Help! I’ve Been Pigeonholed!

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I think that being pigeonholed is one of those things that people universally agree sucks. No one likes being cast into a one-dimensional role (except that one terrible actress amiright?). We strain against the boxes people put us into, we push and pull until we prove that box was never big enough for us in the first place. But what if the people putting you in that box are the people who know you best? The people who love you the most? What if the people pigeonholing you are your family?

Well, speaking from personal experience, it TOTALLY SUCKS. Because at least when strangers pigeonhole me, I can attribute that to not knowing me very well. But my family, my family knows me really well. Which actually might be part of the problem. You see, in my family, I’m pigeonholed as the “emotional/dramatic” one. And I’m pretty sure that like 97% of that classification comes from when I was a pre-teen and yes, intensely and overly emotional. Because of HORMONES y’all. That shit will fuck with you majorly and also being a pre-teen girl is also hard as hell. So yeah, I was emotional. And then I grew up, into an adult and though I still cry at sad movies or during Budweiser commercials (seriously, his horse ran to him…so sweet) I’m in no way defined by my emotions. They no longer dictate my choices and reactions to life. Because, you know, I’m not 13 anymore. I’m 27 going on 28 and I’m married and planning for a family and actually, not particularly dramatic or emotional. In fact, most of my friends would probably classify me as “laid-back” and “chill” because I sort of am. I can take life’s punches and ball-kicks and handle them without public tears and tantrums. I’ve been knocked down loads and have picked myself up after each time. Because I’m strong.

But regardless of everything I just said, regardless of how logical my reasoning is for being a ball of intense emotions at 13 (Again, hormones…) my family still thinks of me as the “emotional” one. Anytime I disagree with them or question the things they’re doing/saying then I’m the one being “emotional” or “dramatic”. No matter how much sense my arguments or statements make, they are eternally dismissed as “emotional”. I can say with a completely tear-free face and steady voice “I think you’re wrong.”  and invariably the response is “You’re just being sensitive. You’re so emotional.”

Now tell me, how do you respond to that? How do you bust the hell out of that pigeonhole, when the people putting you into it know you so well but only remember this tiny part of you that is long gone? Because at this point, short of becoming a robot, I’m not sure how to  free myself from this pigeonhole.

Have any of you, dear readers, been pigeonholed by people close to you? How do you handle it?

– Mae

My Wedding Fantasies Are Dark (and Filled With Newsies)

il_fullxfull.373589334_t1srWeddings are ridiculous. I’ve documented this pretty extensively so far, we can all agree. What I haven’t properly explained is that weddings also make me ridiculous. Despite wanting to keep things sweet and simple, fancies do take flight.

And, oh heavens, do I have some fancies. Unbidden, my mind conjures fabulous scenarios and decadent menus. This isn’t so much because I’ve always dreamed of a wedding, but because I love planning parties. In college, my roommates and I were known for our themed fêtes. There is a Gothic Valentine’s Day party still happening at Texas A&M, even six years after our graduation. Crazy awesome planning skills run in my veins…and, sometimes, run amok.

Grace’s Ridiculous Wedding Fantasies, Part One of – no doubt Many:

  1. I want a taxidermied mouse cake topper! Friends, these totally exist. They are adorable and macabre and the most perfect symbol of love ever. They’re also, as pointed out by my fiancé, slightly creepy to the average wedding guest. Okay, fine. Make that very creepy. The dear professor convinced me—in a discussion lasting three times longer than it should have and punctuated with my exasperated sighs over humanity’s lack of taste—that, while he thought it was awesome, people don’t like dead things near their food, even if they’re on a cute little stand that’s not actually touching food at all. So, we’ll just have a regular cake topper. Fine.
  2. I want a Newsies flashmob! To be fair, this came to me in a dream. THE BEST DREAM EVER. It went like this: We kissed, turned around to be introduced, but before the pastor could say “Mr. and Mrs. O’Kelly-McGregor…,” my matron of honor started singing “Seize the Day!” from The Newsies, signaling the beginning of an epic, twirling wedding party newsie musical number. It was awesome. So, is the song remotely appropriate for a wedding? Hell no. It’s about declaring strike on Joseph Pulitzer, but whatever. We declare strike on not being married! Let us seeeeiiiize the day!
  3.  I want a Halloween wedding! This is a thing I have always, always wanted. Halloween is my favorite holiday (costumes AND candy AND pumpkins) and it lends itself perfectly to a wedding. The bridesmaids could all wear black dresses, with different costume accessories—spider, witch, rotten carrot, etc.—and the guests could take home masks as a favor! All the centerpieces could be carved pumpkins! We could serve butterbeer! Except, oh right, our wedding is in December. So, I’ve planned an entire party in my head that is not actually happening.
  4. I want macarons for everyone! And lemon pies! And brownies! And chocolate cake! And traditional wedding cake! And crepes! And anything else made with sugar, including tiny marzipan replicas of Professor McGregor! Y’all, I could blow my entire budget on the dessert feast I’ve dreamed up in my mind. Good food is one of life’s greatest pleasures and, if I’m being honest, my favorite part of weddings…even beyond the two people pledging undying love business. It is what I measure weddings by and what I want to be remembered for. It’s not, however, what I want to spend all of the money I will ever earn on, so I should probably cool it with the candied bearded professors.

This list of ridiculous wedding fantasies will probably grow, but as long as I don’t give into them, our brunchy food truck affair should be as low key as we’re hoping. Just keep repeating your mantra, Grace: I want it to be simple and lovely. I want it to be simple and lovely. I want it to be simple and lovely and not cost a fortune and not give into unrealistic societal expectations.

Except for the cake topper, of course. I will fight for you, mouse friends!

– Grace

Dress, Please: The Feminism of Femininity

1950s-pin-up-girlI am girly as fuck.

If you need clarification, since saying something is “as fuck” doesn’t actually fall on a measurable scale, that’s understandable. I enjoy traditionally female attributes and activities. Sewing is my jam, I’d always rather wear a dress, and my Texas sheet cake could win awards. My favorite songs are showtunes and Jane Austen is my fairy godmother. A romantic comedy doesn’t hit theaters, without me buying a ticket. I am girly as fuck.

I am also a feminist.

If your mind didn’t just explode, well done. You’re a rational human being! All too often, this juxtaposition makes people on both sides of the political spectrum itchy. How can you be a true feminist, if you enjoy traditional domesticity? You’re too pretty and happy to be a feminist! Where is your man-hating pant suit? Their faces scrunch up in painful frustration, like racoons touching an electrified garbage can, as if a feminine feminist is the ultimate conundrum. People who have nothing in common politically are united in one truth: my existence is impossible. I am no longer their favorite client or friend from high school, but a contrarian unicorn. I need to be fixed, I need to realize I am wrong.

Well, that’s a load of glittery unicorn vomit. Feminists are people and people are different. Surprise! How many times do I have to say this, world? You can’t pigeonhole people into tidy little boxes, because of the causes they support or interests they develop. I am a feminist who sews frilly, ruffled dresses all the time. I believe wholeheartedly in gender equality and baking cakes from scratch. From a feminist standpoint, I understand the impulse to eschew the traditional. For so long, we were told our place was in the kitchen, so why hop right back into it, once we’re free? Well, because I like to. Demonizing the traditionally feminine seems just as wrong as insisting we adhere to it. There is nothing inherently oppressive about traditionally gendered activities, because gender is a social construct. We labeled sewing as a “chick thing;” we determined men hate romantic storylines. Surely, we can now unlabel them?

I grew up in a house that challenged gender definitions at every turn. My dad, a man perfectly secure in his “masculinity,” cries at the drop of a hat. His favorite flick is Notting Hill and he taught me how to bake chocolate chip cookies. Meanwhile, my mother has never met a grill she didn’t love and rolls her eyes at sentimentality. She’s perfectly happy to leave the vacuuming to my dad and, instead, drink a good beer after work. And you know what? Our house never imploded.

