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.
How has the web changed your life?