Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Men That Were

No - this is not self torture.  This is a cleanse, no different than a two-day water only diet.  These things need to go.  There is only one way for them to go.  Spoken and then discarded, spread like ashes of the dead across a wind blown meadow - then forgotten:

There were many, many of them.  Some I knew for an hour, some I dated for months.  Almost all of them shared one characteristic - they didn't give two damns about me.

Users and abusers.  Literally.  Some were nice enough, but none of them were anything more than present time entertainment - a means to one of a number of shadowy ends.  Some were suppliers, some were a roof or a hot meal.  Actually, I guess they were all suppliers.  None of them loved me or cared about me.  Most would have traded me for the newest flavor of the month without an eye bat or a mournful thought.

There were some standouts, though.  There always are the ones who get honorable mention in the lists and scales of indecency, who somehow manage to make the rest of the human race look worse off than it might actually otherwise be.

The one who hit me and kicked me

The one who didn't share my concern over my pregnancy scare.  And that's putting it lightly.  Being pregnant, it seems, was my problem.  If I knew what was good for me anyway.

The one who made me do extremely degrading things for half a bottle of vodka.  This one hurt me in an undefined yet permanent way, a way that still makes me skin crawl as though a shade is passing through me.  The way he laughed while it was happening, the way he did it in front of others.  But worst of all, the way I let him do it. 

What little regard I had for my own self respect and dignity. 

And so the list goes on and on.  They were all shapes and sizes. They were all religious backgrounds (though almost all Jewish - I guess it's true that you stick with what you know).  Starting from when I was 13 or so, continuing until I was 19, 20, a constant assembly line of men and boys running through me like a roaring train.  Doing it all with a combination of carelessness and broken hurt - truly an oxymoron. Doing it to myself, with a little help from my "friends".

Looking back on  those years serves as a true re-affirmation of who I am now.  A person.  A functioning person in society.  Once completely dehumanized by forces that I allowed to control me.  Because I needed to feel wanted by someone - by anyone.  Even though I knew it was all a lie.  Even at the time.  And not just functioning, but thriving.  And unlike certain political presidential hopefuls,  I'm not embarrassed by my new found success.  God knows I've earned it.

An evil character pushes a boy out a window, turning to his lover who wanted it done, and says "the things I do for love".  To which, I would add, "the things I did in order to feel anything".

It's all in the past.  It's all over - died and been cremated.  I now stand in this very windy meadow, and spread the ashes of  these awful mistakes over a field of green gold, blue skies and sunshine.

I make no apologies.  I make no excuses.  I did it.  It's over.  They are not men who are.  They no longer hover like specters in the far reaches of my head, occasionally coming in for a closer visit - occasionally attempting to re-do all of the horror and damage they once inflicted on my soul.  Now they are dead and buried - never forgotten perhaps - but simply fading memories of another time, another life.

They are not the men who are, but the ones who were.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Write, Right?

The following is an absolute free-flowing post which is coming out of an unquenchable desire to write, even though I have nothing specifically to say.  So apologies for the sudden mass of blurbs.  And if I were you i wouldn't read this crap:

 - My friend Tova, who recently was extremely weak with what was thought o be the flu plus cancer, is actually suffering from mono plus cancer.  When I asked her who the lucky guy who gave her the "kissing disease" was, I got a "fuck you". 

 - What happened in Aurora, Colorado was a horrible tragedy.  But it should not be used to fuel a gun-control debate.  The constitution gave people the right  to bear arms.  The same constitution, you left wing gun-control advocates, that SCOTUS just used to uphold your precious Obama-care health insurance bill.  So deal with it.  I'm all for people actually enforcing the existing gun-control laws (which from what I have read are fine but ignored).  We don't need new laws, we just need gun sellers to be held accountable for not following through on their checks. 

