Monthly Archives: December 2010

deja vu

I went to the emergency room Tuesday night (Wednesday morning, really) for severe abdominal pain.  The cure?  Emergency surgery to remove my gallbladder.  This appears to be my year for ridding myself of unnecessary organs. The surgery appears to have gone well, I have some pain but am managing.  I am currently camped out at my parents’ house where people are available to walk Miss Famous and make sure I eat.

I’m thinking of a couple of people going through painful situations right now (and I know there are many, many more out there).  Giving a blanket Merry Christmas!!!! seems somewhat inappropriate in light of that.  I hope for all of you, Christmas celebrators or not, to have some peace in your life and hope for the year to come.

two down

I think that my last post may have left some of you with the impression that I am unhappy.  I am not unhappy.  I am happier than I’ve been in years.  Despite this, and due to my getting through the last two years any way I could, my life is somewhat emptier than I want it to be.  The gist of the last post was that I am becoming aware of what I want, I am willing to look my dreams in the face and know that they have not been realized yet.  The longing that I feel now will (hopefully) spur me on to changing the things about my life that are dissatisfying.

I mentioned just now the last two years of my life.  Because of the timing of when I started this blog and the timing of the demise of my marriage, the two are inextricably linked in my mind; rather, this blog and figuring out life after the marriage ended.

It seems strange that I have been blogging for two years.  The time seems to have gone by in the blink of an eye.  On the other hand, my life looked so incredibly different when I started this blog; I lived in a different state and was married with no expectation of that changing.

This blog, and those of you who read and comment has helped me immensely to figure out what it is I’m doing here, and where it is I hope to be.  As my life changes (as I hope it will), I expect that this blog will change as well.  I, for one, am excited to see where life will take us.

different kinds of loneliness

The widget on the left column tells me today that I have six days until my second blogoversary.  It snuck up on me in a way very unlike it’s approach last year.  Last year I kept an eye on it; last year I tracked it’s arrival not unlike a hunter watching her prey.

Last year I could hardly wait on the blogoversary.  I believed that it’s arrival would signal my own arrival, that everything would somehow be okay, that the hard part of the journey was over.  In many ways, this was true.  My second year blogging has been better in countless ways than the first was.  The first year blogging ended four days after my divorce was finalized.  As I look back it almost seems as though I was in a downward spiral that first year, and the second year has been about pulling out of it.

I recently read a piece by Joyce Carol Oates.  In it she says,

For writing is a solitary occupation, and one of its hazards is loneliness.  But an advantage of loneliness is privacy, autonomy, freedom.

This got me thinking about loneliness, about the many different ways there are to be lonely.  I say this because of the different versions of lonely that I have known in my life.  When I started this blog I was smack dab in the middle of the kind of lonely that lies just below the surface.  In that lonely there was no privacy, no autonomy, no freedom.  I was partnered, but alone.  I was unseen, unheard, unknown.  And unloved.  Being bound to a person who could only his version of me, unable to recognize my freedom to say “no,” unaware of how much bitterness I was swallowing every day just to survive—that was a vastly different kind of lonely that what Ms. Oates describes above.  The loneliness I’m talking about here was pushed down deep inside.  I couldn’t acknowledge it, or the jig would be up.

And then the jig was up.  All the pain that was pushed down for so long, all the loneliness I had been too afraid to acknowledge, it all came rushing out.  To be honest, it overwhelmed me.  I drowned a bit in it.  I then knew a different kind of lonely.  This kind of lonliness can see nothing else, cannot see out of the fog.  This is a heavy lonely, a solitary state, and we’re just fine alone, thankyouverymuch.  Though I fought it at times, at the time of my first blogoversary I was deep in the fog of that lonely.  I could barely see past the nose on my face, and didn’t really want to.  That lonely stays numb, that lonely refuses to open it’s eyes to the possibility of something else.  That lonely is so afraid of something worse than this, that it refuses to consider anything that might be better.

Then, of course, there is the lonely that I have been feeling lately.  This lonely looks around and sees my solitude and feels a deep ache for companionship.  This lonely longs to be seen and heard and known.  And loved, of course.  The thing of it is, though it is uncomfortable at times, I can truly see this loneliness for the gift that it is.  I am awake to it, it does not numb me.  Feeling these feelings, looking around with awareness, wanting to let people in—these all taste like being alive to me.  These feelings will push me to step out of my comfort.  These feelings will lead me out of the loneliness.

christmas and me

That sounds like the title to a made-for-TV movie, doesn’t it?

In thinking about my relationship with Christmas there is the B.C. era and the A.C. era.  Before Conversion and After Conversion. (To Judaism, that is, in case you were wondering.)

I grew up with Christmas and like many who grew up in religious homes, had the usual mix of religious/secular feelings about Christmas.  My parents played the whole Santa Claus game with my sisters and me, and we also went to Christmas Eve services at church and had nativity scenes around the house.  I don’t remember pondering much about Christmas, it just was.  When you are part of the majority culture, you have the privilege of being able to take many things about your life for granted.

Then, I converted.

My first Christmas as a Jew was spent in Jerusalem.  It was the first year I was married to Mr. X, and we were spending the year there as part of his graduate school requirements.  I barely noticed Christmas that year, thanks to the lack of red and green decorations and Christmas carols playing everywhere you spend money.  Christmas was actually on Shabbat (Sabbath) that year (as it will be this year), and the day was taken up doing the usual Shabbat things.

The next year, I was back in the U.S., and came face to face with the American Christmas Industrial Machine once again.  That was the year of the “War on Christmas,” or rather, the “War Against the War on Christmas.”  I found the whole thing highly ridiculous.  As a person who had very recently switched from the “Christmas” side to the “non-Christmas” side, I was hyper-aware of how much Christmas (not “the holidays,” but full-fledged Christmas) permeated the very air one breathes in the US in December.  War on Christmas?  Where exactly?  That year the first thing I thought when I woke up on December 25th was, “It’s Christmas,” but something in me reared up every time someone told me “Merry Christmas.”  I wanted to shout, “It’s not my holiday!”

That year, and for the next couple of years, I had a somewhat adversarial relationship with Christmas.  I was very, very aware that it was no longer “mine,” and as I was married to someone who was very threatened by the idea that I might miss Christmas or want to celebrate it with my family, I made sure to show how much I was annoyed by the whole thing.

Last year was the first year I was both Jewish and not under Mr. X’s thumb.  Now I feel like I have the best of both worlds.  Christmas is impossible to avoid in this country, but I no longer feel like I have to.  I can enjoy the bits and pieces that I want to enjoy (the lights, gifts with my family, receiving the occasional holiday card from a faraway friend), but I get to opt out of the annoying parts, like sending Christmas cards, or feeling obligated to decorate.  I kind of like that there are more get-togethers this time of year and  I really like helping my clients have a better Christmas.  On the other hand, I like getting out of cheesy gift exchanges at work and  I really like not feeling like I should buy presents for all my friends.

Of course, there’s no escaping the music, that’s a burden we all must bear. 🙂

sunshine

It’s cold here today, but Miss Famous is soaking up all the sunshine she can: