I had some religious OCD anxieties late last night, and then a night of confused dreams which also included some religious OCD imagery.  It’s probably just a sign of the emotional stress I’m under at the moment, although one dream focused strongly on the preparations for Pesach (Passover), which is now officially on the horizon, and which is always difficult enough even without Mum undergoing chemotherapy.

***

I seem to have lost the details of the boring, but part-time, admin job I was thinking of applying for, so I suppose that means I won’t apply for it, unless I see it advertised again.

***

I think I’ve worked out how the cover-maker works on Lulu.com, but I need some time to mess around with it before I finalise my design.  It doesn’t help that the cover-maker seems to be rather glitchy and hard to save and return to it later.  And I need to write a back cover blurb and author biography; having just tried, I realise they are going to take more time and energy than I expected.

***

My parents have been economising a bit.  A few weeks ago we went from two weekend newspapers to one (we stopped getting a daily paper years ago), and at the end of the month we will stop getting The Jewish Chronicle too.  To be honest, it just cements my drift away from politics lately.  The last few years have left me deeply disenchanted with politics in general and suspicious and critical of all the major parties.  I feel that I don’t have much of a voice and wouldn’t know what to say if I did, although I do still read a couple of news and political opinion sites, including the inevitable BBC News, for all its manifold faults.

As for The Jewish Chronicle, in recent years I really only paid attention to the religion and comment pages.  I will still be able to follow global, long-term trends in the Jewish community on Tablet.com and my beloved The Jewish Review of Books, although both tend to have a strongly American focus.  As for reading about antisemitism in our homegrown politicians and the ongoing Labour antisemitism issue… I suspect I’ll hear, one way or the other.  News like that has a habit of remorselessly tracking a person down.

I do feel that the print media are almost as bad as social media in trying to make me angry and upset about things that are often not worth getting angry and upset about and about which I can do little even if they are worth being upset about.  It is true that, without the Jewish community’s ongoing protests against Jeremy Corbyn and Labour party antisemitism, Labour might have done a lot better in the last election, so obviously you can have a voice if you can find enough like-minded people.  But I’m not good at finding like-minded people.

***

I’m still feeling bad about the friends I’ve lost in the last year or so.  It’s scary because often I could not see an obvious reason: the reasons given seemed like over-reactions, or paranoia.  In one case, I sensed a brittleness in an online blog friendship; comments sounded more aggressive than I intended, or were perceived as such and it seemed safer to drift away while still relatively friendly than to actually have a full-blown argument one day.  In other cases, I would have been happy to continue the friendship, but was told my actions crossed a line, even though the existence of that line was not always obvious to me, certainly not beforehand.

I feel bad because I’ve rarely lost friends in this way in the past, only through drifting away slowly and non-confrontationally.  To lose four in relatively rapid succession, in ways that felt outside my control, has shaken me a bit as I wonder if I could lose other friends suddenly and unexpectedly.  I try to be a good friend to other friends in need, but I don’t always know what to say or do.

***

Shabbat awaits…

10 thoughts on “Drifting Away

  1. My news consumption has gone way down over the last few years. I do a quick scroll through on a news app most days, but I actually find out the most about current events from late night comedy shows. That wasn’t something I ever used to watch, and I was actually surprised by how easy it was to tease apart the satire from the factual bits it’s built on. I’m quite content not to know much about what’s going on in the world.

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    1. I kind of wish that I had the ability just to completely tune out. I read some news and feel I ought to be more aware of things, but it just depresses me, unless it’s really analytical, then it feels like a history lesson on a period that happens to be still ongoing.

      If I try to tune things out completely, I can kind of hear various authority figures in my life saying I have a social responsibility to be politically aware. And I want to respond, “Do you really think the rise of the Nazis or the Bolshevik Revolution wouldn’t have happened if more people had read good quality newspapers?” but somehow I don’t have the confidence.

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  2. I find friendships so difficult and anxiety-laden. I always think it’s about me, or something I said, when usually people get busy and drift away. It’s so much easier to simply interact online, where it’s normal to have names appear and disappear.

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  3. I prefer online news sources anyway — you get all the audio and videos available plus comments. Isn’t the Jewish Chronicle available free online? I also enjoy “alternative” news sources — my favourites being the Spectator and Spiked-online. I find they both offer a refreshing alternative perspective on current affairs and culture. Cannot stand the BBC — it is far too biased which is terrible for a public service broadcaster we all pay for.

    Re: friendships — yes they are difficult and friends let you down — and yes they come and go – probably as Paula suggests because people are busy and lose interest in working on the friendship. But if a close friend drifts away I think it is worth addressing it with them — even if that’s difficult. In my experience it is often over a misunderstanding which can be cleared up. This has happened to me several times and I have always been glad that I have raised it with the person rather than just walked away.

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    1. You’re right that the Jewish Chronicle available online, so I could still keep up with it, although I find I struggle to remember to do so if it isn’t physically around.

      I enjoy the Spectator, but I always seem to run out of free articles. I also like UnHerd, which has good quality writers (mostly right of centre, but some left of centre) and encourages unusual opinions that don’t get heard elsewhere. Douglas Murray of the Spectator sometimes writes there.

      Most of the friends I’ve lost recently have actively made it clear that they’re angry with me, even though I’m not usually sure why.

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  4. Friendships, like relationships, are complex and fraught with misunderstandings at times. I compare it to a dance where I’m not sure of the other person’s moves, so I can either take charge and lead(risky) or follow and feel insecure and powerless. It is difficult to deal with the news here because much of it is so partisan. I despair of ever getting back to rational, logical and fact based discourse.

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