A Life is a Life is a Life

Hey all.
This is me – checking in. I’m okay.
Except, I’m not okay.

I was so excited to write a new blog post. Mostly because I haven’t written one in a month, and a coherent one with pictures and stuff in longer detail.
I was gonna regale you with all the exciting changes happening to the RestlessMama family; about how school is over for the semester, and I’m switching programs; about the holiday of Shavuot we just had and the three cheesecakes that I baked; about how we’re MOVING to a bigger apartment (because, reasons*) and the necessary stress that entails.

Continue reading

A Dream Deferred, Part 2

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore –
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over –
Like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
Like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?
– Langston Hughes

My sophomore year of high school we read the play “A Raisin in the Sun” by Lorraine Hansberry, inspired by the above poem (which we, naturally, also analyzed). For a group of white, middle-class, Jewish teenagers, it was difficult to understand the many layers of meaning in both the poem and the play.
I remember many of us were confused about what this can do to a person. At that point in our lives I don’t think anyone had been in a situation where we needed to choose one path over another; up to that point (and for another three years after it) our paths were pretty much predetermined. I doubt any of us had really pushed off a dream because it was, at the time, unattainable. Few of us really understood the message.

Now, it comes easy. I guess time is the true teacher, and experience the provider of meaning.

After the second interview I really tried not to think about what had happened. But of course, I had to provide updates to those who knew about the saga. So I kind of became anti-social just so I wouldn’t have to deal with it. And when I was social I didn’t really behave properly.
Hence, the apology at the beginning of my previous post.

To choose one dream over another is not something that I wish on anyone. How can someone consciously say that dream “A” is better/more important than dream “B”? And, what happens to the dreams that are pushed off? Will they ever come back? Langston Hughes didn’t address that question in his poem – he just spoke about the physical qualities of the dream itself. What the dream manifests as if it is postponed.

He didn’t discuss the mental anguish of deferring a dream. He didn’t talk about the human agony of making that decision.

My dream did all of the things Langston Hughes listed in his poem – it dried up, it festered, it sagged, it exploded. Sometimes all in one day.

A question that I repeatedly asked myself this past month, often with nascent tears in my eyes, was how can I choose between two dreams that provide me with joy, and happiness, and a sense of fulfillment?

On the one hand, taking this job would mean that my career is set. I will have achieved the pinnacle of my goals and I would have legitimate job security for a good decade.
On the other hand, taking this job would mean that I would need to quit school. I would need to push off any other children that I may want to have. My job would always come first, which means that Hubby’s would suffer. Hubby would need to pull more weight around the house too

But, if I didn’t take this job – I could still have kids. Hubby and I would continue to share the housework, not to mention see each other on a fairly regular basis. And I could continue my degree, which means exposing myself to other people and opportunities in the music/theater world. The other day, while I was giving a presentation, I was complimented on my knowledge of the topic, my delivery and presence by Ronit Seter – which, for those of you not in the musical world, is like Sammy Sosa complimenting you on your batting follow-through.

I may have fangirled a little bit.

I may have fangirled a little bit.

But, on the other hand, if I didn’t take the job who knows when the next opportunity would arise? I was told during the interviews that there isn’t a lot of turnover in this field, because people tend to stick around for a long time. Five years is a generous minimum time commitment. Would other positions at the Tel Aviv Opera House (or other Performing Art Centers) have similar requirements and commitments?

All these questions and emotions are moot, though. Because I still haven’t heard back from them.

I have resigned myself to the belief that, right now, this job is not meant for me. And I am okay with that. I contacted the Opera House in the past when something came my way; each time, I pushed myself further and took additional steps to making the phone call, and applying for the job, and getting the interview.

I still stand by what I said previously – maybe I just needed to know what my dream entailed, so I could make a wiser decision if and when presented with this opportunity in the future.

I still believe, that sometimes we are presented with different choices and opportunities, and it’s up to us to decide to pursue it. But, sometimes those opportunities and choices appear when we aren’t ready for it. We’re either too young, or too old; too religious, or too secular; employed, or unemployed; single or married; with kids or without kids. Occasionally, we don’t even realize the opportunity when it’s staring us right in the face. Only with hindsight, when it is too late to decide anything.

I still believe, that I will recognize similar opportunities when they present themselves to me. And that I will continue to seek out these opportunities because they are important to me.

So I still believe, regardless of the state of life we find ourselves in, that following dreams requires faith, and guts, and determination, and support, and a little bit of crazy. Very rarely do dream opportunities present themselves at opportune times.

