Hungry Again

mishpacha image

I’m hungry again.

It’s been a while since I’ve felt this way, this desperate ache for something I don’t have.

The only thing I can compare it to is being in shidduchim, when every phone call rings of potential, every interaction with a stranger is laden with hope that it will lead to The One. The feelings resonate, of being in a position where it feels as though the entire world is constantly looking at me, evaluating me, mentally pairing me with another.

During the period I was dating, every morning brought with it new promise — maybe today I’ll be suggested to my husband! Promise fluttered constantly, toying with me, taunting me. Inevitably, at the end of each day, at the end of each “maybe-husband,” disappointment followed.

Now again, that rise and fall is present, and I ride along familiar waves. The hope is as expected, as painful, as the crash. With a new business brewing, I am venturing into unfamiliar territory, although the terrain feels alarmingly familiar.

The day I place my first ad, I anxiously await the thousands of customers the circular supposedly reaches. Every meeting with a potential client brings me hope. They’re impressed (What a catch you are!), they like my CV (Great that you added a self-description in your shidduch résumé?), they have a bunch of projects they want to send my way (I have a list of boys I want to set you up with.) I hand out my business cards like they’re going out of style — I hear they are, and online presence is the latest rage — (Should I sign up to Saw You At Sinai?).

I leave interviews after giving my spiel, floating on the wings of wonder and excitement, sure that tomorrow will bring with it new business ventures.

The sun rises, the sun sets, tomorrow comes. And the next day. And the next.

Repeated glances at my phone do not cause it to shrill. Sheer will cannot force potential clients to call.

Wait — is that a ring? (My bashert?)

I am poised, confident, my voice striking the perfect slightly-busy-but-calm balance. “Hello?”

Finally! Is this the company I met with last week, calling to seek my services?

“Hi, this is Josh calling from Neighborly Niceness, would you like to donate...” I hang up before he can hear the groan of despair escape my throat.

A final pin inserted in my balloon, and I am falling, completely deflated. Is my wish for a thriving business nothing but a pipe dream? Should I have stayed in my secure — albeit unfulfilling — profession? Was this too big a risk?

I hated shidduchim, hated the meetings with individuals renowned for their expertise and brilliance and skill, hated exposing myself to judgment, evaluation, analysis.

I hated being pumped up and over the moon about a particular boy, only for nothing to come of it.

I hated the hope (not too much anticipation now, no point in having high expectations), that was there nonetheless, despite the stern voice of rationalism.

I hated feeling like I was doing everything humanly possible to get my name out there, and wondering if it wasn’t enough.

I hated the question lingering in the dark spaces of my mind: Am I good enough? I hated wondering, when I’d hear of a friend’s engagement, Is there something wrong with me?

Those questions disappeared when I met my husband. They return now, familiar friends I wish would go away.

(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 626)



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Tagged: Lifetakes