Thursday, August 27, 2015

The price of freedom

He said I could pick any car that I wanted.

Any car?

I made a beeline for the red one.

It drives beautifully, I was going 55 and it felt like I was floating.

I feel like I'm bleeding money, spending it faster than I'm making it. Which makes sense, since I'm not working at the moment, and good things in life cost money.

I used to scoff at people, the ones who wanted the best job, the best car, the best phone, everything costs money so instead of resigning themselves to spending less, they simply found a way to spend more. I guess I saw it as arrogance, but now I'm learning that it's mostly about lifestyle- you want to live and spend a certain way, you have to find a way to do that. I'm just used to being content with less, so I see it as money-hungry.

You can't beat freedom, the freedom of getting in a car and driving away, the freedom to have a phone and not worry about cell reception, the freedom to swipe a car and buy yourself food.

I'm high on freedom.

Now I just need to find a way to pay for it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

You can lead a man to the water...

But you can't make him drink, you can't even help him, you can't force him, you can't hold his mouth open and shovel it in...

Why am I doing this, I wonder, as I make a ticket to fly 6 states away... I have a job, it's a start, some people don't even have a job...I don't have a car or an apartment or any real idea if it'll work out or how long I'll be there for...I shudder at the thought of signing a one year lease because who knows where I'll be in a year...then again, does anyone really know where they will be tomorrow, let alone a year from now?

So far most of the people I've been in contact with are nice and helpful, or at least polite if not helpful, my brother, my own flesh and blood, everyone tells me he will help me, but of course family is usually more of a headache then a help.

Life in New York was so easy, I didn't need a car, apartments were a dime a dozen, I didn't need anyone. I was Miss Independent and it was okay. Suddenly, I need other people to help me get around, to navigate this strange new city, and I am mad, not at them but at myself for needing other people.

I asked my brother to come with me to check out a used car for sale, he said I don't need him...but I do, I do. Until now I was basically going in with my eyes closed, not thinking about it, just going, just doing, I figured at some point the dam would break, and I guess tonight it did.

I need someone to hold my hand, to walk me through the scary parts in life. For me, that's buying a car when I have no idea what a car is. Yes, like a girl I chose one based on the color...

I want someone else to do the thinking, to explain the legal jargon, to make sure I'm not getting myself into anything shady.

I can be a strong independent person, I have been until now, only now I am finding myself in deeper water, unfamiliar territory, more real world then ever before...

I came down with a horrible cold last night, maybe from the air conditioner, or lack of sleep, or change in weather...or maybe it's my body's way of telling myself that I can't do this after all.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

#Hashtag#

In the world of hashtags, apparently anything goes.



#lolololololololol

Despite Justin T and Jimmy Falon's obvious hilarity and chemistry, mile long hashtag sentences are truly annoying.

#whydon'tyouwriteasentencewithspaces?


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The sound my phone makes

My phone pings as I walk down the frozen food isle in the grocery store and my heart jumps, it always makes me think of you. It's not you, these days it barely ever is you, but I can't help wondering, thinking, wishing that it were.

My phone is a third hand, it is not just a part of me, it is me, I check it right before I go to sleep and the second I wake up, I tell myself I should live more in reality, what is going on right in front of me but even in company I find myself checking texts, emails, Facebook updates, living in my virtual reality and wishing I could live inside my phone.

They call it an addiction, saying that we have to learn how to detox and ween ourselves off of technology, make more time for the people in our lives that we can see, exercise more, go outside, breath the air, leave our phones behind. But it is hard when that is the way you learn to connect with people, when text has replaced real conversations and people thousands of miles away are closer to us then people sitting across from us.

I hate how the sounds my phone makes automatically sends my mind in your direction, I hate that I expect a text to be from you, or an email, or a Facebook post. I hate how much I depend on other people to make my life complete, I hate that my phone has become my prison.

I hate the sound my phone makes, but mostly I hate that it is never you.

Monday, August 17, 2015

I'm happy for you

Every time a guy I dated gets engaged, I don't know why but I feel the need to reassure other people that I am okay, that I am fine, that in fact I am happy for him, and it feels like closure, that now I know for sure that I made the right choice saying no.

This is especially true regarding someone with whom I had a longer relationship. It is obvious- he has moved on, and I am still single. So what does that say about me?

I saw him recently, he works in a store near where I live. I thought about going in there, saying hey, remember me, or maybe acting all nonchalant and seeing how he reacted to seeing me. But I decided not to do that, to spare him the pain and trauma of seeing me again after all this time, seeing as I was the one who ended things with him, and he obviously still carried a torch for me.

What a good person I am, thought I.

Imagine my horror when I saw he got engaged last week. How can that be? I thought I broke him. He pined for me, I told him it was over, I thought he would never love again. But there are pictures, evidence that he has moved on, that he is in fact happy. How can that be?

My friend texted me to ask if I saw that he had gotten engaged, she said "I guess he could love again".

I guess so.

