This is the time of year when Jews reflect on the past year and consider what is ahead of us. We contemplate the actions we have taken and those we have not, all in an effort to help us see where we want to go and how to get there. I find myself at a crossroads this year.
I often see my life as a series of radically transformative moments. After one of these bolts of lightening flashes across my sky, growth follows in more-or-less predictable ways until the next storm arrives.
Some of these flashes of lightening have been completely out of my control: a violent rape when I was 17 that turned me into pacifist feminist introvert, the brain tumor and surgery, the birth of my child. Other turning points have been the result of relatively casual conversations (such as one that radically reorganized the way I approach religion), or books (such as Toni Weshler's book on fertility, which I found so empowering that I cannot imagine having had a homebirth or choosing to homeschool if I had not read it), or even festivals (like the Smithsonian Folklife Festival a few years ago with food as one of its themes).
Earlier this year, a documentary served as the first rumblings of a new storm. I've read a ton since then and done a lot of thinking. Usually, this blog is a place for me to work out some of my thoughts--but I've been nervous about talking about anything too disturbing on this blog--a blog which most people expect to be about fiber, food, and family.
Interestingly, I realized over Rosh Hashanah that the turning points in my life don't actually transform me but rather bring to the foreground some part of me that hasn't necessarily been as obvious. Certainly I was an introverted feminist pacifist before the rape, and I've always been a home-body hippie, too. But each of these moments changes the angle of my vision--and also the angle from which others see me.
I'm not a funny writer, nor am I one full of clever words*. Instead I am ridiculously earnest--yet I tend to be reluctant to write about extremely personal things, especially about fear. As you might have guessed from the appallingly low number of posts this summer, I have not been completely fulfilled by the blog recently. I've wanted to write about things I felt were taboo. I did not want to talk about difficult and painful things when you just came for pictures of a Swallowtail shawl or a photo of our little homegrown figs.
I am ready to climb back in the blog saddle--but be forewarned: I've brought more baggage for the journey this time.
*As Edgar Allan Poe says in the epigraph to the real "The Purloined Letter":
"Nothing is more hateful to wisdom than excessive cleverness."