Woman, today.

#1 

This time was different. I’m not sure why. I guess I am. There’s a weight on my chest. For months, for several years. Like I’m sure there is on yours, at least, maybe. 

I dunked once and felt like I could see myself in the water. That weight was lifted within the liquid mass and me and my weight, we were floating. I dunked again and again and I have to say I don’t think I’ve ever felt this way in the mikvah. Suddenly it was a feeling of collectiveness, not the ‘we all do this, we’re a tribe’ way but something spectacularly meaningful, a new weight weightless in the water. New, unfamiliar, big. 

As I came up on the 3rd go and saw the blue tiles ahead of me, I realized what it was. 

Taking 

religious 

action 

by 

choice. 

That will never not be taken fully for granted until it’s taken away. 

Everything feels so heavy now because it kind of feels like the first time in my life things really are being taken away. No, no. I don’t not live safely and will I ever be forced to do this in my lifetime, no, no probably not.  

And yet, I feel like my words are being taken from me. I feel like my feelings are being taken from me. The validity of my experience being taken from me 

with 

so 

many 

pin 

pricks. 

It’s not malicious, always. 

But in other places, in other lifetimes, it always 

always

is. 

#2

Maybe I’m just extra sensitive today because earlier I saw this video on Twitter. For political messaging, it’s cute, effective at preaching to the choir, like 99% of Twitter content. But it struck me different. 

Many people have no idea. Half the population will never have this relationship with their bodies. With the perception, with the reality, with the ugly, with the incredible, with the mystery, with the obvious, with the element of surprise it brings to have this make up, this blueprint. 

Ok, so many of us will never know a lot of people’s experiences – isn’t that what סליחה על השאלה is about? 

For all the progress and all the technology and all the societal construct… we’re not actually raising kids any differently, we’re never not failing at education and openness and conversation and fact. 

How to think about these things… Do we even know how to think about these things? Is it really just a matter of talking openly? Will we find out in 10 years? 20 generations? 30 millennia? 

Or will we never have the chance, just instead, existing, thing to thing, year to year, child to child, month to bloody month, as words and thoughts and feelings and validity are nicked away, piece by piece, skin cell by skin cell, leaving us raw and red and sad and unwhole and unwell and unhoped. 

#3 

…talking openly. There’s no talking openly if there’s no listening openly. 

The third thing I experienced today was watching a new episode of a show I adore for it’s tearing down the fifth sixth and seventh walls of teen talk taboo… talking about sex, sexuality and human anatomy openly, in the context of kids going through puberty. 

The episode is called Vagina Shame. (Go on, you’re home alone doing dishes, no one’s judging). 

I found myself tearing up watching it. 

I don’t know why. 

Because it was saying things that are kept so deep down. 

Because it was saying them in the context of an age where it’s all shameful. 

Because it was saying true things. 

Because it was saying it with good humor and kind intent. 

Because it wasn’t patronizing. 

Because it wasn’t sympathetic. 

Because it just is what is is 

and accepting it is perhaps something we can start to work on. 

It’s not about who you vote for. It’s not about supreme court decisions. It’s not about who is the true Jew. It’s not about man-made constructs or women-made confessions or apologies or judgements or expectations.

This, right now, is about 

me, 

a woman, 

today. 

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