Monday, January 30, 2012

I Love You, But....

Dear Gentle Reader:

Please understand, I am not speaking to any one of you, I'm speaking to all of you.  The last eleven or so months has been a totally wild ride with you all.  I have poured a large portion of my heart and soul into these posts and I've opened up to you strangers the way I've only opened up to three other people in the "real world" (Tova, David and my therapist).  In many ways, you should feel honored (snort).


I have tried to create a wall between this world and the real world - in many ways because of how much I've opened up here.  In some ways, I've been too honest.  I've told you all many things I never really planned on sharing with others.  Now it's water under the bridge.


I'm asking you, Gentle Reader, to understand.  My life is a whirlwind right now.  I'm sure you get that.  School started (I lied to you, I actually cut school to go on vacation last week - I didn't want to hear any tsk-tsking) and I'm already behind.  I think the trip was a major setback for Tova, so I'm worried about her health.  Then there's the engagement thing.  I am really in uncharted waters right now.

So please..

I really, really appreciate how you guys seem so excited for me.  And I appreciate the love - I really, really do.  Maybe more so than any of you even realize.  But I really need you all to understand the boundaries I created.  I created them not for you, but for me.  And I know that maybe they make no sense to you, but they make sense to me.  And if you don't agree with them, or even think they are stupid, I'm asking you all to respect them anyway.

You guys cannot know how much your comments and g-chats mean to me.  But I can't open up any more right now. 

I feel pressured - justly or unjustly - and I already have enough pressure in my life right now.

So if possible...

Try and remember to keep to the wall - please do not ask to come to the other side.

Thank you,


Friday, January 27, 2012

On My Florida Vaca and My Late Chanuka Present

Many, many apologies in advance - for grammar, for poetic license, etc.  I am exhausted and my head is spinning in 14 different directions at onceYou will forgive me this sleep deprived, rambling indulgence.

Florida with Sick Tova is always a treat. 

The flight was fine until the descent, when the change in pressure did all kinds of wonderful things to her.  I managed to get her situated with water while I (a) got the luggage, (b) got the luggage and her on a tram to the car rental, (c) rented the car, (d) drove us to her apartment, (e) got her and the luggage upstairs, (f) got her in bed) and (g) drove to the supermarket to get some food necessities (cereal, milk and chocolate).  But hey, that beats a trip to the local hospital for a blood transfusion!

About two hours later I drove Sick Tova to the local hospital for a blood transfusion.

That out of the way, Friday morning we were ready to roll.  We spend the vast majority of the day sitting by the pool (excellent weather) and then went to collect food for shabbos.  Then we went back to the pool. 

I was so exhausted by Shabbos that I virtually slept the entire day (half by the pool and half in a bed). 

Sunday and Monday followed the same pattern.  Sit by the pool, laugh, talk, eat when we remembered, laugh and talk some more.  Oh and swim.  Our attempt at making frozen beverages ended prematurely after  mishap with her mother's blender.  So sipping frozen beverages by the pool, a staple of any relaxing warm weather vacations, was out.  Still, it's amazing what sunshine, relaxation and spending time with your best friend can do for the spirit.

We spent time walking on the beach, sitting in the sand and looking at the ocean -  contemplating life's bizarre curve balls.  Or at least I did, I don't know what Tova was contemplating in those moments.

On Tuesday she told me we were getting dressed up and heading down to Miami (her parent's place is a little bit north of Miami) for a very early dinner at a nice place.  She told me she had a package she had to deliver to Miami Beach anyway.

"What package?" I asked.

"I have a package I promised my mother I'd take to a friend of hers, "she replied.  "She has an apartment in ______ (naming a nice building on Collins Avenue)."

I frown suspiciously.  "You hate your mother.  You wouldn't pee on her if she was on fire.  You are doing her a favor?"

She gives me annoyed  "What the fuck?  Why are you giving me third degree about the package?  She let us have the apartment during high rental season.  Not only that she kept it open just in case I would be healthy enough to come.  It's the least I can do."

"How come you never mentioned this package before?" I persist.

"Will you shut up about the fucking package already!  I didn't think it was all that important.  Had i known you'd be giving me such a hard time about it I'd have told my mother we can't deliver the package because it might put you out for five minutes."

