Panties, Untwisted

Those of you who like bios and stuff can just go ahead and click over to my About Me page, but I’m a former English major and I like stories. So here we go.

Once upon a time, I was a brand-spanking-new convert who found myself yanked out of my Catholic cocoon in Irving, Texas and transplanted to the arid wasteland of Las Vegas. I had a three-year-old underfoot and belly-dweller under-ribcage, a husband venturing into the frightening recesses of academia, no family or friends near, and no solid Catholic community as far as the eye could see. Well, my eyes, at least.

Desperate for a little Catholic interaction, I stumbled blindly into the blogosphere and began devouring the archives at Conversion Diary and the new posts at I Have to Sit Down until I began to feel slightly human again. There are Catholics like me out there still, I told myself a little manically. There just might not be any here.

Right about this time, my husband discovered the First Things blogs in a similar way, starved as he was for reassurance that he wasn’t the only white male conservative Catholic left alive, and he pointed me to The Anchoress. I started reading her posts regularly as well, until one day, when she posted about the Wii Pray.

I did not find the video funny at all. In fact, I got my panties in such a twist that I posted my very first comment ever in a comment box. I was “deeply offended” and even “betrayed.” Then, feeling like I hadn’t expressed my displeasure quite clearly enough, I emailed The Anchoress personally and proceeded to give her a lecture on how people had died for the Mass and the right to celebrate it, and she ought to know better than to take that lightly.

The Anchoress, patient and long-suffering as she is, sent me back a detailed email explaining why she thought the parody was funny, why we ought to have a sense of humor, and sharing some concerns she had about our culture as a whole with its easily offended mentality, all while being extremely gracious and charitable.

I didn’t agree with her, but I appreciated the email and her kindness, so I let the matter lie. A year later, I finally worked up the chutzpah to start my own blog. After spending a few years in the blogosphere, I began to understand what she meant. I started to see “Catholic kitsch” for the first time and was stunned to realize that the grand, majestic Church I had converted to also had some crazy, silly, and even downright ridiculous elements. I gradually came to realize that the Church was made up of people, not just the wonderful Cistercians in Dallas and the University of Dallas campus. Other people, people who sinned like me, people who gave the Church a bad name, people who gave the Church a good name, and people who really made me wonder if the CCD programs ought to be a little clearer on that whole “we don’t actually worship these statues” thing. Most of all, I found that all these disparate elements did not diminish my love for the Catholic Church. They made the Church I had converted to even more beautiful, and even more true.

I kept following the Anchoress’ blog and was delighted when she moved to Patheos, and when some of my favorite bloggers like the Crescat and Bad Catholic moved over as well. I’ve learned a lot from the bloggers at Patheos about how to love others (even in a combox!), how to defend the faith without being defensive, and how to have a sense of humor when it seems like no one else does. I’m thrilled to be joining them and I’m really, really grateful that the Anchoress didn’t take offense at my self-righteous combox castigation all those years ago.

This’ll be old news for my regular readers (who have hopefully followed me over here), but for any new readers who might be wondering, “why barefoot and pregnant? Is it a joke? Is that your goal in life? Is that all you think women are good for?” let me clarify.

I was 8  months pregnant and barefoot when I started my blog. I’m 7 months pregnant and barefoot right-this-second. Given my past success rate with the mystifying methods of NFP, I’m likely to be pregnant and barefoot for a good portion of my foreseeable future. And I didn’t think that “Drinking Too Much Wine and Going to Confession”, which is what I do when I’m not pregnant, was a great name for a blog.

Mystery solved. Stick around! There’s a lot more deep thinking where that came from. Occasionally I’ll eke out the odd thoughtful and even profound post, but usually I spent my days (both on and off the internet) up to my elbows in the insights that explode out of one end of a child’s intestinal tract or the other.

  • Dorian Speed

    Congratulations, Calah! You’re a great addition to Patheos.

    • calahalexander

      Thanks, Dorian!

  • Michelle

    Ha! I saw your blog listed over there (or is it over here now?) earlier this week, but didn’t realize it was or was not live yet! Congrats!

    • calahalexander

      Thanks Michelle! Yeah we’ve been working out the kinks for a few days, but it’s good now (I hope).

  • leahlibresco

    Many welcomes, Calah!

    • calahalexander

      Thank you, Leah! And to you too! It was so nice seeing your face under the Catholic channel yesterday.

  • dweej {House Unseen}

    Yay! I’m so happy for you! This is awesome :)

    And super stoked to have another person I can harass about the horrendously annoying pop-up ads that appear every. single. time. you. click. on. something. here. Drive a girl bananas!

    • calahalexander

      Hahaha Dweej you need to get a pop-up blocker. I’ve actually never noticed any pop-up ads here because ours is super effective. (But on a side-note, you’re right, and really, Patheos, pop-up ads? That is so 1990.)

  • Simcha Fisher

    Congratulations! And for the record, I think “Barefoot and Drinking Too Much Wine and Pregnant and Going to Confession” is a FINE name for a blog.

    • calahalexander

      Thanks, Simcha! I tend to agree with you, actually, but I don’t think it would fit in my tiny new header.

  • The Ranter

    Well, congrats! Just don’t forget all us little people now that you’ve hit it big.

    • calahalexander

      As if I could forget about the girl who had a virtual drink in my honor when the rest of the internet was busy calling me an alcoholic. Thank you for the congrats!

      • The Ranter

        Hey, us alcoholics gotta stick together, ya know? ;-)

  • Suzi

    So stinkn excited for you! Fabulous. Fantastic.Wonderful. Congrats.

    • calahalexander

      Thanks, Suzi! I’m pretty stinkin excited myself.

  • Louise

    Congratulations, Calah! I’m so happy for you! Yours is one of my favorite blogs to read!

    • calahalexander

      Thanks, Louise! That is really nice to hear.

  • MelanieB

    Hooray for Calah and B&P!!! (Now I really do have to get Dom to do something about blocking popups for me.)

    And I agree with Simcha about the blog name. I think Drinking should definitely be in there somewhere.

  • MelanieB

    Also, can I say how happy I am that your sense of humor has improved to the point that you can fully appreciate Catholic kitch and parodies.

    • calahalexander

      I need to find out what the Ogre has on our computer, because we never get popups. If we did I’d be annoyed. Drinking should be in there, huh? Maybe a blog re-vamp once I’m post-partum enough to be surrounded by wine bottles again. I’m happy that my sense of humor has improved too. I was kind of an ass-hat back then.