Post-IZM Blues

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I’ve recently found that slowly but surely I’ve managed to return to myself and my regular programming – art, activism, writing, reading, exercise, music, social activities, the usual mischief.

July kicked ass. I’ve worked hard and managed my time accordingly and have thus made zines, wrote some shit, attended Slutwalk, attended Pride, organized art mornings, kept with my weekly Tai Chi routine, read and am still reading lots of King books, and tried to stay as active as possible even within the realms of my maternal duties, as limiting as some of them may be. Yes, there are 24 hours in a day. I’ve owned them and filled them up to the fucking rim.

However, after an exchange between me and my husband regarding boring financial issues, we’ve agreed that I should give up my free mornings so that I may be able to pick my daughter up from daycare at a more reasonable hour and not have to keep her there until 18:00 and be charged for babysitting services. It comes out to hundreds of Shekels every month, and that’s a lot. But what I will be sacrificing to avoid such an expense is a lot, too.

“I won’t be writing anymore,” I told my husband. ” I also won’t have time for Tai Chi, or zine-production, or post office errands, or cooking, or dishes, or laundry, or sleeping in, or anything else. I will be reduced to being just a part-time secretary and a full-time mother. Nothing more.”

But money talks.

And bullshit walks.

So along the bullshit goes and sacrifices have to be made. I may have one morning a week for a while at least. And I’ll cram a whole load of things into it. Maybe I can revamp my weekends into something manageable and at least keep my Tai Chi routine…

Pfff, yeah right! After working only mornings shifts, I will be so tired by the end of the week, I’ll just pass the fuck out. No exercise, no zines, no writing and I’ll be too tired to care.

I really hope I won’t be too upset. Ink still runs through my veins and it still needs to bleed out onto a blank page. Tai Chi is necessary for my myotonized muscles lest they cramp up again, and I cannot afford a sedentary lifestyle. Zines breed positivity and I can sure use it right now.

But money still talks. And lord knows that following a morning shift, my pillow also talks my ears off.

Maybe I should start drinking coffee. Fuck this shit.

Peace, love and 24 hours in a day, my ass.

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Order Rules and Toddler Shreds

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I know this sort of post bores you to bloody tears, but hey, do I give a rat’s ass?

Organizing the house is one of my favorite pastimes. And passing the time it does, pretty much until I lose track of it and get to work late.

This morning, I planned on organizing a couple of garbage bags full of my kid’s winter clothes and giving them back to my sister-in-law. But after getting some kitchen chores out of the way, I found myself with less than an hour to take on that heavy load, so I decided to do some more minor organization tasks… which turned out not to be so minor after all and I got to work late anyway, but yeah.

Somehow, I always manage to have a bunch of papers piling up on what I call our “front desk”. It’s all bank statements and credit card statements and salary slips and a whole bunch of other boring shit that I fail to put away. So I organized that.

But as I was going to the other room to get the folders where I store said boring shit, I came across my DIY bookshelf. This bookshelf was once a product of an order-obsessed chick, with her zines organized by date, traded zines organized thematically, a shelf for her diaries, a shelf for her high school agendas (also organized by date) and sketchbooks, and a shelf for folders of boring shit.

The bookshelf that was once neat and tidy looked like it was hit by a shitstorm, followed by a hurricane with a touch of a flash flood. Though none of it was wet as the allegory would suggest, this bookshelf is now the product of a demolition-obsessed toddler, with shelves filled with torn papers. Luckily, she’s still too short for having inflicted such devastation on my zines and traded zines in the top shelves but, goddamn, what a mess!

To organize my annihilated bookshelf would mean putting torn agendas and diaries back together first before putting them in the right place, and that alone would take me a whole morning. So after a five-minute long longing look at the decimation before me, just begging me to be organized, I reluctantly walked away and back to the pile of boring shit papers.

Once that was done, I decided to organize our dining room table. I don’t know how we always manage to clutter it up, but I was getting sick and tired of having to constantly push a bunch of random stuff to the edge of the table just so we could have dinner.

The things that bothered me most on that table were the electronics – three remotes for our TV and sound system, a wireless keyboard and mouse and a wireless joystick. So I moved these to our electronics drawer, but not before reorganizing the drawer itself which was a whole other shitstorm – a bunch of intertwined cables and wires and chargers and spaghetti running up, down and around cameras, 3-D glasses, batteries, users manuals, a handheld vacuum cleaner and a broken iPod. I blew a hearty 20 minutes fumbling around with all of it and trying to Tetris the wireless keyboard into it, along with the mouse, the joystick and three remotes.

