Aliyah Tears

I am making aliyah! I am moving to Israel in December of 2016. I am excited. I am elated. I want this. I will do this. I will struggle. I will feel sad! I will feel lonely! I will feel happy! I will feel angry!

 I will feel frustrated! I will get confused! I will need help! I will ask for help! I will laugh! I will cry!

I will shake my head! I will yell! I will be sarcastic! I will be snarky! I will be the same! I will change! I will love! I will feel love! I will fall out of love! I will need support! I will receive support! I will give support! I will be Israeli! I will be an American! I will be home!

Since announcing my aliyah earlier this year there have been many ups and downs emotionally. I am afraid sometimes of how my aliyah will impact others. Because I have been afraid, I have not shared it! I’ve avoided talking about it. When people ask me details I instinctually feel defensive. I feel the need to protect myself from the perceived negativity that will come my way. I have not shared my plans or talked about why I’m excited because I’m afraid that someone will shoot me down. I am afraid of the pain. I am afraid of hurting others. So I avoid.

About a month ago my mother just came out and laid all her anxieties on me (See my blog about the Unsupportive Loved One). I was beyond upset. I hd almost fooled myself into thinking she was generally supportive. I was wrong. Her statements cut like a knife. It felt like she thought I would fail. That was so painful I almost cried. Even as I write this and think back on it I feel that lump in my throat and the dry mouth that is the beginnings of the waterworks. I don’t cry all that often, but when I do its always from pain. Usually from some deep sadness that a comment has struck me right at the core. The piece of me that is vulnerable and easily wounded like a baby-sensitive to my environment. So I’ve become pretty adept at reading people and bracing myself for what is coming.

Last week I let my boss know that I was leaving. I had been dreading that too (see blog about Resigning). As the color drained from her face, I knew she felt like I was abandoning her. I knew she would feel this way and I avoided it. I didn’t want to tell her but I had too. The decision has been made. The application approved. Pilot trip tickets are bought. It’s a done deal. 

This week we met again and we focussed on clients. By this time she had the weekend to recover and a letter in her hand. It was real. So she gave me things to do related to my clients. This week I begin to tell my clients. I have been avoiding this. I feel like I’m abandoning them. They need me. There literally is not one else who could see them. 

I told coworkers, I’ve told all my friends, I told one parent so far, and I’ve told a school provider I work with. This people provided me with support. Yes, they were/are sad at me leaving but the genuine positive comments have been wonderful. I’m choking again as I write this. Same lump in my throat. The same dry mouth. The tears just below the surface. my heart heavy. My vulnerability has been tapped. That part of me, the sensitive baby, who just wants to be loved-acknowledge, seen and supportive unconditionally. As I told the provider “even if your just pretending to care thank you for your comments and well wishes, it means a lot”. And it does. 

As a therapist, healer, co parent, friend, sister, daughter, cousin, niece etc I have never been able to stop caring about the people I am in relationship with. I do not want them to be hurt. If they need me or something from me I am there. It’s what I do, who I am, and I love it. But so often, with this mask of toughness and “I got this” attitude, my own needs have been ignored. I want someone to support me unconditionally. To be able to see things form my perspective and to see that I have wants and needs to and dang it would be great if someone was there to scoop me in a big hug (just like a coworker did) and just hold me and say “that’s amazing. Good for you. I am happy for you”. (Now there are actual tears). Why is that so hard for us to do for the people we care about and/or love? Why can’t we push past our own fears around loss, in this case, and be present when someone says they are trying something that is exciting for them? 

So for the first time since I made the announcement I am truly feeling happy and filled with joy at making aliyah. Before this I was so anxious and afraid because on a day to day basis no one was excited for me. The questions were always laced with, “Isn’t it dangerous there?” “What does your mother think?” “What does your family think?” “aren’t you afraid?” “What will you do for work?” “You know theres not many people there who look like you?”.  

img_1145As I tell my clients “find that one person who has your back no matter what. That one person who knows you on such a deep level-where maybe you only where the one mask instead of the 10 or if your really lucky the person where you don’t have to wear a mask at all because they understand. They are the people who help nurture your soul.” I am thankful to have friends and a wonderful community at Netivot Shalom who provide this for me. Having these people who don’t know me as well send me off with such authenticity it reminds me that I don’t have to be afraid of the pain of the unsupportive loved ones. They will not change, and it
s futile to expect them to (it’s a waste of energy). Just because I cannot go to them with this, doesn’t mean I can’t go to others and I can’t get my needs met that way. Making aliyah is a huge choice, its great if you have one person who you can share this with.

