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Isn't it pretty?

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

There's Hope!

Upon receiving my copy of Newsweek last night, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the cover story was devoted to dispelling the myth (that I remember being popularized on the TV show Designing Women) that women over the age of 40 are more likely to be the victim of a terrorist act than to get married. The article was devoted to both new research statistics that argue against the previously stated study and to a follow-up with the women that were interviewed for the Newsweek article 20 years ago. They managed to find 11 of 14 of the women who had been interviewed, and considering the statistics that they had an approximately 4 percent of eventually marrying, it came as a surprise that 8 of them are now happily married. In fact, according to the more recent census report, women who have never been married by the age of 40 have a 40% chance of marrying. And what I liked even better is that the study found that women who have higher educations, while marrying later, actually have higher marriage rates. For a woman with an advanced (beyond bachelor's) degree, the average age of first marriage is now 30. Hmmm, that puts me right about at the point where I don't need to yet worry. I also liked the fact that they added a small article dispelling the myth that having a degree or advanced education no longer puts a woman at a disadvantage to marrying - they are actually getting married at higher rates than those who have no education beyond high school. I hate to be so immature, but "so there!" to all those who attempted to discourage from focusing on my education. Of course, all these averages and statistics aren't necessarily completely relevant to the frum world - I am sure the averages are off quite a bit. But in general, it does give hope (not that I had yet given up). Thanks Newsweek!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

You Live, You Learn

I woke up this morning with the lyrics to Alanis Morissette's "You Live, You Learn" stuck in my head: You live you learn You love you learn You cry you learn You lose you learn You bleed you learn You scream you learn You grieve you learn You choke you learn You laugh you learn You choose you learn You pray you learn You ask you learn You live you learn It was a weekend of all of these, I think. I've laughed and cried, hoped and despaired, prayed and questioned. And I came out of it trusting myself a little more - because, as Alanis says, you live and you learn. And I found out that my gut has a reason for what it says, and I should trust my instincts. Even though sometimes I don't want to, because going with my gut doesn't deliver the results I was hoping for. I guess if you grow and learn from your experiences, they can't be wasted. You can't regret them. I like to think that Hashem gives me each experience for a reason, for a lesson, for me to learn. And I hope I manage to understand the lesson in those experiences, rather than reliving my mistakes over and over. But maybe I've been doing that anyway. Maybe I need to trust myself a little more. I guess the question lingering for me is how do we know when we see ourselves? In talking with others, I see so many who really are blind to who they are, and what they are doing to themselves. Which makes me wonder if I am doing the same thing. And the answer is, while I would like to think that I'm not, I probably am, at least in some ways. But if I don't see what I'm doing, how can I correct it? I guess the answer is to try to live and learn.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Graduation Day

My baby brother is graduating from high school today. From the same high school I attended, though it's now in a new building. I can't believe he's old enough to be graduating from high school. I still think of him as about eight years old. But he's almost an adult now, taller than me and almost ready to move out of my mom's house. It amazes me how many years have gone by so quickly. I remember my high school graduation, with my brother who is now graduating out in the crowd. Even though my school was one where the audience didn't cheer for each graduate, my brothers made sure to whoop and holler for me when I walked across the stage, with the announcer mispronouncing my middle name (which was understandable, it's Hebrew). That was 11 years ago, and so much has happened since. I've gone to college, and managed to finish, and then start graduate school. I went to Israel, and brought Torah Judaism into my life. I've moved cities three times since that walk across the stage in Birmingham. The girl I was then is not the same person I am today. I wonder who my brother will be in 11 years, what he will have accomplished. Whether he will look back in 11 years and wonder where the time has gone and what a different person he is. What he will be doing, if he will be an uncle, or a father. I know it's cliche and typical, but I think Green Day's Time of Your Life wraps it all up: Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go So make the best of this test, and don't ask why It's not a question, but a lesson learned in time It's something unpredictable, but in the end it's right. I hope you had the time of your life. So take the photographs, and still frames in your mind Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial For what it's worth it was worth all the while It's something unpredictable, but in the end it's right. I hope you had the time of your life.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

My New Look

Thank you to Mirty and Chaim who gave me the instructions on how to give myself a really pretty new header! I am not crazy about the background color, but can't find another one that I like at the moment, so I will keep working on that one. Just to explain, I assume that most people know that the flower is a rose, and the Kotel, one of my favorite places on earth (the picture is one I took during my trip in January), but most probably won't get the picture on the left. It's the Vulcan, the world's largest cast iron statue, who reigns supreme over Birmingham, Alabama and what I think of when I think of my hometown. Hope everyone likes the new look!

