Twenty one years ago today, I became a bat mitzvah. At twelve years old this was the most exciting, yet nerve-racking time of my life. To say I remember the weekend like it was yesterday is an understatement. I had spent over a year studying the portions I would read aloud in front of family, friends, and an entire sanctuary. My stomach was tied in knots, my heart was pounding, and I had nightmares leading up to it every night. What if I messed up? What if I lost my place? What if I didn’t perform perfectly on the bimah? That is a lot of pressure for a twelve year old girl! And, those worries were only about the service part of it.
My mom and I had meetings scheduled with our party planner several times a month for the celebration that followed the service. I could feel the stress emitting from my mom. It was clear that planning a bat mitzvah weekend was incredibly stressful, but each person involved had completely different worries.
The spotlight was on me for an entire weekend: how I looked, what I wore, my makeup, and how we decided to do my hair—all very important things to make sure I appeared as beautiful an elegant as possible.
With that, even at twelve years old, I felt so much social pressure. Though it may not have been the sizes of my waist, hips, or bust that I obsessed over, it was how I stacked up popularity-wise. Would friends reply yes to the invitation? Were they coming because their parents made them, or because they were excited to celebrate with me? Who would I dance with? I was the worst dancer of all-time, was I going to completely embarrass myself on the dance floor?
Becoming a bat mitzvah had such religious importance, and was a life-cycle event that has had long lasting meaning and unbelievable memories. Despite my fears at the time, it ended up being the most amazing weekend. My parents set the bar high for hosting magnificent parties, and I will cherish the memories for the rest of my life. Because I remember my insecurities so vividly, I will do everything in my power to make it easier for my boys when they become a bar mitzvah (which I realize will come very fast)!
Here is to the word “Kick” for still being in my slogan!