It's been awhile since I've posted. In fact, summer has breezed by and has led us into a beautiful autumn. And if you've been reading my blog or know me at all, you know that Autumn means October, which is my favorite month of the year. According to the internet, only white girls seem to love fall-- well, they're gonna have to make room for me because my mind is like OMG FALL LEAVES AND PUMPKIN EVERYTHING AND SPICED APPLE CIDER GET IN MY BELLY!!!!
That's our city permit that says we've booked our venue!
When Kourtney and I first got engaged, we felt a lot of pressure to have a big wedding. Suddenly people were coming out of the woodworks, asking if they were invited, asking what they should wear (and we didn't even have a venue or a date set). We truly wanted to invite everyone we knew and we wanted to have a huge party! However, we began to realize that planning a big wedding was simply beyond our abilities (financial, emotional and physical). We really began to feel the pressure.
Then my uncle died. And everything was put on hold.
So I'm part of this closed group on facebook which I really like-- its a group of like-minded women who agree to keep a safe space for us all to talk about everything from marital problems to favorite ice cream flavors to questions about which cookie cream is the best (cookie meaning vulva, because... I dunno, it sounds better? Anyway, it's a cream to remove pubic hair, end of story). I love this group because these women are honest and supportive and it's nice to have a some sort of safe space in the war zone we call the internet. I mean let's be honest, there are some real assholes out there and they seem to multiply exponentially when it comes to the interwebs. The women in this group share very intimate, personal information about themselves and their struggles. Honestly, I post more to that group than I do to my actual Facebook page.
But there is one thing that really gets to me that I cannot share with the group. It's the way we all talk about our bodies.
I know I'm not one to talk because if there was a group for body haters I would be its president (or at least treasurer... secretary? I'd be on the board, at least). I've spent most of my adolescence and young adulthood trying to hurt my body because I have held so much hatred and loathing towards it. Now I'm going through the admittedly slow process of loving my body and developing positive behaviors to take care of it instead of destroy it. So it really breaks my heart to see so many posts about body hatred.
"I hate my thighs."
"I've never felt so ugly."
"I going on X diet because I just hate my body right now."
So I haven't been posting any updates about my journey to Judaism, which is admittedly slow-going but super exciting (to me). Passover was last month, and I was invited to a seder at my friend Bekah's mom's house. I was so excited, but also super nervous. I've been to a seder before, but I was like eight or nine and I barely remember it. I'm learning a lot about Judaism, but I'm still a total novice and the thought of messing things up or saying the wrong thing gives me major anxiety. What if I said a word wrong or did something stupid? Turns out I did both of those things and no one threw me out.
It's been really difficult getting myself to write anything in the last few months. I think it's because I just don't know what to say.
Actually, that's a lie. I have a lot to say, but none of it is particularly inspiring or enlightening (not that anything I've said previously has being either of those things). Most of the things I've been feeling have been anxiety, sadness and grief. Losing my uncle has hit me really hard, and at a time in my life when I'm already in a not so great place. After he died, everything that I was feeling before seemed to be magnified times a thousand. All the anxiety that had been building, the depression, the fear, it exploded after his death. I was hit hard.
Then Kourtney's aunt died, which was hard for her. And then in march my grandma Sue died. So 2014 has not been so great to us so far.
I spent the days after my uncle's death with my family-- grieving together, making arrangements, eating. And I'm so glad that we've all given ourselves space to process in whatever way we see fit, so there's been crying and tears but there's also been singing and dancing and laughing, too. I've heard some great stories about my Uncle, and I think that being in such a safe space with family has been good. So far we've had two memorial type events, one that was the sunday after he died at my grandmother's house, and the second was in Grass Valley for the viewing of his body. There were plenty of people at both who came to pay their respects, support us and grieve with us, and I really can't say enough about how good it was to be around so many people who know Joe and just had so much good energy.
There have been a lot of things going on in my life recently, and I've been going around and around in my brain trying to figure out how I wanted to write it all down, if I wanted to write it at all. I've spend a significant portion of this new year angry and sad and depressed.
I've tried a few times to write this post, and have come up with little to say. The words seem to come so slow to my mind, and yet I have a million thoughts and feelings moving about in my brain trying to get out. But the biggest thing to happen this year, the one that has had the biggest affect on me, has been my uncle Joe's death. Joseph Harold Carter died suddenly on wednesday, January 15th. There is so much to be said about this great man, and I find that I lack the eloquence to give him justice on this humble blog, but I will try. My uncle was pretty much the best uncle ever. He had such a goofy smile and he had a presence that just lit up a room. Uncle Joe was a big guy, like a bear, and he gave the best hugs that just enveloped you. He loved his nieces and nephews, loved is brother and sister, loved his mothers and his wife and especially his son... he just loved everyone, and made sure you knew it.