Guided Imagery

I'm taking a developmental psychology class for the next few weeks. One of our assignments is to write an autobiographical account of one time period in our lives, either in the past or what we project for the future. In order to get us in the zone to do this, our professor led us through a guided imagery last night into our past. It was kind of cool. He led us through the past slowly, beginning with the past weekend, then through the last semester, and eventually through childhood to our earliest memories. It was really interesting which memories I had, and what kind of emotions and experiences I attached to each phase of my life. It was also interesting to me that the most recent time evoked the strongest reactions, but I guess that makes sense - it's more raw, more vivid and clear and more tangible since time hasn't passed. I couldn't help the tears that fell from my eyes from thinking about the last semester, which was difficult in some ways, but I know I have gone through much more difficult periods in the more distant past. What was also interesting to me is that, because of the guidelines our professor gave in our guided imagery, I skipped very quickly through some of the most important developmental years of my life. Because he took us through our college years in succession, those years that I had taken a break from school, the time in which I became frum and really formed my current identity, were glossed through very quickly. It startled me a bit to realize how much my life has changed in the last ten years. When my professor asked us to visualize our high school graduation, I was struck for a moment realizing that my parents were still married and at my graduation together. Granted, my parents were actually at my college graduation together as well, but they were married when I was in high school. And I have just gotten so used to them being divorced that I had a hard time remembering what it was like before they separated. The other thing that I found so interesting about this regression was when my professor took us back to kindergarten. I don't remember a lot about that time, because it was a LONG time ago. But what I do remember is that I was confident, and unabashed about sharing my talents. As the years went on, and I went through, like many others do, teasing, hurtful words, and learned what was "cool," this confidence and comfort in who I was diminished greatly. I taught myself to hide parts of who I was because it wasn't acceptable or popular. The criticism I received from others became a part of me and affected my self-image incredibly. And what's interesting is that I think, at this point in my life, which my professor pointed out is normal for people in young adulthood, is that I finally have gotten comfortable with who I am again. I am proud of my uniqueness and the talents that Hashem has given me and I'm not afraid (at least not too afraid) of presenting that to the world again. I see myself in that little girl in kindergarten who hadn't yet been hurt. Obviously, I have years of baggage today that I didn't have then, and I have issues that I still need to work on, but I relate to who I was in kindergarten more than I do to who I was in high school. It was quite a lesson to learn and interesting to view myself through my past. I'm actually really looking forward to writing my autobiographical account now, because I think I am going to learn a lot.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

What a Shabbos!

