Jul 30, 2012

Surprise Trip Tomorrow!

Exciting plans for tomorrow!!! K's little sister is turning 21 (legal drinking age), so I'm taking a little trip for her birthday party. The catch is, K doesn't know I'm coming!

So this all came about because K planned this huge night out for her little sis, and spent a few weeks moping at me "I really wish you could come", to which I would reply, "baby, it's right in the middle of the week. That's just not realistic for me with work". But as fate would have it, it was quite realistic for work, as I happen to be heading down to her area for a work trip the very same day of the party!!!

She has no idea, I love it.

I really care about her little sister too, so it will be fun to celebrate her big day with her. I come bearing gifts: a few fun accessory finds and of course, champagne!

So, you might be thinking "Ruth! K is going to see this post and it will ruin your surprise!" Yeah, no worries. K doesn't follow blogs. Or twitter. Or instagram.  Including mine. Its just not her thing, she prefers face-to-face communication. But she follows me in real life, so that works. :-)

I'm going to do my best to subtly get some details out of K tonight so I can show up at the appropriate time and place. K told me she's renting one of THESE for some cruising around town:

Yes, that is what you think it is. A limo with a giant chicken head and tail out the back. Utterly ridiculous and completely impossible NOT to have a good time in that thing.

I've been a somewhat delinquent blogger lately. But in my longer-than-usual absences I've compiled a list of new blog post topics and tracked down some great new books I'm excited to review. Other than the Olympics, here are some of the things that have been distracting me from blogging:

Micah bean!
Chicago trip with my family! 
My parents. I love them.
With big sis. Symphony in Grant Park. Crazy packed!
Exploring! My little sister and her fiance.
Happy birthday big brother!
Quality time with this puppymuffinpie.

Hope your days have been filled with beautiful distractions too. Can't wait to see these two crazy girls tomorrow!

K, me, K's little sis turning 21 tomorrow!

Jul 19, 2012

13 Months, Sweatheart Jam Tart Roses and Cuties

I haven't done just a basic update post on life in a while, so I thought that'd be a good one for today. Tomorrow is Friday, thank god. It's been a long week. My baby has been working her ass off. Seriously, you don't even know. I'm talking 12 hour shifts on top of 8 hour shifts on top of full course loads. She's hardly been getting any sleep and I'm worried about her. We've been communicating in quick texts and short calls in between her working and sleeping and studying.

Let me tell you something, it blows. It's times like these that make our 3 hr long distance feel like she's a million miles away. On the bright side, only 13 months until she's finished with school and can begin to have some semblance of a normal schedule. We've been together for 4.5 years... so that's a total of 54 months. 13 doesn't seem like much compared to that.

She knows how to cheer me up. 

So, what else? Work's crazy as usual, but good. Look at these lovelies I got to work with this week! Pretty sure the white ones are just garden roses. But the pink ones are called Sweetheart Jam Tart Roses. It's a real thing, I swear!

I'm SO excited about this weekend. Driving to see my bestie and her husband and their precious precious THREE month old little Micah. I was there when he was born! (Poor thing will probably have to hear that from me the rest of his life). Anyway, can't wait to catch up with her and spend hours watching Micah do all of this cute little things that he does. Basically sit around and smile. You will be subjected to photos when I get back - I'm warning you in advance. I've already promised K I'm going to take a ton.

Who could resist taking pictures of him? ^ This is the onesie I just sent him.

And I'm also looking forward to spending next week house-sitting and Frodo-sitting with my big sis. (I'm so happy to have her back in town again!) I'm thinking we're going to have to watch a fun TV series or something since we're going to have lots of sister togetherness time. Downton Abbey? I still haven't seen it! Don't tell me anything! And I might have to spend a little time playing with Frodo muffin too.

Pwease pwease pway wit me.

Speaking of TV series... damn it... I promised myself I wouldn't go on and on about this. But let me just pay a tribute to these two beautiful gay couples from True Blood Season 4. I just finished watching it tonight (yes, I'm always an entire season behind) and I am not a happy camper at the moment. I loved both of these couples so much and I was so sad things ended like they did. If you don't watch True Blood... I apologize for my ridiculousness.

Tara & Naomi                                      Lafayette & Jesus

Have a wonderful Friday and a very happy weekend!

