Or maybe I’ll be dan l’caf zechus that they put the blurb in front instead of the back…
My 21 year old self can not believe what am I writing. My 21 year old self is slightly horrified, maybe laughing a little incredulously, but now, 26 year old me, is slightly amused and is really looking forward to the SuperBowl on Sunday. And really truly, I’d like to be there.
No, I’m not a major football fan, I understand the basic premise and know that “special teams” aren’t the nebach players that my friends thought they were when she first heard the term. I don’t have a favorite team, I root for the Chigaco Bears, well, root is the wrong word. I pray for them, because if they win, I have a happy a husband, and if they lose….a not so happy husband.
But beyond my husband, I’ve become a really big Peyton Manning fan. And I will be devastated if he doesn’t win on Sunday.
I feel for him really, not in a sympathetic way, but I find him inspirational. So often, if there is a role model athlete it is for their actions off the field, their charitable work and the like, not for how they conduct themselves professionally, and how they face adversity. It’s very easy to donate money, and give a few hours for underprivileged children, but to live a life, every moment, with a code of honor and core of steel is where it is really reflective of the essence of a man. And that man, is Peyton Manning.
Peyton, or Reb Pinchas as we affectionately refer to him, he has transcended all his challenges, and winning the SuperBowl would be the passionate kiss to a happily ever after.
He’s the guy in fabled sotry that made it big, and then lost it all. By his strength, determination, and perseverance, he is back, and better, really better, just look at his stats than ever.
Not just losing his skill, but he lost his team. The owner abandoned him. Did you see his press conference when he announced that he was parting way with the Colts? The man was crying; hear his voice. Not only did he lose what made him a success, he lost his family, his support, the only professional team he ever knew. Once he wasn’t a guaranteed success and they had the first draft pick, they unceremoniously dumped him. No loyalty, just money. I was indignant for him then.
But he had no bitterness, just a point to make, and he has made it over and over again this season- THE RECORD for touchdown passes. He will overcome. He has overcome.
I read an article that storied Peyton’s recovery. As a kid and young man he had his father, Archie, receive his passes, and now in recovery he asked his father, now in his 70’s to be there for him again, to train with him. His father didn’t think he was up to it, his son was Peyton Manning after all. But at that first practice Peyton threw and father Archie received – Peyton’s arm was that weak. It wasn’t just “oh he recovered” or “the nerve healed”. He practically had to start from scratch, and he did it, and went further than he did before.
His determination to succeed, his attitude, and class in face of adversity and public betrayal is admirable.
And even though I still have trouble sometimes following the ball, and wonder if there ever was a successful on-side kick, I really really really want Peyton to win.
Everyone loves a comeback story, and this one could be for the books.
(And I can’t stand that cocky Sherman guy on the Seahawks)
Any freezepop that isn’t Leibers, is a tasteless knock off.
As a kid, blue was my favorite flavor, it had that extra sweet tartness that I’d suck out as I bit off a piece and press it against my palate.
I’d push the squeezed ice further back and crush it with my molars, the crystals of ice cooling my inner cheeks.
There would be nothing left to swallow.
She rubs her eyes too much. She’s going to get wrinkles soon. And then she’ll look older than her older sisters because they always looked young even in their 30’s. She was an adult when she was just a child. She didn’t think she looked that mature but everyone else said so, and so she became it.
It’s really boring to be mature as a child. She looked at her peers and thought they were idiots. And she looked to adults and realized that most were idiots too. And they didn’t want to talk to her. The only people who cared to engage were librarian types, that smell of dust and too much Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds. They thought she was cute, and smart, but laughed at her comments and patted her on the head like a lovable puppy.
She really hated being mature. Hated that her pre-frontal cortex developed before the age of 20. She wished she didn’t grasp the concept of long-term consequences. Maybe she would have laughed more, stayed up later, do some stupid things and grow up when she had to.
She wish she wasn’t so aware of her decision making process, that if she chose x, y would follow. And if she said, a, b would be inferred, and she didn’t want b, so she’d say c instead. But she really meant a, but she was too aware of society, impressions, ramifications, and too mature to say that they really didn’t matter.
Mature is responsibility. Responsibility is obligation. Obligation is forced. Force is resented.
She resented being mature and the crow’s feet that were soon to reveal themselves.
So she stop rubbing my eyes, and ate a bowl of rocky road ice-cream at midnight. With sprinkles and chocolate syrup, and bananas sliced too.
She woke the next morning with a bloated and achy stomach.
She knew better.
I’ve tried it twice, and they say third times the charm, so maybe this year is my year. I’m going to do it. I’ve signed up for NaNoWriMo. I confirmed my account. I am going to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. People have done. I can do it too. At least I thought I could, hence the third try.
The first time I tried I prepared a bit. I had heard about it, just as it completed the year before, so I had a whole year to consider work of literary genius I’d produce the coming November. As it turned out, not much. I got 2302 words in. My first sentence wasn’t that bad either:
“According to the law of averages Shoshana should have been married with 3.5 kids, living in Lakewood, her husband starting to burn out in Yeshiva and considering work – or chinuch, which isn’t as dirty a word as work. “
But then unlike the character I was working on one of my 3.5 kids, number 2 actually, and the unique fatigue that cannot be fought of the first trimester won. And there went my masterpiece.