I smiled a soft smile, and in my heart I wished him mazal tov. The part of me that once cared about him is truly and genuinely happy for him. To know that he has found happiness with someone else. Sometimes that's all the closure we need.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Open Road



You run, you know, but you don't what you're running from, or where you're running to, but it gets so easy when you don't have to think about it, simply get in the car and drive for 4 days straight, stopping to see the scenery and to sleep a little, just a little, you are so tired but it's fine because your body adjusts until you can't tell anymore. All the driving makes you tired but you can't admit that, you can't stop because stopping means thinking and you can't think right now. So you jump from state to state, you take pictures and smile and share memories on Facebook and you are not faking it, you are genuinely having a great time. During the day you are fine, the driving is thrilling as you navigate the highway and try to guess everyone else's next move, it's a game to you, trying to get ahead and stay ahead. It's the nighttime that gets to you, suddenly the streetlights are gone and the road is wide open and pitch black, the lights from the oncoming cars are bright and glaring, you can't see the road, the windshield is foggy, you drift lanes and you know it's time to stop. She offers to take over driving but you can't admit that you are terrified and trembling, probably because the air is on full blast so you don't fall asleep and drift lanes, but the dark worries you because it is unfamiliar, it is unknown, it is terrifying but you can't relinquish control. She finally takes over so you can sleep and you try but you can't, you watch the road, you watch the speed, you watch the windshield and you worry, she says she's fine but you worry, you can't stop trying to control everything. But it's okay because you are having a nice trip and the constant moving helps distract you. But you get to your destination and your body starts to shut down, it is ready to crash and suddenly you are so exhausted and not moving and not sure what to do next, and no idea what comes after next.

Like the dark, the uncertainty worries you, but maybe if you can just keep going, can you keep moving forever and never stop?

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Don't let them...fall

The balls are thrown about the crowd, hitting heads and hands and arms as kids and people chase them, throw them, try to keep them in the air, keep the game going for as long as they can, don't let them touch the ground, don't let them fall.

We all wear masks around friends, family and even ourselves. We share some but not all of our thoughts, perhaps because some thoughts are not meant to be shared, or some things we simply don't want to admit.

So we lie, we say things like "I'm happy" when we're really not, or "I'm excited" when everything feels horrible.

We feel the pressure to put on a face for society, show them that we are alright, that we are holding it all together, when inside all we are thinking of is how everything is falling apart.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

I am with child

I met a friend of mine tonight for dinner. She didn't let me know her buddy would be coming too.

I guess there's a new friend in our circle.

He's about 25" tall, and weighs under 20 lbs.

He is healthy looking, but carries around some extra weight in the chin area.

He drools a lot, and likes to grab my hands when I extend them in greeting.

He is respectful when others are talking, and only makes noise to alert others that he is hungry, tired, thirsty, or has soiled his undergarments.

He is 5 months old, his initials spell YAY, and he answers to the nickname 'chiller'. He has a shmushy face and looks like he could be a Gerber baby.

I didn't realize that friends getting married means they come with husbands now.

I didn't realize that friends having kids means they come with babies now.

I didn't realize that things changing means they would never again be the same.

A conversation that once would have been about haircuts, bang length and styling is now about sheitel brands, coloring and hair texture. "Feel how soft it is!" she tells me. Um, no thanks, I really don't want to touch your hair, home grown or otherwise.

What once may have been a steamy conversation about guys and dating now centers around husband, baby, job, sleep or lack thereof, schedules, free time (which is never) and hurried conversations whilst rocking a baby stroller to and fro anxiously trying to calm a baby's cries.

Babies are cute. I like babies. I like holding them, and playing with them, I like when they smile and laugh and clap their hands, I like when they are asleep, I like it less when they cry but don't mind changing diapers.

I like babies.

But I don't have any.

Which is not to say that you can't bring your baby along when we go on an outing.

Which is not to say that you can't talk about your baby all the time.

Which is not to say that I won't smile or laugh at the cutest thing your kid just did, marvel at the fact that he is crawling already at 5 months (gasp, no way!), discuss the pros and cons of breastfeeding vs. bottles, like the pictures you share online, or be understandable when you are late or can't come because your child/husband/thing came up.

But you have to understand that when we single girls go on a spontaneous outing to Brooklyn Bridge Park, share laughing pictures online of the fun times we had and you are insulted that we didn't include you: please know that we didn't do it intentionally. We didn't stop to think about if you would be free at that particular time, how much time you would need to get you and your baby ready, how difficult it would be for you to schlep a stroller with a child up and down the subway steps, maneuver it onto a subway car, feed a crying baby in public, how awkward it would be for you to run/walk/skip/jump/hop the way we do on a whim.

Which is not to say that we won't include you in the future.

But we are single.

You are with child now.

Things will never be the same.

Monday, August 3, 2015

The internet is not safe anymore

I know it never was. Before people really knew about the dangers lurking online they felt relatively secure. When webcams first became popular no one knew of the possibility that someone could hack in and spy on them. I call it, before and after. Before, people didn't know. Now they are too scared to know.

The internet as a whole may not be safe but people find places where they feel a certain sense of security. Maybe forums (a dying breed) or blogs (almost completely dead) or Facebook or instagram or Twitter, somewhere where they can just BE without anyone else infringing.

But now it is not safe. Bloggers bring trolls and stalkers. Facebook suggests named of people I most certainly do not want to be friends with and would rather never be reminded of again. They take advantage of my momentary weakness, I searched for you and I found you and I remembered why I didn't want to know you existed. I wish I could unknow. I wish I could unsee. I wish Facebook didn't track my every move.

When relationships used to take place in the physical realm, it was possible to delete all traces of someone. Burn their letters, chop up their pictures, get rid of any mementos and eventually the memories fade.

Today, it is much harder. Delete the emails. Delete the texts and pictures and even phone number. Unfriend them. Delete their email address. You think you can forget and move on but I guarantee you it is not over. It may never be over.

You can run, but you have no where to hide from the clawing cloying conniving hand of the internet that is intent on reminding you everything and everyone you long to forget.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Not quite done yet

There's something about joining pre-existing family life that is like jumping on a moving train. When everyone is pretty much settled in and you are the last one to join. When everyone knows the rhythm and you are clearly the newby.

