JewBu Quest: From Abuse to Happiness

JewBu: a Jew who practices forms of Buddhist meditation & spirituality. This blog documents my quest to 1) heal from sexual, verbal, and emotional abuse, 2) come to terms with losing Mom and Grandma to Alzheimers, 3) find balance, explore the spiritual, stay present. Bascially, I've experienced some pretty crappy shit in my life and want to find a way to move past it and find happiness.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Who Is Here?

Hey there lovely readers: there have been tons and tons of hits lately to my site but very few to no comments. I'm letting you in on reading my journal, so please return the favor when you visit my site by either signing in my guest book or just leaving a short comment on a post letting me know that you're there, what you're thinking about, what brought you here (unless you're a regular commentor).



Monday, May 28, 2007

Shopping at Macy's: I Miss My Mom

Jerry schleped me along with him to Macy's tonight for this crazy sale. (They were practically giving some of this stuff away!) All of a sudden, it hit me: I miss my mom. Mom would always take me shopping for clothes; I've rarely done any clothing shopping (outside of when I lived in Israel) that wasn't with my mom. She would tell me what looked good on me and buy me things, and it was just always this special thing between us and maybe sometimes my sister too. Since Mom got into these later stages of Alzheimer's, I've done almost no clothing shopping (except for her and when I bought this dress last year for a friend's wedding). I don't think that I'll go again for a long while, and not just because I don't have money to spend on clothes. It is just too strong of a reminder that I don't have my mom in my life anymore, at least not like she used to be. And I'll never have that. We'll never go shopping again like we used to. Ever.

She was alwasy so good to me, and I don't think that I ever fully appreciated her.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Feeling Emotional

Wow, am I feeling like I'm on some sort of emotional rollercoaster this weekend. Yesterday, Jerry dragged me to this beer festival that is right by where my cousins live. I had just found out this week that I'm hypoglycemic, and I'm still trying to tinker around with what I need to do to take care of the blood sugar issues. But, I think that cutting back on alcohol is certainly one of them. Anyway, I went anyway because Jerry made a big deal about it. I ended up having a huge blood sugar spike and felt horrible, especially on the way back when Jerry stopped (due to his friends') request for more beer halfway back.

Anyway, I don't know...he and I just haven't been communicating well it seems. I'm also just feeling way overly emotional and on edge, in part because I had an emotional day before that teaching about sexual violence and not getting the best responses. I think that when I feel insecure, I tend to look to Jerry to fill that void. When he doesn't, I get frustrated and angry, which isn't fair.

So you can see first the email I sent him this afternoon, and his reply.

Hey G,

So what's our story? I felt kinda disconnected yesterday when I was
trying to tell you how I felt, so I tried to be physical with you as a
way of reconnecting (because when we're physcial, it makes me feel
very close to you), and I felt like you rejected me, especially by
pointing out my unshaven legs, which you've made clear that you don't
like (and I know that legs are the part of a woman's body you are most
attracted to).

I don't know if this is all my own insecurities or maybe I'm
premenstral or something, but this weekend, I'm feeling like you don't
respect certain parts of me/find them "crazy". I feel this way when
you tease/make fun of me, in particular to other people. Here are
some things that I fear you don't like about me: whatever health/sleep
issues I have, the way that I spoil my dog, that I'm a feminist, my
legs....So when bo commented that you had been laughing about me
getting metamucil for my dog just after you seemed to be rejecting me
physically and I had just said something yesterday about making fun of
me to other people, I got a little sensitive.

So, I tried to tell you about it. I was kinda offended when your
brother called, you answered and talked to him, as if whatever I was
saying wasn't that important. (You could have finished our
conversation and called him back.) Then, when you kept commenting
about the Jews as Christ killers, I decided that I should just leave.

You said I should stay because you wanted to do something together
(maybe eat or garage sale), but I haven't heard from you since I left.
I don't know what to make of all of this, but I'd appreciate some
communication from you about the above and what our story is. I
really care about you, and I don't want things to be off between us.
- - -
Hey you,

Here are some things that I *do* like about you: whatever health/sleep
issues you have, the way that you spoil your dog, that you're a feminist....
also that you are smart and motivated and open minded and hold interesting
conversations with me; that we have shared values and temperaments;
that you tolerate all (most?) of my idiosyncrasies . . .

Also, I happen to think that you are one of the most level headed women
I have ever had the pleasure of getting close to. I really don't think you are
crazy at all. But I do think it is cute the way you pamper your dog, and worthy
of giving you shit about. Sorry if it hit a nerve.

