The shoes are not the marriage

Hello! I’m Anna. Or Anna K…

This is me. In a tree!

So a few weeks ago, the lovely Clare and Aisling asked me if I would like to join their team at Any Other Wedding.

I paused.

They must mean as a proof-reader. Something behind the scenes, like a pageant mom. I like proofreading. I have an unhealthy love affair with the semi-colon. Hell yes I can do this!

No,no, they mean as a writer. An actual writer.

Cue palpitations. Actual palpitations.

But of course I accepted, because firstly I love to write, secondly I think Clare and Aisling are ruddy brilliant at what they do and I frequently have to restrain myself from going all fangirl on them, and thirdly because this blog is different from everything else out there and I am excited and honoured and slightly terrified (good terrified) to be a part of it.

Why?

I’m not the first to say it; there are a hell of a lot of blogs out there for women. We’re spoilt for choice. In 2011 we are in a position we’ve never been before; in seconds we can view the innermost thoughts of perfect strangers. People and ideas are made and broken in moments online. The 24-hour news cycle means news never waits, and neither do we. We can change our wardrobe without leaving the sofa, we can read books without turning a page. We have everything we could possibly want, right here, right this second, on our screens.

And so we forget what we deserve. With all the white noise surrounding us, and with the pace of life lived online, we forget the fundamental questions. We are smart women. We have opinions. We want to debate, discuss, disagree. We want to be challenged, to be asked difficult questions. We need to use our brains. That’s what they’re there for. And that is where the Internet can fall down.

It’s a hell of a lot easier to browse for clothes online than it is to ask yourself difficult questions about love, relationships, faith and lifestyle choices. It’s a lot more pleasant to look at the pretty and think “Yes. Yes, I want one of those”. It’s terrifyingly easy to let your brain atrophy and settle. And you don’t even realise you’re doing it. You forget what you could be, what your mind is capable of. You’re fed stuff, things, every single day. And as a result, of course your poor mind, fed the easy, the straightforward, is going to forget how it feels to be provoked. To read something and really feel it. To wince, to feel off kilter, to feel like something has shifted, and you don’t know what it is but it feels like something you always believed.

And, whilst I adore a good wedding blog, that is where many go wrong. They don’t make the reading experience uncomfortable. They make it an escape. They show beautiful things and beautiful people and stories of love, but they don’t take a reader out of themselves, or make them question the fundamentals, or make them question what they are and why they are. They don’t write deliberately provocative pieces that makes readers question their structures or their core beliefs.

And that is what Any Other Wedding can do. AOW is not always easy reading. Sure, there are the clothes and the pretty thrown in there every so often for good measure, but if it didn’t have wedding in the title, I wouldn’t class it as a wedding blog. A wedding may be from where it grew; but it is so much more than weddings, more than one day, more than a series of rituals that commences a marriage. It’s about what created the marriage, what is behind the love, what makes it sometimes incredibly challenging and always a risk. It celebrates imperfect people who want to change, and difficult ideas that you always took for granted. It makes no apologies for forcing you out of your happy little place where you were checking out shoes and saying “listen up; there is more out there, you are more than this. Think”.

So that’s why I read AOW. Because I deserve to be provoked, because I can take it, because in five years time a wedding dress will still just be a piece of fabric, but an idea will shape me and make me who I am. I’m excited about joining the team because it has a long way to go and many paths it could take; because it’s not constrained by material items; because a range of wise, intelligent inspirational women contribute (and I could learn something from all of you out there). This blog is not exclusive and doesn’t make me feel like I’m looking through a window. It makes me feel I’m in there, with the others, being listened to and listening.

I might not always get it right (there’s the joy of being gloriously flawed) but it won’t be without trying. And I cannot ruddy wait.

Mr K will agree – I am very trying.

Categories: Behind the Scenes at AOW, Life Experience, Written By Anna
14 interesting thoughts on this

13 Comments

  1. Posted May 31, 2011 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Anna, you nailed it.

    There are no other blogs like this. It ticks major boxes in Lucy land. It doesn't revel in excluding one type of woman, or one type of wedding. It's not judging us – what a breath of fresh air.

    AOW doesn't mock those who make what might be mainstream choices (umm we had tail coats at our wedding and it worked for us – I can't resist a man in a morning suit…there I said it) neither does it turn its back on those who make alternative choices.

    AOW is open to reason, to practicality, to personal choice and that is why I am so proud to be one of the AOW community, to contribute, to nurture, to stand in bloomin awe of the bold, proud, sane, intelligent and wise women here. And to welcome you Anna for all that you are and can be for this blog. With open arms.

    If I had an AOW flag I would wave it now.

    xxx

  2. Esme
    Posted May 31, 2011 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Can I have a AOW flag too, please? I'll send a SAE…

    Great start Anna. Looking forward to more like this! I keep reading because AOW makes me so excited about my wedding AND the life beyond it. It makes me happy to be part of this community and want to help others be part of it to.

    xxx

  3. Posted May 31, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Ok Anna, first task in your new role – please make us some AOW flags. What do you mean you have more important things to do…? We need them m'k?

  4. Sharon
    Posted May 31, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    I love a flag! Would wave an AOW one with pride.
    Can't wait to read more of your posts Anna, and as Esme said, AOW is a blog I know I'll keep reading after my wedding (in 12 days time, eek!) as its so much more that just weddings.
    xxx

  5. Posted May 31, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Oh Anna – I knew you'd write a good first post, but this? Amazing. I'm not sure that we were ever quite as good as you say, but with you on board, I know we can aspire to be that great.

    Especially with flags. Flags will be key to achieving this.

    xxx

  6. Posted May 31, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Oh, flag for me too, I'll wave it from my desk!

    Hear, hear, I totally agree with what you said about the blog. Looking forward to reading more

    xx

  7. Posted May 31, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    I'm stitching up flags as we speak, and sourcing megaphones!

    Thanks for your lovely comments, ladies, they have truly made my day.

    Sharon – 12 days? So so exciting!x

  8. Posted May 31, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    I definitely want a flag to wave till my arm drops off.

    You nailed it Anna! AOW is so much more than just a bit of pretty which is why it is one of the few wedding blogs I still read.

    Can't wait for your next post!

    xxx

  9. Posted May 31, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Looking forward to reading many more of your thoughts and feelings Anna (and Claire, Aisling & other guest writers). Also looking forward to having my own thoughts and feelings challenged, re affirmed and developed.

  10. Posted May 31, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    Brilliant post, welcome Anna.
    I was halfway through putting on a pair of tights this morning when this came through and after the first couple of sentences I just sat down to give it my full attention – getting dressed and getting to work on time, ha, I know where my priorities are.

  11. Posted May 31, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful post, and SO true. Can't wait to read more from all of you. Loving it! Look out A Practical Wedding, here comes AOW…

    p.s. I would like a flag too ;)

  12. Posted June 1, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Oo, this is a treat of a post. I'm excited to see AOW get back on track. It's a great blog – not at all fluffy, which is what I think you're getting at above. Big expectations, Anna K! I'm sure you won't disappoint ;)

  13. Amez
    Posted June 18, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    Anna you are legend personified :) . Your blogs are going to make people want to have weddings :) .

    And I took that piccie!!!! :) haha i know I've known you too long when I start "recognising trees" … :) xxx

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  • By One year of blogging: the lessons on May 21, 2012 at 7:02 am

    [...] time a year ago, Aisling and Clare asked me to join the blog.  I said yes, and then proceeded to spend much of my holiday in Kefalonia surgically attached to [...]

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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image by Lucy Stendall Photography

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