I haven’t got used to public blogging again after many years. I think I need to be more careful about saying things that can be traced to recognizable people, especially as my pseudonym is hardly completely secure and I do tend to let personal information drift out. I just edited an old post to remove something that shouldn’t have gone in, and I edited and deleted some other people’s comments too, which I feel bad about, but I felt it was necessary. I must be more careful in the future.
I feel all washed out today, struggling with depression and OCD a bit. I’ve been fighting a cold for a fortnight now; it’s nearly gone, but it’s still lingering a bit; the sudden heatwave only makes it worse. My flat, which is a converted garage, is very cold in the winter, but very hot in the summer and humid all year round. I also find that the depression and loneliness are worst on days when I don’t go into work, like today (I’m also off all week next week as it’s half-term and I’m only contracted for term time plus two weeks in the summer), which I may have mentioned before. I want to go for a run too, but I really don’t feel up to it, physically or emotionally, which only makes me feel worse.
Yesterday we (me, my parents and my sister – her fiancé is away) went out for dinner for Mum’s birthday, but I found it stressful, partly for reasons I can’t explain given my rules for not revealing personal information, partly because most of the conversation was about my sister’s wedding. I think this will happen a lot over the next six months. This is probably also feeding in to the washed out feeling today.
What I really wanted to blog about was dating. With my tighter rules about what I can say here, I’m actually limited in terms of what I can write, but I tried to get a woman’s number recently, although because this is me, it’s been far more complicated than going up to her and saying, “I like you, would you like to go on a date? Please could I have your number?” (I have never done that.) Not least, it’s a couple of months since I last saw her. I did try to get her number earlier, but encountered an obstacle and gave up, but now I wonder if I gave up too easily and am trying again, but it’s obviously harder now. Maybe one day I can tell the full story, but for now I’m just waiting and wondering if I made a huge mistake. Logically, I can’t see what harm could result. The worst that could happen is she says “No”, or she agrees to go on a date but we have a boring hour or two in a restaurant and agree not to meet again. But someone I know and trust who also knows the woman told me it was a bad idea, which makes me panic, even though other people have told me to go for it.
There is a concept in Judaism of soul-mates, someone you are meant to marry and to be with. Admittedly while the popular version of this concept is that you will definitely marry this person and stay married, the more serious theological versions are less definite, saying you will meet him/her and have the opportunity to marry, but you might not or it might not work out and some thinkers reject the concept in its entirety, which makes sense to me as some people do never marry. So, I suppose I should trust God that I will meet the right woman at the right time and we will get married, but it is hard. Aside from those theological doubts, I find it really hard to trust God.
In Judaism, there is a conceptual difference between emunah, faith in God and bitachon, trusting God. Emunah is about knowing that God exists and acting on that knowledge. Bitachon is about trusting God and accepting that everything that happens is for the best. Despite having some doubts and questions, I have in recent years found that I have surprising resevoirs of emunah, but I have very little bitachon. This is partly from a childhood where I felt unable to trust various authority figures in my life to give me the attention and care I needed, partly because I’m a control freak and don’t like to trust myself to other people generally. The two are related, of course. (Funnily enough, in another sense I am very trusting: I’m a bit naive and generally assume other people are always telling me the truth and mean me no harm, even when others are suspicious of them. This is despite my social anxiety and fear of rejection – I’m not really sure how they fit together and have been meaning to blog about that too, but that will have to wait for now.) I find it very hard to look over my life and say, “Gam zu le-tova, this is all towards the good” and I find it incredibly hard to say, “OK, God, I know You love me and want the best for me, so I’m just going to trust You to sort this out” particularly regarding marriage.
Of course, it’s complicated by the fact that, while we believe in Divine Providence, we Jews also believe that human effort is necessary. If you want to eat, you need to look for a job and trust to God that you will find one; you can’t just rely on God to make you win the lottery. And if you want to get married, you have to ask women out, even if you aren’t 100% sure they’re right for you. This is hard! It’s something I really need to work and sometimes I wonder if all the troubles of my life aren’t just to teach me this one concept of bitachon.