Woman Wednesday: Ainsley Blattel
Meet Ainsley of Modern Rebel & Co., "a super rad wedding planning company all about empowering women and changing the image of an industry that is seriously outdated and built on literal inequality."
What makes me strong? So many things, from tiny moments that my conscious brain didn’t deem significant enough to make a memory to experiences so big my body is still in shock they happened. But at its core, there are three things that make up the foundation under my feet: my mother, my community, and myself.
From a very young age, my mother taught me to its not only ok to be different, it’s so great it should be celebrated. As a queer wedding planner working in an industry that only a few years ago legally recognized the type of relationships I have had and want to to have in the future, it can be hard sometimes showing up to work with couples knowing that I am not what most people expect a wedding planner to be. But whenever I get nervous about showing up my full self, I channel the confidence my mother had to curate as a single parent and try to embody the vibrant (if stubborn) energy she carries with her through life. She is a woman unashamed of showing the world who she is, and each day I find strength to be myself because of the path she laid out for me.
My community (which is always expanding) helps make me strong because it supports me in every step I take, whether it’s confidently taking on something I’ve done countless times before or timidly as I try something new. My community is built up of friends, chosen family, and wedding industry professionals I’ve met through my work with Modern Rebel, a super rad wedding planning company all about empowering women and changing the image of an industry that is seriously outdated and built on literal inequality. Yes, we plan love parties (that’s what we call weddings) but we also do so much more, and I find strength in the bold bravery of not only the Modern Rebel team, but also in the community of Rebel brides, grooms, and gender bending married folks who vibe with what we’re putting out into the world.
And lastly, myself, because at the end of the day I am always with me. We are fed this idea from mainstream society that we need another person to complete us (and this idea is bigger still in the wedding industry) but I don’t believe that. I believe we have to be whole in and of ourselves before we can invite someone else into our lives as a partner, because that’s what they are - a partner, someone outside of yourself that you think is super rad, who thinks you’re super rad too. I’ll be honest - I’ve lost myself in relationships before. But I’ve been doing a lot of work to figure out who I am on my own, what my wants and needs are, and how to fulfill those things without relying on a significant other to “fix me”. And I am so much happier now, a year and a half into my intentional single-hood, because I am putting myself first in a way that romantic comedies and young adult novels never told me I could. I choose me before anyone else, and in taking care of me first, I am able to give so much more to everything I do and everyone I love, including me.