Happy 8th night of Hannukah! Or if you’re not Jewish, happy Wednesday!
I’m pretty sad to see the holiday go this year. Not just because I got some sweet Hannukah swag (a hat, a scarf, a robe, a winter headband, pajama pants – for some reason everyone thought I needed to be warmer than I currently was this year. Which is nice. Penguin-printed pajama pants are always appreciated)
I also wanted to say that the outreach from people about my last post was really astounding. I’m really glad that a lot of people could relate (well not glad that other people have anxiety, but glad that I felt less alone and that my words helped).
For weeks before Hannukah, I kept thinking “Just make it to Hannukah, just make it to Hannukah.”
Why? I have no idea. I mean, I’ve always liked Hannukah but for some reason this year I just really needed to focus on miracles. Focus on the fact that God can change anything at the drop of a dreidle. And now that it’s over, I feel like some lights have gone out within me as well. But I have one more thought about the holiday before we say goodbye.
There’s a scene in the movie Whip It where Ellen Page decides that she wants to join a roller derby league to escape her boring tiny Texas town. When she first learns of the sport, she goes up to one of the team members, Kristen Wiig and says “I just want you to know that you’re all my hero.” Kristin Wiig says, “Well put some skates on. Be your own hero.”
I was thinking that last night when I was crying over something depression/anxiety/OCD induced. I thought of my own heros, my friend Mel who went through several brain surgeries and remains the most positive person I know. My mom, who dealt with her own devils and came out stronger. And thought if I can go through this and make the best of this, then I can be my own hero. And then I stopped trying to feel positive not for other people, or because I felt I had to but because I wanted to be a hero. I wanted to be my own hero.
There are a couple of things I like about Hannukah. One is that the lack of something can make us tougher. Like blind people using echolocation to “see,” when one of our strengths are taken away that doesn’t make us weaker. It can make us stronger. If we choose it. When we don’t have our “lights,” we find that we have things inside us that we wouldn’t have known otherwise. When our Temple was destroyed, yes our light was taken away. But at that moment what did we find we had that we might not have found otherwise?
The ability to take on the mighty Greek army. The devotion to believe in miracles again. The fortitude to start again.
Hannukah is all about being your own hero. Think about Yehudit, (my fave lady and whom I share a name with #Yehuditpower). She was like “You guys aren’t DOING THIS REBELLION GOOD ENOUGH! Do I have to do everything around here? BRB I’ll just go chop this Greek general’s head off.”
And then she fed him cheese and wine until he got drunk and she chopped off his head and came back to the Jews like “Lol we have to do something about this sh*t now BECAUSE THE GREEKS ARE PROBABLY GOING TO BE PISSED – so let’s do this rebellion thing right!” (I wasn’t there, but I think those are the words she used)
Something I’m going to take me this Hannukah, especially in light of whatever my brain decides to do this week is that sometimes you can’t wait for a miracle. Sometimes you need to be your own hero and believe the miracles will come later. For the good of yourself. For the good of your family. For the Jewish people. It’s hard. It’s SUPER hard.
But another thing Hannukah leaves me with is that nothing is impossible.
I recently asked my friend Mel how she stays so positive and upbeat despite all the terrible things she’s been through:
“Keep your eye on the light at the end of the tunnel and it will help you right through. Like going through an MRI. I have to look through to the light otherwise I feel like I’m trapped in a coffin. Just like in life. Don’t dwell on the negative.”
I asked if she ever got depressed or angry.
“Yes. Those are important emotions to feel but terrible emotions to live by.”
But sometimes the simplest solution is the one that works best. Apparently. It works for Mel, let’s see if it works for me.
Thus concludes Hannukah for this year. But the good thing about the Jewish calendar is that another holiday is right around the corner. Anyone have any good Purim costume ideas?