Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Know Where You Are Going - So That You Can Get There.

It’s been a while since I last posted, many reasons – none of which would necessarily be considered valid. Not that these excuses require validity, or even that my lack of posting requires excuses.

But basically, being an active mother – my thoughts hit me at the oddest times. While doing dishes, laundry, mopping floors – none of which are really conducive to having the thought fleshed out and written down. Last night while clearing my kitchen I found myself reviewing a conversation I had had earlier in the day.

I hadn’t made myself clear enough then – and felt I needed to try again. While I share it with them, feel free to listen in.

So this post was dedicated to M&M. Here goes…

Many of us feel that our role in life, our position in society, or our identity we were assigned at birth – was unfairly imposed upon us. We want to change it. To be something else. Something better. Something more.

Life is a beautiful journey, and perhaps it is indeed unfair if our final destination is planned for us. For that matter, to simply hop aboard a random train, for the sole purpose of getting away, with no inkling as to what the direction may be – is not only foolhardy, it is dangerous.

My proposal will meet you half way. I have no objection for the mature adult to examine his options, look at his life seriously, and decide where and what he wants to do with it. As a matter of fact, I greatly encourage that. But I do recommend that he first reach a conclusion – and subsequently be who he wants to be.

Get to know yourself. Know your weaknesses, your strengths. Your secret desires, your greatest fears. Climb that hill. Conquer that mountain. So long as you don’t go drifting aimlessly about.

The danger of deciding while already en route – is that suddenly one may wake up and realize that they don’t recognize themselves. They have drifted quite far from who they were – and it is quite likely that they are still unhappy.

My recent observation was followed with intense debate. Mostly the argument seemed to be that I wasn’t quite right in asserting that one can be whoever they want to be. The detracting argument was that in our society one needs to get to whoever they believe themselves to be – slowly. So as not to ripple the waters too badly with a rash and sudden change.

Granted. There is legitimacy to that POV. But that was not my concern. To simply state that this isn’t who I want to be, and therefore I’m stepping away from this – towards something that is more my style, is not really defining or even knowing what that style may be. Rather, I suggest KNOWING who you want to be: An admirable likeable person. Most importantly, admired and liked by yourself. So long as you KNOW who you want to be, hop aboard any train – be it local or express. It’ll get you there.

Deciding in advance where one wants to be, will not preempt growth, but it will inhibit recession. Growth of character can only be achieved while knowing who we are. It’s the not-knowing and the drifting downstream, that weakens our identity. That is when our proud sense of self, is replaced with obnoxious egotism. We think we know who we are, when in fact we aren’t even thinking.

We’re simply riding along, with no thought or care. Getting stuck in the muck is inevitable, and by the time we decide to look out the window to determine our next course of action, we may find that we are hopelessly lost.


At June 08, 2006 10:50 AM, Blogger iaMMe said...

Welcome back to the world of blogging, we missed you! You are a breath of fresh air in an otherwise polluted environment.

You r The Best

As for the topic itself I beg to differ with your general observation.

"Many of us feel that our role in life, our position in society, or our identity we were assigned at birth – was unfairly imposed upon us. We want to change it. To be something else. Something better. Something more."

In other words:

Those who feel short changed by being born into a World, which is intellectually void and emotionally deprived, denying them of the basics, one needs to explore ones real self. And are therefore restless and in constant struggle to keep the balance between trying to make sens of there unfortunate faith, yearning to experience the "beautiful journey of life" in there own unique way with there own G-d givin tallents AKA "individualism" and at the same time, being under social pressure to follow "lock stock and barrel " in the footsteps of the blind sheep.

In my opinion the right metaphor to use is: Someone running from a burning building Vs."to simply hop aboard a random train, for the sole purpose of getting away, with no inkling as to what the direction may be"
First you run run run !!!! and when you reach a safe zone you can stop and think of which direction you wonna go.

This is indeed a great topic to discus there is a lot more i would like to comment on but I ain't got the time right now. See you around............

PS In case you wonder I used to comment under a different pseudonym. Care to guess???

At June 08, 2006 11:05 AM, Blogger Totally Content said...

Well aiMMe,

It is precisely your viewpoint that I find so disturbing. You aren’t the only one who has decided that they have that desperate need to ‘escape’, and the desire to move on – in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing. But as I’ve already said, and it’s worthwhile reiterating – running away is dangerous. It’s the ‘running to’ that needs to be attempted.

I hear you on the burning building – and while I disagree with you on the state of events, I far more oppose your course of actions. When a building is on fire, you need to know the escape route. You need to know which direction is safe to run in. To blindly run is naturally instinct – but a dangerous one too.

Wouldn't it be smarter, to know where you want to go? It just takes a moment to consider your direction - and implement a safe course of action. When it's your life at stake, wouldn't you take the necessary precautions?

At June 13, 2006 1:15 PM, Blogger exsemgirl said...

Welcome back!
You were missed.

I agree with all you have said. The basic idea is to choose to act rather than react. We understand when we see a small child doing something just to spite authority that they are stupid and ultimately hurting themselves. Yet we don't appreciate that we ourselves do that as adults when we are unhappy with our stage and want to move away. So we REACT and go to the opposite. We don't realise that we are still being affected by the original source. Only if we stop see our options and choose to ACT then we are in our own control and using our free will to be whom we want to be. still owe me a post ( I havent forgotten...

