate discovered that she would be charged an arm and a leg to have her dress altered. Maybe she could have just taken an arm and a leg from someone else and stuffed them into her dress to make it fit.

Upon, finally, leaving (I love decorative mirrors, but when I'm forced to stare at myself because I'm either looking at a white dress the size of Happy Birthday Cake a stripper can jump from or a giant mirrored wall...) I decided to never go back again. Weddings are a once (twice, thrice...) in a life time event, and they should be, to some degree, sacrosanct. Not just something to be mechanized and thrown to industry.

I wish I could say that my dealings with David's Bridal ended with that one godless trip. But as the fates would have it, I ended up back there today.

My brother recently proposed to his girlfriend, and I was asked to be one of the bridesmaids. I was thrilled. I've always wanted to be in a wedding. It may have started when my cousin was engaged and I was going to be her flower girl when I was five. And then the relationship went south and I didn't get to throw flower petals everywhere.

His now fiancee is a very creative girl, and I just assumed that she would be one of those cool brides who gives her bridesmaids a color and says, "Go forth and find an awesome dress that you love." I've known plenty of brides who have done that. They don't see the point in asking their bridesmaids to spend an asinine amount of money on something they'll never wear again, when weddings are expensive enough already.

Yet, about a week ago, I found a message in my facebook inbox directing me to my nearest David's Bridal to get fitted for my bridesmaid dress. Not only would I have to go in David's Bridal again, but I would be forced to spend my money there.

Well, I trudged in to get fitted today. (It doesn't help that it's a two store "strip mall," and the store next door is Trader Joe's. I felt like such a traitor walking into an economical giant, when I could have gone next door to buy locally grown produce.) Different David's Bridal than last time. This one is actually about two states away. Yet the same giant mirrored walls and enough tulle and glitter to keep a panda bear warm in the winter, and fashionable.

I spoke with about three different ladies before following an overly peppy woman to the back of the store to a dressing room, past still more mirrors. The lady told me she would be back to check on me in a few minutes. So, off comes my scarf, my gloves, my coat, my extra sweater (did it really have to be winter?). But I decided to leave on my neon striped knee socks for kicks. I stood in the dressing room waiting on the lady to come back. She eventually did, determined the dress fit me perfectly and said she'd meet me at the front. I went back into the dressing room to have a look at myself, and realized, there were no mirrors inside the dressing room. Are you fucking kidding me?

David's Bridal has enough mirrors to vomit its stomach like a sea anemone and be one of those mirrored sky scrapers, yet there are no mirrors inside their dressing rooms??? No. In other words, please come into the middle of the store to gaze at yourself, so everyone can see how beautiful you are, so we can perpetuate the idealized belief that weddings are just show.

Thank you, David's Bridal. I would really rather you were a sea anemone.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

-5 + 5 = 0

Prayer is an interesting thing.

Well, so is religion, actually.

As I've recently told my mother that I have a date set to marry Lina, I would imagine that she (and probably the rest of my family) have been in prayer to stop Satan's destructive hold on my life (actually, I did know that they've been doing that for a while), and most likely to subsequently end the wedding.

It baffles me that a) my family would be praying against me (regardless of their beliefs, couldn't they just pray that I make wise choices?), and b) that I know so many of my friends are praying for our relationship.

Do these prayers just get canceled out as they float toward heaven? I don't believe that God picks "sides," so to speak, but prior to this experience, I've never really thought about what happens when two different people pray for completely conflicting circumstances. Yet, it's happened all through history. (Godwin's law!)

And yes, I was raised in such a conservative/fundamentalist environment that I'm paranoid about a blizzard happening over the date we're supposed to be traveling to the wedding.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

LMT to LBD to OT

A simple, but vaguely annoying reoccurring theme in my life is that I constantly change my mind on what I want to pursue, and I have no idea what I want to do.

Since moving after my undergrad degree in May, I've wanted to be a high school English teacher, an MFA student, an ultrasound technician, a family and marriage counselor, a doula, and a massage therapist. I am now currently looking into pediatric occupational therapy. Intersperse in the middle lots of research about those positions and lots of not knowing what I want to do.

However, the one thing that actually thrills me is there is a theme developing. I've long since known that whatever job I end up pursing will be in the field of directly helping people. I just have no idea what form to take that in. But looking through the past occupations that have interested me, they all have some form of therapy involved, and most of them involve families or children.

Unfortunately, my problem is that I get bored fairly quickly. I need a position that has a constantly changing environment, but still with some routine. This is what appeals to me about being an OT. The other day when Lina was watching the twins, two OTs came to their house to assess how the twins were doing and give evaluations and recommendations. That sounds awesome to me.

After looking in becoming an occupational therapist, I realized that I kind of missed the track for schooling. Usually the people who pursue that study science in college, or even pre-occupational therapy, then get master's degrees. However, I could become an OT assistant with a two year associates degree and still make a fairly decent income.

So, that's currently on my brain.

I knew my random interest in anatomy and physiology had to come in handy for something.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Phineas is your Father

Since I am a full fledged nanny now, I need to put my kids names on the side for your easy viewing pleasure, so I'll get to that.

In the mean time, I babysat a 3 year old boy today. We spent the afternoon finger painting, having a sword fight, and shooting nerf guns. It was awesome.

Nannying work is starting to really pick up for me, which is both amazing and a huge relief. I still need a little more work to round out to a better paycheck, but things are looking up. I have a regular sitting position on MWF, I sit occasionally for two to three families right now, and I keep giving out my name and contact info to other parents. So, that's definitely something. And it's a something that's a whole lot less stressful than working in a restaurant.

I mean, my name was Jack Sparrow and I got to charge at a three year old while holding a light saber today (when he was holding the light saber, he was Darth Phineas).

I'll take that.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

"I don't." But I will now.

When I was a kid, my biggest dream (fueled by my mother's ambitions for me) was to get married and have children. Somewhere along in college, I realized that I could have my own ambitions, and by golly, I didn't want kids, nor did I want to get married.

Rebellion was a sweet and churning emotion.

And rather confusing.

I'm engaged now, and I absolutely cannot wait to marry to my sweetheart. But, not for the reasons that I thought when I was younger. I honestly didn't have any reasons when I was younger. After a trip to the side of, "Marriage? Why marriage?" I can say that my reasons are totally different now. Getting married is not a status symbol to me. Nor a reason to have sex. Honestly, marriage is becoming pretty useless is my opinion. Aside from tax breaks and benefits from the government and hospital visitation rights (which are now being worked on), marriage is just a symbol.

So, after taking a foray in nomarriageland, I realized that, like most everything else, it all comes down to your motivations. I want to get married now, not because I can flaunt a giant ring on my finger and have "girls' nights out" with other wives (shudder). I want to get married because it's a public proclamation of my devotion to my beloved. And we're going to have a kick ass party with our friends. That seems more like marriage to me.

Not fifteen thousands dollars in debt because we can't afford it. Not a four hundred person wedding because we feel the need to invite everyone we know. Dresses from thift stores and our friends who supported us. That sounds just about right to me.