Thursday, September 27, 2007

How did I get here?

Sometimes, I'm not sure who I am. I mean, yes, I know my name. But sometimes, I look in the mirror and I'm confused as to how I got to be where I am.

Interestingly enough, when I started high school, my dream was to live in Israel, and be married and have a baby and cover my hair...

And that's where I am now.

But somewhere in the middle, I stepped off of that path. I became someone who got her friends to draw all over her jeans and then wore them in public. I went to dance parties with trance music (except I had to leave because the trance stuff makes me feel like my head's about to explode). I went to outdoor rock concerts and danced with men I'd never met. I learned all the words to the Israeli songs so I could sing along at the concerts with everyone else. I bought an incredibly short sleeveless dress, and wore it outside. Of course, I walked around feeling entirely naked, but it was kind of a liberating feeling. Of course, it was loose and no one even bothered to give me an appreciative glance, but hey, I felt undressed.

A bit over a year ago, I went to a concert in the Sultan's Pool with friends, and one of my favorite bands, Tipex (also called Teapacks) played. I jumped up and down and screamed like any other excited fan, and I got the STRANGEST looks. I guess it's just not normal for a woman in a long skirt with a head-covering to jump around like a teenager.

The last time I was at a concert was May. Considering that I gave birth in the end of June, I didn't have to be reminded not to jump. Kinneret did enough jumping for both of us - of course, I didn't know she was Kinneret at the time.

All this is to say that I'm not sure what really is me. Am I really the woman with the manicured nails and the wedding band and the long skirt and the frumpy head-coverings? Or am I the girl in the painted jeans? Can I be both? If I am the religious woman, how much of that other part of me do I have to give up? And what if sometimes it's too much? What if listening to a concert on the radio and dancing in my living room just isn't enough?

Those moments, being that other person, they made me feel alive in a way that is totally different from what I feel in my current life. I know that life isn't meant to be skydiving and dance parties. And I know that I've been to incredible juggling festivals. And of course, nothing in that world could ever compare to the feelings I have for Yaakov and Kinneret. No rock concert can compare to the beauty of having my baby's fingers wrapped around my own finger.

Would I trade my life now for that life? Absolutely not. But sometimes I wonder if I really have to let go of all of it to get to where I am now.


mother in israel said...

You are you. Your experiences, beliefs, talents and skills make up who you are. You are constantly changing and developing. You cannot be labelled.

kirby said...

Who you calling frumpy? I helped you pick out those head coverings missy.

It's quite the balancing act. I feel the same way when I look at pics of myself from high school or after a triathlon. Can't we have both?

RaggedyMom said...

This post really rang true for me too. It's hard to reconcile the two worlds sometimes. Wearing Salvation Army clothes in high school was fun and cool (though it made my mother cringe - "Why not wear some new clothes that really are NEW?!") Nowadays, toting along three kids and covering my hair, wearing skirts, etc., it would just look totally out of place. Less funky, more homeless.

I find also that when I listen to some of the music I loved back then, and my kids are in earshot, I'm wondering whether I want them to be hearing some of the lyrics altogether. They really can pick out the words, and my big girl takes things so literally these days.

But yeah, I miss the old me some days too.

SS said...

Tell me about it...balance is so hard to achieve - especially when there is a whole world out there looking at you sideways.

Double Take said...

I totally identify with everything you wrote. I am constantly looking at myself in the mirror, and wonder how I got to this point, and all sorts of other identity questions (mainly related to the question of covering my hair). Great post.

Abbi said...

Wow, i had nearly those exact same jeans in high school!!! I wonder where they went.

I had a similar trajectory. I also listened to wierd music, had those jeans and other clothes i wouldn't dream of wearing now (sweat pants in public? lumber jackets from Kmart? who thought those were good fashion choices?)

I wear skirts now, cover my hair and tote around 2.5 kids. For me, it has a lot to do with which community i want to belong to. Also, what makes me look most normal (with my pear shape that became more more pearish after the first kid, skirts just look better.)

Although recently, i started listening to some of the old music i used to listen to in high school- the smiths, billy joel, joni mitchell. It brings back cool memories of my "former life".

nicole said...

this is something i struggle with every day of my life.

i went back to wearing pants and i'm fortunate that it's completely acceptable in my community. but then sometimes i want to wear my skirts and headcoverings again. it gives me a sense of pride.

i'm obviously still working on this balancing act!