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Isn't it pretty?

Monday, February 12, 2007

In Response

I had some interesting reactions to my last post (and my blog in general lately), interesting because they spanned the spectrum. I was called "The Man" by Daboys (try "The Chick" next time ;), I was linked to by Ezzie and Jack, and the post sparked a number of very thoughtful and interesting comments. On the other hand, I had a few people privately contact me and express their concern about my post and the fact that they were detecting anger, discouragement and frustration in my blog of late.

I was annoyed by these latter reactions to my post. I'll be honest about the fact that the post wasn't particularly easy for me to write, along with several of my posts lately. I used to strive very hard to avoid any topics that could possibly be considered controversial, because I didn't want my blog to be the a place of contention, with commentors striking venomously at each other. And while my last post wasn't extremely controversial, I know just from my hesitancy to write it, that it wasn't the most conflict-avoidant post either. But it was honest. And that's what I've been working hard to achieve lately - less political correctness, and more honesty, whether it is pretty or not. Because life isn't always pretty and easy. And lately, I've been struggling with many things.

In the last episode of Grey's Anatomy (no spoilers, don't worry) there is a scene between Meredith and Izzy that goes as such:

Meredith: "You ever feel like you're disappearing?"
Izzy: "All the time."
Meredith: "Why can't I just be that happily ever after person? Why can't I just believe in that."
Izzy: "I don't know what I believe in anymore."

That scene might be a bit melodramatic to illustrate how I've been feeling lately, but when I was watching it last week, it did strike home a bit.

As was probably evidenced in my last post, I am struggling with what I believe in. I have a lot of questions about faith and religion, and most of them don't come with easy answers wrapped up in sparkly ribbon for me. Most of them require lots of thought, contemplation, introspection and sometimes, sighs. And answers don't always come from all that.

After having a conversation the other day with an acquaintance struggling with very similar issues, I also know that my frustration and difficulties in the spiritual arena are probably compounded by the fact that I don't really fit in with the community in which I live. The people in my community are very nice, and have welcomed me warmly, and they don't do anything explicitly to make me feel like an outsider, but inside, I feel like an one. And I feel like, similarly to my blogging, I hide my true feelings and opinions in order to avoid judgment which again, is probably more in my mind than the minds of those who I interact with - but it's still there and it affects me.

I'm also struggling with life at the moment. I have a very heavy school load, in addition to working full-time. And I've been overwhelmed. I don't ask for help easily, instead usually attempting to do it all myself, no matter what, my indepedent streak injured by not being capable. But I'm starting to see that it isn't always possible, which is hard for me to admit.

There's not an easy solution to these struggles; they aren't going to just disappear next week if I ignore them long enough. So please bear with me while I work on them. I do appreciate the concern of those who have expressed it - the sentiment and kindness does touch me and it actually does help to know that people care, even if I'm not always capable of letting them know that. But if my posts seem to come from a place of frustration, sometimes they are. I do try to not let it show so often, because I hate to be the person who is always complaining and can't see the good, but once in a while, I need an outlet, and what better outlet than a blog?


  • I have no pithy comment which will resolve your dilemna/frustration/pain/overwork but you can rest assured that no one can reasonably call you a complainer.
    Keep on truckin!

    By Anonymous Joe, at 2/12/07, 10:05 PM  

  • "I think I'm a lot closer to owning my decisions".

    I read you because I want to understand, and you think, explore, and explain - you don't pontificate. You are on a journey toward clarity.

    I suspect when you were a child, "Because I said so!" didn't work on you.

    By Blogger ~~Silk, at 2/12/07, 10:21 PM  

  • A friend of mine recently had an epiphany at a bar mitzvah. It struck him that in Judaism our emphasis of lifecycle celebrations is on journeys. For example at a bar mitzvah, the young boy is actual early on in the journey. It's all about the journey. Wishing you continued strength and success.

