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?

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3 thoughts on “Rosh Hashanah Musings

  1. Regarding:
    “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 believe confusion is like God’s grace period. If you are not sure, it’s God’s way of cutting you a break… YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING YET. You get to sit back, and not make any decisions. At some point your head and heart will get together and then you will know the grace period has ended and you must make your decision and move forward with it. For now… try to enjoy the grace, and be gentle with yourself.

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