Frum Outside But Void Inside

Look at me you’ll see a frum and chassidish girl. But do you know how far I feel from this life? How disconnected I am from it all? How fragile my belief is? How many things I do and know that you’d never imagine?

I do what I gotta do and say what I gotta say. But what I think… How I feel… Is worlds away.

I dress modest, I pray, I preach chassidus and teach Chabad values. But as I stand in front of my students… Words flowing out that I don’t even believe in… I feel dizzy. How much longer am I going to fool the world? How much longer can I go on living a double life?

My family is not just frum, they’re super chassidish. Yet do you know how knowledgeable I am in TV shows, celebrities, non Jewish music, dirty humor? I don’t talk to boys, yet do you know how many boys I’ve gotten close to on social media? When I hang out it’s just to chill, yet do you know how close I got to going clubbing?

At the Chabad house I have to talk with passion about the Rebbe, and here I have to teach about the rebbeim – when I myself don’t feel connected. I enjoy learning those practical life stuff like kindness, sensitivity, acceptance. But what’s this whole hiskashrus stuff? Isn’t the Rebbe overrated?

I help people follow and understand the prayer in shul, and I teach kids about the importance of kavana – when I myself just mumble through davening, saying the least I can.

I lead a club for Chabad girls to learn about their uniqueness, being Chabad and on shlichus and to learn to appreciate what they have – when I myself don’t get it, don’t appreciate it, don’t feel it.

Everywhere I go, I can’t make any real friends. Because I can’t relate to anyone, and because nobody knows the real me, because I can never reveal the real me. I look like something I’m not.

I’m so sick of being like an OTD in the closet. I don’t even want to go OTD, I just want to live my life applying Chabad to it in the way I feel is the realest for me. I just want to live a life of happiness, positivity, acceptance and love, all things I couldn’t find growing up.

So if I don’t have the drastic “fall” in mind, what’s keeping me of living the way I want?

Expectations.
People know me a certain way and like… changing will take away all credibility there is to my name. After years of preaching all this stuff and looking so strong and proud, can I just drop it?

Commitment.
In the place I’m now I’m a role model. I have to be the example of what a Chabad girl is in a super frum setting. I can’t just take off my mask, while I do push the limits as much as I can get away with.

Family.
My family doesn’t even tolerate my loose hair. Or the shades I paint my nails in, the lengths of my skirts, and my style in general. In their eyes, I’m already so modern, even though I still do look so frum… What will be when I continue expressing myself more and more?

I don’t know what else is keeping me.
But I’m scared.
I fear the time when I’ll have to explain what kind of husband I want. What I’m looking for is so different from what the men in my family are like. I’m scared that my parents will look for boys they think are fit for me, and that they’ll never get close to what I need. Because they have no idea of who I really am. They got no clue what my mindset is whatsoever. I’m scared my siblings will mix in and don’t let things happen. I’m scared of explaining that alongside the things I’m looking for I also want my husband to be someone who’s gone through hard times. Who has struggled. Who questioned stuff and works on himself.

What if I want to marry a BT? We meet halfway… My Gd, the shock my family would have. Can a FFB marry a BT? I say hell yes. My family – I have no idea how they would take it.

And BT or not, the kind of boy I imagine marries girls who are way more modern than me. I mean, who actually look on the outside like I am inside. So should I take steps to start being that? Big or small steps? I’m scared of not being able to marry who I want to marry because I live this double life.

And inside I’ve already chosen my path. The path which is my own, which is what I think and feel is right and true for me, the path which I have yet to reveal. The path which I yearn to be able to follow already with pride and thus join the Chabad community that suits me.
But I don’t know what to do. I’m stuck.

7 Comments

  1. Anonymous November 28, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    i completely hear you.
    your struggle is so real, so tangible and audible, probably most to you. thanks for sharing your heart that way…its never easy expressing and sharing complications and struggles.
    i feel like that to..one thing one the inside, and another on the outside, and heck, nobody knows, and if they will, gd only knows whats next for me.

    Reply
    1. Frum and Void November 28, 2017 at 7:05 pm

      Thank you for your comment, I really appreciate it…
      All the best to you !

      Reply
  2. Yehuda Shull November 28, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    Wow! That sounds so incredibly unpleasant and challenging.

    I went through very similar experiences for many years. Learning in Yeshiva, teaching, being looked at as a role model.

    About 6 months ago my therapist said to me that I was torturing myself. I knew eventually something had to change.

    I struggled for years to daven and eventually couldn’t even get the words and brochas out of my mouth (literally).

    Finally for my healing, I realized I just had to stop. And so I haven’t davened or learned for many months now.

    My background is probably very different to yours.

    I haven’t even began to start dealing with the anger and rage I have towards my father and Hashem. My father for his anger, violence, put downs and sexual abuse, and Hashem because He allowed it to happen and wasn’t there for me (as I experienced it as a little child).

