Sunday, July 31, 2005

chocolate milk

I attended my father's third wedding today. I have not lived with him since I was a small child. I have distanced myself from him over the years. When I met his soon-to-be wife before the ceremony, she kissed me on both cheeks, but her eyes were cold.

Before I arrived I was happy that I would finally be able to stop feeling guilty and responsible for his sadness and I was thrilled for him not to be alone. But for an instant I was the eight-year old girl who had to spend weekends away from her friends, in her father's sparse apartment. As I recall, there was little joy there. I looked forward to the smallest of things, like how he allowed me to drink as much chocolate milk as I wanted and play his records for hours. The music we listened to was entirely up to me. These fews simple things made leaving my life behind and keeping my father company on the weekend manageable, until one day a woman moved in and put an end to that joy. She did not want me to be hyper so I could no longer have chocolate. In hindsight I see that she just did not want me to exist.

My father has since moved on and so have I. The distance has settled in, making firm tracks. Mostly I am ok with this. Afterall, it is what I have always wanted. It is my relief, only when I met this woman today I could see it in a breath. If that little girl in me ever changes her mind, it is too late.

Sold to the women who does not care if I ever have chocolate milk again.

Friday, July 22, 2005

taking a stand

What is it about taking a stand or making a statement that results in people madly searching for inconsistencies?

I do not eat pork, but people often ask me why I do not have bacon with my brunch. After my explanation, some go further and go through a list of foods to challenge me, "yeah, but do you eat ribs? Do you eat hot dogs?"

A friend of mine is kosher style at home. He has his own flexible rules which are certainly his own business, but that drives people crazy. They prod, they debate... why?

I am boycotting products from France because of their recent bigot anti-semitic behavior. They served Evian at a meeting I was at yesterday and I drank it. I did not buy it, but how quickly do you think my colleague pointed that out?

Is it that people wish they too had standards? Do they wish they had something to care about? I don't get it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

no insulation

My body is starting to feel like an efficient machine. Suddenly what I am putting in it matters and I am able to do things with ease that I never could before. I am playing tennis, walking, dancing, and running. It gives me a rush and makes me want more. At the same time I am trying not to think about it too much. I am trying not refine what I eat and what I do to a sharp edge. I need room to move. I need allowances. This is the best I have been, but what if this is just more of what I have always done.

It is tough to get close to something that I have had a problem with in the past. It would be like lighting cigarettes for all of my smoker friends. It is easier for me to stay far away from focusing on exercise and eating well because at some level, deep down, I want to starve. It sounds crazy, and it is. It doesn't make sense in words, but these dark pieces surface when I get too close, too anxious, overwhelmed.

In my early twenties I shifted the focus from my physical appearance and control over my eating to paralyzing fear of almost everything. My fears have all but peeled away, but I realized that I had lost touch with my body. Is there a way to safely focus on this now, to be a healthy sexual woman? One thing I know for sure is that if I do not try I will never know. I could live a safe, lonely, insulated life or I can press on despite the risks.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

alternative to being stuck on the tracks

There are always pivotal moments and they seem to come at once, separated by long meandering normal periods. These are moments that change reality.. This week I finished grad school, had one of my elaborate unconscious fantasies about the tenor pulled out from under me, and this morning for a brief period, I worried that my sister was on a bombed subway. I woke to a phone call from a friend, which I didn't answer because I was still trying to sleep. I never got back to sleep so I checked my message. It was a friend of mine from NYC:

"Hey, I just wanted to find out if you had talked to your sister. I hope she is alright. It is horrible - brings back all my September 11th memories."

I freaked out. I had not heard anything about the underground bombings. In fact I didn't even know what she was referring to expcept that it had to be bad. Crying and shaking I tried to call my sister at work, hoping she had made it there before the bomb. She didn't answer so I left a message. I tried her cell and home numbers but couldn't get through. All the time I am trying not to picture what could have happened. Feeling like I think others have felt before they got "the bad news". I called my mother at home and on the cell - no answer. I called my Dad at work but he wasn't there. His secretary told me my mother had spoken to my sister. She was ok.

After a couple of hours I got through to my sister. She had been underground when it happened. The train stopped and they were stuck for over an hour, told that there was a power surge. They finally evacuated the train and my sister only found out what happened when they got outside. Thank G-D she, her boyfriend, and their friends are ok.

I feel shell-shocked myself. I am anxious and can't help but obsess over the precariousness of life. If my sister had left a few minutes earlier, things could have been very different.

A couple of my friends called right away, but I don't understand why a couple of my very good friends did not. So dissapointing. Dissapointment sounds like a mild word and the lack of calls sounds like a small thing, and I guess it is, but dissapointment is on a continuum from mild to horrific. It is a driving force that shapes our lives and forms who we are.

