Thursday, December 29, 2011

If It's Not Ok For the Taliban - Why,Then, For Us?


The last few days I've been struggling hard with images I've seen coming from Israel - the increasing civil war taking place between the Chareidim and non-chareidi Jews in Beit Shemesh (and other parts of Israel as well). 

I'm confused and sad and frightened by what I'm seeing.  How can this be?  How can Jews act this way?  If we saw Muslims saying these things about their women we'd laugh it off and call them insane lunatics.

How did it come to this

I do not pretend to be an expert on exactly what is going on there.  Nor am I any type of religious authority to speak of.  But I know "wrong" when I see it and this is wrong.  Spitting on women?  Calling them whores?  Doing the same to appropriately dressed seven year olds because their version of appropriate and yours is different?????

How can this be?  Where is the outcry?  Not an outcry from the non-chareidi world, which has been growing in recent days.  But where is the outcry from the charaedi leaders?

Cynical me would argue that the corrupt rabbis aren't only secretly supportig this, they are encouraging it.  Why?  Because every time they get the loonies to follow their words, they are increasing their power.  Their motives are clear to me.

But what about the other, supposedly "normal" ones?  Do they think it's ok to say nothing because their followers aren't joining in?  Do they think silence is the right approach?  Do they not understand that their silence is an act of condoning what's taking place?  And then, are they condoning these horrific actions or are they merely afraid that the chareidi world will no longer respect a rabbi who takes a stand?

And again the cynic in me wonders how the chareidi population can lack any sense of appreciation for the State.  The State that allows them to live on the dole - without even participating in the country's defense - yet still allows them to walk around like they own the fucking place.

I'm biased, you say.  Fuck yes I am.  I wonder what they would have done to me if they had seen me walking in their streets.  Would they have spit on me?  Called me a whore?  Maybe delivered a few blows or kicks to make their point?  I know what each and every one of those things feels like.  And to think that some rabbi (or in this case dozens) is approving of that makes me sick.

A very smart girl told me yesterday that she doesn't dwell on issues that she cannot pssibly fix.  And maybe the answer is to shut it out and forget it's happening.  After all, it's 6,000 miles away from me.

But i can't - it's managed to get inside of me.  I need an answer - I need comfort.  I need to understand how somethnig like this could happen - and what it means for our future.

And yes, to ask - If it's not ok for the Taliban, then why is it ok for us?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sail To The Moon

"I was dropped from moonbeams
And sailed on shooting stars

As they say in French - it's all over.  Got all my grades back (Did really well!!!), Chanukah is just about wrapped up, and now I can focus on my vacation plans  - i.e. pretty much doing absolutely nothing for the next several weeks.

There is an interesting pattern to having nothing to do.  You can wake up late (assuming you sleep).  You can lie around all day in your pj's if you so choose or run around and try to fill up every second of your free time.

Me, I fall somewhere in the middle.  I took two days of doing nothing (literally never got out of my pj's) and now I'm in Trying To Accomplish But Still Be On Vacation mode.  Whatever that means.

But what it does mean is that I can stop and listen to the world again.  I've been running around from one thing to the next for so long that I haven't taken a second to just listen.  To hear.  To see.

The one thing I notice is that as I gain more and more responsibility, there seems to be less and less time to  To watch the wind shake the branches or watch water flowing down a stream.  Or put on your MP3 player and listen to music with your eyes closed - and sail to the moon.

Tova wants to go to Florida with me.  Right now she isn't allowed to fly.  She wants us to drive (sooooo not into that - with our combined shitty luck we will end up raped and murdered in a truck stop outside of Savannah, Georgia) and I want to take her Dr's advice and give it a few weeks to see if her lung capacity improves.  So we are having that debate.  I'm not excited about flying with her and having her die on me on JetBlue flight number 427. 

The good news is, being on vacation allows for that debate to exist.  No hurries.  There's plenty to do in the meantime.  Or plenty not to do.  Which works fine too.

Since I have started my "road to recovery", I've always been running.  Running to the next stage.  Getting better, getting back to school.  Wanting a job, a career and eventually a family.  Trying to reach that next goal as quickly as I can.  Always moving.  Always looking ahead.  Moving away from just stopping.  And listening.

