being Jewish is having the breath suddenly ripped from your chest upon remembering the pain and suffering of your people’s past, a memory that rips open the barely-healed scabs of the pain of your people’s present.
being Jewish is to live with wounds our tormentors will not allow to heal.
i want to talk to g-d but loshn kodesh – the language that g-d speaks – hits my heart without passing through my ears.
i want to talk to my ancestors but mame loshn draws more laughs in this place than smiles of recognition.
i ache to speak the languages of my people, languages that taste like the desert and ghettoes, sand and glass, fire and resilience, but instead i speak common tongues like english and french and latin – i feel like crying because they are familiar in a way that my own languages may never be.
it feels like my chest tightening with tears i’m not sure i’ll shed. my throat hurts, a lump is trying to escape from it.
it feels like my body tensing up in wait. i still don’t know what i’m waiting for.
it feels like a constant buzz of anxiety. like the kind i get when i don’t know if i’ve locked my front door, except there’s no home to go to at the end of the day to check.
it feels like the desert. hot. dry. my eyes sting like when sand gets in them.
it feels like confusion. like in the cartoons i used to watch, with a question mark flitting around my head. i can’t even express what i’m confused about, half the time.
it feels like the burst of sadness when i realize that the language my mother spoke to me as a child isn’t a made-up language after all. it’s the language of my people. it’s a language we all used to speak.
it feels like the frustration when my siblings and friends and i share pieces of our histories with each other, trying to make pieces of different puzzles fit together as one. none of us were born complete.
it feels like i am constantly justifying why i am, where i am, who i am, what i am. to the point where i question my own truth.
it feels like it will never get better. i will never know anything.