Even though we can now see the actual dining room table and the “front desk”, my mind keeps going back to my DIY bookshelf. I can almost hear its cries of disorder anguish.

I also have the living room bookshelf to look forward to. My growing Stephen King collection isn’t going to organize itself, and space shall be cleared to make way for the King, oh yes it shall.

I’m excited for the imminent return of the order-bug. I wonder how long it will take for my toddler to exterminate it. I bet not long. Not long at all.
Peace, love and happy International Zine Month!

Mother vs. Writer

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I am currently reading Stephen King’s On Writing. I never thought I would read that book because I was pretty sure none of it was going to have any zombies or vampires or aliens or ghosts. The reason I finally decided to read it is because Stephen King is a master storyteller no matter what the theme is. And I was right. So far, I had just read the first part, “C.V.”, and I was transported.

As I finished the part, I started thinking about my own experience with writing. Sometimes I look back at my writing life and it feels like I’m looking at someone else’s life. I filled pages and pages, drowning myself in metaphors and similes and tea-refills. I lost track of time. I forgot to eat, sleep and shower, and sometimes even breathe. I would write an essay, then move on to a journal entry, followed by a blog post, and then an article to the entertainment section of the Jerusalem Post. And I would still be left scratching my fingers down to the bone as the writing adrenaline was rushing, and I burned to write something more.

Looking back at these old writings, I marvel at how brilliant it is. I discovered a girl with endless inspiration and hope for a glorious future in writing.

Now I can make excuses about why it hasn’t happened and say something cheesy like “life got in the way” but the honest truth is that I simply don’t want to. I rather spend time with my daughter. The drive and the elation I felt when I was writing pales in comparison to the constant unyielding ecstatic joy I feel when I’m with my daughter. She makes me happy in a way that nothing else can. Even when she cries, even when she refuses to sleep, even when she flails her little hands at my face when I try to change her diaper – my daughter is the light of my life. Even mundane activities that I sometimes complain about, like endless piles of laundry, can make me happier than any journal entry or personal essay can. When I dress my daughter in her fresh new clothes, and see how beautiful she looks in anything she wears, I thank the Goddess for the piles of laundry and wish for more.

Back when I had a constant flow of words pouring out of me at any given time, I was only a writer. I wasn’t a wife and I wasn’t a mother. I changed as a person. My list of priorities has changed. My identities changed. When I added wife and mother to the list, they went right to the top.  While back in the day, my mind was running wild with more ideas for writing, now it is running wild with more ideas for what children books to buy, what toys to get for my daughter, what new food she might like to eat, what new things I should teach her, what I can do to make her life better and happier. Basically, anything that has to do with being a mother is the only thing I am interested in now.

I might still create something or write something here and there (if this blog is any indication). My daughter is a year and a half. She loves books, she loves to draw, she absolutely adores music and dancing. Teaching her about art and writing is definitely something I want to do. So maybe I can lead by example.

Stephen King says that art is a support-system for life. And this was true for me for most of my life. I can safely say that if it wasn’t for my art, my writing, my music and my zines, I would undoubtedly be a maggot-infested, decomp-ridden corpse, six feet under a cold tombstone right now.

But today, it is my daughter that keeps me going. It is the intense desire to see her grow up and learn new things and discover her own unique passion that keeps me scratching my fingers down to the bone with anticipation. Motherhood is an adventure. Any mother would tell you that. But to me, motherhood is, like my art was in years past, a support-system for life.

Peace, love and all writers begin with ABC.

Slutty Mother, Feminist Baby

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So Slutwalk Jerusalem is coming up for the 7th year in a row. I noticed that every time someone posts about it on Facebook, there is a shitload of back-and-forth comments mostly by trolls who have no idea what Slutwalk is even about and think they can criticise it however they want.

I don’t really care about that. Slutwalk is about women reclaiming their bodies. That’s it. It’s a good thing. It’s a positive thing. But people still comment on it, saying it’s demeaning and offensive. So if people are offended by women claiming ownership of what they obviously own, said people can go fuck themselves or get a brain.

I’m going along with a group of friends. I was also planning on bringing my daughter along and dress her in her new onesie (pictured here).onesie smash But my husband said he won’t let me. It’s funny and rather ironic that he won’t let me do something when it comes to feminism. But in this case, I think he’s right. Although I want to expose my daughter to the movement early on in her life, I think that a year and five months is far too young to actually take part in marches that involve being in the scorching sun for a long time, shouting slogans, and (let’s face it) putting yourself in certain danger by counter-protesters.

