Thursday, January 30, 2014

These Days

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.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I'll Be Lovin' You Always

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.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Hello 2014!

First selfie of the year!

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:

Way Late Hanukkah Post

As promised, I made a little collage of each night of candle lighting for Hanukkah:

I know, this post is way overdue. But better late than never, right? Happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Weddings and Menorahs

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.

I'm ready call her my wife.

We're adorable.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Happiest Place on Earth

I'm on a roll! I'm in the front seat on the road to destiny! 

News, news, news!

I know, it's been awhile since my last post. I don't really have an excuse for it, because when I look back on all the things I've done since September, I know I could've fit a post in somewhere. To be honest, I had a few instances where I thought, "Hey, I should post such-and-such on my blog!" But it would be at the most inopportune moments, like when I'm using the watching Doctor Who or skydiving or wrestling bears. Anyway, here's an update about what's been going on with me these days:

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Who Needs Religion?

If there is one constant in my life it is that I know that I need religion. Others do not, and that's great. Sometimes I envy those people. But I am not one of them.There has never been a time where I haven't sought out religious/spiritual fulfillment in some way, and I can't imagine a life (for me) where I didn't... "do" religion. It's just so ingrained in me. Many of my beliefs might (and always sometimes do) change over time, but I've always believed in something, and that something has always been an important part of my life.When I don't make my spiritual life a priority, other parts of my life suffer. I didn't realize that until very recently (although I shouldn't be surprised, how long have I been living with myself?). I remember one evening when I was talking to Kourtney about some spiritual problem, she looked at me and asked, "Why do you need religion so bad?" I don't even remember how I replied, but thinking back I remember feeling taken aback.  Who doesn't need religion, I thought.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Commencement Reflections and Random Pics

My grandma bought this for me. She rocks.

It's been awhile since my last post-- the last time you heard from me, I was counting down the days to graduation. That was in May.

It's August now. So... it's been awhile.

It wasn't my intention to take such a long hiatus on here. After my last post, I got some pretty good feedback, and at first I was relieved because I truly didn't know how people would respond to what I wrote. I was trying to vent without sounding like a huge whiner. But people seemed to relate to what I wrote, which felt really good. And then I began to worry. What was I going to write next? Would my next post be as good as the last or would it fall short? It brought on a little bit of anxiety. Meanwhile, I was smack-dab in the middle of finals, about to graduate from college, and I thought, "I don't have time for this, I gotta graduate!" So I told myself that I would start back up after I graduated.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Ode to a body?

I'm always a bit hesitant to visit my hometown, for a myriad of reasons. It reminds me so much of the days when I was "blossoming into adulthood," or all the ways I was socialized to think in ways that now, looking back, were probably not great for my psyche. I do have a lot of great memories from living in GV-- going color guard competitions, bake sales, days at the river-- but I'm also keenly aware of the not-so-great memories. One of the biggest issues that I still deal with from a day-to-day basis is something I learned in GV: body hate. And I'd like to think of myself as a bit more "enlightened" with my (almost) degree in Sociology and my feminist leanings and bad-ass attitude, and I'd like to imagine myself as a body activist, a person who's like "What, I'm fat AND black AND beautiful, so suck on that!"

I'd really like to be that person, but I'm not.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Everyday Radical Acts

I was on Facebook the other day (when am I not?), when I stumbled upon a post by one of my FB buddies regarding an everyday radical act-- revealing your queerness to your gynecologist. I read her post and nodded my head-- been there, done that, still awkward as hell. Nothing reminds you how heteronormative our society is quite like explaining to your well-intentioned gynecologist that yes, you are sexually active, but no, you do not have sex with men. Because that's what they really mean, when they ask you if you're sexually active-- they really wanna know if there has been a penis in your vagina recently. And as someone who has had some frustrating gynecological issues that have resulted in many appointments with different specialists, I can tell you that this question never gets old. I don't always answer the same way-- sometime's I'm frank: