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.

  • Erika Ahern

    I’m so glad, Callah! Congratulations! Looking forward to reading you more here.

    • calahalexander

      Thanks Erika!

  • Marie Bernadette

    So happy to see you at Patheos! I’m a big fan of the Anchoress myself, and I love that she hooked you up with a spot on this channel. (I’m a lurker of yours. Guess I’m not anymore. Oops?) Your sense of humor is a welcome addition to the Catholic world :)

    • calahalexander

      Yay for no-longer-lurkers! Thanks for coming out of the wood-works. Isn’t the Anchoress just the best?

  • ceciliamaria

    I’ve been reading you for a while. There have been many times I wanted to comment, but then I’d get distracted and wouldn’t remember until later but by then my comment seemed obsolete. So before that happens again, here’s my first comment: Congrats, Calah!! (Whew, glad I got that in!)

    I’d also like to say that I, too, once had my panties in a twist about all things Catholic. Life is so much more comfortable with untwisted panties! Welcome to the club!

    • calahalexander

      Ha ha, thanks! And yes, life is SO much more comfortable with untwisted panties. Also, it’s funnier.

  • Christy

    Wow Calah-moving into the big leagues! I’m so excited for you!

    • calahalexander

      I know, right? It’s sort of surreal. I only hope my magical fountain of poop stories can keep up with the new demand.

  • Colleen

    So glad to see a fellow UDer, with such a great sensibility. I’ve been reading your blog off and on for a while, but have never commented before. So nice to see you at Patheos.

    There are great things coming out of Irving.

    • calahalexander

      Thanks, Colleen! And yes, there are great things coming out of Irving, one just has to get over that whole “Irving” thing to see them. (I try not to consider UD a part of Irving…it’s more like a self-contained universe, if you include Old Mill and PDK.)

  • Tim

    Look forward to reading more on your blog.

    I can understand why you were offended by the Wii Pray… I’ve always found the Playstation much more enjoyable.

    • calahalexander

      Ha! Awesome comment.

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  • Joanne K McPortland

    Calah, I have a couple of times used my blog to try to disabuse people of the notion that the Church wants to keep all women barefoot and pregnant. But now that I am reading you I’m thinking it wouldn’t be such a bad deal if she did, if we could all be as joyously resistant to pigeonholing as you are and as eloquent in revealing stereotypes to be, well, just so much stuff that comes out the back end of a baby. Welcome, welcome! And Drinking Wine and Going to Confession is also a swell blog title, and one I can relate a little better to at my long-past-the-possibility-of-pregnant, but-still-barefoot stage of life. Here’s a toast, which you can postpone as needed. :)

    • calahalexander

      Joanne, thank you! Don’t worry, I still have the occasional glass of wine during pregnancy (because really, French and Italian babies come out fine and their doctors don’t go into hysterics over wine consumption), so cheers!

  • Frank Weathers

    Welcome Calah! Pop-up ads are passe. That’s why Patheos went with the highly irritating, and extremely effective, pop-under ads. ;)

    • calahalexander

      Ha! Good choice, Patheos. Thanks for the welcome, Frank!

  • Smoochagator

    Congrats on the move. I’ll definitely follow you faithfully over here as I did over on blogger. And as for blog titles, how about, “Drinking lots of wine is how I ended up barefoot and pregnant.” or is that just me?