I want my daughter to be an activist and be strong and stand up for her rights as an empowered woman, but I also want my daughter to be safe. And Slutwalk Jerusalem is not exactly the safest place to be on May 18. So she will stay with my husband, who can do his own share of exposing our daughter to feminism by reading her one of her favorite books “Feminist Baby”, including the Slutwalk-inspired part that says “Feminist baby chooses what to wear, and if you don’t like it she doesn’t care”, as well as teaching her the Rosie the Riveter feminist fist, demonstrated in the book by the feminist baby herself.

So next week will be nice and packed. With the hopes that my daughter doesn’t get sick in any one of those days, this is my schedule for the upcoming days:

Friday, May 11: Bake cookies, go to Be’er Sheva for the weekend
Sunday, May 13: Work morning, pick up daughter, bake broccoli snack (new recipe!)
Monday, May 14: Tai Chi morning, work afternoon
Tuesday, May 15: Doctor’s appointment and blood work, work afternoon
Wednesday, May 16: Write letters to penpals, work afternoon
Thursday, May 17: Bake pizza-flavored pasta quiche (another new recipe!), work afternoon
Friday, May 18: Smash the fucking patriarchy at Slutwalk with a group of badass bitches, and make the world a better place for my daughter, then go to Be’er Sheva for weekend and Shavuot.

If all goes well, I might try to start a new issue of my zine and include a piece about Slutwalk. Between taking care of a child and taking care of a child, I don’t know when that will be, but yes. Zinesters shall zine.

Peace, love and sluts

As I Was

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Yesterday, I made a few lists in my journal to see how my habits and hobbies have changed from my pre-maternity to my post-partum time. I wanted to see if I would be able to reclaim some semblance of my pre-pregnancy life.

Things I regularly did before pregnancy and motherhood include:
– Zines
– Tai Chi
– Baking/cooking
– Reading books
– Writing letters
– Power walks
– Playing guitar

Things I do now:
– Laundry
– Raising my kid
– Sleep

Despite that enormous shift, I have managed to engage in some of my earlier activities. I made a zine and am working on another one, I baked cookies, I read two books and am ordering a few more, and I wrote some letters. This is not bad at all considering parenting is a full-time occupation. And yes, I did most of these while neglecting laundry and sleep.

Now, I am not stupid. I know that all these activities will never take a front row seat in my life ever again. I’m under no illusions about that. My life right now is all about my daughter and everything I do is for her, and I love and cherish every minute of my life as a mother. So these other activities that define me in every other aspect of my life will not be regular activities as they have been before.

But since they are important as part of my self-care, I will still try to find/make time to do them. I think it’s also important for my daughter to see her mother engaging in self-care and doing things that she likes. I want to lead by example and teach her that she too should take care of herself and do things that she enjoys and that are important to her, whatever it may be. If she grows up to love art just like her mother, that’s great! I will be thrilled to make art with her. If she grows up to love playing basketball like her father, that’s amazing! I’ll sign her up for lessons or encourage her to play with her father in the backyard or the park.

I think it’s especially important with activities that promote good health, such as Tai Chi and power walks. I want my daughter to lead a healthy active lifestyle and make exercise a regular part of her weekly routine.

SO! The next item on my list of things to reclaim is my Tai Chi exercises. I seriously need to get my ass back in shape, dammit. Not to mention my back, my legs, my arms, my neck, my abs… I feel completely wrecked. Integral Tai Chi should do the trick. I am attempting to make it a weekly thing as it was once before. But instead of Friday mornings (during which I am too busy with my daughter) I will set it on Thursday mornings.

Fuck sleep. Sleep is for the weak. The Dragon will devour any shred of my drowsiness and The Phoenix will team up with The Tiger to make me own the day and fuck shit up.

Peace, love and Corpse is for the Living

chakras

 

Overthrow the Laundry Basket

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OTTSQ

I really miss being crafty. I miss writing and making zines. I miss drawing and making collages. I miss trying out new crafts I’ve never tried before. But mostly, zine-production is my most missed activity. Especially after reading my friend’s zine about zines, Overthrow the Status Quo (which everyone should get, and I would link this to her Etsy page if the issue was being sold there, but it’s not. Here’s the link to ZinesByNyxia anyway because all her zines are awesome).

Good zines inspire me to create zines. Great zines inspire me to go crazy with more inspiration and create more zines. And zines that tell me that I should put off mopping the floor and make a zine instead make me feel silly for doing house chores when the time could be better spent with zine production.