And yes, I'm nowhere near the end of my journey.  And I know that I'll probably keep running forward at the speed of light.  But for the next few weeks at least, I will stop and listen and remember what it was like to have nothing to worry about except turning on the music, closing my eyes and trying to sail to the Moon.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

It's the Most....Wonderful Time....of the Year

Ok, let me start off by being absolutely clear - I am not one of those people who suffer from a case of Christmas envy.  That seemingly large portion of the Jewish community who seem to wistfully wish that they, too, could celebrate the Christmas season like everyone else seems to do.  It always seemed weird to me.  Jews have like a million holidays, can't they just let the rest of the world have ONE??

But I digress.  This isn't about envy of the season - rather it's my observation about the season.  Namely, that New York is a great place to be at year's end.  The City is shining.  The stores are dressed up, the streets are dressed up.  There are gobs of tourists walking around with open mouths and stares off wonderment.  It's awesome to watch.  Heck even the main shopping district in my little town is all lit up real pretty at night.  And the best part - people do seem to be friendlier than normal this time of year, which is always a plus.


So during my studying last week (and probably partly fueled by being sick and suffering delusions) I decided to make a Chanukah list of my truly loved ones - the ones I truly care about - and then to buy them things this year.  I've never gotten anyone a Chanukah gift before so I figured now's a great time to start. 

Of course, the list took all of 30 seconds to complete.  it consists of exactly four people - My father, my brother, my best friend and my boyfriend (in no particular order).  That's it.  The sad part - I only have four people in this world I truly care about.  The good part - easier to shop for only four people.

So what is everyone getting you ask?  (Oh, you don't care?  Too bad, it's my blog, I'm going to tell you anyway).  Dad got a gift certificate to a local Jewish book store, along with a note that expressed how much I appreciate all he's done for me the last 2 years.  My brother is getting something he's been wanting very much.  My friend Tova is getting a gift certificate to a store that has a pair of boots shes been dying for but can't possibly afford which she can now afford because she has a gift certificate which covers the majority of the cost of the boots. 

And then there's David.  And the great brain freeze which accompanies him.  I have absolutely no idea what to get him.  What does he like, you ask?  Guy stuff.  Sports.  But his family has jets tickets, he gets tickets to his other sports teams pretty much whenever he wants.  So that's not a good gift.  I was thinking like a watch, but that seems so.....cliche.  I'm totally stumped.  On the bright side, I have six more days to think of something.

So there you have it - the most wonderful time of the year.

Hope you all have a Happy Chanukah.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Aaaaaaaaaaaaand Exhale

And there you have it.  Thanks in large part to a sleepless night, my last paper is done.  Which means, of course, that I'm done.  Semester over.  Work complete until it all starts up again in 6 weeks.

Honestly, it feels really good.  Obviously good to be done with another round of tests and papers.  But something even better - the idea that each time I finish something like this, something regular, I'm one step closer to being "normal".  To being part of society - no longer an outcast of it.

No, I'm not overselling that point.  Because its a completely subjective feeling - something only I feel. Something I've worked hard for these last two years and something I can claim as my own doing.

Around two years ago (little more) a choice was given to me - turn your life around or be cut off from your family. 

In a moment of relative lucidity, I decided I'd try.  But I didn't really know what trying meant.  It wasn't until a failed session with therapist number one led me to therapist number 2 - who in turn taught me what it mean to try.  Trying isn't doing something half assed and then saying "Eh, I tried.  What Do you want from me?".  Trying is going "all in" - his words not mine.  Trying is deciding that something is worth doing and then giving it your best efforts. 

Going all in turned my life around.  And it has become the principle by which I live my life.  If I do something I do it all in.  School.  Work.  My friends (which is why I have so few) and my social life. 

All in.  Not half assed.  You save half assed for the things you don't really care about (like, for example, pretending to be sad for your boyfriend that the Jets lost on Sunday even though you were not-so-secretly pissed that he acted like a grump all evening and you made the trip to see him even though you had a final the next morning or telling your school friend her new hair color rocks when she changes it monthly and you lost interest in the process 8 months ago).

