Jan 27, 2013

Life on Hold

Something I've tried actively to avoid is putting my life on hold until me & Katrina are finally together (as in, living in the same place). Up until now, I've been doing a decent job at this. Making friends, keeping busy, doing things just for me (like blogging!), creating a space for myself, helping plan my little sister's wedding.

Ever since I switched my calendar over to 2013, there's been this little excited feeling jumping up and down in the back of my mind saying "this is it! this is the year! this is the year everything changes!" So, that's not helpful.

But the truth is, my heart's been beating a little faster ever since my New Year's kiss at midnight with Katrina (first time we've been actually able to kiss at midnight, because we were with friends who accept us as a couple!), because THIS IS THE YEAR!!!

I catch myself thinking at work "at this time next year, I won't be here for this or that...." or I get a little lost in apartment searches online. I find myself looking around my apartment sometimes, mentally sorting things I'd like to pack, or things I'd like to get rid of to streamline for the move. The fact is, I'm a planner. I am constantly thinking ahead about things, coming up with scenarios and solutions before they've even had a chance to happen. I've conjured up a budget just to fund the moving expenses.

The courtyard at some of the loft apartments we've looked at.
Seven months. Seven months. Seven months. Seven months.

I'm sure there will be an adjustment period for us, to get used to living together. After being long-distance for most of our relationship, we're used to spending our coveted hours together lounging in bed, or splurging on fun little outings. It's always "how can we make the most of our time together?" We're not used to doing practical day-to-day living. But it's actually those day-to-day little monotonies that I'm most looking forward to. Being there when she gets home from work, coffee in the morning, packing lunches, watching our favorite shows, kissing her goodnight, having friends over, and even cleaning the house. I know someday I may take all of that for granted, but I hope I can remind myself not to.

A windy walk along the Indy canal last fall.

It will be a bigger change for me than just living with Katrina. I'm picking up and moving my whole life. We'll be living in the 12th largest U.S. city, Indianapolis. Which means new everything for me. New neighborhoods, new stores, new places to go out, new library (always a priority for me), new streets. And new friends. That's a lot of "new" all at once. But considering I've been waiting years, I'd say I'm ready.

I'm excited to become an Indy resident and start exploring!

It will be a big change for Katrina as well. She's still not out to certain people in her life, and us living together kind of takes away the ambiguity of our relationship.

So, perhaps I am a little bit mentally putting my life on hold right now, although I am trying not to. What are you looking forward to in 2013? Any big changes on the horizon? If you've been in a long distance relationship, how have you managed to transition into living together? Any advice?


Jan 21, 2013

Lesbian Must-Reads

Reading, for me, has always been a way for me to better understand the world, and my place in it. Although I enjoy reading books about lots of things, the ones that touch my soul and leave an imprint on my mind, are the books that I relate to - the novels I see myself in.

When I first fell in love with a girl, I was a bit blindsided and left feeling lost and confused. I sought solace and answers in lesbian books. I was 21 at the time, and I started with some Young Adult fiction (I felt like I was a teenager because everything was so new and I was essentially "coming of age" for the first time). And then I moved on to some more mature novels. Page after page, novel after novel, I felt like I had finally found a world I belonged in. I was not having a unique experience after all! As it turns out, other girls had fallen in love with girls before.

So, I thought I'd list the top 10 lesbian books (so far) that have left the greatest impression on me. But, I'd also love your help! I know I am barely scratching the surface of amazing lesbian literature, so please take a moment to share some of your favorites in the comments. I will happily add them to my reading list, and then other readers can check out your recommendations as well!

What books have had an impact on you as you discover who you are? Are any of your favorites on this list? Which ones am I missing out on?


1. Ash; Malinda Lo (2009) Young Adult
Beautiful fairytale, a re-telling of Cinderella in a world void of homophobia, and the girl may not end up with the handsome prince... perhaps a beautiful huntress instead?

2. Dare, Truth or Promise; Paula Boock (1999) Young Adult
I remember not wanting this one to end. Set in New Zealand, two friends find themselves innocently falling in love, and having to deal with the consequences of family and religion not approving. 