And so I drop it (not even bringing up the fact that we are eating dinner so early.  If i wanted dinner at 5:00 I would have vacationed in Boca) and we get dressed up.  Me in the only nice things I brought and her on the only nice things she raided out of my closet five minutes before my brother drove us to the airport ("The only upside to me being sick?  I can finally fit into your clothes!") and we were driving down south along Collins Avenue.

We pull up in front of a really nice building in Miami Beach.  Tova, who is driving, hands me a taped up paper bag, like the kind you get from the supermarket, and hands it to me.  "Here, take this in, It's hot and I don't feel like dehydrating before we stuff ourselves on red meat.  Just bring it to the doorman/concierge guy in front and tell them it's for Mr. Stein in apartment __".

Immediately annoyed that she is making me get out to do this, I notice that she does look a little pale and she's glistening with sweat.  Since I'd prefer to NOT make a return trip to the hospital, I take the package.

"I'm not delivering heroin or anything am I?"  She rolls her eyes and tells me she's hungry and I should move my ass.  (Have I mentioned how much fun vacationing with Tova is???)

The glass sliding doors barely make a whooshing sound and I am in the most immaculate and gorgeous lobby I've seen in a while.  There's lots of marble and fancy paintings.  I walk to the front desk where a thirty-something brunette asks if she can help me.

"I'd like to leave this package for Mr. Stein in apartment ___" I say.

"Oh yes.  He's waiting for the package.  You can bring it right up."  She smiles at me sweetly.

"Um, can't I just leave it here?"

More sweet smile.  "Oh no.  You can bring it right up."  She looks at me expectantly, with sweet smile still fixed in place.

I see this is a fight I cannot win.  I sigh and take the elevator up to Mr. Stein's apartment.  The whole thing is totally creeping me out but I think of poor Tova sitting in the car and sweating to death so I hurry up to the apartment. 

I ring the doorbell.  "It's open," a  muffled voice calls out.  Against any sane woman's instincts, I push the door open.

And nothing is registering anyway.  Not the champagne in an ice bucket with two glasses.  Not the candles.  Not the fact that David is standing there in a black suit, white shirt and black tie, looking gorgeous and perfect. 

My jaw must be on the floor at this point because he laughs and then I do what I do best which is burst out and cry for reasons I cannot quite explain and he comes over and hugs me and tells me I'm supposed to be happy to see him not cry from it.

I'm speaking but clearly not doing a very good of expressing myself.  I'm confused and hormonal and seeing him has just turned me into a blubbery mess.  He hold me for a few minutes until I calm down.

"So, come here often?" I ask, still sniffling, wiping my eyes with a tissue.

He smiles.  "Only when I need to bring my girlfriend her chanuka present." 

And he hands be a black velvet box.

Of course, at this point it clicks for me.  The way everyone's been acting so weirdly.  Tova's insistence on coming no matter what.  The "package" we need to deliver. 

One.  Big.  Setup.

Inside the box is the shiniest, most beautiful thing I've ever seen.  I gasp and take it out. 

It is the absolute culmination of my life to this point.  The high point.  Everything I have worked so hard for.  The therapy, the quitting drugs and bad behavior.  The end of my rebellion.  Repairing relationships with my family (most of them anyway).  It's all for this moment.  To hear the words he is telling me as all these thoughts are going through my head.

 - I must have planned ten speeches. 

 - None of them worked right.

 - I decided to speak from my heart. 

 - I love you and want to spend the rest of my life with you.

And now I'm the one laughing and saying yes, yes, YES I will marry you, of course I'll marry you.  I love you more than anything in the world.  You are my dream come true.  And curtains are billowing and we are opening a bottle of champagne (he checked a bag just so he could bring this from New York, worrying he wouldn't be able to get a bottle in Florida) and we are sitting on the most magnificent balcony and eating the most magnificent meal and talking about nothing and everything.

About how he's been planning this for months with Tova (that little two timer).  About why he decided he wanted to do it in Florida because that way it would be about the two of us, not allowing my mother to somehow turn this into a thing about her.  He told me he had spoken to my father and how gracious my dad was in that conversation.  That my dad told David that he and my mother couldn't be happier about adding David to the family.

And then he's on the phone.  Calling his parents, his siblings, his friends.  I call Tova.  "I'm engaged."

"No shit.  I left your pj's and a change of clothes for you at the front desk.  Though I bet you won't need to pj's, wink, wink."