This past Shabbos, I traveled to New Square, which is a Chassidic community near Monsey. The community is completely made up of Skverer Chassids, and is very strict about many standards, such as tznius, interactions between men and women and contact with the outside world. Before Shabbos, a friend who I was going with sent me a welcome letter from our hosts explaining some of the customs and the schedule which we would be encountering during our Shabbos there. It mentioned the modesty standards, and explained the limitations in interactions between men and women there. It also made an incredible point of stating how excited they were to have us as their guests. There were six of us there for Shabbos. We arrived erev Shabbos to bedrooms made up for us with soap, towels and tissues on each of our pillows. Our hosts children gave up their rooms for us, I slept on the top bunk of a bunk bed for the first time in my life. After we put our things away, we came downstairs and our host fed us kugel and salads before Shabbos started, since it would be a while until we ate again. We got ready for Shabbos, lit candles, and then went to take naps. The Skverer Chassidim have their own kind of schedule. The men came home from shul around 10:30 at night and then we came down from our naps and proceeded to eat a leisurely meal until around 1:00 AM. Our host came downstairs and she was dressed beautifully, but as if the custom of the community, she was wearing a sheitel with a white scarf on top of it, and a white apron over her dress. It was something that I have only seen in Israel, which is actually where I felt like I was for much of Shabbos. My friend and I were trying to help set the table, but we missed some of the custom. As we came back into the dining room after setting the plates out, we found our seats moved way down to the end, where we would be eating with the wife, a whole table between ourselves and her husband. We asked her if this was the way she would sit if we weren't there and she told us yes. Wow. After dinner, we went to the Rebbe's Tisch. I had never been to a tisch before, and this was certainly an experience to see. There was probably at least 700 men there, standing on bleachers, wearing bekishe's and shtreimels. They were singing their hearts out, with incredible energy and melody. I don't have words to express the amazing energy in that room, with so many people all singing to honor their Rebbe. All I could do was listen and let the energy gush over me. We got home around 3 AM, and sat around chatting with our hostess for a little while before going to sleep. In the morning when we woke, the schedule was quite different than in most frum communities that I have been to. We went to shul around 12:30, in time for the Torah reading. The women there were very helpful and friendly to us, showing us where we were in the davening and wishing us a good Shabbos. We then went to lunch around 2:00. My friend and I went to a different family for lunch. The wife was the typical Jewish bubby, stuffing us with food and then chastising us for not eating enough. Before we left, she admonished us that the only way she would know if we enjoyed our time there was if we came back, which we assured her we would. After lunch it was back to our host's house for a nap and some good conversation until Shabbos was over. We went back to another tisch, this one in the dark, which was incredible again. Watching the shadows of the men swaying and singing was just really powerful. It was an amazing experience. My reflections from this Shabbos still haven't processed. Many of the things I witnessed and learned were so foreign to me - the head covering, the separation of the genders, the fact that women don't drive. But I honestly felt that the members of the community do all these things because they sincerely believe it's the best way to serve Hashem. I can't tell you how many times I heard my host's 2-year-old say that she was doing something "Lakovod Shabbos" (for the honor of Shabbos). I don't understand a lot of it, and I don't think I could ever live to anything near such a standard, but there is something to it. It was an incredible Shabbos, and I am so happy to have had such an experience.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Shidduch Considerations

My latest at Beyond BT: Shidduch Considerations - Seeing Challenges as Opportunities for Growth Check it out!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Mother's Day Conversations

This is kind of a personal post, but oh well. Yesterday was Mother's Day, as I am sure most people are aware. My mom lives in Alabama, which is too far for me to be there to celebrate Mother's Day. So I sent her a card and spoke to her on the phone, which is how we have handled it for the past few years. It was an exciting weekend for my family. My youngest brother is a senior in high school and the soccer team he plays on won the state championship! My parents had both traveled the two hours to watch the games and were very excited to see the outcome. But it means the end of an era for my parents. My youngest brother will be graduating high school and moving out to attend college. So, my mom is feeling a bit of "empty nest" syndrome. I thought my mom would be excited to have all her kids out of the house, she had said so in the past. Since my parent's divorce, my mom has always put great importance on her friends and her social life, sometimes to the exclusion of her children. It was often a source of contention between my mom and myself, that even when I was home visiting, she wasn't able to miss any of her social engagements to spend time with me. So I had always gotten the impression that she would be happy to have her life free to do whatever she wanted with it. But apparently, she's now changing her mind. When I said something to that effect to her, she told me her friends were just dinner here and there, it wasn't really life. It made me sad, and also scared me a bit. Because my friends are so much a part of my life. I know I don't have my own family yet, but I do rely so much on my friends to fill my life, that it is scary thinking that my mom, who seemed to place so much importance on her friends, all of a sudden doesn't think it's such a big thing. Is this going to be me in a few years? I hope not. But I guess what struck me the most was just that I wish I had known, or that my mom had expressed more, how important we were to her, that she wanted to fill her life with her children rather than her friends. Because I really didn't know until yesterday. I guess we misperceive things all the time. It's really hard to know what's going on in someone else's head. But I really wish I knew better sometimes.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Monsey Internet Statement

