Unusually, I woke early and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I got up. I didn’t get much of an early start on the day, as I frittered away some time listening to podcasts on politics and antisemitism as well as trying to get rid of emails. I use a free email site for Oxford graduates, but really they intend you to move quickly from the free site to a paid upgrade. I’m reluctant to do this, but I am fast running out of free space now my email folders are filling up with work- and job hunting-related emails, sometimes with huge attachments. (It’s telling that it’s taken me fourteen years to get to this stage, whereas their business model presumably expects most people to get to it within a year or so of graduation.) I am not quite sure what to do about this. I have a free gmail account with a lot of free space which is associated with my other (non-anonymous) blog, but I know if I switch accounts, some of my friends will miss the email telling them to update their address books. Then there is the hassle of changing my details on internet shopping sites and the like (I could lose some spam, though).
This was all procrastination as I knew I had to set up some online accounts to try to get some freelance proofreading/copy editing work. I started to do that, but then I started getting anxious, worrying that I didn’t know the proper procedures for proofreading and would mess it up, not being sure what to put on my profile, worrying I wouldn’t get any work because I have no experience or positive reviews… I wasn’t hugely anxious, but it was a struggle to work on my profile page. It turned into a struggle between hope and anxiety/procrastination. I did email a friend who proofreads to ask for help, although I felt very stupid. Suddenly I felt like I didn’t have a clue what proofreaders and copy editors do, beyond the most general outline.
I could feel the worries spiralling out like fractals in a way that I am familiar with from my OCD, where each answer leads to another three questions. Being autistic and fearing the unknown probably didn’t help either; I wanted to know and prepare for every eventuality. Soon I was drifting into self-critical thoughts, thinking that I’m not good at anything, I’m not going to be able to get a job, even that no one really likes me, feeling incompetent and unskilled compared to other people advertising proofreading and copy editing… I ended up feeling really depressed again and not sure what to do.
I did complete a profile for one site in the end. I might go on a couple of others too. My friend was also really helpful. So that is all positive. In other news, however, I got two job rejections, for the job I was interviewed for recently and for another one that I quite wanted.
This evening I went to my parents’ shul (synagogue) for a Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day) event. I enjoyed it to some extent, but not hugely. There was a good magician, but I was terrified he would pick on me to come up on to the stage to help with his act. I also felt swamped by the number of people, most of whom I didn’t know, and by the noise. I slipped out during the raffle to get away from it all. But I think the real reason I was subdued was that, with a small war in Israel over the weekend, the festivities seemed a bit hollow. They just seemed to show how far we still have to go. I thought a bit about this story about my hero, the Kotzker Rebbe (Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk, nineteenth century Hasidic rabbi). I found the story here some time ago. I edited it and tidied it up a little to read at the seder this year, although I didn’t have time to rewrite it totally into my “voice”:
One year, the Kotzker Rebbe failed to pass out Maror [bitter herb, eaten at the seder in memory of the bitterness of the Egyptian slavery] to his family and those at the Seder. The people around the table whispered to the Sochatchover Rebbe, the Kotzker Rebbe’s son in law, that he should remind the Kotzker to pass out Maror. The Sochatchover in a light-hearted comment to the Kotzker Rebbe mentioned a disagreement in the Talmud whether Marror today is Rabbinic or Biblical. The Sochatchover said to his father-in-law that I have a proof from the Rebbe that Maror is Rabbinic, because the Rebbe has not passed out the Maror.
The Kotzker responded to his son-in-law, you are correct and gave Maror to everyone. Suddenly, the Kotzker declared in a loud voice, “Maror Fressers”, Maror Fressers translates into, People who indulge in Maror. Due to the fear of the Rebbe everyone around the table scattered and only the Sochatchover remained.
After a while Reb Hersh Tomashover [the Rebbe’s gabbai, essentially his PA], came in the room and the Kotzker asked him, where is everyone. Reb Hersh answered that the Rebbe chased them out of the house when the Rebbe screamed out, Maror Fressers. The Kotzker replied that he did not mean the people around the table.
When the Kotzker screamed out Maror Fressers, he was praying to God. Maror is bitterness and slavery and persecution. Enough already. It is time for Moshaich [the Messiah]. The Jews have suffered and suffered and suffered. The Jews are constantly eating Maror and it is time for salvation.