Monday, October 08, 2018

A "Sometimes it's Hard" Party

Today I ran away from something very hard.
I didn’t actually RUN away.
I actually took my bags and walked away. Got in my car and drove away. 
I couldn't stay.
It was too hard.
And not worth my time to stay and be frustrated.
So I left.

I’m trying to face the shame of walking away from this hard thing.
I feel embarrassed and ashamed of not being smart enough. Good enough. Hebrew-speaking enough. Brave enough.

So I walked away instead.

I try to tell myself, I’m still good enough. 
I’m smart.
In English, I can do hard things. I can be brave.
But in Hebrew, it’s just too hard.

This week I had the opportunity to be an assistant in a week-long training course, of which I have already completed the training. I was looking forward to going to assist/help out the new students learning the material for their first time, and deepen my own understanding of the material while I was there.

I changed my weekly schedule around. I woke up early. I sat in traffic on my way to the course, and fought for parking.

I walked into the classroom late, and right away realized I had made a mistake.

The teacher was speaking in Hebrew and the students all seemed to understand what she was saying.

Except me. 

I sat down and tried to understand. I heard a few Hebrew words here and there that I understood. But like what usually happens for me when I go to a Hebrew speaking meeting or event, I hear words I know, but can’t put together enough to understand the context of what is being spoken about.

Very quickly the shame crept in.
“You should know this stuff in Hebrew by now. You’ve been here 15 years.”
“You’ve heard these words in other courses, you should recognize them enough to make some sense of it all.”
“There will definitely be two or three students who speak English and are willing to work in English so you can assist them.”
“It’s so embarrassing to have to admit to everyone that I can’t work in Hebrew.”
“Don’t leave or they will think less of you. They will think you’re not a good therapist because you can’t work in Hebrew.”
“They will think you’re weak if you can’t stay and try to understand the Hebrew.”
"Just be brave and fake it. That will look better."

These and so many more.

At the break, I approached the teacher, who remembered from the last time I came to assist and had to leave because of the Hebrew (I had forgotten that), and who hugged me saying into my ear, “How are you doing with my Hebrew?”
“I’m not,” I answered. “I’m leaving.”
“You need some EMDR,” was her response.
To which I answered, “To help me better understand the Hebrew? How exactly does THAT work?!”
She said something about how EMDR, in one session, will help get rid of the block I have to understand.

She thinks I have a block?
So, I thought, great, there’s one more shame monster to add to the others. If only I would get rid of the block, I could stay and be helpful and learn.

No thank you.
I left.

I’m home now, trying to fight the embarrassment and shame of not being Hebrew-speaking enough, or brave enough to try anyhow...

I don’t want to make excuses.
I don't want to write about how it would just be a waste of my time.
I don't want to write about the reality of my low level of Hebrew speaking and comprehension skills.
I don’t want to write about how after 15 years living in a Hebrew speaking country, I still don’t have the confidence to understand or express myself in Hebrew.

I only want to write about the shame I feel right now.
I want to name it.
I want to lessen it’s power.
I want to tell shame that it cannot take up space in my head and body today.

I want shame to know that it’s annoying and not useful to me.
I am capable.
I am smart.
I function very well in many places in my life.
I love to learn.
I love to assist.
I love to understand.

Just not in Hebrew.
And that doesn't make me a worthless person.

Dear Shame,
Sometimes things are just hard. It doesn't mean you need to get involved. Hard doesn't mean that everything is hard. Just some things. And it doesn't make me a bad or weak or worthless person because I think it’s hard. Today I walked away from something hard because it was hard. Period.
And you are never ever invited again to my “Sometimes it’s Hard" party!! 
Yours truly,

Sarah