Jul 16, 2012

What Changed?

A reader asked me a question the other day, and since this isn't the first time I've gotten some variation of this, I figured it was about time to answer. *Just a warning: this is long! If you are not really interested in Christianity, you might want to just skip this post.*

"What made your beliefs about God, the afterlife...etc. change along the way?"

I can't say that I have a simple answer. I had to go back in some journals and try to get in the mindset of Ruth in the beginning of 2008. (I can't believe it's been that long!) A lot happened kind of at once and created something of the perfect storm for me:
  • I became disillusioned with Christianity. Disappointed by the people who represented it. The hypocrisy. The elitism. Granted, there were exceptions to this, but mostly the environment of my Christian college felt suffocating. I didn't like being part of it anymore.
  • I realized I was in love with my best friend, K. We both realized something intense and deep was between us exactly 30 days before I left for a semester in Australia.
  • I went to Australia, and for the first time in my life was able to truly gain an outside perspective of America and American Christianity. What a huge breath of fresh air!
  • Over the four years prior to that, each of my three siblings, one by one, had come forward and professed that they were no longer Christians. (BIG BIG deal for me and my parents, I was shaken to the core each time).
  • I had never truly questioned anything I'd been taught in 21 years. Talk about blind faith! Why did God give me a brain if I wasn't supposed to use it?
  • I made THE list, a compilation of 31 questions. It didn't come to me all at once, they were questions that had gathered over the years in corners of my mind. But I sat down and assembled them: "31 reasons I'm not a Christian anymore". (They included a variety of issues such as sin nature, eternity, free will, God being male, God's ineffectiveness to reach people, God' will...etc.)
  • "What I believe is not what I say I believe. What I believe is what I do." - a quote from Blue Like Jazz (the Christian fad book at the time) struck a chord with me. I could still "say" all the right Christian things, but I realized I did not genuinely believe them to be true. 
  • I stopped believing that God was good somewhere in all of that. I no longer trusted him.
My roommate and I having "the conversation" about how I'm not a Christian anymore...
in the Australian outback. Not sure why someone took a picture.

So all that gives you a better idea at least. I've gotten some other questions too like "is your sexuality the reason you're not a Christian anymore?" and "if you believed God accepted gays, would you be a Christian?"

No and no.

Here's where you're really going to think I'm screwed up in the head. That's ok though. The thing is, I do believe that if there really is a God, absolutely, 100% God loves and accepts gay people as they are. (Check out my book reviews for good resources on this.) There is no possible logical explanation that he/she would create something only to reject it as it is. So in other words... that is not a road block for me. There are plenty of gay christians who have no qualms about being both of those things. I think that is completely possible. 

So then... why am I not a Christian anymore?

I'm just not. I am happy without that. In fact, happier without that. And I don't think I could just crack open my Bible all the sudden and say "I believe all of this!" It'd be fake and forced. I don't believe all of it, or even most of it, in my heart or mind. I don't feel the need to. I don't feel an emptiness. I feel love and happiness and peace without subscribing myself to a certain belief system. When I first "gave it up" I always figured it was only a matter of time before I would be a Christian again. But I don't think that anymore.

The strange place I'm in is: I don't think you're wrong if you believe that. I don't know anything. So I have no right to tell anyone else they're right or wrong - I'm not superior to you in any way. I don't know if everyone's right, or no one's right, or if it doesn't even matter. I'm happy for you if your beliefs make you happy. And I think everyone deserves respect.

I know how that all sounds from the Christian viewpoint. I sat through my Contemporary Christian Belief class and I know all of the apologetics arguments. I'm sure some would say I'm believing lies or I've hardened my heart, or whatever, and they're entitled to say what they like. But I love truth, I seek truth, and I genuinely don't believe what I "knew" for the first 21 years of my life was truth. 

I don't know where exactly I'll end up with all of this in my life, but this is where I'm at now. :-)

Thank you for your questions, I'll write something happier and lighter soon!

Jul 15, 2012

Label Us Happy

I don't like labels. But if they must, just label us happy. Because that's how I feel whenever I'm with you.

Love this card I found at Target yesterday! (Have you heard of JustWink cards, they are wonderful.) I'm kind of thinking this one was specifically designed for LGBT couples.... who else struggles with labels in their love life?

