Tuesday, November 30, 2004

"Why are people so depressed?"

Please note that this is the second entry of the day, so scroll down to see the previous one.

My teacher in Seminary posed this broad, wide-open question this morning, "Why are people this generation so depressed?"which led me straight to Mary-Kate Olsen. OMG, Why am I so freakin' obsessed with this child? But anyway, this is a girl who has anything and everything that anyone and everyone wants.
She's been a star since she was 8 months old, whether she was talented or not.
She has a twin sister for constant companionship.
She and her sisters are heads of a humongous empire consisting of dolls, videos, books, cosmetics, and clothing. They are in complete control, and they make a gazillion dollars a year.
She even had a boyfriend until after she got out of rehab (or around there)
She has been waited on hand-and-foot all her life.
She has a Range Rover.
She has EVERYTHING materialistically, but she is still miserable.

Miserable enough to starve herself, put herself in danger, and risk death.
That's hard for some people to believe.

So why are people so depressed? Essentially, this generation has more than the previous ones did. When people have a lot, they always want more. People are greedy. They look at the Olsen twins and think, "Gee I wish I had all that!" and the Olsen Twins look at J.Lo and say, "We wish we had that!" (Why do you think they just came out with a signature fragrance? Watch-they'll open their own restaurant soon, too.) I don't know where J.Lo looks to superiority, because she has already done everything possible, but obviously, she's miserable too. If she had any happiness, keep a guy more than 8 months. The point is, people are looking at what others have, and obviously they have less, so they become miserable.

Story of my life. My high school friends are probably laughing now. In high school, for some reason, I was really competitive with grades. The funny part is, I'm not even really smart, so it was totally futile to compete with people whose IQs are double mine, but my focus was always on those girls who got 90s without studying. I'd look at my hard-earned 80 and cry. I never thought of the one or two girls who gave it their all and landed a 65. The thought of that pain makes my heart ache again. That need to be just as good as someone else. To have as much brains as she has. (I coulda gone for money, looks, all the good stuff. For some reason, I chose brains.) Truly depressed people feel that way about EVERYTHING! They're always looking to see who has more than they have in every area and lament about how little they have been given.

FYI, I am so over the grades thing, so don't be afraid to show me your A+s.

I also have a lot more to say about Materialism, which I briefly touched on here, so IY"H, if all that doesn't fly out of my head, like the other 3 entries I planned...

Tzniut and Yirat Hashem

The, "but-she-has-middos" argument is not doing it for me anymore. People have used that a defense for girls who are dressed inappropriately. I do not mean to belittle their Middos, because I have met people who wear pants (gasp) and have fine Middos. Therefore, the people who simply have not been taught better are not included in this discussion. They simply do not know better and cannot be blamed. I'm talking girls who have had Bais Yaakov educations and still dress gross-looking.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about the way women dress. Whether it's fair or not, here is my conclusion: It's all in the way you carry yourself. "You mean, She and I can wear the same thing, and I can look slutty, and she won't?" You bet. Girls with Bais Yaakov educations have three things in mind: Elbows, knees, and collarbone. Unfortunately, those are frequently ignored as well, so I guess it's down to wearing skirts, and not showing cleavage. My point is that I know people who wear short skirts with high boots, and look like whores. Their knees are barely covered when they stand, and the skirt is so skin tight, they must have been buttered into it. It's not like they were once a certain size, and they gained a few pounds, (like me) so their behinds stick out of everything they wear. It's like, "I'm gonna buy an extra tight skirt so i can look sexy." Not like they stop there, becuase their shirts probably used a whole other tub of butter, and they must have forgotten that their collarbone is like 5 inches ABOVE where their shirt begins. Now people are going to tell me, "Yeah, but she is the sweetest person!" Great. At least she has one thing going for her.

I've made an observation, however. Most, not all, girls that are dressed appropriately, like really, that their elbows, knees, and collarbones are always covered, and their clothing fits into the ramifications of Tzniut, both in spirit and letter of the law, demonstrate a level of Yirat Hashem. These girls are more prone to have good Middos because their Yirat Hashem has helped them strive to improve their Middos.

I must stress that I am not saying that people who dress inappropriately are not as nice as the ones who do. In addition, I do know that some people dress the part, but certainly do not act it.
This goes both ways. Back to the "how you carry yourself" argument.
Some people dress all Bais Yaakovy, and walk into a movie theater like that. Others walk around in a long denim skirt with a slit in the front, short socks and sneakers, or even-gasp-sandals, but davened well that morning, and has great middos. (But chances are she's headed to a movie too) But there are other girls who dress that way, slit and all (and MORE) but did not bother to daven that morning, and are only living the Jewish life because that's how they were brought up.

