Tag Archives: friends

So I guess this is it…

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When I started this blog, the intention was to capture my thoughts and feelings, critiques and celebrations as I went through the wedding process as a lesbian living in North Carolina.

I am thankful I set a cut off date because I never wanted this blog to drag on forever with occasional posts that never mean much to anyone. Nor did I want it to be purely political. It was about all the different parts of my journey up through last Saturday. So I guess this is it, this will probably be my last post. At least until the wedding pictures come in and I can add a slideshow for folks to see.

I learned a lot on this journey, mostly how to be thankful for the folks who never treated my wedding weekend differently than anyone else’s simply because I was marry a woman: Pastor Kelly and my Green Street family, the folks at all three David’s Bridal stores, the caterers, the jewelers,  my family and friends. I learned that sometimes the world is awful to gay folks, but many times it’s not. I found that for me, the actual process of saying my vows and having other community members bear witness to my permanent relationship with Marianne means more than any piece of legal paperwork ever could.

I love you all, I mean it. I’ll still be around in some form or fashion, but for now this is it. There’s an ending here, but it’s also a beginning for me. I quoted bell hooks on the “About” page of this blog She’s also applicable here:

I still think it’s important for people to have a sharp, ongoing critique of marriage in patriarchal society — because once you marry within a society that remains patriarchal, no matter how alternative you want to be within your unit, there is still a culture outside you that will impose many, many values on you whether you want them to or not.

I’m grateful for all this blog’s readers who stuck with me for the past 11 months, encouraged me both in person and through the blogosphere and gave me a reason to continue each week. I sincerely hope that you all gained as much as I did throughout this process.

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Wedding crises…24 days out

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I might have just stolen this from Elis’ Facebook page 😀

So, here we are, 24 days before out vow and ring exchange ceremony…and we have to find a new person to facilitate it!! OMG What?!?!?

Long story short, the minister we thought we had all worked out to officiate our ring exchange and vow ceremony Friday night isn’t going to work out.

After freaking out and wondering what we’re going to do, M and I decided to do what we had been thinking about since the beginning…we asked our friend Elis. And Elis agreed.

Elis is amazing.

Elis is also an ordained minister.

From Elis’ Facebook page:

I make terrariums and propagate plants. I drink a lot of coffee and eat a lot of trash. I believe in the intertwined nature of the universe and the power of human spirit. I embrace androgyny and ambiguity. I love trees, cats, wind power, and interpersonal learning. I want to know you.

Why wouldn’t you want Elis to marry you?!?!?

On houseplants (Or: the care and feeding of a relationship)

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Meet Fred.

I’ve never met a houseplant I didn’t like. This post in particular is about a plant named Fred.

I acquired Fred while I was still living in North Dakota in the Air Force (sometime in 2004 or so) and he was tiny. He was of the random plants you find at a grocery store and buy because you like the pot and figure the plant will die anyway but hey, at least you’ll have the pot.

Well, Fred didn’t die. He grew. He’s got a large round bulb at the bottom and his main base grows straight up with lots and lots (and lots) of long thin green leaves growing from each section of the base.

He grew out of the pot he was in about two years ago but between moving to North Carolina, going to graduate school and just generally living life I was busy. I finally repotted him tonight.

After using my little trowel to loosen Fred from the side of the pot, I still had to stand above him and pull and I ended up pulling all of the dirt out of the pot with him. His roots had grown around, over, underneath and through each other that it took a good 10 minutes of gently coaxing the dirt from around his bottom enough that I could set him in his new home.

Now he’s happy.

But Fred got me thinking about human nature and the nature of relationships. I figured out three things tonight:

  • First, people (and plants) can grow almost anywhere so long as they’ve got access to the basics;
  • Second, it sometimes takes friends to help us realize that we’ve outgrown the space we’re in and that it might be time to move on to bigger things;
  • Third, moving on is scary and although taking everything with you may seem like a good idea, it’s better to start again in new soil keeping only what’s necessary.

Thanks Fred.

Get excited for our wedding registries!

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Equality for All!

Just a quick note in between M getting home at 9:30 pm and her heading out for ice cream at 11 pm…

We started our wedding registry at target online the other day and after about 15 items we kinda of sort of maybe needed…we ran out of ideas. The problem is that we’re grown adults who already have everything we need to furnish our home (and M said I couldn’t ask for anything for the cat. She thinks it’s tacky but Dear Abby begs to differ. Hmmph!) so asking for a better version of what we already had seemed like a waste to me.

We thought about what to do and finally came up with a solution.

We’re asking people to make a donation to either Equality North Carolina or the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, two fantastic organizations that work for causes both M and I are passionate.

So…there you have it. Simple. Easy. And no purchase of a $350 toaster necessary.

Preferred names

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Yay!

