Fighting the Good Fight

4 09 2007

I sit on a countertop in the kitchen of my mother’s house. Mom’s asleep. My sister sits across the room from me, phone to ear: arguing. It’s really more of a begging, hidden by the mask of a list of articulate arguments.

I almost had deja vu. No more than a month ago, I sat in someone else’s kitchen, helping two friends compile a list of compelling talking points…I helped them figure out how to tactfully beg for something that, we know now, (for the sake of these two friends) clearly was not meant to be.

My sister’s voice sounds convincing, yet shaky. I see now that she truly believes things WILL turn around and go her way.

When, in life, do you find room to learn if you can always argue your way…and win. I find we’ll keep making the same mistakes if we only try turning around when they come up. It’s when we screw up, we fight like hell to undo the screw up, and we LOSE that fight…it’s then that we really are forced to learn. We face consequences, we usually find the light or the this-is-how-it-was-supposed-to-be in the end results, and we come out stronger. So, I guess, in the end, if you know how to turn negatives into positives and mistakes into lessons, we always get our way.

I’ve made mistakes in my life. Last year, I made almost a years worth of ongoing mistakes…All culminating in what would slowly begin to transition (almost a year ago now) into a lifetime of lessons. My “hard time” has become SO many things…I made mistakes that have granted me the gift of a life that I own.

And it’s already starting…


in the works…

31 08 2007

I’m without computer.

My laptop is out of order…A new post will follow a new laptop.

The brief update goes as follows: I’ve gone freelance. That’s right, beauties and gents, my bags are officially being carried in stores. I’m gonna be rich. And famous. But more important than both of the previous, I now know that when the time comes, I have the talents and abilities to make a career out of doing something that I find absolutely ridiculously fun.

More to come. I swear.

Cruella Deville’s got nothing on these guys…

24 08 2007

A few weeks, an entire season Sex and the City on dvd, two trips to LA, one more tattoo, and a whole lot of iced coffee later… I have come to this rest area.

It’s amazing what a large iced coffee does to my mood. And my headaches.
It’s been a while… In the craze of deciding I was going to spend the year in Israel on a Saturday morning in late-August and needing to make plans that should’ve been finalized in mid-April, things have been nothing short of very exciting.

I’ve decided the following: If we could personify apathy and ignorance into whatever sort of personalities or monsters come to your mind, they would make some seriously vicious comic book villians in a comic about the world today. In a nutshell, that’s what I’ve been experiencing recently.

The highlight, the climax, the big event of said comic happened last night at the end of my last dance rehearsal of the season with my team (and for me, my last rehearsal ever with this particular team). In discussing auditions for next season, i felt it an appropriate time to announce, “guys…I’m not gonna be re-auditioning, i’m moving to Israel for the year…or longer.”

The reaction: “that’s so random.” “do you speak their language?” “why?”
And…the icing on the cake that I feel like I’ve been eating for weeks now… “I’ve never even heard of Israel. Is that a country?”

Now, as diverse as this world is and as unique as every individual can be…I, more and more, am finding it rather easy to classify the people in this world into two categories:
1. People who know something. anything. any range of anything.
2. People who know nothing. Well, i mean they usually know themselves pretty well.

I hang out with a lot of dancers. I just want to put it out there that not all dancers are this ridiculous about the world outside of theirs…a large number of them are, but not ALL.

And so…I leave for Israel in a little over a month…with a stop in NY on the way, I believe. If anything thus far, I’ve become quite the expert on responding to these comments that I never seem to be prepared for. I guess, after spending a few weeks at a Jewish camp (which in Jewish camp time is somewhere between a few months and lifetime), I forgot that some people just have no idea.
“Why Israel” > “Why not?”
“Aren’t you scared?” > “I choose not to beleive in fear”
“That’s random” > “I think moving to tha vatican would be a little more random for me”
“Is it safe there” > “about as safe as driving my car on the freeway”
and…”Bye, Jordyn…I hope I can see you before you leave for Egypt” > “Yea, I hope so too??????”

