“I hope you find the person with the key to your lock soon…she is bound for deep treasures…you both are…in the right time…may it be soon.” – D* in a comment to me on the first post I wrote on Hevria

I feel less depressed than I was, but still quite depressed.  I think I’m ruining my extended holiday, which is a waste, although I was mainly intending to use it for chores rather than anything fun (I have difficulty with “fun” and have had since adolescence).  Instead, I’m just feeling depressed and procrastinating.  I wish I was back at work, for the distraction.  I’m not doing anything useful, studying much Torah or enjoying myself (other than watching some Doctor Who, which I could do if I was working anyway).

Despite the Jewish belief in bashert (soul mates) I find it hard to believe there is a woman out there with a Luftmentsch-shaped hole in her life.  I was listening to Radio 4 while doing the (incredibly boring) stock take at work last week and a programme came on about polygamy, which is not something I would normally listen to, but I ended up listening and there was one woman who had been raised in a breakaway Mormon church that still practises polygamy and she was trapped in a polygamous marriage.  She ran away from the church and is now in a monogamous marriage and says her husband so great she would never share him with another woman.  And I just think, I wish someone felt like that about me.

Looking at the women who turned me down or broke up with me (those that gave a reason, anyway, or for whom I can make an educated guess at one, which may be incorrect) shows the following (question marks denote an educated guess from what they said when they didn’t give a clear reason):

  1. Not enough in common (?);
  2. Not enough in common (?); I didn’t go to yeshiva (rabbinical seminary);
  3. Already dating someone else (embarrassing);
  4. Already dating someone else (very embarrassing);
  5. Didn’t say;
  6. Didn’t feel anything for me;
  7. Didn’t say;
  8. Wanted a more physical relationship than I wanted;
  9. Not enough in common (?);
  10. Not enough in common;
  11. Didn’t want children;
  12. Couldn’t cope with my mental health issues;
  13. Didn’t want children; not enough in common (?); couldn’t cope with my low self-esteem (?).

Some of these are educated guesses and there are plenty of women who I didn’t even get the confidence to ask out, but the pattern seems to be that women can’t cope with my weird interests and my mental health (counting low self-esteem as a mental health issue).  I suppose you can also throw in the woman who I didn’t ask out who was interested in me and who I liked, but we both knew it couldn’t work because she wasn’t Jewish.  Number 5 on the list is extra odd, as I am fairly sure she was fliriting with me, from my limited experience of flirting (she repeatedly called me a “genius” and said I would have really cute children), but then turned me down and started blanking me when she saw me after I asked her out.  I really have no idea what happened there.

My weirdness and loneliness doesn’t just apply to dating and love.  There was an article on Hevria that quoted the author Jodi Picoult saying that she felt really tolerant and open-minded for having a black friend at college, but it was only years later that she realized that while she ate lunch with her friend, she never invited her to see a film or go to a party.  I read this and the stuff about race washed over me because I just thought that maybe two or three times in my three and a bit years at Oxford I got invited to the cinema or to a play.  I don’t know if I ever got invited to a party.  I maybe once got invited to hang out in the Jewish Society (JSOC) student lounge after Shabbat dinner or to a tisch.  And I never got invited out with my friends from my MA (to be fair, we were a really disparate group in age and background and probably wouldn’t have had much in common away from the university).

I’m not complaining, because I probably wouldn’t have gone if I had been asked.  I just mean to say that I’m not good at social things.  I certainly didn’t go to those things I did get invited to.  I also got invited to JSOC social events and generally didn’t go, but those felt different as it was usually people on the committee just drumming up trade generally rather than thinking, “Hey, Luftmentsch is a great guy, let’s ask him to come.”  I did go to JSOC meals, which were social, especially Shabbat meals and I did enjoy those at least until the depression and social anxiety stopped me enjoying them from my second year; I also enjoyed going to the Doctor Who Society, which I was involved in running, but again, I often prioritized work over going and enjoying myself with people and I didn’t socialize with them outside of the society (I am actually still friends with one person from there, but we became friends more through my old blog after I left Oxford).  Someone from the JSOC got really annoyed with me for not going on the committee, but he didn’t seem to wonder why I felt distanced from the society; he just seemed to assume I was anti-social and a sponge on other people’s efforts.  I don’t think he understood how shy and socially anxious I was.

The weird thing is, I’ve been blogging on and off, on different platforms, since 2006 and I seem to have the ability to reach out to people of very different backgrounds, in terms of religion and lifestyle.  I don’t know why that is.  I understand that my Doctor Who blog appealed to other fans who were mostly different to me; I suppose I find it harder to understand why people read this blog.  I suppose what I write must resonate with other people with mental health issues somehow, although mostly I write because no one else seems to be going through what I feel.  It does make me wonder how I find close friends and a wife, if the only people I can connect with have mental illness as the only common link.

On a related note, I’m going to meet up today with two women (sisters) who read my blog.  I call them my non-biological older sisters, because they’re like sisters to me, but I’ve never met them before, so I’m a bit nervous about that, but hopefully it will be good.

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