Thursday, May 31, 2012

First time in five years

The prison where I work just had their first suicide since the last one five years ago.
Death by hanging. Don't even ask...

My supervisor was describing the scene and for the first time ever, it hit me.
 Death is irrevocable.
Once the heart stops beating, no pulse, no life.

Death does not strike me as tragedy and if it were, the more tragic, the more I would be fascinated.
But listening to the progress of death in the last second of the person hanging, who is still conscious while suffocating, that image told me something.
Cannot be undone.

Maybe it's time I rethink my theories on suicide....

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Guys, I need input

Sometimes you go out with a guy, you have a good time and so you go out again. All the dates go well but it's just not there for you. He's a great guy, well rounded, stable, cute (-ish), responsible etc... but he's just not it. You know he is kind of into you and so when you break up, you have to be careful to not hurt his feelings and you say: "you're a great person and bla bla bla but I don't see it going anywhere..." If you have better break up lines, please do send them my way!!!!

And then because you feel bad, you say something like: "I can see us be friend so if you want to hit me up next time you're in town or i''l give you a call.... Bye, all the best."

First of all, do you think guys are more likely to say that to a girl or the opposite? It seems that i'm always the one saying that while my best friends ends up being told that by numerous guys. 

In any case, it's a bad move. Its almost like ducking the responsibility of facing the other and breaking off. Those 'friendly" relationships are pointless. Unless you have a common interest, such as sharing friends, shul, shabbat hosts etc.., there is no point in maintaining these connections beyond the networking aspect. You don't need to remain friends to pass him to set him up with a different girl. 

The latest: I recently broke off with a guy in the exact manner described in the first paragraph and next thing I know, I received a letter from him in the mail. I won't give too much detail for sake of anonymity, but what do you think? It wasn't a love letter, it was just picking up on something I had said about the beauty of written letters. So yes, the letter made me smile but i'm not falling in love over a mail exchange. 

And yes, I answered him.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A German in Israel

As I explained in my last post (Click here), every student in my diversity class is doing a cultural presentation. I love it, I get to see other people's culture. For instance, one of the girls who presented yesterday is from the Virgin Islands. The dream. We were sitting there watching and listening, yet all our minds were in the Islands. 

The other classmate who presented is my reason for this post. Originally from Germany, C is now married to an American and lives in the US. I don't need to say much about her to get my point across but I've had a few classes with her before and we've always had a great relationship. 

Being Jewish from German descent, there is of course the big gap of the holocaust that whenever you meet someone from that country, you wonder how do they feel about themselves today. You wonder if they would do it, si c'était à  refaire (if it were to happen again). You wonder if they hate you, if you should hate them, you wonder all kinds of things. But the truth is, you know that the past does not make the individual your enemy nor your worst nightmare. So I will admit I was curious to discuss with C the whole topic 80 and some years later. 

She shared it with the class and my esteem has only increased since. Here is what she shared:
In her early twenties, C decided to take it upon herself to "correct" what her country had done. Therefore, she went to Israel and decided to volunteer in Kibbutzim. It was her way of giving back, it was her way of making amends. She explained that growing up, there was a big silence about the whole era of the Nazi Germany, not a silence of denial but a silence of shame. However, the new generation is not necessarily one who bears such memories, grudges, shame or whatever it may be. So she decided to do the one thing she could do and volunteered herself to the people her nation once set out to exterminate. 

I think that's pretty incredible and unusual for someone nowadays to care about the past, and beyond caring, acts upon it in a righteous way. Our generation is much more worried about having a good time, not feeling sad, and not having too many responsibility.

C also said that she was asked to leave after two weeks because the Kibbutz had some holocaust survivor resident and they didn't wan't her there. So she moved on to a different Kibbutz. That's also character strength. I don't care if you're Christian, Jewish or what, we need more people like that. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Kim, you did one thing

Who knew I would ever find something nice to say about Kim Kardashian??

Don't get me started on her, because I have no sympathy for celebrities without talent. Harsh, but there are too many of those these days. It used to be that being a superstar was an earned title. Today it is administered left and right and Hollywood or the media never ceases to disappoint me. Please bring the fifties back... ( Madmen for a different post...)

