I just re-read my post from 2012.

My heart hurt for the girl who wrote it because I know how far she had to go and all the things she had to do to get to Rosh Hashanah 2013, but my heart hurts most of the time so it’s not a particularly uncomfortable thing. My friends keep telling me that I’m a strong person and I honestly wonder why they think so. I struggle constantly. Genuine and lasting happiness has evaded me for so long, I don’t remember what it’s like and I don’t want to feel this way anymore. Rosh Hashanah is a time to figure out why and how to change.

I have come so far and changed so much from the person who wrote that post. I worried about love and trusting myself. I worried that I would make another colossal mistake, akin to married, or be so afraid to mess up that I wouldn’t act at all and THAT would be the mistake.

I’m addicted to risk and I prefer it. It’s exciting. When you take a leap of faith, when you take a chance, anything can happen. I would rather make a mistake than worry about what might have been or should have been. But you can’t live a life thinking about what should have been. So you move on. Except, I’ve spent most of the this year punishing myself for getting married. I accept the divorce, but the marriage part angers me. I beat myself up over it because it was such a stupid mistake. It wasn’t a risk…not in the way I like risking. It was a complete error in judgment. Out of character for me.

And I’ve been fighting myself for a year. Trying to get back to the person I was before I was married…the confident, calm, ready to fight girl. But if I think about it logically, and aside from the fact that I can’t undo my choices (nor would I…actually), I wouldn’t give up the things I’ve learned because of my mistakes. Logically, I get it and I accept it. But my heart has a little trouble keeping up. I blame myself for being alone, for marrying the wrong person, for everything that’s happened since. I’ve been punishing myself, maybe so that I have control over it. Maybe so that karma won’t do it for me. If I cause my own pain, then I won’t encounter pain from a blindside.

But, you see…that doesn’t work. We are all victims to a blindside, and there isn’t anything we can do about it, but handle the blindside with grace. What frustrates me so much about my marital mistake is that it wasn’t a blindside. I went forward, basically knowing it was a mistake. My heart knew, but my mind wouldn’t catch up. Why don’t these things work in concert???

Some things haven’t changed since 2012. I wasn’t sure who I was as a Jew, or what I wanted. I am not, by any means, out of the woods yet. In fact, I’ve encountered problems I didn’t have a year ago. My identity as a Jew is challenged. Culturally, I am 100% Jewish, but I don’t know where I stand religiously. I guess I’m still a Jew in that I want the Meshiach to come, I love Israel and I will be fasting on Yom Kippur. It just feels pretty mixed up inside. I have faith it’ll all work out though, more so than I did last year.

But the New Year is a time to begin introspection, looking back at the mistakes of the past year and planning the changes to make in the new year.

What mistakes have I made and what do I plan to change? I’ll be spending the two days off thinking about these very things. My holiday will begin by going to the Los Angeles River (it qualifies as a flowing body of water) and emptying my pockets, while reciting the Tashlich prayer. This act symbolizes the casting off of our sins. I like the physical action of saying, enough. I let go. I plan a little commune with nature, in the form of a morning hike, reading Torah, and writing. And I look forward to a Rosh Hashanah luncheon of wine, cheese, apples, honey and challah, all sweet things for a sweet New Year.

I don’t know all the changes I will make. But I know one thing: this year I will be happier. So in 2014, when I read this post, I hope, I can nod my head and say yes, 5774 was better. (That’s the Jewish year for all you goyim). I hope I find love, one that is lasting. And if not, I hope I can accept that. I hope I find forgiveness for myself. I hope I find success in my career and I hope my friendships are strengthened by love and trust because I have a much clearer path to what I want and who to be and I’m on my way there.

For those of you who took the time to read this, Jewish or not, L’Shanah Tovah v’Gemar Chatimah Tovah!  “Happy New Year and May you be inscribed (in the Book of Life) for a good year.”

Banking on Luck; No Funds Available

I’m not sure how the world works. I have ideas about it. Some are based on religion. Some are based on gut-instinct. But to sum it up, I think that what you do comes back to you, whatever it is.

I’m not sure how good I’ve been. In fact, I think I’ve been living as if I wasn’t going to need any good karma. Maybe I’m too hard on myself. Maybe not. The point is, now there is something I want. And I haven’t wanted anything like this in a long time. But I’m pretty sure my karma bank is empty. And if I had the power to direct my luck anywhere, I’d point it at my career. I made a little bargain with God, that I’m not sure if he agreed to because I probably don’t listen very well, but I said that I’d be willing to forgo love, forever, if I could be really good and successful at entertainment. Not everybody is meant to have everything, so at least I’ll be successful. Love doesn’t ever seem to work out.

