Friday, July 29, 2011

Happiness is Nnamdi Asomugha

Last night, I busted out of work at exactly 5:00 on the dot.  I drove out to the city.  David was making dinner!!  Mmmmm David.  I mean dinner.

David "grilled" up some chick breasts on the George Foreman and he tossed a salad.  (What can I say, the guy is a regular Bobby Flay.)  He also opened a bottle of wine.  He even had candles on the table.  I can honestly say it was the nicest date I've ever been on (excluding, of course, our wonderful date in Miami that he ruined at the end).

Afterwards, we hung out on the couch and talked.  This was interrupted every 5 seconds by David refreshing his browser on his phone to see if his beloved New York Jets football team had gotten a new player with the most unpronounceable name since a non Jew tried to say "Yitzchak".  It was explained to me, in extremely painful detail, that getting Nnamdi Asomugha (yes, that is not a misprint, that is the man's name!!!) would be the most awesome thing ever.  Ever?  I asked dubiously.  Ever, came the certain reply.  So there you have it, getting Nnamdi Asomugha is the most awesome thing ever.

And while this conversation was taking place, it occurred to me how...well how damn happy I am.  Here I am, sitting on a couch talking to a guy about a subject I could care less about (though I do LOVE Friday Night Lights which is also kinda sorta about football - I say DO love because even though the show is over, I have not yet watched the fifth and final season, something that will be changing next week.  I love you Tim Riggins.) and I'm just thrilled to death about it.

Of course, the idea of being so happy is slightly terrifying.  After all, y'all know my motto - Winter is Coming.  I'm always waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I live in perpetual fear of good things in my life falling apart.

But maybe, just maybe, if I have him, I can survive winter after all.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Untitled Post Number 66

The day was as wonderful as any poolside BBQ could be, like something out of Gossip Girl.  There were really cool people and all the food you could possibly want.  There were ice buckets with chilled bottles of Corona and a bowl full of nothing but wedges of lime.  There was laughter and merriment for literally hours on end. She met so many really awesome people, connected with so many people from his life.

She also met Talkative Bitch.  Talkative Bitch (TB) went out with him a few years ago.  It lasted a few months and probably was never particularly serious.  TB gave her a serious once over, crinkled her nose and then "Wow, aren't you really pretty. How old are you? Twenty?  Really?  Wow, aren't you so young." (Fake smile)  "I'm surprised he's dating someone so young." And on it went for a another deeply uncomfortable minute before she drained half her Corona and then made some disjointed excuse and booked out of TB's claw hooks.

To her credit, she didn't let it ruin her good time.  Well, at least until the car ride home.

He drove her, well out of his way, back to her town.  As was their custom, he pulled over a few blocks from her house, on a quiet street where houses were a good distance apart.  Away from any street lights, there were completely alone.

He unclipped his seat belt and turned towards her.  "What's wrong?" he asked.

"Nothing," she replied, not quite meeting his gaze.

"Oh don't you give me nothing," he says.  And then he smiles.  And she's transported back to the first time she met him and the first time she saw the smile that lit her heart up like a Roman candle.

She sighs, weighing in that moment how much something she should give him.  In truth, there are a number of somethings on her mind, which have been on her mind.  "Ok.  Look, I'm not insecure or anything.  But I do let things weigh negatively on my mind..."

"In other words, you're insecure," he says and then he laughs.  And his laugh is like the sound of waves gently breaking on flat sand. 

"Asshole," she replies but she's smiling in spite of herself.  Only her smile is gone as quickly as it appears.  "It's just."  She lets out a breath.  Giving herself to another emotionally is not something she has much practice with.  In fact, she's in completely uncharted territory now.  She might as well be on the moon for all the orientation she has.   Then she plunges in.  She looks down at her hands fidgeting in her lap and the words are pouring out in a rush.  "It's just that I like you.  I like you alot.  And that fucking TB.  She's right.  I know I'm young for you and I know there's .......like a million reasons why this whole thing can just blow up.  And I feel like I'm finally getting to a point where I might be happy but I'm worried that it's just a mirage.  That it can't last because you are going to realize that I'm too young or too this or too that."  (Even in her state, she is careful enough not to bring up the religion thing.  The religion thing will hold for another time.)

And then she looks up at him.  And she sees the smile on his face.  That self-same smile.  It's not pity or sadness.  She knows him well enough to know genuine when she sees it. 

