Life….Returns

For quite some time, I have felt like my life was on hiatus.

First in Israel, where I couldn’t live the life I had expected or become accusomtomed to and I was becoming less and less SUSANNA every day that passed.

Then, when I moved back to the United States, but was jobless, existing on money my parents gave me, ashamed that I couldn’t support myself at age 30 and sleeping on an air mattress.

Later, when I got a job, and started to get back on my feet, not having to worry so much about money or food, but still sleeping on an air mattress.

Now, approaching the time when I’m going to move into my own apartment, and see my furniture and my possessions which have been in storage for the past three years.

It feels like I’ve waited a very long time for this to happen, but the wait has made the approach very sweet. I am so excited to begin living the life I have been dreaming of. It’s not like I’ve just been waiting around, either. I have been working, steadily and with intention towards this life.

When people ask me where it is I’m headed, or what it is that I want, I tend to struggle for an answer. I’m considering not answering it at all. I know the old adage: If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there.

But, I wrote something in a text yesterday that just came out, and I thought: Yes. This is a mantra.

So I’m working to not overthink everything I do, to go with the flow without having to understanding each wave that sometimes goes over my head, to let myself live without questioning if it’s right.

Yom Kippur Musings

In the last ten days (The Days of Awe), I have thought very hard about what type of person I want to be in the coming year, and especially the way I want to express my Judaism. At this point, I don’t think it’s something I can separate myself from, it is so engrained in my identity. Before I was married, however, I did not keep kosher, except on Shabbat. Before I was married, I did not speak Hebrew. Before I was married, I did not do a true fast on Yom Kippur (meaning I drank, used electronics, drove the car). Now that I am no longer married, I have asked myself: Do I want to keep kosher? What synagogue do I want to join? Do I still want to be with someone Jewish? How serious will my Yom Kippur be?

I tell you, these questions are much easier in Israel. Almost everyone you meet is Jewish, so that question gets answered easily. On Yom Kippur, you can’t drive or your car will be stoned and since everyone else is fasting, and sitting at home and reading, meditating or attending shul, it’s not so hard to do it with them. I’m not the odd one out. In Israel, I didn’t particularly care for any synagogue, though, because it felt so very different from what I was used to. Here in Southern California, I have attended many synagogues I like, a lot. But, do I have time to dedicate to being a member of a synagogue? I work, and when I’m not working, I’m working on comedy. It is not impossible to be intentional with my Shabbat and dedicate that one day to God. But, am I ready to make that commitment?

Moving on to things I am more sure of. I sent my ex-husband a Rosh Hashanah note which basically said that I valued our time together, I wish him a healthy and happy New Year. He responded in kind and added blessings for my parents. I have surely divorced one of the nicest men on the planet. And I am blessed by that. I know so many others who fight bitterly or are tormented by their exes. But, there are others with whom I perhaps owe an apology, except I’m not particularly sorry for what I have done, or I’m not sure how to approach the apology. I am sorry that I no longer want to be someone’s friend. I am sorry that I told this person, thereby creating hurt feelings. This might be the closest I get to a direct apology. Additionally, I’m sorry if I used someone. I’m sorry for being selfish. I’m sorry for saying mean things. I’m sorry for the mistakes I’ve made, not because of them, but for the consequences other suffered.

I feel at relative peace moving forward into the New Year. I will be spending tonight and tomorrow with a new friend among other young adults in the Los Angeles area. I am happy because I enjoy new experiences and meeting new people. I am happy because I am not alone. I am happy because I am beginning to see a light, a path, a place.

Rosh Hashanah Musings

I’ve just returned from a trip to San Francisco where I spent the weekend with an old friend, someone who knew me before the marriage, someone who met me at a time when I was relatively unstable emotionally and I was going through a lot of changes. This time I’m not unstable emotionally, although I do not trust myself at all and I’m very scared about many things. I’m still going through changes. Overall, I had a fantastic time. San Francisco is a great city and I haven’t ever spent a weekend there in the way I did, with locals, just hanging out, not being super touristy. I got a feel for the flavor of the city and I can easily understand why people love it. The air felt fresh, people were nice, traffic was negligible. In comparison to Los Angeles, that is. But, something left me feeling uneasy.

