Being a twenty two year old Women in 2019 is very different than when my Grandmother’s were my age. My Grandmother’s faced restrictions that I thankfully do not have to face today. I’m not going to say that I’ve never experienced discrimination because I’m a woman, I have, but still never like the Women before me. Today I attend college in a huge lecture hall filled with both men & women. I have women in my life who are doctor’s, lawyers, accountants, teacher’s, real estate agents etc. I have women in my life who have started their own companies and paved a successful road for themselves and other women. I have women who use their creativity to help their team at work get ahead. You look everywhere and Women aren’t just in the house cooking, cleaning and childrearing. We do that and so much more. We’re like the professional jugglers the world never knew it needed. We know where everyone’s things are, even when we can’t find our own keys or wallets. We take into consideration allergies, doctor appointments, people’s fears, people’s struggles. We often, carry what seems like the entire world on our shoulders. The most amazing thing is that unless you’re living with us you’d never know that we feel the pressure with every cell in our body. You wouldn’t understand the sigh of relief when your body finally sinks into your bed after a long day at school/work, cooking, cleaning, putting clothes away, picking up countless of socks, & spending time with your loved one’s when they need you. You body relaxes and possibly sleeps but your mind never shuts off, because you’re a women. You wonder if your friend ever figured their issue out. Are your parents okay? Is your dog happy? How can you help reduce your spouses stress? Did you shut the oven off? Are my contacts out? Crap! I forgot to get an oil change… again! Will the car go up in flames if I forget again? I hope that old friend from HS is happy with their life. Whats the safest place to hide if a war breaks out? If the gas in my car locks & I keep accelerating what do I do to safely stop the vehicle before I crash? I have a headache… Am I healthy? Did I even drink water today? Can you stop thinking so I can just sleep?
There are many meme’s out there today which depict how Men never understand Women. Men are from mars & Women are from venus. Well, considering how jumbled up and organized our brains are all at once, can you blame them?
I’d like to give a huge thank you to the Women in my life. To the Women who make up my inner circle of family & close friends, thank you. Without your insight, advice, cheering me on, & picking me up when I had no more strength THANK YOU. I wouldn’t be who I am today, without you. To the Women in my professional life, the women I collaborate with, the Women who are in the blogging community, to the women who support my blog & page, THANK YOU. My voice wouldn’t be heard if you weren’t listening. I wouldn't have a constant source of inspiration without all of you. I wouldn’t have the connections I do today if you all weren’t open to me. THANK YOU. To the countless of female teachers I had throughout my life, thank you for the inspiration. Thank you for building me up when school was hard. Thank you for encouraging me, and convincing me that I am smart & can do it if I try. A special thank you goes out to the Women who are no longer with us today. You all fought and paved a path for us with endless possibilites. You taught us not to settle. You told us there are no such thing as a closed door, you kick that door in and walk through if you want it bad enough. Thank you for raising us and for being the strength behind us when we feel its all too much. Thank you for giving us a name to honor.
There are many women throughout history who have made history because of their courage to stand up for themselves & for us. They are always the inspiration that drives me. Each of these women I have mentions fueled me with the power to speak up and speak loud. To the Women younger than me, I hope chasing your dreams is even easier than it is for myself. I hope you never feel slighted because you are a women. I hope that you don’t feel afraid to stand firm against the tide. I hope you chase your dreams until they become your reality.
Happy International Women’s day to the women from the past, the present & the Women of the future.
Always, Rachel Safer
We all have dreams. Some people's dreams come to them on a silver platter while other people face obstacles and countless closed doors. In real life, when a door is closed, what do you do? Turn the knob to open it, use a key, punch in a code, ring a bell, push or pull it open. We do this with such ease... unless you have a million keys or pull a door that clearly says push!! Why is it that when we approach a theoretical closed door we freeze? Why is that door unable to be opened? Why do we act like we shouldn't be walking straight in like we own the place?