Also, don't forget the "slippery slope".  If you outlaw guns because people can start shooting up movie theaters, we need to outlaw alcohol so people don't get drunk, drive and slam into a bus and kill 12 people the less old fashioned way.  Once you start taking away freedoms, it becomes easier and easier to do (right Mr. Bloomberg???)

 - I find that now that I'm spending less time online than I did last year - I was spending too much time online last year.  If you get my meaning.  I've stopped coming on at night, which I was doing when I was home (for lack of anything better to do) and I find I'm much more productive than I was.

Now I'm not one for railing against the internet.  It's here to stay and too a part of our daily lives and routines to ever really change.  It IS a social outlet for people, including me (just ask the people I torture in g-chat occasionally). But for me, personally, I was wasting too much time the other way so I'm personally happy to have at least temporarily stopped coming online at night.  Besides, if I was online, how else could I have spent three hours last night watching the Bachelorette special.  Uh, I'm kidding (no I'm not).

Anyway, I needed to write, which is hard when you have nothing much to say.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

And Sometimes Realizing That You Are Getting Older Downright Sucks

"To the revelations of fresh faced youth
No one will come to save you
So speak your peace in the murmurs drawn
But youth is wasted on the young

(Smashing Pumpkins - Though the eyes of Ruby)

Oops - I accidentally posted the title with no post.  here it is!!

On Sunday we went to visit David's younger sister in sleep away camp.  She's a staff member there.  About three or so it started raining.  I was walking to some overhead concealment when I spotted two girls, 11 or 12 years old, in shorts and tanks walking in the rain, getting sopping wet, smiling and happy.

Absolutely, 100% carefree.

And I realized something totally sucky.  Children yearn for one thing - to become adults.  But becoming an adult comes with it a terrible price.  Namely, the inability to not care.  To not have worries.

Not that I'm one to talk.  My childhood was not chock full of carefree moments.  I was always a (hot) mess.  But for most normal children, youth is a time of no serious worries.  It's the ability to walk in the rain, happily, as if this is the greatest pleasure in the world.  Because when you live in the moment, it IS the greatest pleasure in the world.

The you grow up.  And there is always something on your mind.  Jobs, finances, family.  Always something too important to not be gnawing away at you like a disease slowly eating through your organs.  And it becomes so much harder to enjoy the little things.  To stop and smell the roses (achoo!).  To take pleasure in the simple beauty of a sunset. Because there is no carefree. 

It sucks, yes.  But it's life.  I've decided recently that life isn't supposed to be easy.  That's a myth.  And it is what it is.  There's nothing to be done for it.  But that's ok too. 

It's just too bad that there will be no more happily walking in the rain.

Monday, July 16, 2012

An Incredibly Uphill battle

Ed's note:  There is nothing in this post aimed at any one particular person except, of course, myself.  Any attempt to read it that way is just plain incorrect.

I admit to getting a small spiritual jolt from lighting shabbos candles.

Yes, I've only done it two times but still, there is that moment where you are in a sense the family gatekeeper from the every day into a set aside day.  It's just me and those two candles. It isn't about the words or the actions - it's that moment where you can almost feel the world changing.

Sadly, it's all messed up from there.

It's not just the Shabbos. The dutiful listening to kiddush, the washing, the mumbled grace after meals.  The sitting around while I wait for him to come home from shul.  The long days with no outside distractions.

I made a decision to try and become more observant for two reasons - reasons beyond the fact that just the fact that I was living at home I was basically observant anyway:

1.  For David; and

2.  Because I want to feel part of something bigger than just myself. And while I will be first to tell you Judaism is full of warts, I can also tell you the other religions are even more messed up (IMHO of course).  And I can also tell you a life devoid of religion and morality is about as empty an existence as one can contemplate.  I know because I tried.

So being more religious...

I'm not sure where it's supposed to come from.  Are the actions supposed to make me feel more?  Am I supposed to feel more and the actions then follow?  Am I going to be inspired by a book?  A rabbi's speech?  An inspirational moment in time?

