This year, I'm all about the shine factor. If you're paying attention, you may note that this is not my first red pantsuit. I mean, how many does one really need, but the liquid shimmer drew me in here. Despite how uncomfortably skintight this may seem, there's a generous amount of stretch in the fabric that makes it very wearable. This outfit is not for the faint of heart. It's clearly a bold statement, even in its cleanliness. It's just three classic pieces; a legging, a tank, and a blazer. That's it. I put this on and all else simply "follows suit". Nightlife, I'm coming for you tonight.
Outfit aside, let's talk about the photograph itself. I love how Rachel, the fashion photographer, took this in my kitchen. Using my oven as the central prop lends cool symbolism to the shot. This picture represents much about me as a person. I'm highly domestic, and feel most at home well, in my home. My kitchen is my laboratory. I happily spend hours upon hours cooking and baking, while dancing and singing. I am quite often a homebody. I love arranging knickknacks, setting a beautiful table, choosing the right flowers, and thinking of creative ways to entertain. I absolutely love being a stay at home mother. Only now that my youngest is 7, am I just starting to venture out of my routine. Which is amazing, it's bringing balance into my life. Just as marriage doesn't mean stability, divorce doesn't mean instability. Your personal life doesn't define who you are. You probably think it does, as I did, but it doesn't. It certainly shouldn't. Personal status is a part of your life, a very important part, but it's not a reflection of who you are inside.
I've started to think of it like this; when God was mixing me in His own laboratory 39 years ago, and putting all sorts of ingredients into me, I'm certain He wasn't thinking, "I'm going to make this baby. She will drive carpool and go to the supermarket once a week. She will collapse if certain chapters of her life are different than what her community thinks they should be. She will serve her family and be sure her own truths are unimportant. She will exist only for others until she dies, at which point her eulogy will be interchangeable with other women she knew and didn't particularly like." Um, I don't think so.
I believe in God completely, and I don't believe in One that doesn't believe in His own creations. That doesn't believe in us. If we love and trust God, we trust His intentions when He mixed each one of us. He's waaay too smart than to just create a bunch of yentas on a carpool line, right?? So often, there is tremendous guilt and suspicion embedded in religion. It's really very sad. Many people I know, good people, automatically jump to the conclusion that they're being punished by God if something goes wrong in their life. I thought this way until recently too. It's how we have been programmed, conditioned. It's a real shame to have been taught fear instead of love and trust. Nothing good comes from the former. Everything good comes from the latter.
I recently had a talk with one of my kids who thought if he did something that violated the sabbath (iPad related), God would punish him. This saddened me. It's not why his dad and I pay a fortune to send him to private school. I answered him that maybe we don't use our iPad on the sabbath for other reasons, but I assured him that he's a good boy, God knows that, God loves him, and doesn't want to punish him. I want my kids to love Judaism, not exist within it as fearful robots. Children conditioned to be afraid and guilt ridden become adults that carry that bullshit around with them their whole lives. That's not honoring God, it's actually an insult. I want my kids to thank me for giving them a cup of water because it's simply the right thing to do, not because they're afraid I'll yell and punish them if they don't. How little do they think of me if I'd punish them so quickly for any minor infraction?? God doesn't want to hurt us, He wants to help us. He trusts you more than you think, so trust Him back. To trust yourself means you have to know yourself. Really know yourself so doubt doesn't creep in and take over. This takes a lot of mental work, especially when you have to undo years and years of negative programming.
It's a huge point of frustration for me that religion is often based on externals. How we dress, how often we go to synagogue etc. Who cares how you dress if that clothing houses a not very nice person? Does it matter if you went to synagogue ten times in one day, if all you were thinking about was anything other than prayer? I hate that. I feel no less spiritual and proud of my Judaism in a bikini, than I do fasting on Yom Kippur. It's in my heart and my soul, so for me it just doesn't matter what people think they see on the outside. It's so superficial. It must stop. The judgement is completely out of control. We act towards others the way we act towards ourselves first. If you want a life where you try not to judge others, it won't happen unless you stop judging yourself. It just won't. It all works together in one direction, the right direction. Perhaps one of the most ubiquitous statements I hear is "I don't judge." Non judgmental people don't talk like that. I know like two, by the way. They don't need to make a declaration because in their hearts they know they're that way. It's rare to be sure of who you are, which is why most people are constantly trying to prove to others that they are certain things.
Going back to the shiny, red suit. Red is a color not worn in certain sects of Judaism. It's considered inappropriate to wear such a bold color, immodest. I went to a high school that taught that, so I know. We were once instructed not to wear red on a class trip. In 2017, this is Lady Blaga: she wears red. She loves being bold, yet introverted at times. She bakes cookies, makes her bubbie's chicken soup every week, yet she started a kick ass blog. She prays very intently, yet is in DJ school. She is divorced but loves her family more than anything. She is incredibly warm and inviting, yet protective of her space. She lights sabbath candles every week , yet may have a cool photo shoot planned for Tuesday. It all matters. None of it matters. If you're not hurting anyone, and are in fact helping, just do your thing. Shine from within. Always start from within. Thank you for reading this. It felt good to write it.