I’m starting Day 11 and unfortunately don’t have much time to post about it, hopefully more later. In the meantime I made these last night so I could wake up a little later today and not have to worry about breakfast! Yum.
Tag Archives: growth
Upon hearing that my wife and I are splitting up, and that I might possibly someday want to consider going back to school to become a Rabbi. She said, “K will always be apart of our family, because you loved her and because we love her.” I know Grandma. I love her too, we just can’t be together. She said “Of course you can be a Rabbi, this is not such a crazy idea.”
So we talk. Then last night a few hours after our lunch, she sends me two emails, with one link in each email, no other text the first one is this:
and the second one is this:
Now, I don’t know if my grandmother ever knew that I thought for a time I might be trans, or if she just knows Queer Judaism are as intertwined into my soul as anything. She’s not one for big heart-to-hearts but she is my liberal southern Grandma and I love her with all my heart.
This post will probably take me quite a while to write. Maybe I shouldn’t put everything all in one post, and maybe I will end up splitting this up at some point, but for now, here goes nothing.
I have had this blog for going on three years. I suppose I started it around the same time I decided I was to propose to my then girlfriend, now domestic partner. Oh boy did we not expect to be where we are today three years ago. We have been through so much.
What I really want to talk about though, is this: In about a week and a half, I will be 24. Three months after that, my father will turn 50 and that, my dear mathematicians means that next year, when I turn 25 and finally getting my BA/starting my Masters? my father will be exactly twice my age and I will be the age he was when I was born. It seems like that should be such a bizarre concept to me, but really, it makes sense. My dad was definitely a mid-twenties/early thirties kind of dad. In that, I mean I never felt like he was soooo much older than me. We had intellectual discussions, he allowed me to make my own decisions, even if he fought them the whole way. He grew as I grew, and we grow together. What does feel weird is that I’m not there yet. I’m not where he was when he was 24, of course in some ways I’m past where he was I suppose.
When he was 24 he was living in a co-op household attic, my mother was almost five years older than him, and lived right across the attic. He had just graduated with his BA in Environmental Studies and was working on a farm. I think I’ve told this story before, but just in case we need a refresher… His father was dying and his girlfriend (my mother) found out she was pregnant, the same week. They moved up to Mendocino with dreams of starting a blueberry farm, but instead lived in a little one-room cottage with no electricity and my mother, pregnant and living with an incurable disease that causes really poor circulation to extremities, absolutely hating every second of the cold. My dad’s best friend – his dog midnight, was stolen one night while they were eating dinner, and eventually they had had enough. They moved back to their community, rented a little house, I was born. He got a job with the county as a planner and six months later they got married. Typical early 90s life right? Two years later they were divorced. I don’t want to be divorced before I turn 30.
I don’t want to be divorced period.
Don’t get me wrong. I am so happy for the people I have gained in my life because my parents divorced. But generally, divorces are not so easy. For my parents, well, my family is unique. Divorce in my family seems to just mean an addition to the family, no retractions, but still. I don’t want to get divorced.
I wound up so off track I have to remind myself to rein it in.
I wanted this post to be about the things I want to do or accomplish before I turn 25 because I know the year will flash by in a hurry or seem to drag on until it is over. I so badly wanted to put “create life”, “have a baby” on this list of mine. It’s been on my “to do before, or at 25” for as long as I can remember. I guess I just assumed somewhere in my head that would be the natural progression… I get married at 24-25 and then have kids immediately. That’s not what my parents drilled into me, the opposite is true, but I somehow just assumed that would be my life. Reflection is an interesting and dangerous thing. We have solid plans now and that makes my heart rest a little easier, having the goals, the stepping-stones that have to be crossed. Of course the best laid plans right? Such is life, especially our life.
Here goes 25, before 25:
- Take ME time, and US time.
- Run a 5k
- Take a walk to the beach at least once a week.
- Re-learn the cello
- Visit a country I’ve never been to
- Take an “electronic-free” day at least once a month.
- Choose 5 accomplishable tasks every week and complete them.
- Finish our “first year” scrapbook, almost four years later.
- Read two books per quarter that are not required reading.
- Play a duet with my partner
- Start a community garden near our apartment and/or Plant a garden for my grandparents
- Hike 7 falls again
- Take the kayaks out
- Keep our bedroom clean for a month
- Paint a picture
- Make a new friend
- Get a cat
- Find a doable volunteer position and go once a week.
- Fly a kite
- Take a dance class
- Visit my godson
- Prioritize music & friendships – Go to a friend’s show at least every other month.
- Minimize the STUFF (get rid of things I don’t need), de-clutter.
- Call my nonbio-still-completely-siblings, more frequently.
- Dance in the rain.
Life lately – Her hair started falling out about a week after chemo started. We had already made the appointment and grandma’s hairdresser refused to charge us. She said “It’s my way of fighting cancer.”
You ask me a question. A simple question.
What’s your favorite line, your favorite lyric, or line of poetry? And I just stare blankly back at you.
I get all mixed up and can’t think of even one line to repeat back to you, pretending it might be my favorite because goddamnit I’m terrible at this shit.
Don’t get me wrong I love the sound of your voice drifting over the differences in syllables, I get lost in the music of the pattern that your lips make, but ask me to remember what it was that was spoken and I am lost again.
I can remember the way your performance affected my soul, tearing at my being, making my heart dance or pulling me in slowly, but what was that line?
Maybe yesterday it was Coyote breathing subtle strength and kindness into my tired soul when I needed it most, or Andrea Gibson reminding me I want to write it down, I want to write down the way I feel so I can remember one day. Maybe tomorrow I’ll need Linkin Park to remind me what anger is, and let it all hang out.
“Say this is my body. It is no one’s but mine. This is my nervous system, my wanting blood.”
I think I’ve come to realize that for Jewish families the only thing important is that you remain Jewish and remain a family. Little else can shock the family. For instance, when I came out to my father, who is studying to be a Rabbi, we were sitting in the driveway of his house, the Jeep Grand Cherokee probably still running, or maybe turned off in the middle of an awkward sentence like we do when we suddenly realize this may be a longer conversation that originally planned. You see I hadn’t planned on telling him I was gay, actually I don’t think I did. I think I had just finished telling him that the guy he really wanted me to spend the rest of my life with was actually no longer my boyfriend because I really actually had a crush on this girl with pink streaks in her hair and that I was confused and that it might be possible that I might be gay… And this is what he told me after a long pause “Honey I will always love you no matter what but I think I would rather you marry a Jewish woman than a non-Jewish man.” Of course it is years later and I happen to have met and fell in love with a non-religious definitely not Jewish woman and again my father and I had to have a conversation which went something like this… I really really love her Papa and I think she may be the one… “Is she Jewish?” Well no, but she supports me and loves me. “Oh… Would she be willing to convert?” Well actually Papa I have no interest in asking her to convert she is spiritual and participates in Jewish ritual with me and loves learning…. This conversation was not actually one conversation but many over the space of at least a year and will probably continue to take place especially because he will be performing the ceremony but the next part of the conversation, months later, after I proposed, went something like this: “You know I love the home that you and Kacie have created together, you’re really good together. Will you raise your children Jewish at least? Can you promise me that?” And I told him that we would, but that it would be our version of Judaism, because he always told me to question authority, to argue with God and to find my own meaning in Jewish teachings.
And if you’re reading this you may think, well that is just your story, why are you insinuating that’s everyone else’s experience? Well of course I am not trying to do any such thing but it seems to be a popular theme. I’m currently reading Aaron Raz Link’s book “What Becomes You” and I just finished reading the section in which he tells the very first family member, his cousin, that his name is now Aaron and at first the cousin thinks that Aaron meant Erin as in Irish or Catholic or something and he freaks out, but then reason that it’s A a r o n, sighs with relief and understanding and says, well as long as you’re still Jewish.
It’s all about our Jewish identity and passing along the Jewish story to the next generation that matters. Who you are, who you love, even having tattoos, can all be forgiven as long as you remember the people who came before you and the Jewish story, remember that you are Jewish even if it’s not a religious practice for you anymore, it’s your culture, your history, your people.