Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Anonymity & Identity

Spring is here, just about arriving. Still a bit reluctant to disperse its freckles over the youthful noses, but it'll come around. The new season unplugs me from the PC and places me amidst fresh air and knee-scratched children. The early warming signals have me buttoned down afternoons with the kids in the park. It charms me out during the day with friends or neighbors, despite my usual reluctance to get into the shmoneh b’gadim, by releasing an intoxicating smell from its budding trees. It has me going down to the corner grocery store, for no good reason, to randomly enjoy sights like an earnest kollel yingerman running after his hat in a sunny wind, a sense of blithe riding in the air.

The season wakes me back to reality, out of the winterized hiding. I'm once again leaning on the park bar, clucking my tongue over much exaggerated hand-me-down chitchat; like just another frum mother, wife and yenta. I run after a fallen kid, wipe a runny nose, while sharing dinner menus and sewing tips. I haven’t been doing much socializing as of late, and deep inside I can’t help feeling a sharp stir. Everything and everyone is the same as the spring of 2006. Precisely. Yet so vastly different.

It was a long, long winter, in ways too many to number. Six months of blogging was a radical procedure that gifted me with new senses. A new level of seeing, a whole new level of thinking. It jolted me from a community I was a vessel in, and made me an observer to it. I learnt about planets beyond mine, religions above mine, a gender otherwise a mystery, about a person I am inside, a family I can approach more sincerely. At times I vent because I feel oppressed, at times I vent because the situation feels not quite right, or simply because I get completely carried away with the, I'll tell ya, exhilarating venting. I enjoyed experimenting with my pen, trying over the top slapstick, or exclusively-ours yiddishism that left the unfamiliar reader scratching his chup at the incoherency. I was allowed to be inquisitive, angry, opinionated, naive, inane, or openly eager for that last adjective to be contradicted.

Now, the outdoors calling my name, I wonder which name is actually mine. Reconnecting with my generic self, I'm trying to make sense of the two people I am; the pseudonym I’ve been covering under and the deceptive birthname that identifies me.

Those new perspectives reflect not just my own view of myself, but a new angle on the society. Nothing about the hob-hob of the typical social life now fits into the word 'routine' by any remote definition. Our community suddenly seems smaller than it was a year ago, less threatening. Women that were deeply hurtful are now just clueless themselves. Gossip seems empty, almost dull. I don't burn with self-doubt anymore for hearing a critical voice in my head disagreeing with discussions. That condescending tone once had a nerve wracking high pitch that wouldn't be silenced. Now, it's happily yelling away at some faraway blogspot.

Occasionally, the situation humors me. I’d be lingering amongst the women early morning after the kids embark their school busses, wrapped in a spring coat, seeming no less absorbed in the conversation or no more different than the rest. A tickle would suddenly flicker across my wires for the mystery of the other person I am.

But the remainder of the time I’m left with two lives, both genuinely mine, both downright different.

Nevertheless, ‘we’ have no regrets.



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How has the web changed your life?



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32 comments:

Chaya said...

Beautiful post...maybe even your best..
Thank you for letting us be a part of your world.

Sara with NO H said...

If anything...the web opened my eyes to things about our community that I otherwise wouldn't have seen or known. I don't know if I can call that a good thing...actually, I suppose it's all a matter of oppinion. I agree with Chaya; this was a lovely post, and as rarely as I comment, it touched me.

Semgirl said...

The web has changed me in many ways, I would definitely say good for the most part. Because, I have met wonderful fascinating people like you. So I dont need to run to Barnes and Noble and the library as much, to have intelligent conversation with goyim, that doesnt involve the usual cooking, children, and shidduchim.

It seems thats all the ladies on my block talk about..

JewishBiFemme said...

Refreshing post..

(A tickle would suddenly flicker across my wires for the mystery of the other person I am.)

Welcome to our world madam. I think it puts excitement in an oh so boring (housewife) role most frum women feel stuck in. but still, don't you feel like bursting when you're at the park with other women and cannot share the different side of you?

As long as you have no regrets and it feels right keep doing your thing.