3. Annie on My Mind; Nancy Garden (1982) Young Adult
A beautiful and heartfelt story of two 17 year old girls, living in New York City, but from two different worlds. They are both taken by surprise when they realize their friendship has become more, and they have to decide whether it's worth fighting for or not well hell breaks loose.

4. Rubyfruit Jungle; Rita Mae Brown (1973)
Meet the unsinkable Molly Bolt. A girl who overcomes just about every injustice in life and still is hopeful about finding love. Her greatest strength is never wavering in knowing who she is and what she wants. The book is sad, because of the reality of life for gay individuals at that time, but also inspiring. Molly is brilliant, gorgeous, and courageous.

5. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe; Fannie Flagg (1987)
A heartwarming story set in the South during the 1920s, intermingled with a story taking place in the 1980s. The memories of the Whistle Stop Cafe are full of life & a sense of humor, while still tackling issues like the depression, racism, love & loss, community and sacrifice. A great read for anyone, but I loved the beautiful and perfect love story of Ruth & Idgie, lived quietly in the background of the story. (P.S. they took out the "gay" in the movie version)

6. Bittersweet; Nevada Barr (1984)
A historical fiction novel. The title for this book is very appropriate, you will love it and it will simultaneously break your heart. But it's worth it. Set in the Old West, when women had a hard-enough time without being gay. Just makes you really thankful for how our culture has evolved in views towards women and homosexuality. (P.S. you might hate men a little bit after this one, even if you ARE a man, just for like a day or so)

7. Disobedience; Naomi Alderman (2006)
The story of a gay Jewish woman who has left behind her Orthodox Jewish past to live a life of freedom in NYC. When she travels home to London and the Jewish community where she was raised for her Rabbi father's funeral, she is forced to revisit the life she once knew, and the people who were part of it.

8. Among Other Things, I've Taken Up Smoking; Aoibheann Sweeney (2007)
Miranda grows up with a hermit father on an island off the coast of Maine. She craves human connection, and when she has the opportunity to move to NYC, she jumps at the chance to set off and discover who she is and find love.

9. Fingersmith; Sarah Waters (2002)
A Victorian-inspired british crime novel, brimming with intrigue, suspense, secrets and plot twists at the level of Dickens himself. Minus the lesbian parts. Waters is a masterful storyteller, and you won't be able to put this one down! Who knew things could get so saucy back in the 1800s?

10. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit & Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?; Jeanette Winterson (1985 & 2011)
I'm going to recommend that if you read one of these, you should read both. I would say read Oranges first, Jeanette wrote that at only 26 years old, and later published a memoir (Why Be Happy...) at age 52. Oranges is semi-autobiographical, the story of an adopted girl raised by a strict Pentecostal mother. When the girl seeks to become the person she's meant to be, she becomes too big for the small world she's only ever known. In Why Be Happy, Jeanette accounts her memories of her childhood, adolescence and quest for self, much of which is paralleled in Oranges, but with the perspective an author can only have after 52 years instead of 26. Both of quite beautifully written and inspiring.


Jan 19, 2013

10 Questions: Ruth

Part 2 of our Q&A! Katrina answering questions about me, and then my real answers.


1. One of their most attractive qualities?
K: Her passion and loyalty. You can ALWAYS count on her to do what she says she will do.
R: She'd probably say either my giving or my passion, in general, about things.

2. What did you notice first about her?
K: That she was more quiet and reserved, but had a great dry sense of humor.
R: She probably noticed that I was quiet, and had a dry sense of humor.

3. What makes you laugh?
K: She laughs when I act overdramatic about something silly... like when I act helpless toward something so that she does it for me. She laughs about lots of other things too. I love when she laughs.
R: Lots of things. One hilarious thing? Her farts make the most pathetic little squeaky puttering sounds, and she always makes this little scared face when it happens... cracks me up every time.

To be fair, I have no one here normally to cuddle with,
and I can't have any pets at my apartment.
4. What is one of her guilty pleasures?
K: O... my.... GOD!  She LOVES stuffed animals... she sleeps with, like, 8! She thinks they are alive and have feelings. She gets mad when I slam their button eyes onto the hardwood floor. She could be in another room, hear me smacking their button eyes on the ground and come running to their rescue.... You do NOT want our problems.
R: I know she's going to say my stuffed animals. I have, a few. I have trouble getting rid of them because I think they have feelings a little bit.

