I am a Whovian

Unabashed, Doctor Who loving, fan girl out about Chin Boy loving Whovian. It’s a show that makes me cry and laugh, and really hope that there is a tiny blue box whizzing around space.

And I truly loathe the 12th doctor.

I tried. I really did. I know, from past regenerations that I always hate the new doctor for at least a few episodes. Then, I fall madly fan girl in love with him again.

Not so with 12.

I could not explain it to the other Whovians I watch the show with (Shout out to Kathryn and Christine!). They loved him, and I was “meh” about him for whole season. He had a few moments of redemption, but for me I was just like “eh”.

And after thinking about it, I’ve finally figured out why I truly dislike him.

He’s at best snarky, and frequently flat out rude to many people (even Clara, his companion). He shows little overt compassion, and I would argue little compassion at all, for those around him. He is, in a word, selfish. Sure, he has occasional moments of kindness–but for the most part he’s a selfish jerk.

And if this is a truer representation of the Doctor (as many posts and articles, and hell, even the show) have argued: I want no part.

I don’t dislike him because he’d older or less handsome or less quirky than 10 or Chin boy.

I dislike him because he’s mean and bitter.

The universe has enough of that. There’s enough anger and bitterness to fill several galaxies. The Doctor *thought he* destroyed his race to save the universe. And it made it him kind.

From the Beast Below (5.2)

Amy: The Star Whale didn’t come like a miracle all those years ago – it volunteered! You didn’t have to trap it or torture it, that was all just you! It came because it couldn’t stand to watch your children cry. What if you were really old, and really kind and alone, your whole race dead, no future. What couldn’t you do then? If you were that old, and that kind… and the very last of your kind. You couldn’t just stand there and watch children cry

The Doctor: You couldn’t have known how it would react.

Amy Pond: I couldn’t, but I’ve seen it before. Very old, and very kind and the very, very last, sound a bit familiar?

The Doctor wins because he does what is right. The Doctor is the Doctor because he killed his race and it made him kind. 12 is going through something–which is fine, we’re all allowed our dark periods. But 12 is not my Doctor. And he is not the Doctor that the universe so badly needs. Kindness and love are the most powerful force in the universe. Not snark, not mean. The Doctor used to know that. I hope he finds it out again.

(And for the record, I know that 9, 10, and 11 all had their dark moments. But they were just that–moments. They were seeking not to be snarky, but to be good to the universe. And yes, I understand that from  a thematic stand point, the Doctor was clearly paying penance during his ninth, tenth and eleventh regeneration for destroying Gallifrey.  But that’s my point–if this is a truer representation of the Doctor–I resign my fan girlness. I want no part of him)

I love you Tay but we need to talk

Tay,

Long time fan, first time writer. I love your music, and I’m pleased as punch that you finally are standing up as a feminist.

But you have GOT to stop saying it’s “sexist” for people to critique or complain about you writing about you exes.

From the recent interview on “Jules, Merick and Sophie”

“I think frankly that’s a very sexist angle to take,” Swift said in a recent interview with regard to how she’s sometimes criticized for writing about past lovers. “No one says that about Ed Sheeran. No one says that about Bruno Mars. They’re all writing songs about their exes, their current girlfriends, their love life and no one raises a red flag there.”

You’re right that no one raises a red flag about Ed Sherran or Bruno Mars. And it’s not because people are sexist (I mean they are, but not because of this). It’s because neither Ed nor Bruno built their entire careers on writing songs about their exes.

You did.

Now, only you know how many songs are about your exes, and how many are songs about other people’s relationships. But you became a global star in no small part because you were writing about universal things that every on can relate to (love, heartbreak, friendship etc).  A quick glance of your discography not including 1989 which is clearly a departure) shows that you have written 43 songs that are either about your relationships or other peoples. That’s out of 54, or 80 percent of your catalog.

You’re also a social media GENIUS who was very very open about the fact that these songs were inspired by real people–you even leave clues in your liner notes to help you fans guess who the song’s about.

To now criticize people for criticizing your own marketing technique (and a damn successful one at that) is at best unaware.