But I will hold on to this dream, because it keeps coming back.

And dreams do not have expiration dates.

Apologies and A Dream Deferred

In previous posts, here and there, I made vague references to an incredible job opportunity that made its way into my lap.

Okay, so maybe

Okay, so maybe “vague” is a slight understatement.

To be fair, I didn’t want to go into too much detail or tell too many people about it, because that would mean going back to all those people and providing updates. Which normally, I’m really happy to do – but it was just such a bad time. So, I kept it vague and I tried not to think about it.

I mean, it’s not like I didn’t have anything else going on in my life…just writing a seminar paper, performing research for my term papers/oral presentations, and getting ready for LAK’s wedding. Also the sudden out-of-the-blue driving test (which I failed, BTW), and the ever-present continuation of hunting for a job.

Needless to say, I had what to distract me with. But it wasn’t easy.

It was a real struggle to focus on anything other than this job opp. I constantly questioned my self worth, and worried if I would make the right decision, and freaked out. A LOT.
There were lots of elements of my life that suffered during this time – to the point where I wasn’t able to do much else except yell in order to handle the stress. I was too panicked stressed freaked (there is no word to adequately describe what I was feeling). In my mind, there was no other acceptable alternative outlet for the confusion, disorder, chaos, and panic.

PANIC!!

PANIC!!

So, this is an apology to those whom I may have annoyed, pissed off, ignored, offended. While I cannnot say that my behavior during the past month-and-a-half wasn’t warranted, and I was validated several times by the people who know me best, I was aware enough to know that I was definitely not myself. This fact was also pointed out to me on numerous occasions, also by the people who know me best.

For events that I may have missed, or for things I said that I shouldn’t have, or for the crazy I was handing out like candy on Halloween, or for some other reason that I neglected to mention, or for all of the above – I am sorry.

I feel more like myself now, and I hope that I never have to go through something like that again. Or, if I do, that I am better able to handle it. Or, that I continue to have amazing friends to help me get through it.

*breath* Okay. Onward and upward.

I went to the Opera House three times in the span of 10 days. Each time, I had to psych myself up to open the main door and not vomit immediately upon entering. On the return trip home each time, I rambled on the phone to the Hubby for a good 40 minutes, which did not help in the least but was still necessary.

The first time was to present myself (I guess) as a candidate for the job opp. I waltzed on in with my best smile, slathered in confidence and bouncing with excitement; I walked out with a phone number and email address, and butterflies in my stomach. Contact was made later that day, and a CV was exchanged. The interview was scheduled for the following week.

The second time I stately walked in and patiently waited for a few minutes. I was warmly received by the head of HR, and the appreciation was mutual. The butterflies had been replaced by stomach acid, and my heart was beating like a brass band.

I was interviewed by the same HR guy, who was very forthcoming with any and all information available to him, not only about this job but also working at the Opera House in general.

As the interview progressed, I realized that he wanted me to make the right choice, too. To my surprise, he didn’t want me to choose the job over my family and/or religion, despite my apparent willingness to do just that. Because, despite the fact that asking these types of questions are the norm in Israel interviews, and despite the increasing belief that there is global discrimination regarding family status and religion when applying for jobs, some positions in certain fields really do require you to put those things on the back burner. And therefore, they must be discussed in detail.

He understood that; he understood that this is not the easiest field to work in on a good day, and that I really, really, REALLY wanted to work there anyhow.

It was kind of obvious. The desire to be employed by the Opera House was literally on my face, and my sleeve. When we took a tour of the offices I happened upon my reflection in the elevator mirror and said to myself, “I look like Lucy when she first entered Narnia. I look like I’m dreaming.”

Yup, accurate.

Yup, accurate.

So, after the tour, when we were back in his office, he gave me the low-down. And the further low-down. He made it his mission to give me as many details as possible. For he could tell that I had no idea what this kind of job would entail, or what it would mean in the grand scheme of things.
With each additional bit of information, I could feel the realization resonate on my face, even though I was no longer in front of a mirror. The realization that, to pursue this dream, life as I knew it would change drastically.

That interview lasted an hour and a half. It would have lasted longer, had I been aware enough to think about what I was considering getting myself into. As it was, there was a second part to the interview which we scheduled for the following week. I figured this would give me the whole weekend to talk with the Hubby and various friends and family members, not only to collectively freak the hell out, but also to get advice.

We mostly did this.

We mostly did this.

