I’m back in “I hate the NHS” mode. I realised that the reason the doctor only prescribed half the only olanzapine I need is because he (or she – prescriptions can be done by anyone in the practice) misread the letter from the psychiatrist and thought I was on one tablet a day, not two. I know, there’s a global pandemic, doctors are super-busy and stressed. Even so, it’s annoying, and makes me wonder how many other, more serious, mistakes have been made by over-stretched medical staff during the pandemic – there must be a number of indirect COVID casualties as well as those actually killed by the virus.

***

I got my new glasses (and walked back in the cold and snow after getting them). I tried them on in Specsavers, including tilting my head to see if they slipped, and they seemed to be OK, but they seem to be slipping now, so I may have to go back at some point and get them adjusted. I’m just glad to have them for now.

I spent a bit over an hour on my novel and finished the third draft. It ended up at 79,766 words, slightly under the 80,000 I was aiming for. Now I need to find some people willing to read it and give me feedback. I’m not quite sure how to do this; I don’t have other writer friends where we can exchange work, and I don’t want to go to a writers’ group at the moment. I’m also terrified of negative feedback.

Given the snow this morning, I thought my walk back home from Specsavers would be my exercise for the day, but mid-afternoon I started feeling anxious and depressed for no obvious reason and, as it wasn’t snowing, and the earlier snow hadn’t settled, I went for a run, despite the fact that it was fast getting dark. I did 5K again and I had a better pace than I’ve had for a while too. I don’t mind running in the cold (it can be bracing) although I worry about pulling muscles despite doing a longer warm up and cool down than usual.

I did some Torah study too, although not quite up to the hour I was aiming for as I ran out of time and energy.

***

I came across an interview today, a religious Jew interviewing someone raised in the Orthodox world, but now outside it. The non-religious Jew says he warns religious Jews thinking of leaving because they don’t fit into the frum (religious) community that they may not fit into the secular world either; they may, in fact, be misfits who won’t fit in anywhere.

I have long suspected that this would be true of me. For all my struggles to fit in to the frum world, I can’t really see myself fitting in to the wider Western world easily either. I guess I’m a bit of a misfit, or even that not fitting in is a part of my psyche; I’ve begun to suspect that when I fit in somewhere, I self-sabotage to find a way to feel like a misfit.

***

On a related note, a while back I wrote about feeling myself to be a “Tory anarchist.” Lately the anarchist part is stronger. I have limited patience for big business or big government and just want to be left alone. Sometimes it’s easy to want to pull society to pieces and start again. I feel a lot of anger and resentment at the ruling class and I’m not sure where it’s coming from, from politics or from my inner self as it’s the class so many of my peers from Oxford now belong to, people in politics, academia, law, and other places I might have been had depression and autism not intervened. I feel like a class traitor sometimes.

6 thoughts on “Misfits

  1. I wonder if part of the fitting in is that your definition of fitting in seems to have a strong element of sameness, whereas I think the Western norm is more about compatibility rather than sameness, given the greater emphasis on individuality. Outside of the frum world, you might end up being less “same” than you are now.

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  2. There is more individuality in the Western world, but I still experience a lot of sameness. Looking in the media, there’s a lot of sameness of worldview, attitudes and interests being promoted, it seems to me. Maybe this is just the experience of being bullied for being a geek at school speaking.

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  3. Hating the medical establishment is my current state of mind too, and medical care is horrifically expensive here. Not fitting in perfectly is better than losing your identity in my opinion.

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  4. My husband (raised frum and left the frum world) would agree with you and the person you quoted around the challenges of fitting in to frum and secular circles.
    I (not raised frum, experimented with Orthodoxy, did not stay) think there are some unique challenges, but I’m not convinced life raised/spent entirely in the secular world necessarily makes it easier to fit in. I think a lot of people, myself included, fake fitting in to the extent they feel they need to / can manage. Maybe because I live in America and everyone claims to be uniquely individual..

    Re: novel, I admit I’m intrigued having heard so much about the process, but I imagine you’re looking for more experienced novel writers who can give you better quality feedback. I feel like there must be some online fiction writing communities and it should be feasible to share with members without having to join a workshop setting. I’d be surprised if WordPress doesn’t have its own share of novelists who could give quality feedback to aspiring novelists.

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    1. You may be right that everyone is faking it…

      Thanks for offering to read it, I may take you up on that. I’m not sure what I’m doing with it at the moment – more in a later post (probably).

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