Anyways, I was here to say something nice so here it goes.
I am currently enrolled in a class on diversity. All the students have to present a cultural autobiography which happens to be harder then it sounds. Imagine yourself trying to explain to your entire class where you come from. I love explaining my Jewish roots (and French) but I must admit it's hard to do so in front of a crowd that doesn't grasp most of what you take for granted. And it makes you really self conscious to be talking about yourself  for about thirty minutes straight (which is partly the point of the exercise). You start worrying about how you're sounding and if you're cool and interesting enough...

Today, two girls in my class presented. They are both Iranians and Muslim but in a weird way, our presentations had lots in common. The emphasis on family, on education and on the motherhood were similar to the ones I grew up with. As you can imagine, growing up Muslim in America is not always an easy thing and although they are very attractive, they have heard the line about them being potential terrorists. Interestingly enough, they both agreed that their struggle growing up in America, land of freedom for all, had less to with religion than with physical appearance.

Now, keep in mind that I am talking about very pretty girls,darker hair color, gorgeous skin tone, nice features etc... . However, they both reported going through that stage in middle school, high school where they died their hair blonde in order to fit in the public school they attended. I had never thought about it, but it is true that back in the days, (seven years ago or so) blonde tall and skinny was the thing to be. Think Britney Spears, when everybody was dying their hair dirty blonde...And it has never changed until, like S, pointed out, came the Kardashians.

With their darker skin and dark dark hair, America's look has finally changed and if anything become more versatile. For S, Kim's celebrity is what made her gain confidence in her looks and identity. It was finally okay for her to have long dark hair, with a darker colored skin and a more exotic look. If you ask me, I think both of them are prettier than Kim but hey, it might be the only good thing Kim has ever done to our society.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Words, words and more words

Do you ever stop to think about the meaning of words?

Do you ever get annoyed when you ask a question and someone tells you "wait, first define ...."?

I've always believed that arguments and debates are to be carried out only if the people discussing whatever matter, either know each other really well, or are willing to pay extra attention to the way in which a party uses a word.

You may agree that some of the words we use are generally defined by personal experience. For instance: love, hatred, laziness... You can only speak of love or hatred as you know it, not necessarily felt, it could be read, imagined etc... But however you understand what you see, hear or read about love remains remains relative to your perception and your capacity to go beyond and know what it might mean to others.  The same with laziness, in a more pragmatical way; what you call being lazy may still very be active for the other and vice versa.

For that reason, you can be having a conversation with someone and think you know the person, or at least what you are discussing. Yet you don't because all you know is however much you can know being who you are, what you've experienced and how you define things.

Of course there are people who are capable of understanding the other, not in the cliche way of understanding, but they are literally able to push beyond their own thinking and perception to grasp what the other one is thinking and what it means to them.

When you find those people, don't let them go.
They are rare. (Although I may be the only one to care about this)

So, are there words that are defined intrinsically by their name and term?

I wonder, because if that were the case, we humans would be able to talk and only have to explain thoughts and ideas that we come up with, and not the words that we share with a billion other people.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I recommend


by Emily Bronte 

You've either never read it or you've read it a long time ago. Well it's time to read it for the first time or to read it again. You know I love books and that I read one after the other. Yet I rarely bother to write about the books I read. 

Why Wuthering Heights, you may ask. 

Because it could have been any other novel: the tale of  a young girl whose heart goes out to two different boys, the tale of two families who's land neighbored each other and how they intertwined or the tale of a stranger and the family that took him in.

Instead, Emily Bronte depicts the darkest and most lugubrious picture of all times. Not once in the novel do you feel good about a certain character, a certain deed or a certain feeling. 
      The expression of all emotions, even the most beautiful ones such as love and compassion, are swirled into the depths of all that is ugly. 
      The passion of some is so strong, it scream like a savage animal entrapped in the cruel arena of life. It chokes its actors and its spectators until all they have left is their appalling nakedness of their heart. 
     They stand naked in front of the reader who did not know till then that emotions can be so beautiful yet so ugly all at once. 