If we removed societal constructs from activities, we’d be amazed by what people chose to do with their lives. How many boys were destined for Broadway, but are instead accountants? Things are finally changing, when it comes to women doing traditionally male activities, so why are we still demonizing the feminine? We praise women for becoming sports announcers, but give them the side-eye when they want to be stay-at-home moms. What the hell? At the end of the day, people shouldn’t be judged by their gender. Jimmy should be able to bake, if he wants to, and so should I.

gil-elvgren-pin-up-pin-up-girls-5444093-668-792Dresses are comfortable and I love them. I also love being paid the same amount as male doctors and not mopping my floors. I am a feminist and I am a woman, whatever that means. It doesn’t make me a bad feminist to curl my hair, or a good one to not care about it. I am not that simple and neither is the equality movement.

Strictly speaking, I’m not girly as fuck at all. I’m Grace as fuck.

– Grace

Will I Be A Good Mother?

This is a question most women who are planning on having children at some point ask themselves, but I never did. I’ve always wanted to be a Mom. Always been sure I would be excellent at it. I’ve started babysitting at 12, was a nanny by 15, and even taught kindergarten at one point. I’ve always enjoyed every second I’ve had around kids. Even the literally crap-filled seconds. So, no. I had never once wondered if I would be a good Mother.

Until I really truly started thinking and planning with my husband for a family of our own. It’s still years away but we are actively discussing it and saving for it. We’re talking names (spoiler alert- we don’t really have the same naming tastes), we’re talking products we will or won’t use on our children, birthing techniques, pregnancy nutrition, staying home vs. working, and just about everything else one can think of when planning for dem babays. I feel like our communication is entirely open and honest and that’s got to be a good foundation for first time parents. BUT. The inevitable BUT. For the first time ever, I’m asking myself the questions “Will I be a good Mother?”

Because it seems like no matter what course you take in “child-rearing”, (actually I hate that term, can we call it “child-raising” or “child-notfuckingup”?) they are all wrong according to someone. And since we really really don’t want to fuck up our kids, I worry. I’ve chosen to live a pretty natural/green life, but what if that isn’t right for my kids? What if they hate me for not letting them drink soda? What if they resent me for not buying them the most popular perfume because it’s filled with chemicals? What if they hate Harry Potter??? What if all the other Mother’s judge me and shame me for the way my husband and I choose to raise our children? What if my family judges and shames me for the way my husband and I choose to raise our children?

Will I be a good Mother?

That is the hardest question I won’t know the answer to for a long time.

– Mae

I’m A Green Beauty Newbie and I’m Afraid I Smell Bad

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I’ve recently thrown out all my previous staple beauty products in favor or chemcial-free, non-toxic- non-zombie creating beauty products. I believe the kids call this “green beauty”. It was difficult for me to let go of a lot of my previous beauty loves (Benefit mascara, Buxom blush, and NARS lipstick to name a few (tear) ), but after spending many long hours doing research (because I’m a nerd like that) I came to the conclusion that I had to, nay wanted to, for the health and well-being of myself and also my future babays, but since they’re ages away mostly myself.

So, I did it. I purged away all the chemicals. Not just in my make-up but in my body wash, shampoo, conditioner, face wash, moisturizers, and just about anything else I put on my skin on a daily basis. This included deodorant. Because the research on aluminum is so scary that the thought of putting it in my armpit (which, admittedly is an area of my body I don’t care that much about) was like the thought of injecting myself with some sort of zombie virus. So, I travelled the very short distance to the nearest Whole Foods (I do live in Austin, TX the WF mecca after all) and bought a deodorant that I had spent a lot of time reading the reviews of and made sure contained no nasty chemicals.

And it didn’t work. And it burned my armpit skin, which, by the way, HURTS LIKE HELL. Seriously, the “this won’t give you all kinds of horrible diseases and fill your body with icky toxins” deodorant BURNED MY ARMPIT SKIN!!??

What a world, what a world. Amiright?

So, I tried another natural deodorant. And it burned me. I did more research and tried another. And it burned me. Then, I spent an extraordinary amount of time online researching and found one that a lot of green beauty experts seem to swear by. And it didn’t burn me. And it seems to work. I mean, I don’t think I smell bad. But I am living in constant fear that I will start smelling very badly. Like maybe at a certain point it just won’t work anymore. So, I smell my armpits about 10 times a day, which is 10 more times than I used to.  And even though the stanky stank that dare not say it’s name, hasn’t happened yet, I am still afraid it will.