I have no idea.  I have no idea how any of this works.  It makes me feel terribly confused and as though I'm somehow lacking in an area that seems so....rote to everyone else.

But I listen. When you guys talk to me I hear what you are saying.  And I wonder how many of you frum people are just "going through the motions" too.

Now don't get offended.  You are all better than me.  You all daven and admonish us to be holy, but I listen when you talk.  I hear what you say.  You all have your doubts and your questions.  The difference is you bury them under your full length clothing, your prayers and your years of guilt.

And I'm not judging.  I am just trying to muddle through - with no real idea HOW.

In many ways you are all luckier - you don't know any better.  You have been doing this by rote since you were born.  Unquestionably following the path.  Prayers.  Shabbos. Avoidance of speaking ill of others and covering your collarbones, knees and elbows.  You have avoided the great Satan (boys) - except, of course, when you haven't.  But it's ok because you have stopped that now and that's all in the past and if you slip again that is ok because eventually that will be in the past as well. 

Me?  I have no idea what I'm doing.  I'm muddling through.  And the going is slow.

Yesterday, we tagged along with my in laws to visit my younger sister-in-law who is working at a very modern ortho camp.  It was reverse culture shock - seeing a whole contingency of orthodox Jews who look like I do.  It actually gave me some hope - that maybe there is some kind of middle ground i can find.  except, of course, for those of you who feel that those people I saw yesterday don't quite reach the proper level to begin with.

So it's all uphill from here.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

There Are Some Things Money Can't Buy...For Everything Else....

Marrying the man of my dreams?  Priceless.

Being able to sleep at night?  Priceless.

Not living at home with the evil Witch?  Priceless.

Purchasing an entirely new wardrobe to reflect the way I dress (as opposed to the way I have been dressing to satisfy the "their house, their rules" requirement)?  Several hundred um yea dollars.

And counting....

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What Being Married Feels Like To Me

"You know that I care what happens to you,
And I know that you care for me, too.

So I don't feel alone,
Or the weight of the stone,
Now that I've found somewhere safe
To bury my bone.

And any fool knows a dog needs a home,
A shelter from pigs on the wing."

(Pink Floyd - Pigs on the Wing, Part 2)

I've always understood these lyrics.  But I've never felt them.  They had no meaning to me.  I've dreamed about them, as I slept on strange floors or in stranger beds.  While I lay awake in my room at home and wondered what it would be like for sleep to take me easily.  I've wondered but I haven't known

Now I know.


It's only been a week and a few days.  I know.  I'm not an expert.  I don't even play one on TV.

But I know one thing.  I know my feelings.  Good and bad.  Scared, happy.  Mix and match.  I know how I feel. 

And being with him is like being warm and safe. 

It's coming in from the pouring rain and being handed a warm towel.  It's coming in from the snow to a mug of hot coffee and a roaring fireplace.  [Insert your own warm and safe memory here.]

I love being married to him, knowing that even when he isn't here he will be soon.  That I don't have to sleep alone anymore.  That whenever I need him to give me a hug or just a reassuring tap on the shoulder, it's there.  Or when I need his smile or his physical warmth, it's there.

Will these feelings fade as we grow more accustomed to each other?  Probably to some degree - right now they are extremely strong and sharp.  But by then, I won't need them as much.  But I know it will always be there, perhaps more in the background, like a favorite sweatshirt that you know you can slip into at any time.

A dog needs a home.  A shelter.  I have found my shelter, and he's everything I could have ever have dreamed.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Snippets From a Whirlwind

So I woke up this morning (in our own apartment!!) with a sore throat and a sneezing fit (i.e. the first signs of a bad cold) - I guess it was too much to hope for getting through this week totally fine.  As agreed, David had to go back to work today (he's got much going on and we agreed he was all mine until after the 4th) and I am sitting here, alone for the first time, and trying to put some of my jumbled thoughts into order...

