Guys.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hit on people these past few weeks. And to no avail.  It’s amazing. It doesn’t matter how active or passive I am in finding someone. Nothing. I mean, I guess that’s not entirely true. I did go on one physical, live, in person date last week. But it was clear that we weren’t a match. Anywho, What’s a girl gotta do to find a man around here? It’s a mystery that I’ve been trying to crack for quite a few years now. So many years that I’ve had no choice but to learn to accept and even laugh at my mom’s remarks, such as, “I expect a few grandchildren from you soon”, or, “It’s a shame that you didn’t come to the singles event in Tekoa, you should start trying to find someone”. Even though I constantly tell her not to worry and that I am VERY actively searching. Moms will be moms. Gotta love her.

Anywho, what’s the secret? Some would say, “It’ll come when you’re not looking”. But to that I say, “what does it even mean not to look?”. How does one not look? I can’t imagine such a world. It’s not really under my control. That said, what are the other options? From experience:

  1. Sitting passively and waiting for it to come= 0 husbands
  2. Actively trying and “hitting on” guys= 0 husbands

I guess I’ve come to the conclusion lately that what I need to do is what comes naturally to me. Follow my gut. When I feel like putting myself out there, I’ll put myself out there. When I’m feeling more reserved, I’ll take a step back. And I’d like to take pride in my audacity in the “hitting on guys” department. Even though it hasn’t necessarily been fruitful, it’s a recurring lesson in braveness and not taking rejection too personally.

Have a nice day!

Ayala 🙂

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Top secret journal entry.

Hey peeps,

This following post is taken directly from my journal entry last Friday, 1/2/2019. My journal is more me talking to myself than to my journal. I wonder if that’s normal. But anyway, the pronouns get a little confusing and it’s written a bit associatively, so bear with me.

Why am I posting this super personal entry? You may ask. It’s simply because I’ve been wanting to post something for a while now, and for some reason, when I come to write straight into the computer, it flows a bit less authentically. In addition, I feel others might be able to connect to the subject and maybe be helped by the conclusions, because they helped me quite a bit these past few days. Anywho, enjoy!

“Journal,

What’s up? I’m feeling poopy. I want to cry and sulk in the ickiness of feeling like I’ve lost myself. I feel like a blob. A thinking blob that can’t stop thinking about what’s been lost. I used to be funnier. I used to be spunkier. I used to be smarter. Now, I’m just a person who can’t stop thinking about how she longs to be all of those things, and she doesn’t truly believe she can be. Her mind feels like it’s melting. Her memory a bit impaired. Her creativity stunted…Humor gone for a long walk to a place unknown.

I’ve lost sense of the line between wanting to be worthy in my own eyes, and wanting to be worthy in someone else’s. It’s so confusing. If for myself, then I have a whole lifetime, so why am I so darn stressed? If for someone else, so that someone else can love me, I only have about a year or two. That’s about how much time I’ve given myself to find someone. But how can someone love me if I don’t love myself? How can I expect that of anyone? Can I love myself the way I am now? Not smart enough, not funny enough, not whatever enough? But who ever said what’s enough? I have no clue, I’ve just decided I’m not.

I feel lonely, unfulfilled, a bit wasted (not the drunk kind). I feel torn between the many people I love and want to keep in touch with. How do you fit it all in when you prefer meeting up one-on-one? Maybe you need to flexify, combine forces, un-self-conscious yourself. People are good. People are loving. You don’t need to be afraid.

Okay, so we’re covered people. What about you? How do we fill the void you’re feeling? The feeling of being wasted (again, not the drunk kind). What can you do differently?

Join a club?

Go to a weekly Judaism class?

Volunteer somewhere?

Work with children?

African dance?

Ceramics?

So many options. What will you choose? At the end of the day, you need to balance a lot. Work, friends, school, family, fun, but don’t forget about you. Your own development. You’re important! And meanwhile, don’t forget to be nice to yourself! Hug those insecurities. Give ’em a nice squeeze on the butt. They may suck, but they want you to grow. That’s pretty cool of them.

Shabbat Shalom!”

 

After writing this journal entry on Friday, I felt really different. There’s something about writing in a journal that can really cause a positive shift in your thinking and help organize your thoughts. I highly recommend it.