It is sexist for people to only talk about your relationships. It is sexist for them to paint you as a realtionshipaholic boy crazy woman. But it’s a persona that you started and built an empire on.

Some food for thought.

A note to Philadelphia bikers. And Cars

In the past two weeks while riding my bike I have:

–Almost got smashed by a car that pulled out of space into the bike lane without looking. Luckily I yelped and extra luckily they heard me. No harm.

–Had a car cut me off by turning left FROM THE RIGHT HAND LANE on a Center City Street. This was such a severe cutting off that even though I slammed on my breaks (once I realized there was you know, a car turning very fast less than a foot from me) I rammed the back quarter panel of the car. 

I don’t feel guilty.

My point is this: Cars and bikers in Philly are…at odds. And I drive in this town, so I get it. A lot of bikers are just as big of jerks as the cars. So here, I humbly offer some general pointers:

 

Bikers:

1. If you’re going to ride your bike on the street* you must obey all the same laws that the other vehicles (cars, mopeds motorcycles etc) have to obey. Full stop, no room for discussion. Some examples:

  1. You must come to a full stop at stop lights that are red and only start moving again when they are green
  2. I don’t care if there is a bike lane, if it’s a one way street, you too must ride the correct way down it 
  3. Stop signs are not decorative. You stop at them.
  4. If you are riding at night, use your lights. If you don’t own lights procure them. They’re like…20 bucks. And you will be much more visible to the cars and other bikers.

2. Wear a helmet. While I’m not certain if it’s the law in PA, but speaking as someone who has had a nasty fall on a bike…you really want to be wearing one.They come in lots of fun colors these days.  It’s like a seat belt…even if you’re just going around the block, wear it.

Cars:

Look, I get where you’re coming from. The bikers aren’t following the law so you have no idea what they’re going to do, so why should you be nice to them?

Well for one, you are surrounded by and traveling in something that has been designed and tested hundreds of times to keep you safe. Bikers? We have…a helmet. And our reflexes. In a fight with a bike, you’re going to come out on top. So be a little extra nice.

1. If we are driving on the road, please don’t honk at us. It’s loud as all get out and scares the crap out of me. There’s almost ALWAYS two lanes. Just pull around us please.

2. Please do not crowd the bike lane (or pull out of (or into) a parking spot without looking to make sure a bike isn’t coming.)

  1. I guarantee you, however much you hate having us in the road with you (see point 1) we hate it more. It is  scary, I’m frequently cursed at, and there are often large potholes. I really want to be in that bike lane. But you know what’s scarier than being on the road with cars? Being in the bike lane and having a car make a wide turn, or hug that side of the road, or park there. If you crowd the bike lane, I usually have nowhere to go but into a parked car, or switch lanes into car traffic This is not good. Please. Respect the bike lane.

3. I get it. I’m slow. That’s mainly because I’m operating a vehicle that’s powered by me, and your operating a vehicle that’s powered by an electrical or combustion engine** As I said earlier…there’s almost always two lanes. Pull around me. If you can’t, because you have to turn, or it’s a one way road–please be a little patient. I swear I am not trying to deliberately make you late. And if I see that you’re going two miles an hour behind me, I will do my level best to pull over or turn or something to let you by.

 

All of this can be boiled down to two simple rules

1. No matter what you’re driving follow the rules of the road

2. Be patient and a little kinder than you want to be. 

Let’s be a little more observant and a lot kinder Philly.

*Which, I’d like to point out to all the drivers who yell at me to get out of the street is the freaking LAW.

**I know nothing about cars. 

Why “Ban Bossy” misses the mark

I’ve been bossy since…forever.

I’m also loud, ambitious, direct, and pushy.
None of these words being ascribed to me bother me.

 

Well…maybe for the initial few moments. But then I look at the actions that spawned that word, mull it over, and decide if someone actually means “rude” “sharp” “mean”. I look at the context of the word, and decide if me toning my natrually bossy personality down would help or hurt a situation.  Which, for the record, is a valuable skill. Being bossy isn’t always the best way to approach a situation. Neither is being a “leader” (Which is what people call bossy boys)

Bossy is not about me.

