All posts tagged “friends

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Project : Thanksgiving

It’s become something of the tradition since I moved back from LA for Thanksgiving to be  the biggest home improvement weekend of my year. In my broke and workaholic state it was the longest “vacation” I’d take each year, so it was my (our) one chance at a big project.

In 2007, Scott, my bff Kim, and I stripped 3 layers of wallpaper and painted (all 4 coats of red) the master bedroom.

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P1000743In 2008, we did the same thing to the living room.

In 2009, I embarked on one of several reorganizations of the spare bedroom which is totally just storage room.

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Last year, we made Scott an office and I cleaned out and repainted the hall closet (seriously the first time in at least 28 years this had happened).

before

during

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

during after

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year, despite my best efforts (I was still planning on hitting up IKEA until about 8pm last night), the project is a little different. And probably A LOT less labor intensive.

Tomorrow morning we hit the road to Bucks County, PA to marry off Aimee

Keriann & Scott 0125 © Jimena Roquero Photography© Jimena Roquero Photography

Keriann & Scott 1075 © Jimena Roquero Photography© Jimena Roquero Photography

 

… and her crazy—I mean amazing—Dave. (I really just wanted an excuse to post this photo.)

 

Keriann & Scott 1132 © Jimena Roquero Photography

© Jimena Roquero Photography

 

I LOVE YOU GUYS.

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Wedding : Sharing

This is for all of my “real life” friends, who I’ve tried not to burden with my crap. Maybe this will help to explain why.

 

Your wedding might not be a show, but it is a production.

 

Chances are, it’s probably not going to happen on its own. Instead, it’s going to take months of keeping seemingly thousands of balls in the air, from venue to caterer to invitations to placecards to underpants. Seriously, I’ve been searching the ends of the earth for the right pair of affordable Spanx.

 

When we first started this process, I was determined to streamline, and avoid this level of nonsense the Kn*t to-do lists proclaim as the norm. We decided to have a small guest list, a pizza truck, no DJ, no cake, etc.

 

But for everything that we cut back or out, there was somewhere that I bit off the maximum amount that I could chew without vomiting—providing our own tableware, glassware, linens; hand-producing invitations of epic proportions; renting a house where everyone could crash; writing our own ceremony; buying a wedding dress that entailed three fittings and Spanx. (I thought the dress fit when I bought it!! Why does it still take three fittings?!?!)

 

And so, I have found myself—me, who never wanted a wedding to take over my life—living and breathing The Wedding.

 

It’s a lot. And it’s something I feel guilty about, and hesitant to share/admit to my “real life” friends. In the limited amount of time I have to talk to them, I want to hear about them, not rehash my current struggles with Spanx. There just isn’t enough time for that.

 

I also struggle with deciphering who genuinely wants to hear about the wedding and who is just being polite and so I have brushed everyone off instead. In my own emotional experience, weddings can stir up huge issues for people, and while it should be their own responsibility to steer a convo away from something they don’t care to discuss, I would rather not talk about it at all than risk offending someone.

 

See Sharon’s post about handling people’s interest in your planning process for more insights into what has gone on in my brain.

 

I’ve also fallen victim to the mainstream portrayals of wedding planning (read: Bridezillas) that paint a horrible portrait of the brides enlisting family and friends to embark on craft projects and other pre-wedding details, showcasing the helpers bitching and moaning to the drill sergeant bride about all the work they’re doing. Yet, on the other side of the equation is the notion of being left out of the wedding fun…

 

And lastly, part of my hesitance to share has also been due to my clinging to the element of surprise. I’ve never been to a wedding that was DIT, not “thrown” for the guests, and so I’m kind of flying blind here. Is it really OK that 50% of my guests won’t drive/walk up and go “wow” (or just, you know, “hey, neat”) because they’ve been there all day decorating?

 

All of this has led to one or more friends expressing that they feel “out of the loop,” with my life. As I do with theirs. And I feel kinda shitty about that, but I’m starting to wonder if it isn’t inevitable? Weddings, like babies, consume vast amounts of physical and emotional resources, including the most valuable one of all—time.

