Saturday, February 5, 2011

Mama said there'll be days like like this

Never Done: Saw a new counselor
Never Done: Saw an apartment being rented by someone who sells Nazi memorabilia
Never Done: Bowled 100

Some days you wake up singing the blues and you go to sleep singing the blues. Other days it's more a Shirelle's song -- when you start the day emailing with a guy who sells pristine sheets of Nazi stamps, and then meet with a new therapist, and end up bowling with friends at Chelsea Piers. Mama said there'll be days like like this. "There'll be days like this," my mama said. (My mama was sarcastic, and so am I.)

Yesterday I wrote about the mide (middah) of Separation -- well, mostly I shared what Alissa Wise has written about separation -- and today I want to write more personally, and try to be open about my Never Done and the Mussar process, but without over-sharing. Inspired by my Mussar Va'ad's initial conversation about Separation: Respect in sexual and intimate relationships, I sought out a new therapist, and met with her for the first time. We all have our Achilles heels, and mine, for better or for worse, is in this realm. What happened (and this does feel quite vulnerable to write about) is that I noticed I have been having a hard time controlling my eating. I've had one eating disorder or another (overeating and undereating) for as long as I can remember -- although I've done a really good job of managing the behavior for probably 20 years, and I've felt blissfully free from its pulls for about five years. But like most addictions, you can manage the behavior and still have difficulties, pulls, and unresolved issues that will pop up when things get tough. Or maybe they pop up, like an old friend, to help you notice that things are tough. That's what happened for me. I noticed (through my Mussar journaling practice) that I was struggling, in a way I hadn't needed to for years, to eat in a healthy way. Once I noticed that I hadn't conquered this as thoroughly as I'd thought, I was able to notice that I've never actually gotten help for this from anyone who has special training and expertise in the field. Instead, I've done it with an enormous amount of personal grit, determination, and decisiveness. And speaking of Decisiveness: When you have made a decision, act without hesitation, as soon as I figured this out, I went to my health insurance provider list, found someone who specializes in eating disorders, sexual assault, and sexual identity, and called her. I don't plan to write about the counseling process, but after some careful consideration, I want to be open about my decision to tackle this behemoth, for the first time, with specialized help.

OK, breathe. And moving on ... I found an apartment listing on Craigslist, which I've been mostly avoiding, but this one seemed to have potential, because it was both a three-bedroom apartment and also a mixed-use storefront, all for a reasonable price. When I set up a time to go see it, I Googled the name and email address of the landlord as a safety precaution, because I knew I was going alone. First hit: he runs a store called Collect-a-thon, which sells (among many other things) Nazi memorabilia. You'd think if I was running a Google check as a safety precaution, that would make me pass on the apartment, but I am fascinated with people who are fascinated with Nazis, so I kept the appointment. Keeping the appointment meant emailing with the guy several times throughout the day, because other of my appointments canceled; he was extremely responsive on email, but he never gave me a phone number. When I showed up at the apartment at 4, after agreeing on the time less than an hour earlier, he wasn't there. The building was open, so I went in, and up the filthy stairs, and knocked on the door to the apartment. A nice guy opened, told me he knew Robert was supposed to be showing me the apartment, but that he wasn't around, and didn't know when he would be. But he offered to show me the place anyway. Now, I have been watching Veronica Mars (TV show about a teenage detective) lately before bedtime, and I often wonder -- for all the times she's been beaten up, sexually assaulted, and almost killed, why does she still go into empty buildings, and worse yet, un-empty buildings, with no fear. And yet there I was, like Veronica, completely comfortable going into this skanky apartment, without the landlord, with a guy I don't know anything about. The fact is, the guy wasn't skanky at all -- just the apartment was. And when I got inside, there were six other people in there: his kids, a young woman, a young guy playing video games, and an old man napping. It didn't take me long to realize this was not my new home, so as much as I wanted to meet the Nazi collector, I didn't stick around.

I later got a message from him that said he had been at the health food store when I was there, and got back 20 minutes later, despite the fact that we had an appointment. And I thought Nazi's were punctual. (Josh points out that Hitler was a vegetarian.)

From there it was a quick jaunt to Crown Heights to pick up this week's soup swap soup (German winter cabbage caraway soup, with dumplings) from Benjy, and off to go bowling at Chelsea Piers. I had given Josh a Groupon for bowling a couple months ago, and he invited Serena and Graciana bowling. Normally this wouldn't have made it into my Never Done blog, except that I won for the first time in my life, and I also bowled (exactly) 100 for the first time. I don't know what it was, but I was bowling some serious strikes and spares and 7s, 8s, and 9s. (Mixed in with some gutter balls, for old times sake. Tshuve.) I think I was in a pretty zen space about bowling. When it was working well, it felt very controlled and mechanical. I would take a deep breath, tighten my abs to protect my back, focus on the center of the lane, take three steps and ..........................................$@#$%^&*@#!!!

Which felt like a perfect ending to an intense day.

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