Friday Night Mannequin

mannequinDress me up, dress me down

It’s all the same to me.

The rules will change, I can’t keep up;

There’s no more me to be.

One year the fashion is elegant robes,

The next they lack modesty.

So dress me up, clamp me down,

Wheel me out and turn me around.

But first check me over, look a little closer

Are my nails too long, can you see?

Did I clean my navel, am I sure I’m able

To toivel the night my dunk should be?

I’ve been scooped out, brushed out, flushed out, and then rushed out,

Vacated of all uterine matter.

Fourteen little cloths all in a row,

With neither stain, smudge, nor splatter.

Spotless from stem to stern,

As every pure woman should be.

Now dress me up or dress me down

It’s all the same to me.

I think I’m ready to greet the guests,

The soup will soon be burned.

I know they’ll be wondering where I went,

My husband will think he’s been spurned.

It’s not easy navigating city streets

With arms and legs that don’t bend,

Stiffly dodging men in hats,

Wondering if they know where I’ve been.

She walks, she walks, and soon she will talk,

An emergency compelled her to take a quick walk.

An elderly neighbor, a friend who’s in labor, a meal for the needy,

Think fast, girl, be speedy!

Why were you gone, why were you late, why has a damp curl escaped in your plate?

Prop me up, pin me back, back to my chair with a small smack.

Wake up, wake up, take a drink from my cup,

It’s time for benching, I must not give up!

My eyes must stay open, my banter stay witty,

Are my shoes still squishy and my stockings still gritty?

No, I haven’t been swimming, you ask me this, why?

I was caught in a downpour, but I’m perfectly dry.

Perfectly perfect, no tears left to cry.

I can touch any Torah or kiss my own man

Strictly glatt kosher, that’s what I am.

Some wish they could be me, some wish they could free me,

But there are more where I come from coming out of the factory.

It won’t stop, it won’t end;

Be my enemy or be my friend.

Dress me up, dress me down

It’s all the same to me;

I cannot hear your counsel, I am made of clay and putty.

The guests have gone, the stairs are steep,

One step, two step – shush the baby is asleep!

Make no noise, breathe real soft, hope that He has drifted off,

Lay like a thief in a stolen bed, spine like a board, spikes in my head.

Pillow, blanket, lying still as a sack,

Doesn’t fool the hand on my hip, turning me onto my back.

So dress me up, dress me down

It’s all the same to me.

Dolls, they don’t feel lonely;

There’s no more me to be.

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17 thoughts on “Friday Night Mannequin

  1. Dear Sharon…  A few months ago, an orthodox girlfriend found and shared your blog with me after many deep‎ discussions on the joys of deeply loving G’d, being part of a faith community,  and the similarities, differences and complexities of observant Judaism and Christianity. She and I are sisters in the path of life, sharing each other’s triumphs and burdens, and depending upon each other for support. I thank G’d for the family I was born into, and the family ‎He helped me build by putting special people in my path. 

    I have gone on to read your backlog of blogs, deeply enjoying your frankness and thoughtfulness. Your blog is refreshing and nuanced. It has made me often examine my own views, acknowledge my assumptions, and has made me delve deeper into my Bible to study more. (Not to mention further enriching my Yiddish and Hebrew repertoire…)

    As each of your new blogs are published, I take a deep breath and immerse myself in them, like a letter from a new and cherished friend. I enjoy reading the to and fro of the comments and responses, and have often gone on to check out the other articles of interest that you share.  G’d has blessed you with quite a brain and a thoughtful spirit‎ – your sharing of which is a mitzvah. 

    When thoughtful people from diverse communities have the opportunity to gain insight into each others lives, building bridges of understanding, our world becomes a more tolerant better place.  This blog you write is important and valuable. ‎

    Your most recent blog post struck me deeply. I bounced it immediately to my friend asking “what happened to Sharon?!?   Is it ok to reach out? And send some love her way?”‎ 
    ‎We talked. So I am officially sending you some love, and letting you know that you are in our prayers. I can’t begin to understand what challenges are in your path, but I do know there were times the ones I’ve had to deal with seemed almost insurmountable. Please remember that you are never on that path alone, G’d is always by your side, and He has given you a family both near and afar who support you and wish for you nothing but blessings. 

    Consider yourself hugged.

    • Thank you for your hugs and prayers, Johanna. As for what happened to me? Well, life and experience have happened to me. I have discovered that I am not one of those people who learned and internalized lessons as an impressionable young adult, and stayed in that same headspace or place of belief throughout my life. I am constantly readjusting, questioning, adapting, and growing to newfound realities and realizations that present themselves. Sometimes the epiphanies are wonderful and at other times painful. One thing I do know, is that life is very short, too short to live unhappily and inauthentically. I’ve become more blunt and up front as I age. The only place I like to pretend is on paper writing fiction or fairy tales. Real life isn’t for pretending.

      • “One thing I do know, is that life is very short, too short to live unhappily and inauthentically. I’ve become more blunt and up front as I age. ”

        Exactly! I find it a coincidence that both Johanna and myself are from Toronto and love your blog. She is Christian, I am non religious, but we both find many things in your writing to relate to. (In my case I suppose a marriage of over 40 years to a non-religious Jew is part of my interest).
        I was fortunate to find a rabbi who believed that every being who wanted to, deserved to be married. He also made his second seder my wedding reception with he and my father, who were both Masonic past masters bonding over their shared experiences.

        I have long believed we have only one life so we should not waste it by living unhappily according to other people’s rules and not our own.
        Your net spreads very wide. Keep up your inquisitive mind and excellent writing. You have a lot of very diverse fans.

  2. This is terrible. I mean the talent and raw emotion is clearly present but, has the author spoken to her husband about the way she feels? Perhaps he can guide her. As one who’s cycle is exactly regular and every mikvah night of my whole marriage has been Shabbos, I hear the frustration whole heartedly but I also sense a major lack of appreciation for serving Hashems will in this world and doing what makes us emulate Him in order to become closer in this world to enjoy the next. I beg and beseech you to please seek a rebbetzin or mussar or a chavrusa or some place of clarity toward derech yaashar as you are obviously a very talented, AND SELF THINKING member of Klal yisroel. That is rare and special. I just wish it was used in better serving Hashem for your own sake and happiness as well as for all of whom you influence and have the potential to do so with. I wish you hatzlacha and bracha, clarity and emunah.

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