So, yes, I’m into to green beauty. And yes, I can already tell a major improvement in my skin. But also, I’m afraid I smell bad like everyday. So, trade-offs I guess.

– Mae

The Bridal Diet Makes Me Hungry (for Vengeance)

Wedding-Diet-500x485There is great danger ahead. The bridal magazines warn of it and dress clerks speak of it in hushed, panicky tones, as though the barest mention can summon its cream-filled wrath. It is the monster they call fat and it’s the quickest way to ruin a wedding.

I know what you’re thinking. But, Grace, I’m happy with my size! Dr. Swoodilypooper fell in love with me just as I am, so why change now? Don’t ask me, dearest. Personally, I think you’re the bee’s knees and should stay as you are, but I do not make the wedding rules. If I did, there would be more elephant rides. Unfortunately, the wedding industry is against fun and your body. You are a bride, so you should lose weight. It’s in all the literature!

As soon as you get Facebook engaged, that paramount sign of commitment, you’re inundated with wedding ads. Photographers, venues, and DJs all want your money to help with your special day. None, however, seem more concerned than the personal trainers. Look perfect on your special day, they promise. Don’t you want to be a shiny, happy wedding princess? Well, princesses aren’t a size 12, so join a boot camp, fatty fatpants. A true bride prepares for her wedding like it’s a war. Death to the thunder thighs!

No matter the bride, improvements are necessary. Sure, you may already be a size 2, but are you a toned size 2? Worse, do you have a bit of cellulite, that natural way female fat is stored? Disgusting! Stop eating this instant. You’re going to be in pictures, darling. They’re worth a 1000 words, 999 of which could be variants of “chunky apple pie face.” You don’t want your grandchildren thinking you looked like a lace-cased sausage, do you? They won’t love you anymore! You are a woman, darling, and women are delicate flowers. Just because you’ve fooled a man into thinking your body is sex incarnate, doesn’t make it acceptable.

As a bride, you have certain responsibilities. Chief among them is looking conventionally beautiful. You only get this one day ever to be happy, so make it count. Heaven forbid your guests leave chatting about the great food and lively conversation! If they’re not complimenting your spindly collarbone, you have failed. And if you fail at being a bride? Barbie comes to life, knocks in your door with a magenta battering ram, and revokes your woman card. Then, who will do your husband’s laundry? Get dieting now, or else…

Or, call me crazy, you could find a dress that makes you happy and sashay up to the alter as the person you are. Shock your guests and – gasp! – look like the you they already love. It’s one thing to want to feel better or combat health problems, but why exactly are we dieting ourselves down to an unmaintainable size for one party? Your wedding photos don’t actually follow you around, shadow-like, for all your days. Despite what the magazines tell you, you are not your dress size. Not this day, not ever. You are your career, your friends, your perfectly twee impression of Zooey Deschanel. You are not a bride, you are a person.

– Grace

How NOT To Embarrass Your Husband

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Ha! I totally tricked you with that title because I almost always embarrass my husband. Except he always tells me he isn’t embarrassed which is a real testament to his inability to embarrass and less about me not saying embarrassing things. Because I do. FREQUENTLY.

Anyway, here are things you should avoid if you don’t want to embarrass your husband. I’ve done every one of these things. You probably shouldn’t. And since I’m telling you that, I’m totally counting this as a public service. You’re welcome.

  • Nickname his penis.
  • Nickname his penis and then tell your closest friends about it.
  • Ask him questions through the bathroom door at your parent’s house.
  • Slap his ass at the grocery store.
  • Tell everyone he has a hole in the crotch of his pants.
  • Remark on his pooping capacity over dinner with friends.
  • Tell a story about tampons and TSS over dinner with friends.

I know, it’s kind of crazy someone wanted to marry me, right? Although, I think the moral of this story is, I shouldn’t be allowed to have more than one hard cider ever. EVER.

– Mae