I need a hug.
I crave connection.
I want cuddle-piles.
I want to know that I’m part of something larger. Wierd as that sounds, coming from me.
I want to go to a festival celebration with people and lights and food and drink and decoration… and feel like I’m coming home.
I never really felt that with my old “Church Family”.
I never felt it among the Jews, either. I can say this, because I am one: I don’t really like most Jews, and by extension, most synagogues. I was reminded of this Sunday, when we went to see Shalom Ireland, presented by the JCC. Many of the attendees were members of the synagogue avivahg attends. I looked around, and felt the usual discomfort of being at a Jewish function. It has nothing to do with being ashamed of my Jewishness. It’s all about the people. Fat, jowly old people with self-satisfied frowns on their faces. Trim, clean-cut younger men and women who drive BMWs who support all the right social causes. They talk constantly about their health and what their children have accomplished. They bitch and moan about this peeve and that perceived slight. They elbow you out of the way at the kiddush table (the little old ladies are the worst) and throw a fit if something isn’t just to their liking. And an improbable number of them have hideous, gravely New York accents.
It’s not just the mundaneity (is that a word?). Some of my favorite people are pretty mundane. It’s the superficiality, the obsession with accomplishments, the overall social tone of smug complacency. It’s the stuffiness and the almost total lack of a sense of taking joy in life itself. It’s the elevation of petty complaints.
I imagine that some, particularly the Orthodox, aren’t this way. But I’d never feel at home among the Orthodox. I’m too unorthodox. It’s like some of the rural, very fundamentalist Christians I’ve known. Fine people, with large, happy families and a close-knit community who seemed to get a lot of satisfaction out of life. It can be very cool to visit them, have dinner with them; but I could never live that way.
I want to be cosmopolitan, and still be rooted. Is that even possible?
I’m out here in limbo as usual. I want the freedom and openness to new experiences of my more freethinking friends, but I want a sense of place, too.
It was always my dream to create that sense of place, because I never really felt it growing up. I’ve always been on the outside. I’m not doing very well towards making that dream a reality. Right now half of me is struggling against rootedness, and it’s only at rare introspective moments that I remember just how important it is to me.
I want to have the big house on the side of the hill that everyone comes to for dinner. I want to be the fulcrum, the stable meeting-point of the worlds. Drama will happen, lives change, worlds fragment – but we will be there, lights on, fire burning, arms open I want to build traditions that last. I want to build a house that is passed down generation to generation. I want to preside over a big, big table where friends from all backgrounds and faiths and walks of life gather in peace and love. I want to create the warm center of the universe (damn, that Eliade guy really is on to something – a digression for another day).
Why? Because I wanted someone else to have created it for me. But they didn’t. And if I couldn’t have it, I at least want to create it for others.
But I sabotage myself at every turn. I hate the very things I long for. I am the provider and the denier, all wrapped up into one. I want everything I said above – but I also want peace and quiet and to be left alone. I want to be responsible for no one but myself. I want to be self-sufficient. I want perfect order, and time for my own pursuits.
I am mutually incompatible with myself.
I don’t know if I really want to build that warm center. I don’t really seem to be cut out for it. I guess I want it to be there for me, in those times when I tire of being a free radical; and I guess I feel like if I want something done right, I have to do it myself. I’ve been trying half heartedly to create a family for myself as long I can remember, and this is just another iteration of that.
I welcome because I want to be welcomed.
I’m just another mutant in the aftermath of the nuclear family. Longing for community, for roots, for family, for orientation, for home.