Today is Rosh Hashanah, my new year, the Jewish new year. I always feel like I need to explain that because I grew up in such an isolated, sparse community that I did have to explain it. That childhood, family, mother-full community is sacred. Now, living in a city that has a fairly high concentration of all sorts of Jews, I still feel lost, although I think I found a synagogue that I really like, having now spent two Rosh Hashanahs there.
I start with the New Year right now, because it is today. I feel full, full of spirit and emotion. I’ve realized that when my jaw is clenched and I have a lot of tension in my face, it’s my body saying I need to cry. So I let myself cry a bit at services this morning– just a bit– and I let myself mourn and grieve and celebrate and hope for a happy, healthy, sweet new year. We rise in prayer because praying only works when we ourselves lift ourselves up.
What do I pray for? I used to never understand the point of prayer. Today I did. I prayed for strength. I often pray for strength. I pray for strength to do the right thing, strength to not turn away from pain, strength to act with integrity. I pray for strength to be courageous, strength to be authentic, strength to follow my heart even in a world that seems to say my heart should want to go other places.
When I don’t care what others think, I rarely feel the deep-deep Anxiety. When I don’t care what others think, I am joyful. I am me without any outside influence. I often wonder who I am with no one else around; like a boggart in a wardrobe before it transforms into your worst fear, who am I when no one is looking? Or, who am I when I just let myself Be?
There are so many thoughts I have right now, so many thoughts I have been having all week. I’m thinking a lot about how I can mimic and imitate almost any type of social/work situation or environment and can play the parts really well. Eventually, it all feels fake. I’m thinking about how sometimes I am speaking and I just completely blank on words– and it’s not a loss for words as much as an I-have-no-idea-what-comes-next. If I haven’t seen it before, I sometimes don’t know how to act. That’s the thing- acting. I feel like I act a lot. Who am I if I choose to not act but rather be?
I want answers. I want reasons. I want a singular truth for why I am the way I am. I know there’s no one singular truth… but I guess what this all comes down to is that today, on this New Year, I know one thing that is true about me: being Jewish is important to me. I am a spiritual, religious, culturally Jewish woman and that piece is a for-certain, true, ME part of my identity. When I embrace it, I am joyful.
Which is hard to do in today’s secular world, secular-Christian world. It takes effort to be Jewish and it is worth the effort because it’s part of who I am. It’s a foundation.
This probably makes no sense. I just rambled. I’m exhausted and writing and writing is also another True Me thing, so I’m going to keep doing it.
I’m having so many thoughts….