As many of you know, I’m a relatively new member of my synagogue. I’ve been going to High Holiday services for years and finally decided that this was a community I wanted to be a part of. Periodically, if my family is busy or not around, I will go to Shabbat services alone. I love the ritual, the clergy, the music. But as welcoming as this congregation is, I still find myself feeling lonely at times. I don’t have the shared history of the elders, who have raised children and grandchildren here. I don’t have the comraderie of the young families, educating their children, celebrating holidays, preparing them for their bar and bat mitzvahs. I don’t mingle easily, so I don’t make friends easily. I feel just a touch out of place. But tonight, on the seventh night of Chanukah, towards the end of the service, everyone received a candle and the lights were turned down. The Rabbi lit a candle and then with that candle, lit someone else’s and the light was passed through the entire congregation until there was nothing but a sea of flickering lights. Sitting in the dark, I didn’t feel like the odd man out. I was just a light in the dark. And when we looked over to the windows all of those lights were reflected back at us, “so we know, the Rabbi said, that we are never alone.” And I held up my flickering light and tried not to cry big, ugly tears. There is someone behind me to light my candle. And I, in turn will light the candle of someone in front of me. Until it’s no longer dark. Oy, Am I Wishing on a Star, Reversible Pendant
Yesterday my boss brought in several jars of local honey. Apparently an employee’s daughter is a bee keeper, and because some of the hives are at his house, he gets a lot of honey. And I’m all, “ooh, locally sourced honey, so much better than the grocery store crap…blah blah blah.” Please. I buy the grocery store crap all the time. Ok. Not the point. I’m thinking I’m gonna bring a couple of jars home to my hubby. He eats a lot more honey than I do. And he’s been a little irritated with me lately. Nothing serious, but we’ve been arguing about nonsense a lot. He’s an easy-going guy, but there are times when he’s 100% sure his is the right way, and I’m such a stubborn ass that even if it is, I’m gonna argue about it. So I put my peace offering in my bag and I head for the train. I get home and he’s already a tad cranky because his back hurts, but I’m gonna make him so happy when I reach into my bag and pull out…two half empty jars of honey. You can imagine where the rest of the honey is. So now we’re yelling. He’s shouting about bolsas and plástico. I’m shooting back that obviously a plastic bag would have been a good idea, but these are canning jars, for @#%* sakes. He’s rinsing off the jars and I’m attempting to rescue what I can from the sweet swamp that is my purse. And there is honey all over the house. Literally. One bag and my favorite Vera Bradley wallet later, (don’t judge me, this is the perfect wallet!), things have settled down. Until this morning, when he wants to move the honey into a “clean” salsa jar and I tell him he’s crazy and we’re off. We stomp around a little, stepping into missed sticky spots on the bedroom floor. And when it’s time to say goodbye, we still swap a little sugar. Sweet.
I’m eating like a guppy. Apparently guppies will eat until they explode if you let them. Emotional eating. Are guppies sad? Happy? Bored? Stressed? Interestingly enough, the topic of today’s Weight Watchers meeting was ways to diffuse emotional eating. I’m not doing such a hot job. Just before the meeting I got an email from someone who had baught one of my necklaces last week. She wanted a longer chain and I was so concerned with making this sale, that I wasn’t as careful as I could have been. Consequently a couple of the links were loose and it broke. Now she didn’t want a repair, she wanted to return it and get her money back. Of course, I apologized, gave her my address and agreed to refund her credit card. No biggie. It happens. But my brain refused to let it stop there. I was instantly plunged into despair. “If she really loved it, wouldn’t she have wanted it fixed? She didn’t love it. Nobody loves it. Why am I investing so much in something that only my mother and I like? I quit. Done. Shit, I can’t quit. I just spent a fortune on new display pieces and a *^%#ing trolley.” And while all this is going on, I have breakfast. Oatmeal. With raisins. And a banana. Then half a bag of gluten-free pretzel sticks. And another banana. And a Starbucks venti mocha frappucino. Light. Cause, ya know, I’m on Weight Watchers. This is ridiculous. I stop eating long enough to take a breath. And I start to write. And the blues lift a little. And I finally feel full. Ok, a little more than full. Ok. Ok. Art is subjective. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. A rolling stone…wait that doesn’t apply here. But maybe there is a lesson that does. Even if nobody but me and my mother like my work, it can’t be shoddy. It may be crap, but it’s my crap, and it had better be well-made crap. And I take another breath. And I unbutton the top button on my jeans. And I go back to work.
A couple of days ago at a Sisterhood Gala, I was sitting with a couple of my favorite women, all of whom had been involved in the production of Bye Bye Birdie I did earlier this year. We’re getting ready for auditions for the next show, The Music Man. As we’re chattering on about how excited we all are to be doing this together. I admit to be being a little nervous. Last time I had no interest in auditioning. I hated the show, I hadn’t acted in 20 years, and even after I was coerced into it, I knew which part I wanted and if I didn’t get it, Thanks, but No Thanks. This year, I know how sad I would be not to be involved, how much I would miss working with this group. So when they ask on the audition form if I would take an ensemble part, my first reaction is, “Are you mad?!?! I am a professional! I am an actor! I don’t do ensemble! Wait, are you implying there is someone better at the role I want than I?!?!?” Then I stop for a second. I’m so busy worrying about what part I get, that I’ve lost sight of the complete and utter joy the experience was. Not just because I rediscovered my acting chops. Because I became a part of a family. I got to play with some of the best people I’ve ever met. and truthfully, nobody cared what part I played. It’s too easy to define ourselves by our successes, how good we look to others. Guess what. Everyone is too busy living their own lives to care about what I do for a living, how much weight I gained, what part I get in The Music Man. Every piece of the universe has its worth. Its success. It’s reason to applaud. And the real success is becoming part of something completely unexpected. So, yes, I would take a part in the ensemble. But I can’t promise I won’t be a bit of a diva about it.
Broken Glass Series, “Starburst”