    By Blogger rabbi neil fleischmann, at 2/13/07, 1:02 AM  

  • Joe -
    Thanks for your support, and I'm very disappointed that you don't have a pithy comment, I thought I could always count on you ;)

    Silk -
    I hope I find clarity one day - at the moment, it seems quite far off. And I'm not sure, you would have to ask my parents, but I have a sneaking suspicion that you are right about me as a kid.

    Neil -
    Thank you for your well-wishes. Life is about journeys - and the most difficult are often the most rewarding, I'm going to try to keep that in mind.

    By Blogger Shoshana, at 2/13/07, 10:11 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger tikkunger, at 2/13/07, 2:29 PM  

  • To be honest, I don’t see anything negative or even all that frustrated here.

    Just reflective and that IMHO is a good thing, not that you asked.

    there is nothing wrong with venting and working through feelings whatever variety they may be.

    also i get a lot out these posts and think your reflecting helps me with my own, so please dont stop.

    Lastly regarding those who have emailed you for whatever assorted reasons, I think it says more about them than anything you have written.

    Well maybe the fact what you have written of openly may hit a little to close to home, for these people.

    Some people don’t or can’t deal with fear and questions of faith and therefore don’t like anyone else doing it. That’s not to suggest that they realize this, simply that maybe on some level if skewing how they relate to the recent content on your blog.

    Maybe not and I am wrong but it has been known to happen to me, so why not them.

    Be well

    PS the deleted comment was mine. i hit publish instead of preview.

    By Blogger tikkunger, at 2/13/07, 2:36 PM  

  • I hear you.

    Actually, I think that it's a really good thing you take the time to think difficult issues through, to question, to write it all down. Even if it doesn't necessarily bring you easy answers or immediate solution, it can be very helpful in sorting out confusing/conflicting ideas, and getting other points of view to think about.

    If you ever feel like you need to vent to somebody, outside the blog, you can always count on me! : )

    By Blogger Irina Tsukerman, at 2/13/07, 11:21 PM  

  • Tikkunger -
    I definitely think that your theory could have some validity to it. I'm glad my reflection is worthwhile to you, it's nice to hear that.

    Irina -
    Thanks so much for the offer of support - so sweet of you! We need to meet at school again!

    By Blogger Shoshana, at 2/15/07, 6:26 AM  

  • The good news is that you are not stuck in cleveland or you'd really be in trouble.

    I think that some struggle is good provided that you use that energy in a positive manner.

    It is smart to question why we do what we do. The hard part is trying to live with answers that are based upon faith.

    From what little I know about you it sounds like you'll get it all figured out.

    By Blogger Jack's Shack, at 2/16/07, 1:49 AM  

  • Shoshana,
    One of the things that is hard for you I am sure is that in school, and also the way you and I were brought up, is that you analyze ideas from the outside. There is you over here, and over there is the idea or concept that you are analyzing, and you have every right to agree or disagree with that concept or idea. In Judaism, it doesn't work like that at all. You are the Torah; the Torah is you. There is no having an "opinion" about it, it is emes (truth) in the deepest and truest sense. Your job and mine, is simply to identify Torah and then try to understand it, and regardless (of whether we are successful), to live by it as much as we are able. And if we make mistakes or slip on one day, to get up the next day and start again. And every day, to talk to Tottie, and yell and scream at him and love him and relate to him, every day, and beg him and plead with him and ask him for help with everything.

    By Blogger YM, at 2/18/07, 1:35 AM  

  • Some times are harder than others. May you get through it with success

    By Anonymous lvnsm27, at 2/18/07, 1:54 AM  

  • I just want to thank you for sharing your very real feelings. I'm sorry you've been getting negative feedback from others, because I see this blog as a very positive thing.

    There is no reason to cover up the less rosy parts of life. Struggles are the medium which strengthens us (think of a bodybuilder). I have heard from a variety of renowned sources: G-d values your struggles, not success-- because only He can decide whether you fail or succeed in any endeavor (including the quest for truth or knowledge) whereas your struggle is your sacrifice for Him, your decision to fight for truth.

    By Blogger Bas Melech, at 2/20/07, 11:14 PM  

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