Web has changed my life for the better since I came across a shpitzle blog. Your blog has opened my mind in many ways. I think shpitzle,shietal, tichel are all the same. We got the same emotions,desires, thoughts,needs..I can't believe i was so naive in thinking that shpitzles are alien-maluchim.

eich tzepa dir but of course i knew all along.

web has taught me a lot,who needs therapy when we got an entire blog community? Other then some nutjobs,sicko's,perverts,stalkers, back stabbing yenta's, non believers its been a pleasure.

Who are we kidding web is the scariest place to live in. For many different reasons including yiddishkiet.

Thank you for coming aboard. You're surly appreciated shpitzle and all..

Shpitzle Shtrimpkind said...

Chaya, Thank you, thank you all for listening!

Sarah with no H - I think the web opens us to a rather negative aspect to the community, not necessarily because it is as bad, but because it is the only place to discuss it negativities and therefore we'll dwell on it. It also shatters a person's image of "us good, everyone else bad" and once you realize that there are other ways to life, you can feel trapped to an extent.
Either way, I urge everyone to bear in mind that there are other sides to this lifestyle.

Semgirl - Ditto. The lack of intellectual stimulation is available online, and that's what makes it so addictive.

JBF - "don't you feel like bursting when you're at the park with other women and cannot share the different side of you?"

Living a double life is not healthy and not easy. Unfortunately, I don't think I can afford it any other way. Baruch hashem for my immediate family, a husband with whom I can share everything, for otherwise my sanity wouldn't be in check. I don't think how it's possible to live one life electronically and another physically. My immediate family at least knows all of me. There are some that can't confine with a soul.

"We got the same emotions,desires, thoughts,needs.." Put it this way – it's time we understand that we're all the same in that that we're all different.

"who needs therapy when we got an entire blog community". Lol! Can't disagree with that!

"Who are we kidding web is the scariest place to live in. For many different reasons including yiddishkiet." It is. Because it allows anonymity and there will always be those that'll take advantage of it. Where is the mishmeres hatznuis when we need them?

Thank you for you kind words!

der ewige Jude said...

The web has allowed me to live 3000 miles from NYC and still be an observant Jew. With on-line ordering we can get lulavim, etrogs, kosher food, seforim, mezuzahs, etc. I can participate in on-line shiurim and Torah study. I can schmooze with folks in the blog-o-sphere. If only there was a virtual minyan...that and a way to get New York pizza.

rebibsheinekel said...

Shpitzle- I've been reading your blog religiously. I love it!!! This post is absolutely magnificent.

But I think, coming from our society, I cannot make this part of my life. I have chosen not to discuss this blog with any of my aufgeklerte friends (yes, I have plenty of them) because of the dangers in living a dual life.

I think that at some point or another one would plotz/go off the deep end/have a breakdown living with such a dual identity. I see it as a dangerous thing.

Yes, I do discuss most of the issues you bring up- and try to work through the issues and questions about our lifestyle and culture but I make sure to do it in real-time with real people (yes, even some klein-meicheldige people when I find nobody else to discuss it with) becuase I am so afraid of the schizophrenia factor. I dont want to wake up one morning pinching myself trying to figure out which "me" woke up this morning.

Happy Mom of 6 said...

With the lives we lead-everyone needs an outlet - glad you found yours! Thanks for your honest perspective.

sam said...

I also love the freedom of the web,and I find social small talk difficult, but sometimes I have to remember that it is not reality and it need not take over my life! That email does not have to be answered immediately, but children need food, attention, and clean clothes. I always ridiculed mothers that are always on the phone, neglecting their kids and I hope I'm not doing the same!
I wonder, though, how many of those other ladies in the park are leading a double life and thinking the same about you?

frumbabe said...

i am one of those ladies in the park. . . i love my lives. i love sharing yours. i wish we could meet. {not at the park}

Baal Habos said...

Shpitzle, excellent post! The web is an amazing tool and it dramattically changed my life (as you have already read). But I hope that not everyone starts publisihing a blog, I'd have no time for real life which exists outside the wires of the web.

Sara, Horrible image.

Chananiah Yom Tov Lipa said...

