My universe has shrunken. It happened gradually, without me noticing.
Parties, trips, Shabbatons with friends, all are distant memories. Shopping in the mall, praying at the Kotel, I do them alone, now.
Theoretically, I do have friends. There is even one hour each day, a sixty minute gap before their husbands get home from Kollel, when I can actually see them. The rest of the time, they are "phone friends". Great for giving as references, ever ready to gush about how close we are, but not much use for my social life.
"I don't need new friends," I tell myself. "I just need to get married, and I'll be back on the sane terrain as them."
But I've been saying that line for a few years now. It's not enough, any more.
I want a world, I want to be part of society again.
I try going to Shiurim, to the gym and the pool. To Melava Malkas and Kidduses. Everywhere I'm the only bare head, surrounded by scarves and Sheitels. No best friends in the making there. I learn to adjust my conversation to babies' sleep cycles, and the best strollers. Films and shows are of no interest, because who can find a babysitter, anyway?
I've discovered a place, a society, where I can belong. Where I don't need to make excuses. I sit at the wide wooden table. Around me are women my age. There is one scarf, that's it. The rest have long hair, flowing down their backs. It feels so good. I fit in. I'm normal once more. I lean back and listen to the Shiur.
But there's one problem. There are men there too. It's a hang out scene. It's modern, it's mixed. I shouldn't be there.
"The longer a girl stays single, the more modern she becomes." someone once told me. With a boy it's the opposite, he stays in Yeshiva, he becomes Frummer, Shtarker. But the girls are out in the world, and it affects them."
I didn't understand her, didn't want to believe her. "That won't happen to me", I swore. "I'm not going to change. I'm Frum."
And indeed I was. I kept it all. I believed in it too.
But it wasn't enough to stay the same. I should have moved on, to the next stage.
I've lost my place, and am yet to find a new one. And my society, Chareidi society, has no answers. It's not that single girls leave the Chareidi world, it's that society leaves them, leaves them behind. And so they look elsewhere. Maybe I should, too.
4 days ago