Take a look at this post on Seradez (check out the site for adorable baby pictures as well as a lot more also). I think it's an incredibly well-written article, with an extremely valid and important point. There's a lot I want to say about it, but when I think more about what I want to say, I fear that my biases about different streams of Judaism come out, and I am not sure they are accurate, so I am going to hold back. In general, the recent symposium on the Internet in Monsey and the previous ban in Lakewood leave me a bit upset. I understand where they are coming from, but I feel like it is putting a Band-Aid on a much larger problem. And I feel that these kind of bans strip adults from using their own sense and judgement, which leaves one devoid of the freedoms they should be allowed. I don't think Judaism endorses such censorship, however, a lot of rabbis seem to feel that it is a necessary precaution. But these are the kind of attitudes that I (and others, I am sure) find stifling and demeaning. These kind of bans are saying that the rabbis don't trust me to make my own decisions; that they don't believe that the average Jewish adult has the kind of restraint to avoid the evils that the Internet can be used for. What they miss though, is that the Internet can be used for a lot of good also. There are so many sites out there that offer Torah, learning, and community. I have met several people who became frum stemming from finding Torah on the Internet. Initiatives like Beyond BT is set up to be a support system for frum Jews; Ask Moses is a site for people to go to get answers to those questions when they don't know who to ask (Disclaimer - Ask Moses shouldn't be used as a halachic authority, but it does have some good information). I think making statements telling people not to use the Internet is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater - it will keep many from the good things the Internet offers, and many of those who it will keep away are the ones who wouldn't have used it for bad to begin with. The people who want to find negative influences on the Internet are going to do it anyway. Like the author of the article on Serandez mentioned, many would be better off if the rabbis addressed the real problems happening, and intiated a support group to help them overcome these weaknesses, rather than just banning everything good and bad. Anyway, that's my two cents about it. But I doubt it's a surprise to anyone that I am in favor of the Internet - I don't know how I would get through my workday without it.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

In the Right Time

Last night, I got back a paper I had worked pretty hard on. And apparently my hard work paid off - I received an A and very complimentary comments on it. I thought I Had done a decent job, but I was uncertain exactly what the professor was looking for on the paper, and what kind of level of writing she expected, since it was my first paper during graduate school. I realized after receiving my paper back and reading the comments that my undergraduate program did an excellent job at preparing me for graduate school. In speaking to some of the other students in my classes over the semester, I think the University of Baltimore can really be commended for putting together a rigorous and well-rounded psychology program. It's impressive both because the school is not incredibly well-respected within the Maryland collegiate system and because psychology is usually a fairly fluff curriculum. It made me realize how the decisions I have made in my life, while at the time didn't make everyone, or even myself, so happy, have turned out for the best. To give a little background, I started college at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. I went to college straight out of high school, because that's what you do in my family - there aren't really other options. I started my college career in engineering, but quickly realized that I hated it, so I switched my major (and lost my scholarship) to psychology. After a couple years of doing this, I was burnt out. My classes were huge, I had no relationship with my professors, they could care less whether I was in class or not, so I usually wasn't. I dropped classes without telling my parents and while I managed to make decent grades, I was learning nothing. After my second year of college, I went to Israel and my journey towards frumkeit began. This journey, however, made me want to go back to Israel to learn, which meant discontinuing my secular education. My parents were not pleased, but couldn't really stop me. After I returned from Israel, I wanted to get my own place, which meant I had to work full-time to pay the rent. Which also meant not going back to school. Again, my parents were not pleased, but there was little they could do about it. After working full-time for several years, and realizing that I wasn't feeling especially fulfilled, I decided to return to school. I wanted to make more of my life, I was done waiting around for a husband to make my big decisions, and decided it was time to take action. It was one of the best decisions I have made. I enrolled at the University of Baltimore. It had a very small psychology program, with a rigorous research and writing orientation. It focused on preparing students to go on for graduate study. I wrote paper and paper, I learned to look at studies critically, I formed personal relationships with my professors. I loved it, partially because I was really ready to be there, and partially because the faculty did take such a personal interest in the students, which you don't really find at a larger school. And now I am in graduate school, and while I have to work very hard, I feel I was very well prepared to handle the courses and expectations of graduate work. If I had finished in four years in Alabama, I would have been so burnt-out, I don't know if I would ever have gone back for more. Taking the break I did, even though it caused a lot of strain in my relationship with my parents, was the best thing for my education I could have done. Because now I am choosing to pursue it, I'm not being pushed into it by others. It's not easy working full-time and going to graduate school. But it's absolutely the best thing for me, because I really appreciate it and can take pride in the fact that I work so hard. It wasn't the standard course (though I was never one for doing things the way everyone else does), but it is my course, and it's the best one for me. Things work out for a reason. I am fortunate to be able to look back and be able to say that.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Lessons from Psychology

