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Wed, Apr. 25th, 2007, 05:06 pm
You Know You’ve Hit The Big Time When …

… you’re featured in your high-school newsletter.

Okay, for me that’s a bit more complicated of a relationship than most people. I went to a hardcore Orthodox Jewish school from kindergarten through twelfth grade. The school encouraged both academic excellence and strict adherence to religious law. (Out of my class of fifty students, I think there are ten doctors - and another ten who already have four or more children. What’s really hardcore is that some of those groups overlap.) While it was good to be smart, it was even better to be smart, obedient, religious and not too independent.

I, on the other hand, am iconoclastic, rebellious and fierce. Furthermore, the work that I’m doing is so far from mainstream I didn’t even know there was a stream! So the idea that I - a thirty-year-old unmarried woman, in a relationship with someone who is converting to Judaism, a game designer, studying storytelling in play - could be featured in my high-school newsletter was a really big deal to me.

For so many years, I believed that I was somehow wrong to want a life that didn’t involve subordinating my own desires to the desires of my community. I had no idea that it was possible to have a different kind of life, because in my school, the choices you were offered were so narrow. Prestigious, yes, but very narrow. Do you want to be a doctor or a lawyer? Do you want to have three kids or four? Do you want to stay home and watch the kids while your husband goes to synagogue, or sit in the women’s section and watch the kids while he prays? The only option seemed to be wading through my life neck-deep in misery - until I realized that I had to get out and make a life on my own terms.

Maybe some young girl will read this article and ask herself, as I finally did, “How can I make a life for myself that is my own?” If she does, I hope she gets in touch with me.