Playing dress-up, I'm in the wig.
5. What were some of her favorite activities growing up?
K: READING. Playing Post Office and other pretend games with her sisters and brother. Playing with beanie babies.
R: She'll say that I read as a kid. Which is true. But I played sports too! And I spent a lot of time playing with my siblings: barbies, legos, American Girl Dolls, making up plays and competitions.

6. What's her "go-to" outfit?
K: An Old Navy v-neck T with some sort of sweater/cardigan thing. Jeans, a scarf, boots and sometimes a cute little artsy hat.
R: My default lately has been skinny jeans and some layered tops, always with a tank or two underneath (Usually bright colors).

7. What's an easy way to make her angry/pet peeve?
K: When I try to help her in the kitchen and I cut veggies up perfectly, but slowly. And when I'm in the kitchen and she won't scrape every last bit of something up and I get frustrated, then she gets frustrated... but it ends well because she kicks me out eventually. I watch TV and get to eat whatever she has made. I win.
On a more serious note, what really gets her upset is social injustice, prejudice and people who believe they are superior to others in some way.
R: My pet peeve? Hm. If someone wants to piss me off quickly, just say something racist or homophobic or against someone with disabilities. I'll fly through the roof.

This girl cheers me up.
8. What makes her feel better when she's sad?
K: If I am there... me holding her. Facetime if I am not there, plus watching Friends and cuddling with Smiley Bug, owl or Happy Heart (refer back to question 4 for understanding who these characters might be).
R: Katrina's always good at cheering me up, she makes me laugh. If she's not around, I'll go visit Frodo (my family dog who lives with my parents), he always makes me happy, or watch a favorite show.

Going out for breakfast is my favorite.
9. What's one of her favorite treats?
K: This is hard... Ritter's Frozen Custard. She loves going out for breakfast. Ok, I'm kind of tanking on this one right now. The brain is not working... there are many more obvious answers that you will see when she answers this.
R: I pretty much consider any food from out a treat! But my favorite meal out is breakfast. 

10. Describe her perfect date?
K: Going out to eat at a delicious, cute, little restaurant.  We. love. food.  Going back to her place and watching a movie while cuddling.  She would also like roaming down the main strip of some old, artsy town.  She loves little family-owned shops like that...
R: My perfect date would be doing something new and fun together, having a nice meal, and then an evening all to ourselves in a hotel.

Jan 18, 2013

10 Questions: Katrina

In honor of our anniversary, I thought it'd be fun to do a little test to see how well we know each other. I put together 10 questions, and we both answered them, twice - once for ourselves, and once for the other person. And we couldn't see each other answers until afterwards, obviously.

It was really fun to see what we both came up with, and I think we proved that we know each other pretty well! Maybe this will help everyone know us a little better too.

Here is part 1, me answering questions about Katrina, and then comparing those to her real answers. I'll post part 2, us answering questions about me, next.

P.S. This is the first time Katrina has ever written anything for my blog :-) Can we all convince her to do it more?

My beautiful girl, Katrina

1. One of their most attractive qualities?
R: Her genuine love of people, she doesn't judge them. Any given person is interesting and worthwhile to her and she takes them as they are.
K: How I love people and love making friends.

My little popular bug when we were in college.
2. What did you notice first about her?
R: I first noticed her magnetic personality. She was the girl everyone knew, everyone wanted to be friends with. No one could not love her.
K: She probably noticed how out-going I am...

3. What makes you laugh?
R: I make her laugh when I try to quote things/sing the lyrics to songs, and I always get them wrong.
K: I laugh at my favorite TV shows, my sister and when Ruth can't quote anything to save her life.  


