Monday, August 21, 2006

"So, nu, what are you looking for?"

Have you ever been asked what you're looking for? It's such a deep, potentially mind-blowingly spiritual question, the type of question it can take years to answer. Funny how often it is answered glibly, the answer just rolling off the tongue as if memorized.

Because it was. Memorized, that is. Speaking from the feminine point of view, the "what are you looking for?" question is both dreaded and highly anticipated from the age of sixteen until around twenty or so. After that, it's just dreaded. I personally have only been asked that question a few times, and although I've heard so many relatives, friends, even acquaintances tick off the qualities of their dream husband, I can hardly formulate an answer.

When asked, I tend to start off my reply with what some may regard as endearing, but really is truly inappropriate, giggle. Then I say, "Oh, uh, yeah..." Then, "That's such a good question!"

At this point, my well-intentioned inquisitor has a blank and slightly confused expression on their face. (What? This twenty-year-old girl --who's turning twenty-one within the next year!--doesn't even know what she's looking for??) Their confusion creates my personal sense of awkwardness, like, really, can't I just answer a simple question? And so I laugh and say, "I'm looking for what everyone else is!" Because, really, ask any frum girl what kind of guy she wants to marry, and the majority will say "someone really nice, with a good sense of humor, who sets aside time to learn every day, and either is making a good living or will...and is taller than me..." Yep. It's true. Sorry guys, but it is. And I guess that's what I'm looking for -and the parameters are very general, so it leaves room for individuality and personal preference, and contains both religious and practical elements, and, and, and, and...

Crazy stuff, man. Uch, I can't deal with it. I hate this. Why?

I don't know. Too much pressure? One of my closest friends in the world just got engaged (mazel tov!!), and now many people are looking at me in a new light. In a ohshecouldgetmarriedsoontoo kind of light. But who wants that kind of light shed on her? It's a harsh, unforgiving kind of light, that leads to internal questions and dilemmas and possible letdowns. It casts its glow bright enough that anyone feels they have the right to ask questions about me I wouldn't be comfortable asking myself, and dissecting my character, and examining my life decisions.

And don't tell me I'm exaggerating. You know I'm not. I've seen, and heard, enough of this myself to know what I say is, unfortunately, often true.

But I am not saying the shidduch system is inherently corrupt -it just hurts sometimes, many times. But when it works -oh, wow! A marriage, the uniting of two souls into something greater than the sum of its parts. The spiritual possibilities, the life ahead. The future. Family.

I really want those things. And I want to share them with the right person. But I don't know who he is yet, specifically.

So, do me a favor.

Don't ask me.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Me Me Me Me... Meme!

Yay! I was finally tagged! (Dorky me was sitting in the sidelines, awaiting this momentous occasion, so-) Thank Lvnsm27 for this!

Things I want to do before dying:
~Publish at least one novel, three poems, and one autobiography
~Move to Eretz Yisrael
~Raise a beautiful family
~Star in a a very frum way
~Travel all 'round the world in eighty days

Things I cannot do:
~Be completely realistic
~Touch my tongue to my nose
~Raise just one eyebrow
~Give in
~Give up
~Figure out how to put links in my posts
~Drive to upstate NY without getting lost

Things I can do:
~Write book reports (not that I need to anymore)
~Sing REALLY loud
~Tell gripping stories about trucks to three-year-old-boys
~Drive back from upstate NY without getting lost (don't ask!)

What attracted me to my husband:
~Maybe that should be written as 'what will'? Definitely the gemara he'll be holding onto at some to anything else, I'm no neviah.

Things I want in a mate:
~A nearby gemara (see above)
~A really great sense of humor (otherwise he'd take me seriously, and who knows what might come of that?)
~The right hashkafa (ha ha!)
~Ummm...I hate this question. Next...

Things I say most often:
~"I don't get it"
~"I'm joking! I'm just joking! Really!!"
~"Uh, oh"
~"Wanna go to 7-11?"

Books that I love:
~Anything in the children's section
~'Pride and Prejudice' (Hello! I'm a romantic!)
~'The Scarlet Pimpernel'
~'Tale of Two Cities'
~'Anne of Green Gables'

Movies that I love:
~Lord of the Rings-all three
~V for Vendetta
~Pride and Prejudice (see above)
~Moulin Rouge

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Trials of Faith...and Doubt

You might have realized from some of my previous posts that I think of myself as a happy person. I loooove being happy, smiling, laughing, and singing loud enough to frighten the birds outside my window. And it's very easy to make me happy -just give me some time with my family (or better yet, a lot of time with them), show me some hashgacha pratis, feed me, crack a joke, give me a good book, a smile, a compliment, beautiful scenery, a sunset, a sunrise, a slurpee...And I'll twirl in a circle with my hands in the air and shout out to the world how much I love my life, how much I love Hashem, who has given it all to me.