"Two points," he says.  Even in the semi darkness of a glowing dashboard she can see his eyes crinkle at the corners.  "Number one.  If you worry so much it's possible your head will explode."  He makes the sound of an explosion.  "And you look much better with a head on your shoulders.  And point two."  Now it's his turn to take a breath.  "Recently, you are all about the future.  About your education, about learning real estate.  About having a career and a family.  All about the future.  And I get it, I really do.  I know how tough these last years have been for you.  And I know how important it is to 'show them all'.  You and I have talked about this many times."  Now his eyes are boring into hers.  "But you know what Cym?  No one knows that the future holds.  Not you or me or anyone else.  No one knows what will be.  You spend all your energy worrying about things you cannot control."

And then he reaches out and takes her hand in his.  "I know I can't change you.  No one can change a person.  But I'd like to ask you to do something for me.  I want you to try and enjoy the present.  With me.  Live in the moment.  Enjoy the here and now."

"It's not so easy to just..."

"Blah blah blah.  I never said it was easy.  I imagine it's not easy worrying all the time now is it?"

Again, she's smiling in spite of herself.  Damn him, she's thinking.  "Touche."

"Yup, touche."  And they both laugh. 

After, it's quiet and it's just the two of them holding hands.  "I'll try," she promises.  And she means it.  She will try.  And she knows she will have to fight her nature to do it.  But she'd do anything for him and this certainly fits into that definition.

A few minutes later he puts the car in drive and takes her home,  She stares at his receding taillights until they are gone from view, around the bend.  She swears to herself that she will try, that her words were not an empty promise to either him or her. 

And then she puts her key in the door and lets herself in the door.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ibiza Bar

"I'm so afraid
Of mistakes that I've made
Shaking every time that I awake...


And if I live where I'm left
On the shelf like the rest
And the epilogue reads like a sad song"


I'm not sure this post will ever see the light of day.  I'm not sure if it's a good idea to post this or not.  I'm not sure if every secret and thought and worry in my head is the property of all of you.  Nothing personal, really.

But this is my journal.  This is the place where I put down my thoughts and my feelings - the place where, after they have turned around in my head for many sleepless nights, I have the ability to read my feelings.  Literally.  To see what I was feeling in a moment in time and gain a new perspective.

Decision making is about perspective.  Seeing all sides and making a decision.  So here goes.

David's grandfather came to this country after the Second World War.  A survivor of both pre-war Europe and the camps, he came to this country with nothing other than the clothes on his back.  No money, no family.  Just a work ethic and a faith in God.  A man who survived the death camps and the atrocities of the Nazis kept his faith in God.  Although not a very religious man, being a Jew meant something to him

He worked and saved until he was able to buy a pushcart and some materials.  He turned this into a small business selling his wares.  Eventually he had enough money to start a factory, which he bought a few years later.  His original small business eventually became a pretty successful real estate operation all over the U.S.

Though his life changes dramatically over time, one thing didn't.  His faith.  His belief in God.  Though never overly observant (he kept Shabbos, Kosher, etc, but never to any extremes), he made sure to marry a woman with the same belief system.  This was passed to his children. 

To this day, the large majority of the family is observant.  They also place God and Judaism on a high perch.  They are what you would all call modern orthodox (for example his mother wears pants and doesn't cover her hair) but they sincerely believe what they believe.  There's no fakery (ahem, Mother, ahem).

Which leads to my dilemma

At this point in my life, I do not really share these same set of beliefs.  I do believe God (the Jewish God) created the world.  After that....eh.

Right now, David is focusing on the...newness of our relationship.  We've graduated from being really good friends to being a couple.  We are spending time together (lots) and really, really enjoying each other's company.  And it's all wonderful.  Really wonderful.

But the good times never last.  Winter is always coming. 

And soon...whether in a week, a month a year....he's going to realize that this girl he's seeing doesn't quite share his beliefs.  The girl he might one day want to bring home to be part of his family (oh let it be so) doesn't have the same principles and ideals that he holds so dear. 

And then what?

Then there will be a choice for both of us to make to make

There are three paths I see.  I can tell him I cannot be the believer he want.  I can't pretend to be observant, even to low levels.  I can't fake through the prayers or even light candles on Friday.  And he will have to either live with that or not.  That's path one.

Path Two:  Would you live a lie for the man you love?