And so…in utter exhaustion from explaining and defending (when I always remember post-conversation, that it was a waste of energy)…I find more and more excitment, enthusiasm, and passion about the year ahead. With no idea what will happen, who I will meet, who I will be and where I will go at the end of a school year…all i know is that I’m moving forward. If east is considered forward, that is.

What better place to be in a world and a time when we are on the brink of revolution…when apathy, ignorance, and complacency are coming at us with their weapons in hand, their evil eyes glaring down at the face of reform, and their powers ready to combat those of today’s revolutionaries. Who’s stronger? I guess we’ll have to wait and see…all I know is I’ll be fighting our battles from The Holy Land.

For now…I have come from out of the rain and into this rest area…caught however many miles between there and here…juggling predictable conversation with folks who believe, somehow, that the flatlines of small talk will give us life.

coming soon…

24 08 2007

I haven’t forgotten about you, blog.
For those of you anxiously awaiting a new post…it will happen soon.
I didn’t forget; I just haven’t been particularly inspired by anything.

Stay Tuned.

Life is Good (period)

15 08 2007

Someday…”life is good” won’t be such a conditional statement.

For now, however, under the conditions at hand, in this very moment…Life is good!!!

There’s more to come on the freakish level of excitement I’m experiencing about my plans for the coming year, but for now…a thought.

Why is it that I can’t find a way to verbalize an answer when someone stands in front of me and asks “why Israel?” I sometimes forget that not everyone gets it. I forget that there’s just an understanding between people who DO get it that can’t be explained to those who don’t. I’ve been questioned by my own family for days: Are you sure you’re not just geographically changing your life to escape your problems? Are you sure you want to commit to a whole year…what if you get over it after a semester?

You don’t go to israel to escape yourself. Well, at least, I’m not. I’m going to do just the opposite…FIND MYSELF. And although I’m not ruling it out, I highly doubt that I’ll be ready to come home in January.

If all goes my way (and I’ll be HEARTBROKEN if anything screws this up)…I’ll be moved into my dorm at the University of Haifa by the first week of October.

Life is good.

But I Know the Heart of Life is Good

11 08 2007

“Shouldn’t it open this way?” The man in front of me questioned as he was handed the paper siddur, which opened left to right and whose cover read “Temple Solel Moonlight Beach Erev Shabbat Service.”

The usher replied, “Well, I guess they just assume you don’t know that…”

Once a year, my synagogue holds a Friday night service at Moonlight beach… The beach in Encinitas, CA where I go and sit when I need to think, when I need sun, when I need to pray in my own way. The plan was always for me to go to services last night. First, I asked my friend to go. Too tired. Next, I decided I’d go alone. Then of course, I slid back and forth between “should I go” and “I don’t feel like it.”

Earlier last night, I had a conversation on the phone with a friend. A friend who’s younger and who I’d called to check up on, but who, by the end of the conversation had me admiring him and his outlook on the situation at hand. I was impressed and inspired by this friend’s attitude. I hung up the phone as I pulled up at my mom’s house…walked straight in and to the computer, checked on something I had to see for myself, and from there…I felt a rush of energy. Now, I’m an E. An Extrovert on the MBTI. This means I get my energy from other people. What would you call it if I was to get my energy from conflict? See…that’s what happened. From what I read on that computer screen, it became apparent to me that liberal Judaism is at war, fighting for itself, and I am in the ranks of some seriously honorable soldiers.

So I looked up what time my synagogue had services, learned that it was that one Friday…that one Friday when services were at MY beach. I decided it was b’sheret. I had 20 minutes to get there.

So I went to erev shabbat services at the beach. My first thought: There will definitely be no question as to which way is East. Then…as I sat myself down directly on the sand (who needs chairs or blankets?), this exchange happened:

“Shouldn’t it open this way?” The man in front of me questioned.

And the reply: “Well, I guess they just assume you don’t know that…”

Why is it assumed that Reform Jews don’t know these things? Why can’t it be assumed that they DO know these things so as to force them to learn? The service was barely half an hour long and it didn’t matter which way east was because we never faced it. Rather than frustrated, however, I left this service more inspried, more energized, and more excited about the world of progressive Judaism and this turning point I feel is being approached.