 

[This is not to say that I think marriage (or even kids, once they get to be more manageable?) is a dividing line. People who say that, or leave people out of social circles once they’re married, are full of crap. Marriage does not make a couple inseparable or book up their social calendar for the next 50 years. A wedding might, but after that? Personally, I cannot wait to have time to reconnect with people again. Watch out, cause I’m going to be the most enthusiastic friend ever.]

 

So what do we do when weddings eat up our lives and we don’t want to burden our friends and families with incessant chatter about that which is consuming our lives?

 

We blog about it instead. And if we’re lucky, we find a community of like-minded women who get it, and want to talk about these things. (Am I wrong to compare this to AA, cancer support groups, grieving widows?) But in accepting this support group, are we unwittingly alienating our “in real life” friends and family?

 

I think I might be. But with two weeks to go, I have no choice but to ask for down and dirty help. Logistically, this thing just isn’t going to happen without it. It’s scary, but I’m doing it, and I hope people will understand what’s taken me so long.

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Wedding : Independence, stage fright, bridesmaids, showers, and funerals

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When you think about it, we all begin our lives being pushed around in chairs (or something even more glamorous like the green spaceship I saw the other morning) like little kings and queens. Now that I’m a grown-up, it would seem as though it’s all downhill from there…

 

Then again, many of us end our lives being pushed around in chairs, and that’s not exactly something we look forward to. Truth be told, as wonderfully relaxing as it may look to some of us between the ages of 4 and 80, the chair-pushing never actually makes us happy because it fucks with our independence. And to many of us, freedom and independence seem as necessary as air. And so those of us can never relax into being pushed or carried, no matter how appropriate it may be, because we will constantly be thinking about how we should be doing the work ourselves.

 

That is me. In this wedding, in this life, needing to walk on my own.

 

I chose not to have bridesmaids for several reasons: Scott didn’t want to choose anyone for a wedding party, I didn’t think I could count on the people I did want to choose for either geographical or emotional reasons, and I didn’t want to pick and choose among the people I did know I could count on. I also didn’t want anyone to feel the resentment that often comes with the financial and time commitments associated with the word “bridesmaid.”

 

I thought I could [and maybe I still can] craft a wonderfully “DIT” wedding where everyone who wanted to contribute could contribute however they felt they could. Where people could have little roles or tasks that were manageable, without feeling like they were as swallowed whole by this wedding as I have been.

 

But it turns out, when you’re someone like me, it’s not that easy to ask for help—to the point where your brain has decided that there really isn’t anything for anyone else to do anyway.

 

And when your problem is as extreme as mine, when it comes to things that you really cannot do—like throw your own bridal shower—and others decide to do it for you, you may wind up FREAKING OUT.

 

I have always had a problem with “stage fright”. This stems from an incident, at 3, where I tripped over my uncle’s foot and slammed my head into a chair leg. I still have the physical and emotional scars. I cried, he cried, the entire room (it was a party) swooped in on me, and I remember feeling frantically that the thing I wanted most in the world was for all of them to stop paying attention to me. To this day, when someone bestows kindness on me in a stressful situation I still cry.

 

But I am, in my deepest darkest heart of hearts, a performer. This lasting affects of this incident have made it difficult, but I pursued. Four was a particularly tough year: first I ran out of our “exhibition class” at dance school, and it took me 5 years to return to dancing;  my first appearance at a wedding—as flower girl for my godmother—resulted in me screaming “I quit this wedding” as soon as I saw everyone looking at me, and running down a side aisle into my mother’s arms. I spent most of the reception (and many other family gatherings), playing under the table.

 

Despite returning to ballet, I frequently lost my shit before going on stage, and thusly, never performed quite the way I did in rehearsal. I suffered through auditions, but the fear affected me so physically that they were always disastrous.

