Out of the funk

January 21, 2013 § 7 Comments

A few weeks ago my family moved to Jerusalem. My husband Gil is starting his own small business and I chose to move the family here instead of giving him over to the business for the initial first year of craziness. His office is in the next building and he can often pop home for a snack or to help me put the kids to bed. It is a blessing. And it is hard. Our previous community was warm and inviting, a place where people come to stay and raise their kids. We loved our block, I had my best girlfriends living within earshot. Our Rabbi, whose presence I think we miss the most, was wary of us going and now I know why.

Jerusalem is the holiest place on planet earth for Jews so naturally it seems to be the best place to live. However it is challenging in so many ways that I have found myself in a true funk. It is a transient city where many come to visit but eventually leave. True friendships seem rare. Because it is considered so holy, many groups have taken on extra stringencies and the overall practice is more strict. It is beautiful and cold and so many things at once.

My husband is highly instrumental in the un-funking process as he refuses to wallow but allows me the space to do so- for approximately ten seconds and then promptly pushes me out the door. A walk in the sunlight or some bluegrass fiddle music. A warm cup of coffee or a 2 hour nap. Sometimes I just need a little help and then I’m back on track. To be honest, I never wanted this blog to sound rehearsed. Half the time I don’t even edit. Truthfully, being a mom and wife and religious Jew who happened to be born non-Jewish is hard and every night I struggle with the decision to sleep or spend any time for myself. Right now I am literally playing fetch with my one year old just so I can type these few paragraphs. I hope to Gd she doesn’t realize I’m stalling her.

Recently I have been crowd sourcing my life’s purpose. This sounds insane which is also quite normal for me. I participated in a class this winter that was meant to help me clarify the goals I want to accomplish. A life’s purpose is meant to bring you energy, the drive to overcome challenges, and a joy unparalleled. You are supposed to imagine the 5 times in your life where you felt incredible, full of life, HAPPY. What were you doing? Now I’m not clinically depressed (maybe a little sleep deprived) but I’m having a very hard time remembering anything.

If you know me, maybe you can help. Leave me a message in the comments with a memory of me as a happy and energetic person. What was I doing? Also, what do you think your life’s purpose is?

My co-conspirator

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§ 7 Responses to Out of the funk

  • Hey Katie, Unfortunately, I haven’t had the privilege of knowing you so well (this can be attributed to your aformentioned move), but what I do know is this: You write like a BOSS and you bake like one too. (BTW, I am basing this deduction on this excellent blog and on those delicious cinnamon muffins you gave me.) You’re also really cool and super-sweet to boot. I’m not very well-versed in the study of a “Life’s Purpose”, but I can safely assume that your innate talents/passions/strengths will lead you there. So…continue with this awesome blog, write a cookbook, give baking/cooking workshops and/or videos, make babies, continue with your beautifully unique expression of self. Also, as crazy as it sounds, I once heard that moving is considered to be one of the most stressful/traumatic experiences. As someone who moved across an ocean in middle of high school, I can assure you that for me, it most certainly was. Ditto for your most recent move. You’ve been uprooted, and so shortly after you had formed such a lovely niche for yourself in Ramat Beit Shemesh, and in Judaism. It’s no wonder you’re feeling like the rug was just pulled from under you. Traumatic experiences leave us weakened, and lacking in confidence, even when we know logically what amazing people we are. It feels pretty crappy to be the “New Kid on the Block”. You wonder when everyone will realize your greatness. (Haha, totally not in an egotisitc way, but in a healthy self- esteem way). You miss the camaraderie of your old friends and neighbors, the familiarity of the local parks and makolets. Beginning to form new relationships from scratch, especially at this emotionally fragile time seems daunting, if not impossible. But I just want you to know, that you CAN do it, and you WILL do it, just like you have in the past. And before you know it, those Maalot Dafna ladies will welcome you with open arms and grateful souls, not unlike your reception in RBS. So, get into that kitchen of yours, whip up a batch of something yummy, and introduce yourself to your new next-door neighbors. I know they’ll love you for it, and I bet you will too :). Best wishes for de-funking yourself fast. Also, you are more than welcome to join us for a Shabbat in RBS whenever you’d like. For real.
    PS. Still not sure of my life’s purpose…see babe, you’re not the only one! <3