On the other side of our closed doors are usually our dreams, changes, the answer to a big question. We so badly want to be on the other side of the door but we stall. We just stop in motion a lot of the time. Is it fear? Is it that we question if we are worthy enough to cross the threshold? Are we questioning if we should wait for the door to open on its own? From personal experience, I have never gotten what I actually wanted without pushing through that door. I have never gotten the things that make me truly happy by standing & waiting for the door to open by itself. Have I always been sure of myself? Absolutely not. I'm not even sure where I'm going with this! Have I always felt worthy of pushing that door open? No. In the end I realized that the only person in my way was MYSELF. How could I dream up so many wonderful things for myself and then fear to chase them? I made a decision a while ago that I wouldn't let fear decide for me. I liked my Husband when we were in High School and had no problem telling any guy who asked me who I liked. "Who do you like?" "I like Mo." "He doesn't like you. I like you though." "Lovely, I like Mo. He'll come around. I'm not worried." I made it very clear to Mo that I liked him a lot over the years. Look at me now! I interned for an Interior Design company in High School and was so sick of doing the coffee run work. Whenever I saw the designers working with clients I put on a smile, brought them books with secret sticky notes placed on the items I thought they would love, and soon after my shenanigans were noticed I was asked to help with projects. One of my favorite was helping the owner design their bedroom in their new home. I was rejected from a job opportunity I really wanted and was super bummed about it. I was told I didn't have the experience they were looking for. It was true! I really didn't know anything but I wanted this job because it paid well and seemed really fun. I called up the person in charge of hiring and asked him a simple question "How am I or anyone else you're interviewing supposed to just have the experience you are looking for if you aren't willing to train? We are the next generation. If nobody is willing to properly train us, all your hard work will be for nothing when it's our time to take over." He sat down and said "Now that is an extremely valid point. That is also the fire we were looking for. If you want the job, it's yours." I ended up declining it, but I was happy to push my way through that door.
You aren't required to take every opportunity on the other side of your personal door. Without pushing through the door, you will never know what's on the other side to choose from. Life does get scary, the unknown is terrifying to many people. Whats worse than being scared? Letting that fear run your life & control how you live. Will you live in fear from chasing your dreams or will you LIVE because you are chasing your dreams? Push, pull, knock, ring the bell, say a secret password but if it doesn't open know you are strong enough to kick that door down if you really want to.
When a Jewish Woman gets married she is given a bunch of new mitzvoth. One of those mitzvoth is to cover her hair. There are many different Posek’s that discuss exactly how much you need to cover. This results in many different ways Jewish Women cover their hair. I absolutely LOVE this mitzvah. I was so excited to do this specific mitzvah I bought 2/3 of my wigs before Mo actually proposed. Call me crazy, but if you find a redhead sheitel for $595 you don’t leave without it! So I spent months trying to put them on in a way where I wouldn’t have a huge bump in the back. I thought I’d prepare myself so when We got married it wouldn’t take me over an hour to put a wig on. I finally figured out my method!! But...it still is a pretty crazy one. I also have countless of headscarf’s, hats & beanies that I cover my hair with. I really am passionate about fashion and this mitzvah so I always try to find new fun ways to style a scarf, style my wigs, or wear my hats. Let’s be real for a second, wearing a wig has its perks but it can also be really annoying. I cannot pretend for a second that covering my hair is something I’ve never complained about. I love the mitzvah, but even the people/things in your life that you love can become a little irritating at times. Some days covering my hair becomes a very big challenge. I often get headaches, have the sheitel pull my hair or itch my head, & my headscarf’s/beanies sometimes start to slip backwards. I also recently have been struggling with anxiety, when I have anxiety attacks it is the MOST DIFFICULT thing for me to have something on my head. I start to feel like I can’t breathe at times. When that happens I just feel like everything I’m wearing is wrapping itself around me tighter and tighter. Obviously that’s not happening in real life, but that feeling is the worst. I used to cover almost all of my hair with the exception of a few strands pulled out in the front. I would wear my hair in a low bun under head scarfs & beanies too. I really never wanted to show my hair until my anxiety attacks really started kicking in full force. Just wearing a beanie with my hair down made so much of a difference during my attacks. Without having wig band squeezing my head & a low bun pulling my hair really has helped me a lot. I do still wear my wigs when I can but I take it all day by day. I’m not exactly happy about doing this though & I’ll explain why. I want to clarify that I don’t think wearing my hair out under a hat is wrong. I was raised modern orthodox and that’s what I grew up seeing. I decided to take the mitzvah a step further for myself because of my hair. The one compliment I have always gotten since I was a kid “Wow! You have stunning hair!” “Is that color natural? It’s incredible”. It always felt like the first thing everyone noticed about me was my hair. To take my modesty up a notch when I got married & to do something for my Husband I figured there is nothing better than covering the one thing everyone else always notices. I can keep my hair that everyone loved for just my Husband. I do get upset when I have those days where I have to wear my hair out. I really wanted to go that extra mile all the time. My Husband personally just wants me to be happy and comfortable so he isn’t bothered by it. For me, putting in the effort of covering my hair [almost fully] on the daily was me starting off my day already doing something for my Husband. It set the tone for my day. It’s not the only way I can start the day with a tone of giving, so it’s not the end of the world. I just feel it’s important for people to know it’s okay to take things day by day. It’s also okay to explore what works for you. I had it in my mind that starting March 5, 2018 only women would see my hair. Besides for my Husband, no male would see more than my front strands. My life circumstances changed, so I had to adjust the way I approached this mitzvah. Just because I cover less hair on certain days doesn’t mean I love the mitzvah less or that I’m doing it wrong. I’m covering my hair each day, the best that I can.