What a surprising title from me (not!). Seriously, I've become such a geek that I am reading school-related books for pleasure now. But, there are definitely lessons to be learned in them. Anyway, if you would like to know the lessons I recently learned from Irvin Yalom's incredible book "Love's Executioner," check out my latest post at Beyond BT: Lessons from Psychology

Monday, May 08, 2006

A Visit with my Dad

I saw my dad yesterday. He was in Philadelphia for a conference, and I was scheduled to be in Cherry Hill (which is 20 minutes away) for a party anyway, so we managed to connect for a couple hours. I typically see my father in Alabama about once a year. We speak on the phone a couple times a week, but because of our geographical distance, we aren't especially close. I picked my dad up from his hotel and we found a coffee shop to sit and chat. He asked me a bout my life - school, work, dating, etc. He told me about all my brothers and my step-brothers, and what was going on with them. He told me about his conference that he was attending with people that he has worked with for the past 30-something years (even longer than I have been alive!). It's weird for me to think that my dad has a 28-year-old daughter. First, because that means I'm 28 and I certainly don't feel more than about 21 most of the time (except when I'm paying my bills). And second, because that makes my dad old enough to have a 28-year-old child (and he wasn't 20 when I was born). So I kind of looked at him with new eyes, I saw his grey hair, his wrinkles. I think, because I don't see him so often, I still picture him in my mind much younger. But the clock doesn't stop ticking just because you are gone. We then went back to his hotel and he introduced me to a bunch of his colleagues. I met people he has worked with and people he has trained over the years. It was kind of weird when I met a woman my father had trained, about my age, who was just going on and on about how great my dad was. It's sometimes hard to see that stuff when you are family. We finally found my step-mom and chatted with her for a few minutes before my dad had to join his conference. I managed to be nice. All in all, it was nice seeing my dad. I told him that next time he was in the Northeast, he should stay for an extra day so we could really spend some time together. But I guess I'll take what I can get for now.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Another Meme, Israel-Style

I've been posting more than usual lately. It's kind of nice to know I still have something to say, but honestly, I think it has more to do with the fact that school has slowed down, so I can once again breathe. Ezzie tagged me with the Israel Meme. My instructions, which I think I may actually follow (I guess it does happen once in a blue moon) are to share an experience I had in Israel or one I have heard, in honor of Israel's Independence Day. After finding out that I had been tagged, one experience in Israel stands out in my mind as the obvious one to write about. My initial reaction was actually that I just had to find it, of course I must have written about it before, because it was such an incredibly defining moment in my life. But I can't find it, either on my blog, nor in my computer, so I guess I will just have to reconstruct it now. In the summer of 1997, I went to Israel on Aish Hatorah's Jerusalem Fellowships program. I was in the middle of college and my parents had seen an advertisement for extremely cheap trips to Israel and thought that it might be a good thing for me to enjoy my summer. The trip was for one month (I chose July due to a camp that I worked in June and my brother's Bar Mitzvah in August) - and airfare, lodging, food and sightseeing were all included. What I didn't realize would also be included was a completely life-changing experience. My parents were aware that Aish Hatorah was an Orthodox organization, and we were far from Orthodox, but like I said before, it was a really cheap trip and a great opportunity for me to travel to Israel. I had met with the representative who was actually living in Alabama at the time and he had definitely sparked my interest. Besides seeing the land, I had always been curious to learn more about Judaism. My Sunday School education hardly did justice to our heritage, and I knew I was missing a lot. I just didn't realize how much. Anyway, one moment of that trip stands out in my head as the moment my life took a major turn. A few days after my arrival in Jerusalem, my head still spinning from lack of sleep, being in a really different country, and meeting a ton of new people, it was time for Shabbos. Previously, Shabbos was Friday night. My mom would light candles, my dad would say kiddush, we would have challah and a meal for about half an hour. That wasn't the Shabbos I was about to experience. Aish Hatorah sure knows what they are doing. Before Shabbos started, they transported all of us into the Old City and led us up to a rooftop overlooking the Kotel. From there, we sang and danced Kabbalas Shabbos while watching the sun set over the Kotel while it filled with thousands of people. We watched the guys from Yeshiva Hakotel march in while singing, and we watched people dressed in all colors and styles come together en masse to welcome Shabbos. Then it was out turn to go down and join the crowd in front of the Kotel. I had never been there before, didn't even know what the Kotel was until someone had explained to me that it was the Western (or Wailing) Wall. I had heard about that, but didn't really understand the significance. As we walked closer, the sounds, smells and throbbing energy of all those people, all those Jews, filled me. One of the leaders of the group encouraged me to move closer to the Kotel itself, and helped us make out way towards the Wall, though that night it was too crowded to actually get up to the front and touch its stones. As I walked closer, I was overcome with emotion. I hadn't expected such a feeling, but all of a sudden, I felt Hashem like I had never felt Him before. I felt His presence there, smiling down on me, telling me that everything was going to be all right, and that He loved me. I know it might sound weird, but I really did feel it. I burst into tears, not even knowing why. I wasn't sad, I felt comforted for the first time in a really long time. My group leader gave me a big hug and led me back from the Kotel to make sure I was okay. I assured her I was, we slowly left the Plaza. That moment was the single most spiritual moment I have ever experienced. It has led me down a path that I am fortunate to have traveled. Hashem knew what He was doing, in so many ways. And I can't thank Him enough. Ok, I'm tagging (and I apologize if you have already been tagged) A Bit of Light, The Tailor, and Search for Emes. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Yom Hazikaron