 

I spent my teenage years having birthday parties that involved day trips or vacations with 1 or 2 close friends, and avoiding the larger “surprise” parties my friends tried to throw. At 16, I spent 6 months not speaking to the lovely Aimee, simply because she tried to throw me a birthday party. The only party I ever enjoyed was once I thought was for someone else, and then it wound up being for me too. Surprise.

 

Ironically, in the last year, I’ve taken a couple of acting classes and that is like a whole new ballgame. Improv exercises still freak me out, because—like dancing—you’re really still being you. But I found that playing a character is becoming an advocate for someone else, and that is something I know how to do. Even with only a few weeks to work on a monologue or scene, I realized I will fight desperately to make this character heard (and to make others do the same) no matter what I may look or sound like in the process. It was exhilarating.

 

But when it comes to being me in a room full of people there to celebrate me?

 

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Let’s just say that my shower began at 2pm, at my friend’s parents’ house about 10 blocks away.

 

And where was I? I was sobbing hysterically in the shower, then on the couch, then while trying on clothes in a frantic effort to not think about how whatever I picked would be what I was wearing at my only shower ever.

 

I had not been expecting this.

 

I had seen 75% of my shower attendees at a wine-tasting “high school reunion” trip the day before and there was zero anxiety about any of it. The stressful conversation Scott and I were having about money until about 1:30pm when I freaked out that I hadn’t gotten ready yet may have had something to do with it, as could’ve the fact that I hadn’t eaten anything other than a protein shake all day.

 

Or maybe I just missed my mom.

 

Cause, you know, showers are mom things.

 

Whatever the reason, all I knew was, I really really didn’t want to go.

 

And worse still, I realized the wedding would have a crowd five times as large, and what if I didn’t want to go to that either?

 

Suddenly the reasoning behind going to Costa Rica, and having only twenty guests, and just slipping upstairs from hanging out to change my dress before having a quick ceremony and maybe a slightly more special than average dinner, all made sense to me.

 

And I felt like I had lost the plot and royally fucked up.

 

It’s hard to go “celebrate” when you’ve got all of this on your mind.

 

As my bff (who abandoned me for Seattle at the beginning of July), counseled me on the phone afterwards, “You could’ve told everybody.” (She was mostly referencing the mom part.)

 

She was right, I could’ve told everybody, but as I told her, that wouldn’t have made it a shower, it would’ve made it a funeral. And we already had one of those.

 

Ironically, that funeral made me feel how most wedding grads talk about their wedding.

 

I was so utterly surrounded by love and support. People came out of the woodwork for my mom—and for me. (And some people not coming. I could still tell you the people that didn’t make it. All with good reason, that is just the nature of these things.) Truly, it made me see that I wasn’t alone, even though I was. And it helped me understand the importance of ritual, which is something I should probably remember now.

 

But the funeral is a whole other story, and post.

 

The shower.

 

I survived.

 

DSC_0211-2me, being showered, looking a lot more bad-ass that I felt 

 

Shaky, and not really myself, but trying. And yes, maybe it would’ve been better if I had come clean, and been honest to my friends as to what was going on. At least maybe pulled a few aside and clued them in.

 

But sometimes… even though my friends are here geographically, they’re miles away emotionally. So I tell stuff to you guys.

 

Hi you guys. (And the 2 in real life friends that read. Now you know. 😉 )

 

I guess maybe I should send this to them. So then they’ll know. And my secret will be out.

 

And I can enjoy my wedding.

 

Hi, my name is Keriann. I have social anxiety, and have been off medication for six years. I do a lot of yoga, avoid caffeine and sugar, and just generally will myself through the scary.

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Blogxiety: What it Is & How I Have It

 kaorange

me, in 2001, with friends.
through the accidental magic of film cameras.

 

I don’t exactly make friends easily.

 

I’ve gotten better as I’ve gotten older, and  have been thrust into situations that have taken me outside of the real-life group of girls I’ve been proud to call mine since the age of 13. These forced interaction situations—camps/trips, college, study abroad, work, film sets—where I can generally make friends in my shy, gradual way, have a solid history of working way better than parties or bars, where I’m usually a complete mess.