I took the call from my brother because I figured he was calling about
purchasing a laptop, which I had recommended to him, and I felt
responsible for following up. He was at the office depot when he called and
he had some immediate questions.

I just got back from a hair cut and am contemplating the afternoon. Need to do
some chores around the house, and am thinking about zipping down to Ventura
for some shopping. We seem to go through this every weekend, whereby we have
vastly different interests but try to accommodate each other. I figured it might be easier
to just get a few things done by myself this morning. Of course you are welcome
to come to Ventura with me.

But I need to put some differential oil in my explorer too.

...And cook that tritip later


Friday, May 25, 2007

Took Jerry to Rabbi's House; Another Year of Grad School

Well, Jerry and I made up. Things are really great between us again. He even came yesterday to a lecture that I gave on rape culture and then came with me to a synagogue function for new members, dinner at the Rabbi's house. So, picture this - they make us all sit in the living room and go around the room and talk about our connection to Judaism and our Jewish selves. Jerry and I just looked at each other and laughed to ourselves. Luckily, he had a sense of humor about the whole thing, even the part later when we had to sit down again after dinner and hear about the basics of Judaism.

Anyway, I got an email from my advisor telling me that I have 2 instead of 1 year left of graduate school. She had a calendar, so how could I argue? Anyway, I guess that's not so bad, but it also shows that I can't really go to Kansas City next year. I'll have to settle for just going on visits here and there, maybe even being able to take a month or something every once in awhile. The good news is that its flexible, so that I can take time off without a lot of notice depending on how things are with my family.

I hear that Mom's continuing to worsen - getting more incontinent and forgetting more and more. She's not so able to make complete sentences even sometimes.

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Jerry and I Had a Fight, Visit From Z's Sister

Augh, I am so frustrated. Z's sister came to stay with me for a couple of days because she's thinking about moving to town. I've been sleeping over at Jerry's house. Last night, the second night that I slept over, I was just completely exhausted. I noticed that Jerry was falling asleep himself on the couch, and I suggested that we go to bed. Jerry said no and continued to pass out.

So, I just got up and got myself ready for bed. I came back and told Jerry that I'm going to sleep and he said, "I'm right behind you." But clearly he had no intention of getting up. So, I just tried to go to sleep on my own. The room was super cold, so finally I went back and woke Jerry up and asked him for a sweatshirt. I also got him a glass of water. He told me to just get the shirt myself and fell back asleep. I'm kinda annoyed at this point, but I get the shirt, get into bed, and then hear the rattle of his computer still being on. Realize that everytime I get into bed, I have to climb up on this bunk bed thing - he's got his office underneath his bed. So, I turn the computer off - - or try to - - the noise doesn't seem to stop. I just fall asleep on my own, which isn't so easy because I've got these frustrated feelings.

I am awoken at 5am when Jerry, who at some point got into bed, was annoyed by the sound of his computer. He starts turning on lights and asking me accusatively "did you turn off my computer?" He tells me that I shouldn't have done that. Finally, I half asleep go to the bathroom. When I come back, the lights are still on and he's still trying to talk to me (and in that same tone). I say, "I'll just go sleep on the couch. Is there a blanket there?" He says no there's not and that I'm being ridiculous and doesn't let me down the stairs of the bed. Augh! At least, he comes back up to bed.

In the morning, he's fussy with me again about the computer and did I do this and telling me that I have bad morning breath. He was just being mean. I started to get dressed and said that I was going home. Jerry: "Don't leave mad." So, I sat down and tried to talk with him, but he wouldn't lose his condescending tone. So, I got my stuff together more to leave. Jerry said: "I'm going to the bathroom." He didn't say goodbye or anything; it was like he just wanted a break before talking. But, he was in there for ages and then comes out and doesn't even acknowledge me.

Augh! When I got in the car, I see that from a road trip he had wanted to take I have no gas in my car, so I go to the ridiculously expensive gas station across the street (even though I had asked him last night to stop for gas). As I think about everything, I realize how much of the interaction has tapped into growing up with a dad who was verbally abusive.

So, when I get home, I email Jerry saying that I would like to talk things out with him but that I need "respecting each other" to be a ground rule. I explain why I am so sensitive about being criticised and condescending tones. I texted him to let him know that I sent him an email message. AND I HAVE NOT HEARD BACK.

Anyway, here's the thing about Z's sister. She is so much like Z! And it was so wonderful talking with her about issues of spirituality and the meaning of life and things that I don't often get to talk about. I miss Israel so much. She said that what happened with Z is probably just a man/woman thing - guys have one night stands and maybe it means something to them that night but then they forget about it. Augh!

I'm going to go work out and try and let go of some of this anger and frustration.

