All That I Can’t Say

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Last night I had a bitch of a time trying to fall asleep. I was feeling under the weather and tired as hell, but I was tossing and turning for no less than two hours before drifting off into an uneasy, short-lived sleep.

It felt like out of nowhere. I was suddenly hit by an intense case of anxiety like I haven’t felt in years.

Last night was metal night and I was sitting around with a couple of girls, younger than me, who said stuff like “I’m turning 27 soon, that’s so old!”

I barged into their whining and said “I’m going on 33 in October. What does that make me? Dead?”

Frankly, I must say I regret all the times I complained every time my birthday rolled around and I would say “I’m 19, I’m so old!” or “I’m 25, fucking old!” But I do recall being excited for the prospect of turning 30, because for me, 30 means stability. I saw it as a time in your life when everything suddenly falls into place. A time of perfection and organization, when you feel happy and comfy in all areas of your life – financially, psychologically and emotionally. And that’s exactly where I was and what I felt when I turned 30. I completed my therapy with flying colors, I got a wonderful boyfriend who is now my husband, I have my home, my dog, my job, my savings account, my hobbies and my family, all of which I’m so thankful for and happy with. So for the past few years, things could not be better, except for a few medical issues.

But last night, shit just collapsed all around me. I’m going on 33, and although I personally do not think it’s old (even if I went through some medical issues which would indicate otherwise) while the people around me are still in their 20s and complain about it, I felt a terrible hole. Something lacking.

Last night, these girls were talking about their extensive sexual adventures, body modification, eating disorders, while I stayed as silent as a corpse. I had nothing to add because my sexual history started at the ripe “old” age of 20, and the sexual partners I’ve had could be counted on a single hand with one amputated finger. As for bodmod, I am now at the stage of tattoos. I am not getting any more piercings because taking them off and putting them back on once a month every time I go to the mikve is a pain in the ass. And I’ve never had any eating disorders although my body image issues abound.

But it’s other things that I wish I could talk about and tried saying last night a couple of times, but couldn’t get a word in. Because my issues are those that only people like me can understand. My medical issues, old people issues, trying to get pregnant which is not the easiest thing in the world despite what everybody thinks… things that I want to say but can’t because I don’t have a human BFF (my dog is my bestie) who can understand any of it, or at all. And in a world where people think that 27 is old and where all you need to have a baby is fuck, my experiences are worth shit and don’t make any sense. If I tell them that with all the wonderful things I have in my life, all I want is a full uterus, they’ll play fish, completely at a loss for words.

All the friends I had who have had the shred of a potential of being a best friend moved away and cut all contact. The rest of my friends are my husband’s friends, all guys. No offense to the male specie but there is no way in hell that any of them can understand what’s it’s like to want a baby so bad, you’re willing to sacrifice everything you’ve worked so hard for – psycho-emotional wellbeing, money, relationships, health, all the perfection I reached at age 30 – just to have one, and then to find out that even conceiving will be a bitch, and feeling like half a woman as a result.

And with that, I started crying, rolling around in bed in a mound of anxiety mixed with paralyzing fear and loneliness I have never felt before.

I see the kids on the bus, the mothers with the strollers, the pregnant women, the toddlers with their smiles full of milk teeth, and I can’t stop staring and wishing and wanting so bad. So bad.

Peace, love and health. Only health.

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All I Leave Behind

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I had great plans for the Passover holiday. One of them was rereading all my old diaries to find entries that I could include in a new split-zine I will be writing with my friend. This was an activity that I underestimated in terms of just how long it will take me to read all my diaries, which was basically the entire week. So all my other plans fell through, and I just kept on reading, marking pages, highlighting, noting stuff down…

