After WWII and the horror of the holocaust, my family and everyone I knew wanted to join in and realize the American dream. Rising out of poverty, owning a home, going to school, getting a profession and generally fitting in were the goals. Looking American was part of it.
I am obviously Jewish. I had an exotic look, including a Mediterranean nose, a big nose in other words. Not a ski nose. Not a straight nose. A somewhat big nose by common standards. Mother decided I needed a nose job. One girl in my group really had a beak. She needed a nose job! I refused the operation.
It wasn't until I lived in Israel that I fully accepted how I looked. It was like being in new world! I fit in. Jews from all over, with all colors, and shapes. And the men! It was like being in a candy store. OMG. I never had seen so many attractive and handsome men.
Being ethnic had not been the norm when I was growing up. Being as 'white' looking as possible was the way to success. There was not an ethnic food section in chain supermarkets. If you wanted ethnic food, you had to find it, maybe in another town where your group was more prominent. I remember going with my Dad three towns over to buy pumpernickel bread, rye bread, bagels and other delicacies.
Even if you look in the mirror, or check yourself in a photo, it is not really possible to know how you look. One day, on a bus in Israel, I saw a young man from Iran. He had dark hair like mine. Green eyes and melanin rich skin. I couldn't take my eyes off him. Finally, I saw someone who looked like me.
With the current rise in anti-semitism both here and in Europe, I have been thinking about wearing a BIG Jewish star. Fearing for my safety, my close friends have discouraged me from doing that. What a world we live in! I've determined to continue working on my spiritual growth in hope that the love in my heart will shine forth. If I run into trouble, so be it.
From all reports I have seen, I have come to understand that there is a crisis in the medical abuse of pain relievers. I think Florida is one of the states where people come to get their drugs on the street. People get their pain medication, stay on for a while, and then are taken off them, with no alternative. I can't believe it. Not that I don't believe this is happening, but that people can think of no alternative.
I lived in Japan and was introduced to Shiatsu by my supervisor. She was one of the rare foreigners, and a women no less, who was accepted and trained by practitioners of acupuncture and Shiatsu. She needed to practice and chose me as her subject. I was so intrigued, that when I went to live in Israel, I studied there and received a certificate.
It was in the 1980s when I returned to the US. Massage was still illegal in most places and the only Shiatsu school I could find was in NYC. So acupuncture was not widely available. I had broken my arm and was lucky to be taken to a well-known and respected acupuncturist in Chinatown. She worked out of her home, with all the family there. Her bedroom was her treatment room. She spoke no English and I spoke no Chinese. To this day I have no trouble with my arm. And, it only cost $10.
I became a licensed massage therapist in Florida in the 1990s. I occasionally used my Shiatsu in addition to regular western massage techniques. I helped relieve headaches, toothaches and other kinds of pain.
Fast forward to 2019. Both massage and acupuncture are now legal in Florida and have been for many years. While I was a massage therapist, one of my co-workers had sprained her hand. Not a good thing if you are a massage therapist. She went to a regular physician and was off work for over two weeks. And in a brace! Had she gone to an acupuncturist, she would have been back to work the next day.
It's heartening that insurance now covers acupuncture and massage. I go to a practitioner locally. She is not only an acupuncturist, but a regular MD as well as a nutritionist. I love her. When I see my regular physician, who is a very nice man, I feel I am going to a mechanic. He relies on his machines to give me my reports. Although I am grateful to be able to go to the doctor, I feel somehow I am going to a body mechanic.
I recently had a slip and fall and really hurt my foot. It was Saturday and neither of my acupuncturists were available. I had to do something or I would not be able to go to work on Monday on a job I just started. So I went to a new therapist in the next town over. OMG! What a wonderful as well as helpful experience. What a beautiful office. The front room was spacious and well appointed. The treatment room was filled with ergonomically designed chairs, calming big screens with relaxing scenes and music. The therapist was competent enough, and I am better enough to go to work. The pain is gone and my foot, though tender, is not swollen.
In contrast to this magnificent office, I remember another Chinese acupuncturist in NYC Chinatown. The front room was where all the wonderful smelling herbs were, and the treatment room was in the back. There were quite a few beds there, all separated by only curtains. Of course, you could hear everything. One women vocalized so much I wasn't sure if she was having sex or a treatment.
How far we have come! I really wish all those who are suffering in pain would open their minds to the alternative of acupuncture and replace their dependence on chemicals.
Elaine Stritch was a famous theater personality.|She was still going strong well into her 80's. I just saw a film about her. How inspiring, especially since today is my 71st birthday. It is also International Holocaust Remembrance Day. It is also the day the Challenger went up in flames.
This is a more emotional day than my 70th birthday for some reason. I am still alive. That is amazing. I am so grateful. I never thought I would make it this far and still be healthy, active and viable. I agree with Elaine Stritch; it is challenging to age. Watching your body betray you. Watching local and world events. Watching and participating. And becoming more aware of the inevitable.
Life is indeed a mystery.
Talk is cheap. And I have a good talk. Action is the thing, though. I love going to the convenience store in the morning for a cup of coffee and a sweet. Sometimes, it is the only time I get out of the house and interact face to face with any adult.
