Friday, December 25, 2009

The Pushover

Over the last few weeks, as I've congratulated friend after friend on their engagement, I've pondered the idea of personal gain. What brings people to achieve their highest goals? What does it mean to "have it all" and who decides who actually has it?

I have a good friend who did not get a job as a student cantor this year. As a result of wanting to be sensitive and allow this friend to have a feeling of equality and importance, I let her take many of the opportunities I wanted for myself. I selflessly allowed her to be class representative on our student government (even when another classmate decided she too wanted the position and forced my friend to share her position) and then backed away from a shot at interning in our summer program in Israel this summer because she and her fiance wanted to go for it. I wanted both of those things, and because I wanted to do what I thought was the kindest thing to do for her, I backed off.

I was a total idiot.

This friend is engaged. She has the time to take extra classes and do yoga and see her family on the weekends when she doesn't work. She has everything that I am currently missing from my life, and instead of being happy with my decisions to give her said opportunities, I only feel resentment. Especially when I know she will have everything that I currently have (in addition to the aforementioned bonuses) when she applies for jobs for the coming year.

Instead of being a martyr, I was a pushover. For that, I feel like the ultimate idiot.

What is it that led me to make these decisions that put others before myself? Why did I allow feelings of guilt (when, in fact, I did nothing wrong in the first place) to let my friend have these things I desperately want?

What else am I allowing myself to push away, either for the sake of others or for the sake of other opportunities?

I've been feeling very stretched by work and school lately, in a way that doesn't allow me to make room for the other important things in my life. I spent 5 wonderful days with amazing friends in California, consistently checking my Blackberry as not to disconnect completely from my professional obligations. I took time and attention away from people who love me in order to answer silly emails about the Purim schpiel and the choir I'm trying to create for the temple. In the end, they noticed. And they weren't happy about it.

How much can I push my personal life away for my professional life?
How often can I allow guilt to push me to make even the tiniest decisions that affect my life in any capacity?

Is this part of the reason I haven't been able to find love, the one thing I'm aching for more than anything else right now? Or is it an excuse for the other reasons why I push love away?

I want to invite love in to my life, along with the right amounts of opportunity. I want to feel satisfied so I can push away feelings of guilt and resentment towards people I care about. I want to usher happiness into my soul and obtain the things I've always dreamed I'd someday find--the things that have nothing to do with becoming a cantor or losing weight.

I want to feel as though the work I do and the people I have in my life are equal in comparison to everyone else's so I can put the scale away once and for all.

Good goals for 2010.


I want to be able to talk to my friends again. I want to talk to them about how it hurts to be alone, surrounded by people in love. I want to talk to them about how I've realized so deeply that I don't want to be alone anymore. I want to admit that I miss the way things were before everyone I knew was coupled up, when I could talk about missing a certain someone and they would understand because they were there too.

I want to tell them that it feels strange complaining about my lack of love life when they are supposed to be relishing in the love they've committed their lives to. How isolating and wrong it feels to not want to talk to your friends for fear of lovey-dovey crap or conversations about wedding colors. How every time I hear an engagement story or see a shower invite my heart sinks a little more. How selfish I feel for feeling this way at all.

This loneliness is an odd place to be in right now. I'm no stranger to feeling alone, but I'm used to being on my own surrounded by other lonely people who know the drill. Now it feels like no one gets it anymore, and no one ever will again.

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