I’ve been thinking about a couple of quotes or images from things today and how they reflect my current mood. I vaguely remember a quote from somewhere to the extent that sex is like water; if you have it, you don’t think about it, but if you don’t have it, you can’t think of anything else. You can take it from this thirty-five (nearly) year old virgin that the second part of this at least is very true. I suspect the same applies to love as to sex, but here things get nebulous for me… I have strong feelings for E. and I know she has them for me but we’re struggling to work out how to deal with our differences. It’s the geographical differences as much as the religious ones that are the problem, and the fact that neither of us is ever likely to be a high earner (isn’t money one of the biggest sources of relationship discontent?). As we were both clear that we were dating seriously, with an eye to marriage in the relatively short-term, not just for ‘fun,’ we’ve decided to back off a bit for a while and try to work out how a long-term relationship could work, although we’re still in contact multiple times a day (which is a lot for an extreme introvert like me), just not so flirtatiously. It’s hard, though, and worrying to think things might not work out, as I really like E., and I think she likes me, and in many ways I think we are well-matched, if we can find a way to get around the one or two big problems. (She’s OK with me saying all this, by the way.)
The other quotes are inevitably Doctor Who-based, but really spiral out from here. It doesn’t help that I’m doing a lot of extremely tedious work at the moment in my job which leaves me lots of spare brain capacity for thinking about E. and about my life in general.
“Being without becoming – an ontological absurdity!” is probably not the most pretentious line ever in an episode of Doctor Who, but it comes close. I feel the reverse at the moment, that I am always becoming and never arriving or just being, whether it’s my romantic life, my job or my religious development. My love life has only twice reached the stage of an actual relationship and never got any further than that, while I’m probably better at my job than I was a year ago, but still nowhere near as good as I should be. As for my religious development, I still feel stagnant, but as I have related recently, it’s hard at the moment to want to grow, when so much of my religious life just seems to be painful and where I know I will never be a good Jew or a holy person. It’s hard knowing that I could remove some of my problems with E. (not all, but some) by becoming less frum (religious) and not wanting to do that, but at the same time, finding fewer and fewer reasons not to do that. I’ve already told myself I might or even would compromise on some things that a few months ago I would have thought were non-negotiable. Some of this is just the reality of being in a real relationship as opposed to a thought-experiment (which is what most of my previous relationships were), seeing the sacrifices E. has made for me and wanting to reciprocate, but some of it is probably disillusion. I do increasingly feel a fraud in shul (synagogue) and shiur (Bible class). But I’m scared that if I become less frum now, five years down the line, when the infatuation has worn off, I might want to become more frum again, with worse results that staying frum now.
Which I suppose leads to the third image, “The Last Temptation of Doctor Who” scene from the story Human Nature/The Family of Blood*, whereby the Doctor, having wiped his own memory and hidden on Earth disguised as a human schoolteacher, John Smith, is suddenly confronted by the need to abandon his human life, and his girlfriend, and resume his life as a Time Lord for the greater good and sees images of the life he could lead, being married, having children and grandchildren and generally being happy, tempting him away from doing the right thing. I suppose in the past I’ve consciously or unconsciously purloined those images for myself, telling myself that I’m giving up my happiness (not that I have a choice) out of a nebulous feeling that God wants me to be miserable, to convince myself there is some reason behind my depression, that some good will come out of it, but never has that happiness felt both nearer and further than right now.
* Probably the best story of David Tennant’s Doctorate. That or Midnight.