Rosh Hashanah 2013 Ramblings

I just re-read my Rosh Hashanah post from 2012.

My heart hurt for the girl who wrote it because I know how far she had to go and all the things she had to do to get to Rosh Hashanah 2013, but my heart hurts most of the time so it’s not a particularly uncomfortable thing. My friends keep telling me that I’m a strong person and I honestly wonder why they think so. I struggle constantly. Genuine and lasting happiness has evaded me for so long, I don’t remember what it’s like and I don’t want to feel this way anymore. Rosh Hashanah is a time to figure out why and how to change.

Change

I have come so far and changed so much from the person who wrote that post. I worried about love and trusting myself. I worried that I would make another colossal mistake, akin to married, or be so afraid to mess up that I wouldn’t act at all and THAT would be the mistake.

I’m addicted to risk and I prefer it. It’s exciting. When you take a leap of faith, when you take a chance, anything can happen. I would rather make a mistake than worry about what might have been or should have been. But you can’t live a life thinking about what should have been. So you move on. Except, I’ve spent most of the this year punishing myself for getting married. I accept the divorce, but the marriage part angers me. I beat myself up over it because it was such a stupid mistake. It wasn’t a risk…not in the way I like risking. It was a complete error in judgment. Out of character for me.

And I’ve been fighting myself for a year. Trying to get back to the person I was before I was married…the confident, calm, ready to fight girl. But if I think about it logically, and aside from the fact that I can’t undo my choices (nor would I…actually), I wouldn’t give up the things I’ve learned because of my mistakes. Logically, I get it and I accept it. But my heart has a little trouble keeping up. I blame myself for being alone, for marrying the wrong person, for everything that’s happened since. I’ve been punishing myself, maybe so that I have control over it. Maybe so that karma won’t do it for me. If I cause my own pain, then I won’t encounter pain from a blindside.

But, you see…that doesn’t work. We are all victims to a blindside, and there isn’t anything we can do about it, but handle the blindside with grace. What frustrates me so much about my marital mistake is that it wasn’t a blindside. I went forward, basically knowing it was a mistake. My heart knew, but my mind wouldn’t catch up. Why don’t these things work in concert???

Some things haven’t changed since 2012. I wasn’t sure who I was as a Jew, or what I wanted. I am not, by any means, out of the woods yet. In fact, I’ve encountered problems I didn’t have a year ago. My identity as a Jew is challenged. Culturally, I am 100% Jewish, but I don’t know where I stand religiously. I guess I’m still a Jew in that I want the Meshiach to come, I love Israel and I will be fasting on Yom Kippur. It just feels pretty mixed up inside. I have faith it’ll all work out though, more so than I did last year.

But the New Year is a time to begin introspection, looking back at the mistakes of the past year and planning the changes to make in the new year.

What mistakes have I made and what do I plan to change? I’ll be spending the two days off thinking about these very things. My holiday will begin by going to the Los Angeles River (it qualifies as a flowing body of water) and emptying my pockets, while reciting the Tashlich prayer. This act symbolizes the casting off of our sins. I like the physical action of saying, enough. I let go. I plan a little commune with nature, in the form of a morning hike, reading Torah, and writing. And I look forward to a Rosh Hashanah luncheon of wine, cheese, apples, honey and challah, all sweet things for a sweet New Year.

hamsaI don’t know all the changes I will make. But I know one thing: this year I will be happier. So in 2014, when I read this post, I hope, I can nod my head and say yes, 5774 was better. (That’s the Jewish year for all you goyim). I hope I find love, one that is lasting. And if not, I hope I can accept that. I hope I find forgiveness for myself. I hope I find success in my career and I hope my friendships are strengthened by love and trust because I have a much clearer path to what I want and who to be and I’m on my way there.

For those of you who took the time to read this, Jewish or not, L’Shanah Tovah v’Gemar Chatimah Tovah!  “Happy New Year and May you be inscribed (in the Book of Life) for a good year.”

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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.

Realization of Why

I don’t know for sure what the cosmic reasons for my two and half years of living abroad, or for the divorce. If I were to be so bold to hazard a guess, I would say that God intended for me to be in this place right now. I finally feel like I’m pursuing a goal and a life that is meant for me. My grind means something. I’m satisfied and fulfilled by it. I wish it sustained me as an economic support, but one day, I know it will.

I’ve seen changes in myself. I’m slower to judge and slower to speak. I’m much more easy going. I’m softer. I don’t have the energy, desire, or need to fight with others over most things. My response to a personal challenge is often a shrug of the shoulders, which doesn’t mean I’ve given up, it means that I’m better able to judge what’s worth fighting over. But, I really don’t have the power in me to fight someone. I am devoting all my energy to fighting for myself. I want to find me again. I want to be myself, and it has to be the best version of myself. I was an unacceptable version for far too long. I’m getting there slowly, slowly. I like who I’m becoming. I’m aware of who I was and where I’ve been and where I don’t want to be ever again.

Moving to Burbank has definitely helped this process. If I had stayed in Fresno, surrounded by my family and friends, light and support, I would still be using that crutch. Relocating to a place where I would be initially alone forced me  to constantly evaluate who I was, what I was and who I was going to be. I had to make new friends. I had to depend on myself and I only had me depending on myself. I was out on my own. That’s really only partially true because I had emotional and financial support from my parents, as well as love from my friends whenever I needed it. But I was physically alone, discovering myself again. It has been a good journey so far, but not without trials, to be sure.

What I’m challenged by most, right now, is still guilt. I feel like I’m carrying around a lot of it. I know why, but I’m tired of doing it. It’s weighing me down unnecessarily and making my progress slower. I want to put this guilt down, but I don’t know how.

So while I understand that I don’t fully understand the purpose behind all that has happened to me, and all that I have caused to happen, I am trying to make sense of it. I am feeling more at ease than I ever have before. I like being the softer version of myself. I like being malleable to ideas. I like being open to new things. I like testing waters. I like testing myself. I like meeting new people and my whole story is mine. I also like being with old friends who can see the changes in me and like them.