I was writing the below BEFORE I got the call from Steve about surgery being postponed and starting chemo Thursday.
Had a lot of freak outs to do so. You know the screams and tears. So I didn’t post. But FINALLY we got a doctor on the line. Feeling better about it and maybe this is a good thing. Maybe this is your work, the Friends!
I got distracted.
I never finished writing about my flair. Maybe I will one day.
Because as I was writing about it, I kept asking WHY! Why am I writing about this? Why is flair on my mind? Why is this important at all?
So I stopped writing and went digging. Digging in drawers. Finding old flair. You know abandoned trinkets that you used to wear every day that either broke or got replaced by something shinier.
And I found all these past lives. All different mes. All different people from different decades. I found bracelets, rings, necklaces, hair adornments all so different and from all over of the world. I challenged myself to remember them all and what they meant to me. Some I couldn’t identify. Too long ago. Too many lifetimes ago.
I did find my necklace of charms that I collected from the summer of 2005. Each charm representing a country, an experience. Sadly, I could not name all of them. The clover was obvious, Ireland, the anchor was Norway, but the rest were a bit fuzzy, with the exception of one. That one came back so clearly.
A Jewish star that I bought in Warsaw, Poland.
And I remembered this memory that feels important to document as it reminds me of a pattern. A destructive pattern.
I turned 25 years old on a sleeper train pulling into Auschwitz. I did. I boarded the train on July 15th. It was a bunker car. A triple bunk. I laid in the middle, someone above and below me, and woke to July 16th for my destination, a concentration camp.
This was not planned. Of course not! I am not a sadistic freak. This was part of the tour I was on.
I remember being the only Jew in my tour group. I remember walking around the concentration camp and everyone looking at me. Looking at me before taking a picture. I remember feeling on display. Feeling the responsibility to represent all these people. I remember feeling that this wasn’t the right way to do this. How I lacked community. It was terrible.
Note: I doubt there is a non-terrible way to see a concentration camp. But I would recommend going with people you identify with in that space in history.
And this was just year 25!
They all have been disasters. At least the ones that I remember. The actual day of my birth. One disaster after another.
I know some of my friends are going to say, “that isn’t true!” you got married on your birthday. No. I got married on July 24th. A week after my birthday, because NO rabbi (reform included) would marry us on my birthday. Nope. Never. And trust me I asked. All I wanted to do was get married on my birthday.
I guess I should be thankful. Since it is truly the shittiest days of all possible days.
I swear I’m not being dramatic (well at least not TOO dramatic). I’m not one of those people who needs the world to stop and wish them a happy birthday. I really don’t. In recent years I don’t even like it being recognized. I cringe when I see the texts.
Just fact. HISTORICAL fact. I was born on a shitty day.
I was born on Tisha B’Av, the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av. This is the saddest day of the year. It is the communal day of mourning in the Jewish calendar. While it’s most commonly remembered as the day of destruction for the Temples in Jerusalem (BOTH of them), that is really just the beginning.
A day of doom.
Here is what Wikipedia had to say about other disasters that fall during my day of birth (Hebrew calendar). I took out most of them to spare you. It’s a long list.
- Germany entered World War I on August 1–2, 1914 (Av 9–10, AM 5674), which caused massive upheaval in European Jewry and whose aftermath led to the Holocaust.
- On August 2, 1941 (Av 9, AM 5701), SS commander Heinrich Himmler formally received approval from the Nazi Party for “The Final Solution.” As a result, the Holocaust began during which almost one third of the world’s Jewish population perished.
- On July 23, 1942 (Av 9, AM 5702), began the mass deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto, en route to Treblinka.
- The AMIA bombing, of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, killed 85 and injured 300 on July 18, 1994 (10 Av, AM 5754).
I could read into this factoid for the rest of my life, but I have no time for that.
Instead, I’m taking back this piece of flair. You know the star.
Even after all the cancers, holocaust included.
Claiming it again. Adding it to my current flair.
It’s a symbol that we still exist. You know us Jews.
And I’ve decided to change my birthday. The actual date.
And it may be in FUCKING August.
I’m sick of this ending. I’m changing things and it includes reclaiming August.
I’ll let you know when my birthday is. Maybe I’ll change it each year!