Posted by: colloquiallyspeaking | March 20, 2018


The words of my youth ring in my ears as I meticulously scrub the leavened bread from the inside……

Source: Redemption?

Posted by: colloquiallyspeaking | March 14, 2018

Someone Called the Rabbi on Me…

I debated writing this post…I thought that maybe I shouldn’t stir any trouble…that if I did say something, I would only be hurting myself more.

But I have to write how I feel and I have to put it out there where it will be seen. This is who I am; this is how I can keep going through all the twists and turns of my life.

So here it is…here is how I felt when I found out that the Rabbi of the community I am currently living in was called about me and my family…how we had left Orthodoxy…and the subsequent tangible murmurings and distance we’ve felt.

Making this decision was agonizing for me and my husband, and extremely challenging with children old enough to understand the process. We never really felt a deep connection with this community, but we had built friendships within it and had a surface-level kinship with most of the members as coreligionists.

Now that we have even less in common with so many of the people in our small community, the emotional baggage of our childhoods have resurfaced along with the need to fit in or blend in so that we can avoid the pain of living on the outside. We’ve worked on that, and we have embraced our decisions and our truths and no longer feel shame or fear about who we are.

I write this for that person hiding in the pack, afraid of someone finding something out and having the shame of the protective blanket of lies wrapped around them ripped away in unwanted exposure.

You may be feeling alone right now, but feeling alone with a truth you can live with is far better than feeling alone with a truth you cannot face.

I don’t know how old I was when someone told me telling the truth was shameful and should be avoided at all costs.

I did not want the shame I already felt to be seen by anyone else so I made lying my truth.

When I was 12 years old, someone called my mother to tell her that somewhere along the way, I had not learned to read. My skin burned red and no one wrapped me up in comfort and told me I did not have to lie.

When I was 13 years old, someone found a packet of my lying truths I wrote to test the waters of friendship and trust, and returned them to sender. My parents read my spun tales and believed me when I said I had lied but the shame washed over me like he had said it would so I dug the truth deeper under my skin.

When I was 15 years old, someone thought I had disappeared and searched all over for me, finding me walking back to safety with a boy who had bought me pizza and listened to my hopes and aspirations without judgment. I was dragged back to the security of taped mouths and bound bodies and saw shame in my parents’ eyes. It felt like daggers stabbing a dead corpse and I knew that my heart had been stolen.  

When I was 16 years old, someone called my father to tell him about something I had done in a dark garage at the end of a long driveway where my heart was pounding and fear was forcing my eyes shut and my body to learn the fine art of floating into the trees outside. We didn’t speak about it because I no longer existed.

When I was 17 years old, someone called someone every time I came up for air.

When I was 20 years old, I found something deep within that felt like a truth and everyone I loved was able to breathe again because they could bear the truth I wore.

When I was 30 years old, I could no longer let that truth that had been a lie drain my soul. I decided I was going to learn to love that little girl who was so afraid of shame.

When I was 32 years old, I found that I had absorbed all shame and could finally live a truth that was mine.

Then someone called the Rabbi on me…

And now I am 10 years old again and I am nodding my head and promising that I will never tell.

Posted by: colloquiallyspeaking | March 8, 2018

I Am Woman — Please Don’t Make Me Roar

I am woman; I am tired of roaring. For as long as I can remember, my throat has burned from……

Source: I Am Woman — Please Don’t Make Me Roar

Posted by: colloquiallyspeaking | March 2, 2018


“So”, he says, leaning back into his chair. “Tell me what’s on your mind.”

I inhale and slowly drift up to the ceiling.

I see my body sitting across from him. My fingers play with the magnetic toys he keeps on his desk.

My lips part and a story spews from them.

A story about a man…a stranger…and a gun…and a rape…and how the hero came…how the hero stood up for me…fought for me…made me believe in myself again…because I do now…and I am definitely not a victim…but I’m not sure what I’m feeling…so maybe it’s time to start talking…to start telling stories…to figure me out.

He frowns and I can see, from up here, that he knows that I’m lying.

I try to float down against myself and connect with my body before it betrays me again…but I don’t understand gravity anymore than I can understand how I am hovering on the ceiling, watching myself perform.

He says something I don’t really hear…because my ears are directly connected to my heart…and had he said any of the words my heart longed for, I know I’d come crashing down and smash my broken body into a million pieces more.

But I’m still up here…and I remain here as I trudge out of his office and through a few more days of foggy consciousness, until I remember that I told him about the monster.

Only…I called him a hero and I made him into a small detail of an elaborate tale I knew shouldn’t have been taken at face value.