 I can lie.  I can tell him I believe.  That I'm willing to commit to being religious.  That I say the prayers and I mean them.  That I want the kids to go to day schools and yeshivas and be the best Jews ever.  And he'll be thrilled.  Life will be so grand.

Until the years go by and I can't take the charade anymore, can no longer play the game.  And then I become the biggest disappointment in his life.  And the kids (oh let it be so) are confused.  Why is mommy different than daddy?  And he hates me.  And I hate me too.  And the dream crumbles to ruin and despair.

Or.

I have been searching.  Don't get me wrong.  I don't hate Judaism.  I don't hate God.  If there's one thing I know from personal experience it's that living a life without faith, without belief, is an empty life.  Living just for yourself is almost valueless.  How can you bring up children and tell them there's nothing greater out there, that there's no true purpose to life? 

I WANT TO BELIEVE. 

The problem is, I need to get there rationally.  I have to believe what I believe (if you take my meaning).  I can't take it on faith alone.  I understand at some level there must be a leap of faith - but I can't simply make the leap - I have to bring myself to the brink and then jump.

I want to find my comfort level within Judaism.  I have been looking for it.  I've been reading, I've been talking to people who shared my issues.  I've listened to their points and proofs.  I'm not there yet.  But I am working on it, make no mistake.

But I know I have a short window of time.  From the moment David snaps out of his love induced coma (yea right) and starts thinking with his brain, I won't have forever to convince him that I'm not the same person who spent so many hours railing against god and religion to him in my worse times. 

But.

If I can come to God on my own.  If I can find my place.  Then the only thing, the only person I want in this world will be happy.  And really, that's what I want.  I want him to be happy.  I want him to want to be with me for all the reasons - with no worries, doubts or issues.  I don't want the Sword of Damocles hovering over us starting on day one.  I don't want him living with the albatross. 

So why haven't I slept in days?  Because I know this storm is coming.  I know that soon the clock will start ticking and then time will begin running out.  So there's even more pressure to find what I'm looking for.

I want to spend my life with the man I love.  Is that so much to ask for?  Is it so beyond?  Or will this end up being another example of how my life generally sucks?

And that is why I don't sleep.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Because The Future Never Quite Turns Out The Way We Imagine It In Our Heads

And sometimes, that's ok too. 

For a long time, a few years at least, I've been convinced that law school was an essential part of my future.  There are a couple of reasons for this.  For starters, it's important for me to prove to people, my detractors, that I'm something.  A law school graduate certainly is something.  Also, I have an interest in the field of real estate and I thought being a real estate attorney would be a good way to really understand real estate.  (And yes, I just used the words "real estate" three times in one sentence.)  Finally, I've always been really impressed with how lawyers think.  I think the catch phrase is "critical analysis" - the ability to analyze everything critically and rationally.  I've always liked that concept.

So the plan was simple.  Graduate, go to a decent law school, then work in a firm for a couple of years to learn something and eventually end up in a real estate shop.

But recently, the plan has been shifting.  For starters, I've been speaking to a bunch of lawyers or lawyers to be.  Many cannot find work at all.  The ones who are working - they are killing themselves.  They all seem so miserable.  Their extreme misery would be a post in it of itself.

And then there's my "boss".  I use quotations because I don't get paid so I'm not really an employee.  Anyway, he's general counsel to this real estate place.  And he's really the most wonderful guy.  And he's been telling me that you cannot learn law in a couple of years at a firm.  It takes much longer than that.  To really know what you are talking about can take 4 or 5 years.  And this guy is a genius.

So lemme get this straight.  Three years of education at over a hundred grand all in?  Four or five years slaving away in some law firm?  Totally miserable existence? Where do I sign up?

And what I've been noticing is that you can learn the field of real estate without holding a law degree.  In fact, the business side is an entirely different animal.  And that's the side that I think really interests me.

So I'm really on the fence.  Actually, that's not true.  I'm really off the fence. 

I don't want to do it.

Except part of me feels like I'm quitting on something I haven't even tried yet.  And that's a crappy feeling.  And I was so dead set on it for a while - now all of a sudden it's the wrong move?

And the doubts creep in.  Maybe it's really because I'm not willing to put in all the hard work.  The three years of studying followed by the gruelling labor of law firm life.  Maybe I'm just too lazy.

So here I sit, staring at a New Post window wondering about my suddenly shifting future. 