I've been trying to post all day, but Blogger doesn't like me again. Today is Yom Hazikaron, Israel's Memorial Day. There are a number of posts around the Blogosphere that describe the feeling of being in Israel today, and they certainly do a better job than I can even attempt at articulating what today is about. Just a quick few words though. I can't think about the many lives that have been lost in the struggle to allow Jews to live as Jews freely without tearing up. Imagining the many who stand proud of their heritage, whether they are "religious" or not makes a huge statement. I'm actually a bit embarrassed that I have not had teh opportunity to stand with them, and defend my right as well (but I know I'm not made of the stuff that one has to be made of to hold a gun). I hope one day to be commemorating this day from the land of my forefathers, standing alongside my fellow Jews, tall (okay, I'll never be tall, but you know what I mean) and proud to be Jewish. To remember all those people who have died because they are Jews serving their homeland, living in their homeland and protecting their homeland, the only place in the world that the really belong. Read these poignant posts about Yom Hazikaron: Levels of Indebtedness Yom HaZikaron The Siren's Wail Remembering

Monday, May 01, 2006

A Bruised Ego

It's incredible how much ego can get in the way of a normal reaction. I received an e-mail this morning about plans that were made without my knowledge and against my desires. Normally, I am a pretty easy-going, flexible person. But the change of plans involved a person who I have never really hit it off with - someone who I have always felt a little slighted by, as if this person doesn't like me very much. So my reaction was not what it normally is. Ordinarily, I would have been fine with the change of plans, or maybe just slightly annoyed. But I lashed out at the bearer of the news, even though I knew it wasn't her fault. But my reaction was completely emotional and not logical in the slightest, and it definitely was from the worst within me. After responding, my thoughts were filled with negativity towards this person. Tales spun in my head about the negative thoughts I imagined she has towards me, and I was definitely pontificating out of control negativity towards her. And I'm not usually like that. I kept telling myself I was being silly, and I needed to stop such negative thoughts, but I wasn't completely able to. As I thought about it more, I realized, it's all about my ego. My ego is bruised because I feel like this person doesn't like me. I usually get along with most people, and the fact that I feel slighted by this person, I take every interaction with them as negative. I perceive what probably isn't even there, and I definitely spin things into much more than they actually are. And it's not about this person - it's about me. And my insecurities. And my issues. I am making myself unable to get along and to let this person like me. It was quite the realization to come to this conclusion. But now that I have, I am actually more calm, and don't feel as negatively towards this person. It doesn't mean I will be best friends with them anytime soon, but I am more willing to work with them, because I do know that it's in my head, and I am the one making things worse. I hope I will manage to let go of my ego enough to make amends.