It was an interesting week


Life has been a bit crazy lately and I apologize for the late posts last week and missing Monday entirely. Things may not be quieting down just yet, but I’m back to a place where I can spend a bit more time on things again. I’ve moved from Mississippi to Maryland and the house is still is a wreck and I start work tomorrow. I’m also really close to done with my final March, Lonely at the Top: The High Cost of Men’s Success, I hope to post that review tomorrow also which means that I’ll finally start April books then too. What a month!

Now to catch up on what I missed sharing last week:

I went to a wedding on April 1st. Yes, they did it on purpose. They were an interesting couple to begin with but this wedding was amazing and different. First of all, this was a very classy nerd wedding. All of the decorations were hand made by the bride and maid of honor and were gorgeous with a touch of geek. The flowers were made out of pages from books that were epic adventures and painted beautifully. (Printed pages, no actual books were harmed in the making of this wedding) It was definitely about both the bride and groom equally, which I know is not often the case. Their vows were mostly traditional but tweaked just a bit, “in T-virus and in health” for example. It was great. There was also the officiant. In the opening statements, he goes back to that Eve was made to be Adam’s helper. He also explained something that is talked about a lot on feminist sites and books that discuss religion. There were two translations for helper. One was an assistant who you are in charge of and responsible for. There is also another word in the original text that gets translated as helper but means someone who helps you do what you cannot do for yourself, it is the word that is used when God is asked to help the Jews in the Old Testament. It was this second word  that is used when Eve is created.

Then the officiant smiled and offered an interpretation of the kind of helper that Eve was created to be. She was a battle buddy. She was “someone to stand beside Adam, not behind him.” What I enjoyed the most about this interpretation is in all the little ways that it makes sense. I’ve never been in battle, so I only have a cursory understanding of the implications of such a term. Still, there are things about the term that are obvious and easily applicable. When your battle buddy does something wrong and you stand idly by, as Adam did, you’re both punished. The wrongdoer is punished more harshly, but the bystander is not held as innocent either, particularly when ze did nothing to deter you and later joined in. A battle buddy also listens to you and you listen to them, there is a real vulnerable between you that makes you stronger as a unit. Decisions are compromises and you both have to be good with what happens. The success of your endeavors depend on each other even when it is not required that one support the other, though taking turns to be in charge or taking separate parts of an operation are entirely possible and your decision to make together. A battle buddy seems to be so much of what marriage is that I can’t believe I never thought about the comparison. Of course, these battles are usually metaphorical and not literal, as with a battle buddy in actual combat. It’s probably not a great idea to be in actual combat with a spouse or significant other. I imagine it would be incredibly distracting and detrimental to those around them.

This interpretation also explained the couple really well. They are in it together, supporting each other in whatever way is needed and not so much in a way that is prescribed by society. It was perfect for this wedding..

Later in the same week, I saw an amazing thing. It made me feel like I’m making a difference, if a little one. I witnessed a discussion between my father and my husband that was very interesting to me. There are a lot of cute sayings that we direct at children that aren’t meant to be taken literally. My dad was notorious for saying one of these.

“Kisses and candy are sweeter when stolen.”

As a child, I knew that he didn’t mean that stolen was the same here as taken or forced. I knew that he meant it in that way people sneak up on each other and give a little kiss or swipe a mint from your hand just before you were going to put it in your mouth. I never thought anything of it. So my dad says this to my son after playfully swiping a piece of candy out of his hand and my husband perks up. He asks him not to say that to our son anymore. What followed was an explanation and discussion of rape culture and how a saying like that can be easily misinterpreted and contributes to it.

I just sat there, dumbfounded. I couldn’t believe the eloquent way that my husband explained it, though I’ve seen him explain many things in this manner. I couldn’t get over this discussion happening at their kitchen table. On one hand, it goes to show just how pervasive these things are in our lives and, on the other hand, he totally gets it. I try my best with this blog to make sense and maybe give a different take on things here on the blog but I do discuss topics with my husband often. We discuss  it more when I’m having difficulty with a particular post or finding things that I can write about authentically in a given theme, so I knew that he knows a lot about it. He just really listened. Like he took it in and applied it to life. He saw how real it was and is making steps to minimize rape culture in our daily lives and to eradicate it’s effect on our son. He gets it. 

I know it sounds a little awful that I was surprised but it’s not that I didn’t think he listened or got it at all. It was the depth to which he got it and was actively working against it. He didn’t just get it and throw up his hands at rape culture like there was nothing that can be done. He was working on it and it was just about the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen him do.

Then there was Easter. I’d already gotten up north and it was freezing on Easter for me. There were still all kinds of girls in pretty dresses that were obviously also freezing. It made me think back to all the times that I was told that it was more important to look pretty or beautiful than to be comfortable or warm. It was the price of beauty, I’ve been told. How many Easter mornings came with this insistence?

Later on, I was catching up on some blog reading and found a post that talked about this ridiculous need to be pretty. Why is it important that all women feel beautiful or pretty in their own skin? It’s not important for men to look handsome. Is it important to non-binary people? I can imagine that it’s only important when being more feminine for them. But why? Why are we insisting that all women should feel beautiful rather than that beauty is not necessary to make someone worthwhile?

The post made an interesting argument.

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