End Rant. 

Now school is done and Break begins.  The big question now is, what to do?  After the exhale, of course.  Then two days or so of doing absolutely nothing.  Then what?  Israel is out for various reasons I don't really want to discuss.  I'm thinking Tova and I will take a trip down to Florida like we did all those months ago (assuming she's up for flying, I really do NOT want to have to make that drive).  Other than that?  Probably just relaxing and spending time with David. 

Sounds like the makings of a pretty good plan actually.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I Am Minutes Away.....

From my last test of the semester!!!  Then I just have to finish and submit a paper and I'm done!

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Past Is A Ghost Which Haunts Me

Ed's Note:  Seriously primal scream below.  Feel free to stop reading now.

I'm depressed today.

I have finals coming up and a paper. I had a sore throat/cold which seems to have blown up into a chest thing. I feel isolated. No problems or anything. Everything's great with David and Tova's good.

But I still feel pretty alone. 

I wonder if my physical ailment is what's affecting my mood.  I wonder.  I wonder about a lot of things.  I wonder why I can't seem to find a regular stream of happiness.  I wonder why there's always something getting in the way - whether it be my own stupid brain or external forces.  I wonder if I'll ever be truly happy.

I wonder - I wonder what my punishment will be for all the sins I've done.  I wonder if this is my punishment - this endless barrage of suffering.  Maybe I've committed so many evils that there's no coming back.  I never forget that it was my decision to leave the faith.  No one made me do it.  And all the sins that followed were my doing.  I did them.  No one made me do them.

I have lived a sinful life according to my faith.  I have disrespected my parents.  I have committed countless sexual violations.  I have caused other people to sin.  I have aided and abetted wanton acts.  I have drank and drugged for my pleasure.  I have denied the existence of God and I have cursed him.  I have told people he has a big ego for making people pray to him so often.  I have made jokes at his expense.

The list is endless. Literally.  Years and years, countless sins.  So many that I couldn't even begin to list them if I ever would even want to.

Let it go.  That's what they say.  You weren't in your right mind then.  You are better now.  It's all behind you. 

But is it really that easy?  Can you really just let it all go?  Is it enough that I feel bad?  Do I have to set things right?  Can I even set things right? 

I don't blame other people for my troubles.  I was young and I was alone.  And people took advantage of me.  And it would be easy to make it all their fault.  But it was my fault.  I did all those things.  No one made me (usually - maybe sometimes they made me). 

[Yes, I know my therapist would be extremely upset to see the previous paragraph.  And I know I shouldn't think that way.  But...]

Sometimes I look back and it makes me cry.  Literally.  I cry for that girl.  But also out of frustration.  I can never adequately express in words what my life was like.  I feel helpless trying to explain to you all what I went through.  This here is just words.  And words are wind.  It all sounds so faint and unreal.  I wonder how many of you would "follow" me here if you could watch videos of what I was like.  How I behaved.  What I did.  I wonder how many of you have the stomach for it (besides the few of you with similar experiences).

Don't worry, dear reader.  This, too shall pass.  It always passes.  That's good.  The problem is, it also keeps coming back.  I cannot ever truly rid myself of my past.  It lives inside a cage within my heart and mind and that cage cannot truly contain it.  To some extent it's good to never forget.  I learn from those mistakes.  And I have been good about not repeating most of them. 

My past is a ghost which haunts me.  He rattles his chains while I try to sleep.  He scares me when I'm awake.  He dogs my steps and harries me at every turn.  I try to exorcise him with therapy and goodness and living right.  And sometimes it works.  But other times it doesn't.

I'm depressed and haunted and tired.  And my chest hurts from coughing.  And the thought of another bought with pneumonia scares me even more than the ghost of my past does.

So, um, how are you doing?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Diary of an Insane White Woman

Me:  Hey.

You:  Um, hey.

Me:  So, do you wanna meet my own worst enemy?

You:  Uh, sure.

Me:  Can you guess who it is?  I'll give you a hint.  He/She is in this room right now.

You:  Uh, there's just you and me in here.  Are you saying I'm....

Me:  OMG.  Can't you stop thinking that the entire world revolves around you for one minute???  Geez.  It's not you, it's me!

