Thursday, December 28, 2017

(Almost) Twenty Eight




-"You're only twenty eight..."
-"I'm already twenty eight. When I was fourteen I wrote a 150-page book, and I thought 'if I'm writing this book at age 14, I'll surely do great things in the near future, like publish at least a few books...' And now I'm double the age, and haven't done anything! Some people do amazing things, and I know I could too."
-"Most people don't do earth-shattering things by age twenty eight... Maybe only one in two-thousand. Society is always telling us to do more, but we don't need to."
-"I could've been that one-in-two-thousand, if I was given the tools to realize my abilities. I studied in the school system for twelve fucking years throughout which I was not given any tools for self-improvement or the skills needed to bring into action the ideas in my head. Schools need to be more hands-on. They need to be more based on experimentation, on doing things, on just doing and learning how to do, instead of memorizing dry information and doing tests. Dry knowledge like math equations and WWII-era history do fill an intellectual need, but my passion for creativity has always been stagnant alongside that and has never gotten a chance to grow. When I was younger, that was alright, because I always felt that the little commas and semi-colons of art and creativity that I was able to produce might eventually become something, and that in the future I'd acquire the tools to connect it all, so it was all fascinating. But now those little commas are still all that come forth; a short video, a little drawing, a short text, and nothing becomes of them. I have never in my life completed a long-term creative project. Never in my whole life. I don't know how. Even if I tried right now, I wouldn't know how. When I entered art school, I thought 'finally now I'll be able to express what's in my head.' But that didn't happen, and I finished art school with nothing that I really loved. I realize I just don't have the tools to bring anything into action. I often sit and look at my mind and think 'it's all in there; the beautiful words for a great novel are in there.' But how do I put those words together? The potential is in me. I feel it. Everything it takes to do the greatest things is already in me. My brain is a jumble just like it was ten and twenty years ago. It's a jumble that's always desperately searching for expression. My passion for creativity is a never-soluble issue, it's always bursting and it's always there. I never found the right receptors for my thoughts. I don't think it's just Western-society's urge of 'success and fulfillment' that's making me feel less than satisfied and detached, but rather it's my own intuition, which knows - and always knew - that I have the ability, but I need the tools and the inspiration. Still today, at twenty eight, I sit in a chair with my brain in my hand and don't fucking know what to do."



Thursday, December 21, 2017

One year ago (facebook reminded me)


Copied from what I wrote on facebook:
One year ago I saw a video from Syria of a man telling the camera he may not live through the attacks on his city, and it didn't feel ethical to sit idly while these things were happening. I messaged my friend Shir and asked, "do you want to arrange a protest of solidarity with me in the center of Jerusalem?"
That's how it started. We found another female friend - Roni - to organize it with us. Within two days, I got the police permit for it, we started publicizing it on facebook and making signs, and it ended up being the first and largest protest in Jerusalem last year in support of Aleppo which was under attack.
I went into it not knowing many facts about the politics behind the occurences; my brain doesn't process politics in a sustainable way. My only asset was and always is empathy and compassion toward those who suffer. I know that many people (including myself) often see this as a setback, and acting without knowing the backstory may in theory cause more damage. But it was so important to me that I did it anyway.
After we did it, though, I thought: What next? What do we do from here?
I wasn't supported in some of my immediate circles, and in addition, I really didn't know what further to do for the suffering people in Aleppo, and just as I had risen quickly into it, I also disappeared swiftly from the public arena on this issue. I wondered what the importance of a sporadic one-time action was. I wondered what the importance of my own place in that action was - if I so quickly left it because of outer convictions. I never felt like I finished my job there, I kind of just left it all open. I could've gone up to the border with Syria to continue protesting, I could have done other things, but I stopped.
And until today I'm not sure what to think about it. But this photo does make me feel that it was right to stand there with that sign, even if I didn't know what to say to all the people who came to the protest we organized, or didn't know what to say to myself, or didn't really know how a small human being, who doesn't have much capacity for dry knowledge, can help end violence in the world.

Photo by 
Tamar Herzberg-Shoseyov


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

תנומה



כשישראל חיה עשר שעות קדימה,
רק בערב
לפני שאני הולכת לישון
אני יכולה בדימיוני
לעבור ולנשק במצח
את כל מי שאי פעם אהבתי.
רק בשעה הזאת,
כשהם מרוככים מתנומתם,
יכול מחווה מרגש שכזה
לקרות.








