I’m finding I struggle less and less in the day to day of living in a secular world with a neshoma that doesn’t quite fit. I don’t live in my off the derech-ness as much as I used to, and that makes me a lot happier as well as a lot less angry.
So what’s the purpose of this if I don’t identify so much with the OTD community, even though I’m very much OTD?
I’ve gotten to the point that my life is so overwhelmingly secular that the few traces of Jewishness are few and far between, and I feel like I’m missing out on the good parts of that experience. I found, in being a member of a reform shul, that it was even too much Judaism in my busy frei life. Or, I find it inauthentic. Too dispersed a community than I expected. When I had aliyoT and did the bracha and subsequent prayer with a very-not-Reform accent, the older members scratched their heads and wondered what shtetl I’d crawled out of. The barely-past-baT-mitzvah girl said she could help me read Hebrew better, that it was pronounced “avoTeinu”.
The challenge I have is that everything different seems inauthentic. Which isn’t to say I necessarily yearn for authenticity in the chassidish sense… I just feel foreign wherever I am. Around my sole frum friend, I feel less at home than I should. Around my Catholic best friend, I feel like an immigrant sometimes – even though I’m the only one of our best friend foursome that was born in the country.
I’m really not sure how to feel totally comfortable in either world. I can’t go back, but I feel displaced. Is that going to be permanent? If it is… scary.