Mom is supposed to nurture you, to scan you and make sure you’re doing okay, to be there for you when you’re not, to give you what you need.
Dad is supposed to protect you from the craziness of the world, to make sure you’re always safe.
Sometimes, fathers instead bring negativity and harm into your home and into your life. They bring fear and danger and are so broken they hardly even notice you.
And sometimes, mothers cannot properly scan themselves, so instead of scanning you to give you what you need, they throw up their own stuff onto you, a blanker canvas, and have you soak it up.
How did you become religious? He asks with a glimmer in his eye, waiting to be inspired.
I sigh, give my 2-cent answer.
When the dates or inappropriate Shabbos hosts would ask for my real one, I used to give a longer fake one.
Now, maybe I’d tell some of them the truth:
I became religious because I needed a safe place. I needed to be taken care of.
I became religious because I needed a G-d who would be everything my parents couldn’t be.
Because I needed a G-d to help me find everything I needed.
Because I needed to believe in Ultimate Goodness. I needed to feel the knowledge in my bones that The Someone out there is taking care of us. That all of the horrible awfulness in the world makes Him or Her cry with us. That there really is no other way. That G-d loves me and is there for me and takes care of me. That G-d scans me and gives me exactly what I need all the time and protects me, really protects me.
I became religious because I believe in the goodness of humanity.
Because I care about self-growth, I care about it so much. Because I want to be the type of mother that is able to scan her child because she has looked deep into herself and pieced together some of the brokenness there.
I became religious to heal.
On the way there, though, I’ve gotten lost.
I needed my friend to tell me that.
I needed her to tell me that I’ve gotten lost from myself.
I didn’t realize the truth of it until she told me.
My essence is not someone who is consistently emotionally exhausted.
It’s not someone who breaks Shabbos and doesn’t care, gets too close to an unhealthy guy, who messes up with kashrus out of carelessness and then doesn’t mind, who spews lashon hara like it’s her job.
My essence does not swirl into codependent relationships on a whim!
I’ve worked too damn hard.
And this isn’t me.
And I had forgotten.
How scary is that?
I’m holding on hope that I’m still in the seed-decaying process of becoming my own healthy, strong self.
That in this dark place, where I’ve forgotten who I was and disconnected from myself to survive my latest reality, I’ve been decomposing to get somewhere.
To become something great.
That those moments of breaking Shabbos and kashrus and those moments that lacked guilt or shame or the desire to change and those moments where my desires became more important than anything else were all part of something important and good in my life.
And I’m trying to find balance, but sometimes you first have to swing the pendulum in the other direction.
So that’s what’s happening.
And I’m letting it.
And I can’t believe I’m doing that, because it’s “not me,” but when you’ve lived your whole life not really knowing who that is, you still need to figure it out at some point.
In the past, I would’ve beaten myself up for even thinking of breaking Shabbos. Felt immense guilt, not have been able to move on.
I don’t want to do it again because it’s not me, but I needed to try it.
I needed to see that I was still good afterward, read: a good girl.
I needed to show myself I was in pain.
I needed to stop letting myself live in denial and pay attention.
I was feeling numb. Because pain is a hard feeling to feel.
I was feeling mad and disconnected.
I was forgetting who I was.
I was having a very quiet, very private tantrum to G-d.
He didn’t send down a lightning bolt.
Even though I didn’t do the right thing.
She held me and told me I was good.
And She told me She loved me.
And She gave me a kiss.
Because that’s what I needed. And She knew.
And I didn’t even have to tell Her.
My healing includes running away and running back.
And talking and hearing and being okay.
And being not okay. And that being okay too.
So maybe now I can have a Shabbos with G-d just giving me a warm, big hug and me feeling that hug and returning it and not needing to have a tantrum. But if I do need that, it’s part of my journey, and it’s good, too.
And I could be mad at G-d because I’m mad at my parents.
And I could be mad at G-d for giving me my specific parents.
I could be mad at my parents for not being what I needed. And after I’m angry, I could see them for their limits and I could feel compassion towards them.
Instead of being mad at G-d, I could let Him protect me.
And I could let Her take care of me.
And I could feel His anger at the people who broke me. And feel His tears as He hugs me.
And I could feel Her warm, comforting presence, and I could feel how much She wants to take care of me, how much She already is.
I could feel Her pain for not being able to do more so that I can choose to let Her.
I could let G-d heal me.
They really want to.
Maybe I’ll let Them.