Family is safe. They are familiar. They love you, they hate you, they make jokes at your expense, they fight over rooms and places at the table and last pieces of pie.

We have a motto in my family: "You snooze, you lose", which in Latin translates to "Tu dormis, tu perdis" (which incidentally I just read in a book called The Sellout and exclaimed excitedly to my father that the author stole our motto). This motto applies to anything, really. It's the answer to all questions, solicited or otherwise.

There's a learning curve. I've only been here since Thursday night and it's been years really since I've lived at home. So I watch, and I learn. One stays up all night and sleeps all day. One does the food shopping and cooks dinner, the kitchen is her domain. One stays out for weeks at a time, I've been told he's living at home but I've seen no evidence of it. The baby who is now legally no longer a minor works all day and hangs out with friends at 2 am, he smokes, and has no idea if or where he's going for yeshiva next year. My parents don't tell anyone what to do or how to live their lives, so even though I'm itching to parent him, I know it's not my place.

Life moves at a slower pace here. If you've accomplished one thing today it's a good day. On Friday I spent half the day with my nieces and came home exhausted. On Shabbos I walked over to my sister (40 minute walk) and arrived just as the kids were going to bed. The kids thought it was hilarious, their parents did not.

I asked my siblings what there is to do around here, they said not much. I hear kids hang out by the local 7-Eleven but I hate slurpees plus I'm not 17 anymore. Which I'm being reminded of constantly, and it hurts because part of me still feels like a teenager and the rest of me is 25 and wishing I knew what it meant to 'act my age'.

I'm trying to figure out my new normal. I'm wrapping up school this week and that's exciting, plus I know I did all I could to set myself up for success in the future. My GPA is great, I'm part of an honors society, I have quite a lot of work experience, and a nice sum in savings. For all intents and purposes, my future looks bright.

I was walking today and taking in the scenery, the fresh breeze, the trees and grass and peace and quiet, and thinking, I could get used to this. But my sister says I wouldn't last very long here. She predicts that I will gain 50 lbs, be bored and miserable living at home.

I'm not done yet. I know that. This is not the end for me. My story doesn't end with me single at 25 moving back home with my parents having a degree but no job, and chillin like a villain. I wasn't made for this. So the question is, what's next?

The crickets and the dropping night temperatures, and the darkness outside that makes you wonder if there is anything out there- and the smell of brownies.

What is normal, really?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Men + Women = Friendship?

There are differences when it comes to friendships amongst men and friendships amongst women. We are talking primarily about same gender friendships, as opposed to cross gender.

It may appear that men have more friends than do women, as men tend to have larger social networks or groups, whereas women spend more time in dyads, or pairs, and form closer one-on-one connections.

The reasons for friendship amongst men and women are also different. Men tend to have more activity-based friendships, while women spend more time in conversation with friends. Men assert more dominance and knowledge display in conversation, and women focus on conversation maintenance- establishing and maintaining relationships.

Women are more agreeable in their language, using disclaimers like "I may be wrong, but..." or hedges, "sort of", "kind of", and intensifiers "very", "really", "seriously". This may reflect on their level of confidence in their own opinions or knowledge base, or it may show a desire to be compliant with the person they are talking to, to avoid conflict.

Men generally avoid personal disclosure. They see it as a weakness to open up to friends and share personal thoughts or feelings. Women engage more in self-disclosure, tending to share their feelings and emotions with close friends.

Although there are difference between friendships among men and women, there are more similarities. Ultimately, the reasons for friendship between men and women, either same gender or cross gender, are the same. From The Psychology of Gender by Vicki Helgeson, "Both men and women want the same things from friendship and view self-disclosure, empathy, trust, and expressions of support as the most important features of a friendship."

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

30 before 30

I read an article today that I liked. Here's the link, and I'm posting it in below. I have taken the liberty of bolding the ones I can check off:

"30 Things All Women Should Have in Their Arsenal Before 30"

Turning 30 is a big milestone because you finally feel like a real adult instead of playing one in your early 20s. Here are some things you probably have accomplished in your 20s:
  1. Eyeliner and mascara that doesn't smudge
  2. A bad relationship that will make you treasure the good ones. (Too many to count.)
  3. The experience of negotiating a raise or asking for a promotion. Because you deserve it.
  4. A love for yourself — flaws and all.
  5. A good mattress. (One day...)
  6. Enough self-respect to not put up with an unhealthy relationship and friendship. (Ya, after it gets so bad I can't take it anymore.)
  7. A home that looks lived in and not like a rental. Which includes a piece of furniture you splurged on that's not from Ikea and an original piece of art you love. (I'm waiting for the perfect home to decorate.)
  8. One international trip experience that took you to another continent.
  9. Wild stories of past shenanigans that you love reminiscing over with your friends. And zero urge to relive it all.
  10. A résumé and LinkedIn profile that you had to struggle to shrink.
  11. Six months of living expenses in your emergency fund and a robust 401(k). (savings: Check.)
  12. A friend that makes you laugh, lends an understanding ear when you need a shoulder to cry on, and tells you things you need (and not want) to hear.
  13. Forgiveness and letting go of past hurts and grudges. Life's too short for that. (Letting go sucks...)
  14. And the realization that forgiving doesn't mean accepting that it was OK. Forgiving means accepting the fact it happened. (This I can do.)
  15. Go-to recipes for key occasions, from a fancy dinner party to leftovers night.
  16. A backup system for your important documents and photos. (Check. Learned that the hard way.)
  17. Something you can take care of, be it a plant or a pet (or maybe even a baby!). (I've killed plants before...not sure what that says about my chances with kids).
  18. The ability to enjoy things alone, whether it be a trip, a dinner out, or a show.
  19. A coffee machine so you stop wasting your money at Starbucks.
  20. A good skin care routine, which includes applying sunscreen.
  21. The confidence to go without makeup, wear a bikini, and have an opinion. (Um, ya, never gonna happen.)
  22. A sewing kit and a set of tools that you've actually used.
  23. A reliable dry cleaner and a tailor.
  24. A chic outfit that you can transition from work to play — not to mention, a high-quality bag or purse to bring to work every day.
  25. A safe place for you to relieve your stress and recharge — be it your reading nook or yoga studio.
  26. The resolve and discipline to kick at least one bad habit. Bye-bye, soda and Cheetos.
  27. The satisfaction with what you have and not worrying about if you're missing out on something better and newer.
  28. An exercise routine beyond cleaning your home or commuting to work. (Gym...check.)
  29. A credit card that you pay off in full every month. (Ding ding ding!)
  30. The realization that life just gets better.(Well that's a relief.)

