A Bee’s Life: Cheese edition

Posted on August 27, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Hey, y’all.  I have to tell you, I’m really excited about this series because I really had no idea how this WB blogging thing worked when I applied, so I hope you get some insight into how it all works.

It all started with the blogs

I don’t remember when I started reading blogs or how I found Weddingbee, much like I don’t remember learning how to walk or when I ate my first french fry.  I do know that I spent too many hours Googling things like “a simple wedding” and “minimal wedding” and “second wedding.”  I kept finding sites on etiquette (apparently face veils are the prerogative of first-time brides), dealing with children (we had none) and eloping.  But I didn’t want to elope, and I didn’t care about veils – I just wanted the straight story on how little you could do for a wedding and still call it a wedding.  I wanted insight, answers, how-to’s.  I wanted bullet points.

So I started blogging.  My first attempt was called “A Simple Wedding,” but it didn’t really work. I wasn’t sure I wanted a wedding, wasn’t sure I was ready to get married, wasn’t sure why people were even engaged.  Who was I to tell anyone else how to plan a wedding I wasn’t sure I wanted?  But I kept writing, and soon I found my voice.  I scrapped my first ten posts and launched a new blog when I wrote this post.  For the first time, my words got away from me and helped me find myself.  For the first time, I understood that my perspective would be about the emotional journey of a bride, and more specifically, how you can fail at something once and still try it again. 

My tagline became: “I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt (and divorce papers) to prove it. Here I am again, pledging my life to my (new) love with eyes wide open (and heart racing) knowing full well how emotionally traumatic this can end… and doing it anyway.”

Applying to Weddingbee

So I decided to apply to Weddingbee.  I read each post but never commented, and while I loved the DIY aspect, wasn’t much on DIY myself.  I never expected to be accepted.  I mean, c’mon.  I was a divorced non-DIY-er planning a super-cheap wedding at home.  And I wasn’t sure how I felt about weddings.  My budget was vague and tiny, my projects were more home-related than wedding-ish, and my perspective wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies.

When I got the email from Pengy, I honestly didn’t know what to do… because I hadn’t actually gotten around to telling my fiance about this blogging thing I was doing.  Oops.  By that point, my posts had touched on my previous marriage and my own ambivalence, and I was concerned that he wouldn’t want all my honesty out in the real world.  Lucky for me, when I asked him to read my posts (while I glanced over his shoulder and bit my nails nervously), he agreed – and didn’t mind as long as what I wrote was honest.

On honesty and other people

In fact, I get asked pretty often if he reads all my posts, has editorial control, ever gets upset.  While he gets every post in his email (I signed him up), he rarely reads them.  If I write about a topic I’m a little unsure about (like this one on s.e.x.), I will ask him to read and offer to edit, but he’s never taken me up on it. 

Strange, right?  If someone wrote about me, I’d want to read and review.  But when I asked him just now if he ever minded my blogging so honestly about our lives, he replied that he understood early on that blogging was part of my emotional process, that it helped me understand myself and my choices, and if it made me a happier person, he was all for it.  Between you and I, I don’t think he had any idea how many people read my posts and how connected we’d all become. 

I’m also very careful to keep a tight perspective and not offer judgment on anyone but myself.  I’m sure I’ve made mistakes, but if you read my posts, they’re all about me – my thoughts, feelings, screw-ups.  My descriptions of him and his actions are usually pretty balanced and (hopefully) not unflattering.  I’ve never wanted to make anyone feel bad or use this blog as a way to unfairly vent my feelings, so when I write about ANYONE, I imagine reading those words to them myself.  And, like when I called Mrs. Meatball a really cute freaking fairy, I often check with them to make sure they take it in the spirit I intended. 

I may be honest, but I try not to be a jerk.

On why Weddingbee rocks

I found my voice by blogging for this site.  Without it, I wouldn’t have known the comfort of not feeling alone, the value of friendships made online, the power of the written word to unscramble my brain and make other people feel less alone.

I’m an emotional woman and I’ve found my outlet.  I value every comment you’ve ever left me, even the ones questioning my decisions.  I’ve often thought of those of you who have shared your stories and concerns and challenges, wondering how you’re doing and if it all worked out well.  And if the embarrassment of putting my own failings out there has made even one of you feel less alone, as you have done for me, it’s all worth the time (oh, gawd, the HOURS we spend blogging as volunteers… I could have made a fortune at minimum wage by now!) and effort and carpal tunnel (I kid, I kid… mostly).

On finding your own voice

Just try.  Over and over and over again, write about what’s on your mind, and eventually you’ll find yourself.  Write with readers in mind and your writing will improve.  I know this is hard to believe (um, not), but my journal blog was long and meandering and oh, so full of words.  Believe it or not, when I write for readers, I write fewer words, remember to make a point, and keep from spiraling into negativity.  You’re good for me.

And if you’re looking for honesty, accept discomfort.  Not once have I published a raw post and not dreaded reading the comments.  Not once.  Some days I literally cringe and hide my face when I see my post go up (like this one on doubts).  But not once, not one. single. time. have I regretted putting myself out there.  That’s the thing about fears – they dissipate in the light of honesty.  So try it.  You might like it.

One more thing: putting yourself out there doesn’t mean people have to agree.  And if they don’t, that’s okay.  You might learn something, might find a different way of looking at your life, might just close the browser and walk away.  Don’t apologize (unless you were misunderstood), don’t get offended, don’t take it all too seriously.  You live the life you live whether you blog about it or not, right?  If you want input, say you want input, and if you don’t, make that clear.

If you get comments asking you if you know what you’re doing (like this one), don’t assume it’s snark.  Ask yourself what they are really wanting to know, and then answer.  The comments on that post were one of my favorite online conversations.

In closing (finally!)

I didn’t think I’d be accepted to blog at Weddingbee, as a divorced unwilling bride-to-be, but I’ve learned that you just never know what might happen, so you might as well try.  Be honest, be brave, be yourself.

I still blog most days.  You can follow my ongoing battle with myself and my quirks at www.notquitebettycrocker.com.


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One Response to “A Bee’s Life: Cheese edition”

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I have been hoping that you would join this series, and have been waiting like a kid at Christmas to hear your take. You certainly did not disappoint. 🙂

Gosh, I love your honesty and your openness, Cheese. (And I know I’m not alone in this.)

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    I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt (and divorce papers) to prove it. Here I am again, pledging my life to my (new) love with eyes wide open (and heart racing) knowing full well how emotionally traumatic this can end… and doing it anyway.


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