Anywho, thanks for reading. Hope this spoke to some of you. 🙂

Bleh-ness

Hi blog,

Yesterday, a friend told me to keep up writing my blog, and I thought to myself- what the frick will I  write about? I have nothing going on these days and my mind and thoughts feel flat as a squashed banana on the sidewalk. I’m in this weird, inexplicable mood. On the one hand, I’m feeling pretty emotionally stable, which is something I haven’t been able to say wholeheartedly since about two and a half years ago. So that’s good, I guess. But, on the other hand, I’m also feeling really bleh and personality-less. (By the way, before I forget, I must mention that I am sitting in this cool, hip, overpriced cafe while writing this post, and it’s making me feel pretty deep, I won’t lie. It’s just so…fancy and hipster of me.) Anywho, I feel good, I feel fine, but I feel like a big part of me is hiding, and my biggest fear is that it’s gone for good, although I keep telling myself that like any other mood, this one is fleeting. But deep down I don’t fully believe it. (Aside: there’s a really cute waiter that just arrived, and I’m really distracted. Focus, Ayala, focus!)

Anyway, this mood is really weird. People ask me how I’m doing, and I say that I’m good, because I objectively am: I’m not sad, I don’t cry regularly, I don’t contemplate the meaning of life constantly these days. I’m fine. I’m good. I do, I go, I work, I meet friends, I practice guitar and singing, I go to the gym, I’m healthy, my family’s fine. Baruch Hashem, bli ayin hara! But nonetheless, something in me is asleep. For example, my sense of humor, It’s gone somewhere and is showing no signs of return. I used to think I was funny and sarcastic, and great at “flowing” with people’s jokes, but I suddenly have no funny things to say and don’t laugh authentically often times. I also just generally don’t feel like I have what to give to a  conversation except for  listening. I can listen well, I’ll admit. I also really love listening. But I also miss feeling like I have what to share, as well.

Everything just seems a bit “okay”, and I miss things seeming exciting. (Ahh, so distracted by waiter). I don’t know if there’s  something I can do about this because I am technically doing lots of things I want to and chose to do, and generally feel like I’m doing things as “right” as I can be now. I might just need to wait this out. I just wish I had some kind of guarantee that I’ll get back to “myself” soon. Ahh, what if this new state is my true self. Dang, I really hope not😶 (Oy, he has a wedding band. Of course he does. Story of my life.)

Oh, also, I stopped therapy about two weeks ago, so I’m wondering if that has anything to do with this bleh-ness. Maybe this sort-of numb state of being is some kind of subconscious defense mechanism that protects me from feeling strong feelings when I don’t have my weekly “space” to share and process what I’m going through. 🤔

So…I like to try and end these posts (when I’m not super depressed and self-loathing) with a positive take-away. So, maybe what I will try to do these days is this:

  1. Give myself time.
  2. Bask in the fact that I feel fine, which, considering the past two years, is not to be taken for  granted.
  3. Take advantage of my current enlarged capacity to give and listen in order to be there as much as possible for the people in my life.
  4. Be open to letting things pull me out of this current state of personality-lessness when I am ready.
  5. Listen to myself, whether that means that for an entire week I will come home early and spend my evenings watching whatever weird shows “Netflix Israel” has to offer after I’ve already seen the few good ones, instead of going out. Sometimes you need to retreat in order to spring back in a more focused and precise way.

So, friends, hope this wasn’t too boring. Feel free to comment or spill feelings, or tell me how boring and not funny I’ve been lately, or whatever. 🙂

Have a lovely day!

Sincerely,

Ayala

An end and a beginning.

So this post is going to be written nearly as confused as my emotions are right now, I suppose. I haven’t written in a really long time. Not sure why– maybe a combination of feeling like my thoughts aren’t worth reading, the fear that my thoughts aren’t all that profound, and maybe just feeling like there’s not that much going on in my life that’s worth writing about. Anywho, I’m feeling so overwhelmed by different emotions that I just NEED to spill.

