Taking Back My Name

Everyone always tells me that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet when I get sad about losing my Israeli name – Eli.

For 2 years I was Elianah or Eli and I loved it.  Elianah-Sharon.  I still say it the Israeli way – Sha-RON – in my head.  Of course once my plane touched down back in the US, I was Sharon again.  It just never felt right after that.  Not Israeli Sharon – a foreigner even to myself.

I wish there was some way I could just retake the name I took when I immigrated, the name on my Israeli papers.  But I can’t without changing it legally here.  There’s a little hope that MAYBE when I marry again I can change it, making Sharon my middle name and Elianah my first name.

With my luck though….

Tonight though I did change it a little.  I changed it on Facebook and while that seems insignificant and petty and really, it is….it meant a lot.

I am socially phobic.  The only people I regularly interact with ARE on Facebook so while it was a trivial step, it was an important one to me.  I changed it here as well.  This is my home on the web so I should be myself here.  I should be who I am inside and that person will always be Elianah-Sharon.

Yeah, I get that a rose by any other name…and that’s true.  But I also get that we have to feel comfortable in our own skins and this makes me feel comfortable in mine.  I’m kind of letting a flag fly and that’s kind of scary because whereas I have been hidden for so long, this kind of puts me right out there for everyone to see.  And maybe hurt.

It’s scary.

But being me is more important and we shall see what kind of a risk this really is won’t we?

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The Biggest Disappointment

I have been thinking a lot the past few days.  Usually this leads to a very dark place that I have a hard time coming back from.  I so very don’t want to ever go back to that place ever again.  Often when I find myself headed to this place these days, I just shut down the thoughts and go to my happy place and lalalalalala…..it doesn’t matter anymore.

But sometimes the dark side creeps up on me.

What I am thinking about is my biggest disappointment.  That, of course, is and always will be having to leave Jerusalem.  Despite all of the wonderful things that have happened since, and I don’t want to say they are any less amazing or wonderful, leaving that city will always be the biggest disappointment of my life and one I can never fix.

Of course that leads directly to a situation of lashon harah (something very bad which was said about me by someone else to many people, regardless of whether it was true or not, who then believed it carte blanche without question because the person telling them wanted them to – take it from me, as our sages say, the evil tongue, lashon harah, does kill a person when it spreads and it never should.)

The worst case of this spread of lashon harah is when it was told to my father.  Today I had to accept that without question, without asking me, without any doubt whatsoever, my father believed it.  I had to accept today how very much this has hurt me…how truly deeply it sears my soul to not be believed by my very own father and worse, to have him automatically believe the worst of me without ever even conceiving that he should even believe the better.

This takes me back to when I was 17 years old and some piece of scum walked into my father’s nightcluband told him I was “the best he ever had.”  My father came home and beat the living shit out of me with a razor strap.  It happened without warning so quickly I barely even knew WHY I was being beaten and defense?  Absolutely none.  And mercy.  Really?  I was guilty without a trial.

And that’s how it remains today.

Guilty without a trial.  It’s just like it was when I was 17 – and my father’s opinion of me has never changed.  For a man who molested me, this is actually….well, I don’t even know what it is.

Today I had to accept all of this.  And obviously I need to act on it but I don’t have any idea what to do.  I didn’t have therapy so I didn’t have a chance to talk to my therapist – that will have to wait a week.  In the meantime, I am just going to process it and not worry about what to do about it.  I am going to let it sit there.  I am not going to roll it over and over and ride with it under my arm to the dark place.  I’ll just wait a while until I can talk to Kellye and then I’ll know what to do and I’ll act on it and send it on it’s way.

This is something I really don’t want to think about.

This is betrayal at it’s very worst.  It’s betrayal, lies, deceit, it’s a whle lifetime of what I had built up in my mind as support from my father that never was and all that “never was” just crumbled away….I guess.