The continuing saga of Cymbaline - The World's Biggest Mess.  It hit me, in the shower of all places on Friday afternoon.  Why can't I ever just be, you know, happy?  For more than a day at a time.

Flash back.  Wednesday night, he tells me he loves me.  Thursday I'm walking on air.  By Friday?  I'm worried that I can't keep the blog going.

Welcome to the world of an insane lunatic.

Sigh - I know I have issues with worrying about things.  And to my credit, i generally worry about real issues - there are plenty enough of those that I don't usually have to make up fake ones.  But seriously?  Can't I allow myself a happy time?  I feel like I sabotage myself when I allow my brain to get in my way.

It doesn't take a genius therapist to understand WHY I'm like this.  I went 20 years without any good things happening to me.  All 20 years of my life.  So I assume that good things don't happen to me.  I always wait for the next shoe to drop (that's the right expression right?  Or is it the other shoe to drop?  Whichever.  Some shoe is dropping).  And yes, in the last year, things have improved.  No denying.  School, the job, David and to a lesser extent Tova (who is suffering with a myriad of problems but is still churning along).  These are good things.  Happy things.  Exciting things.  And here I am, waiting for the next/other shoe to drop.  I can't help it.  I'm working on it, but I can't help it.

So the majority of responses seem to imply agree that I can't keep the blog a secret from him.  Well you know what?  That's ok.  And I'll tell you why.  Because in the end he will be ok with it.  maybe he won't quite get "this whole blog thing" or making connections with people you've never met, but he'll be ok with it.  Because it's important to me.  The same way his obsession with football and fantasy sports and hockey and basketball and baseball (zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz) is important to him even though I don't really get it.

And I guess that's the nature of love right?  You but up with your loved one's shenanigans because you love them.  And i feel confident that he loves me enough o put up with my shenanigans.

So now if you will excuse me, me and my worst enemy are going to go and be happy.

Friday, December 9, 2011


I throw this one out to the general audience:

As anyone who reads me regularly knows, this blog was started as an online journal.  And while it's obviously not a secret diary (as everyone here reads it), it IS secret in the sense that people who are in my "real world" have no idea of its existence.  Therefore, I am able to write about all of these very personal things with limited worry but it continues to serve the original purpose of being an outlet.

So here's the dilemma.

Clearly David and I are getting very serious.  I'd like to think that we will be engaged within the next few months and married in a year or year and a half (totally my made up timeline, we have never discussed timing at all).  And now I'm wondering:

Can i keep this blog a secret from him.

A little disclaimer.  Prof wrote a post a month or so ago about a friend of his who is doing really well in business.  The friend is very serious about a girl.  They are dating and will probably marry.  Friend refuses to tell the girl he's financially well off, because he's concerned that she will only marry him for the money.  And in fact, friend doesn't even want to tell girl about the money AFTER they are married because he's afraid that she will always rely on that and not want to work or be careful about spending.

I commented on the post how ridiculous that sounded to me.  That honestly is a huge part of a relationship and how can you START a relationship where one of the pillars of it is a lie.  I felt, and still feel, very strongly about this.

NOW.  I will argue, vehemently, that Prof's blog situation is completely different than my own.  I am not lying or withholding information about myself.  David knows everything about me.  BUT, I do treat this as a forum to think out ideas about him specifically.  And I cannot do that if he knows about this blog. [As an example, early in the blog i discussed my relationship with Lil' Sis.  That was a huge mistake in retrospect and now I never talk about her here anymore.  In fact, had i to do it all over again, I'd never have told her about this blog - sorry Lil' Sis, nothing personal :)]

And so we get to David:

a)  I DO NOT want him knowing about this blog.  Real reasons or imagined ones, I do not want him reading about these thought processes.  Rest assured, most of them I will discuss with him, but there are some thoughts I'd prefer not to share.

b)  This is my OUTLET.  My personal one.  I feel like if I have to tell him about it, I've lost it.

So, here's the deal.  In the end, if i decide he needs to know, I'd rather scrap the blog.  At this point, I feel it's a secret I can keep, but that could just be because I WANT that to be the answer.