With the Hubby, I analyzed each statement, each answer, each sigh, each facial expression. We talked about the pros and cons and neutrals of taking the job, of rejecting the job, of what it would mean for us as a family, and as individuals.

With my friends, I explained and provided as much detail as possible about the job description, and what it would entail regarding commitment. My closest friends, who know that this is my dream of dreams, offered some of the best advice I ever received about work in general and this job in particular.

With everyone, we talked about relevant questions I should ask at the second interview. We also talked about questions I needed to ask *myself* at some point during this process. Of course, there were also follow-up questions dependent on the answers that I received; each of those provided me with additional “what-if” scenarios until I had piles of lists that were filled with questions, each one spinning me around and making me dizzy and nauseous.

The morning of the second interview dawned, and I became a better expert at Vaguebooking. I slowly made my way through the main doors, incredibly unsure of myself and with a sense of unease. I spent almost 3 hours at the opera house, filling out a questionnaire, reading questions off the list I had prepared, making sense of the answers I received, and hearing snippets of whatever opera they were currently practicing.

I couldn’t tell if it was going well. I may have dug myself into a hole with the questions I asked – but, I needed to ask those questions and receive those answers, so I could make an educated decision.

HR guy said that I would hear something within the next few weeks. We shook hands, and I shakily made my way back home. I had nothing else to give, but I told myself that I presented myself the best that I could. And now, I just had to wait for them to make a decision.

Continue reading

Not Giving Up, or Music: A History

A while back, I posted very briefly about school. Now for some depth.

I’m currently studying for a Master’s Degree in the Interdisciplinary Program in the Fine Arts Faculty at Tel Aviv University (that’s a mouthful).
I have a BA degree in Musicology from Bar Ilan University, which I received about five years ago.

I always wanted to go back to school, and for sure get a Master’s degree; perhaps also a Ph.D. – we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, in about 10 years.

Education and Music have always been very important to me, as I started both at the same time. Education was mandatory, but music was apparently my own doing. The apocryphal story is that I was watching a PBS special on musical prodigies, and excitedly pointed to the tv screen and said “Mommy, I want to do that”

Apparently, some kid was playing piano at that moment. And that’s how that started.

For ten years, I devoted an hour each day to practicing piano, and another hour each week for lessons. Not to mention various recitals, performances, and competitions. Piano took a backseat in high school, mostly because I didn’t have any time, but partially because I wanted to do other things. Like Yearbook, and Public Speaking, and Acting. And, you know, sleep.

Yeah - pretty self explanatory.

Yeah – this may have actually happened.

But music was always super important to me. It was constantly on in the background, much to the annoyance of LAK who shared a room with me.
I mostly listened to whatever was on the radio, and made really horrible mix tapes of what I managed to record from said radio (hey, this was the late 90s and early 00s after all). When I came to Israel and met Hubby (and several other people) I was introduced to the wonderful world of Pandora and Jango. My love for Heavy Metal, Punk, Pop-Punk, and Rock music also flourished.

About this time, I found myself in the practice rooms of the Music Department, reminding myself that I was pretty good at the piano. I had won a few competitions in my youth, and I think the medals are in a box in the basement of my parents’ house (if, you know, the repeated flooding hasn’t rusted them over yet).

So I applied, auditioned, and was accepted to the Music Program at Bar Ilan University.

Music was everywhere. It permeated my soul, took up residence in my mind, and refused to let go of my very being.

And then I graduated. And got pregnant. And became a full-time SAHM. And then I went back to work full time while keeping the full time parenting gig going. Music, unfortunately, took a back seat in another country. I would fondly and wistfully look back at the time I had spent devoting myself to that craft – and I missed it. Horribly.

I told myself I would get back into it, that I would practice. But things always came up. My musical tastes continued to grow, and although I would hum along to almost every song I ever heard, it wasn’t the same as before.

Now I’m here. My piano skills have rusted over completely, and I forgot almost 3/4 of what I learned all those years ago.
But that first day back in school, back in a musical environment, I couldn’t pay attention to anything that the professor said. I was just enjoying the moment of being back in such familiar territory. I felt actual joy seeping through me, to the point that my co-workers knew without asking that I was so indescribably happy to be back.

I am slowly and steadily welcoming music back into my life, and it’s riding shotgun. This time, I don’t intend to give it up.

Currently Grooving On: “Bulletproof”, by La Roux
(I fully intend to include this section with all future posts, and I’ll try to have the song not be school-related) (but no promises)