Okay, see this is the problems when I write things that are a little deep. I get sidetracked, and I get afraid I might forget to say something, so it's kinda hard to understand. But if you took it to mean, you misunderstood. K?

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Shomer Shabbat

This Shabbos, I ended up walking down Avenue J (The commercial area in Brooklyn, for those of you out-of-towners) and I was amazed.

There was a total of 3-5 open stores on a span of 6 busy blocks. These are the streets that are so crowded, you ALWAYS meet someone you know when you're there. Without fail. Trust me. I have a streak going. You have to squeeze through people on Fridays.

But on Shabbos, it's relatively quiet. There were some people shopping in those few stores. I noticed that many signs touted the words, "Shomer Shabbat" and remembered hearing that when my Great-great-grandfather came to America in the late1800s- early 1900s, he opened his own business in order to prevent having to work on Shabbos. My teachers always told us all those stories about people who were fired every Friday for leaving early and informing their imployers that they would not be coming in the next day.

I can't help but feel lucky (but scared at the same time) that business owners can Baruch Hashem comfortably print on their awnings that they are Shomer Shabbos, and that they do not feel the need to sneak a few hours on Shabbos to increase their business. The menucha (rest) of Shabbos was felt through walking past all the gates down..just another way to appreciate Shabbos...

Thursday, November 25, 2004

"Is it OU-D?"

That question frustrates me so much. It's almost as bad as when people say, "Me and my friend went..." (even though some believe that usage has become accepted.) Do you want to know if it's dairy or if it's not Cholov Yisroel? If that's the case, ask if it's Cholov Stam. If you want to know if it's dairy, ask me if it's dairy. There ARE products that have the Hechsher of OU-D, but are Cholov Yisroel as well, so if you ask me if it's OU-D, and I say yes, it could still be Cholov Yisroel, but you won't know because you will have assumed that OU-D means Cholov Stam!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


Guess what everybody?
I finally took a minute to allow Anonymous comments! So now you're all welcome to comment. But be nice, k?

BTW, sorry I'm behind. I have a paper due in about an hour. If I have a chance, I'll add one of the many topics floating around in my brain.

Please feel free to comment on all my old posts, cuz I always check them (and then feel rejected that nobody commented) I even set up that they'll e-mail me when I receieve comments.

Thanks a mil everyone!!!

Say Hello

Okay, now I'm really angry (a.k.a. hurt, but then I don't sound tough).
Before I was complaining that the other Jewish girls on campus don't smile or say hi. Well, it's gotten worse. I met a frum girl I know from last semester, not like 10 years ago, and she completely snubbed me.
I muttered a casual, "hey." She heard me. I know she heard me. She just looked at me like, "I know you, but I'm not gonna say hi." and forced a quarter of a smile (unless she burped inside her mouth). Can't she afford a grunt? An insincere, "Hi, How are you?" and a walk-away-before-I-can-respond? (One of my favorites, by the way..thanks for making believe to care!) But no. I got nothin'.
Then I saw her buddy who was in that class with me too, but I didn't bother to say hi. Why get snubbed twice in two minutes?
There are non-jewish strangers that are friendlier than they are.
I even gave them my notes for the midterm and final. Whatever. I vented. Whew.

But in all seriousness, if any of my readers attend Brooklyn College-smile at me when you see me on campus...I'm that other frum girl..
Let's create Achdus! (Well, besides for the snobs-stick to yourselves as always)

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Cleaning Ladies Part 2- Wash your own dishes

I'm not a mother of 5+ so I don't really know how hard it is, but I can imagine.
This past holiday, Succot, I overheard every woman I know (who wasn't in a hotel) discussing their cleaning ladies' hours, which days they were able to come, and yadda yadda.
I was home for Succot too. My cleaning lady didn't show up once. Guess what? We all survived! My mom worked really hard and was completely exhausted, (I tried to help, really!) but I felt a certain pride in the fact that my family didn't succumb to that level of laziness.

If Chas V'Shalom a person has someone sick living with them, or have disabled people, by all means, pay the help, enjoy it, and Refuah Shelema.

But for those who Baruch Hashem are able-bodied, but just plain lazy, get off your butt and wash your own dishes. Or use fancy paper.