At July 25, 2006 1:47 PM, Blogger Skeleton said...

Sheitel, I honestly don't get you at all.

You live in Williamsburg, claim to be Satmar, yet watch movies and have a taste in non-Jewish music.

Der Satmar Rebbe z"tl shepped zicher ah sach nachas :(

At August 01, 2006 3:06 AM, Blogger Blessed Mamma said...

I didn't read all your posts but from what I read here I think that the other commentors don't get you at all . You are really thinking. It's nice to see that. It's what being Jewish is all about. Too many of us aren't doing to much thinking.
If you have some time bang out some thing else. You are really good. "I fil ya girl"

At August 14, 2006 6:01 PM, Blogger Hasidic Rebel said...

Hey Sheitel, why do I only now discover you returned--only to find you stopped agin?

For a change, I agree with you. Rash decisions and drastic personal transformations are the signs of emotional (and intellectual) immaturity. I'm all for seeking out paths, embarking on journeys, etc. etc. I have no problem with changing one's lifestyle--God knows I've changed mine considerably. But the healthy way to do it is to know where you're going. And I actually think even then--*don't* go express.

I'm all for chasidim getting college educations, loosening up a bit with garb and general strictures, even having fun (movies, theater, or even... sexual adventures--if that's your thing and it's safe). But for God's sake, stick around for kvitlech at the chanuka party, and your mother's latkes. And hell.. why stop coming to Shul on shabbos and miss out on all the shmieserei? And there's nothing wrong with a geshmake lechu doidi Friday night either, is there?

Of course, if you can actually find religion and tradition meaningful without the dogma (not as hard a feat as one might think), then you've got the best of both worlds.

At August 16, 2006 1:07 AM, Blogger Totally Content said...

It’s been a while since I bothered checking this email address, and even longer since I visited my blog. Actually, I was made aware of a sudden influx of comments by a friend who is usually on the lookout for any action.

So Skeleton, sorry to disappoint. I don’t know what you were hoping to find, but perhaps it is your perspective that needs broadening. I’m Satmar and as proud of it as they are proud of me.

Blessed, thanks for your support. It’s a tough world, with these incessant critics. It’s nice to see friendly feedback.

And HR, as surprised as I was to see you ‘for a change agree’ with me, I have to say that I don’t recommend one aspect of your approach. While I initially said that local or express are viable options for arriving at one’s goal, your remark about ‘not’ taking the express had me rethinking this. Now of course, I don’t believe that one should suddenly wake up and spin life on its axis, but I do recommend getting to one’s destination – wherever that may be, sooner rather than later. If one gets too used to ever so slowly adjusting their lives to permit more of the previously forbidden, at some point the journey itself becomes so much a part of life, that one might never stop cruising, passing by the initial destination, past the stop signs that warn of danger ahead. Once life is set up to be floating downstream, the sensation of anchoring the boat will feel odd.

One more comment on that comment, if I may. I wasn’t going to but this friend and I disagreed with what you meant by that statement. I agreed with your next paragraph. I agree with Chasidim going for an advanced education, much like I agreed with the rules around garb loosening a bit. I don’t mean losing the garb, but perhaps easing up on the whens and the wheres. But your fun bit caused a bit of a disagreement. Hey, I like fun. Love fun actually – be it movies, real-life outdoor exploration, or as you said ‘sexual adventure. But for the record let it be clearly stated that we are referring to exploits within the confines of one’s marital home. (And I'd like to naively assume that by 'safe' all that was referring to was the dangers of some S&M practices and / or the likelihood of asphyxiation etc.)

I recommend exploration and pleasurable experiences of all sorts, as long as they might on some level be deemed ‘kosher’.

At August 21, 2006 10:12 PM, Blogger Skeleton said...

Zeeskeit, my perspective needs no broadening at all.

Without any references to my own personal beliefs (which let me inform you, in no way resemble Satmar's or Williamsburg's), I consider you a Grade A hypocrite.

If Satmar is in any way proud of you, it is only because you are a closet case, like many other Williamsburgers. I would like to see that proud smile on (your teachers) Chanale Ackerman's or Rebbetzin Hinda Halberstam's faces as you tell them that you watch movies. I would like to see any of all the previous and current Satmar rebbes appear proud that you like ABBA.

I have no problems with having kosher fun. Williamsburg is a heck of a messed-up community shittoh-wise since there are so many restrictions, it drives anything and everything, even kosher forms of entertainment, underground. However, don't even pretend for one moment that your community (aka Satmar) endorses or condones what you are doing and that you are representative of them, because you want to make it appear as if Satmar produces open-minded contented individuals like you on a daily basis, or that the lifestyle you have chosen for yourself is actually compatible with Satmar values. You know very well that the day Satmar finds out that you watch movies is the day your kids get kicked out of school and cheder.

You think that college education is good? Fine. Clothing and other restrictions should be loosened? Fair enough. More kosher entertainment? Good point. All good points so far, but none of them endorsed by Satmar, or Williamsburg as a whole, in the slightest. Cast your own path in life. Call yourself Unaffiliated-Chassidish, Yeshivish-Chassidish,Believes-In-Satmar-But-Doesn't-Follow-Rules, MO-Chassidish, but don't call yourself Mrs. Satmar Incorporated.


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