Submission

My submission to this site was going to begin like this:

The night started the same way these nights tend to start. Close friends and a few drinks.

It was about a small group of mothers, ba’al teshuvas, who join a mom’s get-a-way shabbaton. These good friends went to be with each other, and away from their families for a short while. They all had a past, as BT’s tend to, some more colorful than others. Friday night, after the seudah, they get together in one of their rooms, break out the schnapps, and a lively ask-me-anything ensues. The more sensible and refined ones leave. Eventually it gets too late and nonsensical, the hostess is passed out in her bed, and only 2 ladies are left. Sarah, the dainty polished one, and Devorah, more practical and outspoken. Sarah asks: How many men have you made love to? And Devorah, because she’s drunk, confesses that, “Actually, Sarah, I don’t make love to men, I fuck them.

“I make love to women.”

So Sarah is shocked and abruptly leaves to go to her room. Her reaction gets Devorah sobered up real-quick. She is immediately regretful and terrified of the consequences of what happened realizing that if word ever got out, her family would be destroyed. “Dear G-d, please help! What have I done?!”

After a restless sleep, Devorah wakes up Shabbos morning and tries to clear her head. After a brief stop at the tea room, she takes her Tehillim and walks out to the forest behind the hotel and begins to pour her heart out to Hashem. She doesn’t even hear Sarah coming up behind her, and was startled into reality when she put her hands on her back and her head between her shoulder blades.

And the rest, dear reader, might not be fit for print. Oh, it’s all there: The placement of each hand, each body, passion, arousal, and a sefer Tehillim that fell to the ground.

After the, well, climax, of the story I then shock the reader by admitting that this never actually happened. (“What?! No!”)

I then proceed to tell… the real story.

But after some consideration, I decided to skip the whole Devorah-Sarah-Shabbaton story. I realized that I feared rejection: Either from the editors based on the erotic content. Or from the readers. Because perhaps my fantasies are just so shallow and predictable, they induce more eye rolling than anything else. (But if they are, please tell me. I’d like to work on them.)

Thank you for reading my rather verbose introduction. I’ll go ahead now. To the real story.

There are very few things which I can say that are true about that story. The first is that, like Devorah, I’m woman, a mother, a wife, and I am deeply and intimately attracted to other women. The second, is the fear of hurting my family. And because of my devotion to them, and this life I chose, I will never, under any circumstances come out about this attraction.

But from childhood’s hour, I have not been as others were. I was always passionate, but immature. I loathe to label myself, but I’ll say that being attracted to either gender helped me look at the cup half full side. There are advantages to men.

Well, life isn’t all about sex, and so I eventually found frumkeit. Once I devoted myself to it, my sexuality flatlined, and life turned grey. I didn’t notice it happen then. I was too busy being religious. Everything is for the best.

My life is, thank G-d, very good. My husband is kind and giving. I love my children. They are still quite young. We have what we need. In this frum life I’ve had joy, sorrow, challenges, and accomplishments.

I am very spiritual. The Torah is true. There is right and wrong. And these feelings, or the idea that I should, G-d forbid, express this side of me and hurt those close to me, is wrong.

So it’s true, I am attracted to women. It’s true, I am fearful. But one thing did not make this story, although it’s in so many others: Longing. Craving. Urges. I feel like a vampire trying to live peacefully among humans. G-d, did you make any other creatures like me? Am I really all alone? Is there anyone there who fears for her future and her family, yet longs for a woman to caress them? G-d, is there someone who craves my breath on her neck, my slender hands to satiate her desires? It’s only the fear that keeps me far enough away from you that I can’t even smell you, or G-d forbid you’d notice my eyes close, so briefly, just in that simple pleasure.

I am right wing yeshivish, in my 30’s. Our kids are in the right schools. I carpool. My husband davens at the right shuls. My sheitels are just right. So is my hemline. So is my smile. I know how to be the sheifeleh I need to, and I am. We have a good reputation, dear G-d, please help me.

I am alone. The internet says so. There are simply no anonymous groups or forums for women like me. If there were others, there would be such groups, there must. You can’t feel the way I feel and do nothing forever.

I’m typing this at the bottom of a cookie recipe I have saved on my computer. I’ll cut and paste it into the Neshamas submission box and then find the clipboard and delete it with Hashem’s help. I have an anonymous email account I log into for seconds at a time. No one emails me there. I keep in touch with Eschel and other groups, but I never meet them.

