Am I doing this right?

So we're still trucking along...it was sorta strange being back at school because people are still congratulating us (which is nice, no doubt) but it's been like a week and a half now...and I'm not used to all that. Plus, I have to get my head back in the game - the game of school that is.

That is also difficult when I've been inundated with potentially buying a house *gasp* and also receiving my financial aid package from Wash U...which is very exciting but also kind of overwhelming. I don't know what these things mean for my future. It's all very confusing with a lot of steps that I haven't thought about before - obviously because we've never done this before.

Also, I got a little frustrated perturbed upset when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do for pictures for this whole shebang (where did that word come from?). I wanted cousin Marv to do them but as it turns out he doesn't do weddings anymore...and I don't think know we can't afford his cohorts' prices so now we have to turn to someone else. Let me just say, as I've mentioned previously, pictures may be one of the only things that I will insist must be done right. Everything else (at this point) can be or do whatever..the photographs are important to me...is that a Bride-zilla moment? How un-feminist is that?

This whole feminist wedding thing has been uber-conscious lately, too. Especially given that I'm in a lot (read: all) gender studies classes. It's kind of weird in some classes to go in there and talk about gender justice or the queer community, or radicalism and then be engaged.  I mean, I like being engaged...love being engaged. I love Ben...however...in some ways I feel like a poser or something. I don't know - it's hard to negotiate and it's also hard to explain what I'm doing to alleviate the marriage traditions and oppression. Mostly because the things we're doing seem so small in comparison to the world of hurt that is out there. I mean, I know that no one expects us to uproot the whole institution...but I feel like I'm constantly on the search to be doing more. And when there are things that I do want to do (i.e. have a bouquet) and I don't really know the symbolism behind those things (though I think bouquets have something to do with minimal showering in the middle ages or something) - I don't know what I'm perpetuating. I don't want to be frowned upon and I just want to be able to revel in happiness...but it's a lot of pressure. I want to be really excited but I'm also not really like that. I'm not a giddy person. I don't generally like giddy people. I don't know how to react. Blargh: That's how I'm going react to everything.

To leave this note on a happy one: I asked Anna yesterday. And while she can't really talk because she's lost her voice..I'm pretty sure she was excited. That's my side of the wedding party down. Ben, I'm pretty sure, is 0 for 2...though I'm sure his side knows who they are. I guess we still have 2 years but hey - you can't ever have enough time (or can you?)


Day 5

I promise that this will eventually wear off. BUT...

Tonight I asked Courtney to be in my wedding. That's one attendant on my side...one more to go.

I'm also discovering that explaining a feminist wedding is like explaining that I do work that deals with sexual violence to someone. You get lots of whys and how comes or silences. Which is not to say that it is disapproving, but it's not the most comforting  and it's interesting . Mostly because we are doing it because it's something that we want for us...not necessarily to make a huge political statement, but kinda. I don't know. Ben and I aren't really all that political but when it comes to the type of work that we do, we can't be apolitical.

A lot of the stuff we're doing isn't necessarily feminist as much as anti-wedding establishment. For instance, attempting not to buy into the industry too much. That is to say that I won't be dropping a ton of money on my wedding dress. We're going to cap it at 200 bucks, I think. And I'm hoping not to even approach that. We're also looking at ways to do a bunch of stuff at home. Ben wants to grow our flowers so as not to support the cut flower industry (which is awful for the environment)...I don't know how feasible that is. But hey, we can make the effort, right? We decided on our party favors, too. That will save us some good money there.

Also, we've thought of this predicament of having vegetarian friends in what may be one of the most vegetarian-hostile places around. None of the caterers that I've looked at thus far have any sort of vegetarian entree. Ugh. We'll have to get that all figured out, too. It's hard being a earth/people conscious person.

It's all going to work out. We're lucky that we have such creative people working with us. I wanna have some fun, artsy, trendy things come out of this fiasco.

On a brighter note, we get to go look at a house tomorrow. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this place works for us. It would be fabulous to know where we're going to be in a few months.

Anyway..that's it for now. Those are the only revelations that I've had the past couple of days - we'll see how the rest of it goes.


3 days in

So we're 3 days into this engagement thing and we've got some stuff planned out. We currently have 28 months - MONTHS - til W-Day. that's a considerable chunk of time. Hopefully we'll be able to save up some moolah in that time so that we can at least do some of the stuff that we want, i.e. not get hitched at the courthouse.

We're planning the wedding tentatively for July 28, 2012. No particular significance other than the fact that Ben will hopefully have some time off of school and *fingers crossed* I'll be in a school getting my summers off. This is what we're hoping for anyway. I've been on hyper mode since Sunday - which I think is fair enough. I mean, this is exciting stuff and I've never been one to dream weddings, therefore I do not have this sort of stuff planned out already nor do I have any idea what this should look like. Also, I wouldn't want to have done that because this isn't just about me or what I want - it's really about the two of us. Really the only reason this feminist couple is getting "married" in this ceremony setting is so that our families can be there and we can have a big party afterward. I mean, who doesn't like to party? (also, I really want the photographs..I love engagement and wedding pictures).

Ben's been really great about the whole thing. I don't know that he was really expecting this sort of frenzy but we've been communicating a whole lot about what we want this to look like, what we agree with, what we want changed from the traditions, etc. Unfortunately, because most of the planning will probably happen while he's busy being all dentist-y...there may not be a whole lot of time for this scrutinizing later.