Funny how it never plays out like it does in your dreams.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Mother - A History

"Hush now baby, baby, don't you cry
Momma's gonna make all of your nightmares come true
Momma's gonna put all of her fears into you

Momma's gonna keep you right here under her wing
She won't let you fly, but she might let you sing

Momma's will keep Baby cozy and warm Oh Babe, of course Momma's gonna help build the wall"

(R. Waters)

Why?  Why did it have to be this way?  Was it written from her birth? 

"Thou shalt bear a third child, a daughter, and she shall be an outcast from her people.  And ye shall not love her as ye have loved the other two."

Was it her fault?  Was it Mother's fault?  Was it simply pure coincidence?  Fate?  Happenstance? 

Why?  Why does this mother/daughter duo hate each other?

Yes, she questioned.  Always questioning.  Why is the sky blue?  What's in the clouds?  Why does the sun shine brighter than the moon?  Those were the cute questions. 

Mother didn't always have an answer, but she could make one up.  The sky is blue because Hashem wants us to look in the sky and see something pretty.  The sun and the moon had a  fight and the sun won so the moon got smaller and only comes out at night when the sun is asleep.

When the harder questions came, things took a turn for the worse.  How do we know there's a Hashem?  Why can't we see him?  Why does he make us have shabbos?  Why can't i watch TV today?

Less cute questions lent themselves out to harsher answers.  "Because.  Because Cymbaline.  Why can't you just believe Cymbaline"  Always Cymbaline.  This child never had a pet name.  Sweetie or honey or shafele.  This one was always Cymbaline.  Almost as though it was written from the beginning that their relationship would never be as close.

"And the child shall have no special place in your heart.  Nor shall ye treat her as a loved one."

As the child grew, the relationship soured.  It's unclear why.  To this day she doesn't quite know.  She's thought about it.  Oh yes.  Countless, sleepless nights.  Countless conversations with the Mental Health Professional.  But really, there is no one answer.  There are millions of tiny answers, like shattered glass.

Now?  It's a sniper's dream.  All they do is snipe at each other. Mother will question what Cymbaline is wearing.  "You are going out in that?"  (Goodness dear, how will you ever find a nice boy in those capped sleeves?  As if.)  "At least I had four normal children," she has been known to theatrically whisper in earshot of her middle child.  "Where did you go wrong with her?" she will ask my father. 

Disavow.  Disassociate.  She's not really my daughter.  I mean sure, biologically speaking she is.  But clearly it was some heavenly mistake.

And no Cymbaline isn't some innocent bystander in this tragicomedy.  Her words can be as sharp.  "I hate you" has been hurled from her lips.  "You aren't fit to raise chimpanzees, let alone human beings" is a personal favorite.  As is "If you spent as much time on your kids as you did on yourself at the gym, you'd be mother of the year".

War of words.  War of actions.  It was mother who once slapped Cymbaline in the face in front of the entire family and called her an embarrassment to the _______ name.  The tears of shame that ran down Cymbaline's cheeks in that moment were hot enough to leave permanent (mental) scars.  It was mother who refused to let (an admittedly difficult) Cymbaline attend certain family functions for fear of embarrassment.  It was mother who threw Cymbaline out of the house.  It was mother who almost refused to let her back.  Had not dad intervened, who knows where this story would have ended.

(Of course, it was Cymbaline who once showed up to a cousin's engagement party drunk and rude.  Cymbaline who, by her mere disassociation from religion WAS an embarrassment to her parents and siblings.  And Cymbaline who never had the good grace to realize that her actions affected not only her but the people she lived with.)

"Thou shalt cast her out of the nest and she shall fly or die."

As World War II slipped into the cold war, so did their relationship. 

The deal was struck.  Cymbaline is back in so long as she sees a therapist and so long as she follows the family rules both at home and in the neighborhood.  Mother will accept her daughter back under those rules.

Her daughter.  Her own flesh and blood.  Such a chore.

Now, they barely speak.  And like mother like daughter, her older sister barely acknowledges her when shes back in the house availing herself to free food and the maid's laundry services.  (As if she doesn't have her own fucking maid at home, on her father's and father in law's combined dimes.)  But it's fine.  Mother is a constant reminder of what not to become when Cymbaline grows up.

Life is about roads taken and ignored.  A turn to the left precludes one to the right.  Could it have been different?  Impossible to say.  We can't ever know what the past would have held, only what was.  We can only change the future.

