The usual post-Yom Tov (festival) depression has set in. Actually, it is more accurate to define it as post-mass social interaction (i.e. interacting with lots of people at shul (synagogue) and elsewhere) depression. I was not tired last night so I stayed up late blogging and unwinding from the stresses of the last three days, but inevitably slept late this morning and woke up utterly drained from the last few days. I feel pessimistic about all my recent plans to write professionally and to date again. I feel that I can’t write well, that I don’t know anything (except my own moods) well enough to write about at length, that no one would date me while I’m unemployed and so on.
It’s been a day of procrastination and feeling too drained and depressed to do anything. I did send an email to the values-based dating service matchmaker saying I would like to date again if they find anyone (I had said I wanted to stop until I can find a job). I hope that’s not a terrible idea. It feels a bit like a terrible idea, despite what people have said to me, here and elsewhere. I briefly started signing up for another dating service, but backtracked when I realised that the free membership was limited, while it didn’t say anywhere on the site how much the paid membership was. I can’t really afford a hefty monthly fee at the moment, so that was more time/energy wasted. I guess this is a way of ensuring that unemployed people don’t date.
I also went for a very short walk to do some shopping, which completely exhausted me, and I cooked dinner for myself and my parents (macaroni cheese, about the easiest recipe I know) which also exhausted me. I somehow managed about twenty minutes of Torah study as well as writing letters of complaint about a couple of secondhand items that were advertised as “very good,” but arrived in a poor condition. So this was not a totally wasted day, but it was not a productive one.
However, I did not have time, energy or mood/brainpower for a load of other things I hoped to get done today (write to a couple of friends asking for help starting to write professionally; proof-reading and submitting a job application; trying to get submission guides from various periodicals I’d like to write for; and studying the weekly page of Talmud for my shiur). All those things will get postponed to later in the week, assuming I feel better.
In the meantime, I’m fighting the urge to eat junk food after all the junk, especially ice cream, I ate over Yom Tov (it is customary to eat dairy produce on Shavuot). I’m wondering if I really have what it takes to write professionally, considering the small number of people reading my blog and the fact that I haven’t really written much professionally in the past and my autistic/socially anxious/low self-esteem difficulties with networking and pushing my work out there. Actually, I wonder if I have what it takes to do anything meaningful at all. I feel so useless so much of the time.
Doctor Who Magazine has been running a cosplay feature for some time now. Cosplaying is when fans of something dress up as their favourite characters, often for conventions (because part of the point is being seen by people who get the reference). Part of my mind thinks it is a pointless waste of time and money; another part thinks it looks a lot of fun; a third agrees it looks fun, but is too anxious for either cosplaying or going to conventions. Broadly, the Jewish, fannish and autistic/mentally ill parts of my head, I suppose. I did dress up as the Doctor for Purim, albeit in what a dedicated cosplayer would consider a very inaccurate costume (only the scarf was authentic; the rest was just a vague approximation of Tom Baker’s costume from stuff I had to hand).
I feel torn into pieces by the thoughts in my head. I want to be frum, yet I lack energy and enthusiasm for Torah and mitzvot and sometimes I’m angry with God. I like classic British telefantasy, but I worry it’s a trivial thing to waste my life on. I love writing, but am scared to do anything with it. I’d like to make friends with people like myself, but I’m terrified of rejection, so avoid places where I might meet people like myself (shul, Doctor Who conventions). I assume that the fact that I’m not a typical Orthodox Jew or typical Doctor Who fan makes me unlikeable by more conventional members of those communities, when it might be the reverse, at least for some people (maybe, possibly). Anxiety and autism make me stay in my comfort zone when I might enjoy moving out of it (writing professionally, including doing serious research; going to conventions).
Sometimes it feels like being a frum geek is like knowing a nearly-extinct language, that there are nuances or connections in Jewish stuff or fan stuff that only I can see. That’s fun on some level, but it’s also lonely. I guess loneliness is fundamental to my life. Perhaps surprisingly, I did have a couple of friends at school, but never many and sometimes they were all away or busy and I was left on my own. Then at Oxford it grew to being one of the dominating emotions of my life and has never really gone away. I don’t know if I could cope with having a partner, it would be so strange. Maybe I would still feel lonely, and therefore guilty that my wife wasn’t enough for me.
This mental division might affect my writing. It’s possible that what I want to write is not going to align very well with the readership of various periodicals. I want to write something on chronic illness, especially depression and high functioning autism, in the Jewish community, but I worry that anything I write will be too frum (religious) for the Jewish Chronicle, but too irreligious for any of the frummer Jewish newspapers (which I don’t read anyway, so I would need to research style and tone. Plus, I think on principle, I don’t want to write for newspapers that refuse to run pictures of women, as is the case with many Orthodox newspapers).