    You can ask Neshamas for my contact info if you want. I’d be happy to offer you support if I can.

    Thanks for sharing with us. I really hope you find what you need and what’s best for you.

    Reply
    1. Frum and void November 28, 2017 at 7:08 pm

      Wow thanks.
      So good to know someone can feel my pain.
      Yes I would love that, Neshamas would you please share his contact info with me, thank you!

      Reply
  3. Journeyman November 29, 2017 at 12:09 am

    Neshama, thank you for sharing your pain andconfusion.

    Odd as it may seem, I’m jealous of you.

    When I was your age, I’m sure I was just as confused. Yet I didn’t know it. I was a chassishe bochur from a very frum family and I accepted all at face value. I got married and started a family based on that premise. Now that I’ve started to realize my truth and I’m less frum/Chassidish, it’s been a painful journey for my loved ones.

    You have a chance now, scary as it may be, to be open and honest with yourself. Scary. And then hopefully with your loved ones. Scary!

    You’re quite possibly right that they won’t take it well. And that fear may stop you. Or perhaps the fear of you knowing yourself is really what is stopping you.

    Oh, how I can go on about this topic…

    Whatever you do, be kind to yourself. You’re not bad for having feelings and thoughts! Life is not black and white. You don’t have to choose to be frum or not frum. You don’t have to choose to be chassidish or not. You can live as you feel is right. Don’t rush into anything before you really know what you want – particularly marriage.

    Reply
  4. Anonymous November 29, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    Sorry that you are going through such a difficult time. Hopefully, time will help you feel better.

    My main comment: try as much as you can to stop being the ‘shlichus’ type. Stop giving shiurim and speaking before others. Not only is it a betrayal to the mushpoyim, but moreso, it is a betrayal to yourself. If you stop, at least you’ll be struggling less with your frumkeit/not issues. You’ll be answerable only to yourself, which should be enough for most people. If you don’t feel like being a spokesperson for Yiddishkeit, then simply, don’t.

    Not being a ‘shlichus’ type does not signal to the world that you are not frum! Not everyone is intended to be a shliach. Lots of children of shluchim have selected different paths for themselves – it’s not a given that they will follow in the shlichus path like their parents. There are other paths that we can take and still be considered frum. If you are at least free from this, then you will not have this fight within yourself and can be rid of any feelings of hypocrisy.

    If it will make you feel better, know that you are not alone. You may have expressed yourself here, but many others harbor hidden feelings about different issues. EVERYBODY has a pekkel! Many put on a happy face, when they are covering up something and hurting inside. You are not any worse than anyone else. On the contrary, you expressed yourself very maturely and eloquently. You are in touch with yourself. That itself already puts you ahead of the crowd.

    W/r/t your shidduch choices, you’d be surprised about what your parents really know about you. They may know more than you think! Ultimately, BT or FFB categories won’t make a difference. There are young men in both camps who could be suitable for you. Like the financial people like to say, “Past performance is not necessarily an indication of future performance”! There is someone out there who is right for you, whatever the background.

    Please hear what I say. I am in my 60s. I am a Lubavitcher and went through and am currently living within the system. I’ve experienced many things and have met many people in my lifetime. I am speaking from a rich life experience.

    Reply
  5. Riva December 4, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Wow! Thank you so much for sharing that. You have really done a good job of painting a picture of your life and I sympathize with you and your struggle. If you don’t mind I have some thoughts to share. I am not wise or experienced so you should definitely take it with a grain of salt, but here goes. It is very hard to live a life where you are not being true to yourself, but on the other hand, it is very scary to be different in a community and risk experiencing the judgement and ridicule that others might give off. At the end of the day this is your life and if you’re not happy then what’s the point? I don’t really know what the answer is in your situation, but I know that it is NOT to marry and build a life with someone who doesn’t really know who you are or share your core values. If you don’t feel fulfilled in your yiddishkeit, it will be difficult to give it over to children and keep up the false image for the rest of your life. There are many different ways to serve Hashem and as long as you are doing your best to keep halacha, striving to grow, and working on your relationship with Hashem, I think you are doing pretty well. Have you heard of Project Makom by Jew in the City? It’s mission statement is to help Jews who come from Chareidi or Chassidish backgrounds who are struggling to find their way, and to help them figure out how a Torah lifestyle can fit with them in a way that allows them to be true to themselves. I’m not saying you should turn against your Chassidish background. I think there are a lot of steps you could take before doing something so drastic. I’m just trying to bring out that it’s okay if you don’t resonate with all that you are being taught, and perhaps some flexibility would help you to be a more whole, happy person who can have a more genuine and sincere relationship with yiddishkeit and Hashem. Because that’s really the goal, right? Even though it sometimes feels like our life and happiness depend on impressing others, the one we should really devote our energy to impressing is Hashem. Best of luck with everything!

    Reply

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