I went grocery shopping. Yea, my first shabbat back at home post this internal shift to reconnect with my Judaism, I bought groceries. Kosher groceries. Very exciting. I’m taking things one small step at a time…but it’s on.

And now that all that is out there…Let’s move on to this morning: I met my dad for coffee. From there, it’s all really a blur of a very surreal experience. He asked how my trip was. I told him the truth…It was unbelieveable and never before have i felt such obvious and abundant shifts within soul. I told him I felt liberated and excited and energized while I was in DC, while I was at camp, while i wandered around New York City. And I told him that the second I got home, I was miserable. I knew I didn’t feel good about being in San Diego. I don’t feel comfortable in my apartment. I have no desire to go back to my job. And I’m not especially connected with any of my friends (that being the understatement of the year).

“So what would you WANT to do?” My dad asked.
“Move to Israel?” I answered quickly, but I thought he’d laugh. I thought it was a question he was asking to humor me.

But no…by the time I walked back to my car and finished my cup of coffee, I had, in writing, a signed agreement by my dad that he supports me (emotionally and financially) moving to Israel for the year within the next two months.

So…I’m moving to Israel. Research as to programs and options is still in the works, but the point, for now, is that I’m going. And I’m going soon. And it feels DAMN GOOD to smile like this again.

Shabbat Shalom… : )

…So here I go with all my thoughts I’ve been saving

10 08 2007

The other day I hid in the back seat of a car in ridiculous heat. In a hot pink shirt reading “Warwick is the new black,” I rolled behind said car like a freaking soldier, hid behind a bush, jumped from bush to bush…obviously camouflaged behind each (because bush’s are clearly hot pink)…proceeded to pee behind one of the bushes, reversed the entire mission, got back in the backseat of the car, and continued to melt.
Why is my life not a television show? The best part of the entire thing was when I couldn’t stop laughing…by myself…in the back of a car.

On a more spiritual-awakening-esque note, why is it that trains, buses, and planes always force me into this really intense state of contemplation? An east coast train or bus ride, my ipod, and me is sometimes the only cocktail of therapies that make me feel really comfortable with being alone. I feel comfortable with myself.

Today, I feel okay. Not like “just okay.” No, today I have this feeling that I’m okay…that everything is going to be okay. I don’t even know what’s wrong or what WASN’T okay…I just know that at this very moment, I feel like everything will work itself out in time. It’s kind of a spiritual thing. And by kind of… I mean very much so.

This trip has been nothing short of very interesting. It’s been incredible, really. Even the “bad” things have opened my eyes, have brought me closer to people with whom I never would’ve been close and have changed my outlook on a lot of things… For better or for worse.

Sometimes I go places or do things with the expectation of feeling a shift within myself. One day last week, I spent a day by myself roaming around New York City, getting acquainted, plotting my next big dream that would come about from a day in the Big Apple. I realized a week later though, waiting for a train back into the city, that one can’t just plan these things.

Something just shifted within me. I totally wasn’t ready for it. My gut, my heart of hearts, just spoke to me. For one moment, I just knew what I needed to do. Not right away. Not like…I had to pee. More like…well, more like exactly what I wanted out of leaving home for a few weeks. I wanted things to change when I got back. I think I just figured out what that looks like.

On a completely (but then again not COMPLETELY) unrelated note: I’m keeping kosher. I have no idea what has prompted me to reconnect with my Judaism. That previous statement may not be entirely true. I’m keeping kosher. I’m getting back to learning about Judaism. I’m going to read the bible, cover to cover. And I’m committing to Fair Trade coffee and recycling. Prior to these last few days, I knew myself as a Jew who associated more with a movement than with an organized religion. I know that doesn’t make tons of sense, considering the movement with which I’ve been associated is one that represents an organized religion. Nonetheless, I’ve been culturally Jewish. I really don’t know that keeping kosher, reading the bible, taking the Sabbath more literally, and recycling (totally unrelated) will connect me with Judaism, but I feel the need to start somewhere.

And lastly, just a touch of my list of “Things I’ve Grown to Like”: man capris, twizzlers, the rain, escalators, leggings, and the color orange. More to Come.