But as unreal as all of that was – the hurt is VERY real.  I am devastated.  I am shot through with devastation.  I am lying on the floor, curled up in my grief for what I thought existed and never did.  I am once again afraid to trust, afraid of people, afraid of the world.

And I know it had led to both a setback and a step forward.  Hopefully they will cancel each other out.

Time will only tell.v

Riding the FACT Bus

Last week I had to take the local paratransit.  Because I get medical assistance, I am qualified to ride the bus and because I had an appointment that was overlapping a commitment Scott had to attend to, I had to take the bus.

I have to admit I was terrified.  I didn’t know what to expect and there wasn’t much I could do about it.  I just kind of had to grin and bear it and hope it wouldn’t be as bad as I thought it was going to be.  Unlike my trip to the synagogue on Rosh HaShanah, I didn’t have the chance to prep with my therapist Kellye prior to my bus ride…this was a cold turkey bus ride.

The good thing about the bus is that the driver, Jack, is a really nice guy who makes you feel really comfortable right from the start.  He’s happy and talkative and seems to understand if you’re not so much.  He called about 30 minutes before he came just to tell me that he was on his way and what time I should be outside….cool.

I sat outside and waited.

At exactly 11:15 when he said he’d be there…the bus rolled around the corner and I got on.  Little did I know it was the “party” bus!  There was one person on when I was picked up and she was chatting away with Jack which was fine with me.  Then we dropped her off and picked up three more people who were regulars apparently and they just laughed and chattered away.

I felt a little conspicuous sitting in the front seat and definitely out of place.  My face was warm and the bus was hot.  I felt like I was going to throw up the entire ride but I made it.

We got to the road where we’d have to turn left to get to our destination….I was consumed by my panic and nerves and I jumped up and told Jack to turn…and he was all like, “I KNOW dear, I come here all the time, don’t worry!” and then laughed at me.

PUBLIC HUMILIATION as the rest of the party bus laughed along.

Inside I knew they weren’t laughing at me…well, maybe they were.  And if not, when I got off the bus and lost my balance and almost fell down, well, you get the point.

But, the real point is that I did it.  And it was a HUGE step for me.  Do I want to do it again?  Actually I do.  I need to do it again to make it not so weird and not so strange.  So I can maybe be a quiet part of the party and feel like I belong more and not feel so much like I felt – a fifth wheel on an already unbalanced bus!

Still, after I got my balance back and walked into my appointment I knew I had taken a major step for me.  It may seem really small to most people and even for me, given my past life – the chick who left it all behind and moved to Israel and made a life for herself and her son despite everything for two years and would do it again in a heartbeat (her heart tells her) – it seems a little trivial, but I know given where I am at mentally now, it was one of the biggest steps I could take right now.

I don’t know when or if there will be any more big steps, I just know there was this one and I am very proud of myself for making it.

Aftermath of Elul

During Elul, we prepare ourselves for the holiday of Rosh Hashanah and the Day of Atonement – Yom Kippur. We are commanded to look within ourselves and to prepare by apologizing to those we have wronged throughout the year.

I don’t know about others but for me, I know this year was the first when I was able for a long time to even consider taking baby steps in this direction. There was one friend in particular that I wanted to apologize to. I wasn’t exactly sure why she had stopped speaking to me but I had an idea and since she wasn’t speaking to me and I have a mindnumbing fear of confrontation, I wrote a letter to her apologizing for all of the things I could imagine I may have done that could have caused the rip in our friendship. I invited her to write back and gave her my email address. I even explained a lot of what happened to me the last few years medically so maybe she’d have some understanding of where I was coming from as well.

And for some reason I had an expectation she’d understand and this apology, while not totally healing the rift between us, may be a little bridge to hopefully gaining a foothold and hopefully opening a little crack in the door that had closed between us.

And today I am having to accept that I was wrong. That rift is unhealable. I don’t even know if she forgave me. The answer to my letter of apology was a big, fat sound of crickets.

Oh I could rationalize it and tell myself she didn’t get it but I think she did. Maybe a letter was wrong but I didn’t really have any other way. I’ve sent emails in the past and the reaction was the same.

