Erroneously Overstepping Bounds

Standard

I’m trying to not to be defensive or offended or take it personally. Most of us are trying to co-exist, yes? Me too.

I oft said that I don’t want to rock the boat, I don’t want to offend others, I don’t want to bring attention to controversy. But that’s BS. I do all that. And even if I thought I was able to follow through with those wants, inevitably, at some point, someone would get offended or otherwise feel like they were exposed or plagiarized or violated.

Once, yes only once, I was defriended. Well, I’m sure it happened more than once but that time it was because I had posted something that offended and was alerted to as such in a pm. After some back and forth, I was blocked. This occurred several years ago, and if I think about it, I know why it happened. It was the opportunity to return the favor. The hurt, the rejection, the callousness I expressed in my youth. I really did embody a high school nickname, “The Queen of Hearts.” I toyed with them like a cat with its prey. I was selfish I suppose. And now I am too but in a very different way.

I feel the great divide between compassion and self-preservation, empathy and me, me, me. The thesaurus doesn’t even think these are opposites, why do I?

 

 

 

L’havdil*

Standard

On the heels of the “my kettle is always on, my door is always open” posts that were circulating earlier this month following a local tragedy the next neighborhood over, I found myself in a whelmed, borderline OVERwhelmed state yesterday. L’havdil (a great word, meaning “to separate” or more colloquially “what I am speaking about is NOT the same” – for those who don’t speak Hebrew). I was emotional, I was at times distraught, and I posted yesterday that I was eating frosting by the spoonful. I then clarified that the spoon was a serving spoon. Very few people called me after that, perhaps thinking it was my humor kicking in and clearly I was alive because I was posting but 20/20 hindsight, I was reaching out in the way I knew how in the moments I wasn’t being “strong”, “resilient”, and “superwoman”.

I had written this as a response to the well-intended but unrealistic post of those who claimed to be always at the ready with tea, a couch, an ear:

My door is sometimes unlocked, but for all things sacred, DO NOT just walk in if I’m not expecting you. The kettle can be turned on as needed, I once left it on the stove and after the water boiled away, it caught on fire. My front step is a mess of sticks and natural debris and residue from the neighbors who wash their floors incessantly. I don’t have time for such trivial cleaning outside my door. Our place is often warm because the neighboring apartments buffer us from the elements. I judge. I also am peaceful on occasion. But I judge. Find me a person who doesn’t. You want to chat? If I can, I will answer your call. If I can’t, I will call you back. If I don’t, please don’t take it personally and please call again. It’s no good suffering in silence but also it’s grating if all you do is complain. Find solutions to what you call problems. Find joy in things. If you hear voices that tell you to harm others or yourself, get on some meds stat. I have filtered water which will hydrate you, it will not bring you sanity. Wide assortment of tea, limited coffee and I would prefer to be here when you partake in these beverages. You are probably on your own. We all are in some way, unless you are a conjoined twin. Most people strive for individuation (my ex-therapist’s favorite word). You may feel alone. It’s the loneliness you want to beat. For that I can probably relate to your struggle or at least be compassionate if I can’t. The above is all true.

And then a friend called from overseas and turned my world a bit topsy-turvy. He and I have few friends in common so it attributed to a sense of powerlessness. I’m unsure if my friend will seek out the help (it seems obvious to me) he needs.

I don’t think he’ll opt out; out of this life, away from the pain, onto another plane, of existence (my belief). What good is it if I saw the signs, I was “there” for him by listening, what other help could I offer him; ultimately it seems impossible to make a choice for someone else. And this isn’t Being John Malkovich. This is common reality where people live and people die, and the latter is sometimes by one’s own hands.

Back to my post above, I realized that throughout my day yesterday I was fortunate to have others listen to my rants, witness my crying, give me real hugs, and recognize my needs, but that is the synopsis. I recall that earlier in the day I starting a text to a friend and rescinded it BECAUSE I DIDN’T WANT TO APPEAR WEAK. Really. In the afternoon, even after some tears had been shed during the time I had taken for myself between work and home, I went for the frosting. And I posted about it on social media. And while my phone was not ringing incessantly, some commented or liked my post,  I received a few texts and I did get a call or two. I was not alone. Frosting was my status for help.

Yesterday’s lessons are today’s blog post.

 

 

New GLEEful Direction

Standard

I brunched with a new friend and left the meeting with my head still intact and teeming with life. What was my mission, my direction with a new initiative at my workplace? It seems that my close friends are empowered already so perhaps WE for women’s empowerment should be women’s enhancement, but then I’m not selling bras or girdles and many would argue those items are anti-feminist and the Goddess knows I don’t want to be associated with that adjective. So the insights keep coming and now I am writing.

*I*, even though it looks like a phallic symbol, the asterisks are there for emphasis and I was too lazy to find the italics. I, wanted and want those feminine empowerment workshops. So I, put my money and time where my mind was and arranged to meet with one of the speakers for a personalized session. Her wisdom and suggestions did not disappoint. The insights kept coming. The epiphanies reigned. Why does spellcheck think I can only have one epiphany? There is no plural?

On a particular soapbox social media platform, I am known to be a positive thinker, looking for the silver linings and then witnessing the good AND the cherry on top in many a situation. It’s who I am. It’s who I’ve become. It’s kinda sickening I suppose but if you know me IRL (in real life), you know there is a balance. There is my sarcastic charm, my intolerance for tech critique, as well as other passions and rants and my truth. Another time.

So I discovered that much of the pure good in my life is familial. And while home life is also one of my greatest challenges, the rewards outweigh the burdens.

Last night, I experienced minutes, MINUTES of true joy. Eating homemade pea soup with homemade croutons (this meal was a huge(!) mid-week achievement) with my partner, an offspring being drawn in enough to sit through the nearly two hour film, a musical from 1952, while intermittently observing and commenting on details; we were delighted and this was bliss.

This morning, the coins in my night table drawer, surrounded a ten piece, a gold plastic coin from a LEGO pirate treasure, bringing it all together. Wealth. Family. Enjoying what’s rightfully mine.

Visit PICO Jerusalem’s FB page to learn more.

 

Love, Laugh, Live, Learn

Standard

Is it “better” to die instantly, without warning, or have an awareness, of the timeline of an illness or a prophecy that one somehow knows to be true, determine how much time you have left here on this plane?

 

Inspirational quotes. Where to find them? Graffitied on a back alley wall, on a mug in a curiosity shop, on the internet. In every font and with varied similes, sometimes with added unnecessary apostrophes and misspellings, all of your quotes can be found here.

 

“Love, like you’ve never been hurt,… ” seems to be fairly universal as the go-to quote, at least in the solipsist search I conducted on the matter. Though in a general sense, one may not want to go into any situation without considering the past and the present.

 

“Laugh as if no one is listening,… “ is terrible advice. Laughter is contagious, and healthy, if you don’t bump your head on the ceiling.

“Laugh like you did as a child,…” is more apt. Save a spot in your heart for innocence and pure joy.

 

Mohandas Gandhi shakes it up with “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

 

And then it’s down to brass tacks:

 

“Live, like there is no tomorrow.” OR “Live, like someone left the gate open.”

 

Maybe if they were metaphors, we, the living, would take them more seriously.

 

May his memory be for a blessing. Alan Weinkrantz z”l

This Evening

Standard

For more than a fraction of a minute, I felt as though there may never be another angry outburst. I was at satsuma is it? No, that’s a citrus fruit or a genus of snail.

And then, way past patience and tranquility, my calf and the bed frame collided. So I went over to the closet doors and with fists, banged loudly three or four times in intense succession. My eldest calmly told me to drink water. I sat down and did just that. It’s our new commitment to combatting the rage. We check in, that the other is not hungry, thirsty, or needs the toilet. When I suggest it to him, it seems to fall on plugged ears or iPadded senses. Do not misunderstand. The device is not the problem. Clearly I am. And not because I provide my children with devices.

This week, and next, I am solo. In the midst of any other non-angry minute, I think about how wonderfully I am handling things. How there is only ten more days to go before my partner’s return… but then what? Will something shift? Will I figure out a way to be less on and over the edge? For those blissful seconds, I thought I had conquered the all-encompassing wrath without the grapes. The serenity, like Calgon, had in fact, taken me away. From reality.

And if I am able to withstand another request for water, from a bottle easily obtainable by the little person who allegedly requires it, in order to finally lie down… if I find the strength to not treat the eldest at nearly six years old, as the co-parent he so desperately wants to be in his father’s absence… if I can relish in the fact that the middlest, who was known for silently staring in a horror movie kind of way at whomever had retreated to the living room thinking all were asleep, is now the one who falls asleep first and with little fanfare, it would be enough.

I’ll try again tomorrow.

I Don’t Need An Apology

Standard

I don’t need an apology.

I now understand my role in the family of which I can show no blood relation. I am the black sheep. This is apt because of the meaning of my name, Rachel. I have come to terms with my status and I need no apology.

I will also not apologize. This is who I am.

I had thought I was a person who didn’t want to rock the boat; one who liked the calm, the innocence and the boredom. No. I thrive on the waves- the imagined waves, the conversational ones; not the real ones.

I didn’t leave in anger. I didn’t want a confrontation. I didn’t want to defend myself. I am tired of defending myself.

I am learning that we can only rely on ourselves for validation, acknowledgement, support, and truth. And for the first time, this knowledge is not lonely or painful or depressing or bewildering. I am liberated. I am free.

What Is

Standard

I enjoy touting that Pesach Cleaning and Spring Cleaning are two very different activities. Today I find myself in an I-don’t-yet-have-a-term-for-it cleanse.

Tomorrow boasts a full schedule, and at least 2/3 of it has little to do with Passover – or does it? Two job interviews and open-air market shopping for Charoset ingredients is about planning ahead. Work opportunities for after the holiday and delicious accoutrements (I make several international recipes) are part of future goals, and freedom. What weighs me down is the request for four (!) letters of recommendation from former employers and preparing for the interview by reviewing past jobs and what I loved about them.

This sent me on a search to find the two printed recommendations tucked safely in a folder (of which there are many), on a shelf, in a room, full of memories. I feel upside-down, torn, and downright befuddled. And I can’t find them.

I did find a printed out contact list of emails, bridging my life in the old country with the one where I now reside. Would I ever try to reach out to some of these people merely using email? If I am not connecting with them now, sixteen years after compiling that list, is it safe to say the blank side can be used as scrap paper?

There are letters from Dad (z”l), and Mom (z”l)’s various certificates of achievement. Too soon to toss those, if at all.

There are receipts upon receipts reminding me of a dark time, a period of months, all puns intended, of which I will not be able to claim refunds via my health fund because too much time has lapsed, and I was too meek then to follow through.

There are notes, scribbled on yellow-lined paper, for newspaper articles I wrote which were subsequently published (!). If I can locate the actual copy of the writeup, I’ll recycle the details. No, I will not wait; purge. Out, out, damned bits of history.

The biggest achievement of today was getting rid of a broken locket gifted to me by an ex. If memory serves, it was a present for the Festival of Lights. And the message I’m finally open to receive: “It is time, to celebrate what is and not what was.”