I’m in a new place. which is awesome and scary. can I really be . . . ?

So as a single Orthodox Jewess I celebrate Pesach (Passover) each year. Given the dynamic within my biological family I choose to have Pesach away from them. Some years it’s been with friends, some it’s been away on vacation. Every year it’s been a battle and a struggle to find peace with the ‘lacks’ and ‘voids’ in my life — not to mention my jealousy of what I thought others had.

In the past few years, I decided to use this time off work as my vacation and plan trips. As it was over the holiday, I decided to merge the 2 and join a touring company’s vacation / Pesach packages and see the world while I’m at it. In the last few years, I’ve been to Spain, Italy, the Middle East and most recently, Greece. It’s always been a struggle to be the only single guest in a hotel full of families and couples — I always felt like something was missing.

Despite having friends tell me how amazing, strong, brave, courageous I am for doing this or that, there was this gnawing subliminal feeling that there was definitely something wrong with me. Isn’t it funny that no matter how many times we hear a compliment, our default voice in our heads is ‘could’a, should’a, would’a’ or ‘if only’ or ‘I knew you couldn’t do it’. Are we wired to feel so comfortable in the negativity that we can’t even hear or appreciate a compliment (we actually are). So there I was, in Greece, alone and on vacation, trying to enjoy myself and all I felt was empty and pangs of ‘yuck’.

Over the 8 days of the holiday, I met really fun, awesome and emotionally healthy people and I slowly shed my guard, my fence and my wall. No matter who I met, we had pretty much the same conversation:

Them: hey, I’m X, where are you from?

Me: NY (or USA)

Them: it’s great to meet you — who are you here with?

Me: me

After a moment of hesitation (or maybe processing on their part) came the ‘wow, you’re brave’.

After hearing these words for about a week, it finally sunk in — I am brave, I am courageous. I faced my deepest fear head on and I’m grateful for it.

When I got back home, I anticipated the ‘other shoe to drop’ — which usually came in the form of an emotional dip after something really good happening. I’d wallow, cry, sleep a lot even drink. This time was different. I got home and I kept hearing their voices in my head (I’m brave, I’m courageous) and I think it finally stuck. I am brave for going on my own and facing the toughest trigger in my life.

I guess that whole neuroplasticity really works.

After double digit years of struggling and suffering — I see the wizard behind the curtain and see the illusion that it was. My inner negative voices were just booming amplifiers making them sound bigger than they actually were and making me feel less than I am.

So now when I look in the mirror, I don’t see fear or lack. I see hope and joy and yeah, I’m still afraid of this new place I found. It’s scary believing in myself so much that I’m happy and ready to conquer the good stuff and create the life I’ve always dreamed of.

Healing kicks ass and I wouldn’t have it any other way.