No one has ever seen my face and known the truth about me.

But now someone has read me. Thank you.

12 Comments

  1. Mark January 19, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    You are an inspiration to me! So proud of you. I’m a man in my 30’s attracted to other men. The same cravings you have for women I have for men. And yet I know it’s wrong. What you wrote inspires me so much. You are a tzadekes, putting G-d’s will before your own. I KNOW that God is so proud of you and will reward you in ways we can’t even imagine. It’s a constant struggle, I know. But never give up! Also, maybe, just maybe, if you think it’s possible and he will take it well, you can talk to your husband very carefully about some of your issues? Maybe it will even bring you closer together?

    Reply
  2. Bella January 19, 2017 at 8:52 pm

    “I feel like a vampire trying to live peacefully among humans…”

    I really resonated with that line.

    Maybe the heart has the capacity for undefined love and desires and we all somehow carry that inside, just most choose not to act on it? Just a thought ….

    Bravo to you

    Reply
  3. יוספה בתיה (@JosieBrendaA) January 19, 2017 at 11:06 pm

    All I can say is: *you are not alone.*

    I was there too. I spent over *four decades* in the closet.

    At places like Eshel meetings and retreats, and at other Jewish queer women’s support groups I have met women like you: deeply religious, deeply conflicted, and deeply closeted. And there are anonymous fora for this, but just like their members, they are closeted. I just came back from the Eshel shabbaton last weekend, and met several people just like you there.

    I wish you _hatzlacha_ on your journey. Feel free to reach out to me anonymously via Twitter. My DMs are open.

    Reply
  4. Rachel January 20, 2017 at 12:07 am

    I wish you happiness and peace. True simcha b’gashmius u’b’ruchnius. And menuchas hanefesh. I wish I had more words of comfort, bur just know you were read, you were heard. I hope you can find a wonderful therapist or other confidential source of trust to open your heart to so that maybe you can feel less alone. Much love.

    Reply
  5. esterwrite January 20, 2017 at 2:54 am

    Dear Anonymous,

    You are not alone. There are so many that struggle as you do. Better yet, there are many that have come through this battle to find joy and comfort in their lives. I also promise you that there are many support groups on the internet, and all around you. Everyone who has been given this struggle deals with it differently, and each has a special connection with their creator. Please don’t hesitate to reach out on Facebook to the LGBTQ Chabad group; it is completely safe, closed, and supportive.

    Much love and luck on your journey.

    Reply
  6. "Chavi" January 20, 2017 at 10:32 am

    Wow, thank you for all the chizuk. I am aware of the support and groups, but how can I attend? Where do I say I’m going? Too risky. I do not have social media. I cannot sign up for it either, for certain reasons, not even anonymously. Hashem knows what He’s doing. He keeps me in line.

    Support is. Nice. But, I just wish I could meet someone for a deeper relationship.

    Thanks, all. Your comments are each special to me, I’ve read them a few times.

    Have a good Shabbos.

    Reply
  7. יוספה בתיה (@JosieBrendaA) January 20, 2017 at 11:47 am

    Hi “Chavi”,

    If you can reach out to the support groups, perhaps you can arrange a one-on-one meeting with someone. Yes, it’s scary, and yes, you need to have a baseline level of trust, but at least your cover story is secure (I mean, after all, women meet each other all the time for coffee and whatnot.) Or you could arrange a phone call — you can call from a blocked ID number. Creativity is key here; I speak from experience.

    What you are discussing may seem insurmountable, but it is not. It isn’t because you have the strength of those who came before you to help you. It doesn’t mean you have to come out, or take any action to do so. It does mean you get to talk to someone who understands much of what you’re going through, and just be witness to your struggle. This isn’t a gateway into a major life change, and no one will try to convince you of anything or give you a lesbian virus! It’s just a way for you to come to grips with yourself.

    Obviously what you do has to be good with both you and Hashem, and you have to live with your choices. But there is help and support available to you. I’m in NYC and can meet up if you need. I’m an out, gay, frum woman. I probably look just like you do. (Except heavier *grin*)

    I wish you _shalom_ and _shalvah_. Shabbat shalom!

