Wedding Woes and other life issues

Since I was 10 years old and could even pretend to fathom that I would get married one day (which I had my doubts about, trust me) I knew that it would be an interesting time in my life. I knew that family strife (if you could call it that) would make things complicated but at that point no ones knows exactly how complicated these things can get.

Now, I understand that every family has a level of dysfunction. I also understand that everyone thinks their family is the worst. I know that there are families that have higher levels of dysfunction than mine does, HOWEVER...I'm pretty sure that mine takes the cake in most social circles.

In every wedding blog I've ever read, there have been discussion about family crises and family drama and how it seems nearly inevitable that someone doesn't get along with someone else but on your wedding day, you don't even think about it, and they usually can cooperate for that one day. I really hope so. Actually, I know that will be true (minus the me not thinking about it part) but I know that everyone will play nice and no one will get hurt that day. But in the meantime.....DAMN.

So now I'm going to tell the story of me. And why I am the way I am. and how I came be to (starting after the sex part and all). This is the way I remember it.
I was born in Japan on a military base. My mother was in the Navy and my dad was along for the ride. I have an older brother, DC, who was eight when I was born. DC was my mom's son from another marriage and it seems like DC and Mom lived a lifetime together before my dad and I came along. Thus started the family dysfunction.
I was - and still am - my father's pride and joy. I was his sole reason for doing anything (which we all know is problematic in a marriage - never put kids first).  When I was three, we moved from Japan to a (sort of) Chicago 'burb. Mom was stationed at Great Lakes and then was sent on a 6 month tour to Guatanamo Bay, Cuba. I was 6 years old. Meanwhile, Dad took care of DC and me. I was a tomboy, having two men as role models and a mother who was non-traditional. Finally, Mom came home.
I turned 7 at the end of August and that weekend was labor day weekend so we were going to go on a family trip to the Wisconsin Dells. Our bags were packed and we went to bed, ready to leave the next day.
Then my life changed forever. This also happens to coincide with the point where I don't remember so well.
At some point in the middle of the night, my dad pulled me from my bed. Groggily, I walked to the living room where my brother was already sitting and my mom was crying. How confusing.
There was yelling, fighting, a gun, then DC and I crouched in a corner and DC was holding a gun. Finally, Dad said we were leaving and took me and some of the luggage out to the van. I wanted my kitten. DC and I had just found a kitten the week before and DC said I could have it for my birthday (what a great older brother!). I didn't want to leave the kitteh behind.
Dad went back in the house to get my cat. I fell asleep in the van.

I woke up and Dad asked me where I wanted to go.
My answer: Grandpa and Grandma's.
Dad's reply: That's not going to work.
Me: Disneyworld.
Dad: Okay.

Why wouldn't Grandpa and Grandma's work, you ask? Because Dad had just tried to kill my mom, their daughter.
Dad had taken me after this happened so technically I had been kidnapped.
Court proceedings, prison visits, and all sorts of messiness ensued. Ask me if you want deets, I'm pretty forthcoming..I just don't wanna type it all out.

Then it gets complicated because, you see, one would think that I hate my dad after all of this but the kicker is...I don't. I love him. and I love my mom. and I've been to therapy to figure all that out but I've worked through a lot of it (not all, but a lot). But you see, my family hasn't been to therapy and therein lies the rub. They haven't figured any of it out. And while they all crumble into scared pieces, I'm left to pick up the pieces and say "what about me? Isn't this supposed to be Ben's and my day?"
My dad is not a bad guy anymore. He's still confused sometimes about what he should do concerning the decision he made 15 years ago but he loves me and that's all he's ever done. Maybe loved me too much. My mom made poor choices, too. Therefore, I don't play the blame game. It sucked that it happened. Yes my dad made that decision. But it was 15 years ago and here we all are.

So when it comes to wedding woes, I think it's okay that I got 'em but it's getting worked out. I guess I just need to get this off my chest because it's going to be a big part of that day and I think it will continue to be a part of this process whether I go back to therapy or not.
Luckily I have a wonderful partner in Ben who just lets me cry and get mascara and eyeliner on his shoulder and a mom who wants to make it go away but knows that she can't. And even my dad, who just learned that I have these issues is trying. Regardless, it doesn't change who I am, what I do, and how I act and that's where I'm coming from, dysfunction and all.


Happy National Coming Out Day! And other updates...

Happy National Coming Out Day! It was and is a time (day, week, month, eternity) to celebrate love in any form.. It's a day to recognize what the process of simply being is for some people. The fact that we need a day to celebrate and acknowledge the coming out process says a lot about how far we still have to go. So to all my LGBTQIetc. friends, Happy Coming Out Day! 

