Tuesday, December 4, 2007

STRESSED OUT (Or, Starting the Conversation)

Lately, I have become increasingly stressed out to the point that stress seems almost a normal state of being.

And here's the thing - the consensus from the comments on my last post was that I was not, indeed, a hypocrite. Which is nice to know, but it doesn't help the stress. The more sure I am that I don't believe in the basic premises Judaism and the more I find myself breaking with Jewish law, the more upset (which translates into stress) I become that I'm not being honest with my friends and (more importantly) my parents and siblings.

But I don't even know where or how to begin such a conversation. Sometimes I think my mother suspects it by the kinds of questions she asks me and the tone in which she asks them ("Where did you get food on your trip to [place without a Jewish community]? What did you do for Shabbos?").

I have no problem arguing with my parents about political or social issues and do so all the time. But the second I even think about broaching the topic of Judaism, I feel queasy. I can almost see the look of anguish on their faces. My parents are baal tshuva and they have become increasingly more religious throughout the years. My siblings all became more religious than we were raised to be. I'm already the "black sheep" because I'm "modern" but I'm terrified of how hurt my parents would be if I came out as an agnostic (or how infrequently my siblings would talk to me).

But I'm 28 already. And I feel a little bit paralyzed, like I can't really start life unless I can start it on my own grounds. And somehow, even though I've already done a thousand different things with my life, I feel like I'm not really living freely unless I come clean to my parents.

But how do I start that conversation?