That’s the attitude in life that has consistently damaged me. It’s the reason I didn’t finish college, instead of staying on with just a few subjects, I quit altogether. It’s the reason I drifted away from Judaism, worried that if I didn’t take it all the way to the most radical precepts, I wasn’t being “Jewish enough,” so why bother at all? All or nothing has brought me so much trouble in relationships, where I pursue the fire of my passion until the blaze leaves nothing but charred remains, as opposed to letting in air and space to create a steady flame. Where there is a black or white I consistently fail to see the grey, either ignoring it or outright pretending it doesn’t exist. In a black and white photograph it is the grey that keeps it from being stark and monochrome, and so I’m resolving to bring some subtle shading and gradation in my life. I will stop being dramatic, even if it drains the life out of my cold, stiff corpse.
Tonight I will have a Shabbat meal with my kids and it will be all wrong. I will light the candles after sunset instead of before, as is the custom. I will drink grape juice instead of wine because I am aiming to stay sober until my five-year sober anniversary on Tuesday. The blessing for the Challah will be botched, and I will skip the ritual washing of the hands in favor of scrubbing my filthy boys’ hands with soap (because Lysol would be overdoing it.) Who knows, we may even have shrimp. And in case you don’t know this about Judaism, shrimp is right up there with adultery and pork.
So my new motto is grey. Grey or grey! Multiple, glorious shadings of grey. Freedom for all, ¡Viva la Revolución without the Revolución part, because that shit sounds like it would really hurt my knees. Everyone gets space; even my children who can ruin a space with mess and dirt and pistachio shells. No person shall be ground up and shoveled into my spaces, only to wonder why they turn to glass. Friends, family, ex-husbands and everyone in between get to be who they are. I am no longer taking hostages in relationships, or allowing myself to be taken hostage, because that is not love, that is Hezbollah.
I’m maintaining a curiosity about what life will bring next, living in the unknown and accepting that my marriage is over, but that everything else changes daily. Instead of painful shards, my fire shall be used to blow unusual art objects. And though I have no idea what they’ll look like, I’m beginning to suspect that they will be beautiful.