I sent off four emails to get submissions guidelines for different publications (three Jewish newspapers and a science fiction magazine). This was a way of testing the water for potentially submitting articles as a freelancer. I’m scared that I’ve said the wrong thing or written to the wrong person and will stop them ever employing me, but obviously saying nothing wasn’t going to lead to them employing me either. Later in the week I hope to buy some copies of some of the American Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) newspapers, which I don’t normally read, to see if I could write for them. I’m not sure if I could write for them, or if I would really want to do so, as the culture shock is quite big.
I started to wish Dad a happy father’s day and to thank him for being “a good Dad,” but realised this was damning with faint praise and switched mid-sentence to “great Dad,” but the resulting confusion sounded worse than if I’d said nothing. This is why I prefer writing to speaking. Similarly, I had an awkward, but necessary, conversation with my sister, but I think I will have to talk to her again about this (something I don’t want to go into here). I’m struggling with a halakhic (Jewish legal) matter arising from this, but can’t raise it with my rabbi mentor, as I sent him a couple of emails last week and he hasn’t responded, which usually means he’s very busy or has some kind of family crisis and I should leave him alone for a week or two. I don’t want to take this matter to other rabbis, as they lack his understanding of my family background and they may lack his insight in dealing with families where some members are more religious than others. So I feel a bit stuck.
I went to the Doctor Who pub quiz I went to a few months ago, with the Oxford University Doctor Who Society team… except that when I got to the pub, they weren’t there. I knew my friend (who is the only real contact I have with them nowadays) wasn’t going, but I’d been in contact with someone else who said they were going. But either a completely different group went to the one I was expecting from last time (possible, I suppose, as the society is much bigger and more active than it was in my day) or they changed their plans, perhaps because of traffic coming from Oxford. You can’t join the quiz late and you need two for a team, so there didn’t seem much point in staying. I did see a couple of other fans I knew from Oxford, but I was never close with them and wasn’t sure if they remembered me, so social anxiety won out and I came home.
On the way home I was feeling a mixture of anger and resignation. I think more resignation than anger. Why do things like this always happen to me? I did what I have been told to do since I was a child, I went out of my comfort zone, I put myself out there, I tried to make friends… and yet again I was disappointed again (and ripped off – Tube and bus fairs across London aren’t cheap). Am I cursed or something? That everything I do goes wrong. Am I being punished for something? For not going to see the Famous Rabbi yesterday? I try to accept that things can turn out well, that my suffering is a tikkun or a kapparah or something, but it just feels like God hates me and delights in making everything go wrong for me. Aish.com, Chabad.org and Hevria.com have very different outlooks, but they all seem to have the same basic idea that if you trust in God, He will basically do what you want. This is theologically immature, and they would probably deny it if you asked them, but it’s what posts like this and this seem to amount to, when I read them. Do what God wants, trust in Him and expect Him to help, and everything will turn out fine. But what if it doesn’t? What if you can’t expect God to help because of a lifetime of misery and loneliness? What if you don’t know if you’re doing what He wants? If you don’t know what He wants you to do?
Yesterday I was feeling a bit confident about writing, but today I have a feeling of stumbling through life (work, writing, family, friendships), making big mistakes and needing other people’s help. I doubt whether I could ever get anything published. I wish I could just be normal. I feel bad saying this, as I’ve got friends whose mother just died, so my problems seem insignificant in contrast… except they aren’t insignificant. Someone said, “the worst thing that’s ever happened to you is the worst thing that ever happened to you, regardless of its place in the continuum of bad things ever to happen to people.” Missing these people is not the worst thing that ever happened to me, but a life of misery and loneliness is and I don’t know how to change it.