(Don’t worry, I’m not suicidal. I just watched the (not very good and occasionally laughably bad) 1996 Doctor Who TV Movie, for my sins, and the quote leapt out at me as being vaguely relevant.)
I’m obviously scatty today and I forgot some things in my last post. Then some other things happened after I posted. For a day in which nothing happened, I have a lot to say. Anyway…
I wanted to go for a run, but even walking back from the shops was a painful effort. It was actually quite upsetting. Even unpacking my bags from shopping and staying at my parents’ house took ages, although that was probably due to getting distracted as much as to lack of energy. So I didn’t exercise today.
I just submitted something to Hevria (about mysticism and religious existentialism). I wrote it over three years ago, but I’ve only showed it to one person until now. I was naughty/daring and didn’t actually re-read it before submitting, because I’ve been putting that off for ages. I’ve tinkered with it on and off over the years and I knew that if I waited until I had re-read it again, I would just procrastinate indefinitely. I just sent it as is and hoped I’d got it into a good enough state. To be honest, I don’t really care if they reject it. I’m not particularly invested in it, I just want to do something with it.
I was trying to write something semi-autobiographical recently. I thought that I can’t tell the story of how my mental health issues started (outside therapy) without hurting a lot of people and violating various Jewish laws, but I wanted to try to write a sort of exaggerated absurdist or magic realist Alice in Wonderland/The Prisoner version of my childhood, interspersed with more philosophical chapters that are like my blog posts. I kicked ideas around for a few weeks and then spent about half an hour on it last week and have now completely lost any enthusiasm I might have had for it. I can’t see how I ever thought it could have worked, or at least how it could have been within my extremely limited capabilities. This type of thing happens to me a lot, the initial burst of enthusiasm and then the loss of confidence once I realise how big an undertaking a project is and how little skill I have for doing it.
I’m losing confidence in my Doctor Who book too. I had a couple of ideas for non-fiction books about Doctor Who or science fiction and this is probably the least adventurous or original. I went with it because it was essentially largely written in blog form already – except that as I began to expand and redraft, it grew rather bigger than expected (good), but I’m not sure it’s really worth the expanded word count (bad). Does the world really need another analytical book on Doctor Who, even one without the snark and politics that characterise so many of the others? I don’t know any more. I just feel there isn’t enough chiddush (novelty) to justify its existence. Still, at least I’m enjoying working on it, which is more than I can say about pretty much anything else in my life at the moment, except perhaps the Thursday evening shiur (Torah class).
I had a bit of a paradigm shift realising that ‘kavannah‘ in prayer can be loosely translated as ‘mindfulness’ (a conceptual rather than a literal translation). I’ve never really managed to do mindfulness meditation, although I have tried. Now I’m trying to use my davening (prayer) as a mindfulness practice. This is similar to something Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan writes about in Jewish Meditation. I will try to remember to report back on how that goes. Hopefully it will be a way to practise mindfulness and improve my kavannah in davening and score two wins rather than one (or zero).
I’m in two minds about whether to include the following paragraph. I’ve decided to include it as a record of how I was feeling earlier today, although I don’t feel like this at the moment. (Eating pizza in my pyjamas while watching even quite bad Doctor Who is obviously helpful. I wonder how I would feel if I had been watching something good.)
Also, have I mentioned lately that I hate myself? Because I do, very much. Days like today feel like a struggle just to stay where I am and not go backwards, let alone move forwards. It’s so tempting just to give in and let go, but if I do that, I know I’ll never get up again. I’m not supposed to be listening to music for the next month (it’s a period of Jewish national mourning for a month between Pesach (Passover) and Shavuot (Pentecost) each year, although there are different customs about when exactly; listening to music is forbidden, as is shaving, cutting hair and holding celebrations, especially weddings), but just one day in and I’m not sure if I can do it this year. It feels like it would be better to listen to music than to do something more serious. But just presenting the situation like that seems wrong, when one thing has nothing to do with the other.