I feel self conscience about this morning ritual. Especially about the two red straws I love to stick in the holes. Yes, I drink my coffee through plastic straws. And now I understand McDonald's has banned them and I see poor sea animals choking from my plastic straws.
I take my plastic bags home from the convenience store to be my garbage bag for the day. I remember how we did garbage way back when. We lined aluminum pails with newspaper and it was Dad's job to dispose of it. I actually don't know how he did. I think the smaller pails were emptied into larger cans by the sidewalk that garbage trucks would pick up. Such was the division of labor.
I open my cabinets and everything is encased in some kind of plastic. I don't remember how we contained any medicines from the pharmacy before we had disposables.
I love all the new inventions that will eventually replace these ubiquitous plastics; I am ready to buy!
I turned 70 last year much to my own amazement. It's been an enlightening experience in many ways. A real roller coaster ride. I'm much more content than I have ever been, yet some of my discoveries have been less than enjoyable.
After 50, I realized that finding employment was going to be challenging at best. At 70, I was now classified as elderly, and hardly employable. I can understand that planned obsolescence has not just been created for objects like cars, but has also been a cultural program! People who have followed a regular life, have regularly become old by age 62.
Having not followed the prescriptions for a 'normal' life, I count myself as an exception to the rule.
I moved to Florida from NYC. I moved into a gated community with my cousin. I was aware of a few gated communities in NJ, but never lived in one. I didn't know anything about Florida. Who lived here? What did people do here?
When I went 'home', there was a security code that had to be entered to open the front gate. Then, to get into the apartment safely, you had to open the door, then run to the security box inside and punch in another code. I felt less secure than when I lived in Israel. I kept wondering if we were under attack and by whom.
I've learned a lot over these past 20 years here. I now live in a little gem of a neighborhood in Hollywood. We are like a little village. The complex is a group of one story 'cottages'. I know all my neighbors and see them everyday. We share good times and bad. I am no longer afraid.
My dad was in WWII. He was a recon man. Slept in the trenches. Participated in freeing one of the camps. Then, when it was over, he came home. I doubt he ever got post-traumatic treatment.
We were allowed to watch our cartoons on Saturday mornings, but he watched 'You were there' with Walter Cronkite after our cartoons. He watched this religiously every Saturday for years.
It wasn't until I myself lived through the '73 war in Israel. One thing that helped those soldiers, especially ones who had been captured, tortured and released, was to talk about it, be recognized and listened to. Dad didn't have that either.
Living through the war affected me more than I realized until after I came back to the US. I personally met and talked with some Israeli soldiers. I realized that living on the edge of death makes everything intense. Colors. Smells, Life itself. For some, this state is actually exciting. I don't know how they do it, in Israel. They are always in this state, especially recently.
It took my dad years to stop reliving the war. I believe that, compared to his experience in the war, civilian life, working for the government, was boring. In his second marriage, he took up drinking again.
He died before 9/11. I don't think he ever realized his full potential.
We used to spend our summers in Bradley Beach. I was 14 but I wanted to hang out with the 16 year olds. I was a hairy girl, though, and there was no way I could see myself with them unless I shaved. And no way did these girls want a hairy baby with them.
So I asked my friend how to shave.
There were showers outside our cabin. Since I didn't have an allowance, nor did I know what a depilatory was, I decided to borrow my dad's razor and shaving cream and do the deed in that outdoor shower.
Ignorance is not bliss. I had no idea what affect my shaving would have on dad's razor. He nearly cut his face off. Mother didn't shave, so it took him a while to figure out what I had done. He wasn't really an Orthodox Jew, but he still believed that you shouldn't do anything to change what G'd gave you. So, not only was he mad about his razor, but he was more mad about being disrespectful to G'd.
No matter. The result of the shaving lasted the whole summer, and by the grace of G'd I was able to join those 16 year olds and have some evening fun at the boardwalk.
Mother blamed the new 'bad' behavior of people on the pill. Condoms and French Letters were fine, but they still belonged to men. The pill, for the first time, put behavioral choices in the hands of women. What power! How liberating that was.
I don't think mother objected so much to the liberty of sexual behavior, as to the lack of consequence and the break down of accepted behaviors between men and women. In old China, if you got pregnant outside of marriage, you could be asked to jump in a well and drown. Today, in certain Middle East countries, you could be killed for ruining the purity of your family's name. In places in Europe not so long ago, as well as here in the States, you might have been sent to a home for wayward girls. The consequences of sexual relations were definitely dire and certainly a damper on acting on your urges.
The pill certainly changed that. The whole idea that you could enjoy sex and not consider yourself a bad, filthy person, was and probably still is, a revolutionary idea. The idea of touch itself is still dangerous. Oh, bless those Puritans! People need touch. Remember those abandoned babies in Ceausesu's Romania? These babies were housed in orphanages where they were not held or touched or physically loved. They died. Closer to home, we heard of a woman offended by being bumped by a kid. It was a 9 year old black kid. She made a scene and tried to call the police. OMG. Brings back images of Southern women accusing Black men of rape when it never happened and having these hapless men hanged.
The pill or not, touch and sex are still too taboo to talk about openly. Still too taboo to not condemn or vilify the physical, the body. And yet, it seems we are obsessed with the subject. Face those Pilgrims and stop burning people at the stake!