Battle of the bands: A story of divorce

So I’m rocking to my music, a playlist of my past present and future, from “Leaving on a jet plane” (teen years), to “I’m a bitch, I’m a lover” (married years), to “Torn” (divorced years)… all with the genre I like to call Avril Levigne’s style: “Ra-Ra-Ra I hate life!”

But as the music plays and I’m tapping my foot against the seat in front of me, trying not to sing loud in order to avoid stares on the bus, I realize, music is alive within me…no matter how hard I was asked to be quiet. See, I have a band. I’m the conductor, and the drum player, and all the players really, and depending on the specific beat of my day will result in the tune of the performance. My internal band has tapped, beat, hummed, sang, harmonized and yelled the last year in a half of my separation and ultimate divorce. I have used, and used well, my internal, well versed, well toned, not so well pitched, inner-and outer-voices.

My band is sometimes called “Go to Hell” and other times called “I’m a sacred jewel”…but even when the name changes, the players and instruments are the same. The keys vary as do the notes, but the production always deserves a standing ovation and I can hear people, faintly in the background, crying for an encore. I have bowed, told them I’d be here all week, collected tips of flying change into my hat….but that was for the public, and so many times I then went into the bathroom and cried.

I have watched myself grown into this magnificent Single, with an intentional capital S, who stands with pride and ease and glares at the world with such beauty, and some anger, but mostly beauty.

I was battling for almost seven years. Seven long years of losing myself, losing my strength, my spiritually, my humor, my wisdom, my self-esteem, my self worth and even losing people I loved…and I battled it out with the opposing band. The other band played songs I won’t mention, but they are certainly not on my playlist and I don’t clap along. But I did. And in those years I sang songs like “HELP–I need somebody…” but I sang it in the shower, softly, and drowned out the words by the water, so no one ever heard me.

He battled. I battled. We battled. And then I won.

When I sing in karaoke bars (note to reader: with no men present), something I do pretty often compared to the average Joe-(Ann), I sing songs that make me gasp for breath and go weak at the knees. True, I am sometimes drunk, but the let-loose, let the voice rise-baby-rise method of therapy is cheaper than conventional therapy and accomplishes a lot more, in a much shorter amount of time. The songs I have sung up there on the stage, “Break me, shake me, hate me” or “All about that bass” or “A whole new world” has been my tune of pain but also hope, serenity and the future. I have stood there, closed my eyes, allowed myself to become Mrs. Dolly Levy and bellow out sounds of inner childhood–Hellllloooooooo Dolly–and where some might shut their ears, others say “Wow–there’s someone who was hiding and needed to get out of her deep dark closet.”

So I still battle the band, but there’s no competition. It’s just a band that keeps me sane, busy and occupied. A hobby; a distraction if you must. It gives my life wonderful rhythm. It gives me the opportunity to drown out sounds I don’t want to hear, when that’s needed. But it also gives me something to sing along to, when that’s needed. And I’ll even play “wheels on the bus” when that’s needed… for my children might I add, because they need a beat to wave their hands to also-although that song has no beat.

I have jumped around the house with my sons screaming ”Hashem Melech, Hashem Malach” or “What does the fox say?”…and utterly convinced myself that it was true unadulterated Hisbodidut. I have sung Shalom Aleichem and many Friday night Zmirot at my Shabbat table, alone, feeling immersed in the songs of peaceful Shabbat serenity. I have sung myself to sleep. I sing five songs each night to my children, with the last one a total original composition (and if I do say so myself, it’s not entirely brilliant, but it’s certainly catchy and gives a good message!)

I sing, hum, tap, beat, rhythm and rhyme, and battle out things in my head each day, as a single woman, a single mom, a single person…alone in a relationship of two, but very much filled in the relationship with myself. Not living in fear, but in faith, clear that I won’t make the same mistakes again, but probably will make different ones, knowing that I’m totally at peace being alone at night and need no one, yet knowing we are not in the world to sing alone. We are meant to group together, battle our doubts and negativity within, and make beautiful music with others. So I’ll keep my eyes and soul open to battle the bands once again, but next time it won’t be a battle, it will be a synchronized combination of musical entities playing together to create harmonious music.

Ah, that sounds like a nice life to dream of–a harmonious life.

And with that in mind, a 2, a 3, a 2,3,4 …Hit it.

About the Author
Sarah Bechor is a freelance writer in addition to her full-time job at United Hatzalah. She made Aliyah in 2007 and now lives with her husband and children in Gush Etzion.
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