No More Holes

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196033_4689712470_599_nA few years ago, I wrote a zine which included an article I wrote about piercings. I said something along the lines of how I like piercings and how I am not doing it for attention and how it’s become a way of life. I was 25 when I wrote that piece and though it still rings true today, I think it would ring truer if the word “piercings” would be substituted with “tattoos”.

Back in the day, I preferred piercings over tattoos because I said that if I ever get tired of one or more, I can simply remove it and all that would be left is a little hole. But with tattoos, removing them could be tricky.

Today, however, I have come to see tattoos as my preferred method of body modification. I form a closer connection to my tattoos because they become a new birthmark or I feel as if they’re a part of my genetic makeup. Even if their meaning for me has changed or if I feel their message doesn’t represent me anymore (which hasn’t happened yet) they’re still part of who I am and will remain with me until the day I die.

Piercings don’t. As pretty as some of them are (I especially love oral piercings. Fucking stunning!) they’re temporary and can be removed at any time.

At the hight of my piercing stage, I’ve had a total of eight piercings. Not much, but enough for my surgeons to gawk at the plastic cup they gave me for keeping my metal before whatever surgery I had to undergo.

My grandfather pierced my ears when I was a year old. I pierced my septum when I was 20, then my right nipple four months later. I got a belly ring at 21, a labret at 23, my left nipple at 26 and a rook at 27.

I had already started getting tattoos by the time I got my labret, and now have four of them. A small one of my logo on my right wrist, a slightly bigger one of my guitar on my left hip, and a half-sleeve on both arms.

Events took place at different stages of my life which forced me to remove almost all of my piercings one by one.

My ears:
After losing my favorite pair of earrings (Star of David earrings I got for my 14th birthday from my aunt in LA), I failed to find a pair that I loved as much. My right one also kept getting infected. I keep trying to find a pair that I like and that doesn’t hurt too much, but to no avail.

My labret:
As any gorgeous oral piercing tends to do, my labret did a number on my oral health. It started to destroy my lower front teeth. The gums were receding and I got scared of any further damage. Off it went to never go back.

My left nipple:
This one came off after my efforts to fight the reoccurring infections proved futile. I had it for about four years, and the infection kept coming back every one or two months. Finally, I found myself unable to touch it and didn’t even let my husband (who was my boyfriend back then) anywhere near it. Off it went. Fuck that painful shit.

The rook:
After my wedding, I had to remove my rings once a month to go to the mikveh (the ritual bath). It was a pain in the ass to remove them and an even bigger pain in the ass to put them back in. The most difficult one was the rook. My ring was with a pressure ball which I could never snap back in, so I just left it as is without the pressure ball. But it was still difficult to remove and put back. Recently, I tried changing the ring itself to a curved barbell, but it didn’t help. So last week, after coming back from the mikveh, I decided to not put it back. Pretty as it was, it’s not worth my rage every time I try putting it back in and fail about a dozen times before I succeed.

The belly ring and my right nipple:
These two came off after I got pregnant. The belly ring started to hurt even during my first trimester when I was barely showing. And the nipple simply got pushed out when my breasts started to swell. I suspect that the hole was still there even after I gave birth to my daughter because I found that it was much easier for me to pump and easier for her to nurse on my right one. But I never tried to put my rings back in even after I stopped breastfeeding.

The septum:
This is the first voluntary piercing I got, and the only one I still have. I even have the same ring since I was 20. I changed it a couple of times over the years but always came back to it because it was the most comfortable one. Curved barbell, 14 gauge, spread slightly wider at the curve so that I could easily flip it upside down into my nose whenever I need to hide it. I can also easily remove it and put it back in, no problem at all. My daughter also likes my septum. She points at it and says “Agil!” [Ring] and then points at her own nose and says “Gam ani rotza!” [I want one too!]

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So now, every time I think I ought to get another piercing, I think about how painful it will be to eventually have to remove it because all my other piercings met the same fate and got relegated to my jewelry box, where they will slowly become oxidized. And then I think, fuck that, I’ll get a tattoo instead.

When my daughter grows up and decides to get a piercing, I will take her to the tattoo shop, she’ll get her piercing wherever she wants, and I’ll get a tattoo of one of her drawings as I’m planning to do. Maybe on one of my shoulderblades.

Peace, love and bodmod is for the freaks. Popular kids should steer clear and fuck off.

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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.

