Work (positive): my Mum came into my room excited today just when she was about to go to chemo. I was still in bed and had barely woken up. “There’s a perfect job for you on [Jewish mailing list]!” Dad said the same thing later on. When I eventually got up and looked… it is potentially a very good job for me. I don’t know about “perfect” (I’m not sure that anything’s perfect), but it would hopefully be a long-term job, within my skill set and maybe within my experience too. It’s part-time and maybe would even give some writing time, although I’m not sure about that (I would probably have to crack getting up early if I wanted writing time – I don’t want to give up on writing fiction, so I might have to think laterally to find some time, as I do need a day job). It would also be completely OK with Jewish holidays and early leaving on winter Fridays because it’s at a Jewish institution. I don’t want to say too much about it, though, because it’s early days and because there aren’t so many institutions like this around and I don’t want to give too much away online. I also think the job was advertised before, and I didn’t even get to interview stage, so I’m not getting my hopes up at this stage.
There are some scary aspects – I think all work is scary for me, on some level, because of social anxiety and low self-esteem (I don’t think I can do anything right) and because a job is something new and autism, even high functioning autism, does not like new things – but hopefully it would be manageable. I have failed to get similar jobs in this sector (or sub-sector of the library sector) before though; I’m not hugely experienced in this area. So, I’m not as excited as my parents were, but it is potentially interesting.
I psyched myself up to phone and ask for an application form as I thought I need to challenge my social anxiety more, especially as I have hardly done anything social for months, but there was no answer when I phoned. I emailed for an application form instead.
Work (negative): I got feedback on my cataloguing test from the other week. It wasn’t great. Some of it was my confusion over how they wanted it done, but some of it is that I have got rusty over the years when I haven’t been consistently cataloguing. Even when I have been cataloguing, the library standards I’ve been using have perhaps been less stringent than would be necessary for a pure cataloguing job. I feel guilty about that. This dented my confidence a bit for the other job application, even though that would probably not involve so much cataloguing and especially not up to the standards required for the cataloguing test job. It doesn’t take much to reinforce my feelings about being an inadequate librarian, and an inadequate everything else. If I hadn’t been depressed, and had finished my MA in a year and gone straight to a cataloguing job… but there’s really no point in playing those games.
It’s upsetting though. Sometimes it feels like my low self-esteem is eminently justified: I can’t hold down a job permanently, or work full-time, or maintain a relationship properly, or make friends easily, or do other things like drive a car. I know I need to focus on the positives, the things I can do, but sometimes there just seem so many negatives.
I still feel lonely. I find myself endlessly checking emails, blog comments, and my blog reader, hoping for some spark of communication. Anything to feel less alone. The problem is that true I-Thou moments of connection are rare and, as I learnt at my religion/philosophy shiur (class) on Monday, impossible to manufacture. You must be open to them (which often I am not) and, I suppose, lucky (which I also am not). Perhaps also skilled at communication (again, I’m not – you may be noticing a pattern here). It probably doesn’t help that I keep so many of my opinions to myself, on religion, politics, culture and life in general, because I’m so scared of rejection.
Achievements today: I tried to phone about the job and emailed instead when no one answered the phone. That took longer than I would have expected. I also brought in the weekly food delivery and put it all away; I do that most weeks, but I only realised today it takes about fifteen minutes, rather more than I would have thought, enough to qualify as a proper weekly chore, at least from the point of view of doing it with lowered depressive energy levels. It would certainly take time and energy away from other things.
I spent an hour and forty minutes writing my novel, managing about 800 words, which is OK, but not great. I also did some planning for the next bit, which was easier than I expected. One of the minor characters is trying to force herself into the story more. I want her to be in it more, as she’s more fun than all my other characters (Doctor Who fans: think Amelia Ducat or Professor Rumford), but I’m not sure I can justify it from a narrative point of view.
I spent about fifteen minutes working on my devar Torah (Torah thought) for the week, which I am not entirely happy with, but I am running out of time to work on it. I also had my other shiur (religious class) for an hour and a half, which I’m still struggling with. On the one hand, I know a lot already and am not being stretched so much. On the other hand, I’m too socially anxious to really participate, especially as being on Zoom is even harder than being in a class in person. Not only am I reluctant to answer questions, I won’t even read out (in English, let alone Hebrew), which is pure social anxiety.
It is hard to function when it is so hot. I’ve had my fan going all afternoon with my windows shut all day (except for the small air vents) to see if it helps shutting out the hot air, but I’m not sure it has done much except make it stuffy. I went for a walk after shiur, when it was late and cool, which was refreshing, but I came back to my room which is so hot.
Stuff I’ve been beating myself up about today: thoughts and feelings connected with loneliness that are probably normal and not to be ashamed of, but I feel ashamed of them anyway. Other thoughts that are probably also normal, but I feel ashamed of them too, as if they were nasty and offensive. I try to remember, as someone said in a therapy group I was in, “I’m not responsible for my first thought, but I am responsible for my second one” which I take to mean that sometimes “bad” (hateful, angry, aggressive, rude, lustful, spiteful, etc.) thoughts come into my head, but that’s not my fault if I don’t pursue them.
I also wrote a blog comment late last night that probably came out wrong. I was trying to say that I find God as written literally in Tanakh to be often strict and difficult to see as moral, whereas Jews read Tanakh in the light of Talmud and Midrash which give the impression of a kinder, forgiving God, which is then read back into Tanakh based on clues in the text that point towards the kinder God (I think there is an idea that the Written Torah (Tanakh) comes from God’s attribute of justice while the Oral Torah (everything else, but especially Talmud) comes from His attribute of kindness, hence the difference). I don’t think I expressed that well. I communicate better in writing than in any other medium, but sometimes I feel that I just can’t communicate well at all.