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?”.
As 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.