29 July 2015

The dangers of Christianity, in 8 easy steps!--step 5: no unnecessary household upgrades

Previous posts in this series:
  1. The first part of so much wrong
  2. Part two of so much wrong
  3. Step 1: rebuke her privately
  4. Step 2: rebuke her publicly
  5. Step 3: bring her before the church
  6. Step 4: stop taking her on dates
Before we jump into this continued escalation of nitwittery, I just want to take a moment to remind you that from step four on, the blog post writer does not see anything wrong with taking these steps even from the outset of the "issue."

In step five, husbands are reminded that their money is their money and their wives can't spend it without permission. This step says (emphasis mine):
Ordinarily, I am all for a husband funding things like new furniture for the house, or new paint for the walls. Wives will come to their husband's [sic] for these and many other household things. What you need to do as a husband is, unless it is a true family need, and not just an upgrade to something -- Do not allow it.
See, because if you remember from the previous step, all that is required of a Good, Christian Husband is that he provide his wife food, shelter and clothing. So when the couch breaks, she's not entitled to a new one. She can just deal with it until she decides that the couch is more important than being able to make her own decisions about her own body.

Once again, this is retaliation, pure and simple.

Husband is butt-hurt because Wife isn't willing to spread her legs whenever he demands, and so he says, "Well, I'll show you!"

Far be it from these types of husbands to actually grow up and handle shit like adults. No, no. We resort to pettiness. That's much more effective.

I remember now why I was so incredibly irritated when I first read this post. It's just escalating the same thing. These husbands aren't willing to see and deal with underlying relationship issues.

Let's set aside, just for a moment, that a woman's body is her own and she can decide whether or not to have sex with it whenever she wants without reason.

If Wife is routinely "denying" the physical part of the relationship, chances are, there's a real reason behind it. It could be something going on with her. If she's stressed, she may not be in the mood. But it's just as likely that it's something going on with the relationship. Many women I know must have some kind of emotional connection before they can have a physical connection. So if there's something going on in the relationship--tension, fighting, her picking up on his bad mood--it's not going to happen.

And if it's occurring regularly, it could very well point to some problem in the relationship. Retaliation doesn't fix that. Open communication, maybe some counseling from a real, trained, not-a-pastor relationship therapist.

So instead of playing these bullshit games, these husbands need to pull up their big kid pants, dry it up,* and actually be an active part of their relationships.

* "Dry it up" is a phrase I use with the munchkins when they're fussing or throwing temper tantrums for attention or to try and get me to give in.

26 July 2015

Renew your spirit with self-care

If you've been reading my blog lately, you know that I've been struggling a bit with anxiety an depression popping back up in my life. I'm lucky to have an amazing support system, though, so I'm doing okay.

But feeling the way I have lately has reminded me how important self-care is in my life.

I am currently the sole breadwinner for our family, using my scribbling to make money for important things like coffee, cookies, and World of Warcraft subscriptions. I adore what I do, and I'm good at it. But it can also be stressful since freelancing income, particularly in my field, can be variable.

Most of the time I can handle the stress that comes with my every day life. I keep pushing through and get things done the way the need to be done, and all is well. But sometimes, like last week, I'm reminded that if I don't take care of myself, I can't take care of everyone else.

So along with all of the get-shit-done, there's an element of stop-and-take-a-breath that needs to happen.

I've gotten away from yoga, which had been helping. So I'm re-committing to yoga regularly, even if it's only once a week to start.

I've also gotten into some bad eating habits (like not enough healthy, whole foods). So I'm re-committing to healthier eating.

I hope that taking some smaller steps toward better self-care now can help keep problems from getting too big later on. Plus, it's nice to feel like I'm spoiling myself once in a while.

What do you do to take care of yourself regularly?

24 July 2015

The dangers of Christianity, in 8 easy steps!--step 4: stop taking her on dates or trips

Woman in Window by John Vanderpoel
Previous posts in this series:
  1. The first part of so much wrong
  2. Part two of so much wrong
  3. Step 1: rebuke her privately
  4. Step 2: rebuke her publicly
  5. Step 3: bring her before the church
According to ye olde blog post, we're escalating our process now that we're in step four.

However, let's not forget that the blogger says he doesn't think it's wrong to begin some of these steps alongside the first three steps of the process.

Step four tells husbands to stop taking their wives on dates or trips to address her sexual refusal. Here's what the post says (emphasis mine):
Stop taking your wife to her favorite restaurants. Stop taking her out to those movies she wants to see. Don't take her on those weekend getaways she wants to go on. I am not saying to stop talking to your wife, or ignore your wife, as that is not an option for a Christian husband. But your wife does not have the RIGHT for you to take her on dates or trips--these things are a privilege that you may remove at any time.
I could barely type that without shaking my head so hard I couldn't see.

