Nine years ago today, I had a breakdown.
I was dating a non-Jew who I was very much in love with. He was my first love, my first everything. I was 20.
We had been together off and on for 2 years. It was really intense. Partially, because I was 20. But more because I had never felt anything like I did. It was the kind of love that rules you, your mind, everything. I didn’t know who I was without him in my life, but moreover I didn’t care anymore. But I knew one thing: he wouldn’t convert. And even though that was so far in the future, I couldn’t figure out how I was to break up with him before it became an issue.
Breaking up with him was an issue.
So, one night, I got drunk by myself. I withdrew from all of my classes, and booked a flight (one way) to Israel. I didn’t really know anyone there, but it was my “homeland”. I had been there before, and was learning Hebrew at college. So why not?
The next day, I went to lunch with him and let him know, that I was leaving (um, 2 days later) for a new country and I had no plans. By that point, our relationship was so tumultuous that he didn’t really care. We have spoken since, so I know what he was really feeling, but Gd men are so good at hiding their thoughts.
A few days later, I boarded a plane. I had no real plans, except to get the hell away. I knew that our relationship had been over for awhile, and I needed to leave it behind. I just couldn’t picture doing so while in the same place as him.
I cried. A lot. But it turned out to be the best thing I did for myself.
I was talking to my best friend today, and I told her it was 9 years. I also told her that at one point, I didn’t know if I would make it through the hell I was putting myself through.
9 years later, I look at that girl, fragile and lonely. I look at her from a place of peace, of love, and of freedom. And I am grateful that she gave me that chance to rebuild.
So today, amongst all the over things I am grateful for, I am grateful that I had a little break down. Because the new me, built from the broken pieces of that Rachel, is so much better for it.