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Visiting Friend, Reflecting Priorities

I'm visiting my friend who almost died last month in childbirth. I arrived last night (well around 1am) after spending most of the day flying. Jerry was nice enough to drive me to the airport and watch my dog. As a part of my over obsessive self, I couldn't help but be a little worried when he joked as he left me at the airport "I'm free!" I certainly don't want to be making someone feel that - although I think/hope that this was just Jerry's way of being funny.

It is strange being at my friend's place. First, I still have a lot of work to do - grading papers and reading - that I've brought with me. Secondly, I've never been to my friend's home before and haven't seen her for like a year, and all of a sudden I'm jumping into our old friendship and trying to help with her newborn and having to cook for myself here.....I'm feeling a little bored and disconnected right now. She's sleeping in her bedroom with the baby. I can't really concentrate anymore on my grading. Her husband, who I'm not very fond of, is returning to town in a couple of hours. And its overly apparent that she and I have made these VERY different life choices. She never really found herself workwise and is really traditional in a lot of her religious, gender, and political beliefs. And, I can't tell what she thinks about my choices.

I have a lot of friends like this - people that I'm very close with, or at least have been at one time or another in my life, but don't talk with or see on any regular basis; people that I'm very different from in some ways, but have felt very close to in other ways. A lot of things in my life now - and often - feel disconnected. I wrote about this in my thesis actually, how I feel disconnect between my American and Israeli selves. But its not just that. Its also a disconnect between my family self and my independent self, my feminist self and my dating Jerry self, my Jewish self and my Buddhist self. Sometimes, I can feel a unity, but often, I feel like I have these different parts of myself, and there isn't space in any one place in the world to connect with these parts.

But being here makes me feel like I really don't want to get pregnant. I don't necessarily want this experience that she's having. I would love to have children - to adopt. But, I don't want to have to give up everything in my life for it; I don't want to live in the suburbs and give up my career and not be surrounded by diversity and intellectualism. I'm also torn about these things because of my on going fear that what I want isn't possible (aka my father's nagging voice in my head). I go home on Wednesday by the way. And, oh yeah, I've also realized that I desperately need a proper vacation and SOON.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Learning to Love Yourself; *A* Not Helping

So, in therapy today, we talked about the process for learning to love myself and be able to rely on myself and lose some of this long standing anxiety. My therapist suggested that I not only need to learn to rely on other people and take in their nurturance when they do, but to be able to tap into that when I'm alone and anxious. In other words, when anxiety hits me because I'm feeling insecure and a lack of self-love, I should tap into the feeling/memory of what it was like to have someone nurture and take care of me.

Then, I went downtown to work out, do an errand for my research job, and had lunch with *A*. He has this woman coming to stay with him for a month in July. *A* has been super secretive about his relationship with this woman and refuses to tell me if they have a romantic relationship or if they're just friends. At lunch, I suggested that since we'll all be hanging out together this summer, he might as well just tell me. He told me that I won't be meeting this woman and that they'll just avoid me this summer.

I was very insulted and told him so. He said that she won't want to meet me, so there's nothing he can do. I said, "so once you start dating someone, we won't hang out anymore?" But, he just acted like I'm over-reacting and that it isn't a big deal. I'm REALLY annoyed with him:
  1. Why is he still focused on our relationship as "ex" instead of as best friends?
  2. Why is he so non-chalant about not hanging out with me?
  3. Why is he so secretive about the whole thing?
  4. Will he really be so quick to just drop our almost 20 year friendship?

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Good Day, Sunshine

Well, the weather here is very sunny, and though I am very busy these days with school stuff, I wanted to be sure to record that things with Jerry are really nice now. I don't want you to get the wrong impression about him. This weekend, he installed an automatic watering system on my patio, fixed my wireless network, and took me hiking to this great place just outside of town.

Also, I realize that I forgot to mention previously that when I told Mom that I got my MA and that I dedicated the paper that I wrote to her, she was very happy. When Dad tried to tell her about it later that day, she told him that she already knew.

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Friday, May 04, 2007

MA With Honors, Jerry Being Jerky

Yesterday, after four long years of work on my master's degree, I finally passed my oral exam - with honors! The committee boasted of how rarely they give these out. So, I'm pretty proud. Also, exhausted. I put a lot of work into that.

And then afterwards, I had to go proctor an exam and sit in a three hour class. Then I enjoyed having a couple of friends over to toast the thing being over. I had been eating the wrong things and drank too much, and then Jerry made a comment as I gave him a kiss goodnight that I seemed to have "sick breath", which really upset me. So, I woke up at 4am from a bad dream about being really angry, and I could feel a migraine coming on.

