Blessings on my head — from my Jewish side

They come in many forms — obvious, in disguise, and usually apparent after something devastating, so we can find peace in certain situations. Here are a couple of my blessings (both in disguise and obvious) that I have come to appreciate.

Blessing #1: I may have the face of my mother but everything else about me came from my Jewish half — starting with my breasts. One would think that my curves should be from my Mexican side but they actually hail from the Kassap-Bellis side of the family.

photo provided by Audrey Bellis
photo provided by Audrey Bellis

Skipping two generations, I have inherited the rack of my Great-Grandma Rose in all of its smothering glory. It’s kind of a cruel joke. I remember praying so hard for these fun bags in true Judy Blume fashion during my pre-pubescent years, and it’s like someone told them to just grow until I tipped over. The photo to the right, taken at a fundraiser last year, is a prime example. A year later, the staff and volunteers from that event are still talking about how much I filled out that dress.

At a recent bra fitting, the nice girl helping me kindly pointed out that my 36E (which I always thought fit me) was much too small for my frame. I cried. When I got home and my dad asked how the shopping trip went? I showed him my $400 worth of 34H bras, to which he asked:

Did they have to sing the alphabet song to get to the cup size?

So. Not. Funny.

If my grandma Audrey (for whom I am named) were alive, she would have pinched my tuchus and said in her nasally Brooklyn accent:“Shayna maidel, it’s better to have them than not.” Clearly, she was one of the generations that got skipped.

But, there were blessings from my bosom. A year and a half ago, at the age of 25, I discovered my first lump and had my first mammogram. I thought it was just my underwire poking me. In a fed up visit to the doctor to discuss reduction options, and explaining my beef with the bras, I was told that the tender bruise near my armpit was not actually a bruise but rather a lump. Had it not been for that pesky underwire, I likely would never have noticed it. Life-saving blessing in disguise.

Blessing #2: My height. This is such a Bellis trait. I’m officially the shortest person in our family (on both sides). I claim 5’2 on a good day — with big hair. The reality is I’m just a little over 5’1 but I find that number too depressing to admit, so I round up.

Another trait that one might assume would hail from the Mexican side but no — my maternal grandma and mom’s siblings are all 5’9 and up (including the women). And while I have never had a pair of pants that didn’t need to be hemmed, I am at least quite the expert in walking in heels and wear them daily. Plus, men are almost always taller than me, while I have family members who can’t wear heels or they’ll be taller than their husbands.

Blessing #3: My personality. I may come in a small package but I’m a lot of spunk wrapped up with a whole lot of sass. My dad’s side of the family are definitely the entrepreneurs, the inquisitors, the ones to challenge and innovate, and I am that in a nutshell. My parents commonly refer to me as the family bulldog because I’m always the one to step in and take care of issues when they arise. I keep a level head in a crisis and see falling down as nothing more than an opportunity to get back up. It’s a tenacity that has saved me more times than I can count.

What personality traits, physical characteristics, and quirks have you picked up or inherited from your Jewish relatives? How have they turned out to be blessings for you?

About the Author
When Audrey Bellis isn't curating community for StartUpDTLA, or solving Downtown LA's office space problem at Grid110, she can be found Urban Exploring as a Transit Enthusiast. Often memorable.