 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Going Home

My biggest accomplishment today was taking a shower (after the fast ended) and switching from the pajamas I was wearing all day to clean pajamas. And still I am proud of myself. Not for today, but for the big steps that are coming.

This week is the last week in my apartment. I don't want to get sentimental, but four years is a long time. As I progressed in the work force and my jobs changed from menial to management, I became more and more confident in myself and my abilities. I went back to school after a 2 year hiatus, and managed to finish school in 3 years while working full time. I dated. I met guys. (Two separate things.) I fell in and out of relationships, I got hurt, I grew up.

I'm 25, graduating from college, no job, and I'm moving back home with my parents. Well, not really. I see it more as a stop along the way. I will tell you this: I don't see it as a failure. Between going away for high school and seminary, being a dorm counselor for a year and then living on my own for 4 years, I really haven't lived at home in a long time. To say that my relationship with my family when I was younger was tumultuous would be an understatement. Things have finally ironed themselves out, and for the first time I am looking forward to going home as opposed to dreading it.

I've mentioned before about how hard it is being a single girl living in a 'single girl's apartment' and having to be responsible for everything from finding Shabbos meals, to making havdala to creating an atmosphere that is conducive to yidishkeit. There is something about living in a household, where dinner is made for you, Shabbos tables get set, things just happen around you and you don't have to make much of an effort to be a part of it. I'm not talking about being lazy, I'm talking about the comfort of being surrounded and enveloped by family and family life. That is what I am looking forward to.

First up is a 2 week road trip from NY to Florida with my mom, sister-in-law and niece. We will have a loose itinerary, traveling through Philadelphia, DC, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia taking the scenic route over 2-3 days, and then traipsing through Florida for a week before flying home. Then my grandparents are hitting the East Coast for a visit. After that I'll be home for 2 weeks until Rosh Hashana, and I have plans to go out of town. So basically, I will be occupied until after the holidays.

I spoke with my mom about joining a gym with her, maybe hanging out with my sister and helping with her kids. I think I will take it easy and use the down time to figure out what I want to do next. Maybe it'll come to me while I'm not looking for it.

Although I have some job offers waiting for me, I don't have any solid plans to move back to New York. And that's okay. I know that my future will find me wherever I am. I hope I will be ready.

Monday, July 20, 2015

A frum guy walks into a gym...

Sounds like the start of a bad joke.

I decided to start going to the gym, now that I have all this free time, it's right on campus and so am I, and I pay for it in student fees anyway.

There is something so convenient about having a gym in the same building as my classes. It is cool, quiet and pretty empty.

I'm a gym virgin. I used to hate gyms, calling them evil places of torture. I did exercised, just on my own time and with my own routine. But there is something so easy about using a machine and just letting it think for you.

I wear a skirt on top of my leggings, and usually a long sleeved t-short. I feel comfortable being in a mixed gym, it doesn't bother me. But today, while working out a frum guy with a kippa came in. Something in me suddenly got self-conscious, like oh, this is weird. Being around other guys in the gym didn't bother me, but maybe with our mutual faith it hit closer to home.

Separate story:

In Chabad we are known for 'Shliach Mitzvah gelt' which is basically, give someone money when they are leaving on a trip, tell them to be your messenger and put it into tzedaka when they get to their destination, and that will ensure that they will have a safe trip because it says that no harm will come to the messenger.

I was doing laundry today (yes, during the 9 days) and I use a suitcase to ferry my laundry to and from the laundromat. As I was coming home with my suitcase of freshly laundered clothing, a nice young Lubavitch guy passed me by, holding out a coin in his hand and said 'Here, Shliach mitzvah money'. I was startled, so I took it and said 'Oh wow, thank you.' He said 'Have a safe trip' and walked off.

Part of me thought maybe I should tell him I was only going home from the laundromat, but then I remembered that I am going to be taking a trip in a few weeks, and it was comforting knowing that I was being sent on my 'journey' as a shaliach, that I was going not only for myself, but as a messenger. Who knows where I will go or what I will discover, but it is better to go as a messenger and not just for myself.

I hope I do have a safe trip, and I'm wondering if punching a hole in that coin and turning it into a necklace is taking the analogy a little too far.

Books For Sale!

I decided to start packing up my room tonight. I don't think I have a lot of stuff but I have lived here 4 years so I should get a head start. I am officially moving out in 2 weeks.