In the morning, Jerry was nice enough to walk my dog for me. We were supposed to go camping tonight, but clearly that's not happening. I had kinda hoped that he might have some sort of nice dinner plans for us - to celebrate this whole MA thing. But he told me earlier that he was going to a grad student barbeque at 3pm. So when I called him around 5:30, he said he wasn't hungry. Then, he seemed kinda annoyed about the fact that I sent out an email about a celebration for my MA tomorrow night. He said: "I thought we were going camping." [He had already emailed me about this, and I hours ago sent a reply.] I told him that we had talked about camping tonight, but that I've been planning this party for awhile now and had long been inviting people PLUS its kinda a departmental tradition. Anyway, he said he had to get off the phone.

I started to feel wierd about the fact that he seems all annoyed, so I texted him "are you mad at me?" He didn't reply. So, I tried to call him, and he didn't answer his phone.

I have to say that I'm REALLY annoyed with him at this point. I'm still recovering from a migraine, this is all just miscommunication (something with dates that has happened in the past - because Jerry has a tendency to not talk through the details of what he wants to do and then just expects me to be completely flexible always), and its Friday night and he's just completely blowing me off.

I get the sense that we're not getting very far with the whole sexuality thing either. Maybe this isn't working out. I really care about him, and think that to break up over a small issue is silly. But, I really don't know if I'm up for this kinda stress - especially when this isn't the first time that he's gotten annoyed and ignored me.

I have all of this reading to do for my advisor tonight anyway, so I guess its not that big of a deal. And next week, I'm going out of town to visit my friend. And the next weekend, I have to spend all day Saturday in a workshop. And, I have lots of work to do. I feel lonely already just thinking about things ending with Jerry, but I know that I need to start standing my ground for how I expect to be treated. I'm worried a little bit that I'm falling into my pattern of cutting a guy out of my heart before I think that he'll break up with me WHICH always makes the breakup inevitable. Anyway, kvetch kvetch.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

And the Drama Starts Again

Well, last week I seemed to find the middle road. This week, I've had lots of drama arise again. Everything with my thesis that could go wrong, has. Yesterday, the document became corrupted and just disappeared. Jerry helped me regain an older version, and I finally finished the thing. Jerry was my total hero - after trying to talk me through it on the phone and me ending up in tears. Plus, lots of bureaucracy making sure my margins were acurate and whatever.

I haven't been sleeping that well, and I certainly haven't been able to get off the sleep medication AT ALL. Last night, for example, didn't help. Jerry showed up around 9:45ish and wanted to do some work, so I tried to work also, even though it was past my normal cut working cut off. Then, I told him that I'd give him a backrub after he started falling asleep on the couch.

I don't want to give too many details I guess, but basically afterwards, I put on a cute nighty and got into bed next to him and as we moved towards each other, I put my hand under his shirt and he snapped "dude, warm those things up before you touch me." I was hurt, but waited for a minute for him to say something nicer, which didn't happen, so I got out of bed and got ready to sleep.

When I got into bed, Jerry didn't say anything, but pecked me a kiss goodnight. I said "if you're going to reject me [a common issue for us], the least you could do is be nice about it." Jerry said he didn't know what I was talking about. Me: You snapped at me. At least this afternoon when you rejected me, you were nice about it.

So we get into a long, deep conversation about our sex life and all of the problems were having in this area. It didn't seem to be going well, so I tried to check in by putting my head on his chest, and after no response, saying "are you mad at me or annoyed?" J: I'm annoyed that I came over here after being really tired because I had promised that I would....let's just cuddle and go to sleep." I felt put off because everything was unresolved, so I asked "well can you at least say something nice first?" Jerry: "What do you want me to say?"

God, the whole conversation was SO gendered. I fell asleep half crying. I wanted to go lay down stairs for awhile before going to sleep, but Jerry said that maybe he'd just go home. I felt like if he went home that would be an enormous rejection, so I just laid in bed feeling all uncomfortable.

Just when I had been feeling that things were great between us and like I could relax into the comfortability of the relationship, we still have this big issue around sex that we've had the whole time we've been dating and we've made no progress on it. I feel a little defeated. I don't know what to do from here. I texted him today asking if we could finish the conversation sometime when we're not so sleepy and he texted back just "yes." But we have no time scheduled. And of course both of us are crazy busy this week, but this not being a priority makes me feel like he doesn't see our relationship as a priority.

So, I'm feeling all around pretty crummy today - didn't sleep well last night, have almost zero way of connecting with Jerry on a sexual level, and my self-confidence is way low.

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