Indeed, I am now in an intense time where I’m about to leave my home, the student village in Rimonim, after having lived here for the past two years of my life. Packing is a b**** and it’s bringing out all of these emotions I’ve had stored inside for a while regarding leaving this place. I haven’t kept perfect count, but I believe I’ve cried about 8 separate times today. I realize now that the move is much harder than I’d thought. This place is where I made some of my best friends. It’s where I went through a rough period of depression and also where I got out of it. Rimonim is where I learned to share. It’s also where I discovered that I can’t always smell the stank other people smell from my fridge, and that fermented vegetables may not be as innocent as I’d thought. It’s where I learned that it’s okay to be around people when I’m an emotional or physical mess, and that I don’t need to hide. This place is where I’ve drank countless cups of coffee with Vitariz rice-almond milk while watching the breathtaking views of the surrounding hills. Where I’ve spend countless hours binge-watching shows on Netflix. Gone on dozens of runs alone and with G, the funniest person alive and maybe the only person with the power to cheer me up no matter what state I’m in. And might I add, the only person I know who can make the dirtiest jokes while simultaneously seeming adorably innocent. This place has absorbed as much of my laughter as it has my tears (hopefully more laughter than tears, but if we’re being realistic, it’s probably even). Rimonim, where I learned to dance in front of others (with no “warm up” period necessary) and not think so freaking much about how good I look doing it. It’s where I learned that alcohol heals all wounds. Kidding. I realize now that I’m ranting. Oh wait, it’s also where I put countless hours of boredom to good use and finally picked up a guitar. Okay one more- it’s also where I realized that relationships are more complex than I had thought, and that they can hold both good and bad, positive and negative, fun and  boredom, ups and downs, and it’s all good. Okay, now I’m really ranting. Basically, looking back, this place was pretty darn meaningful to me and it’s going to be really hard to leave.

As I was cleaning out my room just a half hour ago, I made myself do what I’ve been putting off for a while. I threw out two things that meant a lot to me, which forced me to confront thoughts and feeling that I have been avoiding. Unfortunately, when you’re a youngster moving around from apartment to apartment every few years, you can’t keep everything that means something to you. It sucks. So the first item I’m referring to is an adorable poster that the first and second-grade kids in our after-school program in the yeshuv made for us, the students, in appreciation for all of the activities we planned and did with them this year. How the heck does one throw out something so cute with so many precious spelling mistakes? Broke my heart to throw that out. I really loved working with the  kids this year and legitimately miss those cuties.

The second item that I had to throw out, and I’m still a bit mad at myself for doing so, is this play-dough sculpture that I made with my client in fieldwork at the end of the school year. It was in a hospice and she was a relatively young patient suffering from breast cancer. The idea to make a sculpture was hers, and it was meant to be a frena, some sort of Moroccan oven that her grandmother used to bake in back in Morocco. We made it from her  memory of her grandmother’s description of it. My relationship with this patient lasted a few months and was really meaningful to me (as well as to her, I believe). When I finished my fieldwork, she was still alive. The decision to throw out the sculpture was strictly practical, and made so many emotions rush forth, and confronted me with the question of whether or not she is still alive today. I’m not sure if I even really want to know and if I can currently  deal with the truth if she is not. It feels really surreal to contemplate this as in some ways I still feel like a child. This episode is what threw me into my eighth crying fit.

So what I’ve learned today is that:

  1. A person can cry and laugh many times in the same day.
  2. Tears don’t run out that quickly.
  3. Breaking down into tears only takes a fraction of a second.
  4. Crying is a curious thing.
  5. Tears are endless, probably even scientifically.
  6. You don’t need a real reason to cry.
  7. I’m going to miss Rimonim a lot.
  8. Emotional eating is a real thing.
  9. Putting an unfinished bag of chips back in the cupboard is nearly impossible.
  10. Packing is a poopy thing.

Wishing for good new things this year!  Amen 🙂

-Ayala

So many things!

So many emotions! Most good, thankfully. It’s been a  great while since I’ve written a blog post. Also a while since I’ve written in general, even in my journal. I guess I had found solace in these written means of expression when life was really hard and I needed to confide in something, before I had human outlets to which I was able lachfor (literally, “to dig”, figuratively meaning to speak too much about something). Now that I have good friends (thank G-d) and a therapist who allow me to talk my life away and don’t get sick of me (well, my therapist doesn’t really have a choice seeing as it’s her job, but what’s my friends’ excuse?). Anywho, today I suddenly felt like reviving my blog, partially due to needing any excuse to push off studying for my Stats final. Might I mention that I literally know none of the material for the test? I know names of random statistical tests- Pearson, Anova…that’s about it, and not what they are for or anything else about them. G-d help me.

