I don't often use my blog to write about my personal life, leaving it in general for poetry, translation or essays. But tonight is the beginning of Rosh Hashanah and I've decided to write a little bit about the holiday.
I think by now many or most of you know that I'm an observant Jew, despite the fact that I don't always let that show through in my poetry. Rosh Hashanah, in Hebrew, literally means "the head of the year" and is typically considered the new year for humans on the Hebrew calendar, the anniversary of the sixth day of creation on which God made Adam.
For mystics, however, the word "shanah" (שנה, year) is actually better understood via its linguistic root, which is the same that gives us the word "shinui"(שנוי, change). In one sense it is the transformation from one calendar year to the next, but the Kabbalah teaches that this holiday is actually like a trial, in which we must identifying every area of ours lives from the past year where chaos or negativity existed in order to adequately defend ourselves and justify that we be granted another year of life. In this sense, it is the cusp of personal change or transformation.
It has been just over a year since I published my first poetry chapbook and have really taken on poetry as a fulltime hobby. Through reading my own poems I am able to see how I've spend my past year, and decide how I'd like to alter my life for the next one. In the book Pri Etz Chaim, Rabbi Chaim Vital states that the study of mysticism is only for the sake of "removing thorns from the field." Through dedicated study for the past six and a half years, I have only the intent to become the creator of my own consciousness, to be able to truly control my emotions and actions.
For six months of the past year, I let my consciousness be entirely controlled by a guy I had met for about thirty minutes in a bar on spring break. Before that, my poems aren't significantly different, mostly being reactions to the way various boys have treated me at one time or another. Even at this very moment, I have found it particularly difficult to stay level-headed as I duel it out emotionally with another crush.
Seeing as Rosh Hashanah as both the "head of the year" and the "head of change," I would like the next three days to be a springboard towards becoming more independent of the people I deal with on a daily basis. I realize that the majority of my selfish, rude or insensitive behavior is a reaction to being hurt, offended or in any sense aggrieved by another person.
A year ago in Argentina, my therapist told me "Jake, you suffer a lot for love." I guess this year I need to just tell boys to fuck off a bit more as I focus on my own projects... Still sounds pretty bleak. :(
L'shanah tovah u'metukah...