It has been a very long and tiring week, full of lots of different thoughts and feelings.
I think that I cried at least once a day. I feel a bit overwhelmed.
I have the desire to fight too many things. I want to help with the fight for refugees, for schools, women rights, Dakota Pipe Line, Black Lives Matters, stopping deportations… I also have my own personal fight in the world of Orthodox women. There is just so much and so much that is real and necessary, and I am having a hard time figuring out what to fight for.
To keep things making sense, I will not write about the learn-in at JFK- maybe I will post about that another time. I will also not write about US politics, but rather this is about the my personal fight within the religious system.
Where am I in this fight. So part of me feels like I talk about it too much. I feel like I should be over it. I feel like I should know what I am in and just accept it. I also know that I am one of the lucky ones. I am lucky because I have family and friends who are very supportive of what I do. Very rarely am I trying to convince those who are close to me that I am doing something worth while. My friends and family are there for me. When I posted on Facebook, I only got messages of encouragement. Messages telling me that they admire what I am doing; that I am doing something worthwhile; that I should continue fighting. But I read the other articles, I hear the messages that my friends get, I am not naive and I know that is not what the majority of the world looks like- and so I know that I need to push myself to speak out.
Yesterday I wrote three things that went out to the public. Writing is the thing that I find that I am the worst at. I am worried that my words are not written correctly; that people are going to find fault with it; that I am not really saying what I want to say. But apparently I said exactly what people wanted. Apparently the message that I always got, that I am not good at writing might not necessarily be true. Maybe I should post things publicly and I shouldn’t be afraid of sounding stupid.
I think also about the fight I am willing to fight. One of the ways that many of the women in my program get jobs is by convincing a shul that they should hire me. I broke down crying the other day realizing that I don’t have the energy to fight anymore – especially the inside ones. I know that not everyone in the world will accept what I am doing, nor do I think that they need to, and so getting a message from those people doesn’t really matter so much. But I don’t have the energy to constantly be trying to prove myself and fight for my job even when I have it already. I am not naive- I know there are always politics. I know that there is always things a person does to make sure that they are necessarily and good at their job – that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about the fight to prove that I actually have accreditation; or that I am worthy enough for such a job; or just to prove that they made the right choice because they too are now openly part of this fight. To do that, I don’t have the energy in me. I am burnt out. I am tired. I am angry.
I also am feeling very lonely in all of this. Yes, I have people out there in support of me – which don’t get me wrong, is really amazing. But I am lonely. I want to have a partner. I want to have someone to come home to – to talk to; to hold me in the times that I am down; to be there to push me; to do things with that have nothing to do with any of this. It is even more part of my focus because I am looking for a job. There are jobs that I can not apply to – certain jobs will not even look at me because I am not married. There are jobs that I personally would have a problem applying to because they are based in areas that the marriage prospects are slim to none. So even though in the past, I found ways to push away this desire when I couldn’t see it, now it is constantly in my face. I have a desire to be with someone and to get married, and I’m not getting even close to it, and it is in my face every single day, in every single conversation about getting a job or what I am doing next.
It is also a conversation I don’t feel like I can have. I feel like I am not supposed to have sexual desire, and if I do I definitely shouldn’t act on it. I feel like if I talk so much about getting married, then I fall into the category of the sad single person. That I should be “happy” with my single status, because I am able to move to wherever and there is nothing tying me down. That I should learn to be on my own because I can’t or shouldn’t find happiness or wholeness in another person — But guess what I have done it. I have been alone this ENTIRE time. Everything I have done is alone because I have yet to find someone. So I know very well how to do it alone. I know how to fight and pick myself up. I know how to push. I know how to go places and not be afraid to sell myself, to make jobs want me. BUT I DON’T WANT TO ANY MORE!!!! But for now I don’t have an option…
This week, a few of us from school changed our Facebook profile pictures to have a text overlay saying “She was warned. She was given and explanation. She persisted.” To me this means a number of things. One it is to look back and around me at all the women in history that have defied expectations and limitations. One is to try and bring conversation to other women (or those who feel marginalized) to recognize their contributions – that they have strength that they might not have thought they did. One is to let others know that I will continue fighting. To acknowledge the fact that I know that I am doing something big (even though we are told not to brag). And maybe the most important of all, it is a message to myself. It is a reminder to myself that no matter what I have been told and no matter how many times I will be pushed down or have obstacles thrown at me – I will persist. I will create change. I will fulfill my dream.