    Yosefa

    Reply
  8. A Neshama January 25, 2017 at 2:42 am

    (This was submitted as a post, not as a comment, but it is a comment on this post so it’s being posted as such.)

    Dear Anonymous Soul,

    To the woman who wrote about being frum and attracted to women, I hear your conflict. I feel what you feel. For me, the hardest part is the loneliness. There is no one to talk to. Even telling your secret to someone you trust feels unsafe. And then life becomes exhausting, carrying around this weight of all the negativity that is tied up in keeping a low profile. Whether it’s anger, hopelessness, shame, or some other thing, your secret demands a price. So you try to push it away, to ignore it, but it keeps coming back, and so much if your life is affected by it that it just becomes the monster under the bed. And then you feel like you’re the monster…

    I just wanted you to know you’re not alone. I wrote this about half a year ago, http://hevria.com/anonymous/confronting-bisexuality-married/. I think that it’s up to us ko Ely souks to keep sharing, even if it has to be anonymously, so others (and maybe we) can feel a bit less lonely.

    ~ A Kindred Spirit

    Reply
    1. Chavi January 25, 2017 at 7:00 pm

      Thank you for that. In case you check back here. I would appreciate your contacting me. chavi2501@yahoo.com

      Reply
  9. Anonymous January 26, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    Chavi. I am not in your situation but I empathize greatly. My one suggestion is for you to see a therapist. Not for “fixing,” G-d forbid, but so you can explore yourself, explore your fears and trepidations and conflicting thoughts in a safe environment with no judgment, and with an absolute guarantee of confidentiality. Therapy is where I would start. And where do you say you’re going? Hopefully, it will be acceptable for you to say you’re seeing a therapist… perhaps for depression, or even just for tools to help you navigate daily life. I feel deeply the reluctance to be dishonest, and I hope just as deeply that you can find a balance between that commitment to your loved ones and commitment to self… self-protection, self-preservation, self-care.

    I’m not a therapist, but I am really good at being a friend. If you want to talk, just to have someone – anyone – to open up to, to be yourself with, I would love to connect.

    Reply
  10. Anonymous January 30, 2017 at 7:30 pm

    I’m sure from reading the above comments, you are learning that you are not alone. I want you to know that you can get in touch with me to talk, if you ever need to. I think it’s tremendous that you are using this forum as an outlet- it is extremely brave and I hope it brings to light that there is an international network of people who care about your suffering and want to help alleviate it. I do, for one. Your story is touching and heartbreaking and so real. I too, am married to a man and an attracted to women, but my story is quite different so I don’t know if I would have any sound advice. But I will listen and I will care and I do care. Nobody should go through this alone.

    Reply
  11. Anshel Bomberger March 5, 2017 at 2:15 am

    Hashem makes no mistakes. In my Torah studies I have learned that we all are the image of G-d. We all have sparks of the divine. Why would G-d give you cravings, urges, and longings if they weren’t intended for a ‘G-d purpose?’ I am a intersexed human being that loves a Chabad women. I have loved her for over a decade. She loves me too even though she would not allow touching. She is afraid to love the gentle feminine traits I have. I live and pass as a man. The Torah directs that I do so. Some would call me a Tumtum or Androgynous. I am one of Hashem’s teachers of Torah that will tell anyone it is not a sin to touch me, love me, or accept me as-is. I am not a mistake. I was born for the purpose to let others know, it is okay to love anyone. It is okay to touch the one you love. Meeting and loving this woman all these years has changed my life more than anyone would ever know. It is the biggest gift G-d and she has given me. To those that question their faith, their path, their sexuality, their gender identity, etc., we all have lessons to learn and lessons to teach others. The lesson I like to leave others to think about is, ‘How are you Jewing?’ Are you a stickler to all 613 commandments and are quick to ridicule or embarrass another for not being as grim as another Jew? Or are you a Jew that lives a life of chesed, kavod, and emet; doing your best to love all of G-d’s creations and do what mitzvot resonate with your neshama and in another gilgul you will be able to complete what you weren’t able to do in the most recent life. True living is not about check-list Judaism. Living and loving includes taking all of G-d’s creations into consideration. That to me is doing anything and everything to save a life, including your own. Remember Hillel’s famous quote? I’ll remind you… ‘If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when?’

    Anshel Bomberger
    LGBTQI Advocate
    Colorado, USA, Earth

    Reply

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