Naked, raw, dark and ugly. Yet beautiful, because remember, it truly is the tale of the young girl, the two families and the stranger. A simple story. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

First time for everything

If you've read enough of my posts, you know enough to know that I am not exactly in favor of blind dating. In fact, I am not even a fan of dating at all. You know I dream of just being able to be with the right guy and skip the process of the who are you, what do you do and what do you like type of questions. Don't think I am not romantic. On the contrary, I am so romantic that I want to believe in the kind of "love" where you do not have to talk to be understood.  Unfortunately, that is to remain the reality of books and movies, caricatures of a reality we fabricate for ourselves.

The reason I'm back on the topic of dating is that I've recently had a couple of dating experiences that might have negatively reinforced my absurd yet grounded theories on dating.

1. My date with a millionaire:  Yes, I went out with a millionaire and yes, I said no to a millionaire. I've come across a lot of people ( mostly girls) who date because they'd rather have someone there even if he is not the one, than have no one. The same way, money is a good enough reason to compromise on other things. Well, I still haven't reached that stage.

2. My date with a guy I actually liked:  A guy  I knew, a guy I had met a this learning program, a guy I had been flirting with for a couple of weeks, finally asked me out. And as soon as he did, I lost interested. This one I haven't quite figured out yet. I've asked myself if maybe I was nervous about going out, liking him, commitment etc... but no, I simply lose interest by the mere fact that he is interested. Maybe because the game sort of ends there, maybe because if I don't need to convince you anymore, you represent no challenge and I'm bored so you're dismissed.

3. My completely blind date: No picture, no name, no info. Nothing, besides for the fact that my best friend spoke with him and suggested it and since I trust her, I decided to simply follow the flow and do what most girls my age do anyways. He was the one to hear about me, have an interest, travel and go out with me. After point 2. you might be wondering why I even agreed to go out with a guy who obviously is interested. Like I said, I did it as a reassurance that I can just go out the way girls do. After all, it's only a date. And I do not regret it for it has taught me that even though I don't see it going anywhere, I still have to remain polite and carry on as it socially appropriate.Oh and I, for the first time, applied the skill of breaking up with a friendly it's not you, it's me; you're great but not enough.
My conclusions about dating remain that
        a. I hate dating, I hate having to get to know another person through a process designed for this purpose.
        b. Nice guys don't interest me, I worry that I might have to be bullied to actually be interested in relationship.
        c. I might have an issue with having to bear someone else's presence no matter how much I enjoy the other person. This is not a conclusion drawn from dating experiences only, I see it with my family friends and all. As a person who enjoys company yet who loves being alone, it tends to be difficult to develop real new relationships.

This is an undone post for there is so much else that can be said, to be continued...

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Still in Prison

These days I blog sporadically.
However, I write regularly in a diary.
It's been a year and a half and i love it. In a way, since everything goes into my diary, I do not feel the need, or the want at times, to blog. However, Baby Carrot's recent post about matching bloggers reminded me of the fun interactions with other bloggers. I was happy to be included, and since you have to earn your title as a blogger, I will try to write more often.

As you may know by now, I intern twice a week in a Prison. I rarely write about it (even in my diary) for I do not wish to be reminded of my days there. Clinically, it's a great experience and I don't regret it. But let me just say I'm glad it's almost over.

These days, I've been hearing the most outrageous and idiotic statements made by inmates such as: "I told her to abort because once you have my child, you have to carry all of them." Rational. Even more normal is the fact that he barely knows this girl, but has three kids with her. Perfect.

But today I was challenged with MY question. I was asked by an inmate, in fact by many during a group therapy session, what would my response to a criminal be if the guy were to tell me he is suicidal. Of course I answered professionally and ethically and proceeded to describe the suicide intervention procedures and the pain someone is in when they are feeling suicidal and why we breach confidentiality etc... However, they insisted on knowing my personal opinion, meaning do I believe the purpose of saving these guys.

It's something I myself used to question. I answered them, but I fear I wasn't a hundred per cent honest, perhaps because I'm not fully convince.
So let me ask you,

Why am I to encourage a person who has a life sentence or who has raped many children, to not kill themselves and help them to go on living?