Shpitz,
Another classic.
What a vivid picture of life as it occurs in Shpitzle's head.
As for me, I withdraw from the world and enter fantasy blogland. It's very hard to balance. And it usually shters my avoidas hakoidesh.
Will there be a hadluka on your blog this sat night? I need to know if I should back up your old posts?
Happy Peysach Sheini, sorry, more cleaning.

Shpitzle Shtrimpkind said...

Der Ewige Jude -The long distance short-cut the web brings across is unbelievable. When I first realized there are English bloggers I read all their posts and comments with their accent. It's amazing to cross borders, states or a whole nation in discussion.

Wait, the pizza will still arrive one day. And it'll be hot.

Can't a televised minyen work? Maybe hook up a camera to a shul and daven along. I'm starting to think virtual minyens are a brilliant idea!

RebibsheEinikle - You could not have put my situation in better words. Often I wonder if keeping a blog is worth the confusion, the secrecy on both ends, the double life. I accumulated a lot of experiences and knowledge here that I want to share with friends and family, often just random statistics I heard, or another view on certain issurim, but I just bite my tongue.

My frum friends are easy to hide from, it was always a charade to some extent. But trusting those that are 'oifgeklert' is the most tempting of situations. You want to tell yourself that they are confidable, but in truth no amount of 'oifgeklart' will guarantee your secret. Especially when you put your family's education, social acceptance, and shidduchim on the line.

I suppose to some extent I always lived another life, but since I had no way to release it, I didn't let that life grow, and so, it didn't ever overshadow my real life. Now, it gets harder. The best balance I can try to achieve is by limiting the internet to blogging only. I see writing as a hobby to the side, and the rest, is real real-life. Kinderlech, a husband, work, going out --- reality.

Am I taking a risk? Yes. Is the risk worth it?

Million dollar question.

Happy Mom of 6 - Mamma, love the attitude!

Yes, I do assume this is a gut-wrenching honest post. Truth, finding a release is a rarity for people around here and I value the opportunity.

S A M -" I always ridiculed mothers that are always on the phone, neglecting their kids and I hope I'm not doing the same!"
LOL! I don't really compare the web with the phone. The web is full of information and diversity, the telephone is "yadadyadaya mami yadayaydaya yunchi Canadian uch yadayadaya nebuch hust geheart yadayadaya zzzzz"
Nontheless, reality should never be doped up with any sort of technological addiction.

"I wonder, though, how many of those other ladies in the park are leading a double life and thinking the same about you?"
Hmm. One con can tell another con. If anyone in my neighborhood is actually living a double life, (not referring to those that are different, and say it with clothing), than she deserves this year's Oscar, without a hint of a doubt.

Frumbabe - What's to love in the park? Do you sit onto the swing and go wild? Do you slide, glide and run after your kids? Do you enjoy the family with your husband?
Not that I don't like going outside, but I wouldn't call it love. Not before I too can hang onto the monkeybar and yell like a meshugana. (The real me is embarrassed for me now)

Baal Habos - I did, and I can relate to a lot of what you wrote. Although, I love the amount of blogs. I don't feel obligated to read all of them. Everyone has their own community of fans. Diversity! Ah, Am lovin' it!

What's a horrible image?

Chananya, Chanaya - It shters your avodes hakodesh, eh? Oy vet men meer shmitzen!

I have been contemplating going to the hadlaka in Monroe, actually, as a reporter for the Post. I thought I'd write "black hats, million people, rabbi light fire, women segregation" and finished. That's all there is too it. But now I'm getting new ideas. Who's going to light the fire in the blog? Will the women be allowed to sing?

Happy Pesach Sheni to you too, my dear boys! For us vemales it's pesach shlishy all year round!

gevezener said...

as a new kid on the street i can only say that while the web does provide us with so much otherwise unknown info about our community(like even for instance the news in the yiddish wiki....not the new frum one...for that yahoo would suffice..lol)and perspectives that used to be hidden deep inside us....even so,its definitely true what shpitzele wrote: "I think the web opens us to a rather negative aspect to the community, not necessarily because it is as bad, but because it is the only place to discuss it negativities and therefore we'll dwell on it."

