Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's my party

Today is my birthday. It has been, for the most part, a wonderful birthday. I got many well wishes from many friends and relatives (thank you, facebook) and some unexpected thoughtful gifts. (Hey, look Ma, I can tell time.) I also got my haircut. These are all good things. But I can't shake this feeling of ennui.
I always go slightly haywire around my birthday. I believe this is in part because it just feels premature. I simply cannot be 28. I haven't done enough, experienced enough, loved enough. A person at my age should be more than I am. The world's pace is not my own. My birthday is in December, but I was meant to be born in April. I am still in my incubator, waiting to be able to breathe on my own.
Which brings me to the other aspect of my birthday that is difficult. My birth was a miracle by all accounts and I'm often regaled with tales of my shear stubborn will to live. I evidently learned to crawl with my head on the floor since I wasn't strong enough to hold my head up-but I damn well had places to be, so I went. But my birth was also a trauma for myself and my mother who almost died giving birth to me. We talk about that less. And if it is true that I learned to crawl with my head on the floor, it is also true that I pulled my respirator tube out numerous times. Maybe it was not my will to live that was so strong but rather my will to not be helpless. And perhaps my birthday reminds me that I am helpless- that I came into this world too early, too small and without any weapons to fend off the blitz on my senses that life must have seemed. So if I freak out around this time of year- if I pull out my respirator tube so to speak- isn't that to be expected?
In truth, it was a lovely birthday. I am surrounded by people who love me with an exceeding love and for this I feel extremely and inordinately blessed. It's gonna be a good year. Come hell or high water, it'll be good.

Thesis Watch: pg. 41

Book Rec: Tiki Tiki Tembo- a birthday tradition

Saturday, December 6, 2008

take our stand down in jungleland

My landlords have decided to sell our apartment.
I've been trying to come to terms with this latest development, but it's hard. We just moved in 4 months ago and while we most likely will be able to live out our contract, I find that you live differently knowing you're leaving. Why plant those herbs? Why hang those paintings? Why make this place home?
My sense of home is a very important part of my sense of self. The geography of my inner-life often mirrors the geography of the places I have lived. I have strong need for solitude and quiet- a need to allow those places to seep into my bones. If I have any serenity in me it comes from those quiet shabbat afternoons when I am left alone in my apartment with only myself and the cat and some reading material. I do not know where this need comes from, but it is something innate in me. I do not do well without it.
So needless to say I was slightly peeved when last Friday a gaggle of prospective buyers invaded my apartment and gave themselves a small tour. They emerged from the bathroom victorious, crying "we found a wall we can knock down!". I'd like to knock down some their walls. I tell myself that I am not going to let this touch me. I tell myself that I am going to write more, cook more, work more and swim harder; that I'm going to live more. But all I really want to do is stick a frozen tivol in the microwave and curl up in bed with my computer to watch a Paul Rudd retrospective on the Daily Show. (After all, Paul Rudd is a) hot and b) hysterical. What more could one ask for, really?). Being angry often times just makes me want to give up and lay down my arms.
My great-grandmother used to say, אז מען געבט נעמט מען, אז מען שלאגט לויפט מען, which in Yiddish means, "as they give, take. As they hit, run". I suppose this is good advice if you want to survive as a Jew in Eastern Europe, or in the world in general. Take what you've got and don't fight a battle you can't win. But sometimes that's not enough. Sometimes you want to be Bruce Springsteen. Sometimes you want to be Odetta Holmes. Sometimes you just want to take a stand.

Music Rec: Jungleland, Bruce Springsteen

Thesis watch. 33 pages.