Feminist Wife

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A (69)I just read an article posted by Bust Magazine called “15 Ways to Have a Feminist Wedding”. Some of the points the author made did not pertain to me because the traditional wedding ritual in Israel is very different from the one in the States or other countries. The rest of the points I found to be complete and utter bullshit. So here is my response to all points:

Proposing is an equal opportunity event
My husband didn’t propose to me and I didn’t propose to him. One day we talked about it over dinner and just decided that this is what we’re gonna do.

An engagement ring for all or no one
I wanted a ring and he didn’t. Where is the problem?

Pass on the bride’s parents permission
If my husband had asked my dad if he could marry me, we would have had a good laugh. We’re not orthodox and we’re not in the 1950s. Nowadays, I doubt anybody does it in Israel.

Everyone pays for the wedding
Nope. My parents paid for the Hinna. My husband’s parents paid for the wedding.

It’s the groom’s day too
It’s also the day of the parents of the bride and the parents of the groom. We all planned the wedding together.

Invite men to the wedding shower
Showers are not a thing in Israel. Wedding showers or baby showers. So irrelevant.

Have diverse wedding parties
Not sure what she means by that… we had a surprise engagement party at Blaze and a Hinna. Neither of us had bachelor or bachelorette parties.

Drop the terms bridesmaid or maid of honor
Again, no such thing in Israel. My “maid of honor” was my dog.

Don’t let your father give you away
I wanted both my parents to walk me down the aisle. So that’s how it was. My parents walked me, and my husband’s parents walked him.

Ditch the garter and bouquet toss
Yet another tradition that is not practiced in Israel.

Cut a rug with any parent
Whatever you say dude. I’ll dance with anybody I want.

Name-change is a two-way street
That was the point that pissed me off the most. Name-change is anybody’s choice. I wasn’t going to make my husband change his name. And the reason I wanted to change mine was so that I could have the same family name as my fucking family! My husband and my kids will be Bar Lev. I want to be that too. What’s so wrong with that?

Ditch the term Mrs.
I’m not Mrs. or Ms. I’m giveret. So fuck you.

Replace the terms “husband” and “wife”
Yet another pisser-offer. I LOVE it when my husband calls me his wife (or rather isha) and I love referring to my husband as my husband (or rather baal). There is nothing that keeps my husband from using “isha” and “feministit” in the same sentence. Nothing wrong with it either.

Don’t let him carry you over the threshold
Not usually done in Israel. In fact, I don’t understand how anybody can do that. This is supposed to happen AFTER the wedding, right? When both of you are shitfaced and sore all over from dancing like maniacs. So how exactly can your husband carry you anywhere when he can hardly hold himself up? Ridiculous.

One of the comments on this article was “How to have a feminist wedding: Be a feminist. Have a wedding.”

Seriously. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Peace, love and next stupid article from Bust: “How to be a feminist mother”

 

 

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All I Leave Behind

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I had great plans for the Passover holiday. One of them was rereading all my old diaries to find entries that I could include in a new split-zine I will be writing with my friend. This was an activity that I underestimated in terms of just how long it will take me to read all my diaries, which was basically the entire week. So all my other plans fell through, and I just kept on reading, marking pages, highlighting, noting stuff down…

I also underestimated the emotional effect that rereading all this shit would cause. All the corpses that would resurface. It was a rollercoaster of emotions – some parts made me laugh, some inspired me to no end, some parts even turned me on. But some parts were also shocking and terrifying, confusing and utterly heartbreaking, mainly because I couldn’t believe that this was once me. That I would express myself this way, and that this was how I thought I felt and how, in some instances, I completely misled myself. In 2003, I spent half a diary talking about my boyfriend of the time in excruciatingly graphic detail. Not one page would go by without my mentioning how much I love him and all that shit. After a hiatus of at least a year an a half (about a year after he broke up with me), I wrote an angry entry, in big capital letters:

“[name] is a motherfucking shitty asshole! The only good thing he ever did was reveal his true colors when he broke up with me.” Then I went on to say how guys are only good for one thing and that’s fucking. Then I wrote a note to myself to read this entry a couple million times before ever allowing myself to fall into the abysmal hell also known as love.

Although I knew this before, it was only after I read this entire diary that I realized how true this was – I was never in love with this guy. I was obsessed with him. None of it was true, none of it was real. I was misled into thinking I was in love. I was blind to that until I went through therapy and learned to love without killing myself and without focusing my world around “him”. It was only when I met my husband when I learned what true love feels like. And I wrote about that too in my later diaries, when I first met Elad and felt true love for the first time: “I still feel like I come first. Like my inner child comes first, but I love the shit out of this guy – how is that possible?”

I told my husband about the journal entries I wrote when we first met. It turned both of us on. When I put all these experiences in perspective, I suddenly became more attracted to him, even more than before.