Anonymous said...

what a beautiful post and it saddens me that such talent as yours cannot be utilised in the wider world. I would say that the web has been bad for my emunah so I lead a double life in a different way to you. I live in a right wing but more open minded kehillah than you so I can admit to reading a paper, a book, listening to the radio etc. but I can NEVER discuss all the thoughts going through my head - especially not with my husband. Although I am gradually coming to a new sort of understanding and acceptance, I wonder whether without it I would have undergone this turmoil, or the web was just a catalyst? Either way, its left me feeling more at odds with my way of life.(oh, and please read this comment with an English accent!).

Y said...

Shpitzle, I don't understand why you call this a double life, as a reader of yours and other heimishe blogs I have no problem discussing the posts with buddy's at L'choo Dodi. The blogshpere opened a new window to the world especially in the frum community to express emotions and feelings like never before. Keep it strong Shpitz, there is nothing wrong with it, it's healthy, and more and more of our people understand, and accept it....

socialworker/frustrated mom said...

It has changed my life but do you have a few days, then I could tell you lol

velvel chusid said...

on CY"l suggested Hadlaka I wonder if i can donate some CHAI ROTL.

Sara with NO H said...

Sometimes I wonder if sheltering us while growing up is a good thing. It's funny how goyim say we're abused and it's wrong to not open the eyes of your children, but then you can look into the eyes of a yiddishe child and see purity and innocense. I sometimes wonder though how prepared we are for the outside world once we dare to peek outside of the bubble. Because you do know that once you peek out, it pops, and there's no climbing back in.

Shpitzle Shtrimpkind said...

Gevezener - I still have to figure out the Yiddish Wiki. Who writes it, directs it, funds it?

In all, the underground internet community is probably growing. It's marvelous because it allows you צו טאנצן אויף ביידע חתנות.


Anonymous- Vat? Of course I readink your comment vit my Aynglish exsent!

I can relate to your issues with deeper doubts. I break down my inner qualms categorically. A. The restricted life I live in and all its little issues, and B. the sefaykis I have in lines of the bigger beliefs. The latter subject is hard to broach with my husband, and I have to be very careful with the way I put my words. While I count my blessings, I wish there would be just a little place doubts and thoughts in this world.

Y - I think It's exactly that mindset that can get you in trouble. When you get to hooked on the dopernet, you suddenly see web in everything wired with human brains. The yingerman that fixes my sink, the guy that walks ahead of me on the street, the heimish man I place an order with over the phone. Everyone becomes a potential blogger.
When you wake up and smell the coffee, you realize that it aint so. The percentage that is oifgeklart is still a minority of a minority. Sitting outside with friends I realize that they're all most likely more clueless than I was a year ago. If you forget that, you can end up giving away things that might haunt you, or your children in school.

SW FM - Why a few days?

Velvel Chussid - Chai ROTL? Do you mean Chai ROFL?

Who's bringin' the fire?! Eh*?

I hear this year the Rebbe Shlita of all will sher at the Hadlaka the kinderlech. Shall we do the same brave act here to the Britnnylech?

Sara With No H - The underlying problem is that instead of investing all efforts in our emuna, all efforts are invested on the protective lining of the emuna. Meaning, instead of giving a fundamental teaching of Judaism and why we believe, the focus is diverted to protecting the belief. And oh, a lot of focus to boot! Once the protection falls away, you realize you're left with an empty package and shaky faith.

I find it ironic that "I", having been through twelve grades and private school and living an ultra, ultra orthodox lifestyle that evolves around religion 24-7, heard the skeptic's argument before that of the believer.

It shouldn't be that way.

Anonymous said...

y dont u spice up a little bit this blog i feel that u'r not as open minded as you claim to be

Anonymous said...

I hear this year the Rebbe Shlita of all will sher at the Hadlaka the kinderlech.

