Monday, December 10, 2012

Right & Left

“We, all who live, have a life that is lived and another life that is thought, and the only life we have it's the one that is divided in right or wrong.” 
― Fernando Pessoa

I have been staring at my computer screen for the last hour.  I have two pictures open side by side. On the right side I have an image of me in a wig, minimal makeup with  a long skirt and a cream knit sweater

On the left side I have an image of me with my hair slowly falling to the side of my face, dark eye-shadow, red lips and wearing a pair of jeans and the same knit cream sweater.

On the right image I was at the park with a friend and the kids.

On the left image I was at a bar with a friend and her friends.

And I am crying. 

Both pictures are of me. I am wearing the same sweater, the same shoes. I have a hint of a smile in both, and the same sparkle in my eyes. They both are so similar but represent such vastly different elements. 

On the right I have the Chanukah party that I was at last night.We sat around the table. We laughed over silly family jokes, we watched the next generation having fun, and we giggled as the men lost their money in kvitlach. I laughed along with them, I watched and even participated in the next generation’s fun, and I counted the money that my husband won in kvitlach. 

But on the left, I have the Chanukah party I was at last night.I sat down at the table and my non conforming dress choice elicited stares. I heard the  dvar torahs about the miracle of Chanukah and it made me cringe inside. I participated with the next generations fun because they were the only ones that still have a bit of unbridled sparkle in their eyes. And as I left I was treated to a  unsolicited whispered rebuke  from a worried aunt about the length of my skirt. 

And that is why I am crying. 

I am crying because I can clearly see that both images are the same me. They represent two such integral parts of who I am. But all attendees at that party are blind to that. They can  laugh with, share with, and accept the one on the Right. But if they knew of the existence of the one on the Left everything would change.They can never accept that I am just as much the person on the Left as I am the person on the Right. In fact they will need to create a story for how Right got contaminated into Left just so their world stays right side up.

I am crying because I realize that the people who I truly love will never be able to accept me for who I  truly am. I wonder if perhaps all the see is the conformity. Will they still recognize everything they love about me if I was to combine Left and Right and live as just one Me? 

As I am wiping my tears I am comforting by the hint of the smile on both images. 

 I shall be Happy. 


  1. Thank you! Thank you for ending a high note!
    Despite the contradictions in our lives we will still be happy being ourselves. This is a beautiful thought.

  2. May you find happiness within and without (GS)

  3. Lovely , quite well written. Such an important point , and beautifully stated.

  4. You will never go wrong by being yourself. No one can avoid being who they are.

  5. Painfully touching. Here's to happiness.

  6. Speaking of davar Torahs. Mishnah Pisikta Rabasi rejects the cruze of oil story. It says that what was found was 8 uncontaminated iron rods used to light the menorah. A sort of natural “miracle,” if one wants to call it that. (Hope ok to say) All the best for post-Chanuka. (GS)

  7. I'm a new reader and just wanted to thank you for your honesty, and to speak aloud my prayer for blessing and integration for you in the new Gregorian year.

  8. You have an astute mind. You are a good writer. This is nothing to waste. There is a middle ground which may bring you happiness. If you stay on your current path, your true self will one day claw its way out. To become your authentic self, openly, is to be fully evolved.