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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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.

DIY Month – Day 11: Work on Novel

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I started to write a novel ages ago. Like over a decade ago, no joke. I changed the whole thing about three years ago and really started getting serious about it, but then it dwindled off again. I think it’s because at the times that I was writing it, I was going through a series of crises and really needed to write something of a considerable length in order to get it out of my system.

The last time I wrote in my novel was when I was still working in my old job, which was pure hell. So although I was no longer in therapy, and I was in a stable and healthy romantic relationship (which I am still in today), I still had a lot of issues to work out because my former boss was verbally and emotionally abusive.

Today, I have a good job, I’m in a great relationship, I’m happier and emotionally healthier than I’ve been in a long time, and I am reluctant to dive back into that period of my life where no matter what my facial expression revealed, I always suffered this constant nagging pain in my core.

Last night, however, I remembered how articulate and powerful my prose was when I was writing my novel. I wrote it when I was in the zone, and I feel kinda bad if I were to let it go to waste. So I switched on my old ass laptop, and started rereading the whole thing. I got about 120 pages written in it, and I didn’t even get to the hardest period of my life which was the summer of 2009. I think I may be able to do it as I was keeping a diary at that time and it could help me remember.

But again, I am totally not looking forward to feeling that pain again. Reliving the hardest part of my life would drain me and drag me down into zombie mode. And most of all, I am scared. My inner child is terrified of this pain. Just thinking about it hurts her.

Rereading the first few pages of my novel last night brought up a hurricane of feelings, both negative and positive. The negative ones were immediately caused by the stories in my novel. But the positive ones were caused by my unconscious comparison with my present state. I’ve noticed how much I changed since then, how much healthier I am and feel, how much better my life is, and most of all how great it is to finally be in a relationship with a man who is emotionally stable and mentally sane. I realized how different I am in this relationship where I love my partner to Heaven and beyond, while at the same time, this relationship is free of self-obliteration and where I still take care of myself and love myself, unlike my past relationships where the word “I” never existed, and the whole world was just about “him”.

When that last part hit me, I felt so grateful for it. And after an intense night of wild love-making, I was on the verge of tears. I know that this novel is something I have to finish for myself. But I also know that there are so many people who would get hurt by it if even a word of it was published. It would hurt my parents most of all, because most of the bitching and the anecdotes of my past traumas involve my parents. It would hurt my family as a whole. It might offend some of my friends. It would definitely offend my ex boyfriends, and especially my current boyfriend who will no doubt get upset by the rather graphic descriptions of my past relationships, fully loaded with extreme emotional narratives and sexual episodes.

So I came to a decision. I will finish the novel (at some point in my life) but I will never publish it. It’s not worth the pain it can cause. And if I have it all to myself, that’s all I need.

Peace, love and Sunday on the Mountain

Shack it Up!

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I’m all snug. Moved in with my boyfriend this past weekend. It’s so much more convenient. All the back and forth between my apartment and his was enough of a drag since February 2011. My former apartment served its purpose for 4.5 years and it was a great ride, until it became horrible due to problematic roommates and increasing rent.

So the Chocolate Residence has disbanded. But me and my chocolate grrrl roommate have moved on to new places to form new memories. She moved to a studio apartment with a huge backyard where she will no doubt organize more art nights. And I moved in with my boyfriend. It was a difficult process because I have a lot of stuff and my boyfriend had to make space. But now, everything fell into place.

The small space we call the dining room got a Technicolor bitchslap when I placed my grrrlVIRUS display library in the corner and replaced the beige tablecloth with a black and purple curtain with a star pattern.

The bedroom got an extra nighttable. With a rainbow bandana, a green teddy dog and a Kurt Cobain statuette, you can clearly tell which side of the bed is mine. We also hung up a few more pictures around the house including the big Dali painting over the bed, and the enormous Kurt Cobain poster in the little storage space next to the bathroom.

His relatively empty kitchen cupboards are now overflowing with dishes, pots, pans, plastic boxes, cutlery, spices, chocolate, canned food… and his bookshelf had to be cleared to accommodate my Stephen King collection, feminist literature, art books, notebooks, diaries and my old school agendas.

The computer corner became a computer/typewriter corner.

The closet in the bedroom had to be reorganized – clothes and sheets had to be refolded neatly to make space for my stuff. My boyfriend had to get rid of much of his hanging clothes and clear two drawers. I got rid of many of the clothes I don’t wear – something I’ve been unable to do with my pajamas.

“I challenge you to find another person in this country who has more pajamas than me,” I told my boyfriend as I stuffed two drawers full of winter and summer PJs.  

As two avid metal fans, our musical instruments and CDs are things that we cannot throw out or put in storage.

As a result, the living room now looks like a mini home recording studio with our combined six guitars (two electric, two bass, one acoustic and one classical) mounted on stands, a couple of amps, a foot switch, an effects board, and a computer recording system. Plus, my boyfriend’s pile of CDs reached monumental proportions after I stacked it up with my own collection of CDs and audio cassettes. My record player and a couple of vinyl records are stacked up there too.

We’re pretty happy so far. I’ve managed to find my way around the neighborhood and the new bus lines I need to get to work.

Also, living with a dude who likes to keep the house neat and tidy is definitely a major plus, and a rare thing to find among the straight male population. 

Not having to haul my ass out of bed and get dressed after a romantic night with my boyfriend, and not having to haul his ass out of bed so he can drive me home, is particularly awesome.

There’s also the little extras that make this place much better: a large backyard, an oven, a (working) washing machine, and having my boyfriend’s parents as neighbors and landlords means having home-cooked meals a few times a week! Plus, much of our monthly expenses (i.e. rent and bills) are already covered.

But besides that, there are things that both my boyfriend and I need to get used to. I need to get used to sharing the bed at night, and getting a double portion while shopping for groceries. My boyfriend needs to get used to a reveille at 6:00 a.m., courtesy of my annoying alarm clock, on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. He got his first taste of it this morning. I doubt he liked it very much. And I need to get used to a reveille on Mondays and Wednesdays, around 7:00 a.m., courtesy of my boyfriend’s annoying cellphone alarm, as I am used to sleeping in on those days until around 11:00. 

Sharing a house and a life together is also a major change for both of us, but I’m quite optimistic about it. We get along really well and I’m very excited about it.

Peace, love and welcome to our Metal Residence.