10

What Are You Afraid Of?

Today, I realized that there are certain things that I was afraid of when I was younger, that don’t scare me that much anymore, and then some things that used to not bother me, that really get to me now.

Here’s a few of them.

What I’m No Longer Scared Of

  • Showering/changing in public. Yes, I do avoid it when possible, but it’s not such a terrible thing. Growing up, I would always change for gym class in a bathroom stall (as did a few others). I guess I just realized that no one was looking at me. Now, I just sing in the shower at the gym because I can, and who really gives a darn?
  • The dentist. It’s a necessary evil, and dentists can be weird, but it’s temporary and if you’re lucky, you’re good for a year or so.
  • Going to bed late. I don’t know why this used to scare me, but I’d get really uncomfortable if I was awake too late.
  • Toilets that flush automatically. Got used to them.

What Scares Me Now

  • Heights. I was never really a huge fan, but I never had a problem with them. I have noticed lately that I get a little vertigo in high places
  • Riding a bike. Well, that scared me as a kid as well, but when Dan and I went biking on Martha’s Vineyard, I was about to have a heart attack.
  • Being yelled at in public. I used to be able to brush it off, but now it just makes me want to yell back, and make you uncomfortable.
  • Teaching my own classes next week. It’s kind of a mix of nervousness and excitement. I just hope I do well.
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10

Thursday Night Sociopaths

My night was just ruined thanks to two separate complete sociopaths who did the same thing to me. 

1. Waiting in line, grabbed me by the waist to get around me.

2. Drunkenly walked up to where I was seated and put her drunk head on my back.

Never again am I going to out for a late night slice of pizza again. At the very least, carry out. 

God. 

My back is still tingling. I don’t know if I’ll be able to sleep tonight. 

0

Floods of Rain, Floods of Tears

Today, it rained in Madison. I mean rained. Also today the bodies of three teenagers – Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Sha’ar, and Naftali Frenkel – we’re found half submerged in a field near Hebron. One of them, Frankel, was also an American.

As I sat in traffic, watching the water flood the streets and the gutters, I couldn’t help but think about the situation. I try to distance myself from the sadder side of politics, but I couldn’t get this out of mind.

How could this happen? Who did it and where are they? Why isn’t it on the news here in America? What if things were different?

Sone people say that tremping, or hitch hiking, is what killed the boys. No, a person or people killed the boys. So many people that I know in the West Bank rely on hitch hiking to get into Jerusalem due to limited bus service; it’s something that you wouldn’t let your kids do in America, but in Israel, people are taught to trust strangers and help one another.

Then there is the issue of Palestinian deaths due to this. I don’t know the whole story there, but I do know that there were people among their ranks who knew information, including the identities and whereabouts of the suspected murders. By refusing to divulge such information, it makes them accessories to the crime. Killing people is wrong, but when there is a refusal to cooperate with authority, that doesn’t solve anything, and at least here in America that’s not something taken lightly. Not to mention that their Hamas comrades were celebrating the murders.

Next, my thoughts turned to America, and Americans abroad. One of the boys was American, but no one made a statement about him, and no American troops or diplomats were instructed to take action. I have so many American friends living abroad – not just in Israel, but also in places like India, China, and Togo. What if it were one of them? I was once an American living abroad…what if the victim were me? Who would come to my defense?

Another thing: something tells me that if the American were a teenage girl instead of a boy, news outlets would have been all over it like Jessica Lynch. What if it had been Natalie Frenkel, good white Jewish girl from Brooklyn, instead of Naftali Frenkel?

This turn of events causes so much uncertainty in my life and the lives of others. But if one thing is certain, it’s this. No question will change anything, and no answer will bring these three back to life.

There are few times in my life when I’ve been really afraid for my life and my long term future. My parents had JFK and the Cuban missile crisis. I had September 11th, the anthrax scare, the number 22 bus bombing, rising antisemitism in Europe, campus shootings, but then this happened.

If I ever go abroad for research or to live, will I truly be alone? Will I be swept out to sea like so much rain down Johnson Street?