It always bothers me when I'm at someone else's house, and the maid is like a slave. Nobody talks to her. Nobody says hello or thank you. She just does what she's told and that's it. Umm, hello, she's a person too. I know she is paid to do this. I know that! But to treat her with a little respect can't be so hard. I hate when people slave-drive these people. Yeah, you're paying them, but don't yell at them or abuse them.

In my bungalow colony, I remember taking out the garbage when my parents were in the city, and realizing I had never seen anyone I know from the colony taking out their garbage, it was ALWAYS the maid. I know, if you're paying someone to do it, why bother. But I think it was below their dignity. That's what gets me.

I understand this might upset some of my readers, but I am only voicing my humble jewish opinion, so let me know!

Anorexia in the Jewish World- Part 2

Non-TV Households

As I mentioned previously, I have a yeshivish friend who was anorexic. She actually used to watch TV when she was younger, so maybe that doesn't count.
But even in the yeshivish world, there are many anorexic girls. This is due to four things:
1) peer pressure- (possibly from those who are exposedto the media)
2) influence from their mothers
3) criticism from their mothers
4) Control Issues

1)Peer Pressure
The girls whose friends are on "diets" even if they need not be, tend to want to follow the trend. If everyone else is eating salad, it takes a lot of confidence to be able to down a slice of pizza. That's confidence that many teenagers do not have. Then it turns into a competition of who can consume fewer calories per meal or something. They also want to try to be skinnier than their friends, and girls will go to extreme measures to accomplish that. (I should have titled this "eating disorders" because bulimia is also prevalent, but I'm too lazy.)

2) Influence from their mothers
Think about it. When was the last time a day passed that your mother didn't complain about how fat she thinks she is? That's why second-graders are counting calories!!!!!!!!!! It gets infused in you if you are exposed to it so young. Most people grow up with that. You rarely hear people say, "I look thin," or, "I look good" so it's not cool to be heard saying that. Even if you are 10 pounds underweight.

3) Criticism from their mothers
I was a fat kid from 7th to 8th, but my mother never said a word about it. Maybe that spared me from a full-fledged eating disorder. In 8th grade, I decided on my own to go on a diet, and I lost about 35 pounds by the time i entered 10th grade. I haven't been able to keep it all off, but people say i look better a little fuller like I am now. But anyway, I remember spending Shabbos at a girl's house, (before I got fat) and this kid was chubby, and her mother didn't let her have cake. "_____, you're fat-you can't have that!" Who's shocked that a few years later she was completely anorexic? I'm not. That poor kid was definitely not to blame. Doing that to a child is practically giving them the handbook to anorexia.

4) Control Issues
I don't even mean domineering parents necessarily. I'm talking any failure that leads someone to feel helpless and out of control. When a girl studies really hard and still does badly in school, (Story of part of my life) she feels helpless and out of control. One thing she knows she can control is her eating. Nobody can shove something down her throat and make her chew and swallow. Even if they manage to do it, she'll throw it up anyway. She can't control her social life or her grades or her rules...so she'll control this. The worst part is, this control issue in front and center of everyone's anorexia, whether media exposed or not. And it gets worse with time, not better. When a girl's anorexic, her mind is always on food, and she always has dehydration headaches, so she can't concentrate in school, so she does badly. She also becomes anti-social, and the few times she is with her friends, she's in a bad mood, so nobody hangs with her anymore, so she feels alone, and more helpless. It just goes on and on.

It is imperative that children (girls AND boys) are raised with proper confidence and self-esteem to avoid these fatal diseases. Sometimes a kid can be well-raised and well-adjusted, and still have this problem, but I have yet to come across one.
Part 3 will deal with people who have TVs and then I think I'll move on.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Anorexia in the Jewish World

This is really a topic that needs a lot more time and attention than I have for it now, but I will make do.

People are finally talking about this! It's a sickness that has plagued the nation from way before Karen Carpenter, to Tracey Gold...straight to Mary-Kate Olsen. I know this is the Jewish site, but you guys know what I mean anyway.

Try walking through the lunchroom in your local Bais Yaakov junior-high school and high school. I remember girls sharing a bag of lettuce for lunch! Or bringing a cup of lettuce with a cucumber for lunch. Crazy junk like that. It scared me so bad.

I have seen anorexic teenage girls, and it's actually a frightening sight. Sometimes people are anorexic but never reach the level of looking like a skeleton--but that's only if someone's smart and saves her in time. Anorexic girls are possessed by the Satan. Now people are saying it's because of media exposure. I agree 100%. Watch one episode of ANYTHING--Friends--Courteney Cox Arquette is a stick. Will & Grace (pre-pregnancy) you can count her ribs when she wears a low-cut shirt. That gives girls something to aspire to.

