Be A Good One

The other day while I was washing the dishes, this poem began to write itself in my head, starting with what became the third paragraph.
I immediately dried my hands and sat down to write it. But it wasn’t finished. At 1 am, as I tossed and turned, I wrote another paragraph.
In the morning, as sleep still sat heavily on my eyes, I finished it.
So, it was a bit of a journey.
And the more I wrote this poem, for my future children, putting down my hopes and wishes for them, I realized something.
Yes, I hope to one day share this with my children. More than anything, I hope for them to take on this attitude towards life, to face life with their hearts open and their minds strong.
But I realized that really, deep down, this poem is not addressed to them.
This poem is addressed to me.
I want for you
to be a dreamer
a tryer
a fixer.
I want you to demand change
to make others uncomfortable
with how much you believe
in something.
I want you to shake this earth
with your words
and your actions
and demand change
when someone deserves better.
For everyone
at some point
deserves better.
Speak up
speak up

speak up
my child
Don’t let anyone tell you
that there are things
that can not
be changed.

For all the people who will tell you
to stop fixing things
that ain’t broke
you hold up that broken screw
and show them
just because
it’s not broken
to you
does not mean
that it’s not
They will tell you
This is the way it is
Stop trying
stop trying
stop trying
and you’ll tell them
My mama told me
to never stop trying

so I’m going to keep trying
until I have no more try
Break the rules
Break the boxes
Don’t let anyone
Scare you
Don’t let anyone
Be the reason
You don’t do something
For we all
Come from earth
And return to it.

Tell everyone you love
That you love them
Give people
I like your shoes
Your words
Your heart.
Tell them.
if you’re anything like me
there will be days
that the world pains you so
that you fall to the floor
with your heart in two
tears wiped on your sleeve
and you’ll ask G-d
He made a world
so full
of cruelty.
if you’re anything like me
there will be days
that you will laugh
as hard
as you ever have.
Your heart will feel
like it’s bursting
and you’ll ask G-d
He made a world
so full
of beauty.
We are not put on earth
to be satisfied
with how things go
we are put on this earth
to shake things up
to pull things out
to build and re-build
to mend and to fix

At least,
that’s how I see it.
In times of crisis
Be the helper.
And although
it hurts
and it takes a lifetime
to understand
I hope you are
one of the ones
who knows from the get-go
that there’s no use
there’s no use hiding.
Those who matter,
those who care,
will love you.
And they’ll love you

for who you are.

Blog Post: 13/52

Featured Photo by Elijah Macleod on Unsplash

Is G-d Crying Too?

Dear G-d,

I’m trying to reach out. I’m trying to force past the stone wall that is inside my heart. I’m trying to reach my soul, the soul that has been weeping for days.
I’ve been weeping for days.
Just a few days ago, you took a soul from this earth, a loved soul, a soul that was accomplishing beautiful things.
I did not know him.
But his illness made an incredible impact on me.
G-d, I know you remember. For the weeks that he was sick, I was gaining strength in my spirituality. I was becoming a better person. I was more focused. I tried to think positively, something that does not come naturally to me. I tried things I’d never done before in Judaism. I started a small Chassidus study group with friends, something I’d wanted to do for a long time.
His illness, and the hope I felt that I could create some change, pushed me to do so many things. Good things. Things that felt right.
And I was so sure. Like so many, I was sure that I was making a difference. I felt the words I said in my siddur, in my tehillem, my actions, I felt them go straight to the sea of prayers filled with the prayers from everyone else. I saw the sea rising, turning the situation in our favor.
There was not a single doubt in my mind that he would pull through.
Because I trusted. I trusted you, G-d. I trusted that you would look upon your children, your precious, sweet children, and recognize what was happening. You’d see how something that is known for producing so much evil, the internet, had produced so much good. You’d see how thousands were committing to being more connected to their Judaism, people were taking steps forward, and in this process, G-d, people were falling in love with you.
For the first time in months.
For the first time in years.
For the first time, ever.
But then…you broke that trust.
You refused to allow us to witness a miracle.
I won’t speak for others.
I’ll speak only for myself.
But G-d, I have never, in my life, felt this type of anger towards you.
Perhaps it’s because I am lucky. I have never been faced with such a hidden revelation.
A human life is likened to an entire world, and I have never seen that so clearly. He was one man, one man that united an entire world, one man that is being mourned by strangers.
Wouldn’t it have been easy, G-d?
Aren’t you all-powerful?
Aren’t you the one who chooses which way our lives go?
Couldn’t you have given us this?
If our reality was different, G-d, I would not be angry.
The words in my siddur would not be tasting like sawdust.
Going the extra mile in my Judaism would not feel like a marathon.
Yet you chose the reality.
You chose this reality.
If everything I have ever learned is true, G-d, I know you are weeping too.
I know the punches we throw mean nothing and everything to you at the same time.
I know that for each one of our hearts that break, your heart comes apart a little more.
I know that the pain we feel is your pain too.
And as I open my siddur, against my will, and as I pray to you and praise you, against my will, my soul bursts through. And I know that this is why my soul lives inside of me.
Because when doing anything for you is against my will, my soul has no choice in the matter. My soul clings to you, desires you, lives for you.
We don’t know the bigger plan, and that truth fills me with agonizing pain.
You know the bigger plan, yet something tells me that even with that knowledge, you are filled with agonizing pain as well.
You are covered in wounds from our hot tears. From the shards of our broken hearts.
Because as we cry, you gently hold us in your hands, ignoring your pain so that you can be there for ours.
When we drift off to sleep, that is when you weep, filled with a misery that can only come from the knowledge that to get us to the greatest good, you must put us through the greatest pain.
I am furious with you, G-d.
Yet I pity you.
And as I cry and search for the comforting embrace, I offer you my shoulder.
Because I know that this is not something anyone wanted. Not us. Not our souls.

Not even you.

Blog Post: 9/52

Feature Photo by Cherry Laithang on Unsplash

I Don’t Hate You

Dear Extroverts,

How’s it going over there? “There” meaning the place that holds so much laughter and good cheer. Excitement, good stories, connections. It all happens there, the place that extroverts join together in unison in their extroversion.
I remain on the outside, an observer, a sideline-extraordinaire.
I am an introvert.
My happy place is an empty room, an empty bathroom, a quiet backyard.
My mood soars when I hear the key in the lock, representing all other human beings leaving me home alone. That aloneness is blissful.
I love being alone. My inner world is complex and miles long, and it takes me hours to travel the length of it. I savor every moment that I get to lose myself within myself, take the side roads and look at the scenery.
It’s how I work.
I understand myself.
But that doesn’t stop the introvert guilt from seeping in.
Why do I not enjoy spending hours on end with my dearest friends? With my family?
Why do I always need to escape, to find solitude for even a brief few moments of recovery?
Because it sounds incredible.
Your crazy stories.
Your raucous laughter.
Your late night parties.
Your interest in late nights.
It sounds like you’re living it up, and in comparison, it seems like I’m living it down.
But the way you seek to go out and chase the parties, I yearn to stay in with a book.
 To many, I appear to completely open. Until they get to know me.
I have several personas I give to the world and each of them are me yet none of them are actually me.
Most often is my extroverted mask.
That mask jokes around, talks a lot, keeps a whole lot under wraps and keeps smiling.
That me is the me that most people get to know.
That me cracks completely when it gets to be too much.
That me pushes the real me over the edge.
Because everyone needs energy, and my way of accessing it is by connecting to myself and getting away from external distractions.
When I try to fake it, when I try to act extroverted because I feel as if that is what is required of me, I sever my access point. My path to genuine happiness and full energy is ignored and pushed away.
It builds and builds and builds until it becomes a dangerous explosive, and either it’ll just destroy me for a short time or it will hurt others around me and that’s unfair to all.
Why am I writing this letter?
Extroverts, I am envious of you. I am envious of your ease and comfort in the big wide world. I am envious of your epic adventurous stories. I am envious that you can have such a traditional good time and nobody blinks an eyelash at your idea of an enjoyable night. I am saddened that I am envious. I am frustrated that I have to convince people of my introversion, that people are insulted by my unwillingness to spend an extended amount of time with them, that I have to defend my obvious thrill in a night home alone.
I am frustrated that I have to convince myself that it’s okay to be an introvert. It’s okay to be the way I am. It’s okay to have to recharge this way.
It will makes things harder. It will make things more complex and often painful. But it’s okay.
I am writing this letter to vent and also to inform you that while you are having your wild good time and begging, cajoling and joking around, saying: “come on, you’re so boring, come out with us,” I am closing up inside, and my mask is going on. Because I want to spend time with you. But I just can’t come out every night, unless you want to see me cry.
Sometimes I have to put my hands out full stop and disappear.
The mask is hot and stuffy and it makes me cry hot tears to be in it for too long.
So listen, dear extroverts.
I love you.
I appreciate you.
I find great joy in being your friend or family member.
But I am an intense introvert, and that has to be okay. Until you understand that my desire to be alone has nothing to do with you, I will be unable to rid myself of the guilt that permeates my alone time.
I am I.
You are you.
Let’s accept it and meet halfway.
I may need to take a few breaks, but I’d love to hang out with you.
An introvert of fantastic proportions