So blog post, let me just keep spewing stuff at you. Where shall I begin? Well, I thought you’d like to know that I got dumped last week. It was pretty brutal. I was dating the guy (let’s call him C, for “confusing person”), for about three weeks before he ended it. I though the relationship was going in a really good direction. After sniffing him way too obviously (to the point of bumping my nose into his arm) and playing the “do I have anything in my teeth” joke, with a big piece of green-something on my tooth on the second date, he still wanted to go out on another date. I thought if we got past that, we for sure had another while left in our relationship. The third date was wonderful, and I felt so secure. After that date, we didn’t see each other for a week and a half. C was in the North of Israel babysitting his nephews, and I just knew that when we’d meet next it’d be exciting and wonderful. Little did I know the next “date” would be a big, fat dumping. And might I add, he gave me ZERO signs during the week that we were apart that he was thinking of ending things. ZERO! Why didn’t he  tell me that something was up so that I wouldn’t build up so many expectations?! Gosh darn it. Anywho, the break-up was super unexpected and left me with so many questions. A week and a day later, I still don’t understand it, but I must say that I feel stronger than I would have been just a few months ago post break-up, which is evident in the way that I already feel I’ve gotten back to my normal self and to a healthy level of self-esteem. Or at least to my normal level, which is a bit lower than where it should be. That’s not to say that I didn’t cry an ocean or send him desperate text messages in the “bargaining” phase of my grieving process. But at least I’m not broken, in bed, eating ice cream all day. I’m out and about and feeling hopeful! And when I say out and about, I mean on the couch in my living-room. Baruch Hashem! But seriously, can someone explain men to me?

What else might I tell you? Umm…my sister gave birth on Saturday! The drive to the hospital in Bnei Brak was quite frightening. We almost ran over about twenty haredi people who on shabbat were walking right in the middle of the street, moving out of the way only when we were a meter away from them. Anywho, thankfully we didn’t actually hit anyone. That would have been ironic, since my sister got hit by a car last year. So the baby is really cute, b”h! A bit alien-esque and weird-head-shaped, but I trust she’ll grow out of it. I want to just give a bit shout out to G-d for this miracle and everything else. Amen!

Wow, I am really hard-core avoiding studying. Hmm…what else can I tell you? Oh, I partied really hard last week. I also ended up drinking alcohol in some form or another almost every day. I feel like I’m becoming a party animal. Better slow down. Kidding, I’ve already slowed down…to the pace of a  67 year old retired woman. So far today I’ve baked cookies, played guitar, watched an episode of “A Handmaid’s Tale”, made coconut yogurt, and accused an entire Whatsapp group of youngsters of stealing my date syrup (when in fact it was in my fridge). I believe that I will have to work hard to get back to being a young, 26 year old woman. A woman-student who is supposed to be studying right now. I’m tellin’ ya, vacation is a toughie.

Anyway, bye til next time! Hope you enjoyed my chafira (mind-digging)!

-Ayala 🙂

Thoughts from this week…(your average beginning of November week)

I’ve gotten to wondering how much of what I do and how I act and think on a daily basis  is me, whatever the heck that is, and how much is me trying to act or be the way I think others want me to be.  I’ve been spending a lot of energy trying to be “perfect” lately, being subject to spur-of-the-moment bawling sessions at the slightest reminder of my own imperfections. (That might actually be hormones, I am expecting mother-nature’s monthly gift). But still, hormones don’t just single-handedly spout out tears. A real-life example of this tear-fest can be extracted from just this past Shabbat. It started on Friday night at dinner with my sister, her family, my brother, and two eligible bachelors. (Kidding!) One of them was actually ultra-philosophical-big-word-using-but-handsome-and-fun-and-liked-by-everyone-chill-rabbi man, if you remember him.

Anywho, someone (who shall remain unnamed) at the table made a critical comment to me that shed me in a super-imperfect light and so after washing the dishes (as every good female should do) I fled, crying, to my uncle’s house where I was said to sleep the night. I had felt  so exposed at the table, the blood drained from my face and it was clear how hurt my ego was. When I got to the house, the wrong keys were left for me, and as you may have experienced, getting locked out at night on Shabbat with no way to call anyone is not fun. So I’m sure you can guess what I did next. CRIED. That’s right. In my defense, I hadn’t really stopped crying yet from the previous event, so the tear parties were united. I then put my thinking cap on and went to my cousin’s house, hoping she was awake and I could sleep by her. When I got there, she was sleeping. I didn’t have another feasible sleeping arrangement, so I whispered her name to try and wake her and ask if I could stay. The first two times she didn’t hear. On the third she sprang up from her bed in a split-second with a panicked look on her face as if I were a murderer out to kill her. I could understand her shock, considering the unexpected nature of the visit and my all-black attire. She left to sleep on the couch so that I can have her bed and sleep comfortably.  In my fragile state and her startled one, I translated the whole thing in the following fashion: I scared the poop out of her so she hates me, and in that hatred decided to sleep far away from me. And now I ruined her sleep and she never wants to speak to me again. I cried some more. I cried myself  to sleep that night. FREAKING HORMONES. I kind of do blame 50% of that night’s crying on my hormones, because it is so logical calendar-wise and PMS is a perfect and defenseless scapegoat. But nevertheless, I do propose to take responsibility for the other 50%. I honestly don’t know what else attribute those 50% of tears to aside from maybe a highly imperfection-exposing, ego-punching series of events (and, of course, my inability to take them with stride).

