Saturday, 20 September 2014

Wed-threads: Identity

This is perhaps the most confusing post I will write within the wed-threads series. Today I discuss something that has an effect that lasts far longer than droopy flowers or a rubbish DJ: my name. A choice I have to make that will last the rest of my life.

I think it would be fair to call me a feminist, I am deeply concerned about equality and always try to combat inequality as it occurs in my day-to-day life. (Having male dominated hobbies and careers, this is sadly quite regular!) So my typical response would be along the lines of "Well of course I'll be keeping my name! Gareth doesn't own me!" etc etc etc. This would concur with the fact I bloody adore my surname (something I don't mention publically on this blog for hopeful wishes of privacy) and Gareth's surname doesn't sit brilliantly with my forename (Aimee Bundy has quite a lot of rhyming 'ee' sounds.) (Just to note: I'm not being a privacy hypocrite, Gareth is less shy of the internet than me and even his twitter handle uses his surname - @gabundy)

My surname is special to me, it's already double-barrelled and both parts are tremendously important to me. I would hate to me without it, I'm worried I will feel cut loose from my identity by ripping it away from me. However - I'm not just losing my name, I'm adding to it as well. This is the important aspect: I am becoming "Mrs" Aimee...

This changes everything. No longer is it about clinging on to my own identity, it is about shaping my own identity and continuing to be my own person in a confusing fog of letters and history. Both my mother and my mother-in-law's forenames also begin with an A - they are Anabel and Ann respectively. Now I start to think of letters coming through my front door:

  • letters for Mrs A [My current surname] - they must be for my mother, not for me!
  • letters for Mrs A Bundy - they must be for my mother-in-law, she lives just down the road after all!

So who do I become? I no longer wish to simply keep my surname - I don't want to become my mother in that way, and I will always see Mrs [My current surname] as her. Equally, I would like my children to have the same name as me, and that isn't something I would ever consider even possibly taking away from Gareth. Equally, I don't want post to be addressed to two different people especially (Dear Mr Bundy and Mrs BlahBlahBlah) - I do want to 'become one' with my husband, however much that should disagree with my politics. I am still an old romantic, I guess.

So what can I do? I can't triple-barrel my name and ask Gareth to take it: it wouldn't fit on forms and would sound utterly ridiculous! I can't create a new double-barrel it as I would find taking Gareth's surname and half my surname to be very disrespectful to the side of the family whose name I chose to dump. Creating a surname is now becoming more popular, but that doesn't appeal in the slightest - it has no heritage behind it, no background.

So what will I do? I'm still not certain. I hoped writing this blog might soothe my identity crisis. If I had to make a decision today I would  become "Mrs Aimee Bundy" - starting afresh is perhaps easier than trying to wrangle the remains into something shiny and possible. Oddly, it feels easier to take my mother-in-law's name than my mother's. I'm not sure I like how easy it feels - how easy it is for patriarchal customs to inflict themselves on my innermost thoughts and feelings just because it's 'the way things are.' I hope I simply have had less years of hearing "Mrs Bundy" refer to somebody else and that is why I am edging that way. I'm not sure I believe that though.

This is a topic I may revisit as the months tick down (something they are doing at alarming speed!) - I hope I am closer to being settled on the subject by then.

Previously in Wed-threads:

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Wed-threads: Venue

I've never been a wedding dress person, as a little girl I never dreamt of how my perfect gown would look. (I wish I had, it might have made the hunt for a dress a little less traumatic.)

I've always been happy to look at different venues though. Before Gareth and I were even engaged, my mother and I would daydream about different places and secretly potter about the internet (no pressure on Ga!) trying to find somewhere perfect. To be honest, I didn't really need to look far: I've always loved historic venues, places where hundreds of brides' feet have walked the same path mine will. I love stone walls, I love big oppressive buildings that haunt your mind and soul.

I absolutely adore castles. I grew up near Arundel Castle, which is my dream fairytale castle. I can remember having a tiny book of British castles, and I always thought Arundel Castle was the most perfect, the most beautiful, the most outstanding castle in the book. One of my regular childhood haunts was Swanbourne Lake and we would always drive past the castle to get there - and if you climbed up the chalk hills you could get a beautiful glimpse of the castle.

I'm not getting married at Arundel Castle. This doesn't upset me - firstly it's impossible, Arundel Castle doesn't offer weddings, and secondly there was absolutely no way I was getting married in West Sussex. In three years I've absolutely fallen in love with Cardiff and could not imagine getting married anywhere else. South Wales is my home.

Wales is the best place ever to want to get married in a castle. You have so many options! Some of the ones that were briefly considered included Caerphilly Castle, Craig-y-Nos Castle (tempting - it has a Doctor Who connection as it was Torchwood House in Tooth and Claw, and they often have good weekday offers on Groupon) and Hensol Castle. I was also tempted by Pencoed House because it was beautiful, and had its own whisky bar (my favourite tipple)!

