We Don't Need Freud
Just another Jew yelling about antisemitism or telling you about her dreams
I’m often not sure I’m capturing or conveying how profoundly certain things land with me. Maybe that’s also ok. I place undue pressure on myself, and this creates an over-efforting, and the over-efforting interferes with any kind of flow, thus ensuring that I’m probably not capturing or conveying how profoundly certain things land with me. See how totally circular that was?
We create the world anew with every morning, with every breath, with every kindness. I believe this, and it also feels far away right now, something tiny, fragile, and infinitesimal against the destruction. It’s what happens when I get too much in my own head.
I keep thinking, maybe I will stop writing about this. Stop writing. Stop, stop, stop.
I find myself wondering if I have long Covid. I Google “long Covid.” It seems it’s likely too early to make that call. My first positive test was on September 21. I had two five-day periods of isolation, ending October 6. So it has been just over five weeks. From what I can gather, long Covid is when you continue to have issues more than two or three months after being sick.
Why am I wondering this? It’s the fluctuations of energy, the moodiness – this one is hard to tease out given the amount of stress in the world, perimenopause, and a history of depression – and how tired I get after relatively short bouts of exertion, like a two-mile walk leaves me feeling like I’ve run six miles. Also, brain fog and, as I write this, some mild chest pain. Or is that anxiety? I decide it’s probably not long Covid and hope I’m right.
Birthright is running free two-week trips to Israel to volunteer with emergency food rescue. The trips are for anyone ages 18-40, which I am decidedly not. There is a longing to do something tangible. And then I remember what my spouse reminded me of earlier: The Amherst Survival Center always needs hands. Our synagogue always needs hands. There is so much need right here in my community.
I don’t have to travel halfway around the world to feel useful.
I deleted the Instagram app from my phone, though not my account, which means I can still take a look at it on my browser.
It’s ridiculous to be thinking about such things. I can’t believe how much space social media takes up – in my life, in my brain, in conversations about what’s happening in the world. It is undeniably one of the places so many of us go for connection and learning, often only to feel alienated and bombarded with misinformation, contradicting narratives, screaming and damning memes. I’m on the verge of leaving altogether. I don’t know if that last sentence is true at all. Probably not.
The truth is, I am so sad.
I had a dream that I had murdered several people and hidden their bodies in all kinds of places people wouldn’t think to look, like dresser drawers. That same night came another dream where I was caring for a very tiny baby, like a miniature, carrying her on a flimsy paper plate on an embankment by a riverbank with groups of strangers nearby. I was much further from home than I had meant to be and felt frightened, exposed, and helpless.
We don’t need Freud for these. I don’t even like Freud.
Guilt, despair, fear, vulnerability – thanks, dreams!
I write and write and then wonder why I’m bothering. The world does not need another Jew yelling about antisemitism or telling you about her dreams. But writing is one of my central ways of existing, so what happens if I don’t?
It’s Sunday afternoon now. The sun is shining and I see the woods behind the house. Are they beckoning? Do they ever beckon? I anthropomorphize the woods, the weak November light streaming through the last of the yellowed leaves, and decide to seek the company of their silence.
My mother called. She was so distressed. She thought about tying a blue ribbon to the big oak tree out front, to show solidarity with the hostages, then changed her mind when someone suggested she not advertise her Jewish home right now. The defiant part of me says, fuck that. But I heard the shakiness in her voice as she told me, “I have never seen anything like this.”
A Facebook post: “Free the 2.3 million hostages in Gaza.” I notice my immediate reaction to this, a bristling. I feel it is coopting the language of the hostages Hamas is holding. I cannot take it at face value as much as I want to. I feel shame about my knee-jerk perception of it as a diminishment of the realness and legitimacy of Israeli and Jewish pain. I do not believe the intent is antisemitic. I do not unfriend anyone. I am trying.
Should I be trying, though? What is it exactly that I am trying to do here? Make room for everyone’s perspectives? Well, that would certainly fit with a lifelong pattern of peacemaker, the one that cost me so much, negating my own feelings, especially anger.
I am "pro-Israel" but not pro-babies-on-ventilators-being-left-to-die-alone-in-the-NICU-because-the-hospital-can-no-longer-function. Why does this have to feel like such an either/or?
I want to say, am Yisrael chai – the people of Israel live. Does this mean Israel literally, the Jewish people, or both? Does it matter? I want us to live. I want us to live. This does not mean I want “them” to die. My God, to even have to name that.
I said I was going to stop writing about it. See how that went?
It’s time to close the laptop, time to put on socks and shoes, time to walk into the woods, however slowly. Let it be slow. Let me slow down. Let me stop trying to figure it all out. Let me not attempt to put it into words, let me let go of the attempts to capture or convey how profoundly certain things land with me. It’s ok if I can’t, if I don’t. The trees expect nothing in return.
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