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.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

#questionsformen

Do you avoid eye contact with women to prevent unwanted come-ons? Do you wish they wouldn't whistle at you?

Do you avoid a certain street corner because the friendly crossing guard wants to give you his number, maybe have dinner sometime?

 Do you wonder what you did, what you said to make them think that you were interested?

Maybe if you didn't smile at them...

Maybe if you weren't so friendly...

What would you do if a married women said you made her nervous and she thinks she is in love with you?

What would you do if a married women flashed her abs and told you she's been working out lately? (Don't answer that one.)

Is the world as vulnerable a place for you as it is for women?

What would you do if someone made you feel uncomfortable?

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Barriers

When, on the last day of class you are reluctant to leave, lingering, hoping for one last bit of wisdom, one more acknowledgment that you exist, that you matter because in this classroom you mattered... And you don't want to let that go... Perhaps once in a lifetime you will have a teacher who will make you feel that way... Lucky are those who've had more than one... You know he's one who has touched you, made an impact on your life, and this leaving, this goodbye cannot take away what you have gained.

He's moving to California. He's told us more details about his personal life than one should. But it's comforting, in a way, to know that he is human.

'If you want to give me a hug, or fist bump me, you can.' I tell him I can't hug him, he asks if we could pretend so we 'air hug'.

We show affection in physical ways, some of us do. Languages of love, it's called. It's easier to hug someone than to simply tell them that you'll miss them.

But this barrier, invisible though it is, is restricting, getting harder and harder to maintain. One day I will tear it down and it won't matter anymore.


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

משנה מקום, משנה מזל

Standing in the frozen section in Target contemplating the refrigerated cookie dough, just take it home and bake it yourself, hmmm I think I may, as this one has an OU and is dairy-free... Funny thing is, I can bake better than any prepackaged cookie dough, and although the package says "Do not eat raw dough" I open the package as soon as I get home and try the raw dough and instantly regret it, as it's not that good. Nor do the baked cookis taste very good. Ah well, I'll know for next time.

Things are moving around at work, people are leaving, new people are coming, they are moving me upstairs to a different office, and although 'moving upstairs sounds like a promotion, it is not. It is simply a way for a man in power to exert said power and to not have to give a reason for doing what he does. After numerous trips up and down the stairs moving all my stuff, my chair, my computer, everything that I need to keep me sane, I am settled upstairs in silence.

My office was fun, used to be fun, we all know the kind, it happened in high school too, one year it was fun and the next year there was a new principal and the fun was over. There is a new guy in the office, he makes it his job to shush us when it's too noisy, the music is too loud, we are fraternizing when we should be working, etc. He hasn't been here that long and he's a buzz kill.

Upstairs in the new office they tell me it's a quiet office, don't talk unless it's work related, all my friends are downstairs and I am not happy. I know at work you are supposed to work, but healthy socializing is a big part of it, and what with most of the people I started with on their way out, I am holding on to the few familiar faces that are left. When everyone you know starts clearing out, you know it's time to go.

They say that changing one's place physically can change his mazal, and although U don't know if the same can be said for a desk in an office, but maybe this is a good step. I'm trying to figure out what's next for me in life. I'll be graduating in a few months and although that is exciting, I'm not satisfied at my job anymore and I want to move on. Problem is, I don't know what's next.

משנה מקום, משנה מזל.

I hope to figure it out.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Bird Lady


They were hungry,
is all,
that's why they came so close,
that's why they weren't afraid,
as the bits of stale bread,
rejects by any other name
came tumbling down out of the sky
as if by God himself,
but nay a mere mortal
who took pity
on the birds,
they came in flocks
cacawing
fighting each other
for one tiny scrap of food,
that's why they came.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Night

People go to sleep,
normal people go to sleep,
some stay awake
and wait for those normal people
to wake
so they can play.

Oh morning.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Leave

After trying to come up with all the reasons why I should stay, I didn't come up with much. The answer I kept coming back to was: leave.

"And my prayer is that your story will have involved some leaving and some coming home, some summer and some winter, some roses blooming out like children in a play. My hope is your story will be about changing, about getting something beautiful born inside of you, about learning to love a woman or a man, about learning to love a child, about moving yourself around water, around mountains, around dear friends, about learning to love others more than we love ourselves, about learning oneness as a way of understanding God. We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and the resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn’t it?

It might be time for you to go. It might be time to change, to shine out. I want to repeat one word for you: Leave.

Roll the word around on your tongue for a bit. It is a beautiful word, isn’t it? So strong and forceful, the way you have always wanted to be. And you will not be alone. You have never been alone. Don’t worry. Everything will still be here when you get back. It is you who will have changed.”

Donald Miller, Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road

I asked myself if leaving was a form of running away, perhaps from a job, an apartment, a life of responsibilities. But exploring is not running away. It is looking for a reason to keep going.


