Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Being a Crazy Cat Lady is FUN!

I personally am not much of a pet person. If I had all that extra cash, I'd rather spend it on a human being, preferably a cute little baby who will most probably learn to toilet itself as the years go on.

I'm talking about the PERSONALITY of a crazy cat lady. We all know of such people. We sometimes cal them "eccentric older singles." It's the personality type that gets really really into their niche interests because they are not impeded by  having to care for a husband or kid(s).

Think of  this lady  who has a nut museum. She seems a bit odder than the average person you might bump into at the supermarket, but look at how happy she looks! How many "regular" people look this happy? (Answer: not a lot.)

So my new life goal is to emulate this personality type because my life goal is to be happy. In practice, this means that I have a list of responsibilities that I rush to get through and then I devote my time to my weirder and weirder habits.

Right now I'm writing a book for adults that has the same format as a kid's book and illustrating it with photography and it's so much fun!

I also have a fan page tangentially related to this project. I have fans who are not related to me or my friends! I took a photograph with a fan and triumphantly showed it to my father. "You see Daddy, I'm weird, but other adults are weird in the same way!" My father still thinks it's a very specific interest, but now he seems to feel a bit better about the weirdo he created. I told him that as the person who doodles on our garbage cans with rain-proof markers, he has no right to wonder where I came from. Once a friend of mine drove past the house and called me up to ask about the doodles, and my father was thrilled for weeks. It really takes one to make one.

Another part of being happy is eradicating evil from this planet. As someone who knows a few people who were molested as children, I decided to get involved in trying to protect victims of pedophiles.

My mom was much more supportive of my going to and organizing protests than my dad was; she even wanted to go to a protest with me but fell sick. My father was like "Can you wear sunglasses? Or a wig?" I asked him why on earth I would do that in this sweltering heat, especially when shrieking chants on the top of my lungs for hours on end dehydrates me. His response was "Shidduchim."

There is no better way to get my goat than to tell me to do something for shidduchim. "If some guy has a problem with getting rid of the statute of limitations and educating parents and children about how to prevent child molesters from getting to kids, he is not for me. We would have diametrically opposed world views. Also, remember two years ago when I tried to change in order to get married? That turned out really well!" I huffed, applying sunscreen so that I wouldn't burn to a crisp at the protest. "I'm also not cut out for shidduchville. I've interviewed my frummy friends who are there. Each shadchan nets them less than 5 dates a year. It infantilizes the daters. FORGET IT!" I marched out and protested with some lovely oddballs for 3 hours and felt very happy.

I also decided that as I'm getting closer to my savings goal and to my move-out deadline (25), it's time to start picking out a place to live. Married or single, I'm leaving home to be a real adult. I made a list of places to visit and I'm getting invited to these places one by one. So far there is a clear favorite place if I'm single, and I'd love to live there even if I got married, but I intend to go to every place on the list. While I definitely love my own bed and all of my stuff being in the same place, I like traveling and meeting people. 

In the interest of not caring about others opinions, I decided that going far away to drink and act stupid with friends showed a lack of integrity and was unnecessarily grueling. There is a nearby bar that caught my fancy a decade ago. I once went in there to use the toilet 3 years ago, and they let me use it even though I clearly said that I wasn't going to buy a drink. That's the kind of attitude that makes me come back to a place and buy a drink later. It's a nice little dive bar that is hanging on for dear life in the heart of frummyville.

I brought Etty and Reena to this bar with me. There were a total of three other customers at the place. An old Italian guy  was nursing his drink slowly, a woman who was way to dressed up for this little dive bar and twirling her hair, and a tuna beigel with his peyos tucked behind his ears who was fiddling with his phone. I know that this place was only surviving because the mortgage was paid off because I researched it online.

The Italian guy's jaw dropped when we walked in. "You guys like this bar?" He asked us incredulously.

"I LOVE THIS BAR!" I grinned maniacally. The drinks were good and cheap, and my friends and I played darts. We took some stupid selfies and laughed a lot. The tuna beigel guy was visibly agitated by our presence and after an urgent, hushed phone call he specifically made outside, he left the bar altogether. I started smacking the old slot machine game's buttons, but then Reena got an intense craving for frummy junkfood, so we left the bar and went to a nearby grocery. The three of us pigged out for a bit and then we went home.

Overall, not giving a shit about societal expectations has been great!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

My Name is Rage

These days I alternate between bursts of rage, in which I am also very productive, and then I lose steam, feel numb,  and consider it a huge accomplishment to make it to work and to shower.

At this point everyone knows that I dumped Ben. This has led to an outpouring of sympathy from friends and family. This has also led to some assholes reaching out.