Does a second attempt count if I just thought about it? Colicky babies won that round. And this year…what will stop me this year? I’m sure it’ll be valid, super important, and meaningful, but stopping me nonetheless.
There are always things stopping me from achieving. Valid, super important, and meaningful, check, check, and check, husband, kids, home, family, they come before a lot of things. As they should, and I love them, and chose them. But I do want to learn to play guitar, and I took out 3 books from the library. I watched endless tutorial on YouTube, and went to specialty store to learn to make Jewelry, but little fingers with big mouths stopped me from pursuing either.
And then came Coursera, the free online college course site. I signed up for a class on Modern Poetry last year. I barely made though the first poem, “The Poison Tree” by William Blake, when my sister got engaged, and what with the l’chaim and vort, I missed the first assignment deadline, and didn’t bother signing in again. A year later they sent me a website that said basically, “Hey, you didn’t complete the course last year, do you want to try again?” I wasn’t sure if I wanted to, the course syllabus has seemed a bit dull last year, but in the e-mail were links to recommended courses, Intro to Songwriting, and Intro to Social Psychology. Both of them were 6 weeks long, one started beginning August, the other 3 weeks later. I signed up for both.
Second time around bore no fruit. I did one week’s coursework and then came bein hazmanim and vacation, and kids and husband around all day. No time, and no work done. I was disappointed, again, but my excuses were so valid, family comes first, right? And I was able to enjoy my road trip to Florida and make endless barbeques without worrying about deadlines.
Two weeks later another e-mail arrived in my inbox, reminding me of the upcoming social psychology course. I always loved psychology, was fascinated by it. I really really really wanted to complete this course, not just for the star on my chart that I completed something, but I wanted the knowledge.
Third times the charm worked, well, like a charm this time. The course was intriguing, stimulating, enthralling, and I didn’t miss a minute. I completed all the assignments, participated on the discussion boards, and bored everyone with everything I learned. And it was then that I discovered that I had plenty of time to pursue my interest, and my family and responsibilities were not in my way of me fulfilling my potential – I was. I wasn’t so busy and burdened with life, I was just straight up lazy.
My kids are in bed by 7, husband home by 7:30, supper cleaned up, by 8:30. Ok, there are some papers to mark, some prepping to be done, some laundry to fold, quality time to be spent, but really, I averaged going to sleep around 12 o’clock, what was I doing in that time? Playing a lot of Candy Crush, that’s what. And flipping through Drudge Report, with news that has me wondering how this world still stands, I breathe. That’s what I always called it, breathing.
“I need time to breathe.” I always say. Time to do nothing, unwind, chill, if you will. I never really breathed; it would just put me to sleep. Write something! I’d yell at myself sometimes. Wash and set your shaitel, the voice would yell other times! Call someone! Stop being so antisocial, is another cry. And I’d always counter with my need to breathe, my need to do nothing. Everyone needs downtime I’d tell it patiently.
But then there are those times that I listened to that big voice in my head, where I exert the effort. And it’s always exhilarating. I feel so great, and accomplished, and happy. Come the next night though and I’m back to Candy Crush. After completing my social psychology course, I know now that it’s not my need of air that keeps me from doing, rather my lazy tendencies and rationalization.
So it’s NaNoWriMo again. And I want to do it. Just it being the third time isn’t going to make it happen this time. But my self-awareness which comes from trying three times.
(I wrote this post November 3rd, not sure why I didn’t post it then, maybe I was too nervous if I didn’t complete it, how mortified as well as disappointed I’d be. Anyway, I finished it. All 50, 000 words. No excuses, even if my grandfather passed away in November and there was the levaya and shiva and the emotional drain which would have been a very acceptable excuse. I just proved it to myself even more, the only thing in the way of my achieving is myself.)
Her palms dug deep into her eye sockets and rubbed vigorously. The ache rose in intensity then subsided slowly, cathartically. She hadn’t yelled. Or cried today.
She had cleaned up two accidents, one number one, the other number two; bounty and bleach were getting too well acquainted.
She had swept up one shattered bowl and the Chex and milk that it contained; little elbows aren’t the most stable.
She had mopped the floor of greek yogurt stolen from the fridge, while she was vacuuming the dry oatmeal they poured in the room. Her older one thought the texture was that of shampoo, so he graciously washed his sister’s hair.
She had separated them three times as they yanked each other’s hair for some offense or another, and gotten her snood snatched and her own hair tugged on in the process.
She had held the little one as he shrieked desperately for his own entertainment.
And now they were in bed. Not sleeping yet, but in bed. They were usually ok at this point.
Her chest expanded and then fell dramatically with each soothing breath. She had a sewing class in an hour. Up and down her chest rose and fell. Sweater smeared with yogurt and peppered with dusty oatmeal particles, she went to change. By her mirror she swiped on mascara. And then dabbed on concealer and a little foundation. Then some blush. A pause, and then she went for it, layering her eye shadow, 6 different shades. Liquid eyeliner is always tricky, but with a steady hand, and a q-tip, she achieved. Lipstick was always tricky, to go neutral, soft, bold, day look versus night look, she hesitated, then went for the red.
“Going somewhere?” one of them asked.
“You look amazing,” said another. She waved her hand easily and dusted of their comments,
“I was going to go a vort, but, whatever, I decided not to.” They nodded and found their seats. And she sat too, a lady.