3

Let It Grow or Let It Go

As I opened WordPress on my iPad to start today’s (11:30 PM – crap) entry, the song to come through the earbuds amidst the chatter of the Saturday night crowd at Glass Nickel Pizza Co., is “Let It Go,” from Disney’s Frozen, AKA the best new song that everyone is (rightfully) going gaga over.

My Florida trip as well as the past 48 hours of being home without very much human interaction brought back my anxieties and fears, big time, preventing me from getting my work done (well, that and the fact that I left one of my textbooks in Florida and have to hunt down another copy at the library tomorrow). The usual fears; schoolwork, life, friendship. These are the anxieties that make me stare into walls, pick at a scab on my heel until it bleeds, pare my nails, and on the whole, take down my confidence.

Confidence is a tricky thing; it can help you reach your goals, but you shouldn’t have too much of it, only in moderation. Having a whole lot of inner confidence can help you shine on the outside, even when you don’t feel particularly positive. Knowing who you are, and what you love and why you love it, and allowing that feeling to emanate throughout your body, that’s true confidence and it’s tricky to achieve. Sometimes, people mistake a lack of outer effervescence for a lack of confidence or self-esteem, but sometimes you don’t need to assert yourself. It is okay to celebrate being you, because you are the best you that there is. When I doubt myself, it hampers my ability to function. But I just have to keep reminding myself to let it go, just like the song says, and focus on my power inside.

There’s a phrase that I heard somewhere along the line, what you focus on grows. It’s a corny phrase, and of course my dirty mind goes straight to the innuendo, but if you look at yourself in a better light, as a dreamer, a believer, a human…(now, “Under the Sea” is playing, so my thoughts are temporarily interrupted by singing sea creatures)..,okay, well the song’s not over yet, but grabbing back on to that previous train of thought, what you focus on does grow. The more I replay a scenario in my head, the bigger it gets. So if you just focus on being a good person, the positive attributes will grow and overpower the bad and sad thoughts, making them the plebeian, shoddily-made cloth finger puppets of your psyche rather than the complicated connections of bones, muscles, and tissues, that make up your essence as a puppet of your own design, controlled by all the processes that magically fit together to make a human being.

Taking a step back…sometimes that’s just what is necessary, to take a step back. Just today, A friend of mine posted a one-liner on Facebook that made me giggle, and I told myself “okay, I’ve gotta comment on this with a zinger.”

So I clicked.
And I thought.
And I waited for a thought to come to me.
And I started typing something…but then realized all the ways it could be misconstrued.
So I deleted it, and started typing something else…before retracting that.

Ultimately, I wasted about five solid minutes just staring at that dialogue box, “leave a comment” leering at me through the bared teeth of Facebook on iPad.

And I didn’t post anything.

Sometimes you don’t need to have your say on everything, mark your territory, get in the last word. If you have something to add, put it in focus and let it grow, or take a step back and let it go.

Exactly one post down was another keen observation made by another friend, and on that one, the appropriate response came to my mind fully formed, and took me mere seconds to post, without a second thought.

Now, that moment has come where I can’t think of anything more to say, so I’ll end this post for tonight with this message:

If you want to post a comment, do so, and let it grow.
If you’ve read this far and the moment doesn’t come to you, just press like and let it go.
I won’t be offended either way.

0

Feeling Trapped

I haven’t talked about my emotions for awhile, so I’ll try to be brief.

I’ve been feeling trapped.

Trapped by technology: I’m embarrassed to bring my laptop to class because it’s kind of noisy, I’m nervous about getting an IPad because I’m scared I might break it, and they’re expensive, I’m scared I’m addicted to my IPhone, but then again, so are most Americans.

Trapped by my own self-doubt: In terms of schoolwork, I feel like everything I write isn’t nearly as good as the others, I was too chicken to enter last week’s dance competition, and then there’s the usual bad feelings.

Trapped in my apartment: Other than class, rehearsal, meetings – I don’t have much in the way of reasoning to leave my apartment, especially now as it gets colder outside. I feel like an animal in its cage, just hanging around and not doing much. I’m basically one of the animals in the zoo that everyone walks past.

I need to find something to help me feel free…or, freer.

Oh, and I haven’t heard from Awkward Miss Estonia, or any Estonians for that matter. But it’s only a day, so I guess I need to be more patient.