So I'm looking for some help here people.  What do you guys all think?  Am i being crazy?  Can I eat my cake and have it too?


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

And Just Like That

The Darkness is my past. 

It comes up out of nowhere and tries to remind me that, for all of the progress I have made in my life, I can't forget all of the bad.  I cannot ignore what I once was.  No rose colored glasses for me.

It comes to me and says "Cymbaline, you think you are better?  THIS is what you are" - and then proceeds to flash all of my sins before my eyes for a few days.  A few days to re-live all of the sordid events that made up my adolescence and early adult-hood.  To the point where I can't close my eyes without seeing a memory I wish I didn't have.

It makes me feel dirty and unable to scrub clean.

Except this time, the Darkness was a bit different. Because it wasn't my past reminding just me that I was garbage.  It was reminding me that David was going to wake up one morning and realize he was seriously considering spending the rest of his life with a slut.  Or former slut.  Except there's no difference when you are under the spell of Darkness.  Once sullied, always sullied.

And so I've been sitting in a funk since Sunday - brooding over David and unable to focus on anything else - you know, like finals and papers which are right around the corner.

But a little angel came and reminded me that once, not too long ago, I worried that David didn't like me except as a friend.  And that it was only when I asked him that things straightened out.

The angel was right.  I'll ask him, I told her, tomorrow.  Except no, why wait?  So I texted him "rlly need to c u - can u come 2nite?"  And I never ask him to come.  I always go see him.  So yes, it must be important.  And so he responded that he'll come after work.

And so he called to tell me he was here.  I asked him not to come in.  I couldn't take the five minutes of having to be fake with him and whichever family member opened the door.  So instead I put on my raincoat and slipped out into the dark and cold and wet of the night. 


And in a very deja vu-type way, we were once again in his car with the weight of the world on my shoulders.

We sat in the front seat, engine running and heater blowing.  He shut off his wipers - and the rain, streaking down the windows and pounding on the roof, gave us all the privacy I could ever ask for. 

He looked at me expectantly.

And, much like the last time, it all came out in a rush.  Much that I wanted to tell him, and then much more.  I told him about the Darkness (he knows already) and I told him how this time the Darkness was about him (this surprised him).  I explained how I worry about losing him.  How much worse the fear gets when I dwell on my own past and assume he does the same.  I tell him how I can no longer imagine a life for myself in which he isn't a part of.  I told him this and the telling was like taking a scalpel to myself and carving up.

It was like cutting little pieces of my soul, putting them in my palm and holding them out to him.

To David. 

To the person with the power to make all the hurt go away - or to make it unbearable.

And then he did what he does best.  He didn't pooh pooh me or condescend.  He didn't tell me that I was silly or that my worries were silly. 

Instead he told me the truth.


"Early on, I thought everything through.  You know how I am Cym, I don't really rush into anything."  I nod, this is true. 

"When I was thinking about whether or not I wanted to go out with you, to make this serious, I thought about all of it.  I thought about  how you make me feel, how smart you are.  I thought about the way you think about things.  How you make me laugh.  Sometimes.  Cause I'm far funnier than you, but no one's perfect."  He pauses, possibly waiting for the laugh he isn't going to get.  I'm sitting in a rain darkened car waiting for the world to fall on my head, he isn't getting a smile out of me right now.

When he realizes that his joke fell flat, he continues.  "I thought about your personality.  And I also thought about your hotness.  In other words, I thought about all the things I'd normally think about when I'm debating about going out with a girl.

"BUT.  But because you are you, I wasn't just thinking about whether or not I wanted to go on a first date.  Damn, Cym, you and I had been friends a long time.  This wasn't about trying to figure out whether or not you were date worthy.  This was always about figuring out whether you were relationship worthy.  As in - future together worthy.

"So yes.  I thought about all those normal things.  But I thought about everything else too. Your nutty family situation.  Your religious views.  Your past." 

I flinch.  He sees it.  "Yes, even your past.  Look, I'd be lying if I said that some of this stuff didn't bother me at first."  He stops.  He's seeing that I'm pulling back, ready to start defending myself and making excuses and begging him to reconsider and all of the other irrational thoughts and feelings that just be obviously written on my face.

