Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Sarah & Josh Show, Mid-Life Crisis, and Vera

Trigger/Content Warning (TW/CW): this blog post contains mentions of abortion, child abuse, domestic violence, and assault.  Reader discretion is advised.

Last night marked the end of my shiva mourning period and the beginning of my sheloshim mourning period.  Twenty-three lighter days of mourning are now in progress.  And I kicked it off by going to temple last night.

Weren't you just there, like, a couple of days ago?

More or less, Dear Reader.  Shabbat doesn't take a shabbat, as the cantor made mention of it last night.  And it just so happened that one of my favorite, yet unofficial, segments of the service took place last night.  Let's call it: "The Sarah & Josh Show."  Heh, that would be a completely badass morning radio program on some hot adult radio station.


What?  You never seen or heard of the phrases "Hot A/C" or "Hot Adult" before?  It's short for "Hot Adult Contemporary," a radio station format that plays recently released music that is popular with adults aged 18 and older.  Most hot adult stations will tailor their audience to adults ages 18-44.

Oh yeah, I forgot you used to be in radio once.

At any rate, when both Sarah, the temple's cantor, and Josh, the associate rabbi (also the same rabbi who helped me convert to Judaism) are on the bimah (say: bee-MAH), or stage, they proverbially gel very well together.  Granted, these two have worked with each other for almost fifteen years now, but the way Cantor Sarah and Rabbi Josh harmonize with each other, singing liturgical songs, is nothing short of resembling "The Ancient Art of Weaving" with Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood.  "The Sarah & Josh Show" was just what I needed to ease out of my shiva, something light-hearted and goofy.  Thank you, Cantor and Rabbi.

Before last night, meanwhile, experiencing this week of shiva was something left to be desired.  A lot of introspection and acceptance came about as I was grieving over all of my losses.  There was one realization that surfaced I never saw coming; probably because of the enormous stigma that comes with it.

I miss my son.

Wait a minute.  You're missing your son?  The same one you aborted way back when?  Didn't you lose your right to say that when you had your procedure done?

I thought I did, for many years.  Seeing photos and happy stories of my fellow high school classmates and their families, however, slowly poisoned my soul.  Throughout this time, I kept telling myself: "if and when I get pregnant again, I am so carrying this child to full term, screw this postpartum depression nonsense."

And then May happened, and I had my final salpingooophrectomy.  I was relieved to no longer be in such delirious and hysterical pain at first.  As days, then weeks, then months went by, whenever I saw a picture of another high school classmate announcing their pregnancy (yes, there are folks in their mid to late 30s having children, thank you very much), I felt a ping in my chest.  Whenever temple would discuss milestones of young couples getting married, young parents expecting and delivering healthy children into this sick world, young children become responsible adults in the eyes of the Torah via Bar/Bat Mitzvah, or other familial announcements, I felt that same ping.   It was a ping of sadness, accompanied by my mind's audience laughing at me.

It was the recognition during this shiva that, even though I was born into a blood family, that I was born alone, that I have lived alone, and that I will die alone.  That recognition was enough for me to break down and finally admit to how I was feeling.  I felt, for the first time, safe to say those words, in any forum, to anyone.

I miss my son.

Instead of a soft interior that went hard, it was a closed interior that finally opened.  I was no longer afraid of sharing how I felt without the nagging voice of my narcissistic mother and her ambitions of being a grandmother ringing in my head, because it was no longer controlling me.  And it wasn't just one of those "fake it until you make it" moments, either; this was legit no brain power was necessary to override thoughts and emotions.

There was another recognition about my son; I would have loved to see Aidan do miraculous things, because I would have loved the opportunity to have raised him.  Maybe I would have raised him without being exposed to my blood family whatsoever (sorry first cousins).

And now you will never know because of your choices.

Oh, I already know that if I had brought Aidan in to the world at the time and place I was in, I would have been so much stricter than my mother.

When I was 8-years old, I remember being asked by a teacher in school what would I do if I caught my child skipping their homework, and I beamed with pride, saying that I would take away his video games for a whole year.  Playing "house" with my dolls and stuffed animals with the neighborhood kids when I was 10 and 11, they saw me act out as a vicious "parent."  Nobody ever pulled me aside to ask me if I was being abused at home; nobody thought that yelling and shouting degrading, demoralizing, and dehumanizing words also equated to abuse in the late 80s and early 90s.

So to have been marinated in all of that toxicity, and to bring Aidan into the world and into a blood family where his life was guaranteed to be in danger from day one was just not acceptable to me.  AIDAN'S OWN FUCKING FATHER DIDN'T WANT HIM AT ALL.  That's why I wanted to give him up for adoption; I didn't have the faculties to raise a child (but yet had the foresight to know that at the time).  It would have been cool that I helped create someone out of my own bodily units, navigating this great big world, being raised in a loving family and community.  Hell, I would have gotten jealous at that.

I still miss my son.

Those were the words I told my rebbetzin in a tight hug after the Yom Kippur Contemporary Morning service on Wednesday.  "I know, sweetie," she replied.  And I began to cry.  In her arms.

The plug was pulled, after so many years, and the water began to drain out of the bathtub.


I know.

Since Yom Kippur ended, my body has gone into this weird metamorphosis.  I no longer eat big meals; my stomach tells me when I'm full after a sandwich or a serving of macaroni and cheese....on its own.  Even though I have new eyewear, my reading ability has improved dramatically; I'm back to reading at my broadcast level.  My random semi-access memory has freed itself of a bunch of locks and blocks in the brain; I even felt the unlocking in certain cerebral places.  And the quality of sleep with my dreams has improved as well.  No more visions of my blood family, Dingbat, or my last employer.  For now.

I feel like I'm back in grade school.  This could also explain the vintage Trapper Keepers I now own and a recently acquired Eastpak bookbag to lug my Trapper, a prayer book, and a first aid kit around town.

I think I have entered the Mid-Life Crisis zone.

You have entered into something, but not mid-life crisis, Vera.  You're too young for that.

Umm, in the eyes of the Jewish community, as a never married, barren, and Autistic individual of the female perception, I'm as useless as a three dollar bill to a potential suitor and his mother.

Really?  Come on, Vera.  A nice Jewish boy is nice and all, but you weren't meant to "fit entirely" into a single community.

True.  I don't even fit entirely into the Autistic community, either.

So, why limit yourself to that?  Be open; do the things that people have always wanted to do, but never had the opportunity to.  And watch them be jealous of you taking on life your way, and not theirs.  You already started that by breaking out of your blood family.  Continue that openness.

This isn't a mid-life crisis, Vera.  This is a mid-life celebration!  Hallelujah!



I still miss my son, Dear Reader.

I know, Vera.  I know.

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