I feel exhausted today and rather depressed, which isn’t really a surprise, considering that yesterday was a busy day with a lot of social interactions and then I stayed up late writing a blog post that was supposed to help me process the events of the day, but actually made me feel more stressed. I suspect despite ten hours of sleep, I am still running a deficit of energy spoons. I went for a twenty minute walk that exhausted me, which definitely makes me feel out of spoons. I wanted to do my weekly Talmud study today and work on my Doctor Who book, but I don’t feel like doing either at the moment, although I might try again after dinner, when my mood might be a bit better. Everything is just an effort at the moment, I feel so exhausted and depressed. I’m just sitting in front of my laptop and vegetating, which is bad, as sooner or later I hit something that upsets me even more.
I wonder if I should have posted what I did yesterday. In trying to process my feelings, I said more than I would normally say in public about my political views. I tend to hide most of my opinions (about anything) from other people as much as possible to avoid confrontation and rejection. This is probably not particularly helpful or conducive to making friends.
Despite writing a post that was twice as long as usual last night, I realised this morning that I forgot things I should have mentioned, such as being my being upset by my friend’s defence of Jeremy Corbyn against alleged [real] antisemitism accusations, but hiding my feelings to avoid causing offence; discussion of my nihilistic despair about the state of the world; and thoughts about the Jewish educational conference Limmud that my other friend was just back from.
Limmud is one of the few positive innovations to come out of Anglo-Jewry in the last few decades, a non-denominational religious educational conference aimed at all Jews which has now spread globally. It’s very popular, albeit controversial among some Orthodox Jews, who refuse to attend events where non-Orthodox rabbis and educators speak. That doesn’t bother me, but it would bother me a bit that my community would probably not be so happy with me going.
However, the real reason I’ve never gone is social anxiety and autism: literally thousands of people go to Limmud and attend talks, communal meals and entertainment together and the idea frankly terrifies me. This despite the fact that I’ve been told it’s a good way to meet a partner who is serious about Judaism (as if I would have the confidence to talk to strangers there…). I really ought to go, as a number of my friends have gone in the past, as have my sister and brother-in-law and they all enjoyed it (but then, they aren’t autistic and socially anxious). I just haven’t worked up the courage to go yet. I guess I feel that I do have a reason not to go now that I understand my social anxiety and autism a bit more. I wish I could have told that to people who questioned my social withdrawal years ago at Oxford. It’s funny that I accept my social anxiety more as a ‘real’ thing now it’s linked to autism than I did when it was just something free floating.
On a positive note, here are the Doctor Who miniatures I painted last week (left to right: first Doctor, fourth Doctor, K9, fifth Doctor, tenth Doctor, eleventh Doctor, twelfth Doctor).
The last few days I’ve been wondering if maybe I could write that book about Orthodox Judaism after all. I think I should avoid apologetics, but maybe it’s not a bad thing to write a personal account if it’s honest about being personal and non-generalising. It’s still a scary thing to contemplate writing, though, both from the effort required in research and writing and the backlash I might get from things I write from people whose opinions I care about. In the worst case scenario, my book ends up in cherem (banned). That’s not likely to happen, as I’m not important enough in the frum (religious Orthodox Jewish) world for it to be worth banning anything I write, but people might regard things I write as incorrect, heretical or (more nebulously), true, but not something one should tell non-Jews and non-frum Jews about.
I’ve never really celebrated secular New Year’s Eve, less from religious reasons than social anxiety. My plan for tonight involves DVDs (probably Sherlock: His Last Vow) and perhaps a book (Mythago Wood) if I have enough energy spoons to read, which does not seem so likely at the moment.
My parents have got ten friends over for dinner tonight. I will be expected to come down and say hi, something I hate doing. I can feel everyone staring at me and asking small talk questions that I can’t answer easily, like “How are you?” (“Really depressed” isn’t an acceptable answer) and “What are you doing?” (“About to start a job I’m terrified I’m going to mess up”).
It’s difficult reading people reflecting on happy and successful years, when I don’t feel that mine was like that. It’s difficult in another reading about sad things that happened to people in 2018 (because I’m not a sadist). Jews greet the new year with a mixture of awe and trepidation, which seems to fit better with the types of years I experience than alcohol-induced levity and blind optimism. According to the Jewish calendar, we’re nearly a third of the way through the current year (5779) already and it hasn’t been great, so I don’t think things are going to go much differently via the Gregorian calendar.
Anyway, felicitations and what-not.