Today was a pretty good day. I weighed myself when I got up and I was 71kg, which is quite comfortably in the healthy weight range for my height, albeit at the higher end. I do still feel that I would like less of a visible tummy when I get married, so I’m not about to go and splurge on cake and ice cream.
I did some more novel-writing, had therapy, and went for a walk. I also got to shul (synagogue) for Minchah and Ma’ariv (Afternoon and Evening Prayers). I hadn’t gone to weekday prayers for a while, so I was pleased to go. I would like to get back in the habit of going more often, although I’m not sure what sort of target to set at the moment.
Going to shul felt like a positive thing. I have a lot of anxiety about going to shul, but often when I’m there I feel good. It’s getting in the front door that’s hard, or talking to people afterwards, but the service itself helps me feel connected, perhaps to God, but certainly to the community. It helps that it’s very scripted and much of Jewish prayer services is private prayer anyway rather than things read together.
My article about being high-functioning autistic in the Jewish community on a Jewish website seems to be trending again. At any rate, it’s gone back to the the front page and then crawled up near the top, something usually reserved for new articles. My sister suggested the site is promoting it again because I won an award for it, although I would expect some kind of banner on it if that was the reason. Anyway, it raises my profile, which is good.
I realised this morning that I’m currently planning the time ahead of me in months if not years, rather than days and weeks. This feels weird. For most of the time from 2003 onwards, long-term goals went out the window as I focused on just getting through one day at a time because of my depression. When I was able to work, I was mostly focused on getting through each day, not on career progression, and it was difficult enough to do that. I think even when I dated, I wasn’t looking that far ahead, until recently.
It feels strange to be thinking in terms of months until my wedding, or years until we have children (hopefully). Sometimes waiting until next spring to get married seems very far away and sometimes the fact that I’m actually planning it, rather than just hoping it will happen one day, makes it seem very close.
I was speaking about my place in the Orthodox Jewish community to my therapist in the context of not finding a suitable wife inside the community and marrying someone less religious than me. She said I had an avant-garde, maverick status in the community. I found that weirdly appealing. It is true that I’m less willing to conform to certain non-halakhic (Jewish law) cultural standards and “unwritten rules” (which autistic people are famously bad at understanding). I don’t always like not fitting in, but I wouldn’t want to be a conformist either. I am trying to see my relationship with E as God calling me to learn to give and to live religiously in ways that I haven’t done before.
We also spoke a bit about mourning for the neurotypical life I will never have. I feel I have a way to go with this still. I thought I had processed and accepted my autistic/Asperger’s diagnosis, but I’m not sure that I have. My therapist got me thinking about the Kubler-Ross model of grief. I looked it up after therapy and I think I’m still in anger, at least some of the time, which is only the second stage out of five, although arguably I spent years in the past in depression (step four). I think it is accepted nowadays that people don’t always go through the model sequentially, but can go back and forth between steps, so I don’t want to read too much into it.