Saturday, March 26, 2016

Achievements, Absence, and Vera

These past several days have been a bit of a roller coaster for me emotionally.

I was able to achieve a couple of awesome moments in front of some amazing individuals.  The first moment was being able to lead a service with the Chevrei Tikva Chavurah within my temple.  A lot of preparation went into making sure I had everything I needed to successfully execute the service; picking certain readings, learning certain melodies to individual liturgical songs, making sure the person I assigned to write a sermon (or d'var torah) had it ready for that night.  Even though we did not have enough people in attendance to make minyan (at least 10 individuals [in a Reform temple] to be present to recite major prayers), all six of us, me included, had a wonderful time reading, singing, and taking home lots of food.

The second moment came in the form of reliving my glory days in broadcasting.  This past Wednesday night was Erev Purim (Evening of Purim; a Hebrew day starts at sundown), and for the first time, my temple decided to do something other than a spiel (say: "sh-PEEL," meaning musical theatre).  The Purim Committee, to which I had a hand in, did an Adult Purim Party, or "APP", doing a game night, where two rounds of bar-style trivia was played and I hosted a segment of Match Game 5776.

"Adult" Purim Party? Y'all a bunch of swingers or something?

No, Dear Reader, not in this case, heh.  Usually, children celebrate this holiday by dressing up and making lots of noise.  This celebration was for grown folks who were of legal drinking age and older.

During the Match Game segment, once I was handed the microphone and I started to address the audience, wonderful memories began to light up my mind.  It felt like I was thrown back into time, back to October 2012; where I entertained probably some of the most high-ranking federal government officials in regards to diversity and integration.  Back then, I was a bit nervous, but I was able to come through with shining colors.  Another throwback was when, in June 2001, I, along with three other folks, introduced the foundation of the Corporation of National and Community Service to the Americorps City Year organization during their annual conference gathering.  Again, a bit of nerves went through the system before the presentation; a lot of nerves and excitement came out after I walked off the stage.  Heh, I almost collapsed in someone's arms during a hug; my body had so much adrenaline running up and down.

However, something happened during the Match Game segment that had never happened prior.  I had no butterflies when I grabbed the microphone. I had proverbial ice water in my veins throughout the entire 20-minute segment.  I was able to handle random "interruptions" by our "Richard Dawson," who looked and acted more like "Howard Stern" to my "Gene Rayburn".  I was able to get the crowd engaged and entertained.  It felt like I was not only at home, I felt like I was back in my original environment; where I dreamed one day I would be, where I wanted to be.

Yeah, I had such wonderful highs during these two moments.

It was when the day was over, where I returned to my apartment and got myself settled down for bed, that the lows were reached, on both nights.  Among all the accolades that I had received from so many folks, both back then and now, as much as they were amazing, thoughtful, heartwarming, and inspiring to do more....I still felt a bit of emptiness overcome me both nights.

It made me long for my parents and my sister to tell me "congratulations" and that they were "so proud of me" in what I could do.  More importantly, to have my parents and my sister say those things with conviction, like they meant it, not some cheap pop to mask their true feelings of jealousy, hate, and embarrassment of themselves.

This feeling also occurred two weeks ago, when I attended a Bat Mitzvah for the first time.  However, instead feelings of joy and wonder, moments of embarrassment and shame came over me as I watched the happy family beam with pride over their new Daughter of Commandment.  It took me back to May 1991, where I was forced (had real no choice in attire then) to wear this two-piece white linen skirt suit and pantyhose (my mother always made me wear them; she didn't want me to "look like a whore like some of those 'other girls'," girls my age who were allowed to wear knee high socks or wear sandals with bare legs) into church for my first communion and holy confession (a Ukrainian Orthodox Church cycle of life milestone).  My father gave me one instruction before the ceremony: "when the priest asks you if you did anything wrong, tell him 'no'."

And as I watched this 12-year old girl be enclosed in a circle of a beit din (a group of judges) consisting of several rabbis and layfolks to honor her during this Bat Mitzvah service, I saw, in my mind, my 10-year old self go up to the priest and lay an embroidered cloth over my head while I stood on the pulpit, facing away from the congregation and bowing my head towards a large, golden iconic Holy Bible.  The priest asked me if I had sinned.  I said, "no."  He said, "are you sure? I won't tell anybody." I replied: "No, my father told me to tell you 'no.'" The priest, the Reverend Father Stephan Posakiwsky, z"l (say: "pos-ah-KEEV-skee"), sighed in sadness and continued his blessing over my head.

After the Bat Mitzvah ceremony service, I wanted to scream and cry.  I saw two things: a loving family and a group of people surrounding a young woman's transition to becoming a responsible member of her religious community, and an angry and bitter brat, not because I wasn't having a ceremony, but because I was jealous as all hell that this young woman had such a loving support group with her blood relatives, and I had nothing but wishes and dreams of my family being just as loving, knowing that it was never meant to be for me.

On those three nights, after the special moments were finished, I lied down to bed with such a fierce anger and hate towards my parents and my sister.  I wept as I cursed their names aloud in my small apartment unit.  How fucking dare these assholes hurt me when I needed comfort and love the most from the people who were chosen to do the task?  All these motherfuckers care about are their precious little names and reputations, as well as not having to deal with the justice system because "oh noes, the USA is going to strip the citizenship away" from my father and send him "back to Russia" where he would be "executed for mutiny during World War II."  Bitch, please.

It looks like you still have that anger and hate towards them.

I do.  And I always will.  The fact that they are more afraid of me actually calling the police on them tells me everything I ever need to know about them.  Sucks to be them, for sure.

However, one thing has changed.  If there comes a time where it was my decision to alter the future of any of these individuals, I will make the right decision, not necessarily the popular one.

One of my life goals is to demonstrate to these poor excuses for human beings what it is like to be loved unconditionally, to show how love and acceptance destroy hate and fear.  To show my parents and my sister what a family really is supposed to be would be the most satisfying thing for me in the entire world.  Having strangers, albeit formerly, selflessly give themselves to me in love and comfort in ways that these three assnuggets were assigned to do when I came into this life.

Their time has not come yet, hence the descriptions that verbally illustrate their personalities and actions.  I do believe, however, that their time will come.

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