I realized I had a lot of books. Some are from school, some are 'self help' books, and some are novels I bought for pleasure. I do hang on to stuff, which I'm trying to work on. But books are a good thing to have around because if I haven't read them yet, I may get to them later. (Who am I kidding, I'll probably never get to them, but my choice of books will make me look smart.)

I've been getting advice from different people lately about what to do next in my life, and I still haven't decided. Some people think that just getting away will help 'clear my head' and I will come back refreshed and ready to jump back into life.

That's not the way I see it. I'm not getting away for a vacation. I will not have a job, apartment or life waiting for me when I get back. I have barely any responsibilities right now. Most of this is my choice. I don't know that I am necessarily making good choices for myself, but all I know is that I need to leave, to close the door on this chapter of my life and figure out what the next one will be.

For the past few years I've just been waiting for my future to come to me, and I'm so sick of waiting. So I'm taking charge.

If I lived in Park Slope I might put some books on the sidewalk with a 'free' sign. As it is, the only books I'm giving away are part 2 and 3 of the Hunger Games series. I bought them when they were really popular and I just had to read them.

If you are reading this and you are worried about me, don't be.

If you are reading this and you think you can offer advice: it is welcome.

However, this is my life, my choices and only I can make it or break it.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

I Remember

I remember,
you know.
I remember
that it's okay to ask for help,
it's okay to admit that you are scared
and feel alone
that you have no idea what you are doing in life,
and that scares you like sh**.

I remember,
you know.
I remember
that I have friends to turn to
that understand
that may even be going through the same thing,
that can make be feel better
and less alone.

I remember
what it's like
to feel okay,
when the bubble of anxiety bursts,
I can breath again,
laugh again,
remember that things do always have a way 
of working themselves out.

I remember now.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

What the F

The cold, smooth feel of the beer
as is slithers down your throat
yet a minute later
slams into your taste buds
bitter, making you gag.

You remember that
you hate beer
and you wonder what the f***
you are doing here
at midnight.

You watch them
talking and laughing
is that flirting?
Not even sure,
you watch her

loosely standing close to the guy
beer in her hand
you swear it hasn't gone down
an inch,
maybe she hates it just as much as you do.

The lights are bright
and twinkly,
and no you're not drunk
yet,
but you wish you were.

A guy offers to buy you
another drink.
he asks if you want to
get out of here,
but you can't.

you won't go.
you butt into a conversation
two guys are having nearby
thinking you have something smart to say,
but they're just not feeling it.

And you wonder
what the f***
you are doing here
this time of night,
he asks you what you are looking for

and honestly,
you just don't know.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Fish Bowl

It all looks too familiar,
all the same
everything as it should be
but never changing,
like The Truman Show,
living a lie
your whole life,
wash, rinse, repeat,
always repeat
day in, day out
until you feel
the walls closing in
suffocating
wave your arms
until they touch glass
you can't get out
and the more you try
the more you tug at your constraints
the tighter they get
like the Chinese finger trap
it's a trick, really
but there is no humor
only atmospheric pressure
that can't be relieved
without breaking the glass,
but you just can't seem
to break free.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Disposable Friendships