And learn from our mistakes.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My Friend Tova

I was having an online conversation today with a very nice mommy from Boro Park who was, of course, very distraught over the death of Leiby Kletzky.  I asked her why she was so distraught about this particular death.  Don't people die in tragic ways every single day?  Her answer was:  Leiby was "one of us".  So which I, very callously replied, so was the man who killed him.  After a back and forth, she asked about my callous attitude towards the death of this 9 year old boy. 

And the answer is, my callous attitude has nothing to do with this boy, so violently and sadly taken from his parent by some lunatic who should "ride the needle" (does New York State have the death penalty?).  This poor soul is wherever souls go to rest (most beautifully summed up in Chana's post - see sidebar on the right for a link).

Why, then, my attitude?  Because of my friend Tova.

Tova is 20 years old.  She is the most incredible person I know.  She has more strength than you.  Every fucking one of you.  Tova has a form of chronic leukemia.  It cannot be treated with chemo or with bone marrow transplants.  Yes there's medications, but this form of cancer can be fought with one thing only - the sheer will to beat it.  And eventually, since it keeps coming back, it wins and you lose.  Tova is suffering with this cancer for the third time in her ridiculously short lifetime.  Three bouts in 20 years.  Right now it's Tova 2, Death nothing. 

But when you have chronic leukemia, Death keeps coming.  He's Winter, only in black robes and a scythe in hand.  He keeps coming for her over and over.  And she keeps beating him off with her sheer will to live.

During her second bout with cancer she watched the boy she loved, who she met in some sort of cancer program, die.  The boy she loved.

Then throw in the fact that each time Death comes, the will to live is harder to muster.  And he comes with more tricks in his bag.  Internal bleeding, collapsed lungs, broken bones, kidney failure, transfusions, painful "procedures", comas.  You name it, this twenty year old girl has dealt with it in the last six months.  Her doctors tell her its simply miraculous she's held out this long.  There's no medical reason for it.

I can see it in her eyes and hear it in her voice.  She says the words but she no longer means them.  I'm not sure that she has the will anymore.

And you know what?  There are no prayer vigils, no challah bakers, no thousand group volunteers streaming in from Lakewood.  There's Tova, her siblings, her worthless friend Cymbaline, her even more worthless parents and that's it.  In other words, there's her.  A sick, weak 20-year old girl fighting off death.  Except there's no flaming sword, no ring of power, no instrument with magic runes to ward him off.  All there exists is the will.  And without it there's nothing.

And me.  Her supposedly best friend.  I cannot pray for her because it makes me feel hypocritical and empty inside and quite honestly I don't have the faith right now that anyone is listening anyway.  So besides "just being there" for her I can't do anything for her.

Why can't I cry for a nine-year old by murdered by a monster in Jew's clothes?  Why can't I feel the pain that I have heard so many of you express?  Because there's no more room in me for that pain.  I'm all used up.  I cry for her almost every day.  I've cried for her for months and sometimes I can't even muster up the tears for her, let alone all the other horrible stories just from where I live - the 18 month old boy with leukemia, the 34 year old father of three with leukemia.  it's not that i don't care, it's just there's no more room left in my heart for the ones I don't know.

Only for my friend, Tova.

Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box

"After years of waiting
After years of waiting nothing came


And you realise you're looking,
Looking in the wrong place"


(Thom Yorke - Radiohead)

Honestly I wish I could tell you that the following ramble was the product of Vicodin but the truth is the only thing I've taken for the pain has been Advil and truthfully the last time I took the Advil was last night so no excuses.  Though I AM drinking a day old fruit smoothie so maybe that's what's doing it.

I'm just feeling off today.  Like nothing fits quite right.  It's not the pain/discomfort from the tooth.  It's not any one particular thing which has happened in this world or the blog one.  It's not the Darkness.  Neither is it my dear frenemy, the Mistress of Misfortune. 

It's just the blahs.  It's just the knowledge that no matter what, there are so many things outside of our control that sometimes it doesn't even seem worth it. 

Ask the parents of the 9 year old kid from Borough Park who was allowed to walk home for the first time alone only to get taken and killed. 

Ask the moron (me) who tried to make a situation better and ended up wholeheartedly fucking it up (and losing a blog friend in the process).