I also underestimated the emotional effect that rereading all this shit would cause. All the corpses that would resurface. It was a rollercoaster of emotions – some parts made me laugh, some inspired me to no end, some parts even turned me on. But some parts were also shocking and terrifying, confusing and utterly heartbreaking, mainly because I couldn’t believe that this was once me. That I would express myself this way, and that this was how I thought I felt and how, in some instances, I completely misled myself. In 2003, I spent half a diary talking about my boyfriend of the time in excruciatingly graphic detail. Not one page would go by without my mentioning how much I love him and all that shit. After a hiatus of at least a year an a half (about a year after he broke up with me), I wrote an angry entry, in big capital letters:

“[name] is a motherfucking shitty asshole! The only good thing he ever did was reveal his true colors when he broke up with me.” Then I went on to say how guys are only good for one thing and that’s fucking. Then I wrote a note to myself to read this entry a couple million times before ever allowing myself to fall into the abysmal hell also known as love.

Although I knew this before, it was only after I read this entire diary that I realized how true this was – I was never in love with this guy. I was obsessed with him. None of it was true, none of it was real. I was misled into thinking I was in love. I was blind to that until I went through therapy and learned to love without killing myself and without focusing my world around “him”. It was only when I met my husband when I learned what true love feels like. And I wrote about that too in my later diaries, when I first met Elad and felt true love for the first time: “I still feel like I come first. Like my inner child comes first, but I love the shit out of this guy – how is that possible?”

I told my husband about the journal entries I wrote when we first met. It turned both of us on. When I put all these experiences in perspective, I suddenly became more attracted to him, even more than before.

Later on I also wrote about the horrible job I had for two years and how I was struggling to keep myself sane by keeping a steady social life, hanging out with my boyfriend, and writing endlessly, even if it kept me up well past my bedtime and I woke up the next day feeling like a zombie. I was amazed at how strong I was and how I pushed myself to write even if I was beyond tired (or as I put it: “somewhere between excruciatingly exhausted and comatose”), and how I managed to overcome my fatigue with the help of my art.

As I read these entries, I felt overcome with a sense of inspiration like I haven’t felt in a long time.

I want to resume my journal writing and I think I’ll start this week. I’ve just been bogged down with zine plans and zine writing (which is no less awesome, I must say!), plus I have a contribution to write to this riot grrrl anthology, plus I have some letters to write, packages to pack, and shit to mail out, plus I have to start this split-zine as well… basically all the stuff I had planned for this past week and managed to do nothing.

AND, I just got word that I’m about to receive a new stack of Stephen King books… oh boy. You’re just gonna drown me in your prose again, Steve, aren’t you? And keep me from getting any decent writing done, isn’t that right? Why must you always be so fucking awesome?

The inspiration to read Stephen King somehow always demolishes my inspiration for creativity. Always. Without fail.

I feel so happy and so sad at the same time. *sigh*

Peace, love and Deicide show in Las Vegas. Can you dig it?

Doctor Art

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For the past few days, my emotional state has taken a beating for a slew of different reasons I don’t wish to detail. Each one of them pushed me further and further into a state of utter depression. I haven’t been showing it much to anyone mainly because I’ve managed to deal with it by escaping into mind-numbing entertainment – heavyass metal tunes, Stephen King literature, countless episodes of Shameless… Sometimes distracting myself by reading an ungodly amount of chapters of an intense novel that only Stephen King can manage is the best treatment (read: treatment, not cure) for depression, mood swings and PMS.

I’ve also had problems falling asleep, and if I do fall asleep, I have nightmares that I can’t remember, but the feelings these dreams cause last pretty much from the moment I wake up in the morning and all through the day. So fuck you very much, nightmares, for making me feel even worse.

HOWEVER! Last night I managed to forget all about my shitty state of mind while I was working on a photo presentation for the wedding. And today, while I found some free time at the office and worked on a collage I’ve been planning for a new issue of my zine, I suddenly felt happy. My Core of Happiness resurfaced, and my yin-yang balance was reclaimed.

It seems to me that production (art, zines, computer art) is the one activity that is not distracting or mind-numbing and does not repress whatever shit I’m feeling, but actually manages to cure it. I think back on all the reasons I felt depressed and suddenly, they don’t bother me so much anymore.