We had a few requirements though - I really wanted somewhere that was easy to travel to, a "dry" wedding didn't appeal to me, so somewhere where people would have to drive to, and then drive to a hotel at the end of the night wasn't preferable. Equally - forcing people to stay at a location (one of the issues with Craig-y-Nos) was really off putting. A weekend wedding was again something that I was pretty determined to get - I'm quite guest conscious and I was really concerned about sending an invite that ended up having "you will need to take a couple of precious days of holiday to come to the wedding, then pay a fortune to stay at the only hotel in the area (which naturally they will charge you a premium for), and obviously you'll have the costs of travel, and even a new outfit and presents if you chose!" written between the lines. Not something I was comfortable with.

There was one perfect place: Cardiff Castle. It would blow the budget but it was gorgeous, there would be amazing wedding photos, it was in a city that really meant something to me (chip butty on Caroline Street at 2am after the wedding, anyone?), there were hotels for every budget, and you can get there by walking (for the local friends), bus, train, coach or plane! (And car - though car parking is where Cardiff really does fail dramatically - car park tips will be included in the invites, though!)

With Cardiff Castle chosen there was only one room I was interested in - the one I had kept going back to when giggling with my mother, the one that when I looked at wedding venues I would always compared them to: The Undercroft. It was stunning, full of thick stone walls and a vaulted ceiling; it was truly old in a very young castle; it was completely separate so we would have our own private, intimate bash away from prying eyes; and as a bonus it was the cheapest room for the number of guests we were inviting! It is perfect and makes me feel like a fairytale princess - not something I'm used to!

Now with an expensive venue booked, it was time to cut back and try and pull the costs back into line.

Previously in Wed-threads:

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Wed-threads: Twitter and Doctor Who - The Love Story

This is the start of Wed-threads: little thoughts and posts as I prepare to marry @gabundy. It's a journey I hope to never forget, but knowing myself a little too well it's probably for the best that I'm going to have it written down. (Forgetful, me? Perhaps just a little.) I'll still continue to try and post #dwsr and #setlock posts - but these have been thin on the ground of late.

I owe #dwsr a lot. I wouldn't even be in this position without it. Years ago I used to silently frequent the popular Doctor Who internet forum Outpost Gallifrey (the predecessor of Gallifrey Base) - then I loved to read spoilers, and would obsessively refresh the set reports thread on my school lunch break. Tiny details would excite and amuse me! It took me ages to realise that #dwsr existed - but when I finally did learn about this awesome hashtag, I created a twitter account immediate! Twitter was quiet though, my feed was empty of humourous chatter, nonsensical statements and political aggressiveness. I needed to follow people!

So I followed the "regulars" - those who had their twitter handle named on their Outpost Gallifrey profile and posted about things I was interested in. Weirdly of those first ten or so people I followed, I'm marrying one and another is going to be his best man. It's strange how these things happen.

In the mean time I got older, I got iller, I became more introverted and depressed. There was a year where I only left the house to go to hospital appointments (I'm allergic to sunlight, when you don't know what medicines work for you it can get pretty awkward pretty quickly.) Twitter had become a lifeline - a window to look into happy lives, a place to chat without prejudice. I wasn't just talking about Doctor Who now - @tlchimera had become a fully formed personal account, full of Formula One, Strictly Come Dancing, tennis scores and feminist commentary. I was still sad and lonely, but I was distracted. Distracted by the people living in my phone.

One of the people in my phone tweeted a lot about how ill he felt. About black dogs visiting, about entire days being wasted away by illness. I felt akin to this anonymous person - he was going through the same horrible shit as me. I'd tweet him sometimes, "Hope your day improves xx", "Sending hugs", "Sorry you're still feeling so bad." He never replied. I didn't worry, I just irregularly continued to send messages. If he got some kind of comfort from them, then that was good enough for me. I was worried though - worried about somebody I'd never met. When you're in such a solitary scenario it's easy to form attachments, you have plenty of time to think and dream.

One day he replied. It was late (or perhaps early) - and we had a snippy but silly conversation about whether the other person should be in bed. Resting, getting better. It was the start of something amazing. We started to tweet each other more regularly. He revealed he had thought I was a "tender loving care bot" set to automatically send caring messages to those tweeting their woes. I guess it made sense - my handle starts with "tlc." I'm glad he realised I was real though!

From there we progressed from twitter to MSN (yes, we really were still in the dark ages!) and Skype. A few months later we met in Cardiff Bay, and by this point we were entranced by each other.

Three years on, with loads of Doctor Who set reporting adventures in between, he proposed just before the fiftieth anniversary episode of Doctor Who, on 23rd November 2013. He intended to put the ring in the plunger of a Dalek, but couldn't get batteries for our remote-controlled one! Doctor Who (and Twitter) pushed me towards the man I cannot wait to marry. I've been a very lucky girl.

This is the start of Wed-threads: a series of blog posts documenting our engagement and the arrangements and deliberations for our wedding.