We're also looking at a house soon in Alton, pretty much right next to the Dental School. It's exciting to be moving again...but also overwhelming. It's weird to think that we won't be living on a campus soon. I'll be commuting to school. We'll be living in a legit house somewhere. Weird.

Well, that's it for now. Today was Ben's birthday so all the festivities and celebrations of this week are adding up and I'm getting much tired much earlier. Plus, we walked around the St. Louis Zoo all day today with little kids. That can take it out of even the most energetic.


The mess has turned..

Into something extraordinary.

Last night - on our 5 year anniversary - the love of my life proposed to me. I'm now engaged, which is weird to say. But it's also wonderful. and strange. It's like this weird feeling of absolutely loving it and not quite knowing what to do with it.

Here's what I mean:
I do social justice work. I see inequity in a lot of places in life with the people I work with daily. Some of my closest friends may not get to marry if that's what they want to do because of who their chosen partner is. I can get married because of circumstances like my partner just so happens to be of the appropriate gender for my gender..whatever that means.
I don't like where the idea of "weddings" comes from. It's a "woman as property" mentality. The father gives away the bride. The groom puts a ring of possession on the bride's finger. She's veils her face for modesty. It all screams patriarchy and subservience to me. Not what I want to perpetuate.
That being said:
I have the ability to get married, to have the benefits of marriage (of which there are many). No movement needs martyrs. By my not getting married, it doesn't mean that some non-normative couple somewhere can get married. I'm not taking marriage away from any one - but does it mean that I'm supporting an institution that discriminates? Does it matter?
The ring is beautiful. I'm not going to lie, I really like it. Ben didn't ask my dad. I might have my dad and brother walk me down the aisle. Not to give me away but so I don't fall. Okay, maybe not, but seriously...only because it's an honor that most fathers want..and I feel that my brother deserves. What honor is that? I'm not sure. At this point, the giving away has lost its literal meaning but I suppose there are still connotations of that. Ben and I also have a relationship that defies patriarchy in a lot of way. We are equal partners in our relationship. We share housework. He may one day make more than me, but because he will "deserve" to - because he will be a dentist. I make more than he does now.
It's tricky, this engagement thing. Especially because we will have a long engagement. Plenty of time to think about these issues with the institution that I have. But I'm excited. I'm happy to call him my fiance. It fits us well.
I'll deal with these issues, I'm sure. It's only been a day. Wish me luck
love and kisses,


what my life has become...

...is a giant mess. It's a sort of organized mess, though. It's been this way for about a month and a half now.
First of all, let me start out by saying that I didn't get the Fulbright. That being said, I'm not torn up about it. Yeah, it sucks that I don't get to go to Vienna but actually I think I would have done a lot of floundering there. There are a lot of things that I would have missed terribly back here and plus, this just means that I can start school even sooner and get out into the real world even sooner. So that's update number one.

 For the rest of my life, these are probably things that I should have been updating all along but it just makes me rage so I couldn't find the time or energy to do such things:

It all started about a month and a half ago with a single phone call that said this whole ordeal was going to last a week (bahahah!) There was a resolution in the Student Senate that attacked the director of OIIR (the office I work for on campus) calling out her and some other administrators for acting unethical when dealing with the RSO Students for Chief. They were placing this argument in a discourse of first amendment rights and freedom of speech (which was BS). I decided to speak out about it in a couple of student senate meeting. Unfortunately my opinion was the dissenting opinion of the time and was not the most popular (though I am wont to think it was the right opinion) and therefore, because people in power and in the know didn't like what I was saying, they decided to use some silencing tactics on me.

The following week I was subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) which meant that someone wanted to see what I was sending in my emails and texts. Luckily because I'm a student (though also a worker), I was protected by FERPA (which is an acronym for some sort of confidentiality of school stuffs which I don't remember). The fact is, though, that this was an attack on my integrity and ethics as well as, like I previously said, a sly way of silencing me without blatantly abridging my own first amendment rights - the very rights "they" claim to want to be protecting. Whose student rights do they care about - those who agree with them only?

Also, along with all of this, I have personally been attacked as having been working for OIIR and people assuming that I've been sent to these meetings on behalf of administrators. Which is not at all true. It's amazing how I can't have my own opinion, and when I voice an opinion (though it's probably not mine, according to some) I get attacked. Crazy logic.

Then the Student Senate put another resolution on the table called the Unity Resolution that called for a committee to try to find another symbol, mascot, or emblem (choose whichever word suits you) in order to  mend the rift that has plagued our school. Of course, those who want to preserve and bring back the Chief are up in arms about that as well. So of course, I decide that those tactics of silencing are certainly NOT going to work and I write an editorial to the Daily Illini, our school newspaper. There I'm also attacked and told that I don't know what "pain" is. you can check out the DI editorial here.

Anyway...this is the sort of thing I've been dealing with that have negatively made me rage and be angry. On the up-side...I'm Ally of the Month for April which is a pretty big honor for me. Plus, I've got a lot of support from people around me throughout this whole thing. And I got into Wash U's program (I don't even know if I've mentioned that yet) which is SUPER EXCITING.

Well for now that's the update. I'm hoping to go into more detail on some of the FOIA stuff for sort of posterity reasons but also because I think it's good information to have as a resource.
But i'm sleepy now...so I'm signing off.