I fully support her birding hobby by giving
her cute bird things
4. What is one of her guilty pleasures?
R: She'll get hooked on the cheesiest shows. One Tree Hill for example.
K: She probably said my guilty pleasure was One Tree Hill or birding... but for her to say birding is a guilty pleasure is like saying that blogging is hers... she told me I couldn't put that (sorry bloggers)*.
*It's true, I told her blogging does not count as a guilty pleasure. And for the record, I would never count birding as a guilty pleasure, just a geeky, but adorable, hobby.

You can just see the stinker in those eyes (she still is one!)
5. What were some of her favorite activities growing up?
R: Katrina looked up to her uncles as a kid, played softball, shot her BB gun, and rode around on the 4-wheeler. She was a feisty little competitive kid, a stinker always getting into trouble and never sitting still.
K: I loved shooting guns with my uncles, riding 4-wheelers, playing outside with my cousins and my sister. Pretty much anything, except reading or sitting still.

6. What's her "go-to" outfit?
R: Sweatpants (or no pants?) and a T-shirt. Sometimes with her Steelers cap.
K: She knows me too well. A t-shirt, gym shorts or sweatpants.

7. What's an easy way to make her angry/pet peeve?
R: She hates when I let water drip all over when my hands are wet (so naturally I do it on purpose).
K: I can't stand it when Ruth spills food/drinks on herself. It happens at every meal and I just wait for it so I can shake my head and get it over with.

We love cuddling. <3
8. What makes her feel better when she's sad?
R: Watching Friends, her favorite show. Also, cuddling if we're together. Generally, she gets sad when she's alone, so people make her happy.
K: Watching Friends or one of my favorite TV shows. Ultimately being with someone will make me feel better- I don't like to be alone, it makes me sad. When Ruth takes time to listen to my pathetic problems, it makes me feel loved and better.

K loves spending time with her family
9. What's one of her favorite treats?
R: Coke Slushies. Or jalapeno poppers. Or frozen custard with cookie dough.
K: cookie dough, jalapeno poppers, custard, oreos, salso con queso...

Sometimes we have the stop the car while
she's trying to identify a bird.
10. Describe her perfect date?
R: Truthfully, her perfect date is probably a packed picnic with delicious snacks and hours of birding. Or going to a gun range for target practice? Also, cuddling and watching a movie together. Does that count as a date?
K: Food. Hiking at some park while birding or fishing. Cuddling while watching a movie.


Damn, are we good at this or what? Part 2 coming tomorrow!


Jan 16, 2013

Five Years

This weekend Katrina and I celebrated our five year anniversary. I can't believe it's five whole years, and at the same time, I can hardly remember what it was like to exist without her. 

I don't know if I mentioned this here before, but this is the first relationship I've ever been in. That used to be something I was embarrassed about, I went all through high school and half-way through college, and had never dated, never even had my first kiss. I had crushes, but I never quite clicked with guys, something just felt off. I thought for a while, maybe something was wrong with me. I was different than other girls, I just wasn't sure why. 

And then, I met this amazing girl. I was pulled towards her like the earth gravitating around the sun. She lit something inside me, and I felt alive and secure and finally like myself. We were best friends for a year, inseparable. And then we kissed, and now it's been five years as "us".

Turns out nothing was wrong with me, although perhaps I am a bit different. But I'm so thankful I allowed myself to just be myself, and wait it out while I figured it out. 

Our five years haven't all been a walk in the park. But I can definitely say, that things have only gotten better and better. And let me tell you... I've learned a lot and grown a lot.

The first couple years were rocky. Very rocky in fact. We were in a christian environment where we were terrified to tell anyone. And the people we did tell usually cried, and said that this was a trial sent from God, and they hoped we could still get married (to men) some day. We went to counseling to try to get help in "just being friends". Obviously, that didn't work. We spent months apart while I studied abroad. We tried to "legitimately break up" for a few weeks one time (HELL ON EARTH). We both worked through personal struggles, figuring out who we were. But through all of this, neither of us could let go. That's when I started to get the clue that this was the real deal, and it was something worth fighting for.

In some ways, I think it was a good thing we had to work through a bunch of crap right at the beginning. Because once you've made it through all that, you kind of know that you've got something built to last, and that you can make it through just about anything. I love her more every day. I know people say that, but it's really true. The more I know her, the more I love her. I'm getting all choked up now writing this, so I'll just say one more thing...

