June 13, 2012
Karen got divorced a year and a half ago. “I think at first it was hard to come to terms with — ‘I’m divorced.’ It had a kind of negative connotation, but now I look at it like I’m an experienced person. I know exactly what I want. I know exactly what I don’t want. And I’m kind of enjoying it — having my own time. But I have my moments where I wish I did have somebody to share that time with.”
And, ultimately, that’s what she wants.
“I’m originally from Argentina. I moved here when I was 13. I did not want to move here. The [Argentinian] Jewish community in the ’80s was really tight and incredible. The first year [in L.A.] was a shock for me. I didn’t speak the language. I spoke Spanish and Hebrew. But I was pretty determined, and within six months I was pretty fluent.”
She works as a Jewish educator. “I’m the director of an exchange program between Israeli and American teens. We have a twin school there. The Israelis come here; we go there. It’s a partnership. I’m very passionate about connecting kids to Israel — just making sure they feel connected. I work a lot. One of my goals for next year is to simplify my life a bit and work less.
“I feel like in the last year and a half I’ve really opened up to learn a lot about myself. And one of the things I’ve learned is to honor what I envision and to feel OK saying, ‘This is not what I need.’ I want someone who’s my No. 1 fan, my supporter, and vice versa. Someone I feel connected to — and I think that was the biggest thing that was missing in my marriage. The connection that I thought I had was phony.” In spite of all that, she’s still close with her ex-husband. “It just wasn’t a match.”
“What kind of guy do you want?” I ask. “I care that he’s passionate about something that he does, whether it’s a job or a hobby. I won’t lie — it’d be nice to have someone who makes a nice living, but it’s not the most important thing in life. Although I’m not looking for someone religious, I’m looking for someone Jewishly spiritual. I don’t even know if that’ s a sentence, really.” She laughs. “Does that make sense?”
“What’s the most difficult thing about you?” I ask. “I can be reserved sometimes. Sometimes it takes a little bit to get through the walls around me. But once you’re in there, it’s a good place. I put a lot of pressure on myself — I always thought that it was really important to give off a certain image that everything is great and fantastic, even when it isn’t. And I think the hardest thing is that I’m really just hard on myself.”
“What’s the easiest thing about you?” I ask. “I’m a great schmoozer. Outgoing, friendly …” And she is.
She thinks for a moment and then says, “I would end by saying I’m in a really good place in my life right now. And this is why I’m really ready to meet someone. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier with myself. Once I allowed myself to be happy, a lot of doors have opened. Part of that goes back to having opened myself up to the spiritual side of things — again, not religious, but it’s just kind of connecting with the energy around you, and what you put out is what you get back.
“Does that make sense?”
It does to me, Karen.
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Seth Menachem is an actor and writer living in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter. You can see more of his work on his Web site, sethmenachem.com, and meet even more single peeps at mysinglepeeps.com.