Why is it that every time I come home I feel more and more like a disaffected teenager? Far more than I ever did when I actually was a teenager, and actually lived here. There's something vaguely suspicious happening the minute you recognize in yourself every detatched/depressed-angsty-suburban adolescent character who's ever been in any movie made about disaffected suburban youth. You have to wonder, how much of it is genuine and how much unconsciously deliberate. Another one of those "This is how the movies have depicted my persona, and therefore this is how I should be, therefore this is how I am" situations.
Not that my frustration with my home community is false in any way. The truth is, of course I never really felt like I fit in here, but I used to make the best of it, more or less, I guess because I had to. But I've fallen so far out of sync with these people that it's getting harder and harder to relate to them, even to the extent of basic polite human interaction. I mean, I've never been able to pretend that I was something I wasn't, hence the dangly earrings in shul incident(see below for elaboration); but I guess at this point they've all realized there's no longer any point in trying to save me, so they've stopped caring back. Which is fine, actually, it makes life easier, if perhaps a little less friendly.
It doesn't help either that I seem also to revert to the adolescent role in family interactions. Which is ironic, because I think I was easier on the parents when I was a teenager. I guess it's always easier to be with people when you agree with them most of the time. So in addition to feeling out of place in my community, things are always sort of jarred at home too. It's my fault, really. I should have more patience and more respect. I keep telling myself I will, next time, and then somehow fall back into the same irritable patterns. It's not that I'm not trying, I think, although maybe I'm not trying hard enough. But it just gets so frustrating when I can't seem to make them hear me. Especially since I'd always kind of felt that my parents and I were more or less on the same wavelength, but lately it seems like we speak two different languages...and we mumble them.
It all just furthers the sensation that I no longer quite belong in a place where I once did. It's sort of like living in some weird alternate reality...all the cues are telling you you're home, but you don't feel at home. It's a very vague disorienting sort of a sensation. Maybe if I were here for a longer period of time I'd be able to settle into some sort of a routine, reclaim some of the old in some kind of new pattern. But just being here in bits and pieces only leaves things sort of disjointed, possibly more out of place than they were before. I guess it's a good thing; otherwise it might be too hard to leave.
(Dangly earrings in shul incident: Not sure exactly when this happened - maybe the summer after my first year in seminary? I don't think I was still in high school...Anyway, I mostly only wear long dangly earrings, because I just like them better, I think they're pretty. I have multiple pairs for shabbat, and I've been wearing them that way since at least eleventh grade. Anyway, on this one particular shabbat morning, I was walking home from shul with my friend S, who goes to the same shul as me, has also made aliyah, and is several years older, so she'd already been away from home longer than I. She looked at my earrings and remarked "I have earrings kind of like that; I was maybe going to wear them today, but then I thought, no they're too dangly for shul." (We go to a chassidishe shteibly type shul.) I put my hands up to my ears in surprise because such a thought had never actually occurred to me and said "What? Were these innapropriate?" And she said, "No, it's ok - no one notices it on you, because they know it's just you. But for me...people might have said something." It's not that these sorts of earrings aren't her; but S has a kind of a talent for blending into whatever setting she's in. She's kind of chameleon-like that way. It's more than just the clothes. She has a knack for somehow being appropriate for wherever she is, for just knowing instinctively how to act and talk and do whatever is called for. I've always envied her that actually, because she never seems awkward anywhere; whereas I, who can never be what I am not, no matter what, get into awkward situations all the time. So anyway, people in this particular setting wouldn't expect something like my earrings from her, because she would never dress that way in that setting. I, on the other hand, dress pretty much the same wherever I go. I kind of refuse to do otherwise. So people have just sort of got used to me, I guess. But I think they always thought I'd grow out of it when I grew up and needed a shidduch, and the fact that I haven't confuses and disturbs them. Which of course is just part of the fun.)
(sorry for the hazily written self-indilgen monologuing. we now return you to your previously scheduled program, already in progress...)
This is perhaps not the best recorded version, but the song exactly suits my state of mind right now....