Hasidic Women Tell Their Story

Hasidic Women Tell Their Story

It is Friday night in Montréal and Molly and I are walking along the sidewalk in Outremont, a historically Hasidic neighborhood. I am an anthropology student at Concordia University returning from a field assignment to attend a Shabbat dinner at Molly’s home and investigate the gender based boundary building in the Hasidic community.

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How My Tragedy Became My Passion

How My Tragedy Became My Passion

It was the fall of 2010 that change my life forever. I was a freshman in high school going through many changes in my life already and just trying to find out what I wanted to do in the next four years. Then something tragic happened that I would never forget.  On October 19, 2010 my longtime friend Daniel, who had cerebral palsy and a brain tumor, lost his battle to the cancer.

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Letter To My Hidden Girl

Letter To My Hidden Girl

I see you walking through the halls with your books pressed up against your chest so uneasy and unsettled. I see you sitting uncomfortably in class extremely intelligent and driven, but bearing the feelings of belittlement and inferiority because of the jokes about your nose and bumps inconveniently distributed on the surface  of your big cheeks and forehead.

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Command Presence

Command Presence

I’m an introvert with an outgoing mind, the shy kid in the back of class, timidly raising my hand as if to say, "I have a voice, but I'm terrified my words will come out wrong." I only got my Masters because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, and I was terrified of living a wasted life. Wealth was always secondary to being meaningful, and, to me, being meaningful meant I wanted my day job to be something I was proud of because it helped others as much as the paycheck benefited me.

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The Chairs

The Chairs

Growing up in our family of five, money was short, so my mum used to supplement my dad’s wages by sewing curtains at home. Our former living room became her sewing space, with the dining kitchen at the heart of our home.

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Real Growing Pains

Real Growing Pains

When I was eleven, my thirty-six-year-old mother got herself an eighteen-year-old sailor boyfriend, and, rather than have the neighbors talk, she pretended he was my boyfriend. And just so the St. Joe’s nuns never found out, we moved two hours by bus away from the district.

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One Day at a Time

One Day at a Time

The day my mother gave me a journal to help me cope with my grandmother’s suicide undoubtedly changed my life forever. That seemingly benign gesture, when I was ten years old, laid the groundwork for my life as a writer. Following this continuum, and after a serious health crisis, I made a decision which went against my character. I accomplished something I never thought I would be able to do.

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That's the End of It

That's the End of It

The call came in June 2009.   I was lying on the couch, doing nothing as usual. Probably daytime TV was on, Judge Judy or something like that. 

The caller spoke with a Sub-continental accent and yes, I profiled him on the spot – telemarketer.  I hung up.  Whatever he was selling, I didn’t want it and couldn’t afford it. 

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4:00 AM Madness

4:00 AM Madness

Startled, I awaken in an anxiety born stupor. It's 4:00 a.m.Sunday morning. In the distance a siren announces a 911 while a car alarm bellows out of control. Cars race an uncontrollable rage through empty streets. Light flickers through my window yet I know there is no light outside other than the moon displaying it's devilish grin. Is it a warning?

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In the Mirror I See Who I was Meant to Be

In the Mirror I See Who I was Meant to Be

I came to the realization very recently that I’ve changed a lot as a person. This whole embracing change attitude has really made a shift in me. Life can show you who and what matters in an instant. I am not sure how to put this, but I don’t miss the old me at all. I always used to feel timid, scared, apprehensive. Like I was back in middle school and even high school. 

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The Moment I Broke the Cycle of Anxiety, Insecurity, and Perfectionism

The Moment I Broke the Cycle of Anxiety, Insecurity, and Perfectionism

I was standing in a sea of college seniors, moments away from graduating.  I gently caressed the pure white tassel on my cap, poised to turn it at any second.  

In that moment, I did not worry about how many people were graduating with a higher GPA than mine.

In that moment, I did not convince myself that I did not belong at my own graduation ceremony.

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Water Protectors

Water Protectors

In November, like many people, I watched a horrifying video of North Dakota Police backed by private mercenaries from Tiger Swan fire a water canon into a crowd of peaceful protestors, severely injuring several of them. It wasn’t the first moment that I had heard of the Water Protectors efforts against the Dakota Access Pipeline but it hit the hardest. I was a soldier. I served my country for five years and this… this offended me. And I wasn’t the only one. Veterans Stand for Standing Rock was started because of that video.

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Patronizing Bullshit

Patronizing Bullshit

Growing up, I often heard about and saw depicted in books and movies the whole idea of the “importance of work to a man.”  Men who could not work, who could not support their wives and families were frequently depicted as victims.  They drank. They were abusive, but it was okay, or at least understandable, because they world had dealt them a bad hand.  They were to be sympathized with and pitied.  To be honest, I always wrote off this line of thinking, this story line as patronizing bullshit, especially when a woman or other family member was able to provide for a family.  Why did it matter who brought in the money as long as there was food on the table?

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