When I was in Kindergarten, my whole world revolved around the Power Rangers.
During recess, I would do whatever I had to do in order to swoon over the other kids to have them fancy me with the thrilling job of being the Pink Power Ranger. Some days, I was successful and was allotted the role of twirling in circles alongside strong little men, swinging on the branches of aged oak trees and climbing on rusted swing sets.
But most of the time, I wasn’t picked. Left to blend in with the boring bleachers and idle classmates who preferred burying their noses in books and thumbing away at their Gameboys.
There was this one girl who was admired by all the boys for her long flowing waves of dark brown hair and bulging Disney-like eyes that had a way of pulling you in and handing over your juice box to her because you want to be her friend–you wanted to be her.
One particular day she was picked to be the Pink Power Ranger over me and a horrendous spout of jealously leaked out of my 5-year-old frame. I got up on this giant wobbly rock, demanded the attention of all the play grounders and screamed out two lines of nasty prose about this innocently gorgeous girl to the crowd. The two meanest lines that I have ever said in my 31 years of existence, leaving me to often look back and wonder Jennifer, what the heck were you thinking?! All this commotion over not being a Power Ranger?
I’ll never forget those words. I’ll never forget that day.
When I got down from that rock and watched the girl’s tears flood the palms of her hands, at the age of 5, I learned a very important lesson: At our worst, we can be jealous, rambunctious, mischievous individuals. But, we are human. And humans say things, and they do things, and they forget to do things that they then over accessorize in guilt and regret. I still sway in the lopsided realization that if we really want to learn from our mistakes, we don’t ever have to repeat them again.
Yom Kippur forces me to look back on the year and remember the people I’ve hurt, lost, or may have selfishly forgotten about, and finding a way to apologize, move forward and be kinder to those who I dance beside in life.