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Haifa, Israel
Divorced and independent and still looking for Mr. Right in the back of the fridge.

Friday, February 21, 2014

A Rose By Any Other Name


I changed my name. 

As of February 2nd I am no longer Rosa Ziv, I am Rachel Rose Shalev. 

Carrying around my ex-husband's last name has been weighing on me for years. 12 years divorced, and the last 10 of them deciding on a new name while picking up the pieces of my life.

For years I had the last name Sarid in mind. It means survivor, or remnant, in Hebrew. I thought it was a very Zionistic name, and descriptive of my life. 

I mentioned the name to a woman I consult with on life's more ethereal issues. She replied, "Why do you want to just survive?" 

So years passed without an alternative - I must have been in survival mode longer than I thought. But in the last few months I decided on Shalev. Let's just say the name has some roots for me in Israel. But mostly it means Tranquil. 

Last name chosen, why not change the first name that seemed to be bothering the shit out of me recently. 

The name Rosa loses all its poetry in Israel. Not only is it reminiscent of a Moroccan grandmother (no offense to the wonderful Moroccan grandmothers, but I'm not one) it is the subject of a Yehoram Gaon song which everyone who meets me feels the need to sing, and then ask me during my last 29 years in Israel if I've heard it... The chorus starts "Ach, ach, ach, Rosa, Rosa, Rosa..." Somehow, it just doesn't make it to the list of names you love from songs. 

Determined to feel better about my name, I kept the name Rose, the grandmother for whom I was named, and armed with the Hebrew name Rachel from my youth, I changed my first name, too, to Rachel Rose.

I'll do something I never did in this blog and use the Hebrew, but I just have to show you why I chose Rachel, רייצ'ל over רחל. The Israelis among you will understand

Explanation out of the way, how does it make me feel? I walked out of the Ministry of Interior with my new name, smiling.  

I'm still getting used to it, as are others. Most people at work called me Rose anyway, but now they are having fun calling me Rach. I like it. 

I think that until I change my name in the bank, on my US passport and on Google, the transformation won't be total. 

  • Has it changed my life? Not in the last 3 weeks, but I certainly feel like I'm facing forward instead of carrying the burdens of the past. 
  • Do I still get lonely? Hell yes. 
  • Do I let it get me down? Once a week. 
  • Do I feel optimistic? I feel I am capable of change. 

Last year this time I pierced an extra hole in each ear because I needed a change and didn't have the money to move house. This year I shed some baggage. 

I believe that  2014 is my year. The year that great things will happen. 

  • The year that when I get dressed, I will have someplace to go. 
  • The year that when I need a hug, it will come from someone other than my kids.
  • The year that my mantras will manifest in reality.
  • The year that the universe will smile on me.
Wish me luck. 

Rachel Rose Shalev. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Pursuit of Butterflies

I've decided to donate my brain to psychiatry.
I would donate my hormones, id and libido but no one wants them.

Upon examination of my brain, someone very clever might finally understand what drives me to idiocy and self deprecation in my incessant pursuit of the wrong man. 

I hear that there are more women like me and that the literature on the subject is abundant, but I haven't read any of it because I would be forced to recognize myself and stop it. 

My attraction to the unattainable is teetering between the ridiculous and the absurd.

I've been told that even available - emotionally or otherwise - guys can be exciting, could keep my attention and would make the butterflies flutter. They did decades ago, but we were all available then. We married them, divorced them and the rest is history. 

There should be a speed dating event for us good ones -  women and men alike - those of us who like the bad boys and the bitches, respectively. We would speed interact with each other with kindness and attention and bore each other to death. When they finally scrape our corpses off the floor and donate our brains to psychiatry they will discover that we are basically fine human beings with a few scratches here and there, and a few wounds that never healed. 

At the very least, they will discover that we tried as hard as we could to do the ineffable right thing. Most of the time we managed. 

But once in a while we really missed those beautiful butterflies.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Doctor Will See You Now

I wonder if I had been a Doctor if I would still be so intent on finding one. 

It's not my fault that the mystique surrounding Doctors lingers this many years and laughs in the face of every ounce of wisdom I have accumulated. Readers of my generation don't require any explanations or apologies. Certainly not the Jewish ones. And no, PhDs don't count. 

But I am not a doctor (I'll stop capitalizing the word now) and the mystique has led me off the path of common sense and verging on hussiness. 

A couple of years ago I came across a doctor on a dating site. He had the good sense to post a photo of himself in a white coat and a stethescope because he didn't have much else going for him personality wise. When he called me, I was smitten, and I stayed a smitten kitten much longer than he deserved. A Pediatrician in a major Pediatric hospital has a cache about it that other professions don't. 

So shoot me. 

Last year, I found myself in any number of outpatient procedures which required the whole shabang of ass flattering hospital gowns and recovery rooms. I shamelessly flirted with the Anasthesiologists who promptly rendered me unconscious. 

While I totally got off on the absolute black out and have found no other way to replicate it without the use of illicit drugs, I have to say to myself, "Good grief." Anasthesiologists knock their patients out. It hardly exudes doctors-without-borders emotion. It reminds me of an Inheritance Lawyer I dated who said he chose the specialty so that his clients wouldn't call him.

One month ago I had surgery. None of this child's play go home in a few hours "procedures." The hard-core stuff. 

A month of multiple hospital stays prior to surgery would have been a haven for me in my search, had I not been deathly ill and looking like crap. But leave it to my mom to ask what I was wearing and if I at least put on some makeup... 

I mercilessly berated her for her gross insensitivity to my condition, and assured her that a catheter and a bag of urine hanging over my  bed would not bring me dates even WITH mascara. 

Don't tell her, but I did purchase expensive pyjamas prior to my surgery a month later. 

Ah yes. Surgery. Surgeons. The cream of the crop. 

They meet you in their clinics in their fine clothes and leather chair and with a heart melting smile reassure you that everything will be fine.  

And when they meet you in their crocs and scrubs at 7am on the appointed day and again reassure you that everything will be fine, your naked vulnerability never crosses your mind because they are holding your hand as you count backward from 10.

At your groggiest you are vaguely aware that they are graciously instructing the recovery room staff to give you more morphine. Later in your room,  you can't wait for tomorrow when you might have enough strength to change into your new pyjamas before your Surgeon makes his rounds.

And for days and weeks thereafter, you rise above your condition and try to look your best. 

But all the Doctors were taken a long time ago. Probably by nurses with pony tails and perky boobs. Yet you tell yourself that this plethora of Doctors are stuck in marriages with bitchy fellow doctors and they just don't have the strength to do anything about it. 

The Surgeon has set the bar very high. I don't know how I will recover from this last incident of knowing that nothing less will do.

Then I recall that a comedy writer was as good as it could get, followed by an artist, and yes, even a Doctor here and there crossed my path. 

They were all as good as it gets. 

For now I want a Doctor. 
Or do I just want someone to take care of me?

You do the math.