I’m free. I can do whatever I want. I don’t have to listen to anyone, I don’t have to care what anyone thinks of me. (Except for TCO, but then we agree on most things, so that works.)
I savor it. My short period of freedom.
I’m not in school, ducking into a store when I see a teacher or a classmate in the distance, anyone who will report my long jeans skirt, strictly forbidden by my Israeli Bais Yaacov.
I’m not in Seminary, I can’t get kicked out for speaking a boy. (Not that I ever did.)
Best of all – I’m not in Shidduchim. I can go to a wedding with no makeup, I can be unfriendly to annoying yentas, I can even make shocking and controversial statements comparing the Shidduch scene to an auction.
We live in a mixed, non Charedi, neighborhood. I could do cartwheels in the street and nobody would care. I wear a baggy old skirt and glasses to the supermarket. I never go to anywhere just to “meet people”. When I try to decide if my outfit is tznius, I only have one criteria – God. Not the shadchans, not the rabbis, not society.
I should enjoy it while it lasts.
The cycle will start again. Maybe we'll move to a religious neighborohood, and start caring about the neighbors.We’ll need our kids to be accepted, first to Cheiders and Bais Yaacovs, where they’ll check the length of my Sheitel and if I wear black tights, and do we have internet at home. The next stage is Seminaries and Yeshivas, an especially tough scene in competitive Jerusalem. Some mothers stop driving, some fathers change Shuls, anything to pass the test. Then our kids will be in Shidduchim, by which point we’ll need to pray we are millionaire saints, living the holy kollel lifestyle in style, with enough money set aside to buy eligible son in laws.
It’s easy to tell me I should always do what’s right, never listening, never caring. But there’s the right way, and the smart way. I’d rather be smart.
But meanwhile –I don’t have to be anything I don’t want to be. I’m free.