Sometimes speaking to my inner child helps if the depression comes on for no apparent reason. But I also know that sometimes my inner child doesn’t want to speak and prefers to express herself with the silent form of expression – art. Her mother tongue is the written word, poetry, photography, graphic design, paper art, drawing, and zine-making. This is why when I engage in any form of art, I feel hypnotized. I feel in the Zone. It’s because I’m not really the one who makes that art, but the child within.

So I think that this surge of the Core that all but saved me this week happened because my inner child got her little art pill and spilled it all. She will get some more of it tonight when I will be working on my zine.

Thank you, art. I don’t know if I’ll be alive today if it wasn’t for you.

Peace, love and serenity.

The New Me

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As you noticed, my blog layout is completely different.

For the last few weeks, I’ve felt like a change was needed. And not just a change of blog theme, but a change of perspective on life and a change of how I define myself.

I’ve noticed that the grrrlVIRUS movement has much less importance in my life as the movement itself died. Nobody I know talks about it anymore, there are no new posts on any of the related pages or social networks – it’s simply vanished.

The grrrlVIRUS event that was supposed to take place in Berlin a few years ago never happened, and I was so utterly disappointed by it. I think my lack of interest in the movement started then. That’s besides the point that I was the only active member of the Israeli grrrlVIRUS branch. Forget active, I was the only member. Any demonstration I went to – Slutwalk, Pride, whatever… I was the only one holding a grrrlVIRUS banner, I was the only one giving out flyer and trying to spread the virus. 

I don’t think I burned out. I think the virus simply died. There is no more interest in it and I’m no longer involved.

So I no longer define myself as a grrrlIVIRUS-infected chick. I am still a riot grrrl though. I think my tattoo has never been more accurate as it is now – “a true riot grrrl never dies”. I still listen to the music, I still make zines and I still revel in DIY magic. The main difference between riot grrrl and grrrlVIRUS for me is that the latter was a passing fad, whereas the former was one that shaped me for already 14 years. It’s not something that will simply disappear, or die just as easily. I’m still a feminist, and riot grrrl is the movement that defines feminism for me.

Back of VestMy patches vest has a large print of the grrrlVIRUS logo on the back, and I’ve been considering covering it with another large patch. I’m not sure which one yet. I’ve been considering either Mercyful Fate, Amon Amarth or a classic one of Arch Enemy, like from Wages of Sin or something. I also need to remove the grrrlVIRUS patch from the bottom right of the vest and replace it with something else. 

For my blog, I changed the description of “The Badass” on the top right. No mention of grrrlVIRUS is made, and I’ve added some things that I identify with more and that define me in my current state, based on my current interests.

I’ve also been considering changing the picture and the text in the page “About the Badass.” It will be a little more detailed and a little less pretentious.

As a little yet important change – I no longer wear the typewriter necklace I’ve been wearing for the past five years. I still love typewriters and still use my own when I produce zines or write letters, but the necklace is now faded and worn out. I am now wearing a Thor’s Hammer pendent that I recently bought online. It’s a similar one that Johan Hegg (Amon Amarth) wears onstage.

Aside from that, I feel the need to detatch myself from people who are too left wing. I simply can’t stand just how hateful some of these people can get. I’ve been right wing since I moved to Israel, and I’ve been Zionist for as long as I can remember. The reason I added these people in the first place was because we had other things in common – feminism, metal, punk, zines, pro-GLBT sentiments, etc. But when it comes to nationalism, they couldn’t piss me off more. During the latest conflict with Gaza, a shitload of infuriatingly ignorant, naive, and shockingly anti-Semitic posts flooded my Facebook and my WordPress feed. I have some friends who are left wing but still level headed. These will remain my friends. But as for the ones who can’t stand to say the word “Zionist” without adding “equals Nazi”, they can fuck off.  I already unfriended one of these people on Facebook. I need to weed out the rest.

