Thursday, May 24, 2012

Leaving Orthodoxy and a New Picture of Adulthood

Here's the truth. Overall, I've been really happy in my life. I have a new boyfriend (no, he's not Jewish). I live far away from my parents and the world in which I was brought up, both geographically and in terms of my lifestyle. My world is almost completely secular. Yes, I still celebrate holidays (in my own way). And sure, when I go back to my parents' house the Orthodoxy falls right back into place as though I'd never left it at all. And certainly, I follow news of the Orthodox world voraciously, in a way that only someone raised in that world would. Heck, I'm even writing a novel and my protagonist is (wait for it...!) a Modern Orthodox teenager.

But overwhelmingly, my life has very few traces of the world I come from. I like it that way. But even now, as a 33-year-old adult, I get these moments where I can't understand how I came to be this way and how this could possibly be my life. How it is I could possibly be an adult without also being a wife/mother who dons a hat and suit every week and heads off to shul?

Because here's the thing about going "off-the-derech." You're brought up with these pictures in your head of what life will look like in 15, 20 years. This is, of course, not exclusive to Orthodox culture. It's in every culture. It's why people yearn for white dress weddings and houses with picket fences. And, as in every culture, the breaking away from that model can be confusing and disorienting. I don't know if that ever fully goes away. It hasn't yet for me, anyway.

There's nothing in me that wants to be that Modern Orthodox woman that I once imagined I would be. And still, at the same time, there's a part of my psyche that still doesn't understand how I could be anything else.

Monday, May 14, 2012

I've been forgetting to update this blog this year, but...

...if you're interested, You, Me & Religion posted an interview with me a few weeks ago.
Hope to finish this hiatus and see you all again soon!