This year I made a decision and decided to leave Morocco. I bought my tickets and hoped for the best, telling myself that this was the correct decision and on paper it still is.
There is more money to be made elsewhere (and I own no worldly possessions to pass on to my daughter), the region is unstable (especially for us Jews), my daughter is getting older (and according to my mentors, so am I, so I should rush rush rush to get a job elsewhere now)…I know what smart decisions look like and I know leaving is a smart one for a host of materialistic and career reasons, except there was one little thing missing from everyone’s thought process including my own that crept up on me in the quietness of many nights.
Outside of career, outside of society’s perfect marriage with a 2.5 child unit, outside of all social norms of status…if I looked only at my center, at my gut… there were only two questions:
Might I be running away from something difficult and painful to face?
Might I be chasing something that isn’t anything tangible that I can feasibly catch?
In the review of my life in these months before Yom Kippour, I realized there was a host of people I have blamed and circumstances that YES have been difficult but that I have used as excuses to not do what scares me.
When I was doing well, I had no time. When I was doing badly, I had no money. I said that I never had enough time or money to do what I knew I had to do. I used distractions and excuses, love stories and amusement to pass over my duties.
Which duties am I talking about? You know which ones. The ones we all have. Those callings from inside ourself that make us cry out for justice; those gifts from Hashem that we have from birth and from life experience that we can utilize to help ourselves and this world become better and yet we wait for someone else to do them for us, someone better and more “qualified”.
Changing countries to avoid my responsibilities will not make me feel better. These past two years have been a painful process that I have tried to run from. I have used anything and everything including changing countries to get out of facing myself. I have been avoiding pain, avoiding responsibility, avoiding the subjugation of my fragile ego. I have been avoiding my bigger and wiser self. Avoiding the duties that might make me more enemies than friends; that may bring me mockery and ridicule and rejection when I so desperately wish to be loved.
And yet, although I am afraid, every time I have used my voice, every time I have taken the full weight of myself and my ideas and resolved to take the backlash…every time…I have felt a weight lift off my back.
I am not as smart as I think I am. I can be so wrong. I am not always as brave as I want to be…but I continually show myself that I am brave and can be so brave.
The potential of myself is so beautiful and so attainable and yet I have avoided it for so long.
Changing lands and changing places will not make me proud of myself. Sitting in my pain, in the silence in the discomfort…this is the only way I can leave pain and discomfort.
I wish life was from down to up. But it’s up down up down up down up down.
As soon as you learn, you fall again. It’s getting up and up and up again. Continually.
So I am staying one more year, to give my daughter one last year to know her Morocco before our community is down to the tens instead of the hundreds and giving myself one more shot at finishing or rather starting what I have failed to do. So that where ever I go I can be proud and sure I am not escaping, I am only moving on.