Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Guilty Kind of Hope

It all starred out with a Well Meaning Individual. Also known as the Chizuk Lady, she tried to make me feel good about my predicament.

And by predicament, I mean my marital status. I know, I hadn't realized it was such a predicament either. But apparently this Chizuk Lady I work with sees it as one.

Her tale of triumph over the shidduch system is pretty much the same as any other. "This girl that I know was nebich 27 years old already and she wasn't married. And even at such an age, she found a boy willing to take her."

I know, I know. That isn't even in the same zip code as chizuk. But that isn' our point right now. I'd like to discuss this idea of "well if she got married, so can I."

Take a minute. Let it sink in. It's mean. It's self-centered. It's true. It sounds wrong to let such thoughts pass through your mind, but upon closer inspection, I think most of us will find that we have felt this way at one point or another.

I know I did.

Let's call her Peshy. Peshy isn't an ordinary nerd. I mean, I'm friends with quite a few of those, and I've occasionally been described as one. But Peshy is a class A, socially lacking, purebred nerd. Her appearance is always unkempt, her comments always awkward, and her overall impression is that of a person you can't imagine being the world's greatest wife. I know I'm coming across as terribly judgemental right now, but I challenge you to truthfully say you don't know anyone like this. Again, bot in an unfriendly sense, but in a "this is life; deal with it" sense.

I'll never forgot how I felt when she got engaged. My initial reaction was one of, sorry to say it, shock. "What type of guy is her choson?" "How on earth did she get engaged...before me?" My next reaction was one of guilty relief. " really is someone out there for everyone."

I wouldn't admit to this for a while. Not until someone mentioned her yardstick: "this former classmate of mine got engaged. If she could find a guy, anyone can."
"You too?" I yelped, breathing a sigh of relief. "I thought it was just me!"

And slowly, one quiet admission after another, I discovered that most people, no matter how nice, know someone who they never imagined would get married. And when they did, it gave them a hope for their own future.

And so, because we've already established that you know someone like that, let me ask you how you feel about it. Does it make you feel crummy, that someone like that managed to find a guy before you, or does it make you feel that twinge of guilty hope?


Mystery Woman said...

I should probably post this anonymously...but my daughter's observation is that the nerds go first. She has her theories of why that would be so, but I don't think it makes her feel better or worse. It's just how it is.

iRiR said...

I don't get it - why do you refer to it as "guilty hope"? What's wrong with calling it "hope" as itself? The hope part is perfectly ok - it's the preceding thoughts that may be iffy (thinking derogatory stuff about the subject). I would not be obsessed with such a worry.

In a semi-related story, have you ever thought about it the other way - you imagine someone who's "worse off" than you (as if you know the real truth, but I'm talking mortally), like somebody 6 years older than you, and then you keep referring to her as a "whew-point". Like "Whew, she's not engaged yet so I'm still ok..." or "If she can manage, I'll also" etc....

THAT's more guiltifying!

Feivel ben Mishael said...

I don't want to come off sounding unsympathetic and I completely understand that there is no way I can fully relate to you as I am not in the same position as you are. I'm just curious about why people are shocked by things like this. There is an eibishter in the world that guides everything according to his will. That means things happen not according to our understanding, and often against and above nature.
How can such a kol shekain v'kal v'chomer exist "Well if she can get married anyone could?????"

Why is any person kal and any person chomer?

Every person has their very own matching puzzle piece and it will come when Hashem decides. All a person should be concerned with is doing hishtadlus and beyond that they will get what they need in the appropriate time according to the will of the one with understanding which is b'ain aroch to our understanding. "For his understanding is not our understanding."

I apologize profusely if this comes across too mussar-y but I just can't understand this whole thought process.

Either way, a great read as always.

Sun inside Rain said...

Not exactly like you, but yeah, sometimes I'd look at girls I knew who got engaged (sometimes even fairly easily b'h) and felt encouraged that "every pot has a lid" after all. Not so much "if she can do it, I can too" though.