Rebbe shlita of ALL?? hmmm :-)

gevezener-illuy said...

shpitzele teirer...my last comment was half of what i intended it just didnt let me put up the whole thing...so 1st lemme compliment u on ur blog i think rabos bonois usi choyeel veat ulis al kilono...lol the real life n the humor is simply tzim zach....but back to your question i think its a way of settling...for those who grew up having a narrow minded approach to a sheltered shallow version of yiddishkeit its mind opening or better said its eye opening n their mind remains closed...while lookin for pleasure...but for some ppl the otherwise conflicting ways of life...like the heimishe who read -only from after the chassuna...lol- all the newspapers n magazines n keep them only in the master bathroom...for these of us its a way of enjoyin culture without havin your narrow minded wife that comes from a home where they did take seriously the rabonim...(n wouldent buy a digital camara for fear of transgressing the issur of video..lol) thinkin u r farchapt in the klipos...lol

nuch a chosid said...

You do not need to post this comment, but u could of u wish.

I wanted to bring this to your attention.

You wrote I learn about planets beyond mine, religions above mine, a gender otherwise a mystery
I am sure this was just a slip of the pen, as an expression to match planets beyond.... but a slip it is, which i am sure you didn't mean to say in that way.

because of course there is NO religion "above" ours!!!

CHAS V'SHOLEM!

please make a necessary correction on that. and please be extra careful in the future.

חכמים הזהרו בדברים

Shpitzle Shtrimpkind said...

Anonymous 12:36 - I plan to spruce up the other blog soon’s I get around to.

In what context do you mean ‘open minded’?

Anon 11:18 - Salachti, Salachti, Salachti. Truth though, ask anyone. Every Satmar Rabbi is Rebbeh on gantz Satmar.

Gevezener Illuy - The comments feature is nedavah to the blog by google, and it’s providing lousy unpredictable services like a real unpaid volunteer.

It seems the percentage of people that enjoy the culture, the heimishkeit, but still enjoy a few bites into the American pie, is growing.

But if so, why are you a gevezener illuy? Why don’t you keep the magazine in the bedroom and your simcha in the sefarim room?

The funny thing is that so many people are happy tantzing on both chassanahs. Why aren’t w frusturated, or angry, that they have to balance both but pretend that one doesn’t exist?

Epes Chussid Definition of ABOVE by the Microsoft Word dictionary: BEYOND. Above and Beyond used in the same context, to suggest its synonymous definition of “outside”.

hasid_letz said...

"because of course there is NO religion "above" ours!!!"

Of course, that's what all religionists say.

gevezener-illuy said...

gut gefregt...ven ich zol huben dem magazine in bedroom efsher i wouldent be a gevezener even with all the unchosen troubles i m copin with but the answer is in hardships n sufferin in real life...which has made me a gevezener....n got nothin to do with the computer or the web(the zicherer toit...)...these are maybe the symptoms not the cause...
and the reason why ppl gotta tantz of tzvei chassonus....the answer is as i heard on 710AM by raboseini hakdoshim henican & white reffering to the american polotics spectrum...vezeh leshon kodsho:"there are wackos on the right n wackos in the left..the rest of the country is somewhere in the middle" so is true bout us...its just that the wackos are more vocal n we are afraid of 'em so ppl choose lmaan hasholem to pretend we are takin some of the nonsense seriously....and the emperor is naked and everybody in their right mind knows it...but just like ppl keep on shouting long live the queen...even after she isnt even a paper tiger, we all salute the yuntshikeit...

Shpitzle Shtrimpkind said...

Letz - Of course, the logic is simple! Every religion is above ever religion. Pushet!

Gevezener - LOL. What a wacko perspective. In a country so deeply divided between right and left, I'd hope that the normal society is larger than the depleted middle.

In the goyisheh world wackos are legally wackos, and we love them for it. Take Imus, or Michael Savage or whichever other entertainer that everyone agrees faylt a shraf, but is interesting non-the-less. The problem with us, however, is that we're not allowed to laugh at the naked wacko, we're supposed to bow to him and call him the 'dressed king'.
In other words, for people out-of-wack, they have a dangerous amount of power.