I finally got my official business cards in after ordering on the first day of work…Katherine Ayers, education reporter. I think it sounds ok and from the 25+ likes I got on the photo, I’m guessing others thought it was neato as well.

But it got me thinking about preferred names…again.

While I represent my self as Katherine (Katie) Ayers at work and in the community, at every turn I’m reminded that that’s not who I really am (yet). My credit cards, bank statements, student loans, Social Security Card, birth certificate…most everything that constitutes me as legal still requires me to be Katherine Booher which is not who I want to be anymore. Some days I feel I’m living a split-life. Half the time I’m Ayers and the other half, usually at inconvenient times when I don’t want to think about it, the government yanks me back and says “no, no…for a bit longer we require you to be someone other than who you are.”

Fortunately it’s only the government and once I work within their (stupid) rules, my preferred name will match up with my legal one.

In some ways, I’m glad  it’s just my last name I want changed, and I’m doing it at a point where no one at work and in the community knew me as anyone else anyhow so there’s nothing “new” for most people to get used to. But I got thinking about folks in the LGBTQ community who, for whatever reason, want to change their first name. Maybe they’re transitioning, maybe their uber-girly name doesn’t fit them and they want more than just a nickname. I’m sure there are stories where the transition was great and the preferred name stuck with no issues, but I can only imagine how frustrating and lonely it must be for some folks to ask people to use their preferred name only to get called their birth name months later.

I’m picturing a person standing at the bottom of the Grand Canyon where everything echoes and screaming at the top of their lungs “My Name Is JANE!” only to come to the top and have the first person you meet say “Hi, Jim,” either out of ignorance or disrespect or both.

My friend Elis, who recently chose that name, wrote their thoughts about it. I hope they don’t mind I’m linking to a part of their blog post:

One of the hardest things I’ve ever done is name myself. The realization that I could have a name that genders me correctly on paper and in speech, that has never been used to abuse me, only recently dawned on me. Once I knew who I could be, though, I couldn’t turn back. Now, I face the issues of being a college student, a leader, activist, and a member of many communities, and having to come out all over again. The ability to name oneself is a privilege; often, we elect to be known by our middle names, or by nicknames, or unrelated names altogether that happen to be gender-appropriate and justifiable. My transition, though, isn’t so easily justified. The old worries of inconveniencing those that I care about with my queerity have more than returned. Who am I to ask so many to reorient their mindsets for the sake of my identity? I’ve only told a few people my name, though I’ve more than claimed it in my self-narration. I’ve whispered it to empty rooms, but haven’t yet spoken it aloud to another person. It’s been a process with new challenges and encounters of privilege and justification.

All this to say, when a person (whom you’ve never met or with whom you’ve been best friends with since toddlerhood or a sibling) introduces themselves to you, or to anyone in your presence, take the name they say as truth. Don’t question it (in that exact moment anyway), certainly don’t correct them and understand that they chose the name carefully. If you’re (genuinely) curious, ask them politely in a private setting why they chose the name they chose (and maybe, only maybe) why they did it. In the end it’s none of your business anyhow and if they choose not to share there’s probably a reason for that. In time they will, or not.

Your only job responsibility is to love them exactly how and where and who they are.

Loving alike but not always thinking alike

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Callie’s having some “adjustment issues.” She’s not always so sure the floor is the best place for her as Lil’ Man might see her.

I’ve missed you all! But, after some major screw-ups by U-Haul and having to wait an extra day for some day labor guys to help us unload the truck, Marianne and I (and Callie) are more or less settled into our new place in Greenville.

At our old place, Callie was the top (and the only) cat around. Here’s she got a new “friend” named Lil’ Man who, currently unbeknownst to her, is the sweetest cat ever. She’s mostly an indoor cat and Lil’ Man comes and goes when he pleases. At this point she hisses when she sees him and he just kind of stares blankly before turning his head and walking away. Luckily he’s got claws, so all it took was one swipe to the nose for Callie to realize that fighting with him would not be a good idea and she should probably just put up with him, because he certainly doesn’t care one way or the other about her. She’s just a new body that’s about his height who’s hanging around. And who wants to share his food bowl.

All this to say, Callie is making an issue out of a non-issue.

Which is also what most of this country seems to be doing in the Chick-Fil-A “controversy.”

To recap: Chick-Fil-A president Dan Cathy says his company supports the biblical definition of marriage and actively gives money to the company’s charity which supports, among other things, marriage-strengthening retreats, Exodus International which is a group who (used to) try to “pray away the gay,” and other anti-LGBT organizations.

To be sure, I don’t support Dan Cathy’s position or the charities to which he donates his corporations profits. Which is why I don’t eat at Chick-Fil-A. And why I try to educate others about why they should think twice about eating there as well.

What I won’t do, however, is violate what Ragen Chastain calls “The Underpants Rule:” what is right for me and my body (life) may not be right for your body (life). It means that while I get to choose what I want, I have no right to tell you what to choose for your life. All I can do is educate you about my experiences and then let you make your life decisions based on the new information you have.