K doesn't like labels...at all. She thinks it erases her personal experience, and people will just assume she's some certain thing and put her in a box. It makes more sense if you understand her background a little more... she grew up around people who make "fag jokes" and call gay people "freaks". So, naturally, it's been pretty drilled into her brain that it's not ok to be labeled as any sort of gay. 

But I love her with or without the official labels. Either way, she's my love, she's my baby, my little bug, my babe, my fuzzybug, my everything. 

I embrace labels much more easily than K. Part of that is my personality. I see labels as a way to connect with a group, to find people with similar experiences to me. Also, I like being different, not fitting in with mainstream. That's just in my nature. So I embrace all sorts of labels for myself: gay, bisexual, pansexual, lesbian. I don't know what my exact "box" is, but it's fine by me however people choose to label me...because I'd don't give much thought to what people think about me.

I know why people hate labels--but they will always be part of our culture. I think the important thing to remember is, even when you think you've got the right label for someone, that doesn't mean you know everything about them. One label can NEVER define everything about a person. 

Labels for me and K: Lovey & Dovey, Best Friends In Love, Happy, Long Distance Loves.

K's sister calls us "Lesbian Lady Lovers".  :-) She's called us that for a long time, even before we were together. 

Do you think labels matter? Are they good or harmful? 

Jul 6, 2012

A Tale of Two...Towns

I'm not sure what got me thinking on this. Lately I've been having fun reading some blogs of couples who work together despite cultural differences and overcome the challenges of having a cross-cultural relationship. The culture you're raised in forms who you are & how you see things in the world.

K and I grew up 3 hours from each other. We live in the same state. 150 miles. You would think that would mean we come from a similar cultural background. You would think that, but you would be wrong.

The Tale of Town A

Point of interest in Town A: The Dairy Bar
K is from Town A, born and raised. A has a population of 488 people. 99% of everyone in town A is white. (Is K counted in that 1% minority because she's half-guatemalan?) These are actual census statistics, I just googled it. The only place of interest in the town, according to Wikipedia, is "The Dairy Bar". It's a town with many long stretches of country road boxing off rolling corn fields. There is a school, a liquor store, and most recently, a Dollar General. And everyone knows everyone knows everyone.

At the bank, people actually slide their deposit envelopes under the front door after hours.

You get the picture.

The statistics don't say how many residents town are related to K, but I'm got to be it's up there. Everyone's an "uncle this" or "cousin that". Yeah, and they're rednecks. I'm not judging, I'm just callin it like it is, they'd own it proudly. Fridge full of beer in the garage. Collections of guns and pick-up trucks.

It was a big shock for me the first time I hung out with K's family...this is real...this is a real lifestyle for people. I stuck out like a sore thumb. Probably best no one knew I voted for Obama.

Now, although my baby comes from here, and it's in her blood, but she's opened herself up to the wider world and moved beyond this small circle. Traveled, went away for school. It has a place in her heart, and she loves these people, but someone just meeting her for the first time wouldn't automatically know she's a little redneck girl deep down. I certainly didn't.

The Tale of Town B

My favorite library in Town B
I'm from Town B. And despite the fact I was born in California, I was raised in town B. The population of B is over 100,000, with a metropolitan area of over 500,000. It's 66% white, 25% black, 9% latino and a little bit of everything else. My high school class alone had the entire population's worth of town A in students. I grew up going to the library, the zoo, the theater, the parks, the museums, the pool, the mall. I just took for granted that everything was right there-that I didn't have to get on a highway to get to a gas station or go to a McDonalds.

ONE member of my entire extended family lived even in my state. And beyond that, you'd have to drive a ways to find anyone else I was related to by blood.

My friends in high school were Vietnamese, Rwandan, German, Filipino, Kenyan, Bosnian, Polish, Romanian, Russian...most of them first generation. And, you know, a few white and black americans in there too. But I found myself most drawn to people from other cultures, something in me connected with them. I loved the opportunity to get to know people who weren't like me. (To be fair, the popular american kids felt more different from me than the kids who immigrated to the US...but that's another story.)