 - Being unable to sleep the entire night before the wedding (I wrote that post Saturday night Irena, not Sunday!) unable to distract myself in any way.  Long, long night.

 - Coming downstairs Sunday morning for late breakfast with the entire family.  Realizing this was the first time I could remember the whole family together (including Bellatrix, Draco and FredGeorge's new fiance) and all of them looking happy and relaxed.  "How can you all sit there and eat?" I asked in shock.  "Because we aren't the one's getting married today," answered FredGeorge, his mouth full of bagel and cream cheese.

 - Getting to the hall 34 hours early to make everyone beautiful.  Luna gets made beautiful first.  She is transformed.  I realize for the first time that my quiet, shy, wallflower sister is by FAR the prettiest of us all.  "My god Luna, you look gorgeous, " I breath.   I am overcome. I get up and I do something I can't remember doing for a very long time.  I hug her.

 - As we get closer to the big moment, tensions start to rise in the Cymbaline women's side.  Voldemort is snapping at everyone and looks like she's just swallowed rotten cheese.  Everyone is properly cowed.  I turn to FredGeorge's fiance, who looks like she's reconsidering the whole marrying into this family thing.  I give her a reassuring smile.

 - I'm ready.  I'm dressed and I'm made up.  Everyone is gushing about how beautiful I look.  I go out to the hall from the room and spy David, relaxed and still in jeans and a t-shirt, schmoozing it up with FredGeorge and David's brother.  Once again I remember how much I hate men.

 - The wedding itself:  I remember just flashes really,the whole thing is a blur.  I'm sitting in the room and people I barely know are coming up to me and wishing me well.  I'm at the "badeking" getting a bracha from my future father in law and then from my dad (who kissed me on the forehead and whispers in my ear how proud he is of me).  I'm under the chupah, walking around David.  We are married and we are whisked away to the yichud room (where David proceeds to completely ignore me half the time and stuff his face, reminding me that he's fasted all day - reason number 3,863 why I hate men).  Dancing.  Dancing with everyone.  Whirling and dancing and sweating.  Dancing with Tova, who really looks like she's made a superhuman effort to be here (Tova who had to leave early to be taken back to the hospital, where she's been.  Tova who promised me she'd be at my wedding ("even if it kills me") and who fulfilled that promise at what I hope was not too dear a cost).

 - My surprise.  It came after a round of dancing, towards the end of the wedding.  As people were heading back to their seats.  David led me to the dance floor, on the women's side of the separation (we had seated my parent's side on the men's side and David's side on the women's).  No announcements, just the band starting to play and David's friend Daniel, who sings, singing "Green is the Color" by none other than Pink Floyd while I got to do the only thing I really wanted to do at my own wedding - Dance with David.  I danced in his arms while people ate desert and I cried happy tears.

 - Jumping into a Limo (so cliche, I know) and driving to a really nice hotel.  And eating!  For the first time that day.  Thank you Mr. Caterer, you were right.  I was going to be hungry even though it was like 2:00 am.

 - Wimbeldon!  The French Open!  The Australian Open!  The US Open!  Tennis is back!

 - July Fourth featured the friends Sheva Brachos - it was entitled "The No Old People Pool Party and BBQ", an almost all day affair made by David's close friends.  And it was really really fun. 

P.S. - For those of you who care, I did dance with my mother, who cast aside Lord Voldemort for the day and, once the party got rolling, really seemed to have a good time.  She was gracious and even hugged me goodbye and David and I got into that limo (and didn't say a word when I came out, after the wedding, wearing jeans and a sweatshirt.  Didn't even make a face.  In her house, it was her rules.  But now it's my house and my rules.).  She even took the garment bag with the dress in it and told me she'd find room for it in the house (which, considering the fact that we have like 5 spare bedrooms, seemed especially kind of her - rolls eyes).

So there you have it.  Snippets of a jumbled mind.

Journal, it's good to be back.