Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Bee's Life: Octopus Edition

I know the big chunk of A Bee's Life posts happened quite a few months ago, but I loved this series when I was a WB reader, and I just really wanted to write one myself! Here goes nothing.....

My history with blogs:

I have always loved to write, ever since I was very, very little, and I've been into blogs for a long, loooooong time. I started my first-ever blog when I was maybe fifteen or so, using the site DiaryLand. It was really popular at the time (and was totally intended for teenage girls like myself....the website was decked out in pastel colors and daisies and kittens), but has now been far eclipsed by Blogger and WordPress and whatnot. I loved blogging even way back then, and made "blog friends" with a bunch of other teenage girls (and one boy) who also had sites there. I found it really rewarding and fun.

Doesn't mean I wasn't super-dumb about it, though. I regularly wrote about the many boys I had unrequited crushes on, using their real first and last names. Then, I panicked when I realized that my diary could easily be found (and I, and my crushes, could be VERY easily identified) through a simple Google search, so I password-protected it. My sister had secretly been reading the diary (I was blogging on the family computer, after all), made up a fake e-mail address, and wrote to me pretending to be an anonymous reader from North Carolina who wanted to keep following, but needed the password. And I believed her and gave it to her. DUMB.

How did I find Weddingbee?

In late summer of 2008, Mr. Octopus made the grave mistake of referring to me as his "soon-to-be fiancee." He meant this in a vague, soon-in-the-grand-scheme-of-things way, which was NOT how I took it. Sorry, buddy, you woke a sleeping dragon with that remark. I started Googling "Pittsburgh wedding," and came across Mrs. Pineapple's posts. I read her entire blog in practically one sitting, and was eager for her to post more. Then, I realized that there were all these other bloggers on the site too, and I could read their blogs as well! SCORE!

So, yeah, I've been avidly reading Weddingbee for a very long time. By the end of this summer, it will be two years! What can I say? I really, really love the structure of the site. I love that it's the perspective of regular, normal brides. I love that you get to see how the wedding unfolds from the beginning to the end. I love how you get to learn all the trials and tribulations, the emotional stuff, the real stuff, and how everything came to be, instead of just a handful of pretty pictures. The fact that you get to follow each blogger's story as it plays out over time is really engaging to me. I think I'm not the only one, either......Bridesmaid/Cousin Katie, for example, started out just following my posts, but now reads all the bloggers. As she put it: "I just get so invested in what's going to happen next with their weddings!"

I am a total Weddingbee fangirl.

My application story:

I loved to write, and I loved Weddingbee, so I was counting down the days until I could apply to blog for the site. I started my wedding blog probably two months before the "eight months 'til your wedding day" deadline, and had an absolutely great time keeping up with it. I hadn't maintained a blog in years and years, and forgot how much fun it was. I applied on the first day of the eighth month before my wedding, so I was technically three weeks early. I was just so excited I couldn't wait!

I waited very impatiently and anxiously, and two and a half weeks later, I got my reply: rejected! In all honesty, I was quite a bit more disappointed than I expected to be. I felt really bummed out; I had wanted to be a Bee so badly! I decided immediately that I was going to give it some time and apply again, and kept writing.

And then, almost exactly a week after I'd been rejected and had decided to keep writing, FMIL Octopus died. I put my blogging on hiatus for about two weeks, and debated whether or not to pick it back up again. It was complicated, you know? In all honesty, I still really, really wanted to be a Bee, but I didn't know if it would seem crass to be all "YAY MY WEDDING!" on the Internet when privately, my fiance and I were still reeling from the most horrible thing that had ever happened to us. I tentatively started blogging again, and found that "YAY MY WEDDING!" actually made me feel a lot better. It was fun, and relaxing, and I needed something fun and relaxing. Since we had decided not to modify our pre-existing wedding plans, I still had a lot to do and a lot to blog about, and I found that it wasn't so hard to strike a balance between dealing with this very serious new development in our engagement and the sparkles-and-rainbows-and-ice-cream-sundaes of wedding planning. It can all co-exist.

So I went back and re-vamped some old posts to be more accurate with decisions I'd made since, I kept writing, and I revised my application form. I sent it in. Three and a half weeks later, I got the word: I was a Bee! I was so excited that my hands were shaking as I texted Mr. Octopus to tell him, and I swear to you that I did not hear a single word my professors said in class for the rest of the day.

On being a Weddingbee blogger:

I love, love, love writing for Weddingbee. I really value the feedback of the readers and commenters. Seriously, the kind comments and the long, thoughtful comments and the PMs and the good advice and the helpful ideas just make my day every time. I try really hard to think of new and varied post topics, and to post as often as my schedule will humanly allow, because I'm really grateful for everyone who takes the time to read what I write and to respond to it. I try to give to the site as much as I feel like I'm getting from it, you know?

However, it is practically guaranteed that if you're writing on a widely-read website, you will get some negative responses here and there. Sometimes, it's people who just strongly disagree with you or were offended by something that you said, and sometimes, it's just outright, unprovoked nastiness. I don't get a lot of negativity on my posts, but when I do, it doesn't bother me that much; I try to remind myself that I volunteered to put myself out there on the Internet, and people have the freedom to respond how they choose. That said, the truly mean stuff does sting a little.

Anyway, the occasionally unpleasant remark here or there is no big deal in the grand scheme of things; it's totally worth it for how much I love blogging for the site.

My tips for potential applicants:

1.) Don't worry about whether or not your wedding is "enough" of anything. Before I applied, I wondered if I was wasting my time. Mr. Octopus and I have no particularly interesting cultural or religious traditions, our budget is on the low side of average, and clearly, I am FAR from a DIY queen. I have already come to terms with the fact that my wedding is not going to be a stunningly beautiful, stylish event on par with some of the other gorgeous affairs that have been put together by Bees before me. It's kinda just a regular wedding. And that's okay.

2.) Be yourself, and be honest. Mr. Octopus, who knows me better than anyone, sometimes reads my blog, and often says "I like it's because it's just like you. I can almost hear your voice when I read it." I think the best blogs are the ones that are really authentic to the writer, and I personally respond best to bloggers who are willing to "go there," to occasionally tackle the hard stuff, the emotional stuff, the thoughtful stuff, and the good lovey stuff. I think that's why people like Weddingbee, you know? Because it's not just wedding prettiness, which you can find in a billion places. It's posts that you can identify with and relate to, that makes you feel less alone in the kinds of things you go through while planning a wedding.

3.) Rejected? Apply again. No seriously, apply again. LOTS of us Bees are second-time applicants. Just get up the courage and apply again. The worst that can happen is you get a "no," right? It's not the end of the world. And the best thing that can happen is you get a YES!

Okay, I'm done. I'm pretty sure this may take the cake as the all-time longest Bee's Life: A Novella. Sorry Pengy. Anyway, love you guys!

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