The point is, I grew up in a city with lots of opportunities, culture and change. And I didn't consider it a big city at all (because it's really not). And I didn't consider it liberal (it's still in Indiana, after all). I guess it's all relative, eh?


Well, you get the idea. Perhaps we didn't grow up so far apart, but K and I in many ways, have a cross-cultural relationship. And it's a challenge sometimes. But she's my country girl, and I'm her city girl, and we meet some place in-between. Tomorrow I'm heading down the the country to stay with her and her family for the weekend, it's become a Fourth of July tradition for us by now. Lots and lots of home-cooked food. Lots of beer. Card games (I do speak that language fluently, and I will take your money in poker). Blastin country music on the radio.

This may not be my native culture, but I am continually surprised by the ways in which we are all so similar, and all so human. 

My little country girl likes to take me shooting. 
She's kind of a show-off.

Jul 2, 2012

Creating the Illusion of Perfection

This is my 102nd post on this blog! I've been going for almost a whole year, and I've learned so much about blogging already. As you can see, if you browse my archives, I can be a little scattered with topics... but I try to mix it up with the thought-provoking issues (esp. glbt-related), fun everyday, good reads, and... love & life.

I follow quite a few blogs as well. My list is ever growing! And today I want to talk about something I've noticed that can be kind of a bad habit in the blogging world:

Creating the Illusion of Perfection: My life is perfect. You wish you were me. The end.

It is all too easy to do this when blogging, and I'm sure I count myself as guilty of this as anyone. We don't want to share the shit going on in life. Frustrations at work. A fight in your relationship. A struggle with depression. So we edit our lives into short, cheerful posts with happy photos and good times.

Why do we blog? Well, a million reasons. For me, it's about sharing my life. Maybe the internet seems like a backwards way to connect with people, but I love it. The blogs I read and the posts I share are a way for me to feel connected with people all over the world. Maybe even some who understand my situation. I was feeling very trapped in my life, still being partially in a closet (yes, it is possible to be partially in a closet, but tricky) - I wanted a place to stretch my writing muscles, express thoughts about my relationship that I can't talk about in my day-to-day life, and advocate for the reconciliation of the gay and christian communities.

Anyway, back to the perfection thing. I can't really share my life with you if all you see is happy happy. (Because I've got plenty of the other as well).

When you're blogging, like I am, about your personal life, I do think it's also important to cap-off how much you share. Ugh. This is where it gets so tricky! Because I want to be real on my blog, with all the good and bad, but without crossing that line.

This reminds me of middle school when I used to AIM chat with people. I loved it because I was quiet in school and this was finally a chance for people to know me better. A place I could totally be myself - in my house, at my computer. But over time I became too comfortable on there, I began to share things that I would never share with someone face to face. I was bold and in control and I liked the personality I created for myself on chat. But it was unhealthy, like I'd rather be living in this world on chat I'd created than in the real one.

That is exactly what I never want to do with blogging. I never want to say anything I wouldn't say to another person face to face. I never want to create a personality for myself that isn't me, really and truly me. I never want to live in my blog world instead of my real world.

Do you know where I'm coming from? Blogging should supplement your life, not be your life. And there has to be a balance between always presenting everything as perfect all the time and pouring out your feelings like it's your diary.

I was showing K some favorite blogs this weekend and she said with a sigh, "maybe you shouldn't blog about us, we're not perfect couples like all of them". "Baby," I explained, "I'm not blogging to convince people I'm perfect, and I'm not trying to pretend we're anything we're not."

I never want to discourage others with making them think they're not living up to some standard of happiness that I have and they don't. We're all in this together! I want to encourage, uplift, relate, share, inspire, create, and inform you to the best of my ability. I want to be real (without sharing too much), even if it means the less-than-perfect.

So, thanks for reading and sharing life with me.

If you're not already a "follower", please join! I don't normally ask for that. But it would make me oh-so-happy to have a whole 10 followers by the end of the month. That was my goal for my first year! Or if you like my blog, share it with a friend who might enjoy it. I won't beg, but I figured it couldn't hurt to ask. :-)

Also, you can follow me now on Instagram and Twitter! I'm still pretty new to both of those, but I will try to keep up. I need some serious hash-tagging guidance, but I'm working on it.

Twitter: OutofWater_blog

Instagram: onethirstyfish

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