Let's turn to my second emphasis, shall we?

Here's the thing. In normal, healthy relationships, both individuals need to invest time and energy into the relationship. Part of that is spending time together. Like on dates or taking trips.

But this blog post implies that if a wife does not submit to her husband sexually, he can retaliate (because, let's be honest, that's what this is) by not taking her on dates or trips and not spending time with her. Because, as your wife, she can't do anything on her own, anyway. So this step has bonus features! if she's not going somewhere with you, she's not leaving the house at all!

I would also like to point out (in the first emphasis) that this step is advocating everything but ignoring the wife. If it weren't, the blog post wouldn't feel the need to point out that ignoring the wife isn't an option.

"You can't simply turn your back on your wife and literally not speak to her, but this is the next best thing."

The further I get through this post, the more it angers me at the way women are treated within this population group. The next few steps really emphasize the way Christian husbands view their wives.

She's lucky (well, they'd use the word blessed) to have him, and should show him that. Because he's not obligated to give her anything except food, clothing and shelter (which we'll get to in a later step, actually). So if she doesn't put out, neither does he.

I came very close to marrying into that dynamic. Not that I was in a relationship with someone who was like that. But when I was in high school and very into the church, there was a young man I saw myself marrying. we were unofficially courting (we liked each other), and had my life taken a slightly different turn, I probably would have married him, stayed home, and had babies. And everything that is expected of the wives this blog post is talking about would have been expected of me.

That would have made it really hard to be a lesbian....

23 July 2015

Yesterday was what it was

I intended to post something yesterday. It was our first day home from our trip, and I was optimistic about jumping back into the routine of things.

But then, Bo woke me with the news that a branch had fallen onto our car in the complex parking lot. It dented the front hood and broke through the windshield Final Destination-style.

Here's our hood. There's internal damage, as well, apparently.

Here's the windshield. The branch bounced off the dashboard, as well, so the shop has to check the systems behind the dashboard to make sure there's not any additional damage.

So that's what we did much of yesterday.

Before it rained in the afternoon, just as Bo was driving the (not really fit for driving) car to the shop. It could have been worse. No one was hurt and the damage is repairable. But it was certainly not what we wanted to come home to from our vacation.

I know this is life. Shit happens. And Bo called the insurance company, so we're in the process of getting it all taken care of. It's going to be okay. We'll get the car back in a couple of weeks, good as new, and get back to life as usual. In the meantime, we have another car we can use, so our lives aren't as disrupted as they could have been.

And once everything has settled a bit more, maybe we'll be able to laugh about the fact that Bo parked in a good spot to unload our luggage, and the tree betrayed us.

19 July 2015

Renewing my spirit with wedding plans

I've needed things to look forward to lately. I've been struggling a bit emotionally, so I've been clinging to things that make me happy.

Like wedding plans.

Bo and I are getting married in less than three months.*

And that makes me happy.

We've been doing a lot of piecing together in the past few weeks. The invitations are ready to be stamped, assembled, and sent. We have a rough outline of the ceremony that Dantielle (who will be performing the wedding ceremony) is using to plan out the ceremony itself, The cake is ordered and paid for, we have a basic menu planned, and we even have an idea of how we'd like the room set up for the reception.

There are a few things left (Puck and Bo's suits, Tink's shoes, and a few odds and ends), but for the most part, we're ready.

And that makes me happy.


18 July 2015

My body has been rebelling against me

Clara understands the need for naps.
I've been sick. It sort of snuck up on me, and for a couple of days I had a low-grade fever. The whole week I was absolutely exhausted, and it took all my energy just to do what I needed to do every day. You know, like get dressed and stuff.

I'm doing better. Slowly. I'm still incredibly tired all the time, but I'm managing. No fever anymore, which is a very good thing. And naps here and there have been helping with the fatigue.

It's frustrating to feel this tired all. the. time. There's no reason for it. And whether I let myself sleep until I wake up or limit myself to the standard 6-8 hours, I feel as though I've barely slept.

I feel like my body is rebelling against me. No matter what I do or change or try, it doesn't seem to make a difference. I've reached the point that, for now, I'm just pushing through, one day at a time, assuming that it will eventually get better.

Eventually, I will get better.

15 July 2015

The dangers of Christianity, in 8 easy steps!--step 3: bring her before the church

Previous posts in this series:

  1. The first part of so much wrong
  2. Part two of so much wrong
  3. Step 1: rebuke her privately
  4. Step 2: rebuke her publicly
Let's try to remember where we are, shall we?