Later on I also wrote about the horrible job I had for two years and how I was struggling to keep myself sane by keeping a steady social life, hanging out with my boyfriend, and writing endlessly, even if it kept me up well past my bedtime and I woke up the next day feeling like a zombie. I was amazed at how strong I was and how I pushed myself to write even if I was beyond tired (or as I put it: “somewhere between excruciatingly exhausted and comatose”), and how I managed to overcome my fatigue with the help of my art.

As I read these entries, I felt overcome with a sense of inspiration like I haven’t felt in a long time.

I want to resume my journal writing and I think I’ll start this week. I’ve just been bogged down with zine plans and zine writing (which is no less awesome, I must say!), plus I have a contribution to write to this riot grrrl anthology, plus I have some letters to write, packages to pack, and shit to mail out, plus I have to start this split-zine as well… basically all the stuff I had planned for this past week and managed to do nothing.

AND, I just got word that I’m about to receive a new stack of Stephen King books… oh boy. You’re just gonna drown me in your prose again, Steve, aren’t you? And keep me from getting any decent writing done, isn’t that right? Why must you always be so fucking awesome?

The inspiration to read Stephen King somehow always demolishes my inspiration for creativity. Always. Without fail.

I feel so happy and so sad at the same time. *sigh*

Peace, love and Deicide show in Las Vegas. Can you dig it?

No Need for Weed

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The wedding was awesome. Everyone said so. They all told me they especially liked the music, so I think it’s safe to say that I’ve finally proven once and for all that Middle Eastern music is not the only genre that gets people dancing and one does not HAVE to torture people’s eardrums with this whiny shit all night.

And yes, we did have some metal tunes playing at the end. The metalhead group that we invited had the entire dance floor to themselves and went bananas, headbanging, jumping, circle pit, all the good stuff.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I danced the entire time, drank a lot of water, sweat it all out in yet another frenzied dance, and drank some more. I sweat so much, I even felt sweat on my legs! MY LEGS! Who the fuck sweats from their legs?

I also tried drinking some alcohol, but for some reason, my husband forgot to order the Smirnoff Ice I like. So I opted for a regular grapefruit vodka cocktail. I took no more than two or three sips from it, and had to set it aside because I just wasn’t digging it. For the rest of the night, I was on a natural high, and that was good enough for me.

On Sunday, four days after the wedding, we went to our first metal night as a married couple. Then on Monday, we went back to the bar for the mock elections they held. That night was amazing. I was on a natural high once again, and when the “Sunday Metal” party won (by one vote, but still a victory), and they played some more metal, I headbanged like I could not headbang on my wedding, because my hairdo didn’t allow it! I went back home with a sore neck, but that’s the sign that I had a blast. Also, my husband got nice and plastered, but experienced no nausea and no hangover the next day. So we both enjoyed a swell buzz indeed.

That night, I got my period and the next day I wrote my contribution for my friend’s zine “After the Blood” which is a special issue on the period. I wrote all about my experience in the mikve and how this monthly ritual affected the way I view my body and my menstrual cycle. I was looking forward to writing it all week, so once I finally got down to it, I enjoyed it so much that I got into the Zone. I haven’t been to the Zone in a while, and it felt so awesome to be back. And yes, that is definitely another natural high I experienced. Boy, if I’m not careful, my endorphins are going to become my drug of choice.

What will be my next fix you ask? Why, zine production of course!

Peace, love and that’s Mrs. Bar-Lev to you!

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A Feminist of Valor

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Yesterday was International Women’s Day, and for the occasion, I wrote a status on Facebook wishing the female variety a happy day. Seriously, I did nothing that involves feminism and female empowerment except for that.

Since yesterday was Sunday, we had metal night at Blaze. I thought maybe I should put on a powerful song by a female metal band as a tribute to IWD, but nothing came to mind. And they already played Arch Enemy with Angela on the lead, so yeah. Nothing more than that.

It got to a point where I started fantasizing about one of the dudes there making some sexist comment, just so I can say something bitching like “Number one, I’m a feminist. Number two, today is International Women’s Day. Number three, I may be small but I’m much stronger than I look, and you should watch your mouth or you won’t have any more fucking teeth left in it!”

But the guys at metal night are nice dudes. And they know I’m a feminist. And they know not to make any sexist comments when I’m around because I could leave them as bloody as I get when I’m on my period.

Come to think of it, I haven’t done too many feminist things lately. There was a Vagina Monologues presentation by the Jerusalem Rape Crisis Center on V-Day, but I didn’t go because I was out of town. So instead, I called up the JRCC and donated the equivalent amount of a VM ticket price, 80 NIS, so that even if I didn’t go to the show, I could still contribute to the fundraising efforts.

That was it.

Right now, I’m reading a book about Witches. I don’t mean a horror story. I mean a book on the actual pagan faith. It’s got a lot of feminist elements in it, and I find it utterly inspiring. So if that also counts as a feminist thing, then I’m also doing that.

RosiePlus, I’m also going to my very first mikve (ritual bath) today as a prerequisite by the Rabbinical Council for having a proper Jewish wedding. I promised my penpal friend, who is writing a comp zine on periods, that I will contribute a piece on the mikve once I experience it. I will write it in conjunction with my feminist beliefs and how this holy monthly ritual can be seen as a tremendous source of female empowerment. So I guess that’s another feminist thing.