Secondly, it was Columbus Day. Wah wah. Columbus Day is not a day to celebrate or honor. Granted, most people don't. Most people don't even know what Columbus Day is for (ahem, Mom)...but honestly, schools continue to propagate the myth of this great dude who came and started it all. This holiday is very similar to Thanksgiving and the pilgrims. We need to work on thinking about our collective histories truthfully and rethink how we celebrate these "holidays." I am all about have a day of Thanks. I think that is not necessarily culturally specific, however, celebrating the pilgrimage to America and our "Founding Fathers" (who, by the way, happen to be illegal immigrants....just sayin') and in effect the genocide of hundred of thousands of Native Americans seems, oh, I don't know....just wrong. Anyway, I guess this is just a PSA about Columbus Day. Rethink it.

So that's my social justice-y rant. Now for other updates. 
Mom and I went wedding dress shopping the other day. I came to one conclusion: Kaytlin = awkward dress wearer. But seriously, I found one that I kinda like. It's more expensive than I want to spend/feel comfortable spending but it is really adorable and fits really well, so we'll see. We'll just keep our fingers crossed for some drastic price cuts. And it's the first step in the right direction, I think. I really don't like trying on dresses though. It's a very public affair which just lends to our cultures fascination with bridal imagery. There aren't public dressing rooms when I'm trying on a pair of jeans but when I try on a fluffy white dress, I should share that with the world. Bull. Anyway, it's a strange experience when some women you have never met tell you whether you should pick a dress. "Excuse me, do I know you and why do you care?" Plus, it's an environment that sucks you in and makes everyone in the environment a voyeur. Frightening.

We also found the paper for our origami flowers (talk about one of the most difficult shopping searches ever) so I'm excited to start working on those. As well as the straws for the pinwheels. ALSO and perhaps one of the most exciting things...one of my friends in my Social Work cohort is making our cake - HUZZAH! 

I feel like people must think that I'm not excited at all to be getting married. I'm very unenthusiastic about it, I admit. BUT that's not because I'm not excited. It's just that the whole "getting there" part is A LOT of work. And I've said from the beginning that I'm going to be the UnBride. And I'm living up to that. So just know that I am pumped to be partnered with Ben forever, however, getting there is more really a lot of legwork to just have the awesome party I want to have.

So that's it for now. The all-in-one blog of social justice and wedding crap. 


I have something to say...

about bullying
and those beautiful gay folks killing themselves.

...It's bullshit.

And it has crushed my heart more times than I can imagine....
now I'm saying this from a perspective of a straight woman who has (oddly enough) never been bullied by anyone other than my older brother (and that was kinda like his job). This is not to say that there weren't things for me to be bullied about and perhaps - almost definitely - kids made fun of me behind my back. I dressed oddly (I'm just sayin' that stretchy pants were pretty awesome), I was (and still am) overweight, I had (and still have) freakin' freckles, and last but CERTAINLY not least, I had a mullet. Plenty of fodder for these kids, but I don't know if it was just that I was so damn lovable or so damn intimidating but no one bullied me.
That being said - I can only imagine the pain of those people. And I know it hurt. And it is completely unnecessary and uncalled for.

This isn't a case of "kids being kids" because while yes, calling someone "four eyes" has a certain amount of angst and pain connected to it...it's a whole different level of hate to call someone a "faggot" and mean that in the worst way possible.

And you know what? These kids aren't picking up these messages from Spongebob or Bob the Builder or Jimmy Neutron or Dora. They are learning this from parents, from adults, and from news channels that give airtime to hate mongers like the Westboro Baptist Church.

I don't feel right making an "It Gets Better" video, Dan Savage style because honestly, I don't know what that's like. I personally don't know what it feels like to "get better."  I CAN say that I've met REALLY FUCKING AWESOME queer folks in my lifetime who have shown me strength beyond imagination. They have taught me things I will never forget. They are also some of the funniest, most caring, and inspiring people I know. I do know that I proudly count some of those queer folks as my closest and dearest friends. I do know that there are certainly people who ache along with every single gay person who experiences discrimination and bullying. I'm one of them.
I do know that until bullying stops and until gay kids stop feeling the need to end their lives because they feel worthless, unloved, or are experiencing unbearable pain, we can never call ourselves a land of Freedom.
I do know that until we stop teaching our children hate in ANY form, our legacy is not one to be proud of but rather one that breeds violence and injustice.
I also know that we are capable of so much more. I know that everyone deserves love. I know that, regardless of one's identities, whether gay, whether straight, whether black, white, tall, short, homeless, wealthy, etc., you have worth. You are somebody's somebody. Even if that somebody is simply YOU.

Please. Just stop hating. Stop HATING people, stop HATING things (unless you hate HATE...which is sort of hypocritical) Stop HATING ideas. Maybe you LOVE someone a little less, maybe you don't have an affinity for somethings, maybe you don't agree with an idea. But stop HATING.

Use your words to spread love. spread peace. spread hope.
I send all of those things to you. Thank you.