Bossy is about the person calling me bossy.

The person using that word could be: threatened by women in leadership roles, annoyed that I’m talking back, irritated that I’m “a dog with a bone”, or think it’s flat out wrong that I’m terrible at loading the dishwasher and great at running an event.

But those idiotic fears have nothing to do with me.

There’s always going to be a word for ‘Bossy’. We can’t ban them all.

There’s always going to be someone trying to tear you down. Rather than banning the word, let’s teach our girls to ignore the word, and ignore the idiots saying it. Because eventually, if using the word doesn’t get the desired effect (marginalizing women) people will try and find a new way. And our girls will ignore that. And they’ll try a new way. And we’ll ignore that. And then they’ll be so out of touch that those idiotic opinions will go the way of history.

Instead of banning bossy. Let’s teach girls

To be strong, kind, dedicated leaders.

To jump in with both feet and figure it out as they go along.

To be bossy leaders that spawn more bossy, kind, dedicated leaders.

Hell, let’s teach that to all the children.

I’m not worried about someone calling me bossy.

Because if someone is calling me bossy, they are exactly the kind of person who’s opinion I don’t give a rat’s ass about.

That is what we should be teaching our girls.

On infant baptism

Today*, my friend Paul (he of Prodigal Paul fame)  shared the following status, which is itself a quote of Martin Luther’s:

““You say you don’t baptize children because they don’t believe. Why do you preach the Word to adults who don’t believe, unless perhaps in the hope that they may believe? You do it on the strength of God’s command alone. For if you baptize me because I say I believe, then you baptize on account of me and in my name. Therefore, since you don’t know whether I believe or don’t believe, you do it only because of God’s command. It isn’t necessary to exclude children, since as a rule you baptize all, whether they believe or not. It would be a terrible thing if I were baptized on the strength of my confession.” – Martin Luther (Table Talk No. 549) on paedobaptism”

First off: If someone says they don’t believe in infant baptism because the children don’t believe..Luther I am WITH you brother!** I don’t believe, and would like to think that most people that don’t believe, in infant baptism have issues with it for reasons far more complex then that.

A little back story first: My husband grew up in the Catholic Church. While we have had very few “dig my feet in, I will not agree with you” type fights over the course of our relationship–this topic has caused more then one of those. He is trying to understand why I am so vehemently against baptizing our children (at the moment we’re in the “over my dead body” stage). And what we recently broke it down to is this: My feelings about infant baptizim stem from what I believe baptism means. As I understand it the biblical (and my theological***) definition of baptism is: “An individual of their own free will and desire stands before their church family (and ideally the family that raised them) and says before everyone gathered:

“I believe in Jesus Christ. I believe that he is the Son of God. That he died on a cross to save me from damnation and that he descended into hell. I believe that he rose from hell–from the dead–after 3 days. That he spent 40 days ministering to his disciples and to the world and then he rose to heaven. He is seated at the right hand of God the Father and he will someday come to judge the living and the dead. I believe that is only through belief in Jesus Christ that I am saved and that I may enter heaven’s gates. I choose to follow him for all of my days.”

To be blunt: a child lacks the capability of making such a decision. A child lacks the capability of knowing the ramifications of such a decision. Now, I was baptized at nine years old. One of my brothers was around 7 and my other brother was around 16. Did any of us fully grasp the commitment we were making? I would say no, I didn’t fully grasp the commitment i was making. But I did grasp that it was my decision to make. That I knew–and know–with ever fiber of my being that my declaration was true. Jesus is the Son of God and he did die on a cross for me and my salvation. I didn’t know how hard it would be. Or how much I would struggle with my faith. But what has kept me going in those times of rock bottom darkness is the same belief that caused me to want to be baptized. That I know–deep within my soul–that Jesus is the son of God. I might be absolutely furious at him–and at God–I might refuse to pray or talk to him or deal with him. But I know he is the Son of God. I know it as I know there’ll be oxygen to breathe–I just know. What a terrible tragedy to steal that from your child. It actually makes my heart hurt.