SternGrad said...

I can definitely relate to this post. I am guilty of thinking, "How on earth could she possibly get enagaged/married before me?" Which pretty much makes me feel terrible- why do I think I'm better than her that I should get engaged first?

Unfortunately, this thought process does not leave me feeling hopeful that I too can find someone, because the next though is, "Well, then if it's so easy to find someone, why haven't I found that person yet?" If she found someone, I should have found the right person a long time ago.

Which is terrible and untrue and I leave on a positive note which is to say that it is clear that Hashem has a plan because we don't understand Hashem's logic of who gets married first and who gets married later. The nicest, kindest, prettiest girl could be the one who gets married the latest and no one can fathom why. It's up to Hashem.

still waiting said...

i find it depressing when these girls go before me. but i also believe that its easier to set up dysfunction with dysfunction, issue with issue. so what are you left with at the end? the awesome!

Anonymous said...

The biggest nerd in my class is also the only girl still single, so in some cases if you achieve such a high level of nerdiness (and weirdness) chances are you won't be the first to go--even if you told your whole class you wanted to get engaged in 11th grade.

Anonymous said...

i find it depressing when these girls go before me. but i also believe that its easier to set up dysfunction with dysfunction, issue with issue. so what are you left with at the end? the awesome!

but my daughter's observation is that the nerds go first.

These views are disgusting. Why look at another girl and think of her as a "nerd" or "dysfunctional"? And any professional will tell you that it's NOT easy to match dysfunction with dysfunction - it's a recipe for disaster. Finally, why do you girls think you're so awesome? Because your skirts are the perfect length and you know how to apply makeup? Get over yourselves!

iRiR said...

Anonymous, you shouldn't judge people who judge people either. I don't like the way you're bashing people here and calling them disgusting (I know, I'm not the mod here, but still). Don't tell me that you never labeled people in your mind. I know there are good people out there who don't, but since you're dissing bloggers for having "disgusting" views, I seriously don't think you're in that category. It's true, though, that sometimes matching problem-with-problem is a lot easier than amazing-to-amazing. Maybe that's because the amazing girls feel they can be more choosy, less compromising etc. (not that I condone that). Also, why are you bashing the girls who ARE good girls (you don't have any evidence of them not being amazing)? Look, we all suffer to some extent and some more than others, why can't you fargin that a girl is happy and proud of herself? She is not putting down other girls - just stating a fact that seems obvious... Rethink what you wrote.

Anonymous said...

Look, we all suffer to some extent and some more than others, why can't you fargin that a girl is happy and proud of herself?

Read the blogs linked to by at least one of the commenters. Tell me that is a girl who is happy and proud of herself?

She is not putting down other girls - just stating a fact that seems obvious..

If someone refers to another girl as a "nerd" or "dysfunction", how is that not putting another girl down?

Bluestocking said...

Like others, I have those uncharitable thoughts. But I make a point not to give them voice. As Jews, we are not held accountable for our thoughts; but by airing the unpleasant ones in public we are taking action on it, and so we're fair game. It doesn't matter if it is done under pseudonyms, it does not sound as though we are sensitizing ourselves.

1) To echo Feivel, I focus on the Eibishter and what He decides is best for me. Not for her. For me. It is not my time right now. It's from frum thinking that hope should spring.

2) When a classmate of mine, who had some social and developmental setbacks, got married, I was overjoyed for her. Not thinking (rather cattily) "If she can do it, I totally could."

3) This sort of thinking seems to reflect a premise that all guys are created equal. Everyone, whatever their level, has their partner; I want my bashert, not hers.

4) As Jews, don't we want to be nice? It doesn't just happen. We have to switch gears - I made a point to, and I still have a long way to go. Let's work on being more sensitive. I'm guilty of that sort of thinking, so I'm not bashing anyone here - just pleading that we don't have to bring our dirty thoughts.

Anonymous said...

You spelled started wrong.