Look. In 2014, after Ex # 2, I made out with a few stupid people. I just didn't want Ex # 2 to be the last person I had ever made out with. Additionally, I felt that getting married was financially out of my reach, as I didn't want my parents or the potential husband's parents to be overly involved and controlling. Since I'd rejected the idea of parental support, I realized that I was too poor to not be totally dependent on a husband. The potential imbalance of power with a husband who would be earning way over 50% of any money we'd earn  made me nervous.

I also felt that I didn't have the right personality for marriage. To get married as a woman, it helps to be an introverted, quiet little sheepie who will flutter your eyelashes and say, by gesture and words, "Oh how WONDERFUL you are, husband!" twenty million times a day, even if the husband hasn't actually done anything all day except play video games.

Obviously, when you're dating you can't say "Oh how WONDERFUL you are, husband!" However, you should give off the impression that you're the kind of person who would say such things all the time when you're married.

I am not such a person. As a person, my hobbies include writing this blog, writing stories and books, buying books, going to internet meetups, finding new bars (the more of a dive it is, the better), exercising, drinking coffee, cuddling with stuffed animals, cooking, and singing to myself. My only acceptable hobby is cooking.

Taking all of this together, in 2014 I decided that marriage was out of reach. So I adjusted my goals. I decided to focus on school, friends, and hobbies.

It was in this time period, from mid-2014-2016, that I allowed these temporary people into my life. In that time period, they served their function. At the time, I liked all of them as people. Some of them even seemed to like me a bit at the time, but it was never enough for me to ever put them in a serious box. One wrote me a song that he would play on his guitar. Another one taught me about the true definition of honoring your parents. Another one of them even took me on a date and introduced me to his friends and some of his family members.

For various reasons, all of these people were eventually categorized as "not compatible for the long term." At that point I would be straight up and say "I don't think we should see each other anymore" and often strongly imply that I was moving on in my life and that I didn't think they could go the distance with me.

In 2016, I realized that I had saved up enough money that even if I was temporarily dependent on other people, I would have enough resources to escape a marriage if it didn't work out. It dawned on me that I was much, much closer to earning enough money to not have to depend on other people. I immediately decided to only pursue serious relationships.

The people from my past do not understand why I want nothing to do with them. At this point in my life, they offer me NOTHING. They want my time and my eroding youth for NOTHING. I know these people and I KNOW that we could not make it to the chuppah.

One of them wanted no kids; one wanted 10 kids. One never wanted to leave our shitty neighborhood, and another one wanted to live in Israel. I was, within a 4 month span, declared too fat, too thin, too nerdy, and too mainstream. Two of them considered me too unambitious because I picked career because it helps people and gives me 3 day weekends and will never earn over $150k a year ( I should have been chasing the big bucks and working 15+ hour days too, because the obvious misery their schedules gave them was so encouraging).

On top of all these obvious incompatibilities and lack of acceptance on both sides, none of these men were comfortable with FEELINGS. I cannot deal with a person who cannot tell me what they are feeling- not WHY they are feeling, but WHAT they are feeling. They expected me to essentially be some kind of sexy therapist mom who also never had her own needs and schedule.

None of this remotely appeals to me. I NEED THINGS. If you want to work here, CLOSE.If you are living a double life, looking down on me, not in touch with your feelings, using drugs (POT COUNTS) , have incompatible life goals, or are are not closing. So fuck off.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Baggy Clothes

I sit here at work. My clothes are bagging off my lower half, and hanging loosely from the top half. I slept 8 hours last night but I am still tired.

I dumped Ben two weeks ago. Despite having regained his belief, we still had problems. I was so unhappy that I ended it even though I am old by Jewish standards.

Even though he was also unhappy, he wanted to stay in the relationship. He tried to pull the "you're old" card. "You'll be starting from scratch with someone new." (unstated second part of the sentence: "Do you have time for that at 23.5?")

"I know," I informed him. "I might even be alone for the rest of my life. I just can't stay with you. All of the complains you listed against me in this letter you sent me are part of my core personality. I cannot change who I am. I'm unhappy with things about you, and you accused me of chipping away at your identity because I asked you not to litter. I can only imagine what you think of any other requests. You need to be with someone more like yourself, and I need to be with someone like me."

So now I am alone. I drag myself to work. I sleep a lot. Sometimes I feel a rush of happiness, not because I like being alone, but because Ben was sucking away my energy. Most of the time I feel listless and don't do anything.

Now I am being an annoying and clingy best friend to Rory. I lie on his couch with stuffed animals and hide under blankets. I told Rory that I want to disappear- not to die, but just to disappear and not have to do anything or have people talk about me. I told Rory that I am only talking to him because I consider him a stuffed animal. Rory tries to get me to eat, and sometimes it works.

Magnet and his girlfriend are breaking up. Queenie and her boyfriend broke up. Batsheva, my sister, dumped her stupid boyfriend who I hated. "We used to be the Breakfast Club; now we're the breakup club!" I told them. They did not find it nearly as amusing as Magnet's mom and Rory did.

