Friday, November 20, 2009

Me a Rabbi? 2

The year, I must say was a tormenting one. There was a huge distance between the adult I was pretending to be and the child I had wanted to be and really, needed to be. I had a beard and glasses. I wore a suit and tie. I was always cordial and respectful. I did my job well even if I had no idea what I was doing. I was in order even if my insides were caving in. I pretended even if my soul was crying and dying. I ate a lot of nosh to hide the pain and the fear of being a child in an adult world and that was what I had to pay to hide from who I was. I saw many beautiful girls and women who had their life together. They taught around the school and I was so tempted to get to know them and have some fun. No fun for me. I was a Rabbi, I couldn't afford to have some kind of scandal. No, I had to behave myself. I taught these kids Talmud. It so happened to be that the Tractate of Talmud that the school chose for us to teach was highly impractical to teach to middle school kids. It was abstract, linguistic oriented and hard to relate to. This made me even more upset at my ironic position. I had hated this kind of study and now I was forced to put kids in the very position that I resented being put in myself. I had kids who were ahead of their age in their thinking and aspirations. How, inside, I had wished that I could be their friend. I wished that I could play with them. That's all I wanted to do was play. One of my students would skateboard to school. I wished I could do that too. They were into all kinds of computer gadgets and I wished I could explore too. Here I was forcing them to study Talmud while wanting to be in their shoes. All they wanted to so was have fun and all I wanted to do was have fun. Why were we sitting here forcing each other to do what we didn't want to do? Every morning I would trade spots with the hot second grade teacher. I felt so out of place leading a prayer service for her second graders, when all I wanted to do was hump her on the desk. Am I crazy? All I wanted was balance. I wondered why I was this way. Something felt off. Is this the way everyone feels? I just wanted to feel composed, calm and normal. I was pretty sure that something was way off. If it wasn't how could I feel so off, so far from sanity and composure?
How I wished that I could be an adult. I wished that I could just have a job and a life I could be proud of. I hoped that I would be a person. I need help, I thought, I just didn't know what kind and in my position, I was just upset, I didn't think much about what I needed to do. As I sat with the other real Rabbi's at lunch, I felt like I was sitting with seven uncles or fathers. I tried to pretend that I wasn't scared and that I was as secure as they were in their position but all I could feel was fear and irony. How is this happening to me? I don't really believe in what I'm teaching, I am just a child, just a wild rebellious child trapped in a crazy job with a fancy suit.
All I knew was that I better keep my mouth shut. All I knew is that I would have to do the best I could at keeping this fake and painful life together until the end of the year. Yes, I met with parents, I discussed their children's problems. I pretended that all was OK with me. I had problems that were much bigger than that of their children. In many cases I encountered parents who were helping their children in quite extraordinary ways. Inside I wished that my parents could have given me that kind of help. I was a good teacher. I cared for my students and worked hard on my lessons. It wasn't the children I disliked, it was the lying, the hiding, and living a life that was far more mature than the one I was actually prepared to live. I needed to play in the sand. I needed to figure out why I was so angry. I needed the space and safety to examine what I truly believed and felt about all the things I was taught. Did I really believe in God? Did I care if I believed or not? who am I ? What do I stand for? If there is not God, is there anything important for me to do here? How do I get a girl? Why is it that others do and I don't?
What would it take to live a life that I was proud of? Why was everything so upside down? Why can't I just be happy? Can I? Is there a way?