Now, if you believe that baptism is simply the “marking” of a child–the promise that you will raise your child in the faith and do your best to shepherd them in the faith–that’s something completely different. But if that’s truly what you are trying to do, I truly don’t understand why that can’t be achieved with a dedication ceremony. For those that haven’t seen this particular ceremony: Essentially the parents (or several groups of parents) stand with their children before the congregation and pledge to raise their child in the faith. Sometimes there are Godparents. Now, there might be perfectly theologically legitimate reasons to baptize your children. I would truly enjoy hearing what your reasons are. But so far, I haven’t heard one that I didn’t think: “Have a dedication ceremony.”

At the core of  my baptism beliefs are two Biblical/theological convictions and one personal one:

The Biblical/Theological:

1. I simply don’t know of any biblical example of infant baptism…but I know of plenty of examples of  “grown”individuals choosing to be baptized. (To be fair, they weren’t really clear on WHO John was baptizing, so children absolutely could have been there…but it’s not mentioned). And baptism is so important I guess I feel like we shouldn’t really try and extrapolate too much from what the Bible gives us.

2. I don’t believe that children are born with sin. I believe that  children, like all humans, are born with the capability of sinning. I believe that the curse we bear from the Garden of Eden is not that we are born with sin, it’s that we are born far from God. And we spend our whole lives trying to find him..even if we don’t know that’s what we’re doing.

The Personal:

Being a Christian hard. It takes everything you have and more then you ever thought you did to follow God. I refuse to make that decision for my child. It is too momentous a decision for me to make for them. And that moment of pure belief..that moment of knowing is too wonderful, too bright, and too joyful to steal from them.

An ending note: If you choose to baptize your children I will happily be there and praise the Lord with you. I will hug you and kiss you babies and pledge with the rest of the congregation with all my heart to do what I can to help you raise them as  Christian.  Just because I don’t want to baptize my children doesn’t mean I have any judgement about anyone who does. It takes all kinds of people and all kinds of belief to make a church.

” I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. ” C. S. Lewis (Probably taken out of context, but it’s the best way  I’ve found to describe my faith.)

*Ok, it was last week now. But when I started writing this, it was today.

**Oh come on, I make terrible puns. This isn’t new.

**Part of this is the theology I was raised with, part of it is me figuring stuff out on my own.

In which I rant at the church *gasp*

So the other night, I was having a heated text message discussion with my mother when I should have been sleeping.

It was about (among other things) how I do not understand the prevalent “church”* attitude that marriage and motherhood are the most important things a woman will ever do.

While few churches are obvious about this attitude (and frankly, I kind of respect the ones that are more…I meant at least y’all are being transparent and honest), it’s there in almost every church I’ve ever been a member of.

And this attitude is being passed on to our daughters who are then growing up thinking that they only way (or the best way) to live their life is by being a wife and  a Mom (preferably a stay at home Mom).

This is complete and utter crap.

Let’s ignore for a moment the dozens of instances in the Bible where unmarried women make amazing contributions to God and the world. Judith. Mary Magdlene .Mary (Jesus’ Mother)** . Ruth* Miriam.

I could go on.

Even ignoring the Bible for a second– I just don’t personally believe that this is the message God wants us to pass onto our daughters.

Because it basically flies in the face of the whole “Trust God” thing.

  • What if it’s not his plan for you to be a wife? Or a mom? Or a mom but not a wife? Do you have any idea how hard it is to un-condition societal expectations?

Because it has jack squat to do with God and everything to do with culture

  • Y’all, I hate to break this to you, but the Bible is every bit as much a historical document as it is a religious text.  Let’s keep that in mind when we’re reading it.

Because it is so so demeaning towards God.

  • Guys, I’m not sure if you got the memo, but God is the creator of the universe. He spoke the universe into existence. He created every single person you know for a purpose. To say that the greatest purpose of EVERY woman on the planet is to be a Mom is essentially saying “God, I know you’re only making the one model of woman, so I’m just going to tell her how she’s supposed to feel, what’s supposed to fulfill and drive her, and tell her what her purpose is.” Are.you.serious.