And anyhow, few people feel like they can laugh it off and live their life. Most people feel a deep social stigma to act according to the book.

gevezener-illuy said...

well liber shpitzele...i dunno which part was wacky my mag in the room or comparing our holier then thou to micheal savage...or both...
but i wasent reffering to the real entertainment like goin out to the movies...i meant to answer the hidden lives that so many of us lead in willi n bp..which is accaptable in lets say...flatbush for that i brought that example...so i guess my missin shrafel shrinked..at least comparin to imus...
but what you call tantzen oif bide chassunes that of course is by bein brought up this way...n i know a lot of guys who decided to blow it...i dont really think they succeeded...we are upgemalet...
in heart at least like i wanna ask shtreimel if he would fall of a cliff would he ask hashem for help? if yes he aint a real apikores..
but i think we need to elaborate on a segment of ours which i think is differant then the rest its the satmarer farfutchde i think there isnt sas shallow an upbringing like this one i mean that the way we were thought yiddishkeit is simply all the donts n how everybody is a shaigetz n these have the thickest walls so once they open their eyes which by the sheer thickness of the walls happens very easily...they are so shallow with nothin to combat it...basicly i m tryin to repeat your point to sara(h):I find it ironic that "I", having been through twelve grades and private school and living an ultra, ultra orthodox lifestyle that evolves around religion 24-7, heard the skeptic's argument before that of the believer.

Shpitzle Shtrimpkind said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shpitzle Shtrimpkind said...

Illuy, Illuy,

I've said before that the confusing thing about discussing oppression is drawing a line between basic freedoms (magazines, TV, college, etc) and more deeply, freedom of belief.

Personally, I hold by both. While I would find it a lot simpler if my free thoughts would coincide with the common beliefs, I still can't help it if my beliefs just don't run with the crowd. But still I'd have to pretend I am on board with the everyone...

And there... Now we have DREI chasanas tsee tantzen oif!

The saddest realization I've come to in the J-blogsphere is that a typical chassidic believer (more often than not) has no idea what the hell he's believing in. It's depressing because I at least would want to hear something resembling an argument.

I recently watched the movie Mendy (thanks Skel), and the main character came right home, fumbling when asked about his religion. Mendy, a chassidic boy from Williamsburg, couldn't give a decent answer when questioned about yiddishkeit, while at the same time he admitted to have lived his entirely life dedicated to that.

Leapa has written on his blog about teaching our children science, and Judaism's answer to science. I regret that his ideals would never be made to use.


(Alright. Savage, Imus and Moshe Gabbi. What??! Doesn't sound wacky to me. I think they should form a singing band.)

gevezener-illuy said...

illuy, illuy , vayomer hineini...
well i cannot identify with that part of yours cuz i did read up on theology as a youngster both from unzere and also from the other side of the isle...basicly i did it for enjoyment of provacative thinking..like when i hid the shaar hayichud of chovos halvovos under the beer mayim chayim to see whats takeh there...but i also read ramchal & everything... and i enjoyed having a meaning of yiddishkeit as a philosophy...and i couldent stand a sefer like shomrei emunim(roth) where if u delete 5 words kedusha,tumah,hisoreres,sitra achra,ahavah...etc. u are left with less then 5 pages..i admit i did it all in context of a mamin...not as a truth search, but basicly i believe that most of the time you take out from it what you want meaning that somebody who is lookin at it from a yiddishkeit standpoint will get there..and whoever is lookin for ways to discredit it will also find it...i dont believe either one is moach shalit al halev, i think both are lev shalit al hamoach...thinking what you feel like thinking...but most of the ppll if not all of them with whom i tried sharing my thoughts n philosophies about it-meaning rebees , mashpieim,mashgichim....- i was talkin french to them and they responded from under their cofee smelling shnoltzes,nah...bei unz hut men nisht gehalten fin chakira...i tried explaining i m talkin peirush hamishnayis leharambam..but it was hak in tsheinik..so,true that this is the way we got here..that emunah means tights with seams...but i as a person now that i m tryin to be a free-thinker aint gettin anywhere..as for me ein kol chodosh...so the third chasunah i guess you are tzad hakalah-being a mekabel....while i m tzad hachasan...bechinas mashpia..and nebbech a gay chassan lookin for other mashpiim....lol maybe i would even be the next governor of n.j.........