Late August 2011 on one of my many trips alone to the Poconos.
On these trips I'd speed around the tight, curvy corners
of Valley Road between 84 and 6.
I prayed to lose control.
Wait. How did I get here?
Nearly 29, selling all of my belongings, moving to a perpetual "war zone," starting over -- again -- after so many fresh starts. How do I know if this one is the one? I just know, that's how.
A year ago, I knew that my life was over. I say that in the most literal way possible. A year ago, I saw two ways out of my life: divorce or suicide. The latter seemed like a more noble approach to the situation. I'd failed to make my marriage work. It was me who couldn't fix it, so it was me that failed. I could even muster the strength to ask out, so what kind of person would I be to anyone else? The reality of the financial and emotional impact (of losing everything I knew -- friends and family) seemed too strong to handle. And all the while, I played the part of me, Chaviva. Age 27. Blogger. Wife. Teaneck, NJ Orthodox Jew. Strong, confident, stable. Happy above all. Here, on this blog.
It was a dark space. A very, very dark space. I owe my being here to several friends who helped me baby-step through that scary part of my life. They are angels on earth.
I vlogged on September 1, 2011, about a debate between my ex-husband and I about whether -- when there's one breadwinner -- the person not pulling in the bulk of the cash can treat the other person. I watch that video now, and I see the deadness in my eyes. I was attempting to fix the break in the levee with duct tape.
On September 6 I blogged about the world of Jewish women bloggers and whether when I started this blog I intended to be anonymous, for the content to be public or private. I wrote about how the things I didn't discuss on this blog could fill entire libraries. I wanted to speak, but I was distracted.
More duct tape for the levee appeared on September 7 when I tried to explain and ask for help in my battle for a new, proper full sheitel, because my ex-husband didn't believe in sheitels and couldn't validate the expense. So I bought a fake wig. I stressed out. People began to see something was up.
After realizing life is greater than death, and with the support of friends and realizing that I am stronger than I appear, I asked for a get on September 12. You have to understand -- it took me nine months to ask for the get. We spent a lot of time in therapy trying to fix things, but I think that we both knew that it wasn't going anywhere. Finally requesting the get is probably the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. Period.
By September 14, I put my blog on hiatus. "For the High Holidays," I said. Clearly I was lying.
Faster than was expected -- than anyone expected -- we were divorced according to the Jewish religion on September 20.
On September 25, I revealed what was happening. I was getting divorced. I was moving to Colorado without a job, I was starting over. "It's going to be an interesting 5772," I said. Boy was that the understatement of the year.
I arrived in Colorado on September 28 and was thrust in to the Colorado scene for the High Holidays. It was a strange circumstance to be in -- new, newly divorced, surrounded by strangers.
What. A. Year.
The pendulum had a mighty swing in both directions this year for me. From feeling free and released from a dark depression, to finding myself in a relationship with someone unexpected, to finding myself and my teshuva, to deciding to make aliyah.
Yes, a year ago Denver felt like the right move. And now? Israel seems perfect. Am I a nutjob? I don't think so. Look at what I wrote a year ago:
Why Denver? Well, I didn't have this blog back in 2005, but if I did, you would have heard me sing the praises of Colorado as the healthiest place on earth. The moment my wheels hit Colorado, I felt the need to eat healthy, to be healthy, to feel healthy. I went through a heartbreak there, but it didn't smack me in the face like it did elsewhere, because I was mentally and emotionally healthy. I was able to cope and move on. When I lived in Denver, I went running and walking, I ate fresh vegetables and maintained a mostly vegetarian diet, I explored the state, I got out. I did things. I was happy, I was healthy, I was positive about my future and confident in who I was. Everyone keeps telling me Denver's a horrible choice because there are no single frum folk there. To that, friends, I say, "I'm not interested in dating at the moment. Seriously?"
Why not Israel? Divorce is a big enough shock to my system right now. I need a change, so I'm starting small with a move to Denver where I can regroup, clear my head, and find some inner peace. The balagan of Israel is too much for the tender state of me right now, so stay patient. I haven't ruled it out. After all, the world is my oyster at this point.
I think I knew. I just needed to take stock. But people were right -- Denver is a horrible choice because there are no single frum folk here!
So will 5773 be as crazy with the balagan as 5772 was? I don't think so. I foresee more of a wave of changes than a pendulum of heavy swinging back and forth. There's something about the great ease of everything with this move -- the aliyah process, the paperwork, finding the apartment, how quickly my stuff is selling, my being able to keep my job. Everything is just fitting into place without hesitation.
I think I'm finally doing what HaShem wants from me. To take the land, to make it my own, to dwell there, and to take the happiness that I've found into a home and to grow Am Yisrael.
But nothing in life is absolute. I'm not that naive. But stick with me friends, for another year, and let's see where the road takes me. Okay?