I have free mornings on days when I work the afternoon shift, and I have a couple of free hours in the afternoon on days when I work morning. But then, I have my laundry to wash, dry, fold and store. And then I have dishes. And then I have my daughter’s laundry to wash, dry, fold and store. And then I have more dishes. And if I have any leftover time, I try to sleep (and fail), and then it’s time to go to work or go pick up my daughter, depending on my shift, and any hope for zine production dies.

This is why I write blogs. Because seriously, if I didn’t have that, I would go mad. Writing is important to me. Whether my writing is being read or not is completely irrelevant. Writing is the end in and of itself. But at the same time, deep down, I feel that these blog posts are a temporary treatment until I find time for the ultimate cure (i.e. zines).

So that’s why I miss it. And that’s why it’s not just mopping the floor that needs to be put off but everything else. And my house would need to be a mess, I would need to run out of dishes and my daughter would need to run out of clothes, and then maybe I would actually be able to get cracking on paper cuts and sticky fingers.

Peace, love and thank the goddess that at least my husband does his own laundry and sometimes does the dishes too.

 

 

 

Hannukrap

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Since becoming a mother, I realized I’ve become quite ambivalent about holidays. On one hand, I like them because, well, they’re holidays. On the other, I really do not like them because they often involve spending a lot of time with family, which means having to travel to the south, which in turn means having a very upset baby for the next couple of days seeing as her sleeping and eating patterns become all screwy.

So Hannukah was no different. And just like on the September/October holidays, my poor baby got sick, although this was not as a result of traveling to the south but rather as a side effect of the shot she got the previous week.

So the first three days of Hannukah were spent lighting candles, eating doughnuts and shoving suppositories up my kid’s bum. The fever was finally defeated by Friday evening, and the next day, my husband and I had a very nice Shabbat. We took my baby and my dog out to the dog park as it was nice and sunny. On the way back home, my baby fell asleep. My husband chopped up some fresh veggies and we sat to watch TV. The rest of the day went by uneventfully, thank Goddess.

On Monday, my family planned a birthday party for my grandmother. It took place in a Karaoke place in Be’er Sheva. My husband and I absolutely DESPISE Karaoke. Seriously, Karaoke was the reason earplugs were invented. Karaoke killed the hippy with the unplugged acoustic guitar and his coombaya circle. Karaoke was created solely for people who can’t sing but who think they can.

But everybody was going to be there, including my cousin from Belgium. I spent most of that evening going back and forth between the room where my family was, with the awful sounds of Karaoke and the cigarette-smoke-saturated air, and the next room which had neither. My baby, being attacked by my family she doesn’t know and sounds she didn’t particularly care for, failed to fall asleep that night, as she is wont to do whenever she is anywhere that is not her bedroom.

A word about Karaoke:

Back in Montreal, I went to a drag queen club (Cabaret Mado) on an evening of Karaoke. The people who went up to sing were actually quite talented, so I wasn’t suffering much if at all. A couple of years ago, my friend from Sweden came to visit me in Israel and after she insisted endlessly, I joined her for another Karaoke night. She got up on stage and pretty much wiped the floor with any other wannabe singer who came up after her. So that was also ok.

But my family… no. Just no. I bring earplugs to most of my family’s dinner parties and holidays events because I know there is bound to be singing. And my family is made up of loud Moroccans who don’t need any electronic device to make them sound like they’re singing through a goddamn bullhorn. Earplugs have been my salvation in all my family events. But I forgot to bring them this time around.

Plus, the songs they choose in Karaoke are mostly Middle Eastern tunes. Anybody who knows me, even as a passing acquaintance, knows just how I feel about that music. Bleeding ears is not even the word.

So when my dad came to see me and my husband sitting in the other room, he said that he doesn’t understand why loud singing Moroccans torture us so much considering all the loud metal concerts we go to. The mere fact that he even compared the two was baffling to me. But I explained that the music we listen to involves extremely talented musicians playing their instruments like sheer gods, and talented vocalists tearing up their microphones, whereas the auditory abomination known as Karaoke coming from the next room has neither talented vocals nor talented musical instrumentation.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE my family. So it was still nice to see them and to show off my daughter. But I’m glad that going to the south is not something we do too often, and I’m glad that Karaoke is not something that my family does too much either. But sometimes I wish these machines had Rammstein songs included in their repertoire. Because if they do, the next time my family decides to torture me with a Karaoke night, I will see to it that I will torture them back with some badass industrial German tunes.

Peace, love and also, seriously you guys have to stop smoking already.