Instead he puts a hand on my chin and says "Shut up, Cym.  I'm not finished.  Let me finish." And his voice leaves no room for discussion and so I shut up and let him finish.

"I said it bothered me.  Past tense.  As in, none of it bothers me anymore.  Look at you.  Look how far you have come.  Look how you've grown as a person.  Look at who and what you are now.  Even as a Jew.  You aren't the same non-believer you were a year ago, no matter how hard you argue to the contrary.  And that stuff with other guys... look I know what you were going through.  And I know it didn't mean anything.  So I don't care.

Are you sure? I ask him.  Are you sure you thought about everything that can possibly bother you about me? Ever?  Under any circumstances? 

Because I want to believe.  I really do.  I want to think that this amazing, incredible guy, who I've wanted more than anyhting else in the whole world, wants me the same way.

"Look," he says.  "I love you.  I want to be with you.  Forever.  I want to marry you and have kids with you and fight about stuff like where we are going to send them to school and how old they should be before we get them cell phones (he's referencing an inside joke here).  I want to have whatever kind of wedding you want to have and proudly introduce you to people we meet as my wife.  That's what I want.  More than anything.  I want you to be my wife.  Is that clear enough?"

And it is clear enough.  Because I'm crying and they are tears of joy.  And he's holding me awkwardly around his stupid transmission shifter and telling me how much he hates it when I get in these worried moods (if only he knew) and how helpless he feels and I'm telling him that I'm fine, I'm great, I've never been happier in my entire life (which is 100% true).

And he says "Great!  Can we eat?  I'm starving."

And the Darkness was suddenly gone.


And I'm sure dinner was great.  I really couldn't tell you.  I know where we ate, but I'm not sure what I ordered.  I just know that I was blathering on at the table like a giddy idiot and I felt such a HUGE sigh of relief.  And then he dropped me off and walked me in and we spent five minutes making small talk with my brother who was downstairs when we came in and then David left to get back home .

And Just Like That...

All was right in the world.

And Just Like That

The DARKNESS returns.

You can read all about it, horrible misspellings and all, at the link.

I'm sure I'll be fine in a few days.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Had a very rough day today.  Caught some sort of stomach thing over the weekend and spent the entire day Sunday in bed, totally weak but terrified of even the thought of trying to eat anything. 

Lying in bed of course means I had plenty of time to think - which usually gets me in serious trouble.  (I think too much when I don't have tons of time on my hands after all - so much more so when I'm free to think.)

I thought about school - I'm in the final stretch.  I'll soon take two tests, write one paper and I'll be done for the semester. I'm planning the winter break trips I probably won't end up taking.

I have my part time job which I've been going to about twice a week.  It's been kinda boring but it's there.  Steady, dependable.

Things with David have been going super.  Really,  no complaints.

And there you have it, all of the components of my entire current existence in three paragraphs. 

I wake up, I go to the gym, I go to school and then I either come home or go to work.  I chat online sometimes and I talk on the phone with Tova and David pretty much every night.  Occasionally Tova and I go our for dinner during the week and I spend as much time as I can with David on the weekends.

My life, for lack of a better word, is boring.

It's predictable and repetitive.  It's lacking any true excitement.  It's become a wheel, where each day sort of turns right into the next in a patterns of wash, rinse repeat.

Now my former life, that was exciting. 

There were raves and keggers and drugs and sex.  There were fights with my parents and post high-crying fits with Tova.  There were wild sessions with my therapist where he literally opened me up and tore me apart.  There were sleepless nights in strange places, next to strange men.  There was fear.  Sadness.  Emptiness.  But damn, it was always exciting.

Now - I wake up, I go to the gym....wash, rinse repeat.

My life is boring.  I remember thinking when I was young and rebellious how glamorous my life must have looked to my fellow high school classmates - how they must have looked at me and thought how exciting it all was  - while they were home studying chem or English or whatever, I was out rocking the high life (or at least that's what I tried to convince myself anyway). 

But now I've become one of them.  Now I'm the one studying history and English and wondering what all the fun people are doing with themselves while I'm staring at this computer screen,

My life has become boring.

And I couldn't be happier .