Friday, August 27, 2010

Who am I defined by?

Two days ago I woke up to various facebook notifications and emails alerting me that someone posted a, well, less than encouraging comment on my blog. At first I was furious. Ultimately assuming that said person actually read my blog, which would make them fully aware of this extremely hard time in my life, I sat and wondered how anyone of good heart and decency could say something like "get over yourself", in response to a very emotional and heart felt blog entry. Though I know there are sad, lonely, and pathetic people out there, who only find pleasure from others pain and discomfort, I was still stunned that someone could leave such a stunningly cowardly comment. Was he/she trying to make my pain seem pathetic, or trying to discourage me from writing, or further trying to hurt me? There are two very unfortunate things going on here: the first is that the answer to the above questions are probably all "yes". Yes this person was trying to make my pain seem insignificant; yes this person was trying to make me doubt myself; yes this person was purposefully trying to be hurtful. But what is infinitely worse is that I not only let that comment effect me, but I, for a brief second, let it cause me to doubt myself.
How many times have people held back their ambitions, desires, dreams, and/or talents because they are concerned about what others might think or say about them? I know that I have, and sometimes still do. I have done poorly on auditions, not volunteered for things that I know I would love and be good at, etc. because I have been worried about maybe being judged or made fun of. If there is anything I have learned over the years, and come to appreciate in these few weeks of heartache and hardship, is that I only have one life to live. To pass up anything because of fear of rejection, or fear of what others might say or think, will only hurt me in the long run; it won't upset the jerks out there who love to cause hurt and pain. In fact, my holding back and missing out would only bring them pleasure and a sense of accomplishment. Why anyone would allow those kinds of people to win, in any situation, is a mystery that I have only recently discovered the answer to.  There will always be people who are so miserable with their lives that bringing others down  is the only way they can feel any kind of satisfaction. There will always be people who are jealous because they don't have the courage to stand up and do what they love, even if it may be silly or foolish. To cope with this they can only bring the accomplished and courageous down in the hopes that it will make them feel less lost and frustrated. In a way I'm glad the comment was made because it not only reaffirmed that there are miserable people out there, but it showed me how much love and support there are from people who want to see you succeed and be happy. It isn't the people who want to see you fail that matter, but the people who want to see you blossom and grow into the best person you can be. These people are who make this sometimes lonely and miserable world worth living in. And so to those people who have nothing better to do than to hurt and bring people down, I welcome you to leave comment after comment hidden under the cowardice of anonymity. You, in turn, will only fuel me to do more, be stronger, heal faster, and continue putting my thoughts and feelings into words to share with whoever might want to take part in my life. And lastly, to those who may have been, or who may be, scared to shine and be amazing because of fear over what others may think or say, just remember that life doesn't issue do-overs. When thinking of who you are defined by, I hope the conclusion reached is that "I define myself" and not "I am defined by my fears of the cowards who love to bring me down". 
We only have one shot to make the most out of every opportunity presented to us, so let's take that shot and make it count!

Until next time,

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The bridge between here and there

Today my mom and I drove my sister up to Sacramento to move her into her new apartment. She is starting her junior year of college and, since I am now a college graduate, I was able to come help out with her big move-in. At first I was excited to get out of the desert, come up north, and throw myself into being busy helping out with the move. I ultimately hoped that my coming up north would take my mind off of recent, unhappy, events. The move-in began with a drive; a very long drive from South to North. I have made the drive from Southern California to Northern California and back so many times that it became so routine and normal; today, however, was completely different. As I left Palm Springs I remembered how happy this drive used to make me. I would either be going up to Berkeley, my home, my college, my practical obsession (I mean I did get a script CAL tattoo...), or I would be driving from Berkeley to come back to everything I love down south; my family, my home, Jordan, his family, and his home. I never minded the 6+ hours trapped in a vehicle. I never minded the looming I-5 freeway because I knew that what was waiting at the end of the road would make the journey well worth it. But today was different. Today the I-5, my bridge between my home up north and down south, felt so empty. A road I have spent so much time on, connected with such excitement and happiness, now just brought painful memories of happier times. As I passed the I-580 interchange my heart sank. Today my old classmates, friends, and sisters were busying themselves with pre-recruitment, shopping for classes, buying very overpriced books, and getting ready to start another amazing fall semester at UC Berkeley. As I passed over the 580w to remain on the I-5 I couldn't help but remember all of those exciting semester beginnings I had experienced, and how that time in my life had just come to a close. I miss it so much, and while I am excited to move on in my quest for adulthood, a part of me wishes that the carefree times of my undergraduate career could have gone on a little longer. I have no doubt that I will be back in Berkeley many times throughout this semester (the first few home games for sure), but I would be foolish to think that it will be similar to the experiences I had when I was a student. My relationship with Berkeley will undoubtedly be different, and preparing for that is astoundingly difficult. Once I had finished thinking about Berkeley, I began to think about my return trip home, which will undoubtedly be harder than the trip up. The past few days have been better for me which is why I was so surprised at how quickly those feelings of hurt and loneliness crept up. Most of my trips from North down South were for the sole purpose of seeing Jordan and his family. I would constantly, and happily, make that 6 hour drive. Now, not only has my going up north changed dramatically, but so too have my travels back down south.  Though I will always be excited about going home, home feels so much smaller. I feel like I have lost a home (both in Berkeley and with Jordan), and part of a family, and that, I think,  is infinitely harder than merely breaking relationship habits. But changes happen, life goes on, and so, for now, I will have to look at things differently. I have never liked changes, especially when they hurt or are hard; in that sense I am just like my father, but I am teaching myself to embrace those changes, and trying to smile every step of the way.

