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Some awkward Herstory ahead...

So, this weekend I am attending the wedding of a good friend from a different time in my life. That wouldn't normally be terribly stressful, expect for the matter of this friend's sister, who has flow back to the States for the wedding.

As it happens, I used to sort of date the sister back around the early 90's. In the intervening years, she went off to Israel for a brief tour, and ended up deciding to be Orthodox Jew while she was there. I've heard people call this Jerusalem Syndrome; a young American or European, with a somewhat weak sense of identity to begin with, goes to "The Holy Land" and is instantly and utterly brainwashed. They go from rebellious youngster to pious zealot over night. Gone are my old friend's piercings and blue hair. And gone (presumably) is the tolerance she used to have for all lifestyle choices.

What is increasingly upsetting to me is the (admittedly remote) possibility that she'll tell me she has "forgiven me" for my involvement in the sinful, Sapphic behavior of her youth. I mean, even though she almost certainly won't say anything of the sort, isn't it almost guaranteed that that's what she's thinking? What greater rejection can one face from an ex-lover than when she has made life choices that lead her to believe that what passed between you was Evil and Contrary to the Word of the God she now worships?

So, it seems I'm more than a little upset about this. I thought I could just ignore it, but I realize I can't. I tried to sort of broach this subject with her brother (the one getting married) who I thought would be sympathetic as an avowed atheist, and a weirdo like myself. He just said "Well, if this is making her happy, I can't judge her." Sigh.

You see, I'm not interested in judging her. But I'm terribly troubled that, by the definition of an Orthodox Jew, my old friend is judging me

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
eac
Jan. 16th, 2002 11:32 am (UTC)
:( I never understand these overnight religious conversions. They make me twitchy.

And I can understand *exactly* why this would upset you . . .

BUT try not to read into her attitudes ahead of time. Keep in mind that "Evil" and "Contrary to her Current Religion" don't have to be synonymous, and she may not actually be judging your life and choices, only making decisions about her own.

(This is the optimist in me, but give her the chance rather than expecting a personal rejection ahead of time.)

And if this is one of the Pershing Project crew that I know, please give them my best wishes, okay?
fenriss
Jan. 17th, 2002 06:27 am (UTC)
Yes, it is he. I'll give him your regards. (and I always appreciate your optimism.)
eac
Jan. 17th, 2002 10:00 am (UTC)
(optimism) . . .however well hidden, hm? :)
splifford
Jan. 16th, 2002 12:06 pm (UTC)
this is my take on the subject.....
hello darlin'...just wanted to give you a little piece of advice (feel free to tell me to go to hell)...

people judge us all the time. whether it be our friends, parents, or people walking down the street. some of these people's opinions are worth listening to and fewer of them are worth taking seriously. the people who know us the best are sometimes the people we need to tell us we're acting silly, or self-destructive, or irresponsible. we don't always have to heed their advice, but we do actually listen to them from time to time.

but if you are talking about someone you knew a long time ago, who has not been in your life to witness the positive and the negative, the happy and the sad, the jubilant and the painful, why should it matter what they think about you. and in this case, any sort of negative feelings she may have about you are actually directed at herself, since she is the one who "changed". if you are not unhappy with the life you have lived and are living (and you shouldn't be, because you are fabulous to the nth degree), then why should anybody else's opinion or judgement of you matter in the slightest? as long as you are not hurting yourself or anyone else, i don't think it's anybody else's business to criticize.

and, if by some total slip in what us normal people think of as tact she actually does say something to the affect of "i forgive you", you should just smile and say that you don't feel any need for forgiveness in the matter and you are sorry that she does.

love you baby, and i don't think that you should be sorry about who you are. never apologize for being yourself!!
fenriss
Jan. 17th, 2002 06:29 am (UTC)
Re: this is my take on the subject.....
:) Thanks, Sarah Daisy. Your take on the subject is very level-headed. And you flatter me!
joanarkham
Jan. 16th, 2002 12:33 pm (UTC)
I don't know enough about Orthodox Judaism to say (Jack?) but I'm fairly sure they believe the rules of their religion are *only* applicable to those who are part of the community. I don't think "judging" others is really an issue.

Keep the happy memories and move on. If she says anything flaky, just smile and nod. I smile and nod a lot. The phrase "I'm sorry you feel that way" is good too.
joanarkham
Jan. 16th, 2002 01:21 pm (UTC)
Plus, when I saw her she asked me about how you were doing and seemed happy that things are going well for you!
fenriss
Jan. 17th, 2002 06:30 am (UTC)
Yeah, her brother said she'd be thrilled to see me. Who knows?
_blackjack_
Jan. 16th, 2002 03:03 pm (UTC)
Well, while Orthodox Judaism isn't judgemental in the same vein as Protestant Fundmentalism, it does tend to foster a fair degree of sepertaism, and therfore mistrust, of outsiders. Be that as it may, I think what is making Fen uncomfortable is not this young lady's judgment of Fenriss's actions so much as the young lady's judgment of her OWN past actions. It is hurtful in the same way it would be if an ex-lover said something like "I don't know what I was thinking when I dated you!" or "I'm so much ahppier since I stopped dating fat chicks!" or likewise.

Incidentally, I'm sorry I brought this up on the phone. I didn't mean to stir up unpleasant thoughts; I was just curious as to her whereabouts. I stand by my reccomended course of action, which doesn't bear repeating in public, officers...
_blackjack_
Jan. 16th, 2002 03:07 pm (UTC)
You know...
...it occurs to me suddenly that the young lady in question may be feeling a very similar thing, fearing that you will judge and reject her for her lifestyle choice, might consider her stupid or sheepish (as opposed to evil), etc.

The difference is, of course, that her lifestyle choice is based on things which are factuall untrue, he said in atheistic smugness.

I never will understand why otherwise perfectly sensible people would start WORSHIPPING something.
joanarkham
Jan. 17th, 2002 04:07 am (UTC)
Re: You know...
Unless it's you right? :)

"J. Fisher" has been talking about getting minions again...wanna help start a cult?
_blackjack_
Jan. 17th, 2002 09:44 am (UTC)
Re: You know...
Well, considering I'm disgusted with the idea of ever being promoted to management, I think minions might be a little much for me...
fenriss
Jan. 17th, 2002 06:32 am (UTC)
Re: You know...
Yeah, well. I wouldn't have taken her for a believer in IPUs, but there you go. We'll see how Sunday goes. I feel less apprehensive today than I did yesterday.
ashbet
Jan. 17th, 2002 10:04 am (UTC)
(((hugs)))

Yeah . . . it's shitty when someone you cared about deeply says something that completely denigrates your previous relationship, and starts making you question your own feelings and actions . . .

HOWEVER, it really doesn't sound like she's done that. She's made a change in her own life, but why does that mean that she's automatically going to reject you? I do understand your trepidation, though, and wish you luck . . . I hope that the encounter goes well, and that you're able to respect each other's beliefs and not take away from the closeness that you once shared.

Wow, I'm pretty incapable of coherent speech this morning . . . but I hope I got my point across.

-- Andi, tired today
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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