So now I’m falling…down through my body and even further into a pit of slime and mold and I lose myself somewhere in the filth, until I see something I recognize and resurface, gasping as the burn pours down my throat and the bottle empties into my lungs where I am finally able to exhale.

There is nowhere left to fall.

I sit again.

I don’t think there is a point.

If I can’t tell my story I will die.

But I can’t tell the story because I’m on the ceiling again and this time it feels like my body is pinned to the fluorescent bulbs and the light is pouring through me as I slowly turn invisible.

But my heart can still hear.

My heart hears the tale spun again…the lies and deceptions…the words that mean nothing and everything…and I am disappointed in the girl sitting with those nice people and wonder if she knows that we will die very soon…that she will have to find a way to bury me.

But then my heart skips a beat because the story is over and there is no sound.

I need to know what is happening.

I need to rip myself from the cold concrete so I push and I push and I push until I am falling again, but this time, I am caught by the feeling of a hand…gently squeezing another hand that should be mine but has not yet connected with my displaced heart and soul…and my heart skips another beat and lands at the feet of a woman who knew not to hear the words my mouth was forming and instead…somehow saw me floating in the air and made me visible.


Photo by Naftali Goldstein, March 2016

Posted by: colloquiallyspeaking | February 27, 2018


I have worn my face behind something other than my skin for so long I don’t know if I can recognize my reflection.

At first, I wore the way I felt outside my heart. I didn’t know not to do that. I didn’t know that hearts exposed make people feel uncomfortable.

I learned to hide my heart when one too many people wore it down.

Instead, I took my anger and hate and wrapped myself up in loneliness and presented me to the world.

When I couldn’t bear myself anymore, I found belief to peer out from under and I made myself shut down.

I wore a skirt and then a headscarf. I looked down and kept quiet. I blended in.

I was miserable.

I was lost.

I thought there was no one left behind the face I put on beneath the years of expectations and the demands of my past dictating each step I took.

One day, broken, misunderstood and fed up with how I was seen, I tore my hair covering off my head and felt the wind.

It was as if I tapped myself on the shoulder and turned around in surprise as I met someone I use to know.

We are getting to know each other, she and I.

I think I like her.

I am standing on a wire now, between skins. I am slowly peeling off the layers.

What I find brings me comfort and peace, even while it hurts the ones I love.

I know you wish I could accept the mask I was handed at birth and learn to embrace it.

I want you to know that I tried, I really did.

This mask didn’t fit me. I squirmed beneath it until I felt like I had died.

But I haven’t died…I have just discovered that I am alive.

The mask is coming off now…

I am about to shine.

Posted by: colloquiallyspeaking | December 9, 2017

Six Months and One Day

I watched you exhale for the last time and I grew cold.

Your body lay still before me and I could not move.

Your death took the jagged shape of the piece of me long broken as it stabbed me in whatever was left of my believing soul.

It has been six months and you are still dead.

It has been six months and I am grieving and nothing can comfort me.

You are gone and I am writing to you as if you could respond.

That shard of you is embedded in my depths and I am afraid to dig it out because I am afraid it is all I’ll ever have of you.

I am no stranger to loss.

Death and I are friends.

But your death still feels like it is happening in front of me over and over again as if you want me to give it a damn explanation.

Death and I are friends.

We don’t need to explain things to each other.

 It’s been six months and one day and it feels like a second ago that I watched you exhale for the last time and I grew cold.

Posted by: colloquiallyspeaking | November 3, 2017


Trauma follows me wherever I go.

It likes my attention…wants me to let myself get wrapped in it’s claws…consent to it’s talons tearing through my skin…participate in the letting of my soul’s blood.

Trauma and I are inseparable.

It likes to stand so close to me that it looks as though we share the same face…and I find it necessary to peer through Trauma’s eyes to see as I filter through Trauma’s noise to hear.

Trauma loves me violently and is quick to remind me of who I really am.

Trauma turns my back for me, just as I am about to let go.

Trauma weighs down my legs with each step.

Trauma seeps into my vocal chords and plays games with words I try to say.

Trauma takes an active role in my relationships.

Trauma guides me in how not to parent.

Trauma even likes to go shopping with me.

Trauma is my everything.

I don’t know how to feel…how to act…how to think…without Trauma’s constant active memory of a past that refuses to remain buried.

I always thought I could live with Trauma forever…accept Trauma as part of me…become stronger with Trauma as my second skin…

Maybe I will, in some ways…

But, today I find a moment where Trauma can be distracted by a feeling I thought I cared about.