Wish me luck on the drive down... it won't be an easy one
Until next time,

Sunday, August 22, 2010

How life is like a game of Mahjong

Mahjong is an ancient Chinese game that has been played in the United States since the 1920's. A large part of modern Jewish culture, the game of Mahjong provides not only an outlet for gambling, but also a way to gather with friends, pass time, gossip, and, of course, eat. Tonight, as I was sitting at my kitchen table with my mother, sister, and aunt Michelle, playing the game we have all come to love so much, I couldn't help but notice how my life was a lot like a Mahjong game. For those who don't know, Mahjong is played with numeric tiles in three suits (bams, cracks, dots), 8 flowered tiles, 16 tiles signifying direction (4 tiles marked north, 4 tiles marked south, 4 tiles marked east, 4 tiles marked west), 12 tiles signifying 3 different dragons (red, green, white) and 8 "jokers" which can be used as anything. The Jewish way of playing has a card that outlines all of the various different hands and combinations you need to win, and the object is to go through rounds of picking and discarding tiles trying to obtain the tiles and suits you need to match the hands on the card. As I was playing tonight I found such striking similarities between how I play the game and how life seems to work (for me at least). If I start out with certain tiles, even if they might not fit with my other tiles, I just can't give them up. I almost never pass away dragon or flower tiles, and I seem to almost always try and build hands around them (even if it doesn't seems so practical). I think I tend to treat life that way too. I find things, people, places that I love, and try to base many of my decisions around them; I try to fit my hand of life to those, so to speak, tiles. Now of course, there are certain times when it just isn't practical to hang on to those favored tiles, and that is when you have to take chances and play new hands; form new and unfamiliar combinations of tiles. These hands are different and unfamiliar, but if you can manage to pull the right tiles and secure a win, it feel so good!! I think comparing this to life is actually quite accurate. I feel safe and comfortable with what I know and love, but taking risks and chances can be just as beneficial (and sometimes more so beneficial) then just always playing what you know. But then the next hand comes and I continue saving my dragon tiles and flower tiles trying to make combinations fit. The thing is I am very successful at Mahjong (for whatever reason). I see combinations that work, am good at quickly changing hands if need be to make other things fit in, and constantly play close attention to what other hands people are playing to ensure that I do not make a mistake of throwing a tile that might allow them to win. I'm hoping to have that same kind of handle on life, especially in the near future with so much unknown. I hope to take chances and risks, play hands that might not be familiar to me, and, God willing, experience wins and nothing but good from playing these unfamiliar hands. However, like my Mahjong game, my taking these chances and discarding my favorite tiles only happens once in a while, and in most cases I try to play hands (old and new, familiar and unfamiliar) that might be different and varying, but always incorporating the tiles that I love. Also, in the event that I do discard the tiles that I love, chances are the very next game I am right back to collecting them. There are places and people in my life that are like these beloved tiles, and this time of my life happens to be when I try the new hand; the hand I have never played but know that just trying it will be rewarding. But like the Mahjong game it will be short lived and wonderful, and then it will be onto the next hand and adventure hopefully incorporating my beloved favorite tiles. And let me just say, a win on a hand with the tiles that you love and are familiar can feel just as amazing as the rush you get from winning a never before played hand. I will soon be leaving my flowered tiles ( my country, home, family) and my dragon tiles (Jordan, his family, my friends), will play my new hand, and will come home to hopefully find my next hand incorporating everything that will be temporarily left behind as I throw myself into the unfamiliarity of a new place, culture, and way of life.

Aside from all of this today was a much better day for me. I didn't cry once today and know that Jordan would be so proud of how strong I am trying to be. I miss him more and more each day, but the thought of him is starting to bring happiness instead of hurt and tears. Just for fun I did one of my bucket list items and recorded a few clips of songs. They are just for fun, pretty funny, most definitely not that great, but singing made me happy and I had a BLAST just letting go, being silly, and doing something I love. Wish me luck posting them :-)

Until tomorrow then,

Friday, August 20, 2010

Give faith a fighting chance

This morning was so hard I thought I wouldn't get out of bed. My body still wakes me up at 8:30 hoping he will call but knowing that he won't. I felt so strong last night only to wake up and feel completely defeated. Everyone says it is the habits I formed with him that are the hardest to get over, and while I agree that those habits are a large part of my saddness, it is also the feeling of loss; loss of a lover, a friend, a companion, that makes me want to hide from the world. I am getting so much comfort from friends and family and am hoping that soon it will be enough. But I still stare at my phone waiting for a call that won't come, cry myself to sleep, and when i wake, hoping it will lift the pressure from my chest, and wish that the right thing wasn't the hard thing. I think the hardest thing is not knowing how he feels through all of this. Is he hurting? Is he crying? Does he need comfort too? And while I'm sure the answer is yes to all of these things I can't help feeling like I'm completely alone in my pain. In a way I think sometimes that would be better because I would never want someone I love as much as him to hurt like I am. I just wish I could stop crying, stop associating everything with him, but at the same time I want to associate everything with him because at least then I feel like he is with me, protecting me, comforting me. I never like to doubt myself but how can something that is supposed to be right hurt so badly. I like to pretend I'm so strong, and I will get through this, but right now even breathing hurts. As my Zayde says "this is the end of a chapter, not a book" and "this too shall pass", and I know that it will, but right now, while the wound is so fresh, it's hard to see a happy ending. Thank goodness for Sarah. We are both going through similar things and have eachother to text goodnight too. my mom still calls my phone to say goodnight and goodmorning, even though we are in the same house, because she knows that will help.
I can't heal here, not so close to him. I need to find a way to get to the Middle East as soon as possible. Every place I have here is a memory with him, and each memory rips at me like a thousand knives. I only want to be with him and knowing that I can't only makes it all worse. I want to get to a point where I stop asking Why? why did this have to happen? Please send your prayers and wishes because I don't have the strength to do this on my own right now... And if you find yourself with a few free minutes when you wake up or before bed send me a text so that I can pull strength from that! I have such wonderful friends and I thank each and every one of you for helping me in your own ways. God willing with your help I will get through this.

Until nex time and with all my love,

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bucket List

Tonight has been better than last. I have cried but have also laughed; I'm talking the out of control laughing that makes you cry (thanks to my mom and sister, the only two people in the world that make me laugh like that). I was going to travel to Tahoe for a week with my grandparents but decided that right now I need to be with my mom and sister and not burden my grandparents with my pain. It was the best decision for everyone. My freshman year roommate followed my blog and wrote me the most heart felt message that brought a smile to my face and helped ease some of my painful day. She said something that rang so true. In essence she told me that TRUE LOVE is "true" and if it is true it won't die in a year. A year will make me stronger (and Jordan as well) and then we will be able to love one another more completely. So now as I pray to ease my pain, I also pray that the love we had is the kind that won't fade with distance but will strengthen.
And now to the most important part of this post. I have decided that there are many important things I want to do, experience, accomplish, and NOT do during my transitional year. I have made a so called "bucket list" that I will follow in the hopes of getting the most out of my period of self growth and discovery

* Find a second program that allows me to leave the country sooner than January. I will heal more completely being away then being so close to my pain.
* video record a few cover songs and post my home made music videos on youtube! I want to sing one day so why not start on youtube :-) I will do some songs in English, Arabic, and maybe one Hebrew so look for me on youtube!!!
* Exercise 30 minutes every day
* Visit a country in Africa (aside from Egypt... I'm thinking Morocco!)
* Visit Ida in Argentina
* Go to the West Bank
* Go to at least one Island in Greece
* Finish learning Arabic
* Kayak on the Jordan River
* Skydive and or Bungee Jump (leaning towards skydiving though)
* Live with a host family
* Eat a dish with tomatoes (and for anyone who knows me this will be hard)
* Cross the southern border from Israel to Jordan
* See the sandy city of Petra
* See the Pyramids and Sphinx
* Step foot in the Nile
* Visit Luxor
* Re discover the feeling of God
* Pray every day
* Visit the Western Wall at least twice
* Finish a needle point
* Read The Lord of the Rings trilogy
* Volunteer for someone less fortunate than myself
* Figure out what I want to do in life, or at least find a career I could see myself being happy with (THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT!)