I needed this redefinition to reclaim my balance, put my identity in focus, and admit to myself that this is who I am. No matter who I’ve been and what I said and what I wrote in the past, my present is the only thing that matters.

Peace, love and change is good.

Mourning and Celebrating the Enemy

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A few days ago, I found out that Angela Gossow has stepped down from Arch Enemy’s lead. Replacing her is Alissa White-Gluz, former lead vocalist of The Agonist.

It was a devastating piece of information I could have done without, especially on that day which was already shitty for various unrelated reasons. I know Alissa. I met her backstage along with Angela after Arch Enemy’s show in Montreal back in 2008. I also had a chance to interview her for Fallopian Falafel some time later and she turned out to be quite an incredible chick. Plus, The Agonist is a pretty cool band, too. And aside from all that, not only is Alissa originally from Montreal, like me, but she’s also Jewish (or at least half-Jewish) like me. I know that because she told me she was considering applying for the Birthright trip to Israel, which you can only apply for if you have some Jewish blood running through your system. So yes, I love Alissa.

But that news was still awful. And I was far from convinced that Alissa would make a good replacement for Angela. In fact, Angela is irreplaceable. She’s second to none. There can never be any good enough substitute for Angela.

Despite all these thoughts going through my mind, I think the whole idea of Angela quitting Arch Enemy was still rather surreal to me. The reality of it didn’t hit me until last night when I saw the new video Arch Enemy released with Alissa in the lead, called “War Eternal”. I didn’t think I was going to have a chance to see the video last night when it was officially released because my computer was busted. I thought I’d have to wait until Sunday when I would watch it at work. But my boyfriend managed to fix it and the video blasted through the speakers and hit me in my eardrums, then straight in the middle of my brain, shot immediately to the spine, exploded through my heart and finally splattered my guts and ravaged my system. When the guitars shredded into the chorus and Alissa’s growls persisted along with the melody, just as Angela is wont to do, that’s when Angela’s absence hit me like a brick to my face.

As beautiful and as powerful and as still incredible as the song is, I couldn’t help crying. Like a baby. Angela is gone. She’s really gone. The woman who has been my ultimate role model, the one whose vocals, words and songs have saved my life more times than I can count, the one who was there and who understood me when no one else could or even wanted to – she was all those things – and she is really gone.

My inner child mourned the momentous loss and so we cried and moaned and sighed in unison.

And then, we struggled to move on.

Alissa’s vocals are epic and despite everything, she is indeed a more than decent replacement for Angela. I am thrilled for the new record which is set to be released in June, and I am even more excited about the Arch Enemy show at Wacken in August.

Angela, you will be missed. Alissa, you are amazing. Pure fucking metal now and forever.

Peace, love and remember who you are.

Love Me Three Times

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Elad and Me MunichToday, my boyfriend and I are celebrating our third anniversary. When I think about it in relation to the three years I’ve been celibate prior to this relationship, I think it’s safe to say that the scales are finally balanced.

In the first few days of this relationship, I was confused, unsure, and not to mention scared shitless. It was the first time I got into anything serious after making peace with my body, learning to love my essence and considering myself an independent individual. My psychological recovery was the most important aspect of my life and the only thing I struggled with was attempting to balance that with being in love.

Before that happened, being in love with myself while being in love with a significant other was impossible for me and made no sense either. Whenever I was in a relationship, I simply ceased to exist. My being collapsed into a black hole and my entire universe was the object of my affection and nothing else. So when I finally managed to claim myself, falling in love became a challenge. When I started dating my boyfriend, I started asking myself “Is this what true love feels like when the ‘I’ actually takes a big part in ‘us’? When the ‘I’ actually exists?”

The answer came shortly thereafter. “Yes, this is the way it’s gotta be. You can’t have an ‘us’ without an ‘I’. What you experienced before wasn’t true love, it was blind love and self-obliteration, total devastation, and all-encompassing sacrifice.”

