If you hate to read, just click on the audio link, below. And there’s even an original GrownUpGirl Song to listen too, so scroll all the way down & keep clicking!
Had coffee with a friend recently I hadn’t seen in about nine years. This guy was the heaviest drinker & smoker I knew growing up, played guitar and got into fights over stupid philosophical things, and never left home without his leather jacket. He honestly believed that anarchy was the best social and political solution.
(Yes, I hung out with people like that as a kid, and NO that is not what this blog is about. Note to self- write about childhood in another blog.)
Nowadays – my friend? He quit smoking while his wife was pregnant. He doesn’t go out to bars anymore; in fact, he is a part-time stay at home dad. He is planning to move to some green pasture in Utah over the next year to raise his child in a healthy, more affordable place. He votes Democrat and is kind of conservative, by his own definition. He’s in therapy.
I’ve still got one up on him: I changed my name. Both of them.
I used to be Shana Susman. From about age 17 until around 24, I partied like crazy about 4 or 5 nights a week. (I’d go into more details, but I really cringe to think someday my kids could get a hold of these blogs.) I was insecure, needy. I didn’t believe in God. I suffered from headaches, stomach aches, insomnia, and I grinded my teeth.
I wound up in therapy when I moved to LA, age 22, and that 7 year process pretty much saved my life, thanks to my angel of a therapist and my sincere desire to get better and be happy. She encouraged me to write, act & sing, which also helped dig me out of my self-destructive hole… and then I discovered a spiritual system – Kabbalah – that pretty much rocked my world.
I asked for the Rav Berg, head of the Kabbalah Centre, to channel me a Hebrew name, one that was connected to my soul, and he gave me BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin). (BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin) was the soulmate of Kind David.) Not Sarah. Not Miriam. Not Leah. BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin).
BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin) – a crazy Hebrew name that has all sorts of cool kabbalistic secret codes hidden within (technically the name means “daughter of seven,” if you’re familiar with numerology or Kabbalah you start to get the idea) – a name that no self respecting American can pronounce. A name that makes every Israeli assume I am also Israeli, which leads to incomprehensible messages on my voicemail every once in a while. (Luckily Israeli Husband can translate.) Also, a name I happen to love.
So I changed it, right around the time that I married… and at that time, I changed my last name too, to Vaknin, which is also unpronounceable and un-spellable by any American worth his or her salt.
Shana Susman became BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin) Vaknin.
Over the course of the past 20 years, I’ve gone from hard-partying, ironic & secretly depressed girl, to stable, mostly happy and confident mother, wife, and woman.
Excuse me. Grown up girl.
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
PS I’ve included a song, below – CRADLE YOU – that was the very first song I ever wrote, back when I was digging myself out of a black hole with the help of therapy and creativity. Enjoy!