Ask my best friend who officially told me she can't come on our blowout end of the summer trip upstate in August because she's secretly undergone so many blood transfusions these last few months for internal bleeding (thank you, cancer!!) that shes almost a permanent guest at the hospital a few hours a week.

Ask the people who have emailed me since I have started this little journal revealing their own doubts and their own feelings of not having a true place in this world in general and their religion specifically.

Ask even those who think they have all the answers but in reality they have no fucking clue.

Ask them all, they will tell you.  We cannot control anything.  We cannot control the harsh words, the harsh positions.  We can't help other see who we really are, and even if we can, we can never get them to really accept us.  We can change, sure we can change who we are in order to fit in.  We can make external sacrifice and even, despairs, internally change. 

Or we can ignore.  We can pretend we don't have doubts.  We can push the doubts so deep down that they hardly ever surface and when they do, well we just ignore them, thank you very much.  After all, I have to prepare for the next shabbos/holiday/bar/bat mitzvah/wedding so there's no time to wonder as to why the fuck I'm doing any of this anyway.

We all live in some form of community.  Some communities accept everyone.  Others shun anyone different.  Still others keep their different totally out of public view. 

Sometimes we need to form our own communities.  Isn't that what this Blogging is about to some extent?  Isn't the place where those  using this form of self expression come to bond? 

I say fuck it, we are here aren't we?  We are getting by.  Whatever our problems, whatever our coping mechanisms, we are getting by.  No one can take that away from us.  Not those who cluck their tongues at us or the ones who make their nasty comments.  Sticks and stones.  Every strike that doesn't kills us makes us stronger.  We are all tough as nails.  We are the battle hardened.  Who better than us to survive?  No one, that's who.

We all want acceptance, sure.  And for those who haven't found it....

We've just been looking in the wrong place.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Aggravation - UPDATED

Turns out the whole can't open the mouth or chew was an infected, impacted wisdom tooth.  It's out now.  The shot and the laughing gas are starting to wear off and the pain is steadily increasing.  I'm working a week and a half and I'm gonna be taking a sick day already.  Good thing I don't get paid!!


As I sit here at my intern desk, in my own office, doing nothing, the following things occur to me:

 - I think my wisdom teeth have to come out because I can't even open my mouth more than halfway.  Chewing? Forget it.

 - No matter how hard we try, no matter how much we want to do the right thing, so many times it just blows up right in our faces.  It's times like this that i always question.  WHY?  Why do I care about other people?  Why do i try to help? What's the point?  So that I can get labelled a destroyer, untrustworthy?  So that I can have people I talk to immediately roll over on me and send me sprawling down the stairs? 

Why do I care?  Do I know these people?  I'd like to think I do.  They continually push me away but I keep coming back for more, like an unloved puppy. 

WHY?

Am i simply a glutton for punishment?  Am I stupid? 

Then comes the next question.  Am I WRONG?  Am I meddling where i am not wanted?  If so, even if my intentions are good, am I still wrong?

I don't know.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Mirrors

When my mental health professional (aka The Shrink) suggested an outlet for me, he stressed the written word.  He really tried to push me towards writing my thoughts down in a journal (though of course making it seem like it was my idea the whole time).  Damn you psychologists and your mental tools! 

Blogging was close enough for me - sort of an online journal that other people may or may not ever read.  But the focus of this blog was originally, and remains, Cymbaline's recounting of her path.

And looking back now (as I have recently passed the quarter year mark which has to be some sort of milestone, right?) I realize just how helpful a tool a journal can be. 

I never kept a diary as a kid.  I stored everything in my head.  I didn't want to leave easily obtainable clues to my thoughts.  Even before I was Cymbaline the Rebel, I still had older brothers and sisters who were able to sneak into my room at any time and access my innermost thoughts.  Somehow, I really doubted that tiny little diary lock would have kept them (or my mother) out of my thoughts.  So this whole journal-ling of my life was a totally new experience. 

From a blogging perspective, it's interesting to see what works ( (i) based on comments I get here and emails I receive, some people seem to view me as sort of a train wreck and they just have to slow down to see the carnage on the side of the road, (ii) some vignettes which make up the craziness of my life, (iii) the sometimes wonderful moments which flutter down from the blue sky, (iv) David!!) and what doesn't work (my shitty attempt at fiction, certain parts of my life that are better left un-discussed  - such as Lil Sis  - who you may have noticed no longer graces these pages though she remains an active part of my life, my futile work trying to get you all to appreciate decent music). 