Keep It Unreal

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I read something upsetting and then I get upset. I don’t know when I became so goddamn sensitive. And why. I try to keep a positive mindset but it’s becoming harder and harder to do because I’m surrounded with so much negativity, mainly brought about via social media. Sometimes I consider the option of suspending my Facebook account for a little while so that I can avoid the barrage of negative feed I’m crushed by every day. Maybe I should do that…

Fuck the “if it bleeds, it leads” journalistic standard. I wish it would stop bleeding so much. I wanna read something positive for a change. Something that doesn’t make me want to shut off the world. I wanna read children’s books. Not the ones about a grandmother being devoured by a wolf, and not about a couple of kids shoving a witch into a furnace. Maybe about a baby throwing her toys and playing guitar. Or about a cat befriending a mouse.

Also, I’ve noticed that confusing books do not jive so well with me anymore. I recently got the book Kissing Dead Girls, which I’ve read a few years ago and remembered it being amazing and inspiring. In fact, after the first time I read the book, I was so inspired that I wrote two short poem-style stories using the same style and confusing sentence structure as Daphne Gottlieb uses in her book.

So I finally bought the book and have spent the past two weeks trying to read it. Some of the stories are just as wonderful as I remembered them. But most are just plain confusing. Fragmented sentences, beginning and ending nowhere, the lack of capital letters where they should be, a tone and voice which sound like the ramblings of senility itself, incoherence galore, boring nonsensical bullshit, all served to make me tired and restless at once and eventually I either skipped to the next chapter or just put the book down. Every time I think about resuming reading it, I get tired. Just thinking about it, I get bored out of my fucking mind.

I came up with a theory. The reason I enjoyed this book so much all these years ago was probably because it reflected the confusion I lived on a daily basis. Back then, my life was a mess. Nothing made sense. My life was as fragmented as the sentences in that book, and somehow those fragments seemed to complete me. The fragments fell right into the places where my essence was lacking. But now, my life is complete. I feel so right and organized. Even if my sleep is fragmented, because being the mother of a toddler, it kinda comes with the territory, that is part of my predictable routine. Everything has its rightful place. I’m married to a super awesome guy, I have a brilliant kid, I have a sweet dog, I have a decent job, I have a decent house, I have peace of mind, and I simply don’t want any bloody news piece or any fucking confusing book ruining it for me.

Another theory I came up with was that the first time I read Kissing Dead Girls was before I became exposed to Stephen King. Yes, eventually it all comes down to that. Once I read Duma Key, my whole view of literature drastically changed. I have immense trouble reading books that are not written by King. I think it’s also because I love fiction more than anything because as bloody as it gets, I know it’s not real. Even if Stephen King is such a master storyteller that it seems as if his fiction IS in fact reality, deep down I still know it isn’t. So for me, keeping a positive mindset is totally possible with fiction books.

clarity

And so, being bored to tears and utterly frustrated by Kissing Dead Girls, I ordered another fiction book, The Clarity by Keith Thomas. I just got a text message from the post office notifying me that this book I ordered from Germany just arrived. I’m excited by the prospect of escaping into fiction, and even more excited that come May 22, I will score me a brand new Stephen King novel, The Outsider.

You know what? I’ll just go ahead and reclaim “If it bleeds it leads” but add “in fiction” at the end, because in reality it just serves to fuck me up.

Peace, love and fiction forever

Positively Zen

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Tai Chi Thursdays are totally where it’s at.

Today, I did my first Integral Tai Chi routine since maybe February 2016. It was slightly more difficult than I remembered since I’m so out of shape, but it was just as much fun and rewarding. I had to use the videos I used in the past because I got a little rusty and didn’t quite remember all the movements and the mantras, but eventually, it came back to me and the workout flowed as naturally as it had in the past. A couple more times and I’ll be able to do it with ambient music instead of videos, meditating with Sheila Chandra’s “Sacred Stones” in the background, and all will be right in the universe again.

The final segment of the workout, as always, is meditation. There are several stages of this segment, one of which is the stage of appreciation where you have to think about two good things that happened to you in the last 24 hours or the past week. So I thought about my daughter finally being healthy, no more fever, no more suppositories, no more sleepless nights, and I smiled a huge and honest smile. Then I also thought about yesterday. I had the day off work and used the time to bake a broccoli quiche. Both my husband and my daughter loved the holy hell out of it, and my huge smile became even bigger. Thank the Mother Goddess. Blessed Be Her Name.

As I came out of the meditative state, I made a decision to try my best to reduce the amount of negativity in my life. I want to stop lamenting the weather. Instead of thinking about how much winter sucks, I should focus on the warmth I feel when I’m at home with my loving husband, my amazing daughter and my beautiful dog. Instead of thinking about politics and getting all pissed off, I should focus on the peace of mind that I always have when I surround myself with my art and music. Instead of worrying about my health, I should focus on my Tai Chi routine and look forward to next Thursday so that I can indulge in yet another workout and recharge my state of positivity.

Always focus on the positive. A grateful heart is a happy heart. Namaste.

Peace, love and invocating the dragon.

