From the files of Shifra
As promised I did some digging around and I did find my notes on the book I'd started to write.
It's in one of those bound composition books and I actually pasted my "list of 50" into the front cover!
In the notebook itself I've furiously written (with no editing whatsoever) about 5-7 essays of varying completeness and length and a bunch of ideas for other essays. It's almost a diary really - I see that a lot of what I wrote, I wrote to and for myself.
I also forgot that I'd given the book a working title which is much too lame to publish here. The writing style is a little "Dr. Phil" for my tastes these days. It sounds like I was doing an uncomfortable impersonation a therapist.
Nowadays however, thanks to my blog, I am QUITE comfortable impersonating a therapist so I intend to fix that.
My writing only made it about 1/4 of the way through the notebook but toward the end I wrote what I guess was meant to be my introduction (although it seems to start in the middle of another broader essay) but I'll post it here anyway.
In addition to posting on my old ideas and notes I'd also like to spend an equal about of time fighting sterotypes, flawed logic, dangerous assumptions, and unequal treatment of women from a frum perspective.
Please send alongs any links to small minded, stereotype-y, anti-female, charedi propaganda (or apologetic, weak, equally offensive pro-female MO propaganda if you swing that way) here to shifraq at gmail dot com and I will give it the karate chop head it deserves here on the blog.
So without further ado, an introduction circa 2002 edited in 2006:
(Although all my essays were originally written for women I think that some of the things can definitely be true for men as well - or can help men to understand women better.)
As frum women we are taught to fight ourselves at every turn, deny our instincts, and conform. Many of us live in a tight knit community, like specimens under glass, our private and public life being one in the same. We often worry and care more about what other people might think of us than what we think about ourselves. Worse yet, all this denial and fear leave us no room for us to consider what we really want out of life. These essays are for strong, brave women, or for women who want to be strong and brave but are too afraid - afraid to change, afraid to feel, afraid to be themselves. As I write (both in 2002 and today) I am on the same journey. Each essay beings with questions I have as I learn, or discover really, some truths about life or about myself or develop some tools to help me get to where I want to be. A place where I am happy, relaxed and purposeful. A place where I am free to be myself whoever that may be.
Is it possible to be a frum woman and be true to yourself?
I think it is. Let's find out.