I am now at the point in my life that I have wished for ever since I graduated from university nine years ago. I always said “I wish I could just fast-forward to the part in my life where I have a pretty little apartment, a good job, money in my bank account, an amazing lover and a beautiful dog.”

Today, I have all of the above and more. I have never been happier.

Peace, love and oooh love, oooh loverboy.

Give Me Back My Body

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I just read a blog post about rape culture and how the blame of rape is put on the victim if she was drunk or wearing provocative clothing. Throughout the post, I felt like ownership of my body slipped right from under me. It’s not like I never knew it before, but every time I read a story about this girl or that woman being raped, followed by statements by the others such as “She shouldn’t have been drinking,” “she shouldn’t have been wearing that skirt/shirt/shorts/hairdo/makeup,” I feel objectified and just plain disgusted by the entire world and this shitty fucking society.

Like is mentioned in the above linked post, I sometimes get responses such as “Until you go live in the Middle East, you have no right to speak about rape culture.”

Number one, rape culture exists in every corner, in every cave of this godforsaken world because patriarchy perpetuates it and makes it ok to demonize a rape victim.

Number two, dipshits should know I LIVE IN THE MIDDLE EAST. So there. We’ve just cleared me of any silencing statements and from any declaration that says I have no right to speak my mind.

In terms of my opinions regarding ownership of my body, I feel like I constantly need to prove myself and stand up for myself in that respect. I’ve mentioned it in countless earlier posts, but my family clearly feel like they have the right to tell me what to do or not do with my body, my style of clothing, my hair, and body art. This for me is a blunt expression of “I own your body and can therefore tell you what to do with it.” If I were to confront my family about it, they would dismiss my claim as an exaggeration and make me feel stupid and guilty by saying something offensive like “Gosh! We can’t even talk to you anymore!”

Just this past month, I’ve been made to suffer endless pleads from my mom to show up at the Passover table wearing something “festive.” She was simply following her usual banter whenever holiday season comes around and dreads the moment I would show up at my grandmother’s house wearing plaid pants and an Arch Enemy t-shirt. Now I won’t have any problem wearing a skirt (except that I do prefer plaid pants and a metal t-shirt), but why do I still need to justify my style and claim my right to individuality and self-expression at 30 years of age?

Under the law, I’ve been considered an adult for the past 12 years. Twelve motherfucking years! Why can’t my mom just accept that I’m an adult, an individual, a mature woman with a unique style and who, despite all of society’s claims to the contrary, owns her body?

I’ve had this conversation (read: fight) with my mom on countless occasions. And on all counts, she made some dismissive statement that ultimately made me feel guilty.

I am in the process of writing a book about my years of psychological therapy and how I learned to free myself from the chains of guilt imposed on me by my parents. And although this therapy took place over four years ago, I feel like I’m back to square one. I know for a fact that my mom would make me feel guilty if I showed up with an outfit she doesn’t consider festive, or with a new piercing or a new tattoo… And she could do it without saying anything. The disappointment on her face would be inflicting all the guilt in the world and reiterating the same “I gave birth to you. I own you,” statement she says without even speaking.

I am so upset right now, I could cry. There is absolutely nothing I can do to make my family understand that I don’t want to be treated as a doll. If I said anything, it would be dismissed as quickly and painfully as a slap to the face.

OK, now I really am crying. My inner child is in pain. This isn’t right. This isn’t right.

It’s not fair that none of my male cousins get this treatment. They own their body from day one, no questions asked, while I’m 30 years old and still have to keep insisting and fighting and kicking and screaming for my body, and still have no claims to it.

I don’t wanna go to my family’s house for the holiday. I don’t want to cave in to my mother’s pleas and take my inner child’s needs for granted once again. And I also don’t want to respond to my inner child’s needs and suffer the guilt inflicted on me by my mother’s expression, yet again.

Enough.