There are too many cynics in this world, too much depression, too much anger and awful emptiness. I am no cynic. My hope has never died.

Not even after suffering more than any twelve-year-old should have to, on that terrible, horrible night which still remains sharp and painful in my memory. At some point in that endless, pitch-black night, I made a fervent, tear-filled plea to Hashem. I never wanted something more in my life than for Hashem to answer my request favorably, and I don't know if I ever will.

But He didn't. He said no. And I still mourn.

In seminary, I learned from great teachers two different views on this. Either Hashem never says no, He only says yes in a way we may not understand, or sometimes, although Hashem hears our pleas, He sometimes answers no. I connected strongly to the former opinion, and I still believe it strongly. Hashem never tells us no, but gives us what we are truly asking for, which may be something we don't realize, or yet know, or can ever understand. But despite all this, and despite the fact that I believe Hashem truly said yes to my plea so many years ago, that "yes" felt like such a "no" that I still cannot understand at all how it is a "yes". Maybe I will learn the answer sometime in the future. But for now, that moment in time remains a sore point for me, spiritually, although it doesn't at all interfere with my faith and love of Hashem. It is a faded, almost imperceptible but still tender bruise on my soul.

I am grateful for my faith. It has sheltered me through great adversity, been my constant companion, and it has enabled all my happiness. And sometimes, Hashem tests that faith -as He tests us all, to give us more reward, to strengthen us, to bring us closer and raise us higher.

Recently, my faith was tested. I wish I could say I passed, but I'm not quite sure I did. Only Hashem knows for sure... It began with hope -as much of life does. A hope that lay deep and bright in my heart -the hope for another. A hope that seemed as if it would be soon fulfilled, as if Hashem was answering my recent whispered requests with a loud, clear, and resounding "YES". But then, that hope was struck with a mighty blow, a sudden "no" that took me by surprise. Was my request, so achingly wished for and entirely for another, denied?

Did Hashem so no, again? Why? How could He? Why?

Those questions arose in my head so quickly, I was nearly overwhelmed, my hope nearly extinguished by an ocean of doubt, my spirit -always so strong and true- nearly broken. Nearly. Nearly, but not quite. For the next second, that ocean of doubt was replaced by an peaceful ocean of understanding and acceptance. Hashem answered my question with a yes. But who am I to know what my question really was? What the answer really is? Whether it was the right time? The right place? The right way? I don't; G-d does.

My hope may have been injured -but it never died! My hope, however incongruous, however ridiculous, however idealistic, however impossible, has never died.

And I am happy again. Gam zu l'tovah.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Countdown: T Minus 10, 9, 8, 7...

Countdown: Less than 20 days until Law School orientation...

Less than 20 hours to shabbos...

Less than 20 minutes until I finish this post...

And less than 20 seconds until...uh...the end of this sentence!

Countdowns are just not my thing. I was never the kid in eighth grade writing how many days were left until graduation. I never really longed for the next stage in my life, although I did always look forward to different things. Maybe you could say I don't like change, or maybe that I'm afraid of change, or even that I don't enjoy straying too far from my comfort zone.

And I'm sure that's all true. But, as you all know, I am an eternal optimist, and I'll always look for the brighter side of things (especially if there's a better way of viewing my faults). So I'll say that the reason is because I can be happy in almost any situation -a symptom, I believe, of optimism. Even in just an okay-type situation, attitude can mean the difference between just getting by and actually enjoying your time.

Of course, as in all statements general, there are exceptions. When I'm in, chas v'shalom, a "bad" situation, a smile, a laugh, and a positive outlook aren't enough. And that time when I was a day camp counselor for two-year-olds who were either crying, needing to be diaper changed, or running into the woods...attitude can only take you so far.

Anyway, my point was about countdowns, and how I'm not a fan. But if I don't have a mini-countdown to the start of school in *less than 20 days*, I'll probably lose track of time and forget to go. So, sometimes, a countdown isn't a sign of discontent in your current situation, but rather a sign of content in your everchanging life. (Aaah, that was deep!)

Oh, I nearly forgot! I wish all of you a happy, smiley, beautiful shabbos!!:)