  • Dearest Katie, I miss you. You are not alone. It truly is the human condition to be unsure of our purpose or path. I have no idea what my life’s purpose is, but I suppose its to find happiness and contentment in the things I do, and who I am now/ who I am becoming. As for a memory: I remember a time when we went to a concert to see Garyn and Louis play and you were wearing a red skirt. I remember you smiling and being filled with joy–listening to music and being around friends. As for moving, shoot I’ve been there girl. It never gets easy no matter how many times you do it. And each time you feel like you lose yourself. That’s how I felt anyways. Though, I think because I had built my identity around familiarity. Although is it rated one of the most stressful things, moving can be refreshing. Unfamiliarity usually sprouts fear and all those other crappy emotions. Hold your head up, because you are familiar with who you are no matter the place or people. You are strong, quirky, smart, beautiful, motherly (always gave been), funny, passionate, and a thousand other things. Xo

  • Alte Chaya says:

    Dear Katie- Chana,

    You’re a day brightener…whether its being ridiculously silly, venting/being relatable, or have some deep kabbalistic esoteric conversation…..

    My most recent memory of your smile is probably from Elbaryo or standing outside shul (ie. with people, connecting (hmm HELLO!!Youre a people person..ie peole feel comfortable talking with you- youre like everybodies best friend) Maybe its that midwest mama inside you that everyone loves, you know- that out-of towner type, all homebaked with a side of granola

    You are wonderful…keep your head up.

    We all love you!!!

    Alte Chaya

  • Barbara McClusky says:

    I remember a young girl on Fire Island painting rocks and making fairie wands who was pretty happy. Thinking back on your life I think you were happy when you were involved with the Unitarian Church collecting blankets for the homeless (actually your idea as I recall) or involved in some community service. Those silly Sunday school classes seemed to energize you in a way that was fun to watch. Maybe it is genetic this need to be needed but both of us seem to get joy from helping others. Love Mom

  • Kate C. says:

    Hey girlfriend,

    Boy am I there with you right now. I am talking to both of us here I think. Before I tell you the joyful memories I have of you, I want to say that I think it might be useful for all of us to dial down the pressure a little on finding the One True Purpose. There might be many, or a theme with many incarnations — we change as do our circumstances. You are doing your best, and the fact that you are searching is a testament to your commitment to being present in the world. So let’s both not allow self-judgment to reign because we are searching for something that might not exist exactly as we imagine.

    I am hearing a need for connection, space to be yourself, creativity. I think your direction lies within these needs — the strategies or activities you choose to meet these needs are limitless! (Maybe that can be exciting even when it feels daunting.)

    I have many many joyful memories of you: baking, writing (and sharing your writing), natural-dying fabric, sharing an experience with a group (learning something together, creating something together), feeding the people you love a warm meal, being there for women who confide in you and see you as a refuge. I think you are your best as Alte Chaya said, brightening the world around you. But please be careful to not find service that doesn’t also serve you — strike a balance between input and output so that your soul is fed as well.

    I’ll keep brainstorming and send more thoughts as they come to me.

    Love love love you

    Kate

    P.S. Ella is lucky to have a mother who so deeply wants to manifest her calling, and playing fetch was probably really fun :)

  • Chaya H. says:

    Oof, that sounds really tough. What neighborhood are you in? I’m a friendly Jerusalemite and I live in Nachlaot. Let’s be in touch!

  • Rivki Silver says:

    I am giving you massive hugs right now. Repeatedly. Moving can be such a brutal transition, and I completely understand the dilemma between sleep and me-time. It can be so hard with little ones underfoot (and I’m sure your baby didn’t view your game as stalling. Even if it is stalling, it’s still a game!) to carve out any time for ourselves, or to feel like we have any other purpose than being a mommy.

    I’m so glad you have your husband to help. And that you have your blog and friends and family. I can’t say that I would know what your purpose is, but when I think of you, I think of a smiling, sunny, beautiful woman. Intelligent and caring. Creative.

    And Rabbi Nivin would say that “down thoughts are like a paper tiger,” they seem dangerous and powerful and scary, but we can change them. I know you can. Liat liat, right? Hugs hugs hugs.

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