The Unsupportive Loved One Update

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Back in September I wrote about how my mother decided to lay her anxiety on me about my aliyah. It revolved around her worry that I wont be able to pay her back the money she loaned me when Autumn was at UC Davis. I knew then that she really wasn’t supportive of my choice. She wants to be supportive but my leaving is a loss for her. Any way this update is not a rehashing of that it’s more about what I realized with this happening.

I have a tendency to be secretive. I knew it was a way of protecting myself but I couldn’t quite figure out why that it. I have started learning more about shadow work and our shadow selves (which can be called other things like the unconscious). Basically its that part of us that is vulnerable and afraid. So my tendency to keep secrets revolves around my fear of not being successful. Of trying something new and it failing. If I fail what does this mean for me?

As I have continued to plan my aliyah I have decided on a few important things:

  • I will have roommates for at least 6 months
  • I will take Ulpan at night and have a job during the day
  • I will take a job teaching, either nursery school/pre-school or kindergarten-Well be an Aid not a teacher
  • I will keep my car and continue to pay-even double up if need be to pay it off so I can bring it over with a lower VAT tax
  • I will have my own therapy practice-online and in home therapy, maybe sublet an office

Now the part thats hard. Who do I get to share his information with? Who will support me? I want to share my life but I don’t want to be kicked when I am down. I am really excited about this change/adventure and I feel like I’m welcoming the sacrifices.

Other areas that I worry about is just the long length of the flight for Autumn. It’s fifteen hours and she’s going to be under the plane alone. I am very anxious and sad for her, because I worry she will be lonely and maybe bark herself into  a tizzy and have a heart attack. That would break my heart.  I know this fear is irrational and thankfully it doesn’t occupy my mind, but I’d be lying if i didn’t admit to having the feelings and thoughts from time to time.

I’m happy that I have started taking the time to read again and to work on my own mental health. Just reflective and open to expressing my own needs and wants and how to get this. I can count on sharing my dreams with my friends and having that support-not being kicked in the teeth. I am working on feeling less defensive when people ask me about my move and what I want to do, because more often than not, coworkers and friends are generally interested. I’m also surprised at the ignorance but thats the news’ fault, not theres.

My suggestions for coping with family who isn’t supportive of your dreams can be found in my blog “Losing Support from Loved Ones”. More important  I wanted to share with other aliyah makers the rollercoaster of emotions you will feel as you go through this process and just what to expect in general.

  • You will feel excited, anxious, excited,  worried, sad, happy, etc.
  • you will have the desire to keep your old life and then suddenly you’ll realize that you don’t really need all the stuff you think you’ll need and you’ll have a desire to downsize
  • you will e overwhelmed by the negative comments. This can come from family, friends, strangers or comments you read on online groups from people who complain about the bureaucracy to people who complain about the low pay. IT will have a negative effect on you and make you question yourself.  Hang in there-be present with those feelings, explore them and then move on
  • you will find support in the most unlikely of places and be surprised by people who offer it. Embrace this

My overall take home is to be open, be present, sit with your feelings don’t avoid them, talk openly with people who are supportive of about everything involved with aliyah,  going groups and stay connected.

Resigning

 

Last Fridayimg_3044 I finally broke down and shared with my boss that I was resigning and leaving for Israel. Her response was, let’s just say less than stellar. I will quote you all the things that were said, and keep in mind that she would ask rhetorical questions and before I had a chance to answer she was back firing another. Also this is in no particular order. She said:

  • “Does your mother know about this? What does your family think”
  • Don’t you know it’s dangerous there? Theres wars and fighting”
  • You need a break. What do you mean, you just got here? I know you worked at “A Better Way, but that was A Better Way” (mind you I worked there for three years, resigned on a Friday and then started work at this agency the following Monday. I’ve worked 7 straight months at this agency plus the three months prior at my last agency so thats a total of 10 months straight no vacation. But she can’t understand I’m tired and need a break)
  • “Have you talked to Steve” (he’s her boss)? “He’s Jewish”. “Have you talked to Tenli, she’s the supervisor at the Adult clinic? She’s jewish”
  • You can take a month off. I never do this bit this is how much you are valued here. I would have to talk to Paul about it” (He’s the senior person in charge above Steve). “You can wait to the end of the semester and then go during the Christmas break and take unpaid time off”
  • Get out!”
  • What about your clients, they are attached. What about your team?” (I have no team just coworkers)
  • Then she ends with, “I have one word, Karma. You have to answer to the man upstairs. Karma will come back to bite you”

Now I found this mildly amusing after the after, but I also felt very sad for her. Her reaction was wrought with her own pain and insecurities. I knew she would take it hard but not this hard.