There are so many components to having a healthy relationship, learning to give and compromise and build trust and serve one another. But you know what I've found to be so essential to the longevity of a relationship?

Laughter.

Find someone who genuinely makes you laugh. Someone who you enjoy spending time with, who gets you & your sense of humor, and who you can just crack up with over day-to-day life as it comes. 

All dressed up.
<3
A perfect night out with my baby at a sweet little local tapas style restaurant.
Filet mignon, a very special treat.
Chicken wontons with sweet thai chili sauce.
Mmmm, my favorite - Stella Artois
My beautiful Love.
Banana chocolate chip pancakes in the morning.
I love when she leaves me little notes to find after she's gone.
Apart again for now. This girl knows how to make me laugh.

What do you think are some of the keys to a healthy relationship? What are some of the hardest things your relationship has overcome?

Jan 7, 2013

A Curvy Girl's Manifesto

Some call it curvy, some call it fat, some call it full-figured, some call it overweight. Call it what you like. I'm a 181 lb. woman.

Already this year (only one week in) I've already been inundated with weight loss messages. Have you noticed it? Gym memberships, workout equipment, new diets -- everything promising you a fresh start and a new you. I literally heard a lipo-suction ad claim "because a thinner you, is a happier you!" in a peppy voice.

So you spend your whole life worrying about your number on the scale? What's next? You're worried about your age on the calendar? In case you haven't heard, being "old" isn't considered the current standard of beauty. An obsession with numbers and measurements only seems to make people more and more miserable.

Disclaimer: I am not by any means against exercise and eating healthy. Those are good things when paired with a healthy self-image and a perspective of what's important in life. So, moving on....

It has taken me years, decades, to learn to love my body. Even as a little girl, just a scrawny awkward growing girl, I worried about my body and any imperfections. I wasn't looking at myself as me. I was looking at myself as someone else, imagining what they saw.

I have come to realize, nothing about my body is perfect. At least, not according to what is deemed "perfection" by our society.

But I love it, because my body is me.

I love the way my body senses the world around it. I love the way it interacts with others. I am happy to be in it, and to be loved as myself, in the body I was born with. With my smile, my voice, my eyes. The way I walk and cuddle close and dance around the room. That is me, and that is my body.

At times I've weighed less, at times I've weighed more. But you know what I've discovered? That weight is not in direct variation with my current state of happiness. Nor does my weight define who I am. It is simply a current piece of scientific data that may be measured, subject to change daily.

Some days it takes tremendous effort to overpower the waves of messages screaming at us that say "unless you look like [exhibit A of model] you are less than beautiful".

LIES. I am beautiful. And I don't look anything close to that. I am truly beautiful, as a whole person, and that includes my physical embodiment, imperfections especially included (and no, that's not a "she has a great personality", I see every person as a whole of who they are, and their beauty is determined only partially by their physical body.)

Being overweight does not make you a person lacking moral character.
Being overweight does not mean you're not worth loving.
Being overweight does not make you unhappy (although people will try to convince you you are unhappy, please ignore them).

So, take care of yourself. Take care to love yourself, know yourself, and project the beauty that is you. If you must look at numbers, glance at them. But they will always change. Don't base your happiness and your worth on something that doesn't define who you are.


Treat yourself with love. Do what feels good for your body and gives you energy and confidence and light. Don't abuse your body, don't torture it, don't fight it. Love your body, love it's every imperfection, curve and angle. Stretch out your arms, legs, hands. Wiggle your toes. Take in a deep breath and feel your lungs fill and empty again. Press your hand to your chest and feel your heart beating. This is you. This is what you were born as, you can't be separated from this flesh. So take care of it, do it no harm, and always, always love it.

------------------

I'm not sure why I felt the need to share this message today. I know it's not for everyone to hear. And that's ok. Sorry if it sounds like a bunch of cheesy pep-talk! What struggles/revelations have you had with your physical self? Any words of encouragement to share? Do you think your weight impacts your happiness? I know this is quite an important topic to some people and I'm happy to hear the thoughts of others on this!
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