At this point, I am facing the facts. I am old according to Jewish people. I do not have much to offer that other people are not offering. I am working on accepting that I will die alone. It's just the worst feeling, even when I have people like Etty telling me to count my blessings that I at least did not marry him and have his baby.

My parents are a bit upset at me. They liked Ben, but that is because they did not know him well. No one else really liked Ben. They are upset because they feel I am being lazy on purpose. I am done with them. I need support now, not this endless stream of negativity. I pay for my food, clothes, driving lessons and copays. I also cook dinner and clean up. I live in their house, but I deserve to not be treated like someone who does not do anything. At 25, I am moving out if I am not married. I have almost reached my "nest egg" target and I am looking at better-paying jobs. I will miss the cute babies at my job, but I need more money.

I am done with almost everybody. Hatred courses through my veins at the thought of Ben, of Jewish men in general, of everyone in my neighborhood who is talking about the breakup...hate is exhausting. Some people say that you should hold on to the anger because at least it lights a fire under your ass, but I don't find that to be true. I feel just as drained either way.

The plan is just trying to around people who make me happy and that is it. Class starts soon, and I have to schedule a road test and do all this other stuff.

 On top of this, the breakup club looks up to me as their leader, and I feel like a hypocrite. I took Magnet to a restaurant and made him eat, but I haven't been doing well with eating either. I'm recommending relationship books to Batsheva, and helping Queenie sort through certain things for summer. Meanwhile, I'm a depressed poop who hasn't even sent a two-line email that I need to send or washed her hair in a week. At least no one can tell about my hair. The blind leading the blind.

I sat in that restaurant and cracked jokes for 3 hours while forcing Magnet to eat, and when some guy at the next table kept listening in and trying not to laugh, I politely un-noticed it. Then, outside of the restaurant when Magnet said that he felt fat and I started singing Weird Al's "I'm fat!"and dancing, the guy at the next table couldn't contain himself and asked if I was this other girl who looks like me. The guy had a mini freakout when he realized that I am in fact not that girl who looks like me, and that I am way older than him.

It made me feel really bad for most people my age. If they have less fun than I do when I'm depressed, I am SO HAPPY not to be like other people my age.

When I am not depressed for a month, I will try to date again, but not a second before that.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Rosh Hashanah 2016/ Why I Didn't Join the OTD Minyan

Ah, Jews. They can be kooky, irrational, nitpicky and nosey, but they are my people and I wouldn't have it any other way.

One of the guys in my friend group got engaged. I was surprised and not surprised at the same time. The two of them are really sweet together and there is that pressure from her being older than him. It was one of those rare Brooklyn vorts without a mechitzah. (IF I get engaged, I refuse to have a mechitzah at my vort. Mechitzahs at social events are stupid.) While I was happily stuffing my face with chocolate cream, Ned walked over to me.

Ned is over half a decade older than I am, a cerebral OTD man who studied in a prestigious yeshivah for many years. He told me that he was trying to have an OTD minyan in Gromo's apartment. Gromo is Ned's best friend, and my sister's boyfriend. They needed at least 10 people, and would I be interested?

The absurdity of the situation made me smile. So Hashem, or at least the Hashem you were raised with, is not real. Judaism  is not real. You want to fully count women as part of your minyan to the point where this is no longer Orthodox. BUT YOU NEED 10 PEOPLE? If you're throwing it all away, why not be ok with nine people? Or 8? Or 5?

"How is this going to work?" I asked.

It was going to be Hannah, Ned, Gromo, my sister, some woman from the internet, Rosie and her boyfriend, and some other people I had seen on the internet. "You're all going to fit into Gromo's apartment?" I asked dubiously. "I hear it's such a shoebox that there's no room for a roommate." At this point, Gromo came over to us and explained that they could have 10ish people just barely fit into the apartment.

Gromo, being highly musicial, wanted a musical service. "The frum landlord is going to love you guys. You know how Brooklyn goes- they wanted a frum tenant and they're going to find out that they don't have one." Gromo sadly agreed with my point and the musical component was scrapped over a plate of potato kugel.The service was going to be one hour long and then they were going to blow shofar, have a haphazard kiddush and go home. "Invite Ben! Invite Shelly! Invite people!" Ned urged.

Ben is my boyfriend. Ben is the Normal Guy I met at shul when I was in high school, who I then re-met in my last semester at college. He is OTD, but has agreed to work with me.

"I'll think about it," I said. Something about this was bugging me. I knew Ben wouldn't go for it. Ben would say "I'm going to a real service. I don't believe in any of it, but this is what my people have done for thousands of years and if you're going to fake it, you should fake it correctly!"

This was almost exactly what Ben said when I told him about it.