"One fine day, it will be your turn. You will leave homes, cities and countries to pursue grander ambitions. You will leave friends, lovers and possibilities for the chance to roam the world and make deeper connections. You will defy your fear of change, hold your head high and do what you once thought was unthinkable: walk away. And it will be scary. At first. But what I hope you’ll find in the end is that in leaving, you don’t just find love, adventure or freedom. More than anything, you find you."  
The Staying Philosophy

My hope is that in going, I will find a reason to come back.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Whole

We've gone
our whole lives
missing parts of us,
parts we weren't aware
that we were missing.

Until
one day
we've grown into the strong
man, woman
that we strove to be,
and suddenly we're incomplete.

So we search
on buses, trains,
crowded subway platforms
for some small glimpse
of that elusive missing piece.

Not sure what we are looking for,
we keep trying,
maybe next time,
maybe somewhere
nearby
we will find it.

We don't find it,
yet we keep trying,
something in us keeps pushing,
hoping, waiting
maybe, maybe
don't give up yet.

Hello,
is it me you're looking for,
no, not I?
What is it you recognized,
maybe the same face of desperation
you wear yourself.

Like looking in a mirror,
the face of loneliness
looks like you
clothed in someone else.
Now you have two missing pieces,
and no wholes.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Replaceable

It's quiet, the kind of quiet where you hear the hum of traffic from one block over but you can't actually see it, the air is kind of still and kind of warm, it says 50 but feels colder. You know Spring is coming and that's a good sign but we are not quite there yet. Your feet echo on the pavement as you walk, they make clicking sounds and you like that, you walk hard, you always have, and some people turn their head when they hear you coming, you imagine they expect to see a guy with perhaps expensive Italian shoes and instead they behold you. But you are just as good as any man, you are as strong, as smart, as practical, maybe more so. But there are times, times when you are as feminine as any woman, times when you feel weak, you wonder why weakness is attributed to women, also known as the weaker sex, and what makes a man strong and a woman weak, but that's just the way it is. You're all woman when you get mad at your boss for having you stay late and wasting your time, sometimes so mad that you want to throttle him or stab him with a knife. Ya, not really that mad but then again you made a deal with Patrick from work that he would warn you before he shot up the place and you would do the same. Of course, there are days when you hate it so much you threaten-- in your head of course-- to quit, to just leave. You imagine them panicking saying what will we do without her, how will we survive, but of course you are replaceable, everyone is.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Oh Where

He wishes me good night and says, "I hope you get married soon."
Why, I think, why is he saying that,
he says "So you should be going home at 6 to a husband and a family,
not staying here at the office."
Yes, that would be nice I guess,
I say Amen as I always do,
thank him for his bracha.

He has good intentions
I'm sure,
but it's the message that is being sent,
that I cannot be a strong independent woman
who chose a career over family,
no, it must be that I am a sad helpless single damsel in distress,
that I must be saved from myself,
how sad my life must be that I'm still at work at 6 pm.

Cynical much?
But then again, it's hard not to be,
yes sometimes I work late,
yes sometime I wonder what it would be like
to go home to a husband
instead of a quiet lonely room,
but tonight is not that night.

Working late, then class, then homework,
midterms to study for,
at least I'm not making someone wait
anxiously for me at home,
no I am creating my own future,
taking control.

I go home close to midnight,
cold and tired and drained,
choice between the train or the bus,
neither option is great
this late at night.

Some guy stands at the bus stop alone,
he looks dark skinned, perhaps Arabic,
or Israeli, I must have missed his tzitzis,
 or neither, by the sound of his voice he's American like me,
maybe foreign parents in there somewhere.

We talk all the way home,
he walks me to my door
though it's a block out of his way,
I stand outside talking, prolonging,
not wanting to go in.

He asks if I want to keep in touch,
I'm flustered,
we just don't do that
but the second I shrug awkwardly
I think I've made a mistake,
he says goodnight and walks away
and all that's waiting inside
is my sad lonely empty room.

The second I get inside
I google him, search facebook,
try to figure out who he is,
we call it stalking.
I laugh at that strong independent woman
inside of me,
it didn't take much
for her to disappear.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Away

Sometimes you come home
and dream of
never going back
it's so stressful
sucking every ounce of
personal space and time,
it takes everything
and gives nothing,
it's just too hard
now, it's too hard.
You salivate when you think of
going far away, a different
country perhaps, and maybe
never coming back,
you don't want people to worry,
your mom thinks
it's a good idea
you explain your reasoning
your desire to explore
the world, see what's out there
get your wanderlust out of your system
before settling down.
It's the settling down part
that gets you,
you have no idea when or who or how,
you don't like the
lack of control,
you don't know
but this, this you can decide
you can plan
you can fly or drive or walk
away, and choose to come back
or not,
someday there'll be a storage space
with your name on it,
with all your worldly belongings,
you'll leave it all behind
and simply go
wherever
you're not sure where
but anywhere must be better than
here,
you kind of know
that you're too scared, too comfortable,
too -- too to go
maybe you'll surprise yourself,
maybe you'll do it,
quit your job,
leave this life behind
go away not knowing
if or when you're coming back,
maybe you'll do it.