Sometimes you go through things in life that knock you straight off your path. One day you were happy, enjoying the little things in life and the next your falling down a dark twisty rabbit hole. The crazy part about all of that is, while you're falling you can still see the light. The issue is you can't always find the strength to pull yourself back up. There are are things in life we all struggle with, nobody's life is fully perfect. The richest man is often lonely. The poorest man is often starving. I personally have been dealing with my own struggles that have left me feeling anxious and depressed. These feelings are my dark and twisty rabbit hole. I've never understood the people in my lie who were anxious or depressed. I couldn't understand why you can't just stand up and be happy. Unfortunately I now understand that mystery I've always longed to figure out. I'm not anxious or depressed because of anyone in my life, so if you're close to me please understand that. I'm actually very happy with my life and where I am. That sounds strange considering I said I'm anxious and depressed, but its the truth. I used to deal with my inner turmoil by dancing and writing. Life got too hectic for a while and I stopped doing what I love. I stopped feeding my soul and letting go of my life stresses in a way that best suits me. Since I've taken that break I've noticed without any outlet I suffer from anxiety and depression. The days I actively take time out to write again or just get lost in the music I feel so much better. I used to deal with my anxiety and depression by eating. ALL THE TIME. The doctor told me at a visit I gained an embarrassing amount of weight since the summer and said I've been stress eating. After that visit I really came to terms with what I was struggling with. I was so scared to say it out loud, I couldn't even say it to my Husband for a while. I was more okay with being heavier than being looked at as someone with a mental health disorder. Then I realized if I don't get a handle on both of those things, I would only make things worse. There is such a negative stigma that comes along with anxiety and depression, I thought if I admitted I struggled with it people would look at me different. People definitely have looked at me differently when I openly say it. "Hey! how have you been?" "Anxious and depressed a bit.. how have you been?" "oh... oh gosh. are you okay. whats wrong." "Nothing is wrong. I'm just anxious and a bit depressed. Simmer down. I am fine. I'm just dealing with something a little challenging." Those have been many of my conversations and I actually laugh when I walk away. I haven't yet found the perfect combination of things that make my gloomy days brighter but I have been trying out new methods. I have taken time out of my day to be more mindful. I set aside a few minutes to meditate and focus on my breathing patterns. When I feel like I just want to jump out of my skin and shake the negativity I stretch for a few minutes and take a walk. Eating healthy, which means not so much sugar, fatty foods or caffeine also really helps with my anxiety. I don't have any magic spell to help me handle what I'm going through. I just try my best to make healthy choices, be mindful and keep telling myself there isn't anything I can't handle. The key really is for me to never stop doing what you love. Never take a vacation from doing the things that set your soul on fire and free you from your inner turmoil. I hope this was helpful!
Always, Rachel Sara Safer
p.s Surround yourself with friends and loved ones. Even if you rather stay in bed under the covers and sulk. Sometimes the right combination of people, love, and laughter is all you need as a pick me up.