 

But as one gets even older (womp womp), those types of situations kind of thin out, and honestly, I can barely keep up with the friends I do have half the time.

 

Enter the internet.

 

Yup, I’ve had a history of internet buddies too.

 

Oh yeah, it’s confession time.

 

I wrote fan fiction.

 

In 1999.

 

About the TV show Roswell. (And maybe Harry Potter, but let’s not give away all my secrets.)

 

There was a lovely group of girls (and a few guys) called the Raddish Brethren (long story), who absolutely rocked my world. They took a horrible socially anxious (no seriously, I was medicated) teenager, and gave her an escape. They didn’t know about the anxiety and depression, and the stress of senior year with the tests and the college applications and the what-the-fuck-am-I-doing-with-my-life (which someone could’ve told me DOESN’TGO AWAY), and the prom and the drama.

 

They just talked about television, college, jobs, and life after high school from their lofty perches of a few years older than me. And writing. Oh, the writing. It didn’t matter that we were writing about Roswell. We were writing, and reading, and critiquing and loving.

 

That group of online friends got me through a really shitty time without them even knowing it. They taught me that I could put myself out there, and people would still accept me, and I took that knowledge with me to college and beyond.

 

And then somewhere along the line, I think I kind of forgot.

 

Nearly a year ago, in the midst of another (still ongoing) stressful time in my life, (Because let’s face it. For most people being engaged isn’t fun. It is many things, some of them good, some of them bad, but it is rarely fun), I found A Practical Wedding.

 

And it was a game changer.

 

Not only because the content gives me the coping mechanisms to get through this process not just unscathed, but actually having learned a thing or two, but because of the plethora of smart, engaging (DERP! Is that a derp?) women.

 

The kind of women I need in my life during this process. And really, for always.

 

So from day one, despite my social [and virtual] anxiety, I just jumped right into commenting.

 

But then, a lot of these smart, fabulous women had blogs. Where they were smart and fabulous. And when I starting reading them, I allowed myself to get really, really intimidated by said smarts and fabulousness, because, as someone easily intimidated and dissuaded, my blog and lest we not kid ourselves—life, is pretty lazy and half-assed.

 

Thus the onset of blogxiety:

A debilitating inferiority complex that prevents one from fully interacting with or learning from all the awesomeness around you, and sends you crying into your room that you’re “just not good enough.”

 

And so I often lurked, sometimes commented, and almost always felt intimidated by these lovely ladies and their blogs. The anxiety would start as a pit in my stomach that grows into a screaming “not-good-enough” monster until I’d have to close the window.

 

That is, until a few months ago when I swallowed my fear, and joined Twitter, and started to get to know these awesome ladies of the blogosphere that much more. When I think about it, this alone is quite a triumph of courage over blogxiety. As someone who seriously flounders when it comes to initiating a friendship, Twitter goes against all my principles of “speak when you’re spoken to.” But I’ve tried to swallow the fear, just pipe up, and butt in, and I think so far people like me… maybe… I hope.

 

Now [most days], I can read the awesome blogs of these awesome ladies and feel supportive of such wonderful women going around and changing their worlds and the worlds of others, instead of scared shitless that I’m not that cool.

 

(Because really, being cool is something I don’t have control over. I didn’t in high school, and I don’t know. Being cool is in the minds of others, which I have no control over.)

 

Since I’ve come this far, I want to push myself even further out of my shell and make a scary request:

A lot of you, who may or may not actually read this, have mentioned or written about your honeymoons on your own blogs. Or maybe you haven’t. But chances are either way you’re soon going to get an email from me (or you can email me first and volunteer! less scary!) asking you if you’d consider guest-posting on my new blog about honeymoons. Because I know you all have awesome stories [and pictures!], and I’d like to hear [see!] more of them!

 

Ok, enough of this scary stuff, next week is all about wedding photographers and engagement photos! Good times and lots of pretty!