There are things we think of as secrets– and then it turns out there are dozens of things we feel, or ways we spend our time, or things we are doing right now, that we don’t ever talk about but that we don’t actually think of as secrets. Here are a few of mine. I know I say this often, but here we go again. With most of these, there is much to discuss– but I will leave it at this for now. Hopefully I will get back to longer stretches of time to write–when I will write more about some or all of these.
ok. Here goes.
1. My Job. My work. I never write here about . I haven’t figured out how to do it (not the job, but the writing about it), or what I would say– though I know there are many things I wouldn’t say. Let’s say this much for now. I work as a lawyer. I am a public interest lawyer and I work as an advocate for people with developmental disabilities. It is some of the most interesting work I have ever done and I think all the time about people with disabilities, as well as young people– two of the groups in our world who often don’t get the opportunity to speak for themselves. This work makes you keep asking–what does it mean to be a human being? What if you can’t speak? Or cannot walk? Or cannot see, or cannot breathe on your own? Or won’t ever speak or walk? Or cannot feed yourself or other big differences? What do we know about who is human? (everyone.) Whom do we take seriously? What would it mean if we really organized the world around the idea that every single human being is precious, infinitely interesting, worth knowing well?
2. Bat Mitzvah. I am studying to have an adult Bat Mitzvah. I never had a Bat Mitzvah as a young girl. In October, like my nephew last weekend, I will go before my congregation with four other women and lead the Shabbat morning service and read in Hebrew from the Torah– our bible, our book. I am just learning to read Hebrew. It is hard. It isn’t easy. I don’t know if I will be ready; I don’t know if I can do it– but that is the plan. I should write about this as I prepare. What I am doing, and why. Someone asked me recently, “how are your religious studies going?” And I thought– hmm, I guess that is what they are, but I really never thought of it that way. I need to figure out how to describe why I am doing this, and what it means to me. A stand in favor of being a fully powerful person, a stand against centuries of sexism, a closeness to my community, a love of the world and my place in it. October 30, 2010– my Bat Mitzvah.
3. House— my beloved partner and I have lived in this building in two different beautiful, light rambling apartments for 19 years. First a 2-bedroom and now a 3-bedroom. Our daughter was 12 days old when we met her and 20 days old when we all came home and she has lived here ever since. It’s a wonderful old building in a great, bustling neighborhood on a quiet residential street, right in the heart of things. You can walk to the grocery store, the best coffee shop in the city, a great dry cleaners, restaurants of these types: Ethiopian (great but infrequent), Mexican (often), american diner (often), falafel and kebabs (only recently, but often), Peruvian char-broiled chicken (cheap-ish, delicious and we wouldn’t have had company for dinner dozens of times but for the carry out chicken– or so often we don’t even like to say) and others.
But we’re bursting at the seams. Books are in boxes, boxes are piled on boxes, we have to work so hard to clean up the third room whenever guests comes for the night (happily this is often) because the third room is the staging area for all the things we don’t have room for. There is more about this, but lately, we’ve been thinking about buying a house. We’re looking, though we’ve looked many times before and each time we’ve been close we thought, –that house would be nice, but then we wouldn’t be here— and then we stay put in the end. But we are very serious about something we’ve seen recently. We may take the leap.
So here is the secret part. I’d really like space for us to spread our stuff out– but I cannot stand the idea of spreading us out. I’d like a big room to have guests hang out in, but I don’t want us hanging out in far corners of a big house. We’re on top of each other and I like it that way. No second floor for someone to go away to. The room with the computer where this and other interesting work gets done– is just a stone’s throw from the kitchen– and from the other two bedrooms and the living room, and the dining room. It’s a big apartment, but we aren’t very spread out and I like it that way. Would two floors and a basement let us get too far apart? For me it might. We’re looking at a house not far– one neighborhood over–but the girl who lives upstairs from us part of each week (divorced family) and who just shows up to play at different times– times when we haven’t gotten out of our pajamas, or are getting ready to get into them– that won’t happen in a separate house. So that’s my third secret of the day. I’m scared living in a house would put us way too far from each other. But I long for some space to spread out.
4. A plan. I want to have my first guest blogger. My sister. I have left her phone messages about this. Although we have spoken– she hasn’t said yes or no to this request– but I want to have her write on this blog, a particular and beautiful part of the speech she gave at her younger son’s Bar Mitzvah. I know she reads this. Is this what you would call subtle pressure? We’ll see.