I feel like I’ve become rather misanthropic lately. That without consciously choosing to do so, I’m retreating into a sulk. Lockdown is being eased, but I want to stay in my room. I see myself as too scared to try dating again, and I’m worried that one day I will not feel like that and I’ll get hurt again, as I always do. Perhaps “fortunately” I see no point in trying to date while my financial position is so negative, and I see little chance of that changing any time soon.
As I’ve said before, consciously I say I want love, but deep down, what I unconsciously need is to accept that depression and autism mean that my life is going to be different to other people’s, that I will probably never be financially self-sufficient and that I will almost certainly not get successfully paired off, as well as never having many friends or fitting in to a community. If I could accept that most of my life is going to be miserable, perhaps I could enjoy parts of it. But I keep getting my hopes up that I can beat the odds, somehow, and then I get disappointed and hurt all over again. Silly boy.
I’m still feeling super-lonely. I feel sexually and romantically frustrated (is “romantically frustrated” a thing? I want to love someone), but I’m lonely in a wider sense too. I’m thinking about (not) fitting in, one of the well-worn themes of my inner monologue, let alone this blog.
I mostly don’t say anything about my mental health or autism away from this blog and similar blogs. It’s just easier than dealing with embarrassment, confusion and sometimes stigma. It’s easier to let people think I’m unusually dysfunctional than to admit what the issue is.
I don’t say much about my religion or politics either. I worry that my religious and political views are sufficiently idiosyncratic to put off everyone who knows them, so I keep them fairly private.
I don’t mind talking about religion here, but I’m not sure why. I suppose I don’t go into details about theology here, just say what “weird” stuff I do and how it affects me emotionally. Sometimes strangers see that I’m Jewish and ask me questions in the street. Strangely, I’m kind of OK with that. At least they’re curious, not belligerent (I’ve had belligerence too, and attempted proselytisation). The Jewish population of the UK is sufficiently small that it’s doubtful whether many people have ever met a Jew in many parts of the country, let alone a frum one, although in London that’s less likely.
I don’t like to pin down my views when talking to other religious Jews. As Rabbi Lord Sacks said, Modern Orthodox Jews are a minority of a minority of a minority (Jews are about 0.02% of the world population; Orthodox Jews are about 10% of Jews; Modern Orthodox Jews are a small percentage of Orthodox Jews). I know I’m more “modern” in many ways than most frum (religious Orthodox) Jews. Actually, I avoid talking about religion outside the community too, for fear of scorn from militant atheists, but sometimes I have to bring the subject up (usually at work) to ask for special dispensation e.g. not eating the same food as everyone else, leaving early on Fridays in the winter etc.
I don’t talk about my politics with anyone at all. I talk politics a little bit with my parents, but somewhat abstractly. They don’t know how I vote (which assumes I vote consistently…). I don’t really fit with any party and I’m not sure that any ideology is an adequate model of a complex reality. I dislike most politicians and activists these days.
I don’t like the current political atmosphere. Too violent and opinionated on all sides; also pretentious. “The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity.”
My chosen professional sector is often more radical than I am (unsurprisingly, as most members are working in the public sector). I know a lot of my friends, particularly my online friends, wouldn’t agree with me if they knew my views. I left an autism WhatsApp group a while back because they were criticising a particular type of political viewpoint without it apparently occurring to them that people like that could be on the list, let alone that they might pass as “normal” people.
I get very angry about antisemitism, but mostly don’t say anything about that either, because it feels like almost no one outside the Jewish community really understands or cares, or is willing to listen.
I don’t like identity politics, which I find aggressive. I prefer existentialist encounter and dialogue.
I just try to be kind and non-judgmental, and to really listen to people.
I change my mind quite a bit. I like reading new ideas, if they’re argued well, and I try to be open-minded about things. I get the impression that most people don’t do that.
I don’t mind having friends who have different views, but my experience is that fewer and fewer people are willing to do that (see here for the way acceptance of inter-political (progressive + conservative) marriage has declined even as acceptance for inter-racial and same-sex marriage has grown). These days people seem to just want to hate people who are different (often in the name diversity, ironically) and mute or unfriend people with different views. I just keep my head down and try to avoid arguments. Life’s easier that way, but lonelier and scarier: I don’t feel accepted for who I am and I worry about slipping up and being rejected. I sometimes wonder how many of my friends (particularly online) would ditch me if they knew what I really think about some things.
I do feel that there’s no one like me: religiously, politically, psychologically. It was a relief to meet E., who was like me in many ways even if she wasn’t religious. (Maybe we were too much alike; probably we were both too unstable.)
Today I just feel unlovable and unacceptable to anyone I might want to befriend me, date me or employ me. I feel utterly useless in any context. The only thing I feel vaguely good at is writing, and I don’t feel great at that. I’ve certainly struggled to get paid for anything I’ve written. It’s a long time since I’ve felt good at my job as a librarian, and I only intermittently see myself as a good son, brother, friend or good boyfriend/husband material.
Today’s achievements: a couple of library jobs have come up. I’m was going to apply for both even though both are full-time, short-term jobs (both are maternity cover), where I really want a part-time, long-term job. I would go for part-time short-term, but I’m not sure whether I would take a full-time job. I don’t think I could cope, even for nine months. If I got offered the job, I would probably ask to job share.
I spent twenty minutes trying to navigate a badly-designed website to apply for one job, only to eventually be told that it was open to internal candidates only. (Then why was it advertised publicly? I suspect it has to be, legally.)
With the other job I think there would be higher risk of COVID – or any infectious illness – for reasons I won’t go into here, and we’re still supposed to be shielding Mum who will have reduced immunity for some more months. It is in any case a high stress, full-time job on multiple sites that could involve long travel times. I really don’t feel I could do either job, but I feel under pressure (from myself as well as other people) to apply for whatever jobs are available, which at the moment is not many. I would rather be working on my novel…
I’m not sure how long I spent dealing with job applications in total, but I didn’t actually write much of an application. I just looked at job descriptions etc.
I did forty-five minutes Torah study, reading this week’s Torah portion, but I didn’t get much out of it and felt very stressed while I was doing it. I would have liked to have done more, but did not have the time or energy.
I went for a thirty-five minute run; my pace was better than it has been for a while. I didn’t get a migraine even though it was hot out; thank Heaven for small mercies.
I wanted to work on my novel after dinner, but I was too tired. I realise that as we come out of lockdown, job applications are going to encroach on my writing time more and more.
We had a family Zoom meeting, me, my parents, my sister and brother-in-law and my aunt and uncle from Israel. I hardly said anything again. I’m pretty quiet even in in-person meetings, but on Zoom I just clam up completely.
I’ve made my blog find-able on search engines again. My reasons for making it hidden (that I worried that I was saying too much about other people who might be identifiable) seemed less realistic, and so many people were finding it through my comments elsewhere on the blogosphere that it didn’t seem such an issue any more. I thought about adding a contact form again so people can email me, but I’m more reluctant to do that. I’ve made a couple of good friends through having that in the past (and ended up going out with E.), but I had a bad experience with it recently (not E.) and don’t know if I should do it again.
Of course, a few hours on and I already think it was a bad idea to make my blog fina-able and that I should switch it back to hidden again. I can flip back and forth indefinitely, and probably will.