Because at the end of the day you are saying you know better then God. You are saying that you know the mind of God.

  • Again. Are you serious? You’re going to sit there and tell me that you with your puny human mind know for a fact–and preach this to young, impressionable girls—what God’s plan for their life is? The arrogance. The sheer hubris is mind blowing to me.

It’s not that I don’t think that motherhood and marriage are not good and wonderful things. They are. I love being married, and I’m sure I’ll love being a Mom. But you know what? I don’t think that is God’s only plan and purpose for my life. Because I know that his plan for me is so much richer then that. So much bigger then what I can imagine.

I guess when I get off my soapbox and step away from the rant, here’s what bugs me:

To say that I am not a “good” Christian or that I am endangering my marriage  because I don’t place my marriage and motherhood at the center of my life is horrifying. (And yes, I’ve heard that. From a pastor. During a service.) I don’t presume to know God’s plan for anyone because I’m not God. So what gives the church*** the right to teach multiple generations of women that they MUST prize motherhood and marriage above all else. That if they don’t have these things, they are incomplete. Last I checked…they weren’t God.

A note: This is not meant to put down stay at home Mom’s in the least. It is a tough, wonderful job and I know many amazing women that do it. But it is not the only choice for Christian women. And it’s time we stop acting like it is.

*I’ll grant that her story was framed in the context of remarrying and being an ancestor of Jesus’ but the beginning of her story? Dude, she’s a bad ass!

**Ok, yes, she was chosen to be a Mom by God. But she was chosen by God to be a Mom to the Savior of the world. It has always felt…different to me then the current teaching of “Motherhood must be your calling” .

***Obviously not all churches do this. But a lot do.

On Weddings

Weddings

I love weddings. I love talking about them, I loving creating them, I love helping great businesses find great brides. Because they’re this moment…frozen in time and your hearts… that’s full of hope and love and joy. And there is this whole industry–that I am occasionally (and hope to be more often!) joyously a part of that creates the pretty stuff surrounding these moments. But that’s all it is–pretty stuff.

Look, all you need to get married is you, the love of your life and someone who is legally able to marry you in the state of your choice. Done.  Everything after that is dressing. And it’s amazing, beautiful dressing. But it is not necessary.  And that’s why I always tell people (somewhat weirdly as I do make part of my living selling the fluffy pretty dream)…the stuff? The dress, the tux, the flowers, the favors? None of it really matters. What matters is that moment…where you look at each other and you think “YAY! I get to marry you today!!” For me, it was a moment about halfway through my wedding ceremony where i realized I was literally bouncing up and down I was so excited. (Ask my friends–apparently it was adorable). I spent the better part of 6 months and a crazy amount of stress planning my wedding. You know what I remember?

Smiling a lot.

Joy.

Losing my darn drinks(Every time I put one down, by the time I came back, someone had cleared it)

The giddiness I felt during the ceremony.

My husband crying two tears when we made it back down the aisle.

The feeling of relief when I saw the hubs (before the ceremony..I’m way too much of a stress ball to wait)

Joy.

You want to know what’s not included in that list? Any of the decorations I killed myself (and several people/friendships) over. The food,  and the delicious cheesecake. Worrying–for weeks–over whether or not it would upset my mother-in-law that  I wanted to wear pearls at my wedding (It’s a Filipino superstition)

And you won’t. You’ll remember love and joy and giddiness…but not a whole lot else. And that’s JUST how it’s supposed to be.

A lot of what I do is create the pretty stuff. But the biggest joy in my life comes not from that–it comes from knowing that all a couple is thinking about on their wedding day is each other. Knowing that they’re not thinking about the details. Because–say it with me folks: “The details are not important”

Like I said, the only things you need to get married is yourself, the love of your life, and a person legally able to marry you. But if you want a great party to celebrate that great big moment in your life—That’s awesome. Just remember that the things that seem important when you’re planning won’t when it’s happening.

Oh, for the sake of your sanity—please hire a wedding planner 😉 (Even if that is just a good friend–hire someone to do it!)