And as if that wasn’t enough, JEANS! What the heck? Who makes jeans these days? Why do the same sizes that I used to buy not fit me anymore and why are the only ones that I can pull up  so short-legged, low-waisted, and small butted? Who would fit in those? After going to the gym a whole 5 times ALREADY this semester (and the year just started 3 measly weeks ago). I’m supposed to be fitting into SMALLER jeans. But, no! I’ll just keep wearing the same ones I have been for three years. The same ones with the hole-by-the-butt that I try ferociously to keep covered  by a long enough shirt. And the other two pairs that are slowly turning into shorts as time tears the inner-thigh rips more and more. Darn jeans. Sorry, I really had to get that off my chest.

As for the imperfections-thing I was ranting about before, I’m not sure how to go about solving it. I know I need to get back to a purer state of myself. One less calculating and more free, in which imperfections are normal and thus not surprising. Because if you really think about it, they are simultaneously beautiful signs of our humanity while being necessary guides for self-improvement. But unfortunately, I feel like I’m in the habit of ignoring my own advice. Yep, remember the last time I was all looking-forward and self-loving and told you to punch me if I forgot how cool I was? Well, you can punch me now…

When all else fails, date yourself.

I’ve hit on a lot of people this year. Just yesterday I hit on someone and after rejecting me softly, his words made dozens of other similar rejection phrases from the past year rush into  my mind and remind me just how many times I hit on people this year alone. There was the cute-guy-cute-note-wrong-car incident. And fellow-social-work-student-who-turns-out-is-gay-and-is-dating-my-good-friend. The wedding-ring-wearing-hummus-man. Arsy Chinese-studying-future-businessman library guy. Cute fellow-Rimonian-wise-but-funny one. There was also the super-handsome-perfect-photography-liking-engineering-student. And last but not least: ultra-philosophical-big-word-using-but-handsome-and-fun-and-liked-by-everyone-chill-rabbi man, who unlike the others, I knew a decent amount before asking him out. What did all of these cases have in common? Rejection (of me).

After each rejection I experience the same thoughts go through my mind. What is wrong with me that I can’t get a single guy I like to go out with me?; What signs was I missing telling me they wouldn’t be into it?; I must be such a specific taste that the majority of men I like aren’t even willing to go on a date with me. Forget the ones who turned out to be gay or married. Those are undoubtedly extenuating circumstances. I’m talking about the ones who knew me or semi-knew me and still said no. Of course, I’m not claiming that I’m so great that any guy who’s single should jump at the opportunity to date me. I fully understand not being “into” someone and the reasons that lie behind it, sometimes inexplicable or gut-feeling based. I really get it. But STATISTICS. It just makes you think…

Anyhow, this blog post is not about kvetching whatsoever, despite what you’ve read thus far. It’s actually about self-love. Whereas earlier this year these questions and thoughts regarding my self-worth may have haunted me for days (maybe weeks?) after experiencing rejection, after yesterday’s (ultra-philosophical-big-word-using-but-handsome-and-fun-and-liked-by-everyone-chill-rabbi man, in case you’ve forgotten) rejection they vanished overnight. How? I remembered how cool I am. This newfound sense of coolness and self-affirmation may be attributed to a number of things. First, to the trying-but-worthwhile katif (apple-picking) month this summer that allowed me to rediscover myself in ways that I haven’t in years. Or the super-long-all-day date I had with myself today that reminded me of such things as what activities make me happy, what causes I care about, and how much fun I am to be with.

So, as I move forward into the new school year and my inevitable aging, I plan to keep hitting on guys, because as a wise friend put it: “You only live once, so what do you have to lose?” And in the meanwhile I plan to keep on dating myself, because if even I’m not psyched to, who will be?

P.S.- Knowing myself, by next week I’ll forget I ever said any of this and be contemplating some self-loathing thought…PSYCH. Hopefully not! But if I do, feel free to punch me and make me re-read this blog post.

So to sum up in a few words: Date yourself while hitting on lots of people, because…STATISTICS! Kidding (or am I?). But in all seriousness, life’s too short to wait for people (hmmhh men) to make the moves for us. Plus, there’s no rejection too brutal that a bag of Bamba, bottle of beer, and chocolate can’t fix.