I sit down and write


Trauma takes a step back in shock…

For a moment…

I am visible.


Posted by: colloquiallyspeaking | September 20, 2017

Where Have You Gone?

Sometimes, when my heart allows it, I see you everywhere.

In the lyrics of a song…in the casual words people string together without thought…in the rush of memory a picture evokes…in the gait of a stranger…in the pain all around…in the walls…in the corners and in every speck of undusted past around every jagged edge of my battered heart.

Most times, I cannot find you anywhere.

I search for you…under every rock weighing down my soul…but you have disappeared forever and I am left wondering what could have been…wishing my life had been different.

When you were born, I refused to acknowledge you. I was so angry…so hurt that another human being was going to be part of something so damaging. I wanted to hate you…but you smelled of innocence and hope and when I held you I felt something shift inside me and a door opened just a tiny crack to let you in.

I wasn’t home much…you grew up with me on the sidelines…always an outsider…and you weren’t even sure how we were related.

But when you saw me, you hugged me.

I hadn’t known touch to be pure and loving and I hugged you back, probably too tight.

Each time I saw you, I got to know another little part of you. You became something of an ideal for me. You were the little one with all the potential I never got to have. Maybe I was a little jealous.

There were so many brief moments…so many times we built on this distant connection…so many times we almost sealed the bond.

Then we got to have magic.

Four and a half weeks of magic marred by a whirlwind of emotional turmoil and exhaustion coupled with an inexplicable physical drain…

But of course, we know what it was now…we know that it killed you and there was nothing we could do to stop it.

You went home and I tried.

I tried to keep building…I tried to make something that could last forever.

I failed. You slipped away from me…in every way…and when you died I lost the part of me that believes our fates are never sealed…that we have the power to change the way we live our present so that our past can finally rest.

My past tosses and turns in a shallow grave while you lay in one too deep and inaccessible to me.

I have only small remnants of you left and they get swallowed up by the ever-dying embers of lives that should have been…children always protected and loved…individuality accepted and embraced…cancer beating down a door built so strong and impenetrable that it shatters every ugly cell.

So, I look for you…everywhere…and sometimes I find you…but most times…I don’t.


Posted by: colloquiallyspeaking | June 10, 2017

Goodnight my Angel

“I figured it out,” you said.

“I know what death is.”

It was last August, at the end of an epic summer, and you were saying goodbye.

It was in the living room – on the couches you hated and in typical fashion, you spoke bluntly and decisively about the topic most people avoided around you.

“It’s just my body.  That’s all it is.  And I am not just my body.  My body is sick…my body will die…but I am so much more than that.  I am everything else that I am, and that will never die.”

Oh Hudis…

You are right.

You will never die.

Your body is here now – finally pain free…finally unhooked and untethered from everything that you are…

And Hudis you are everything.

You are the strength of a thousand people…

You are the courage of one lone solider against a mighty army.

You are the love that binds hearts together….

You are the innocence of a million children

You are the joy and laughter of uninhibited play…

You are the song that rises from the brokenhearted…

You are the notes teased from ivory keys, rising and falling with every breath you no longer need to take as you write the lyrics to the greatest song on earth…

Hudis – we will play that song…

We will add notes and harmonies and a baseline that keeps us moving forward.

We will write the stories of our heavy hearts and weave them through your lines.

We will create a bridge that connects it all and we will sing it…

And we will surely sing it too loud and too intrusively and off key – the only way you can possibly sing a song that can never die.

Achrona achrona Chaviva Hudis.

Save the best for last.

You’ll always be the best.

Posted by: colloquiallyspeaking | April 18, 2017


The corners came undone long ago.

Slowly unfurling from where we tuck them in


so incredibly tight…

The place where we come to a point pulls in all four directions.

Reaching out…

white fabric flapping softly in the breeze…


But we refuse to pick up speed

and white only stays white for so long

and winds change rapidly…


We feel our souls exposed to an unfamiliar cold

one that means banishment


and a wave of anger.

We pull in our corners

tuck them under our waning faith

promise them they’ll see the light again someday

and dye the fabric black…

then blue…

then the colors of pain…

and repression.

Until it turns an ugly shade of brown

that can’t hide us anymore.

We pull at the corners

rip them out from under the weight of our childhood

the expectations of our families

the judgment of our neighbors

the fear of a false messiah

and let the shit colored fabric free from the heavy rocks we stoned ourselves with.

And then it’s done.

We have left the fold.



Older Posts »


%d bloggers like this: