Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Who ARE You Cymbaline?

Once upon a time, in your typical tri-state area large orthodox community (NOT Brooklyn) a girl was born.  Maybe it was her Zodiac sign, maybe it was mommy's milk - whatever the reason - this young lass, let us call her Cymbaline, could never seem to quite follow the mold.

From a young age she questioned everything.  There were plenty of answers, though lord knows most of em didn't make much in the way of sense.  So she kept asking.  Eventually the Morah's became annoyed.  "Cymbaline", they asked, "why can't you be more like the other (Stepford) children and just accept the fact that not everything NEEDS an answer.? That's what Emunah is you dumbass." 

Ok, no one called her a dumbass, at least not to her face, but no one really wanted to explain anything to this precocious (annoying?) child.  Not her teachers, not her parents.  Everyone told her to simply believe and the answers would come by themselves.

Poor Cymbaline - well liked in school, always did well - had friends-  but never fit in to the elementary school that was significantly "frummer" than she felt inside.

 Grades 1-8 were very tough years for our heroine.  She felt a deep depression inside.  No one really wanted to talk about it and certainly no one understood what was so bad.  She did well, she lived in a nice house - there was always money for everything she wanted - but none of it really made a difference.  Her Mom whispered to her grandmother that she was, quite simply, an unhappy child.  Dad tried, but the nature of his work left him.....unavailable too much of the time.  Her brothers and sisters, for the most part, towed the company line and therefore didn't have much to do with her. 

Outcast at home, she turned to her friends in 7th and 8th grade  - but these girls were HORRIFIED by her questions.  Though they loved hearing her stories about the boys, Cymbaline was the rebellious one that they liked to look at through the glass bars at the zoo,  not the ones they brought home Shabbos afternoon or to work on school projects. Eventually she became more and more isolated, as girls started worrying about things like high school acceptance, Seminary and (seriously???) shudduchim.

That of course, made Cymbaline lonely and even more depressed.  She had too much inner strength to contemplate an end of any sort - but she was becoming less and less a believer of the world she was living in.  Which, in turn, led to an endless number of fights with her mother.

Next Up - the High School Years.


  1. I actually recently had a post regarding the whole thing of kids asking questions and not being answered.Life On A Cotton Ball: Questions Without Answers

    I honestly dont have much to say after reading a post like this. Although I had many similar experiences in my childhood, I dont think it 'lives up' to yours. All I will say is I truly admire your inner strength,, and completely understand where you are coming from

  2. Just you wait Prof - this ship be just getting rolling. Ubnfortunately the really "troubling" stuff started in high school. Well it STARTED earlier but my acting out started in high school. But thank you anyway :)

  3. Suggestion, u may want to turn on the ability to subscribe to comments. That way when there is a new comment it gets emailed to anyone who subscribed, saving them from having to constantly go back and forth to check if a new comment was posted.

  4. This story is very typical in the frum world. I am not saying, as prof said, that you don't have inner strength or that you are not unique. I am just pointing out that lots of frum teens have stories that start out this way. The real difference is the ending.

    I know this is your blog, and I am not trying to attack you, but is this blog just going to be about your rebellion, your hatred towards your parents and religion, and how you just had to break away from all that? I've read too much garbage like that to last a life time.

    What I admire in a person and a blog is faith. Sifting through what you think is right and wrong, walking away from the people who didn't answer your questions, and discovering the answers on your own. Because there are answers, and there is more to yidishkeit then what those people tried to force on you. If you can't find it then that is your loss.

    The people who are all talk and slang and no backbone- they are useless.

    These are just my thoughts. No offense meant at all.

  5. I think you may be jumping the gun. She simply began by giving background. As I think she made clear, she has yet to reach the end, have any of us? This blog will be giving us readers an opportunity to walk with her, to join her on her 'quest' to find her path. To sift through the wrong and right, to find that what may be right for you, isnt right for her.

  6. you make it sound so poetic.

  7. @ Cymbaline

    I see you got yourself a personal defender ;pppp

    Welcome to blogging!

  8. Hmm - Itotaslly get judgemental people - lord knows there are tons n tons of those. But i've never met asprejudgemental perosn before.

    Altie, how exactly can u tear apart a blog that hasn't even been written yet? My my, you are MUCh more talented then we realized - u can see the future. go u.

    There you go with that word again - rebellion. I'm not a rebel - i have not rebelled against anyhtign - i dont subscribe to what people like you (yes, ive chosen those words carefully) subscribe to. Does that me a rebel? Clearly it does in your eyes, not my own.

    hate my parentS? I can disagree with them and they life they want me to lead without hatred? I said i respect their rules as i live under their financial control.

    Such judgement - from one who claims to be so open minded. Interesting/

  9. Oh - and since this is a blog about ME - i thought i'd stick to my story as it happened to me. I am deeply sorry it's all so cliche to those world weary 23 year olds amongst us.

  10. Ah, the weakness of the BY/Yeshivish system. No questions; just dogma. Nothing but brainwashed kids who decide after an international plane ride that they want to get married but they don't know who they are and may never find out.

    From a relatively long time orthodox jewish blog commenter, welcome, you weary 23 year old. Kick up your feet; I'm listening.

  11. I'm actually 20, not 23. Thanks for the warm words of welcome. I agree that the Yeshivish/BY system doesn't fit everyone, but it DOES seem to work out ok for most ppl (I just happened not to be one).

    My next post will probably go a ways to explaining why i needed (and still occasionally imbibe in) therapy

  12. Anything can work if you don't mind the wool over your eyes.

  13. @ LSD, I cant agree more!