Monday, February 05, 2007

Restless

Do you ever fel the need to break out? Break away? Pick a direction, start running, never look back?

I know it's cliche. It's cliche for a reason.

It's all too easy. It's all already been done. This striking out on my own path thing? The whole being original, doing my thing, my non-pre-designated, pre-formulated, pre-approved plan? People tell you to be spontaneous, but the spontaneous things you really want to do you can't do because you are restricted.

Can't travel the world on your own bc, if you ignore the safety factor, how can you possibly wander that long without a guarantee of kosher food? And even if you could get around that, what would prospective shidduchim think of a young frum girl who decided to wander around the world by herself for a year? (Of course, I've already eliminated a good chunk of those people by learning gemarrah, hee hee.)

What if I wanted to publish a book? What if I wanted to write about non-Jewish topics? Forget approval; how many former teachers would scold me for not using my talent to "further G-d's will" in the world?

But what if I write about Jewish stuff? Could I portray the frum community honestly without being condemned for "airing dirty laundry?" But yet, could I justify to myself producing yet another "B.Y. Times" series and perpetuate the lack of decent Jewish art? I could never be proud of such a thing; I could never put my name on such a thing. What's more, I really don't think that it furthers G-d's will in any way, nor do I think it's what He gave me talent for.

What if I wanted to try and work in Hollywod? Who in the world could possibly approve of that? Or what if I didn't want to do anything spectacular at all? What if I wanted to just sit in the middle of nowhere, or somewhere with beaches, like Hawaii, get a few minimum wage jobs, maybe continue my degree, and just be for a while?

Someone my age can't possibly have claimed to have "seen it all..." but the more I see, the more everything looks the same. There are a few different acceptable lifestyles you can choose within the misgeret of the orthodox Jewish world. And each one is equally safe and predictable and tidy in its own slightly variated way. All the precedents have already been set, all the moves already made....I hate that I think "Hmm, twenty years from now..." and I see myself as a person I've seen 100000 times bc it's every Jewish woman ever...if I hear one more person say "The next time I see you, you'll probably be married..." I'm seriously going to scream. In public. It's not that I don't want to get married and have a million kids, bc trust me, I do. I just hate that everyone who knows me thinks they've got me figured out based on a few statistics that apply to about half the female OJ population my age. What if I'm not married by age 21? Further, what if I don't want to be married at age 21? What if I said,out loud and everything, "Hmm, yes a family is important, BUT I'M NOT READY FOR ONE JUST YET?" at my age?? what would people think??

I don't know...maybe I feel it so much more bc of my age. Everyone around me has spent/is spending this period of life mostly getting systemized. I suppose the majority are at Stern/YU Landers/Touro and other similar institutions, but it happens anywhere there's a large collection of American Jewish people of around my age. I used to think my University was exempt, which was a large part of my choosing it; but our community has grown the last two years, and it systemizes more and more with every passing day.And every passing day I get more restless, more frustrated, and the itch to move gets worse and worse...

How am I ever going to know who I am if I can't step out of context? It's not as simple as changing place, bc there are far too many places to go where the situation would be exactly the same. I need to dissapear, shed all shreds of context, all traces of attachment. It's not that I think I'll be someone so drastically different. I'll still just be me...but I'll also be just me, and that is exaclty the point.

7 Comments:

Blogger nuch a chosid said...

so next time i see you, will you be married with a dozen kids??

10:14 PM  
Blogger Tobie said...

Poor kid. I really wish I could help, but the fact is that reality doesn't really lend itself to doing crazy things with one's life, especially the reality of Orthodox Judaism. What I can say is this: if you have any say in the matter at all, you will not be anything like 100000 other people in 20 years. You may have a husband and kids, but they will be a crazy husband and crazy kids, and your house will be a place of craziness and you will have a crazy job that's totally different (teaching in Israeli public schools, no?) and crazy hobbies and crazy friends and crazy beliefs and you will probably have published at least one crazy book. Because no matter how much you may fear it, you are nothing like the boring cookie-cutter people and I don't think you could settle into a boring cookie-cutter life if you tried. Yes, it's a bit depressing now, since our lives tend towards the cookie-cutter, but still, our university isn't the cookie-cutter default and you are not being cookie-cutter about it.

I know that this isn't really crazy enough to tide you over, but I don't know what else I can offer.

12:08 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

nuch a chosid- next time you see me I will definitely be married with a dozen kids. I'm planning on gettting right on that. tomorrow.

Tobie- I appreciate the sentiment but I think you've missed the point. firstly, plenty of people do go off and do crazy things with their lives. I've known enough people who have. second, the situation you describe, while all very well and good, and yes, probably how things will eventually end up, more or less, is not the point. my point isn't the end goal; my point is that I need some time and space to be outside the context, not living within it on my own terms. again, that is eventually probably how it'll end up, G-d willing. I'm just not willing to settle for just that without having done anything else. life's not just about the destination, it's also about the journey, remember?

2:53 AM  
Blogger FemaleJewishBlogger said...

Hi Miri,
Your comment on Jewish Philosopher's Blog really got me to thinking, and as you can see at my site, we had a long exchange (about women, childish?) . Any comments or contributions? This issue interests me! Feminism vs. traditional Jewish values--do they match up? Drop by and give us the low down... :)

3:48 PM  
Blogger Pragmatician said...

I know the feeling.
Our system does encourage a certain cloning feel.
Do as every one else and you’ll be fine.
A slap in the face of all frum Jews who feel like expressing their individuality.
I think the best way to do that all the while remaining a 'desirable' shidduch is to do something out of the ordinary but admirable.
Start a new chessed project, seek to help a group in your community or worldwide that is not being helped yet or seriously.
All the passion your harbour can be put into it. And since it’s a NEW project you’ll be able to run it YOUR way.

12:18 AM  
Blogger Lakewood Venter said...

good post. Hatzlacha!

10:30 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

pragmatician -
it's a good suggestion. the problem is, it's still within the misgeret. I know I shouldn't poo-poo doing good things, and I do appreciate the value of such projects. but...I'm not there yet. not that I'm incapable but I have to get my motives and my research taken care of first, and it might take awhile. I'll keep that on the back-burner though...
lakewood venter -
thanks! always appreciated.

3:53 PM  

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