Saturday, December 02, 2017

Israel



ISRAEL

I looked out the aircraft windows toward the back wings, and they started distancing from me. The airplane seemed to be lengthening itself as the wings became smaller and smaller, and soon I realized my part of the plane was falling, and I could feel it now in my body too, falling fast through thin air. I thought of looking out my window to see more clearly, but the fear kept me bogged down in place, facing the back of my seat. I was quite aware we might die. Every instant of consciousness I wondered if there would be a next, and if there wasn’t – what it would feel like.

Then I woke up, curled up with my head toward the back of the seat, lying on my folded jackets. I rose with a start, and the man sitting next to me asked if I need to get out. I said, no. And I added, I just had a nightmare that the plane was falling.

I remembered my open palms under the shower faucet earlier that day, and those moments of watching them and the water pour around them; this is a form of meditation for me.

This was similar to the micro-staring I did in the kitchen, when my father came to sit down for dinner and I closely observed my fork as it speared the food and rose from the plate into my mouth, to let the meal happen without feeling a burden of discomfort.

The water came gushing through the tips of my body, around the creases and lines of my ten fingers. This will be my last time here, I knew. My parents are moving. And so I breathed. I breathed as I stared.

I said goodbye to my room. I sat in it with the Russian tradition (sitting with hands on lap, eyes shut, then opening eyes, clapping hands on lap, and getting up and leaving), and then I came back in and looked around again; this time I photographed the room. I looked around and didn’t know how to properly bid farewell. I thought there must be some sort of way to find closure through a precise summary of an idea, a thought, or a process that has happened throughout my life here, and couldn’t conjure a satisfying notion. But one came to mind: I have grown to be a fairly good person, so thank you, room, for being mine for so many years.

And I walked out again.

And back in.

I had one last idea: to touch the walls. I touch things to make clear contact with reality. So here, I walked around the four walls of the room and touched them, and touched the furniture (because maybe my hands will remember the exact look of the room more than my visual memory) and then stood in the doorway and gestured a namaste thank you, and threw a kiss, and even kissed the mezuzah. And then I shut the light, and left, and didn’t go back.

Being in that home is always a mixed experience for me: I connect to it so effortlessly, and on the downside - I slide too easily into the place of being a child. I don’t want to be in that place; I have grown. Something there pulls me back into my sticky and nauseating parts of childhood, and that’s what I try to avoid. I was there for two weeks, and that was enough. Words must be said about the upsides, too, so as not to take it all for granted. When I am in the home alone, or just with my mother, I feel safe. The kitchen is abundant in good food. I love my old room. It’s a shrine of my life. I love sitting in my room, with all of my stuff and remembering Me.

I realize that it was a good choice to live far away for now. It's good for me to live in a place where I'm not pulled back into my disarray, despite my disarray being my unequivocal home.

I missed Tal and Nemo a lot over the past two weeks, and now I’m on my way home to them.

_______


Jerusalem was crowded, and its over-population streaming through the streets seemed to me in a sad and narrow-minded state of being. I even went so far as wondering how much a population can suck charity and wellness from governments without broadening their own selves by themselves. How awful of a notion, I reprimanded myself. But I couldn’t help thinking it…

I reunited with 11 dear friends at restaurants, street corners and their homes, sharing stories of being, and photographing each friend with the 1970’s Pentax SLR camera, with a 35 mm black-and-white roll of film I bought at the photo store in downtown Jerusalem at my first stop there. Two days before my flight back home, I finished the roll of film and went to my old photography school to develop the film. In the dark room, I pry open the film canister, unroll the film and roll it onto the wheel that then goes into the little Jobo tank, which I seal tightly. Then I go out into the light, fill the Jobo with developer, roll it around for ten minutes, then wash it out and then fill it with fixer, also for ten minutes, then wash it out for 20 minutes, and then open the lid, and slowly pull out the roll of film, revealing to me the product of my handiwork! I then scan the images digitally to the computer, and then leave the school and walk downtown, excited with my success in doing something I love.

I flew to Israel initially for a close friend’s wedding, which was a lot of fun. I got to wear a red dress which my sister sewed for me (the color scheme for close family and friends of the bride was red) and spend the day of the wedding with other red-dressed friends in the bride’s home, hanging around excitedly, eating pancakes and chatting while watching the bride have her hair and make-up done. At the wedding itself I danced like crazy, for hours. There were many old friends there, and fun music, and that’s a perfect setting for dancing my feet off :)

The fourth plane touched ground. 48 hours had passed since I left my parent’s home at 4 am for the airport. I was tired and hungry, and landed into cold and rainy Seattle.