I went to the cinema today to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi. It was difficult. Just getting the energy to go there was hard enough. I nearly turned back at the bus stop. The shopping centre the cinema is in was full of sales shopper, far too busy for me. The film did not really hold my attention and I suddenly started crying in the middle of it (silently, thankfully). My mind kept wandering to other thoughts, some prompted by the film, others just coming out of nowhere. Well, not really nowhere, they are the thoughts I have all the time, but they weren’t directly sparked by the film.
One thing I have been thinking about recently is the concepts of yeud and tikkun (destiny/mission and rectification) in Judaism. The concepts are particularly associated with kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) and mussar (ethical character development), but are not unique to them. Yeud is one’s mission or purpose in life and is a positive action to be done; tikkun is a the key character flaw that one has to rectify in oneself and often manifests as an action to be avoided.
I have been thinking about them with regard to dating and more generally. I don’t know what my yeud or tikkun are. I have heard that to find your yeud, you should think about what you would do with unlimited time and money. I honestly don’t know what I would do. Going by what I enjoy doesn’t help as depressive anhedonia means that I don’t really enjoy anything very much. I suppose enjoy writing; at any rate, I give up my lunch breaks at work to write (my book or my blog), so I guess it must have some meaning and joy for me. But I’m a very bad writer and over a decade of practise hasn’t got me very far. I very much doubt I will ever get that book published, for example. In any case, I can’t imagine HaShem (God) put me on earth to write about Doctor Who or to witter on endlessly about how depressed and lonely I am. When I was too depressed to work I had lots of time (albeit with limited money and no energy and poor concentration and motivation) and I did do a lot of writing. However, it never really got me anywhere, bar getting a couple of readers who are still with me on this blog. Even then I spent a lot of time just idly surfing the net, looking for something but not knowing what. I guess this is where a lot of people start looking at religion, to find meaning or purpose, except that I already have religion and it doesn’t help me in these respects. Maybe it would be different if I could write something decent and meaningful: poetry, fiction, criticism, mental health-related writing – I have tried all without much success (success both in terms of number of readers and feeling I have achieved something/happiness with what I have done).
As for my tikkun, that’s just as hard to find. I can think of lots of character flaws or religious flaws that I have. Working out which is the most serious is rather harder. Maybe if I understood properly I would see they come under a general heading like, “Be accepting of others” or even “Be accepting of yourself.”
I have been thinking a lot recently of Lord Lundy who, according to Hillaire Belloc (a raging antisemite, but we’ll ignore that for now) “was too freely moved to tears and thereby ruined his political career” and not just because I cry a lot at the moment. It’s this verse I keep thinking of: “‘Sir! you have disappointed us!/We had intended you to be/The next Prime Minister but three:/The stocks were sold; the Press was squared:/The Middle Class was quite prepared./But as it is! . . . My language fails!/Go out and govern New South Wales!” I don’t think anyone was literally expecting me to be the next Prime Minister but three, but I have long felt myself to be a disappointment to my parents and teachers. My parents deny this and most of my teachers have probably forgotten me (they could barely remember me when I was still in school/university), but still the feeling persists. The feeling that I should have done something with my life, more than just being “a poor devil of a sub-sub-librarian” at an FE college somewhere. That I had the brains and background to make something of my life, and I lost it because of my mental health. I look at my peers (the few I’m still in touch with) and see doctors, lawyers, rabbis, executives of big charities, civil servants, political speechwriters… It’s very dispiriting to compare myself. I know, I shouldn’t compare myself. But as long as I can’t find my yeud, my mission and be satisfied that I’m doing something worthwhile, in fact what I was put here to do, the best thing that it is possible for me to do, I will keep comparing myself. And, of course, I fear any woman I might be interested in is comparing me negatively with a lot of other, more eligible, men.
On a somewhat related note: on a whim I decided to email the shadchan (matchmaker) for people with medical issues a second time before going to the general matchmaking site. I didn’t think anything would come of it, but within a couple of hours she had replied. She wants me to send a “shidduch profile”. I was aware that I would have to write one, but I’m only vaguely aware of what goes on it. Basic stuff I suppose, as on a CV, like age, height, profession, interests. What one is looking for in a spouse. I suppose a man should put what yeshiva he went to, but obviously I can’t. I’ve done this kind of thing before for online dating, but I don’t know if there are specific frummie (religious) things I should be putting on there and I don’t know who to ask.
This page is helpful, but also frightening. Do they really need to know my parents’ shul (synagogue)? And my sister’s name and spouse? I was aware that this sort of thing goes on in the frum world, but somehow I hoped to avoid it. Do I put this stuff in or wait to be asked for it? And I guess I count as having a “non-standard background”. The frum world really annoys me sometimes.
I feel thoroughly pessimistic about this whole thing. I sat in the cinema today feeling thoroughly lonely and miserable, thinking that no one could ever love me. On the way home, I got the email from the shadchan, which just made me feel worse. I’m sure I’m going to fall foul of an “unknown unknown,” some arcane aspect of frum protocol that has no basis in halakhah (Jewish law), but which I would know if I had gone to yeshiva (rabbinical seminary) or if I was better integrated into frum society. If I somehow fail to do that, my issues and freakish personality will see off anyone who might be interested in my profile. I feel I shouldn’t even bother writing the profile, but just accept that I’m going to be lonely forever and do something else with my life, something productive. But, as we’ve seen, I’m not actually capable of doing anything productive.
I suspect I’m going to spend the rest of the evening in a miserable funk. I’m vaguely sorry for writing such a ridiculously self-pitying post, but I guess it’s my blog and I’m not making anyone read it. I guess it’s better to write this than go back to self-harming.