People, like water, are fluid
they come and go
you cup your hands
and try to hold
the flow
between your palms
but it seeps out
and drips down
in a trickle,
emptying out until not a drop is left
leaving your hands damp
and empty.
The water bleeds from your
hands like blood,
the cool air drying them
stiff
until they crack
break the water lines
that once held a cool, wet stream.
People come and go
they are there laughing
and talking one day
and the next they are gone,
dried up, distant
pulling away until they leave no trace behind.


~~~

Keep your pack on your back
and be ready to leave at a moment's notice.
You see expressions change
from minute to minute
so small you might miss it
but it is there,
you feel it
you sense it
pulling away
drifting away
there,
and then
gone
and you know
it's time to go,
you've done this before
you know the drill
all safety hatches in place.
Three, two, one,
it's time
go go go!
you do what you have to do
leaving no trace behind
that you were ever even there.
He's gone,
and so are you.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Maybe you are turning it the wrong way

I felt like that lady in Eat. Pray. Love who found herself on her bathroom floor in middle of the night, talking to herself.

Yes, it was indeed the middle of the night. about 1:30 am. I haven't been sleeping through the night lately, sometimes it will be a strange dream that wakes me and then I can't fall back asleep.

I stumbled to the bathroom without my glasses, but could clearly see that the toilet seat was askew. I'm the 'handy' one in the apartment, and changed the toilet seat myself previously when it needed changing, so I knew how it worked.

I tried tightening the screws but it wasn't connected properly so that didn't help.

Frustrated, unable to see properly, tired and not in the mood, I sat down on the floor to figure it out.

I unscrewed the bolt, got the seat back into place and then tried to screw the bolt back into place.

I turned and turned it and nothing happened, it wasn't tightening at all. I tried turning it upside down but that didn't work. I just kept turning it, using the maxim 'Righty tighty, lefty loosy'.

Then it hit me, maybe I'm turning it the wrong way. So I turned it to the left and finally it started tightening.

By this time I was wide awake and no way was I falling back asleep. So I used the time to think, to figure things out. I've been having doubts lately about a lot of things. The problem is, as a 25 year old single girl in a frum society, you are not supposed to have doubts or questions. You are simply supposed to follow the rules, accept that which you do not understand, stay on the course, and do what you are supposed to do.

But I have never quite fit into the mold, and I'm not happy trying to push myself back into it, or follow the rules simply because I am told. For the first time I asked myself: What do you really want? And I didn't know the answer.

I remember a book I had bought, called The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I bought it hoping it could help me in life, but alas it cannot help you if you do not bother to read it and instead stuff it onto a shelf in your closet.

So I sat there at 2 am and started reading it, and a lot of it made sense.

We all have inner paradigms, maps with which we use to see the world. Just as if you have the wrong map in a particular city there it will be difficult to get to where you are going, so to if you have the wrong view of the world you won't see things the way you should.

The first habit talks about being 'Proactive'. There's a diagram of 2 circles, one is the Circle of Influence, and one is the Circle of Concern. Influence is what you have control over, and Concern is things you have no control over. If you choose to focus your energy in Circle of Concern, you will be pushing yourself inward, limiting your sense of control. If you choose to focus on your Circle of Influence, you push outward, broadening your world into the things you can control.

None of us can control the weather, understandably, but you can choose to be upset by a stormy day, or you can carry around your own sunshine thereby choosing to not let it affect you.

I'm only one chapter in, and I know I'm not big on follow through. We'll see how far I get. It was just refreshing to read something that actually makes sense, and to feel that maybe I can take control of my life instead of saying 'everyone else makes the rules and I don't want to follow them'.

By working on yourself from the inside-out, you can reach a true sense of independence and hopefully find inner peace.

Here's to bathroom floor revelations in middle of the night, and to new beginnings.

Monday, June 29, 2015

How Life Works

It's funny how things never seem to turn out how we expected, but always work out for the best.

Things came to an end at my job, and not by my doing. It's kind of like "who will show their hand sooner" because I was planning to give notice and be gone in a few weeks. That timeline was simply shortened by a nasty person whom I'm ashamed to call one of my (now ex) managers. There will of course be two versions to the story, and as things go I don't think they handled the situation properly.

I didn't expect to be crying in the parking lot with my (other) manager whom I call a friend. He's leaving in about a month and I knew we would be parting ways, but this was sooner than expected. He told me comfortingly that everything will work out, it is all up to G-d. I know he's right.

I've been telling people that I will be leaving in a month, going off the grid. They don't understand. Maybe I don't even understand.

"For how long?" They ask me. I have no answer.

The first step after finishing school is moving my stuff back home to my parents house. It was either that or public storage and I have no idea if or when I would come back for it.

Next is taking a road trip down to Florida. Then maybe hanging out there for awhile.

I don't know what's next. And though normally that would be majorly stressing me out, I'm calm. I'm okay.

I see things as a chain, after one link ended I always found my next. Things have always worked out for me thank G-d. And yes it's easier to realize that in hindsight. But right now I'm okay with taking things as they come and not knowing what comes next.

I'm finally free for the first time in awhile. It's a very calming feeling.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Baking

Ear buds in, music on loud, moving to the beat enjoying the sound of my own little world.

I'm happy here. I'm in control. I'm creating something beautiful.

Tonight it was black & whites, just cuz. Because I wanted to try something new, give myself a little challenge.

I have to say, it is a lot of work, more than they make it seem. I used this recipe courtesy of browneyedbaker.com. Making the dough is not that hard. Shaping it is fun, a little messy and a little gooey.

It is the icing part that got me. It is stressful. Really. First you have to make sure the icing is thin enough to spread but not too thin. You have to get the line just right, you have to try to not drip any chocolate icing into the pristine white icing bowl. Picking up each cookie, icing it and then trying to gently put it down without messing up the icing... oy.

Well, I'm exhausted. They look good, they taste good, but I am definitely going to buy one in the bakery next time I get a craving.



Monday, June 22, 2015

Depressed

Sometimes you just have to call it like it is.

My mother is really funny. When I'm excited about something, she gets excited. When I'm negative about something, she reflects that negativity. It's all about feedback.

Sometimes we are in a good mood, we see the world through rose tinted glasses and everything you see and do at that time is positive. You impart those feelings to other people and they reflect that.