Silence.

I sent another Rosh Hashanah greeting and the response was the same.

Silence.

This only serves to drive me deeper into myself and to cause me even more self blame and depression. I know I deserve it and I know I cannot force anyone to forgive me. That’s their choice. I can’t force anyone to respond to me. Again, their choice.

But I do know how it makes me feel and I know it makes me take up residence even further inside of myself and trust venturing out even less. These people were friends and they don’t want me. What would make me think anyone else would.

I know it’s a bummer of a message to receive as the joyous holiday of Sukkot starts but it is the aftermath of Elul for me. I want to add that it doesn’t really change anything for me except for piling just a little more Jewish guilt on my plate,

I am who I am. I have disappointed and hurt whom I have have. They will forgive or they won’t. I am further convinced that the leprosy of my neshama (Jewish soul) lives forever and will never be cured.

The aftermath of my Elul probably will also never go away.

Life As A Headcase: Frustration

I love to use websites for inspiration for my writing, especially when I can’t seem to come up with anything I think is worth writing.  My favorite site is Thoughts From The Blue Notebook and today’s topic deals with frustration.  Which…I guess is a good topic for me because Frustration is a great friend of mine.

Back that one up, maybe not a great FRIEND but due to my physical issues, it is a constant companion.

Frustration comes to visit right along with the Darks.  I feel down and I get frustrated because it makes me feel inadequate, lazy and whiny.  I am afraid I am getting a reputation as a hypochondriac because I have so many things on my health plate.  I get myoclonic seizures which annoy the hell out of me.  Imagine having your reflexes tested non stop for minutes or even hours!  And there’s nothing I can do to stop it except take medication that I often run out of if I have a particularly bad month.

Frustration is there beside of me.

I want to take my son to the book store, have a mocha latte and read a magazine on home remodeling.  I can’t because I have seizures and my license has been gone since September.  I am optimistic though that I’ll get it back but Mr. Frustration mocks me now.  And the time drags.

I think time and Mr. Frustration are close, personal friends…or just in on this together.

I’m content and happy with my life but I have this part of me that longs for the
magical recreation of those happy moments in my life.  It’s like this part of me whom I call The Little Dreamer Girl wants to collect all the happy she can so we can just fall into it and roll around naked.  (Okay TMI, I know but that’s what it’s like).

And very often this quest to bring me baskets of happy blows up in her tear stained face because like a cat bringing home a dead rabbit, only to make it’s owner happy, other people don’t really understand what she’s all about.  Hell, I hardly understand all these parts of me.  How can I expect anyone else to get it.  And when they don’t get it, how can I even explain that it’s not ME doing this.  It’s Little Dreamer Girl and I really have a hard time stopping her from gathering those happy things and bringing them home.

Frustration holds her hand I think and I wish she’d quit going off with him.

Frustration digs deep into my soul, what little I have left, when old friends won’t talk to me anymore.  When people I thought would be there forever don’t want anything to do with me.  And especially when they stop by and say hi never to return. Frustration exacts his revenge and takes his pound of my flesh and blood, and mind, and runs, cackling into the darkness.

Frustration is a contant in my life.  Not MY constant (ala LOST) but constant enough that I am not surprised anymore when I feel his presence.  I just try to remind myself that Frustration comes and goes, although at his own whim.  I never know when he’ll show up or even when he’ll go.

He knows of my neshamale’s (Little Soul in Hebrew) deep connection to Israel and Jerusalem and he sits by the sidelines taunting me, enveloping me in sadness and homesickness, and making sure I know it will never be in my grasp again. He plays with my life like tinker toys.  Some days he let’s me be built up and other’s he pulls me apart.  His exaltation comes when there is absolutely nothing I can do, when I feel completely overwhelmed, powerless and empty.

But that’s how Frustration is.  And sadly, I have to learn, somehow, to live with him.  He will always be there and somehow I have to find a safe place and never let him win.