You Deserve Better
How many of us have said this to a heartbroken friend? How many have heard this from our girlfriends, moms, shrinks?
“Oh honey! He’s a jerk!” you deserve better…
I have spent the better part of my adulthood saying this or being told this. However, here I am. Still alone. By myself. And ….?
Where has it gotten me all this deserve-ment. Entitlement? Maybe I don’t. Maybe I’ve gotten the best there is and that is all I deserve. Or maybe what we deserve and what we get aren’t necessarily the same. Maybe “you deserve what you have” is more the more appropriate statement. Maybe “make it work” is a better phrase.
Maybe all those women who waited for better are still waiting…and don’t look as good, aren’t as thin, are past child bearing … Maybe this sounds sexist (Trump-y) but seriously…aren’t all of us over 40 women and maybe even over 50 women thinking this? Feeling this?
maybe I should have…. ??
Don’t misunderstand me: I have it all. I say this and mean this and believe it. I believe I am blessed and that G-d takes care of me. But, I am alone. It is the one piece of the puzzle that I haven’t been able to complete (successfully).
I have definitely grown and evolved. I have gained life experience and wisdom. I have done the work; alone, in therapy, in my outlooks and attitude. And yet… this part doesn’t ever seem to change. If I am tough, if I am go with the flow, if I’m patient, understanding, or hard assed. The person who is before me is always the same person. It doesn’t seem to matter if he is Israeli or American, religious or charedi or completely non-observant, Ashkenazi or Sephardi. He is invariably the same man.
It is unclear to me how this keeps happening. Maybe it’s just bad luck, maybe as a colleague said the other day there are simply more women than men, maybe at this age “what’s left” is fucked up. I cannot believe that this is my fate. I believe in creating fate. I remember going to real estate seminars when I was still in the business and speakers said things like “imagine what you want; a boat, apartment, trip to Europe and then figure out how you can make the money to pay for it”. This is my philosophy. If you will it it will come. But every time I will it either the recycled crazies come back or new ones come to fill their place. And the drama and insanity begin again.
My friends tell me I crave the drama. Maybe they’re right. I don’t think I crave drama. I am supremely happy in my drama free existence without a man…until I can’t take the alone anymore…and then the drama begins again. I wish I knew why. I wish I could change it. I am not willing to accept that my life in this area is over and that I will never have real love again…but…
I realized tonite that I have a very long history with the mad black hatters.
My first encounter was in 7th grade. We were living in Los Angeles and I developed a huge crush on my rebbe, the first black hatter. He wasn’t mad, or at least (thank GD) he didn’t do anything mad. If anything he did a lot of good. He introduced me to my first friend, his cousins, in Chicago, when my parents made the very traumatic announcement that we were moving back to Chicago.
Then there was the mad black hatter when I was in high school. I must say he is probably my first true love and very first broken heart. He dumped me in a “Dear John” letter. The “Dear John” letter I received while back in LA working at a day camp with my former friends. That same summer, or maybe the next one, I met my cousins friend: the soon to be mad black hatter. He dumped me after his new found rabbi told him he shouldn’t talk to me even though I was the reason he got involved with the religious movement in the first place.
Then my first boyfriend, while studying at pretty religious seminary in Jerusalem. He, the first boyfriend told me he’d never live in the US and he would never be religious, I actually dumped him. But one year later, while home for Rosh Hashana I got a letter…no no no, NOT a dear John letter. No, this was a “you are the reason my life has changed for the best” letter. My Israel living non US living ex bf was now studying in a very happy place in the Old City. And thanks to me he found religion….and his soon to be American born Chasidic originated wife….. Need I mention that he lived for a spell (several years) in the US?!
This mad black hatter literally wears a black hat a black (by now white?) beard, has grandchildren, and still some 25 years later, is in touch with me.
As you see, my history with them is not made of happy endings…
SO, here it is, the eve of Yom Kippur and I am still thinking about the man I wrote about in my last post. Yup! You guessed it! ANOTHER mad black hatter. Why do I keep going back to them? Especially when, those who know me in real life know I don’t look like them…but I do talk like them, sometimes and I definitely do believe like them in some ways. My friend Sarah has said over the years” You can take the girl out of the Michlala but you can’t take the Michlala out of the girl”. That is to say, I grew up there in that place in my “formative years”. It had a huge impact on my life and my family’s life. I was very happy for a very long time in that world. I never intended to leave it for good. But it is not easy dancing at two weddings at once and I really am a better fit to the life and community I am in.
But the mad black hatter world still pulls at me. At synagogue on Friday nite, the rabbi spoke about Yom Kippur and the different ways to look at repentence. He essentially said he doesn’t look at it like that but rather, in another interpretation as the Ultimate Day of Love: we go to the mikva, wear white, fast, and “walk down the aisle”. These are all symbols of a wedding, the ultimate day of love. We are trying to cleave to our Maker and we want Him to cleave to us. But, all you therapists out there, in order to have a healthy relationship we need to know who we are. Only when we know who we are can we expect to have a healthier relationship, so too, in the rabbi’s speech with God.
So I say, on this Eve of Yom Kippur. I need to know who I am: I am a modern woman who lives in a very hot climate so I dress for it. Who also only wears skirts, who doesn’t drive on Shabat or fast on 9Av. I believe with all my being in Gd, in the Torah, in the Land of Israel and the Jewish people. I believe that my sleeves don’t define me but I love that my girls only wear skirts. I love that I daven in an egalitarian minyan but have no need for it nor do I participate in it actively.I believe that I can fall in love with a mad black hatter even though I don’t want to live that life…completely. I believe that many have fallen in love with me but not enough to take a non-cookie cutter woman as their wife.So I stand before God knowing who I am believing He knows who I am and that with His help I will find the one who I know and accept and who knows and accepts me.
Wishing you all a gut gbencht yor a shana tova and a happy healthy new year.
I had a very brief, I don’t even know what to call it, with someone. It was over before it started. It is like a million other moments I have had with other men. Except…this one is different.
Something about me attracts them to me. The Confused Man. He was either born that way, became that way, or is post trauma: dead wife or ex-wife at this stage of my life, but earlier, it was much less defined. At twenty, and then thirty, and then again at forty, most of the confused men who entered my life hadn’t yet married so they didnt have the “post trauma” excuse to fall back on.
I have a history with them. I really thought after my last two plus year Confused Man that I had finally rid myself…but no… apparently they find me, like birds migrating or bees to honey.
The other part of My Confused Men is that they confuse my extra sturdy door with a revolving door. They think that even though they’ve stomped on my heart it is perfectly okay to come back for round two or three.
Some don’t come back for more but stay in touch. My first ex-boyfriend, who became orthodox because of me and is now chareidi, contacts me regularly. Thirty five years later. He is a grandfather several times over. He isn’t the only one but certainly the longest.
Back to the latest Confused Man: He and I didn’t understand each other. He made assumptions about me based on how I look, speak, and dress. I too made those assumptions about him. It turns out we were both wrong. BUT, it only lasted a minute. He tried. I tried. I set a boundary, a hard limit, not to be crossed. He didn’t like my terms. I didn’t like what he was offering. I saved myself, my self -respect and protected my heart from being broken. I also saved thousands on the shrink bill.
The good news all the thousands I have already spent have gone to good use. The bad news, here I am, still alone, lonely and looking for you…Are you there?! Will we ever meet?