But on an emotional level, it's even more interesting to me personally. 

I am looking into a mirror.  A mirror of  my present.  I am able to re-read what I've written here and get a sense of just what I'm thinking a feeling in a given moment.  I have seen some patterns that I've never seen before (such as how my moods wax and wane based upon certain events).  I have touched upon subjects I have never really been able to discuss outside of my padded cell (just kidding, I mean the therapist's office) and in many ways that's been extremely cathartic too.  I have read my posts paying lip service to my feelings for David and that helped me realize that it was cowardly to say those things and then hide behind a million bad excuses for why I wasn't doing anything about it.

But also, a mirror into my past.  The earlier posts were really just a recounting of some of the harsh times I grew up in.  Re-reading them, seeing them on paper - seeing my perception of them on paper, has been a very painful and cathartic process.

It took a long time for me to recognize that I was a willing partner in my own self destruction.  For years I blamed everyone but me.  It was the system.  It was orthodoxy.  It was my mother.  It was a rigid school education that couldn't accept anyone remotely different.  It was that I liked sex more than "regular" Jewish girls.  It was alcohol.  It was this and that and the other. 

Clearly, during this whole process I was tied to a chair and forced to watch it all play out with my eyelids taped open.

Over the course of therapy, a new partner in crime emerged.  Me.  I became part of the problem.  I wasn't some stick caught in the strong river current, unable to escape, but rather i was, to some degree giving in and not fighting to make things better on my own.  (And no, it wasn't totally my fault, of course not, but neither was I entirely blameless either.)

And once I admitted this, the process of healing was finally able to begin.  There is no healing without truth.  No recovery without healing - and no possibly bright future without recovery.

And re-reading my early posts - I see that I have been true to my self discovery.  Yes, I mention the other causes as well (especially in the first few posts, where, in retrospect, I kinda sound  a bit bitter at everyone else but me) but as I went on, I mention ol' Cymbaline as criminal as well as victim.

The mirror doesn't lie.  It can't lie.  Unless we distort the image.  Then it isn't a true picture of who we are.  It's simply another lie.

I want my mirror to be accurate.  Because then I know that I am on the path - that the Journal is recounting the Journey - the straight path not the false one.

I would hate to think that I long for the bright future without being willing to put in the hard work that future will require.

And so I keep checking the mirror - for cracks and distortions.  For lies, half truths and excuses.  For anything which would lead me astray.

Because the true mirror never lies.  And that's the mirror I want to see.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Mistress of Misfortune

Mistress of Misfortune, you are a cold hearted bitch.

You have been there my whole life, always sitting in shadow, right on the outside of view.  But always there just the same, doing me wrong.

You (along with a miserable cast of characters, including myself) took my adolescence from me.  You have made me cow in corners.  You have taken away my rational thought.  You have stolen my breath same as a plunge into freezing water. You have made me do terrible things with my body and you have also made me put worse things in my body. 

And what's worse, you always did it with a smile.  You were there, dressed in Winter's robes, watching me descending with your condescending smile. You took such great pleasure in my suffering. 

You have kept me up nights.  Worse, you have left me lying in bed, days at a time, with blackness all around me thicker and more suffocating than smoke from a fire.

You took my past and even part of my present. You think I don't know it was you who slipped the vial of pneumonia into my drink?  Or that it's you who eggs my mother on to make all of those little comments in my direction?  Or you that grabs my heart with your cold fingers when I am trying to make a good decision? Or sends me people in the guise of friends who for whatever sick reason want to do me harm?  I'm sick of them and I'm sick of you.

But hear this you Bitch.  You will NOT take my future.  I may not be as strong as I try to make myself out to be.  In fact I know I'm not.  And I do not really know what strength lies within this little body and the blood that flows through it.  But by whatever strength there is in me, I will fucking fight you tooth and nail and hand and foot to stop you from taking anymore.  I will graduate and find a career and a life.  I will do these things if I have to cut through you to do it.

And you cannot have him either.  I'm not saying he's mine.  Only time will tell if we are right for each other on a permanent basis.  But it won't be you who takes him.  It's our decision, not yours.  Don't think I didn't see you last night sitting in your car across the street watching us, thin trails of smoke from the cig dangling between your thin, cold fingers.  Or that it was you who kept me up half the night thinking about everything I've just written?

