When I was a child (and frankly, even through my 20's...), I would count down the days until my birthday. I would count down when the months got closer to my birthday, and then when my birthday month started I would count down the weeks and finally - I would count down the days.
The night before my birthday I would always have a hard time sleeping.
The anticipation from the monumental day and the butterflies in my stomach were keeping me awake in the wee hours of the morning.
Nowadays I am not into birthdays so much.
I enjoy them, and make sure to celebrate them somehow with a gift to myself and hopefully an unforgettable experience of some kind, but the anticipation from the day has faded over the years. It was replaced with the notion that every day can be special and can be symbolic to me, and I don't need a yearly reminder to honor myself or showering myself with a gift or some self-love!
BUT - Lately I've been sensing the same kind of familiar countdown butterflies...:
In a few days (SIX to be exact - and who are we kidding - I know EXACTLY when this is going to happen...) I will be having a new kind of a birthday:
The birthday of my blog.
(Insert confetti emoji here!)
On the 26th of this month - it would be a YEAR since I started writing here daily and experimenting with creative writings as well as creative thoughts, ideas, and feelings using the arts of storytelling, of poetry, of dialogue, of listing, of random bloggy-ish blurbs, of personal letters to aspects of myself, of 'Word Of The Day' collections, and many many other uncategorized entries.
I will begin unraveling what it is that I learned from this creative experiment in the coming few days... so stay tuned and follow the countdown to this blog's 1 year old birth day!
And if you feel so inclined - throw some confetti my way! :)
We all learn in different ways.
Some by following the teacher, the professor, the mentor, diligently and methodically.
Some learn visually and write their notes with colors rather than words.
Some learn through their ears.
Some learn by doing - the kinesthetic learners among us.
And some - like me - learn best by being self-taught; by figuring things out for myself. By making mistakes and yet still finding a way. Finding how to be a student MY WAY.
BUT how do we learn WHAT is the best way for us to learn?
I think the answer is already there:
Do you rather listen to a book in an audiobook rather than hard cover? Congrats! You're an auditory learner. Are you an A student and every teacher always loves ya? Well then! You are the teacher's dream. Do you visualize when people speak to you? Why hello, visual learner! Do you feel the need to get up and embody what someone is telling you? You may be a physical learner, or a 'by doing learner.
Society, well - the western society that is - loves to tell us we are all individuals and unique in our ways. We all grew up on some notion of 'there is no one else just like you in the whole wide world.' But while society may recognize one aspect of our individuality, it often forgets that we are all different in our learning style too. So even if you find out that you are an auditory learner, for example, you may find yourself trying to be the teacher's dream over and over again, thinking the change has to happen in YOU and not in the teacher's dream itself.
It's never too late to find your way to be a student.
Dig deep, make mistakes and study hard.
If I had another life -
I could have been a soldier fighting some war I didn't start.
I could have been a mother to seven children with one on the way.
I could have been a window wiper, wiping penthouses of Wall Street's 'finest.'
I could have been a clown rushing from hospital to hospital, sweating through my make-up and sneezing into my clown nose.
I could have been a bride, on her most intoxicated day.
I could have been a violinist, striking a cord after cord.
I could have been a grandfather to three college students.
I could have been a firefighter facing death every day.
I could have been an opera singer living in Munich.
I could have been a seamstress in the fifteenth century someplace that doesn't exist anymore.
I could have been a travel agent who never travels anywhere.
I could have been an activist, protesting for a better future.
I could have been a politician campaigning for the past.
I could have been a scam artist, a thief, a robber.
I could have been a child, a sailor, a queen.
I could have been my sister, I could have been my friend
If I had another life -
I could have been you, and you could have been me.
I wear a mask. Daily, like many of you.
No, I am not referring to the mask we all wear to keep Covid away this past year.
I am referring not to the mask covering my face, but rather to the mask underneath my face. My mask underneath my skin. My mask that protects my most sacred pure form. My mask of INVISIBILITY.
'Okay, what? What is she talkin' about?' You're probably saying to yourself. Maybe even rolling your eyes or shaking your head. 'Oh that Tamar, always DIGGING and this time is no different.' You're right. It's not different. But it also IS different because I am digging underneath my skin today, to my heart, and let me reveal a hidden truth, often hidden from myself:
Often in my life I walk to rooms and situations believing my hidden mask of feeling invisible - is showing right on my face. Like so many other humans (maybe ALL?) I have a running belief that nobody sees me. And if nobody sees me - do I even exist? If a tree falls in the forest - does it actually happen if no one hears or see it?
I first felt 'invisible' when I was a child and I was incredibly shy and uncomfortable in the social structure of my elementary school. The belief that 'I am invisible' formed then and never left me.
In some ways and some moments it crippled me: made me feel inadequate, insecure, brought to light some social anxiety, and even some imposter syndrome.
But it also fueled me: My need to be seen rose out of this belief about myself, and lead me to realize that one who needs to be seen - is one who needs TO SEE.
What does an invisible SEE in the world? How do they view the world when they believe no one is watching? Or if they believe they don't exist at all? What is it like to be a fly in the wall of life?