Before a Good, Christian Husband can take action against his wife for not having sex with him whenever and wherever he wants, he has to remember that it's his right, and that
A husband ought not to feel guilty for having sex with his wife when she is not in the mood if she yields, even grudgingly.
Yes, you read that correctly, and yes, that is a direct quote from the post. So if a husband decides that his wife does not have a "good reason" to say no, then she's obligated to put out. And if she refuses, she's a horrible sinner, and has to be treated as such.

So first, the Good, Christian Husband™ talks* to her privately. If that doesn't work, he talks to her publicly.

And if Bad, Heathen Wifeystill thinks that her body is her own and she can make her own decisions about it, Good, Christian Husband™ should then take his wife to the church, appealing to the pastor (and his wife, because all pastors are married straight men).

So blog poster says (emphasis mine):
If she will not listen to counselors, or refuses to go to counseling then bring her to your Pastor and his wife. If she will not listen even to them then she has chosen to act like an unbeliever, and now she will be treated as such.
So clearly, if your wife is not willing to have sex with you after you scold her privately, scold her in front of others, and declare her sinfulness to the leader of the church, she must be on a path to eternal damnation. That's the only option, right?

And, by god, if she's going to be a bad sinner, then I'm going to treat her like one! *sticks out tongue*

The rest of this step focuses on the wife as an unbeliever, and reminds Good, Christian Husband™ that if she is acting like an unbeliever by not consenting to sex, then she should be treated as one. And that means that Good, Christian Husband™ is not bound to marriage vows. He can get rid of her and is free to marry another woman with no guilt whatsoever.

According to this blog post, if a wife will not have sex with her husband, he can and should leave her to find another wife.

Because apparently, that's the most important aspect of the relationship.

Here's the thing.

I know that, for lots of people, sex is important. A physical relationship is a major component of an emotional relationship. But this blog post is implying that the relationship is not viable without a physical component. That if there is no physical intimacy, there can be no relationship.

And do you really believe that if it were reversed, a wife would be free to leave her husband and marry another? Really?

But as if all of this isn't enough, the poster takes this opportunity to imply that the steps following public rebuking are going to be worse. The post says (emphasis mine):
This is where we begin the next phase of confronting your wife's sexual refusal. I don't think it would be wrong to perhaps be doing some of these steps at the same time you are doing the first 3 steps provided that you are married to a professed believing wife.
I'm not going to go into the wrongness of what I've emphasized in this quote quite yet. It will come later (and frequently) over the course of the next five steps. But I will be reminding you of the fact that this blog poster suggests that Good, Christian Husband™ could undertake some of the next steps even as early as his first "rebuking" in private. Because that's significant. And it will simply serve to highlight the awfulness of this whole damn post.

Stay tuned. There's much more to come.

*And by "talk," I mean "rebuke," which is really much more like parental scolding than discussing marital issues with an equal.

12 July 2015

Renew your spirit with nature in a jar

I have a jar (I think it once had honey in it) on my desk that I call my "nature jar."

When I started collecting stones and crystals and shells, Mimi gave me a jar she had with lots of little crystals and stones she'd collected over the years. I added mine to it, put it on my desk, and it was a nice little connection to nature in my office space.

After a beach day, I added some shells.

Shortly after that, Puck found a "pretty stone"* on the ground and gave it to me for my jar.

One day on a walk through our apartment complex, I found two duck feathers on the grass in beautiful condition. I added them to the jar, too.

My jar  is my way of bringing the outside to my desk, which is particularly important to me since my desk faces away from the patio door. I can't look outside very easily while I'm working, so my jar is my compromise. It keeps me from feeling stir-crazy when I have long days of work ahead of me.

Some days it reminds me to get out of the apartment and into the sunshine. Other days it acts as my sunshine.

And if it gets full, I have another jar waiting in the wings to add to it.

*A small piece of concrete. But he picked it just for me, so into the jar it went.

11 July 2015

I am broken.

Everyone is broken, but I've felt more of my broken bits lately. I've found myself struggling a bit more with depression and anxiety, and having to remind myself out loud that depression lies. (For the best posts explaining depression that I have ever read, please read this and this from Hyperbole and a Half.)

I've struggled with depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember. But I didn't have a name for what I was experiencing until high school. When my parents divorced, I was sent to a counselor. I was in and out of therapy (and on and off medication) throughout high school and college.

I've learned techniques to cope with bouts of depression and periods of anxiety. I know the little tricks that work when I feel it coming on--deep breathing, yoga, going for a long walk, journaling--and the other things I need to do when I'm in the middle of it. I have coping mechanisms that have helped me keep my depression and anxiety largely under control, even when I was going through the divorce from Monty.