"I hear you," I said. "I told Ned you'd say that. Listen, I don't like a lot of it either. I don't relate to korbanos, and usually whisper "RUN SHEEPIES, RUN!" under my breath. Or "RUN COWS, RUN!" I realize that I wouldn't like living under a theocracy, so I feel uneasy with all these prayers that say that I want a return to the ancient Israelite kingdom....but this is what my people have said and I am not quite a part of my people anymore if I don't say it or at least look at the words and think about it. Also, these are a bunch of goofs from the internet. YOUNG goofs. You're younger than me and you'd be bringing the average age of this "minyan" up. This is going to collapse around Ned's ears."

Ben and I agreed that Ben would either go to the little shtieble where we met or he'd go to his father's shul, and that I would go to one of my parent's shuls. My parents are married, but go to different shuls.

As of Thursday, the minyan collapsed, just as I predicted. Since Ben is going to his father's shul, I will go to my mother's shul on the first day, and go to a different shul on the second day, because my friend had a baby and his bris is on the second day. After the bris, I am eating at Ben's sister with the rest of the family.

This Rosh Hashana, I feel like I am one of my people. I became much more bogged down with responsibilities this year, so I spoke with people less. I only spoke to people who really don't cause me any headaches. I didn't have the time for stupidity and stress.

My one quarrel is with Etty and I believe is 100% her fault- I couldn't go to a function of her,s so she lashed out and basically called me a whore. Being called a whore is never pleasant, but when she did the exact same activities and everyone shunned her, I didn't shun her. I don't even care enough. I just want to cut her loose and move on. After I didn't shun her pendulum-like views on religion, her unhappiness, her this, her that, this is what I get? No. I'm not apologizing.

I need to go cut up things for my family's meals now.

I wish anyone still reading this a great Rosh Hashanah, and good health.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Life Update

I have graduated.

I'm about to switch jobs, to one with better hours and more money.

Emotionally, I am thawing...

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Wallet vs Heart

I'm about to graduate. Therefore, I have many friends who are also graduating.

Some of these friends have silly ideas about me, like that I'm a stable individual and great roommate material, so they've been hitting me up with offers.

Don't get me wrong. I'd love to move out. With my personal life being what it is, now would be an especially great time to move out. I don't want to sneak around anymore. I'm 22 years old, I'm too old for this.

Rena's family life has gone to serious shit. She is the only friend who has consistently pursued the moving out conversation with me after I presented my budget.

Unfortunately for Rena, I have two very important abilities: being able to do math and knowing how the "Shit happens" factor will skew things.

"I earn $12/hour now," I said slowly, for the third time. "My boss refuses to hire people full-time. I cannot guarantee that I will have a full time job by August, and to be honest, I'd need $25/hour or a salaried job to be able to make it as a roommate. You earn $11/hour and are also part-time.

"We are not going to be able to get one of those magical illegal frummie basement apartments because we are not religious enough to maintain that "quiet religious girls doing shidduch dating"facade. The only neighborhood where we can legally afford to live is one where even Wikipedia says that you can't get anywhere without a car- and neither of us has a car. You are also being picky about neighborhood even beyond the transportation factor. Everywhere you want to live has an average rent that is too high for us two alone at our earning levels. We'd need a third roommate who is about as stable as we are, because we need to allow for sick days and for guests eating our food and for things that point we'd be out of space."

Rena was not discouraged by my facts and figures. "I found a place in a neighborhood I'd want to live in on Craigslist for $1,375 a month!"

"RENA. The average rent for an apartment that size in that neighborhood is $2,000/month. Something is wrong with this place if everything else there is almost double the price. I'm not wasting my precious time trying to figure out what it is."

Oh, but my heart wants to move so badly!

I told my boyfriend about it. "My heart says one thing, but my wallet says another," I sighed.

"Listen to your wallet," he advised. "That's what you do anyways."

I will move out when I can afford it. That much is definite. Getting from here to there seems harder every passing day though. As I get older, I feel the danger more and more acutely. What if I get sick or run out of money?

Now, if I have to go, I will. I just don't want it to come down to that. I want to leave on amicable terms, so that if it goes wrong, I have something to return to.

Disbelief- the end is in sight!

I have 2 more papers to write and then I am done with undergrad.

I actually made it through without ending up miserably married and/or pregnant.

It's hard to believe I made it here. I took the straight road, going directly from HS to college. I got out on time, spending the minimal amount of $ possible. So many people I've known have fallen off the road, regretting picking unnecessarily expensive schools, having accident babies.......I was never the "smart one" in high school, and yet the proof is in the pudding. What is raw brains with no trappings of brains worth next to the trappings of brains? Not much.

From here on forth, life is going to get much more interesting.

Murmurings of the real me have been reaching my parents. This is a bad thing, but I will deal with it all next week.

So much has happened and there has been no time to process.