Sometimes I second guess myself. It took me a long time to learn to trust my instincts, but I'm realizing that that niggling feeling I get when I'm trying to make a decision that sounds like it is trying to tell me something and which I usually tune out- it is usually on point.

Some people can remain impartial. It is always good to have objective people in your life. But some people will mirror the way you feel or the way you tell a story. If you have a job interview and you tell someone how exciting it is and how you really want the job, they will encourage you to take it. Tell that same person your inhibitions and reservations about said job, and they will tell you it is not for you. So is the job really for you? Do you need to get over your negative feelings or realize that your excitement may not stem from a place that is best for you?

I don't know. I hate making decisions, I really do wish things can work themselves out.

When your job hunt, apartment hunt and guy hunt are all going south, you think it's time for you to quit?

In other words, who can suggest a great vacation spot?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Just Go

You broke my trust, you know.
It hurt.
But it hurt in places where it should not have mattered.

He got in between us,
he ruined what we had,
what was for months already eroding.

I made the mistake of believing him
when he said you and I
were not friends,

In fact could never be friends,
and I should not have told you something
expecting you to keep it to yourself.

I tried to ignore you,
I really did,
knowing that you were leaving

Maybe if I blocked you out
it would hurt less
but you were you

You joked and drew me in
and I laughed,
I coudn't help myself.

I told you to go away,
just go
and don't come back.

You didn't apologize.
You told me some cryptic message
of how you did it for my own good.

With time, you said
I would realize why you had betrayed my trust
But you wouldn't tell me why.

I told you the most hurtful thing
was that HE said we weren't friends
and in that case it shouldn't have mattered.

You called him a jerk,
said he was wrong,
said that you have my back.

I wanted to believe you,
still do,
I would trust you any day more than him.

But you're leaving, you know.
And I'll miss your dumb corny jokes,
your arrogance.

I'll miss your stupid face
He's wrong, you know.
About us.

When I'm mad at you and you try to tell me something
I say "I don't care"
and you say "Yes you do".

You're right,
of course.
I do.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

All About S*x

It took me a long time before I stopped stumbling over the word 'sex'. Even now I still feel a pang, an uncomfortable feeling at this "forbidden" word. I'm taking a personal health and nutritional science course, and recently we learned all about sex and birth control. These are things I am aware of, and as mature adults it is normal to sit in a classroom with illustrative slides showing one how to put on a condom. But growing up as a religious girl, I do have a certain reservation when it comes to discussing sex, even in clinical terms, as if I have to try to be nonchalant about it.

Recently at work a new manager was hired to replace one who is leaving. He is ultra-orthodox, a Chassidisher guy with white shirt, black pants, curly payos, the whole nine yards. He is not someone I would ever look at twice on the street, and based on our backgrounds our paths would probably never cross besides for the fact that we work together. When I first met him, I had a misgiving that I would corrupt him, simply by being myself. I grew up in a closed-minded community, and in the process of trying to "find myself" I have attempted to break out of that mold, by rejecting some of the rules I grew up with. That meant looser with my language (cursing), and being more open and free with topics that were previously not discussed.

I overheard a coworker mention to some of the guys that he may have gotten his ex-girlfriend pregnant. I piped in and it turned into a full conversation between joking that he should go on the Maury Povich show, insist on a DNA test, and me saying lamely that he should never have gotten her pregnant. Thus followed a conversation about safe sex and the rate at which protection actually prevents pregnancy.

The new guy was listening avidly. Then he started asking questions about sex, protection, what actually works, etc. I started realizing that this may have gotten out of hand, especially when I saw other people passing by and overhearing the conversation. Talk about inappropriate work conversations.

There's a reason some kids like to 'educate' their more innocent friends. Usually one kid ends up blurting out all the details about sex and sharing it with all their friends before they should actually be discussing it. I'm not saying this guy was completely ignorant, however I feel bad encouraging the conversation, as if I had a hand in opening his mind to the world around him.

The question is not whether these things should be discussed. The answer to that would be yes, in the right setting, with a professional, for constructive purposes, once you are mature and old enough to have questions and want answers, and not just because you are showing off to your friends.

In this case, besides the fact that the setting was wholly inappropriate, I don't think this guy needed to get sex ed that way.

Just because I chose to expose myself to things which I was taught to stay away from, doesn't mean I should rip down his blinders, even if I disagree with being sheltered.

You have to be sensitive to other people's choices and upbringings, regardless of your personal feelings or attitudes on the issues.  

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Free

I watch the fountain as the water rises
higher and higher
the squeals of the children in delight
as if guiding it
commanding it
controlling it
saying more! more, we want more!
Higher it goes still
ten feet in the air
splashing back down with a plop
and disappearing into the cracks
it is no longer visible
the water,
yet a second later
it shoots out again
the kids laugh,
they dance
they run near the spray
in the hopes of getting wet
I watch
and want to be the water
want to fly free,
but there is always something tethering me
to the ground
no matter how long I try
the fountain stops
for a moment
I hold my breath
wondering if it is done for the day
time for the kids to go home
but suddenly the water starts up again
the children scream
I feel a pang,
sad that I'm still here watching
that I'm not the water
that I'm not free.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Therapy

Why pay for therapy when you can get it for free?

I sit in the chair at my hairstylist and before I know it she knows my whole life story and yet I have no idea what kind of cut she gave me. I find myself telling her all my woes about my job, school, life, etc. It's a great way to release. I'm sure they are sworn by oath to not revealed the secrets they hear in the chair.

The bakery is another beautiful place, filled with pleasant aromas, and scrumptious looking delicacies. This is where I come on a bad day, or a good day, or any day. The bakery guy smiles at me as I make my selection, I try not to look him in the eye, I wonder if he knows I've been stress eating lately. He recognizes me by face and I know it's time to find a new bakery.

While some people close up like a clam and share nothing with anyone, others can tell everything to their bus driver, bank teller, taxi driver, etc. Really, there are therapy outlets all around us if you just look for them.

No time to go for an appointment? Don't want to spend money on a copay? Just sit on a bench in the park and wait for the next person to sit down next to you. Then start talking.

Your session has begun. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Hiding