Artists have the perspective of looking AT life so they could describe it, express it and reflect on it. An invisible mask can be a superpower for that artistic pursuit.
Today I wear my invisible mask with pride, like a badge of honor, a secret trait that instead of being a limiting belief, can be a superpower for me: a SEEING that only an invisible has.
My need to be seen lead me to SEE more clearly than I have before.
A band-aid can represent many things:
Childhood memories of falling flat on my face in the playground, teenage years covering pimples in shame, or healing cat scratches and random wounds in different times of my life.
Today, the band-aid on my arm represents relief, a sense of community and medical achievement.
Who knew that I'd get so excited to have a vaccine shot. Who knew?!
Not me. Not until this past year.
A year of growth and making lemonade out of lemons.
And now here I am with the band-aid on my arm, a badge of honor for a historic year, and I am smiling big despite the vaccine's not-so-fun side effects.
Pic by Tamar Pelzig cc
Where the storm is dry and the rent is low
Where children play with guns
Aiming at others in the world below
Is where I met my lesson
The one I have yet to graduate from
A harsh one for me, but a no-brainer to some.
A lesson taught by the society of greed
Of ego and the world down under
Where devils are wearing human faces
And god remains only as a wonder
I missed the top of the class and now I am running behind
And they don't hand out any passes here for being kind
The cruelty of some is a trouble I have yet to endure
But I haven't given up hope for finding a cure
I'm a student of the life above and the life below
I will learn this lesson though it may appear slow:
That devils are not made in history books but rather in dreams
And that those two fictions are two of the same, so it seems.
I don't know the meaning of Haikus, but they're trendy AF.
Here are three Haikus (5-7-5) written by a curious new haiku explorer (me!) who don't know enough of the rules to break them but will attempt to do so regardless. (A rebel is a rebel is a rebel!)
'An angry tulip
In protest, did not blossom -
It remained angry'
'A shiny bright star
Twinkles above a rooftop
Staying 'till morning'
'The boat is sinking
And with it - a drunk captain:
It drank the ocean'
One of my all-time favorite words is getting the spotlight today:
A feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.
1. Desire or be curious to know something.
2. Feel Doubt.
I wonder, and notice wonders every day.
Luckily for me, most are curious wonderings that bring along a sense of awe of the world (Hey, I'm an optimist...) And sometimes 'Little Miss Doubt' comes in and WONDER takes on a whole new meaning. But when curiosity drives me to learn something new - my sense of wonder is... well... WONDERFUL.
Or shall I say... Wonder-FULL?
What if you thought of your life like a meal?
Not just ANY meal. A meal that you make with any ingredient you want: all ingredients are available to you. Flour, kale, salt, spices, fish if that's your thing, meat if you are still in that ole' thing, potatoes, pasta, farro, legumes, pear, peppers, chocolate, cheese... anything you'd like. Even truffle oil. Heck, even TRUFFLES. Sure, some ingredients are placed high on a shelf and you may have to climb on the kitchen counter to get to. Some ingredients may be hiding in the back of the pantry, deep in the background, maybe after you tucked them deep under after a past experience. A meal that didn't go too well. Some ingredients are there in the refrigerator glistening and shining as if they were saying 'pick me! pick me!' and maybe you will. Or maybe you'll skip them. Maybe they're right in front of you but you wouldn't even see them at all.
And if life was a meal that you could use any ingredient for... what would you make out of it? Which spices would you use to spice up your meal? How much fun will you have with your creation? Will you enjoy the process of cooking, play some music in the background, maybe dance a little in apron? Or will you be a nervous rack trying to perfect that recipe, dripping with sweat and dreading the process? Will you take short cuts with the ole' microwave, or will you devour the journey with a good ole' slow steam? Will you make a mess of your kitchen? Will you clean as you cook? How will you make the meal of your life? How will you cook your life??
And then - how will you eat your meal? Will you sit down all fancy with your nicest china dishes? Or will you eat as you go right there in the kitchen? Do you opt for forks, hands or chopsticks? Will you eat slow and enjoy every bite? Will you eat fast so no one will take away your meal of life? Will you be full? Or will this be a 'all you can eat' meal for you and never end?
How will your meal of life taste? Sweet, spicy or sour?
Maybe all of the above?
It is what you make of it. LIFE is what you make of it.
You've crossed seas
You traveled through time
You walked through security
And dreaded those lines
Your passport is torn at its corner
Your suitcase is ripped
You were labeled 'a foreigner'
Even when you lived on a ship.
You met with remarkable people
Even fell in love with a few
And everywhere you went
You were always 'that jew'
Some fought for you,
And some - for your demise
But you've made it, dear gypsy,
Maybe due to your guise
And what will you teach us?
An old traveling soul
That through wars and persecution
Rose up ten feet tall?
"I am no different
Than the girl next door.
If you peek at our insides:
We are one at our core
Fear not of us gypsies
Start by waving hello
And/or saying goodbye"
'Till we meet again
On land or at sea
Farewell, dear gypsy
Thanks for teaching me.
In April 2020, while experiencing her first ever global pandemic, Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog to keep her creative writing wheels rolling.
Header Art: Daniel Landerman