Yesterday (Monday) she met me for supervision and we talked some more. This time she had the letter in hand and the weekend to process so she was not as dysregulated. We talked about how to tell clients and families. She then asked me about what they can do better and why “she can’t keep anyone”. Later I found out that there has been a high turnover rate over the past couple of years. I shared with her the challenges I faced. These include:

  • Moving from creating my own schedule to having a fixed scheudle. I thought this would be great but I didn’t realize how I would have no time to get shit done during the week since my work hours are 9-5:30 and that’s the hours of government offices. Theres three built in breaks, 2 fifteen minute breaks and a 30 minute lunch. 
  • Working on Fridays. I observe Shabbat. I need Shabbat to recharge. I have not fully observed Shabbat since I started because I get out too late, I’m exhausted and I have work to do. 
  • I didn’t share but this is true too. The client population is not my area of expertise and I often felt hamstring in what I could communicate as a therapist at this agency
  • My office had no windows and was cold. I can’t survive without being in the sun.
  • I felt like she didn’t listen as my supervisor and clinically we did not have the same or similar view of change. I come from a interpersonal neurobiological perspective (Attachment plus neuroscience). I can count the number of times she said something about Enabling clients. ugh! She also did not exit her power as the program manager except with us clinicians. She didn’t stand up for us and others ran buckshot over her. 
  • This whole check in check out system. No ability to work remotely. Questioning where you are and what your doing? too much.

It made me think about how my advice for anyone looking for work (and myself as I will be working in Israel) is to remember that you are also interviewing the agency/company. Particularly as a mental health worker or someone who is  healer you really need to make sure the environment is in line/conducive/is aligned with your own beliefs and values. If you have a history of working as a community based therapist then you may have a hard time working in an office for 8 hours a day where it feels like your being micromanaged may be a stressor for you. Don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer questions and to turn down something that is not the right fit. Remember: MONEY IS NOT EVERYTHING. TIME IS THE BIGGEST COMMODITY. 

Roommates

 

picHad such a cool revelation over the high holy days, one that was unexpected. I came to the realization that I wanted to live with roommates when I make aliyah. This surprised me as I had roommates once in college and did not like it. I have been wanting my own apartment and to live alone for years now, but the bay area is freakin expensive. I know that I probably could find a way to find my own apartment and live on my own, but there is something about wanting to connect with people and save money which has lead me to wanting roommates. My preference would be to join an all ready existing apartment, with at least two other people, that way I don’t have to worry. 

The cool thing about having roommates is that I don’t have to worry about moving furniture. I just want to find a place that has an unfurnished bedroom. I am looking forward to furniture shopping and adjusting with my Autumn. 

So now I must buy a couple large duffle bags to hold my stuff because I’m not taking a lift. I’m happy about that since most of my stuff is old and a hot mess any way. So here is my new list:

  • sheets
  • blankets, especially my throws
  • my comforter
  • all my therapy toys and art
  • most of my DVD’s
  • my gaming computer and sims 3
  • curtains
  • Autumn’s supplies
  • clothes
  • shoes
  • my mugs
  • my copper pans and pots
  • my map of the world and my map of Israel
  • knitting supplies
  • all my bath and body works products

So my hope for my new apartment in Jerusalem is that I can get a master bedroom, with a bathroom and a balcony (Yup I’m such an american). I really can’t fathom having to share a bathroom and having a balcony for me and Autumn to use sounds awesome. 

Now Autumn and I have never had a roommate before so I’m nervous about how that all works. I love my Autumn but she’s naughty. She likes to steal food, She will run away if given a chance (well really she’s just curious and likes to explore), she climbs on furniture and plays in the dirt, she can be noisy sometimes, barking if your eating and not sharing or crying when you leave her, sometimes she has tummy issues which means getting up in the middle of the night so she can relieve herself. These are all concerns I have about rooming with my Autumn. 

Other concerns are with regards to sharing stuff like food. How do people coordinate shopping? Or what about cleaning up-I know I’m clean but what if my roommates are dirty or not similar to me in their cleanliness? I envision cockroaches and ants, which make me want to vomit. What about parties or generally people wanting to talk to me when I’m trying to relax. 

But then there are the good things. Rent is cheaper. There are people to talk to.  If there is another dog there then autumn can make a new friend. Shared bills. New friends and the potential for romantic partnerships.  Shabbat dinners. Evenings out. Meeting new people. Practicing Hebrew and learning about different cultures. Did I mention saving money because everything is shared? 

So thats my realization that made me feel happy and like I have something to look forward to. More important it’s something to add to the blogging life of my aliyah.