It’s the New Year. The last three Rosh Hashanahs have been spent with my ex-husband. We had a plan for our life together. We had a future. We had ideas about how we were going to live. And now that is all gone. And please don’t misunderstand me, I am exponentially happier now, so it’s not that I’m alone on Rosh Hashanah, which I’m not, exactly, because I’m spending it with friends. I’m just lonely for the idea. I’m lonely for the plan. I don’t want that plan, per se, but I still like the idea of marriage and children and having a family to spend Rosh Hashanah with. I know the Los Angeles transplants have to bond together and I’m very grateful for the girls I’m going to be “blowing the shofar” with, if you will.

And yet, a large BUT remains. The future is once again, uncertain. At times, it is exciting. At other times, terrifying. There is no choice, but to go forward and go forward with zeal. I’m happy to do it. But, at Rosh Hashanah, I feel like it’s important to reflect on who I have been and who I will be. I have been thinking about it a lot and I just can’t come to a conclusion. I don’t know who I want to be. I’ve been trying to decide if I’m going to keep kosher 100% or 0%. I don’t want to do it halfway because that has stopped making sense to me. But, if I choose not to, am I abandoning some part of my faith? I understand that it’s not the end of anything if I eat shrimp. Additionally, I have made the proclamation recently that I’m done with dating Jewish guys. It never ends well. It doesn’t really even start well most of the time. But, this past weekend when we were all sitting around a table, drinking, a Jewish topic came up and my friend and I were the only two who really understood the answer, simply because we are Jews. I love that connection. I love that tribal bond. So, I am simply conflicted. This question has been haunting me since my divorce: Who am I as a Jew? Who do I want to be as a Jew? Although I have thought and thought about the questions, I simply cannot reach a conclusion. I have to believe that this is God’s intention. He needs me to be unsure for awhile. One day I will understand why. I hope in the next ten days, I can come to some type of small conclusion.

It’s not just my identity that worries me. I second guess myself in every relationship decision I make, whether it’s to go out with someone, to stop dating others in favor of just one person, etc. I’m afraid I won’t recognize the signs, even though I’m not totally certain that signs even exist. One friend told me to just enjoy myself and not worry so much about interpreting red flags. What if I just want someone to hold me and I let whichever guy is nearby become the one who does the holding? I’ve done this before and looking back on it, I’m disgusted with myself for giving any of my time, attention or affection to someone who was thoroughly wrong for me, disgusted with myself for wasting time. I do not want to keep making the same mistakes. But I don’t know how to stop. I don’t know how to change.

I looked back at my writing from Israel and plain as day, in November of 2009, before I was even engaged, I wrote: “I worry that I’m not falling in love with Ben, but Israel and I’m confusing the two.” You might think that it would be a relief to read something like that, but on the contrary, it plagued me. I KNEW! I knew before I needed to know. And I let it go away. I conveniently forgot. I ignored myself because I wanted something. I made logical choices and turned down the volume of my heart and soul. Now I feel my heart and soul are turned up so loudly, I can’t make out what they are saying. What if I become deaf again? What if I miss something really important? I just don’t trust my instinct about people, events or even myself.

I write a lot about how music influences me. I have been listening to Gotye a lot recently and he has one song called Giving Me a Chance. I’m sure he wrote it to someone else, but when I hear it, I think it’s me singing to myself:

“Giving Me A Chance”

You know I never want to let you down
It cuts me up to see you sad
And I wish that I could undo what I’ve done
Give back the faith in me you had

Oh yeah
Oh yeah

You know I love you more than anyone
But I get a little wrapped up in myself
But you know I never want to do you wrong
Bring into question what we have

Oh yeah
I know I let you down
I know I let you down
But you’re giving me a chance

Oh yeah
I know I let you down
I know I let you down
But you’re giving me a chance

I am trying very hard to give myself a chance to be happy, even though it’s frightening. The last time I did that (marrying someone), I made a real cock-up of it. I don’t want to do it again. But, I don’t want to be alone. And I am terrified of choosing incorrectly again. So where does that leave me?