There was another shul (synagogue) engagement of someone around my age today, albeit this time a divorcee. I think I once tried to ‘talk’ to her on a dating site (when I didn’t know she was from my shul), only for her to say that I was “too worldly” for her, which reinforced my feeling of having put myself in a position between two worlds (Modern Orthodox and Haredi (ultra-Orthodox)) where no one could be interested in me. The feeling of “when is it my turn?” never seems to go away, despite my occasional feeling that getting married would not solve my problems and perhaps would worsen them.
In a comment on yesterday’s post, Ashley Leia said, “if you put off dating until you feel you are likeable/acceptable to a woman, but you don’t consider yourself likeable/acceptable full stop, and being unmarried reinforces the idea of being unlikeable/unacceptable, that seems like a vicious circle that’s never going to end. Why not let the potential dates decide for themselves?”
This is probably true, but hard for me to accept. It just seems so ludicrous to think that anyone could ever love me. Anyone wanting to marry me would basically be marrying my issues (autism, depression, unemployment and more) and I don’t think I have enough positives in my favour to counter-balance that. I’m seriously not kind enough or rich enough or clever enough or good-looking enough or frum enough or whatever to be worth marrying in my own right. So I would basically be marrying someone who wants to care for someone, which isn’t a healthy basis for a relationship. I know people say you shouldn’t be dating if you don’t love yourself, which pretty much means I will never date again.
I also feel I have exactly as much chance of getting married by doing nothing proactive at all as I have by going to shadchanim, on dating sites or asking women out i.e. no chance at all.
Of course, if I did get married, I would still be depressed and have low self-esteem and my first girlfriend was probably right that I’m frigid (certainly I have autistic issues with touch and intimacy, both physical and emotional), so I could end up in a worse situation than I’m in now.
Am I punishing myself too much? With dating, or rather, not dating, and other things? I don’t know. Probably. There is definitely self-sabotage in not going to shadchanim and not going on dating websites, but there has probably also been self-sabotage in doing those things too, in going to shadchanim and on to dating sites when I didn’t feel ready as well as asking out women who had little in common with me and apparently didn’t like me much (which seems to be most of them).
I’ve had thoughts of self-harm again, yesterday and today. I haven’t acted on them, at least, not physically, but I feel that, as I try to live my life on multiple levels (physical, spiritual, ethical) there are ways I can hurt myself that don’t involve physical harm, but which can be just as dangerous and lasting, if not more so, at least to someone who believes in the soul. “For he who lives more life than one/More deaths than one must die.” I don’t like myself very much.
It’s a number of years since I read The Brothers Karamazov, but there’s a bit in there I’ve been thinking of yesterday and today. The Karamazovs are all hedonists and libertines except for Alyosha, who is an ascetic, but someone says that, even so, he’s still a Karamazov. He still has the libertine streak, he just uses it for asceticism. The idea is that one can be a hedonistic ascetic. I’m not a hedonist and I’m not really an ascetic, but I do have an ascetic streak, but it’s probably more about punishing myself than withdrawing from the world. Maybe I’m being too hard on myself again. I think I probably do like to punish myself, on some level, but then I feel I deserve it. Sometimes I feel like I want to list all my sins here so no one would read this any more. When the depression is bad (like now), I just want to hurt myself, physically and perhaps also by shaming myself (I’m not sure if that’s a desire or a fear, maybe both).
I just feel my life isn’t a story that can end well for me. It’s doubtful that I will ever manage a career, a relationship or a family. It’s doubtful that my writing will be published (more than the little scraps that have been published). I don’t perform mitzvot (commandments) or daven (pray) well or study much Torah. So I’m not sure, without all those things, how my life could ever be worthwhile. I just feel fouled up beyond all repair.
Someone elsewhere on the internet said that if people at my shul (synagogue) won’t accept me, they aren’t worthy of my time. The problem is that I don’t know if people accept me or not, or where the boundaries of acceptable behaviour lie. Plus, I don’t have a better community to go to, and you can’t be a frum Jew (certainly not a frum Jewish man) without having a community. The silly thing is that lately, when I was feeling a bit better, I was beginning to believe people liked me. I don’t know what I think now. I also don’t know how much I think people like me because they don’t really know me; if they knew me better, they wouldn’t like me.
Otherwise today has been a slow day. The summer seems to have evaporated and it’s another dreary grey English June day here. I sent off another job application (for a Knowledge Librarian post at a large company), but all they wanted was my CV, no covering letter to adapt or long application form to fill it. This was good, as the forms usually just cover the same information as the CV, but in different little boxes making cutting pasting fiddly.
Because I didn’t have any more jobs to apply for, I finished the first draft of the final chapter of my Doctor Who book. I need to redraft it at some point and it might be worth re-watching some episodes again to help flesh the chapter out; at the same time, the book as a whole needs some serious pruning, so a fourth draft will probably be necessary when I get feedback from my friends. It does feel never ending at times. Still, I’m probably on target for my aim of finishing around Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year, in the autumn).
I just hate myself and my life, really.