Chastain says that if you are about to say any of the following:

  • People should
  • Everyone ought to
  • What people need to do
  • We should all
  • Nobody should
  • You shouldn’t
  • blah blah things that have to do with underpants that aren’t yours blah blah

you are probably about to break the underpants rule and should probably just not say whatever it is you were about to say.

With that in mind, I want to address a number of my Facebook friends who have recently posted statuses concerning Chick-Fil-A and how folks who eat there should probably just defriend them. While the underpants rule certainly applies to you and you are allowed to do whatever it is you please, I want to offer an alternate option: not defriending people who don’t think like you.

At Green Street, our reconciliation statement includes the phrase “We believe we can love alike even though we don’t think alike,” and that’s true here. By defriending folks who don’t think exactly like you, you lose the opportunity for dialogue. There are some folks who are not open to conversation and maybe they’re a separate issue, but the majority of your friends probably wouldn’t mind having a conversation about why this Chick-Fil-A issue is so important to you.

You also lose out on relationships with people who are funny, or witty, or loving and caring. Some of my family (and high school friends) doesn’t think that what Marianne and I are doing in October will constitute a “real” marriage, but that doesn’t mean that I have to cut all ties and not enjoy their company when I go home for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Each person must make their own decision here, so as not to violate the underpants rule, but personally, I will not be asking anyone who doesn’t think exactly like me on the issue of marriage equality to defriend me anytime soon on Facebook. With that in mind, I ask that all my blog readers also reconsider their moratorium on all friends who aren’t up to your speed on marriage equality just yet.

I’ve got a helmet Life, let’s go, what else you gonna throw at me??

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Callie does not want to move – she’s decided her best option is to hide until it’s all over

This will be a quick post – mostly to fill you in on all the wedding planning I’m not doing because of other real life stuff that’s happening. So maybe you’ll forgive me when most of my posts come off as trying too hard.

First, we’re moving. We’ve got about a week (okay exactly a week) before we pack the U-Haul and move to Greenville so Marianne can start school and I can start my work as the education reporter for The Daily Reflector. We’re moving into a house owned by a friend so although we can keep most of what we own now, we’re being forced to evaluate – right now – what we’re going to need when we get there and what we can put store in the attic. All I know is that the waffle iron better find its way into the kitchen.

Last time Marianne and I moved we about killed each other. Mostly because she had to pack and I had to kind of sort of help her when I could while also still working full time. This time we’ve got more time to get ready and we now understand Kelly’s Rules to Fighting Fair. These rules actually work really well for communication in general…but I’ve also learned to just say “yes” a lot and purposefully checked my attitude and tried (really, really) hard to work as part of the Marianne and Me team.

Second, it looks like our name change will happen in Greenville, not in Winston like we wanted. We still don’t have our Federal background checks back and nothing can happen before then. Fortunately, we had a friend of ours who lives in Greenville go through the process already so she will (hopefully) guide us through the process. I assume it’s pretty much the same as here, I just hope any judge we have to speak to will not ask too much about why I want to change my name. We’ll see.

Third, Marianne’s father passed away this morning. He had been sick, but I still don’t know that anyone was really ready for it. In between packing and moving and my trying to train the new guy at work, we will be making a trip back to Tennessee for the funeral and for M to be with her family. Prayers and good thoughts are appreciated.

In good news, we’ve got our wedding cake tasting tomorrow with our friend Deese who’s making the cake. We also talked with Angela Yarber, one of the pastors at Wake Forest Baptist Church, on Wednesday and she’s agreed to do our vows and ring exchange ceremony on the night before we have our big ceremony at Green Street. Looks like our ceremony timeline is finally falling into place.

I am currently on the hunt for wedding dress shoes. I’ve got a dress fitting coming up and have yet to find a pair.We’ve also got to start thinking about ordering our actual wedding invitations, I don’t know if we’ve decided to continue the Civil Disobedience theme or not. Regardless, the invites have to go out in mid-September. You know, right when Marianne is beginning her schoolwork and I’m still trying to find the rhythm of my job.

I’m tired, but I’m ready. I’ve got a helmet and I’m considering some elbow and knee pads, just in case Life decides to throw something else at me too…

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Don’t Forget! Support the name change!

As an update, we’ve gotten back our state background checks back and are now just waiting on the Feds. Come on, USA! Once that’s done, we’ll starting moving forward with the actual paperwork filing.

Any amount is helpful, we’ve got until the end of July to raise the money…we’re still sitting at $237 which gets us two sets of fingerprints a piece, covers the cost of the federal and state background checks for both of us and gives us money for one of the name change application. We’re still looking to cover the other $120 for the second application and some money for dinner… We’re looking to raise $375 – only $138 to go!