His death was a complete shock for me. He was only 35! I had just seen him two days before! I wasn't at all prepared for the news. I was sitting on my couch with my friend Angela watching Supernatural when my mom walked through the door. I could tell as soon as she walked in that she was upset, but I didn't know why. I asked her what was wrong and she had such a hard time getting the words out (she was trying not to sob). Finally she says, "Your uncle Joey passed away!" For a moment I thought she meant my grandmother's brother, who died years ago. I asked, "My Uncle Joey?" because really, how could my Uncle Joey be dead? When I realized who she meant I began to wail. My mom fell into my arms and we cried together on the couch, I kept saying no, no, no. How could it be him? I keep asking myself that even now. Why? Why him? He was such a delight, he made everyone feel good and important and special. He was so happy in the last months of his life, it just seems so unfair for him to die so suddenly, playing basketball with his son at the park. Gone, just like that.
I keep comparing this feeling now to how I felt when my grandfather died in 2012 (another January death). I'm not sure which is worse, watching someone die over a period of months or having a loved one die suddenly, with no warning. On the one hand, it is pretty devastating to watch someone die, and when my grandfather died it was two months of hospital visits, being with him and hoping he would live but knowing he was dying. It was incredibly painful, and the longer it went on the devastating it was. On the other hand, it feels like there was so much left for my Uncle to do and see, and his sudden death made me feel like he was robbed of those things. And we were robbed of the opportunity to say goodbye, to make with whatever conflicts any of us had with him, to do that one last thing you would want to do with a loved one before they passed on. I didn't get a chance to know him more, to hear his stories and to tell him how much I appreciated his presence in my life.
I find myself filled with anger and grief and sadness over this tragedy. I keep asking why, why would god take such a light in the world so soon? Why take him, when there are so many bad people in the world who would have been more deserving? And I think about his son, my cousin, and think why would you take away his father? I don't think there is a person on this earth who put more love into Isaiah than Joe. I can't even describe it, you just saw them together and it was like an explosion of love. That can never be replaced. So I'm angry. I'm mad that he died.
I miss him so much. I wish I wasn't writing this post. It just hurts.
Well, another year has come and gone. I have to say, 2013 was a pretty great year. I graduated from College, I got engaged, and I started planning a wedding. I got to be there when my close friend married her dream man in September, I got to spend time with my family in Oregon at our Family Reunion, and I have been blessed to be able to explore my spirituality, which has led me to Judaism. I don't know what 2014 will have in store, but I'm excited about the possibilities. This year, I'll be getting married! I'll be learning more about Judaism, taking classes and going to Shabbat services, experiencing my first Pesach, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur... It's exciting and so scary (I have a bit of social anxiety, so it is a challenge for me to go out in the world and interact with people I don't know, doing things I'm not exactly familiar with), and I think I am ready to go for it. At my own pace, on my terms.
Bring on 2014! I'm ready to take it all on!
Here's some highlights from our New Year's celebration:
Oh goodness, it's already December and I haven't posted since October. Truly, I try to post, but as soon as I log in to start writing I get major writer's block, and everything I want to write suddenly seems to trivial, or to personal, or lame or forced or blah blah blah. Anyway, here I am, attempting to rise up from blogger death and bring some news.
One of the venues we looked at
Wedding venue shopping is just slightly infuriating, because I am prone to overshopping. Or perhaps a better way of saying it is that I am easily overwhelmed by choices? So I go online and look at all the different places to choose from and I kind of lose my shit. So as you can imagine, I am ready to just pick one and be done with it. But at the same time, I don't want to pick one that I'll end up hating six months down the line. And then to make it just a bit more complicated for myself, I'm constantly looking at other stuff when I should be researching venues. So I'll be like "This is a nice venue over here-- oooh, look at that dress! Oh, I should look at cake toppers, and what about Doctor Who centerpieces? I should find a Harry Potter ring box for the ceremony..." I'm easily distracted. Part of me just wants someone else to plan this whole thing without my input and I'll just show up on my wedding day ready to go. But really, it's not that bad. I'm fully enjoying being engaged, it's an exciting time, and I really should enjoy it while it's here. It's still so new to me, when I talk about Kourtney I still sometimes say "My girlfriend" instead of "My Fiancee." Most of the time people correct me.