I can't make eye contact.
I try to appear normal but it's difficult.
I know she's talking to me and my brain is telling me to respond but I can't.
I smile, I hope not in a creepy way, and speak in my most normal voice possible.

My whole being is screaming danger! danger, get out,
and I wonder if this is what it feels like to have exposed nerves.
Why are you looking at me?
Why are there so many people in this store?

I keep my voice light when I speak to you,
everything very chilled and nonchalant
what's the point of worrying you
instead I pretend.

Pretend that everything is okay
I don't want to have to explain
you won't get it
and maybe I don't either.

Things are changing
I'm not sure how
I just know it's time
to go.

I can't make eye contact
I may appear to be shifty
I just can't let you see
inside my eyes.

Then you'll know.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Too little too late

I hate you.
I hate you for believing in me, for encouraging me.

Where were you when I doubted myself, when I thought I wasn't good enough and never would be?

I hate the ones who rejected me, who turned me away and made me give up.

I hate the voices in my head, the ones that tell me to stop pretending, to let it go, to move on and abandon my dream.

What dream?

Once I was young and eager, so young and full of something, was it attitude, was it aggression, I don't know that it was passion, but it was something more then this passive-agressive-non-believing lump of discouragement, and though she disgusts me now, that me of years ago had more desire to succeed than this give-up-and-go-home attitude.

I hate you for making me feel again, for making me want it, for using my finger nails to claw at the mountain of dirt to pull myself up and try again when I just want to lay down and admit defeat.

I hate you all.

But you most of all.

I hate you for the lump in my throat which you caused, you must have known it would invoke a reaction. Admitting that your first impression was wrong and that you were glad you were proven wrong.

Maybe you saw something in me that I no longer saw in myself, refused to see in myself because the glass mirror once shiny and clean is now smudged with dirt and blackness to the point where I can't even see myself clearly.

Did you see me? What did you see in me? I know you wouldn't lie.

But why???? Why now. Why when you are leaving and flying miles away, why when I am at the end of the line, why when I am so ready to give up and call it quits, why must you make me feel??

I hate feeling. I hate how you crack my numb exterior, the one I use to protect myself from getting hurt, from people like you.

Once I wished to be seen, to be heard, I thought I was G-d's gift and it was my duty to let people know what they were missing.

A few Youtube videos and articles later and I was put in my place. I was no longer special, I would never make it in this tough world so why bother trying.

I was fine lying to myself. I was fine!

I love how you just assume that I'll do great things. I love how you say it so casually as if it could actually happen.

Can it?

Is it possible that maybe you are right about me?

Is it too late for me to see in myself what you have seen?

I don't hate you. I can't even tell you how much your words mean to me, how much they hurt me but at the same time give me hope.

Maybe I'm not done yet.

Maybe I will do great things.

Maybe it is not too late for me.

Mine

He runs down the stairs, hair wet from a bath and I just want to gather him into my arms and inhale his baby scent. It's his upshernish tomorrow and I can't part with his baby face and his gorgeous golden curls. He tells me something that I struggle to understand and then says, with eyes wide, 'is that cool?'. Of course, everything he says is cool.

I lay on the couch with the baby on my lap after the other kids have gone to sleep. She keeps trying to grab my glasses so I hold up my hand in defense. She grabs my hand in both of her tiny ones and pushes it out of her way. Then goes back to grabbing. I was there the day she was born, and here this little beauty is growing into a mischievous little bundle of cuteness.

I'm exhausted and mom rolls her eyes and asks me why. Well, I may not be a mom but watching her kids is stressful. Don't do this, don't touch that, eat your lunch, no you cannot have candy until you eat, wash your hands, go to bed, give that toy to your brother, etc etc. I can't relax around kids. She tells me I'm too stressed, I should just chill.

She wouldn't mind if I moved into her house, she thinks I'm nuts if I buy food or do laundry anywhere else, cuz I should have come to her, I'm not considered a guest and somehow I've become part of the fabric of their lives.

But there's a part of leaving and going home to my place that makes me realize that they are not 'mine'. Maybe I'm very possessive. I used to get insulted when a kid would tell me 'you're not in charge of me' as they are wont to say when they challenge authority. But this time I simply said, you're right and thank G-d for that. (Plus I responded that it's fine, if he didn't want to listen then I didn't have to read him a story in bed.)

Some kids run to you when they see you and love to be held, and some kids break your heart by turning away when you just want to gather them up in your arms.

One day there will be kids with my name on them, they will be mine to smother, to mother, to baby, to screw up or get it right or simply keep trying thinking there is nothing I can do right. But they will be mine, and no amount of 'going home' will change that.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

If you were a picture

"Don't judge me"

* She held a bag in her hand, it said "i'm lovin' it". I assumed that was her dinner. 

* * *

"Once, I was scared of you, but now it is you who are scared of me. That's good, I know you won't come close to me. This is my bed tonight."

* Her scarf looked dirty, no amount of her picking at it would ever get it any cleaner. She started to cough and I wanted to offer my water bottle until I remembered it was empty. I wouldn't want it back anyway. She closed her eyes and blocked out the world and no one came close to her.

* * *

"I'm not crazy"

* She muttered to herself over and over again "no, no I can't do this, no this isn't right" before snatching her bag and leaving the classroom. I wonder if she'll be back.


Sunday, May 17, 2015

< 3 Hearts < 3

Voices murmuring around me...
each absorbed in their own...
tired & hungry
and not done yet
2 more hours to go
till the midnight hour
till my paper is due
but I won't be done
no fun
three more finals
this week will never end.

I left my flowers behind
hand-picked by my niece
first for her mother
and then for me,
it's my birthday,
or was,
she says I'm a little old
but I don't feel old
I feel...

I feel like a grown-up
and yet every time they say
"get a grown-up"
I look around frantically
until I realize that
they are all looking at me,
I'm a grown-up now
and yes I stole that line.

Did you know that
monarch butterflies are called
Danaus plexippus
their color is primarily orange and black
they are poisenous to other animals,
and every winter they migrate 2,000
miles to warmer climates?

My favorite colors are purple and pink
they are not actually,
or maybe orange
depends who you ask,
but I got to spend today
with 3 adorable little girls dressed in
that's right
purple and pink
or maybe red,
depending on who you ask.

Did you know
that little kids
can have such big personalities
can give the biggest hugs
can make grown men cry,
did you know?
It's crazy how much you can love a little person
that isn't even yours

She says
"quick, catch me I'm falling!"
every time she goes down the slide,
I wonder what she'd do
if I didn't come running
with my arms outstretched
ready to catch her
but I'll never let her know.