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

 

The Metalhead Life

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What people tell me when they find out I like metal:

But you’re so quiet, how can you listen to a bunch of noise?
The reason I listen to your so-called “bunch of noise” is the very reason why I’m so quiet. The music does all the screaming for me. And besides, it’s NOT just random noises. It’s music created by some of the most talented musicians the world has to offer. The perfection of the riffs, the percussion, the bass, the synchronization of all these instruments and the intricacy of the melodies appeal to the trained ear in a way that no other music can.

But you’re so sweet, how can you listen to such violent music?
Again, this so-called “violent” music allows me to soothe my anger without the need to physically or vocally expressing it. And violence is not the only theme of metal. Much of it is about empowerment, taking back control, speaking out, standing out, being yourself, standing up against oppression, being united for a just cause… there is a lot of positivity to be found in metal.

But I thought you were Jewish, so like what, you worship Satan?
Yes, I am Jewish. No, I do not worship Satan. Just because the theme of the satanism does appear in certain genres of metal does not mean I suddenly follow the occult. Kindly destupidify yourself.

How can you even understand what they say?
Yes, there are bands, mostly gore metal bands like Decapitated and Cattle Decapitation among others, where it is really impossible to understand what they say. However, personally, I always found that the music is more important than the lyrics. So I really don’t care much if I don’t understand what they say. But there are a ton of other metal bands where the lyrics are perfectly enunciated. Melodic Death metal bands like Amon Amarth and Arch Enemy for example. Also, you can always find the lyrics online. So whatever.

So you want to kill yourself or something?
No. I want to keep on living for as long as I can so that I can keep on listening to awesome shredding music, and hoping to not have to listen to assholes like you.

And you subject your kid to that noise? What kind of mother are you?
I am the kind of mother who will show my daughter that there are other genres of music out there besides Mizrachit, and that diversifying your playlist is not a bad thing. Being a metalhead does not mean that you are loud, violent, worship Satan, are incoherent, and suicidal, and it certainly does not make you a bad mother. In fact, the metalhead community is made up of amazing people, warm, kind and inviting, and if you are lucky enough to count yourself among these awesome people, you will discover a wonderful culture that encourages and supports individuality, respect, self-esteem, empowerment and pure fucking metal. These are the kind of values I want my kid to have.

Peace, love and headbang bang bang!

 

All Order the Place

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A few posts back (right here) I described how annoyed I am with the lack of order in my daughter’s room, which doubled as a guest room, tripled as my work room, and quadrupled as a storage room. I realized that the reason I was so annoyed by it was because of who I am as a person. I like order in my house. Order in my house breeds order in my mind. Disorder and clutter irritate me and cause chaos instead of peace of mind.

There is this post where I describe how thorough I am with Passover cleaning (usually). And there is this post where organizing the house (or rather a room) is the stuff of daydreams for me. Also, whenever my mom comes over for a day or two, she always leaves things where they shouldn’t be. In fact, it happened more than once that I had to call up my mom and ask her “Where did you put this and that? I can’t find it anywhere!” I can’t go to sleep unless I reorganize all the stuff that my mom misplaced.

And yes, I also kept going into my daughter’s room trying to dream up a solution for the clutter and see if there is any hope for order in there.

So it is no wonder that today, as we finally got a new closet for my daughter, I finally feel at peace again. We managed to clear out some of the furniture in my daughter’s room after all, to make room for the closet which is much bigger than I imagined (and it’s awesome!). And I know that once I clear out the clothes from the drawers of the chest and organize it in the closet, that means we can clear out even more furniture. Clutter will be a thing of the past and my daughter’s room will look more like a little baby’s room rather than a garage.

Although dirt, dust, hair and fur doesn’t bother me so much, clutter does. And when everything is back in order, the only natural thing to do is to clean up. Otherwise, the order doesn’t look complete. So once the closet was delivered and set up, I spent the rest of my morning cleaning up. And then everything fell into place. Everything is organized and clean and my peace of mind is reclaimed.

Besides all that, last Friday, we had some workers over. They spent the whole day painting our living room and kitchen, cleaning up the mold that turned coal black due to what seems to be years of neglect, throwing out the old and rusty dishwasher that we never use and replacing it with a new cupboard. Convenient, organized, decluttered, cleaned, Tetris’d the fuck out of the place.

Next up, getting a new laundry machine! I do so much laundry, I am not surprised that our machine is starting to show the initial signs of a nervous breakdown. It leaks, it quite literally crumbles at the edges, it causes power surges without fail, it makes a fuckload of noise and dances around to the beat. Not to mention the countless times our house was flooded because the tube that drains the water from the machine fell out of the hole that leads to the sewer. If that is not a reasonable cause for lack of peace of mind, I don’t know what is.

Peace, love and Saw and Order (just because)