So back off bitch.  Find another patsy to destroy.  You have already taken enough from me.  Let me have some peace and enjoyment for once. 

Please.

This inspiration for a post in this style comes from a fellow Blogger - I'm sure it won't be hard for her to figure out its her:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Working (Wo)man

"I get up at seven, yeah,
And I go to work at nine.
I got no time for livin'.
Yes, I'm workin' all the time.

It seems to me
I could live my life
A lot better than I think I am.
I guess that's why they call me,
They call me the workin' man
."

(Rush)

Ok so it's not quite a FULL TIME JOB, and I even scored lunch out of it with my new "boss", but I'm almost done with my first day!!!

It was pretty - well anti-climactic.  He was busy with meetings in the morning so i was given a computer and kinda had time to myself.  We then had lunch and a really long talk about real estate and law.  Then he had more meetings.

So all in all, I finished my first day of work.

And it was good.

The Happiest Days of Our Lives

Though the title of the song was written tongue in cheek, the title of this post is not meant to be.

If I've ever had a better weekend, I certainly cannot remember it.  I spent Friday with Tova.  I was able to sit and talk and eat with my best friends.  Enough said.

Sunday i spent with David.  We actually ended up pretty much staying at his parents.  We hung out.  spent time with his siblings, shopped for their Sunday night BBQ and then helped prepare.  It was amazing.  i actually felt like part of the family. 

We BBQ'd Sunday night, they had one other family over, and it was really....well it was really nice.

I slept over at his parents Sunday night.  Then Monday we went to one of his friends who has a pool.  A bunch of his friends (some married, some not) were all there and we hung out the whole day.  Again, I know most of his friends already so it was really good times.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Winter Is Coming

The Stark family of Winterfell (do you know them???) have a family motto:

WINTER IS COMING

Their family crest (or sigul as they weirdly call it) is a huge wolf that no one in their family had even seen in 300 years.

It's not that they are pessimists.  Rather, they are realists.  Winter is always coming.  It's simply a fact of life.

WINTER IS COMING. 

I do not consider myself to be a pessimist.  Nor am I an optimist.  I'm a neutralist.  I believe everyone's life is made up of both good and the bad.  People have deaths in the family.  People get sick. People break up. They sprain an ankle and therefore can't play their favorite sports all summer.  They lost overtime at work and they can't get those Ray Bans.  If it's winter to you, it's winter, regardless of whether the "bad stuff" is big or small.

WINTER IS COMING.

For the vast majority of my life, the composition of "stuff" in my life was made up of the bad.  It doesn't matter in the end whose fault that is or what the bad stuff was (though I've spent time documenting both here).  It doesn't change the facts any which way.  Most of my life between the ages of 9 and 19 has been considerably more negative than positive.

So I understand the idea that winter is coming.  Because it's always coming.  The good never lasts forever.  But neither does the bad.

Still, most of the time I do have a clench in my stomach - the wait for the other shoe to fall.  The feeling that WINTER IS COMING.

So now, here's my life.  The latest X-ray shows my lungs are clear.  I may cough anywhere from 1-3 more months, but it's totally normal.  I've gained back 6 pounds (YAY) and Doc cleared me to start going back to the gym (which I already did this morning).  I'm doing really well in school and I'm set up to either go to grad school when I'm done (I've kinda been re-thinking that a bit) or get a career-oriented job.  Tova is finally out of the hospital and I'm seeing her for the first time in FOREVER today.  We are going to have lunch at her house then sit in her backyard.

This weekend is the Fourth of David and I'm gonna have myself a giant heaping plate full of David.  We are spending the whole day Sunday together (plans to be determined) and Sunday night we are having a BBQ at his parents.  Yes read that again.  AT HIS PARENTS.  As in, he's bringing me home to his family.  (As an aside, I have met most of his family, even his parents, and they are very chilled, normal accepting people and I like them very much from what I can tell).  Monday we are going to spend the day with his friends, again many of who I know, and it's gonna be a total blast.

OH and I'm starting my internship Tuesday.  Better late than never, eh? 

Right now, I'm in a literal and figurative summer.  Thus my feelings of unbalance.  I'm used to winter.  And I'm not really 100% sure how to react. 

Do I dare to allow myself to be happy, knowing what I know?  Should I just live in the moment for now, to soak up the "good stuff" while it's happening.  Can I even do this?

After all, WINTER IS COMING.