While I’m on the topic of religion, my husband-to-be and I received a wonderful gift by one of the people who will not make it to the wedding. It was a Sabbath set including candle holders, a kiddish glass, a couple of prayer books (including one called Eshet Chayil – A Woman of Valor – with chants and hymns for the woman of the house. Yes, still totally feminist!), and my favorite – a cutting board for motzi bread! This last one is a super fancy board with a bread knife on the side and a tiny built-in bowl for salt. I’m so excited about it, I can’t wait to invite some friends over for a Sabbath dinner, and get a chance to use all that awesome stuff.

And since my man always relegates the kiddish and motzi to me, this soon-to-be-married feminist will be the one to do all the chants and all the prayers for the Sabbath dinner, and this time with a headscarf.

May be kinda reform, but you don’t get any more feminist than that!

Peace, love and Wednesday, March 11, 2015, Kaf Be’Adar, Tashaah.

Engage the Metalhead Within

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20141116_225604Well, I had plans for a new tattoo, and I had plans for a new zine, and I had plans to not have another surgery at least until this year is over. But plans are made to be changed. So here it is.

I am set to have another surgery on November 30. It will be my fourth one this year but it will be relatively minor… I hope. It has nothing to do with my elbow injury or my cataract but I won’t detail this procedure beyond that, considering its sensitive nature.

Onto more happy plans, I plan on getting married! My boyfriend and I got engaged last week. We went and picked out a ring together and we’re starting to look at wedding halls this evening. I hope to set a date for early March, but my boyfriend is leaning towards the end of June, so we’re still undecided on that.

Last night, we went to our weekly ritual at Blaze Bar – Sunday Metal Night. A night of good company, drinks, face-melting metal tunes and intensive neck breaking. What we didn’t expect was the surprise the Jerusalemite metalheads had in store for us. They ordered cake, balloons and champagne to celebrate our engagement, and their plans on that night was no doubt to get us completely wasted. They managed to do that with me, but seeing as I went a little overboard a few weeks ago and spent the rest of the night being tortured by stomach acid wreaking havoc on my throat and nasal passages, I took it easy this time around and stopped when I felt I had enough – two glasses of champagne, one very very light cocktail and two very very light chasers.

As for my boyfriend (I hate the term fiance), he got the old stomach utterly upset. Mr. Stomach then decided to pull a Jim Breuer and kicked all the ingested guests right the fuck out. So said plastered boyfriend spent his night as I did a few weeks ago, then he had to be carried out of the bar and back home by cab who had to be paid twice the amount of cash we usually pay, because the driver was reluctant to take in a guy who might very well vomit up and down the car.

So the night ended in disaster (I was pretty upset too seeing my boyfriend in that condition) but the night itself was fucking awesome! They played the best metal tunes, I got my headbang going at full throttle the moment all the “congrats” had passed around, we had about two or three dozen l’Chaim’s throughout the night, chasers and hugs on the house… it was quite possibly one of the best metal nights Jerusalem has to offer.

After the wedding, we plan to go to North America for a couple of weeks. And later on we also plan on having children, but that’s still a bit far off. And if the metalheads throw us a baby shower, the bar ought to be smoke free and alcohol free… not much of a party, eh?

Zines and tattoos will eventually be done, but with all the wedding arrangements, they’ll be on hold for now.

Peace, love and SLAYERRR! \m/

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Love Me Three Times

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Elad and Me MunichToday, my boyfriend and I are celebrating our third anniversary. When I think about it in relation to the three years I’ve been celibate prior to this relationship, I think it’s safe to say that the scales are finally balanced.

In the first few days of this relationship, I was confused, unsure, and not to mention scared shitless. It was the first time I got into anything serious after making peace with my body, learning to love my essence and considering myself an independent individual. My psychological recovery was the most important aspect of my life and the only thing I struggled with was attempting to balance that with being in love.

Before that happened, being in love with myself while being in love with a significant other was impossible for me and made no sense either. Whenever I was in a relationship, I simply ceased to exist. My being collapsed into a black hole and my entire universe was the object of my affection and nothing else. So when I finally managed to claim myself, falling in love became a challenge. When I started dating my boyfriend, I started asking myself “Is this what true love feels like when the ‘I’ actually takes a big part in ‘us’? When the ‘I’ actually exists?”

The answer came shortly thereafter. “Yes, this is the way it’s gotta be. You can’t have an ‘us’ without an ‘I’. What you experienced before wasn’t true love, it was blind love and self-obliteration, total devastation, and all-encompassing sacrifice.”

I am now at the point in my life that I have wished for ever since I graduated from university nine years ago. I always said “I wish I could just fast-forward to the part in my life where I have a pretty little apartment, a good job, money in my bank account, an amazing lover and a beautiful dog.”

Today, I have all of the above and more. I have never been happier.

Peace, love and oooh love, oooh loverboy.