But, another thing I believe in is the power of jinx. It’s ridiculous because it’s believing in superstition. But I’ve always had this gnawing in the back of my mind that if I get too excited about something, it won’t happen. I’ve always prepared myself for the worst so that when the worst happens, I’m not surprised. And when the worst doesn’t happen, my joy is doubled with relief. It’s no way to live, I’m aware. But, it’s also not like I’m Harry Burns reading the last page of a book so that if I die before I finish the book I’ll know how it ends.

But it’s just this little…”why should I get to be happy?” And without one drop of “woe is me”, and a finger pointing at my divorce, I feel like my superstitions have been fulfilled, so I’m only strengthened in my completely unfounded belief that what I’ve done up to this point isn’t enough for me to deserve something good, and it’s a much wiser path to expect happiness from success, from something I have a little bit of control in, than in love, which is left up to some power far beyond my understanding.

Everyone else seems to be able to do it so easily.

Why can’t I?

How My Acting Teacher Made Me Cry

I’m no stranger to tears. After the divorce, I cried a lot.

And then someone who I cared about, someone who I had dated before I was married, laid it down for me. I had done something, and he perceived it was done to him, that he couldn’t forgive me for (getting married). Initially, my reaction was: This is YOUR problem. It’s not my problem. I have asked for forgiveness from the appropriate people. If you choose not to forgive me, that’s on you. I did my part. (And when I tell the story, there are one or two suggestions as to what I think he can go do to himself).

And it was liberating. And I’ve been happy ever since.

Until my acting class last night.

The activity is called, “Repetition”. Two actors looking at each other. Actor one makes a statement about the other actor (You look nervous, you look pretty today, etc.) and actor two responds (I look nervous, I look pretty today) with whatever emotion he/she feels about what Actor One said to him/her. A lot of my reactions with one of the actors was that I didn’t care (because I frustrated him or made him mad) because I was thinking, “Well, you control your reaction to me and I’m not much interested in how you feel, so I don’t care.” And that’s true. I have no stake in this other person so if he is angry at me (and it’s not really an act, it’s a reaction, but not to be taken too seriously), I don’t have a reaction that might be standard (apologetic, embarrassed). I don’t care.

My acting teacher said I was hiding. She said that sarcasm and deflecting are all ways to hide what I’m really feeling. I said, respectfully, that those were my honest reactions and there are probably a lot of people who think I’m not nice or who think that I’m mean, and what they think of me isn’t that interesting, certainly not enough to elicit a strong reaction from me. I also said that no one who knows me personally would ever say I have trouble expressing myself or being honest about how I’m feeling.

She then respectfully disagreed and started to give an example. But I had stopped listening.

Because I started thinking about why I don’t care and what I’m hiding. I refuse to consider falling in love. I’m keeping my focus on my career. I still see people, and I enjoy the company of others, but these interactions will never turn into a relationship. That part of me is closed off (I did, however, promise my father that if I had met someone extraordinary, I would reconsider) and it’s been so easy. I’m not lonely, because I have chosen to be alone. I like it this way.

But it will stop me from being a good actress, because it will hinder my ability to show a true emotion, to react to a scene because I’m not accessing everything inside of me.

And I’m having these thoughts as she is still speaking to me. And it occurs to me, that if I don’t let myself feel hurt by what said to me (and the argument against this is that in the year following my divorce, I felt enough hurt and pain to last another year and I’d be just fine without it for awhile), then I can’t grow as an actress.

So I said, out loud: Ok I understand.

I had interrupted her. She was taken aback. I sat down. I regained my manners and said, “I’m sorry. Please continue. I just wanted you to know that I understand what you’re saying. You’re right.”

We talked after class. I explained my brief little history that led me to become apathetic, and frankly, cold. And I cried. In front of a stranger.

Typical.

Then I thought about it all the way home. Then I thought about it as I went to sleep. I thought about it when I got up and on my way to work. I’m thinking about it still.

I don’t want to be hurt by what he said to me because I don’t want to acknowledge the consequences, which are logically and rationally acceptable, but of course, one cannot tell the heart how to feel about something.

So because I want to be an actress, and I want to give myself 100% to the art, I have to do a number of things:

1. Feel what I’ve been ignoring and pushing away.

2. Let people in.

3. Stop setting limits.

I hope this will become one of those times where I’ll look back and think, “That was a pivotal moment. You absolutely needed to choose what you did in order to get where you are now. And it was all worth it.”

I have found that in looking back, every moment and every sacrifice has been worth it, in one way or another. If not for that, than this would never have been. And I like it here.

Made a post