Thursday, October 29, 2009

Jennifer and the Wicked Bitch

Once upon a time, long ago, in a land far away…. I was an extremely odd, socially backwards little girl, and then a pre-teen and then a teenager. I was called Jennifer, in those days. In that same distant place and time also lived another little girl who also became a pre-teen and then a teenager. Let us call her the Wicked Bitch, shall we? We will call her that because she went out of her way to make my life miserable. School, summer camp…you name it, the Wicked Bitch was there with taunts and cruel nicknames.

Yesterday, the Wicked Bitch sent me a friend request on Facebook.

To say that this came as a shock is an understatement.

I knew she was on Facebook. My 20 year high-school reunion was this year, and the organizers set up a Facebook page. I saw her picture (and those of her associate Wicked Bitches) and thought to myself "Oh my, it is the Wicked Bitch! Man, but I do hope she is having a terrible life!"

Mature reaction? No. Understandable? Yes.

I considered contacting her. Not to be her friend, of course. I wanted to tell her off. To tell her that she is evil. To remind her how mean she was to me. To make her acknowledge the pain she caused me. To make damn sure that if the day ever comes that one of her children runs home crying because someone was mean to him or her…that she will remember that back in the day, she was the one causing pain. I thought about giving back some of the pain she caused me. Let it eat at her a bit.

In the end, I refrained. There were several reasons for this. First and foremost—it would have been stupid and immature. I did have a disorder and I was weird and I did have major social issues. Had the roles been reversed, would I have been nicer? Perhaps…but probably not by much. Children are children and teens are teens. What, if I had been normal I would have been the Mother Theresa type? I doubt it. "Gila" I told myself "be honest here. Okay, maybe you would not have tormented you, but you would not have been friends with you either".

But no less important is that for all that her name is the same, and her face is the same, the Wicked Bitch I knew and loathed simply does not exist anymore. The Wicked Bitch was a child and then a pre-teen and then a teenager. An entirely different person, an adult who has spent the last 20 years growing and learning and living and maturing, now occupies the corporeal space that the Wicked Bitch used to occupy. This new person may be just as cruel as the Wicked Bitch was…but she may also be a wonderful person. A good person. A tolerant person. A person I would be happy to have as a friend...if only I could bear the contact.

I have changed. I took, and still do take, great pride in having transformed myself so thoroughly. It would be a devastating experience to find people relating to me as the person I was then. And other people change, too and other people are happy to keep the past in the past. I keep on telling myself this. "Grow up, Gila. That statute of limitations ran out years ago. Whether or not she has used it, she is entitled to her second chance, her fresh start. Even from you. And besides, you do not think it is just a little bit ridiculous to tell off a 39 year-old woman for shit she did when she was 12?"

Sometimes I talk back to myself. Because this is not fair. How could it possibly be right, and just, that she could do wrong and never pay for it? My arguments never go far. Mah la'asot? What are you going to do? In my heart and in my mind I know that life is not fair and justice is not always right. In this case silence is correct. I cannot say anything to the Wicked Bitch because she is no longer there to tell.

My pain is mine. There is no giving it away. Eventually I will learn to forget and I will learn to let it go. And eventually I will forget who and what I was, and everything I went through and everything I missed out on because of who and what I was not. Or, if I do not forget, at least I will let that go. The pain, the regrets, the "what if's" and the "if only's" will all be silenced.

In the meantime, the friend request sits, unanswered, in my inbox. I will continue to ignore it. Eventually, it too will disappear.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

On the Subject of Air Travel....

On Saturday night I was listening to Reshet Bet when the announcer broke in with a special report on a dramatic saga currently gripping the United States: that of the balloon boy. An Israeli living in the US had been drafted to provide the update. As of the time of his report, the balloon had recently landed. The boy was not inside. There were reports of a portion of the balloon disengaging and plummeting to the earth. Millions of Americans had watched the drama live and were praying for a miracle. The announcer solemnly thanked the guest reporter and added her own prayer for a positive resolution. And now, back to the music.

The song they chose to follow up the report? Fly Away Fly Away Fly Away. (Happy-clappy version from the 70's which does not appear to be on Youtube).

Gotta love Israeli radio. I changed the station. One, that was bad taste even for Israeli radio and two, I hate the song.

In other flight related news, I am coming to the States! I have a ticket and everything--November 13-28. Philly, Maryland and I come!

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Sad Day for Afgani Women

I simply cannot believe it. I read this article in something of a state of shock.

"The administration is prepared to accept some Taliban role in parts of Afghanistan, the official said. That could mean paving the way for Taliban members willing to renounce violence to participate in a central government — the kind of peace talks advocated by Afghan President Hamid Karzai to little receptiveness from the Taliban. It might even mean ceding some regions of the country to the Taliban."

In those regions of the country--a country far away, so no one has to care about it, really--what is going to happen to the women living there? Obama wants to work with 'moderates' in the Taliban. Moderates in what way? Where do the women stand?

Well, here. Or here, if you will.

Do I support a US war in Afganistan? Honestly, I do not follow US news enough to know at this point. But the thought of millions of women being tossed to the wolves as part of an exit strategy is both horrifying and heartbreaking. There is right and there is wrong...this cannot possibly be right.

Let's face it--apart from (often very brave) human-rights activists, pretty much no one gave a rats ass about the women under Taliban rule until 9-11. Not the Right and not the Left. The Afgani women suffered alone. But 9-11 did happen, and the word did get out and (I thought) people started to pay attention, and to care.

What sort of policy is this? Stay away from our buildings, and you can do whatever you want to your womenfolk?

Oh G-d, no. What sort of America is this? I will not give credit to Bush where it is not due--he also cared nothing about Afgani women, until 9-11. But all of you who voted for Obama in the hope that he would signal a more just America, a more caring America and a more peaceful America...will you be silent now? Is this peace? Is this caring? Is this justice?

Some things are worth fighting for.