NOT TO DO: During my year there are a few things that I will not do...PERIOD
* No dating; this is perhaps the most important. I need time to figure myself out and to do that I need to be free and untied (There will be no one on one with any male peer)
* Don't limit yourself. If I have the chance to travel somewhere TAKE IT!
* Don't spend too much money
* Don't forget anyone back home and keep everyone involved in my adventure
* Don't be scared of the future. Whatever is meant to happen will happen
* Don't let fear limit anything I may want to do

Well that is it. My year long bucket list! I'm scared shitless but know that I need to have this adventure. I will carry everyone from home with me, especially Jordan. He will unknowingly be apart of everything that I do and his strength and independence will help me to be strong as well.

Until Tomorrow then,

Recovery part 1

Last night was possibly one of the hardest nights of my life. I was so empty, lonely, numb, yet so filled with emotions. I tried to stay strong in front of my family, and did relatively well, but sometimes I slipped. Nights will be hard. I look at the time and only think about where Jordan is and what he is doing. Usually after work and before the gym he would call me, after the gym he would call me, and then a few times before bed he would call. Now there is a silent phone. My mom, knowing that I was lonely last night, took her cell phone and called mine to say goodnight (even though we are together in the same house). She knew it would help a little just getting a goodnight call from anyone. I tried to take a soothing bath in the hopes that it would bring some relief to my aching body. Unfortunately when the ache is on the inside external comforts don't work so well. I sat in the warm water, candles lit all around me, and just cried. 30 minutes of remembering 3 years of the happiest times. This morning my body woke me up at 8:30am. Of course I started crying because that is the time I would usually get a good morning call. I'm hoping that everyday the crying lessens and I feel less sick and broken. I'm trying to keep busy in the hopes that it will help with... well anything. I am about to leave for a week to Tahoe with my grandparents. I'm excited to have one last vacation before I start planning my travel adventures, and start working for a few months so that I can afford everything. Everyone send me your prayers because I need strength that I just don't have right now. Thank goodness for my amazing family and friends who are trying with everything they have to help me feel whole. Life is a crazy game and right now I am not winning. But I am alive and thankful for that; thankful for all that I have and will have in the future; Thankful that I feel there is a plan for me, and I intend to find out what that plan is. Everyday I will pray and love and try to be strong. This blog helps me get my feelings down which I need. For a while I will probably have multiple posts a day just trying to work things out. I hope you all read them and are with me through this hard time.

Until later then,

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Times they are a changing

For the next year I will be embarking on my transitional journey from living the life of a student to living the life of a self sustaining adult. Let me tell you it is scaring the shit out of me. I will be working, traveling, seeing the world, forgiving, growing, playing, loving, and ultimately finding myself. Perhaps the part that scares me the most is that I will be doing all of this on my own. Today was the end to one of my greatest and most loving romances. For 3 years I have been head over heels in love with one of the best people I know. He is kind, generous, loving, gorgeous, talented, and so much more. While he is my best friend our romance had to be put on hold as we both embark on a journey of self discovery. We have grown so much together but must continue on our own if we ever hope to have a more permanent future. As hard as this is for me I find comfort in the fact that I am more in love with him now than I have ever been in our over 3 years of being Jordan + Jordana. As I partake in this journey of self discovery I hope to carry him with me through all that I do, and I will pray each day that he grows and blossoms, and will pray that one day God will bring us back together. Until that day I will cry and then smile, hurt and then love knowing that I found the real thing at the wrong time. Time is a funny thing; while it heals all wounds it sometimes creates them as well. I pray that the poor timing that created my wounds will help me in overcoming them. The happiest and most passionate of endings come to be that way because of overcoming pain and obstacles. I hope that the pain I feel now will one day lead me back to Jordan with the ability to love him more than I can fathom. Until then I have a lot to learn about both the world and myself, and will spend my year doing just that. wish me luck as I embark on my adventure, and I hope to have all of you with me as I partake in what could be one of the most important events of my life.

Until tomorrow then,
Jordana Simone