OKay, so then people say, "What about the people who don't have TVs in their houses?" Nice try. There are anorexic yeshivish people. I actually know one. She'll never read this because to her, the internet is assur.

If a kid's mother tells her she's fat, or not to eat specific things because she'll get fat, she may decide not to eat at all. That's part of the whole "fear of fat" thing. OMG, I could seriously go on and on, and get totally off-topic. So I'll take a breather, and IY"H I'll be back next time I have a minute. Keep on readin', y'all!

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

More on Brooklyn College

First-Thanks to all you guys who complimented my blog. Keep 'em coming. Keep visiting, and spread the word. You guys motivate me to write even when I am crazy busy!!

Now, on to the Brooklyn College stuff.
I must preface again by saying Brooklyn college is definitely not for everyone. There are some girls in Bais Yaakov schools that would get pregnant the second they leave, if you know what I mean. They can go straight to Touro.
But if the girl is a little more mature and confident, and level-headed she can do realy nicely in Brooklyn College. Take yours truly, for example. I'm not saying I'm perfect, or that I am the best girl in any Bais Yaakov or anything like that, but I feel that as I have grown, these characteristics are the ones that gave me the present outlook I have on Brooklyn College.

I feel such a newfound appreciation for Judaism.

Shabbos: I always overhear my classmates complaining about how they have to wrok on Saturday. Even worse, they have to do their papers on Saturday, and catch up on all their schoolwork. How awesome is that "helpless" feeling when you're lying on the couch Friday night thinking, "I couldn't write my paper now even if I wanted to!" G-d is helping us relax. We'd be so insane without Shabbos! Without Shabbos, there's no break, no reprieve....ya got NOTHIN'!
When my professor told us last semester, "I spent all Saturday programming you guys into this thing..." I laughed to myself, "I just ate, slept, and read. What a life!" (Oh, and davened of course!)

Brachos: Most of us mumble Brachos anyway, whether we want to or not, and probably give little thought to it. In observing some classmate before class, I noticed a girl take out a hamburger (yes, from McDonald's) and just take a bite. Just like that! My initial reaction was, "OMG! She didn't wash. She didn't make a bracha!" and I was like, "Well, duh, you idiot, she's not Jewish!" but then I realized hot great our Mitzvos are. Thank G-d I have to wash my hands before I eat bread! Who knows what I could have touched on the railing coming upstairs?! Yuck. Brachos also lend spirituality to a physical activity. When you say a Bracha correctly, you're acknowleging G-d's existence, and the fact that He created the food that's about to nourish you. It's Hakoras HaTov all day.

The Social Scene: Now, I don't mean boys and girls-because that's where all the trouble starts and ends. I mean before class. In a Bais Yaakov, when the students are waiting for the teacher to arrive, everyone chats it up. (The problem is they don't stop after the teacher walks in and begins to teach, either, but that's a story for another day) Here, it's cold as ice. Nobody talks to one another. Unless they're friends from before. Otherwise, it's complete silence. Don't bother approaching someone or initiating conversation. Just look busy so it's not awkward.

Men and Women: I decided to actually go with this one. In the Frum world, relationships between men and women are so much more sacred. Here, women especially, are disposable. If she's no good in bed, I'll get another one. Or pay another one. Whatever. Since there are no Halachot regarding Negiah, men and women are all over each other in public, which is kind of annoying, and not so fun to watch. It's a general feeling of access that the men feel they have toward the women. So many things are abused that way.

Tzniut: I'm not gonna say I am the most modestly dressed student here, because I know I'm not. I also know there are frum girls here who look like whores despite their claiming to keep Halacha, or trying really hard to fit in and look like a non-jew. It ain't helping. I can spot you a mile away. And smile at you and get no response, but that's done already. Maybe I should just join the bitch club and not smile at everyone. Whatever. So anyway, I kinda appreciate the laws of Tzniut now that I can see the ramifications of not being dressed appropriately. The girls who wear the high boots and short skirts,...or mini-skirts and tanks, or buttered-on shirts...get attention, but not good attention. They get more than the whistle that I tolerate, and ignore. For all I know, they get picked up on street corners. UNfortuantely, that includes some frum girls, too.

Anyway, I said my piece. I am not a frummak. Just an appreciative Jew. Is that fair? I'd love your comments!