Monday, April 11, 2011

Obscured by Clouds

Chana recently had a status on G-chat which pointed to a new blog, Obscured by Clouds, by "Cymbaline", a 20-year old self-described questioning tri-state Jewish girl mostly "off the derech", living at home again, Pink Floyd fan who has tried drugs, alcohol, and poor relationships. Curious, I decided to check it out, and started reading. And reading. After a few minutes I chatted Chana with a simple "That's a crazy interesting blog."

Since then, I've continued to read the blog, and have been looking for an excuse to post about it. It's always tricky with more personal blogs, where you don't want to feel invasive by opening it up to the public, but I asked for and was given permission to do so, so it's just been a wait for the right catch that would resonate with readers. This morning, I read Cymbaline's latest post, and thought that the woman in the story nailed her assessment of Cymbaline, while simultaneously understanding what she needed for her own daughter.
And I feel it growing inside me.  A twisted gut full of anger and annoyance.  Here it comes, my brain is saying.  She's going to ask you where you went wrong.  Tell me all the mistakes you made so my daughter won't repeat them.  Though more artfully asked - how can i make sure my daughter doesn't make all the dumb decisions you did?

Except none of this comes.

Instead she askes me to talk to her daughter.  To let her know there's someone who she can turn to who maybe went through some of the same things she is going through.  Someone other than a friend (who doesn't know anything), a parent (who she is rebelling against) or a rabbi (who she seems to have lost interest in).
Perhaps best of all is how she seems to have read Cymbaline perfectly:
She gives me the sweetest smile ANYONE has ever given me in my life.
I see you around Cymbaline, she tells me.  I see you shopping for your mother or running your errands.  I see how you interact with people.  I see you smile at everyone and have nice words for everyone.  I've asked about you too.  Not from the yentas who would say bad things about you, but from people who would know you better.  No one has a bad word to say about you.
Obscured by Clouds is excellent not only because of the content and ride Cymbaline seems to be on, but the self-honesty that's sprinkled (if not poured) throughout. While surely to many Cymbaline is obscured by clouds, it doesn't take a lot to see her for who she really is, and that's far more impressive.

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