My dissapointments have taught me to see tragic things as the alternative to being stuck on the tracks, and while like today that is true, there must be other truths. My experience may not have taught me these alternative truths, but they are there. I would like to find them so I can save my panic for dissapointments on the horrific end of the continuum. Friends can be dissapointing, but does that have to feel so tragic?

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

summertime rolls

Just like I thought, a moment went by and I am finished grad school. I feel light and slightly confused...once again I can see the future. The uncertainty and novelty will soon dissapear. I will be unable to hold onto my appreciation. I will wonder about my purpose. I will envy students.

After work I went to play tennis and I had a shit game. There was a moment where I thought I would break the racket in rage, but I moved on and my game improved a bit. Still, I craved more exercise- I wanted to be hungry for air. Maybe it is all of that pent up energy.

I have dance class tomorrow but that will not come close to making up for the Korean barbecue I had for a celebratory dinner tonight and the Ben and Jerry's phish food for desert. I think the whole Korean meal is conceptually appealing, but it was a little more than I needed. More meat, more cooking my own food, too many cross-contamination threats to track. It was hard work. I felt like they should have paid me! Even the shrimp came with eyes and shells. I can not talk about it - it's making me a little sick.

Phish food reminds me of my sister who is a deadhead and a lover of Ben and Jerry's, my brother who is a fan of Phish, and my Mom who used to sing me Dead songs as a small child. I never understood all of that, but oddly enough the other day I bought a pair of Birks, which I vowed I would never wear and always made fun of my sister for wearing. They came out in a one-strap style in metallic gold and silver - they are actually cool!

I spoke to my little brother. I miss him. He makes me nostalgic for everything I have left behind. I am moving farther and farther away, and I don't mean to. I resist like a tired puppy laying down in the middle of the road, deadweight, only I am on a conveyor belt. No amount of pulling back is going to stop me from moving. Is the goal to learn how not to resist? To stop resenting and envying what I have left behind or never had? Get off the conveyor belt and return to where I came from? Unfortunately I think that you can never go back. You can not unlearn experience, can you?

I need to get it out - a word about my friend that is going through a major life crisis. Just when I thought things were going to be ok, they went back downhill. They plummeted. Then there was a resurgence of hope and yet again, disappointment. I am not sure I can take this anymore, so I can only imagine how it must be for my friend. I don't understand why things have to be this way. I am not a very strict Jew, but I pray in my own way on a regular basis. I have prayed so many times for my friend to be well. For my friend to be happy and well. I just don't understand why things are such a fucking disappointment sometimes.

I know this all sounds sad, but please know it is peppered with sunlight.

Monday, July 04, 2005


Tonight I can feel the buzz. A hum just under the surface of my skin. In a split second it will be tomorrow and I will look back at this moment.

I will have finished my presentation, I will feel relief, but not as much as I would have thought two weeks or two months ago.

I can taste it like it has already happened. Everything has already happened if I think about it long enough.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

say the word

"I love you Rachel. You have been my best friend since we were little..."

"I know", I tell him. I do, but more than that, I know what's coming next. I have known for a while, deep in my bones. My chest tightens. He continues,

"I think we need to give 'us' a chance".

He is Jess. The kid in grade school who used to torture me. He hit me when I tried to play with his toys. He let me join the boys playing football at recess. Later playing took on a whole new meaning for the two of us. We taught each other the basics. Later still, our friendship remained. Now after all of this time, and when I am feeling so lonely, he dangles the proverbial carrot. He has everything he could possibly want in this world except for someone to share it with, and he thinks I am that someone.

"It's you Rachel. It's always been you".

Except I think it has not always been me and is not now. I think of it from every angle. I try to find an opening, but there are none. I am short of breath. I will the cab to make the light.

"You're lonely Jess. You're lonely and you are confusing our love for something more."

"No! No...., you see... that's where you're wrong. You are wrong. We need to give us a chance. We do. We owe it to ourselves".

The cab pulls up to his hotel.

"Look Jess, get some sleep, OK? We will talk in the morning."

He shuts the car door.

The phone is ringing as I walk into my apartment. His voice is thick from all of the drinks. He confronts me, forcing me to talk, to be more blunt than I want to be, more sure than I feel.

That was exactly one year ago. Last week I went out for lunch with Jess and Alex, a friend we grew up with. Jess has moved on and I almost forgot it happened, my guard back down. Finishing lunch, Jess talked about his current girlfriend. It is getting serious. Alex interrupts him,

"Whatever! You know that you and Rachel are going to end up together. We all know that. Why don't you two?"

Jess turns to me and answers Alex, without taking his eyes off mine.

"Rachel knows how I feel. She just has to say the word".

Only I am not going to say the word.

I hope I am not making a mistake.