Tuesday, March 9, 2010

before words

May 9

I just realized today that part of the reason I wasn’t able to write for a few weeks is because I was preverbal. As the journey goes with me I have retraced my life as the cells of my body shed off with illness and rubbing against life here. I felt critically the years around 2 for a few weeks as I bumped into everything and kept falling down. I tangled in 8 the days around buying the pink flower umbrella. That now is gone on its own to some other place. The teenage years bump and spin as my identity is tested and wooed by those colorful ones around me. But the deepest and saddest of all came calling last month. Memories have a way of living in our bodies and I have been treated I believe to the early years. The years of crying when you need something, screaming when you don’t get it, and sobbing so completely it takes over your body. A substantial part of our early years are spend crying and kvetching and squirming and reaching and feeling and feeling and feeling every sensation in our little bodies with only the cries and screams and squeals to express it all. We know everything, we came it with it, but we have to develop our nervous systems and our brains and our lives so what we know can emerge.

At this point in my life I believe for sure we come into this world with stuff. My mother can’t be the source of all my suffering. I brought some of it in with me. She is the source of some of it, for sure, my mother. My mother, centuries of being Jewish, and being born in the profound year of 1968 created a little sensitive baby with a big job to do and not the most organized nervous system. The limitations of my human mother commingled fiercely with my strong spirit. And what I experienced recently felt like the sadness of a baby developing a body not strong enough for my soul. I felt the disorganization of my mother and the overwhelming task of being an unexpressed artist with 3 babies and the generational squeeze of maintaining the 1950s home while breaking the work barrier for women. I felt the mismatched task for my father of wanting a simpler and quieter life and being married to an unexpressed artist. Toni Morrison once said that an artist without a canvas is a dangerous person. That’s my mom. And my dad didn’t have a clue. I spent a lot of time with old crying these days and feeling this deep deep old sadness and a grasping attempt to get what I needed with the helplessness of a newborn in an old country or a baby in my1968 family crib. I can feel the overwhelming experience of my mother and my father in the construction of my nervous system. And in the last two months it broke down. The structure around my soul, the system designed to fight or flight or flee has been simultaneously doing all three at once and nothing at all like a baby wanting to get up and get a tissue and some ice cream and not being able to even roll over. I don’t really know how it’s possible to reexperience your life, but I am sure that I am. Making Aliyah at 40 as a soul searching life struggling Jewish clinical social worker with awareness of body and mind and an insatiable curiosity and propensity for insight is no simple matter.

Last year I began deconstructing my life. Last month I began rebuilding my nervous system. Four years ago this March 29th I came to Israel for the first time. My aunt once said to me that she is excruciatingly sensitive, yes, me too. For my mother it scattered her, and my father it took him away to a quieter place. I think as Jews most of us are excruciatingly sensitive. Hey thousand of years of being picked on would make anyone sensitive. It’s our gift to the world and our work. Some of us are better at it than others. In this place the sensitivity of beings is a deeply rooted excruciatingly expressed country. I love it here.

And from here, with my parents safely walking on the boardwalk of Margate City, Jersey, I will rebuild my body so it can be a vessel for this crazy soul and a filter for my spirit.

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