After the divorce, once I was settled in Florida, things were lots better. I was in a career I adore, the munchkins had a good, healthy schedule to get to see Monty and myself regularly, and I was settling into a routine. Then, in February 2014, I met Bo, and fell in love. And things became even more wonderful.

On paper, my life is amazing. My job is going well, Bo and I are getting married in less than three months, the munchkins are doing well, and we are working toward our long-term goals as a family. I should be happy and carefree.

But I'm not.

Even in the midst of the joy of my life, I see depression creeping in, reminding me it's there. I get anxiety attacks that make me stop what I'm doing and take deep breaths to calm down.

I know there's no direct cause of it. There's no even in my life that's making me feel this way. But it's something I struggle with. I always have and I always will.

I am broken.

But it's okay because everyone is broken. And even when I'm in a dark corner and thinking that there's no way I can possibly find a way to turn around and walk into the rest of the room, I know that everyone is broken. Some people are even broken in the same way I am. And that gives me hope for myself.

I am lucky enough to have an amazing support system and a woman who loves me and takes care of me, and even wants to marry my broken self. Knowing that Bo, Puck, and Tink love me even when my broken is all I see gives me hope that I will be able to climb out of the dark corners I sometimes get stuck in. They remind me that depression lies. And that gives me hope, too.

From Allie Brosh's blog, Hyperbole and a Half

I'm planning to write more about myself on the blog. I want to talk about what makes me who I am, what's important to me, and how I'm pushing through bullshit to accomplish my personal and professional goals.

I want to show you my authentic self, and sometimes that's going to be the broken bits. But it doesn't make me any less fabulous. Because, as the Bloggess says, you can be broken and magical at the same time.

10 July 2015

The dangers of Christianity, in 8 easy steps!--step two: rebuke her publicly

Source unknown
(if you know, please tell me so I can give credit where it's due)
Previous posts in this series:

  1. The first part of so much wrong
  2. Part two of so much wrong
  3. Step 1: rebuke her privately

Let's say your wife is refusing sex with you. You've prayed about it, and you've determined there's no "good reason" for her to be telling you no, and even though you've talked to her about it privately, reminding her that she is obligated under the constructs of marriage to do it when you want, she still says no.

What is a good, Christian husband to do?

Don't worry, Good, Christian Husband. There is hope! And it comes in the form of public shaming.

Here is step two in our blog post of awesomeness:
If she is still defiant after rebuking her privately take her to a Christian marriage counselor, or maybe even a sex therapist if she is willing to go. This is if she is even willing to go.
I've already given my thoughts about the use of that word "rebuke," so we'll let that be this time. But there is still an aspect of rebuking that I want to address in this post.

But first!


Defiance is defined by Merriam-Webster's as "a refusal to obey something or someone." Remember that in a lot of conservative brands of Christianity, wives are required to obey their husbands as part of their marriage vows. They must promise, before god, family, and friends, that they will do what their husbands say to do.

And that includes sex.

So if a wife is not in the mood (which does not constitute a justified physical or mental reason, according to the blog post), she is disobeying her husband. And that's just not allowed.

So if a husband has tried to talk to his wife reasonably about the fact that she won't have sex with him, and she still won't have sex with him, the next step is to take the discussion out of the privacy of the bedroom and into public.

I will give the blogger a modicum of credit here. The advice given is for the husband to go with the wife to see a counselor (though, a Christian counselor is recommended, so we can assume what the advice would actually be) or a sex therapist.

But the wording kills me. First, the blogger says the husband should "take her to" one of these experts. Not that they should go together. Not that he should suggest it. Just that he should take her. But I suppose that's standard for these types of relationships.

Of course, the biggest problem I have with this step is the correlation between the "title" of the step and the actual instructions given. Step two is to "Rebuke her before witnesses." That means the goal of this step is to do the same thing that was done in step one, except where other people can see it.

So all of the stuff I wrote about "rebuke" in step one applies to this step, except we have the added bonus that other people are there, too. Is this to shame her into compliance? Or does this blogger really believe that if she is rebuked in front of others that they will agree with him and say, "Hey, yeah, Wife. You should have sex. You're not being a good wife."

Then again, the counselors and therapists that would likely be approved by this blogger are those that probably would say that.

But if talking to her in private didn't work, by all means, try to shame her into obedience. Nature knows we don't have enough shaming going on in our culture today.

But don't worry. The next step takes rebuking to a whole new level.

You're going to love it.

09 July 2015

I'm still here

I haven't been posting as regularly as I would like. Things have been a bit chaotic in my personal and professional lives, which culminated in not feeling well earlier this week.

Things are getting better, little by little. I'm lucky to have an amazing woman in my life who loves me and takes care of me and makes sure I take care of myself. So I'm working on doing what I have to do to be better.