"Shut up you pig."  We laugh.  "Are you going to be ok?"

"Of course I am.  I think I can make it a day without you."  We agree this is so.  "Hey Cym, mazal tov."

"Tova - thank you.  For everything."

"Yea yea."  She hangs up.

I leave David to his seemingly endless calls and take the elevator to the lobby.  Brunette is there with a big smile and a knapsack with my clothes and toiletries that Tova has somehow managed to sneak into the car without me seeing.  "Congratulations," she says with that same sweet smile.

I walk outside and call my dad.  We talk for a few minutes.  He tells me how happy he is for me and how he thinks David is a really, really wonderful guy. He tells me I should talk to my mother.  I hedge.  But I know he's right.  It'll be worse for me if I get home before i speak to her.  She comes to the phone and I tell her I'm engaged.  She is as gracious as I can expect.  It's two minutes of awkwardness but I know I've done the right thing. 

I stand out on Collins Avenue in front of the building.  I let the events of the last two hours settle in a bit.  I stare at the ring on my finger and smile.

I'm happy, I realize.  I'm overwhelmingly happy.

When I was a rebel, I wanted to marry a non-Jew at age 30 and have a child.  When I was "recovering", I figured I'd marry an non-observant Jew at 25 and have a couple of kids.  Now I'm 21, engaged to an orthodox guy and the future looks open.  But open in a good way. 

I smile again, shoulder my backpack and head back upstairs.  I take his IPhone away from him and we have some serious Us time.  I know things will never be the same again.

 But for the first time, that's a good feeling.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sayonara Suckers and a Guest Post!

Ok so I'm totally stoked to present Obscured By Cloud's very first guest poster - Sometimes comment-or and always g-chat friend Malka!!  Here it is:


Wait.  There's nothing there, you say?  How odd....oh wait, it's not odd.  Cause Malka totally screwed me over and refused to write anything.  Even though I asked.  And then begged.

Well I'm calling you out publicly Malka - the world wants to experience your wonderful writing skills (even if they don't know it yet).  Make it happen!

Well, with that out of the way, it's time to say good bye my friends.  Well, good bye isn't accurate.  Good bye signifies permanence.  Our farewell is a temporary situation dear friends.  However, my internet availability will be limited, at best (and I don't intend to spend any time on a computer or my phone anyway).

So I hope everyone has a great week next week.

Leave some love y'all,


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Here Comes The Sun

So it's all set.  The plans are in.  The plane tickets are bought.

Florida here we come.  Tova has gotten at least minimal, shaky at best doctor approval to fly.  I'm finally going to do something on my vacation other than go shopping, drinking lattes and reading the entire Hunger Games trilogy (thumbs down, BTW - sorry Chana).

Am I excited???  Partly.  I'm nervous too.  I'm worried about flying with her - about being alone with her for a week and being in charge of getting help if anything goes wrong.  I'm worried something will go wrong.

Why?  Because she seems worried.

Our road trips, field trips, hell our trips to the local pizza store, are usually things which fill her with excitement.  This whole trip feels more like we are being sent off to the Hunger Games (book reference none of you get - but basically a competition where 24 children in an arena have to kill each other until only one remains).  In other words, our normal pre-trip excitement has been replaced with feelings of doom and gloom.

I almost want her to text me and tell me we are off.  That she changed her mind and she doesn't want to go.  But I know this will never happen.  Tova is nothing if not determined.  Whenever we talk about her chances of survival, I am reminded of Aragorn (the ruggedly hunky Viggo Mortenson) running into the cave of the dead and saying "I do not fear death".  Tova does not fear death.  And that's why she won't cancel the trip, even if (while she won't admit it) she might think it's coming for her.

Uneasy?  Check.  Worried?  Check.  But I'm also determined.  Determined to be there for my best friend when she needs me.  In whatever small way I can.  And if that means calling an ambulance for her or driving her to the local hospital to get a transfusion, then that's what it means.  It's not about me - it's about her and I will do whatever it takes to help make her life the best it can be - whether she has a week left for 75 years.

So Florida, here we come.  It's close to 80 degrees and sunny.  I have my bathing suits, some summer clothes, my MP3 player and suntan lotion.  Everything else will take care of itself.

Here comes the sun.

Monday, January 16, 2012

In the Lost and Found

"I'm alone, but that's okay
I don't mind most of the time...

Don't......go...... home........
Stay with me,
hanging around in the lost and found"
(Elliot Smith - In the Lost and Found)

A little Intro:

So I've just discovered Elliot Smith - Indy rock god and hero who seemingly died of self inflicted wounds after a mercurial career path that includes some pretty awesome music.

Elliot Smith's music absolutely touches me.  He's an artist who seems to have been writing for lost souls like me. 

Perhaps because he was writing for lost souls like me.


Some people have a(lot) large number of friends.  I don't.

I have a very small circle.  Then I have a good amount of close acquaintances/not close friends.  They are people I spend time with but am not intimately connected to.

I'm alone most of the time.  And I don't mind....most of the time. 

I don't believe that a person's self-worth can be measured by the number of so-called "friends" they keep.  I think, when it comes to relationships, quality definitely counts ahead of quantity.

So here I am.  I have a (newly minted) relationship with my older brother, a decent relationship with my father, a best friend and a boyfriend.  I do not have an "outer inner circle" after that.  After that, everyone falls into the "close acquaintances/not close friends" category.

And for the most part, this works for me very well.   For the most part.

Sometimes it would be nice to have more than one or two "go to" friends.  Sometimes it would be nice to have a mother who I can talk to.  Or an older sister.  What's so ironic is I have them, but they are worthless to me, as if we are separated by eight inch glass - I can see them but I can have no contact with them of any value.  My older (married) sister lives close my neighborhood, is at my house all the time, yet I cannot remember the last time we said two words to each other. 

And my inner circle?  Too many times Tova is unavailable.  She needs her time and space as well - her own issues to deal with.  And David has a full time job.  And my brother, however awesome he is, is limited as a "talk things out" partner.  And my dad is busy always.

So who does that leave me with?  Me.  Me and my thoughts.  Me and my troubles.  My fears.  My issues.

A therapist will tell you that having a support system is imperative to your mental health.  Sometimes I feel like my support system doesn't stretch as far as I need it to.

Yes, I've come a long way.  Yes, I'm not the same person I was, the same girl who needed your approval to strengthen her non-existent self-esteem.  Yes, with the massive aid of my own therapist I have found a well of inner-strength I never knew I had.  But sometimes it would be nice to finger-scroll down that smart-phone list of contacts and actually have people you want to talk to.

But that's life in the lost and found.  It's not perfect.  It has its moments, but it also has its disappointments.  I didn't have the high school and college years most people, or that Sem year, where everyone seems to come home with fifty-five new close friends.  I had the streets and a hoard of other broken people like me.

But in the end, it's better to end up here, hanging around in the lost and found, than to be lost forever.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

When You're Strange

Life's good.  I'm on vacation, I'm planning a trip to the warm locales of southern Florida.   My biggest decisions these day revolve around whether or not to head back to the mall to return the sweater which fit so nicely in the dressing room at Nordstroms but suddenly falls on me like a potato sack.

Ah the good life.  Good times, good friends...

Oh wait.  Therein lies the problem.

My two best friends in the world are acting really, really weird.

Tova first.  While she has been managing to hold her own these last few months, she isn't currently allowed to fly.  Yet she is determined to make this trip to Florida, even if it kills her.  Literally.

In fact, she has threatened to kill me if I back out on her.  And so we will be going to Florida, even if (sniff) we need to (shudder) drive there next week.  Sigh.  If I get raped and murdered in a truck stop in Georgia, someone please write something nice about me in a blog post.

(And before all you judgemental types start making your judgements, remember one thing - Tova doesn't live under the same "life guidelines" as you.  In her head, she'll be lucky to be alive to see 2013.  She probably won't ever get married (who wants to marry a time bomb?) or have kids (who wants to bring a child into the world and then make him/her an orphan?) so if she would rather have quality over quantity, who are me to judge? - I just don't understand why we have to go NOW so badly.)

Then there's Mr. Wonderful.  Who has been lately.  Just off.  There's something there and I dunno what it is.  But it's driving me bonkers.  I hate not knowing what's wrong.  And when I ask him if he's ok, he says yes.  But I don't believe him.  Uch.  men suck.  Why can't you just discuss your stupid feelings?  Would it kill you to emote once in a while?

On the bright side, I'm still normal.

I hope.

Ed's Note - This post does not contain the word "alot" in it.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Into the Arms of Sleep

"Sleep will not come
to this tired body now
Peace will not come

to this lonely heart"

For as long as I can remember, I've been a terrible sleeper.  I thrash, I have nightmares, I wake in cold sweats.  I toss, I turn but I do not fall back asleep. 

I get chunks of time - three hours here.  Four there. 

A full night?  Fuggedaboudit.

And I won't take sleeping pills because I try to no longer take any drugs at all unless prescribed by a doctor (or say Advil on the box).
My therapist and I figured out the root cause of my inability to sleep.  No special medical issues like sleep apnea or whatever.  It's significantly more convoluted than that.  Simply put, however, years of sleeping in terribly adverse conditions have made me very uncomfortable when I sleep.

Adverse Conditions, you say?  What, exactly, are these so-called "adverse conditions"? 

Well, here's a list:   Adverse Conditions  = Sleeping in strange places.  With strange people.  Sleeping in places where you do not feel safe.  Sleeping in places where you did things which made you ashamed.  Sleeping with "one eye open" or, worse, both eyes open.  Not sleeping at all.

I do not feel safe when I sleep.  I do not know who or what is coming through the door. Years of instability have taken their toll on my ability to feel safe when I close my eyes.

The incredibly sad thing?  I suffer from these issues in my own house.  I have my own room, with lock on door.  I even have my own bathroom.  I am surrounded by my family.  I am in the place where I should feel as safe and secure as anywhere in the world.  Yet I cannot sleep. 

If ever there was a damning picture of my home life, to be this is it.

The incredibly happy thing?  The only places I get a full night sleep?  At David's apartment or at his parent's house.  If ever there was a picture of proof that he's The One, this has to be it.

So maybe one day I'll be in my own home, surrounded by my own family, and I'll sleep the 12 hour sleep of the untroubled ones.  Maybe then I'll know I hit the good life.
Until then I'll toss and turn and wake and shake and spend my nighttime hours learning the deep, dark secrets of my bedroom ceiling.
At least until I fall into the Arms of Sleep.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What a Difference a Year Makes

Ok I admit it - I'm not perfect.

I know, I know, pick those jaws up from the floor.  It's sad but it's true.

And since I've been in my journey of personal reformation to "normal", there have been many things I've tried to stay away from.  The theory being, there is really no sense in putting your fragile self into situations which may end up hurting you.

And so, to that effect, I have tried to stay away from drinking too heavily, any drugs whatsoever (even over the counter cold remedies, etc. if it can be avoided), bad social influences, my mother, etc.  The easiest way to avoid trouble is to AVOID TROUBLE.

So you can imagine my shock and surprise when I found myself getting drunk at a New Year's thing I went to Saturday night.  Not like body shots off bare chests drunk, but way too much vodka and wine drunk which comes from drinking way too much vodka and wine. 

So there I was, getting deeper and deeper in the bag.....


And yet I managed to not do anything too embarrassing or self destructive.  And yet I managed to go home with the same guy I came with.  And yet i managed to wake up (with a pretty bad headache and a seriously furry tongue) without the old panic that usually set in when i woke up after a bender having no idea where I was.

So yea, maybe it's not the best idea for a former user to drink too much. But like they say on South Park, I learned something today (actually it was Sunday).  Well it's less of a new thing than it is an affirmation -

I'm going in the right direction.

I'm doing ok.  I may worry (alot) and whine (alot) and worry summore (sadly, alot), but I am doing ok nonetheless.

And I'm not 100% sure I'd have come out the same way LAST December 31/Jan 1.

The things we do for love:

David and I spent alot of time together this weekend.  We met for the party, I slept at his parents Sat night (and managed not to throw up in the guest bedroom!!  Go me!!).  We watched the Jet game together Sunday - it was sad.  Then we watched the big outdoor hockey game yesterday (which was happy). 

While I will never enjoy sports like he does, I at least kinda get why guys love them so much.  Less so the football, where the teams stand around for like a minute then play for 5 seconds, but the hockey seems to be pretty fast paced and exciting (David, his father and his brother were pretty intensely into this game).

And while it wouldn't have been my first choice for how to spend New year's weekend, the fact is that I'm off the whole month and David was off Monday.  So I kinda let him "win".  I did, however, force him to watch the Bachelor with me - which was AWESOME.  Mean bitches and crying weaklings - not to mention the most boring bachelor ever!!  It's gonna be good times!