No Barriers Allowed

Sitting on the cold bathroom tiles, I’m clutching my knees. There are marks where my clipped fingernails have dug into my skin. I shiver because I am stripped bare. I shake because my heart feels raw. Tears fall freely down my naked face. All makeup scrubbed off carefully, all body hair shaved away. Chatzitzah, chatzitzah!

I’ve gone over my body a hundred times, checking each part again and again. Is that a stray hair? Shave again. Is that a scab? Soak it again. CHATZITZAH!

No barriers. No boundaries. Nothing except you and the water. That’s how it should be.

Wait, did I clean out my ear with a q-tip? Wait, did I trim that teeny tiny hangnail? Wait, do I need to use the bathroom for the fifth time?

Some women obsessively check themselves because they anxiously want to do it right. I do it because I hope I find a reason not to immerse tonight.

No barriers. No boundaries.

But my marriage is fully of barriers and boundaries. I’m alone and lost. I can’t handle this night. I know after I dip in the warm water, I will return to my own version of Gehenom. I will return to a husband who won’t be intimate with me, doesn’t love me, doesn’t want me. I will return to all my problems, plus new ones. Now, we will share a bed (no barriers) and he will brush against me when I don’t want it (no boundaries). There will be nothing but him and me. And my barriers that I cannot drop.

So, when I take a little longer to prepare, don’t be surprised. When you wish me a goodnight afterwards and I don’t reply, it’s because my throat is too tight. It will not be a good night. It will be lonely and sad. Because while some women go home from the mikvah excited to reunite with their love, I will be going home counting down the days until I will be niddah again.


  1. Deborah June 7, 2017 at 9:52 am

    Oh my dear. I am so sorry. If there is no way this marriage will be a good one, can you find the wherewithal to move on? Everyone deserves to find a truly loving marriage with a partner who loves them.

  2. Anonymous June 7, 2017 at 10:53 am

    I am so, so sorry for your sadness. I used to live in the very same version of hell.

  3. Anonymous June 7, 2017 at 10:17 pm

    Now, we will share a bed (no barriers) and he will brush against me when I don’t want it (no boundaries)


  4. Shaina June 12, 2017 at 2:43 am

    Your piece is so sad and haunting. I hope things get better for you, somehow. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Fellow traveller June 16, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    “And my barriers that I cannot drop.” I’m not sure that I understood this.

    But, I’d like to share that you do have choices. You can make decisions to help and protect yourself. If you want the help to do so, there is help out there.

    And there is hope too!


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