Thursday, February 09, 2006

Onward

It has been a while.

I have been doing mostly OK. Baruch Hashem, I am not depressed any more and have even been able to lower the dose of my medication. I have been very productive in both work and outside of work and am basically all right. Of course I have my times when I am sad about being single but in general there is no reason to worry about me any more than you should worry about anyone else who is single and is sad sometimes.

I have been thinking about a few things related to this blog.

The first is that I have been thinking about all the accusations that my blog is a Chillul Hashem and that I am not really frum because I said that I do not know for sure whether I would be Shomer Negiah in my next relationship. I feel that in one way I have been dishonest with readers and a little with myself. When I read over my many posts on this blog I see that long ago I decided not to be S.N. the next time I had an opportunity to not be. The people who are accusing me of planning to sin are absolutely correct. For a long time, maybe several years, I was S.N. not because I wanted to keep that halacha but simply because I did not have the opportunity. I guess you readers will have to decide for yourselves whether that makes me really S.N. or simply unlucky in love.

However I am still glad that I was S.N. for halachic reasons when I was younger. I learned something very important from being S.N. which is that even just kissing and holding hands is very meaningful if it is saved for someone special. That is why I would never do those things until I have dated someone long enough to know that I feel safe with him and that I will not regret it. It is also why I emphasize that I would never do anything that is out of proportion to how well I know someone. I cannot promise to be S.N. in my next relationship but I certainly can promise not to do anything rash and to treat my body and my emotions with the respect they deserve. I certainly do still want to wait until I get married to have sex.

So I suppose that to be perfectly honest this blog was never by a S.N. person but rather by someone who used to be S.N. and then later was simply unlucky in love. Either way I had never experienced the most basic of human sexual contact and was starving for it. So I ask those readers who are angry about my attitude toward the halacha to take that as you like but if so to read my blog instead as being by someone who really tried her best to keep the halacha as long as she could and these were the results. They are not the results for everyone but this blog is true for me.

You may be wondering how I feel from a sexual and emotional point of view now that I have experienced a little bit of touching. The truth is that I do feel better. I never realized how much I felt like a loser because I felt so much that I was different and was missing out from something so basic. Now whenever I start to think that no one is attracted to me I remember that it has happened once before and therefore might happen again. The man with whom I experienced my first kiss and I did not do very much together physically, but it was enough that I got a taste and no longer feel so separate and isolated from the human race. The memories are not much and they are in the past but they are something and it is definitely better than nothing.

I wish I could say I feel guilty that I broke a halacha or “wasted” my first kiss on someone who I did not marry in the end but the truth is that I am not sorry. On one hand it is in the past and was just a little kissing with a boyfriend. It does not make me “cheap” in any way. I certainly do not feel cheap. Maybe if I were younger or had not chosen carefully I would feel cheap, but Baruch Hashem I am 35 and chose wisely. On the other hand it was significant for me in a positive way. From the point of view of halacha I am supposed to say that I feel guilty and hope to do better next time but the truth is that I got past that long ago as I explained above. In the matter of Shomer Negiah I am no longer functioning in the realm of halacha but in the realm of survival. Baruch Hashem there are 612 other mitzvot which keep me very busy and very connected with the Torah and with God.

I think I can honestly say though that I do feel a little guilty about the fact that I do not feel guilty. That is true. I feel guilty about not feeling guilty.

Of course the problem now is that I am once again alone and still looking for the right person. It is so very hard to find him. Once again I sometimes cry myself to sleep because I am scared to be always alone. Once again I am very sexually starving. Once again the problem is not lack of physical contact but the lack of someone to have physical and emotional contact with. But I have written about all of that in the past. I do not need to write about it again. I would just be saying the same thing. The worst parts of being single are the same for every woman whether she is or ever was Shomer Negiah or not.

So now I have to think about the future of this blog. As far as I know I have said everything there was for me to say about being single, about being S.N. whether for halachic reasons or because of lack of opportunity, and about my feelings about having broken my Shomer-ness. So what is the point of this blog anymore?

I have decided that when I feel ready I will use this space to do another “primal scream” about dating and being overweight. There is a lot of pain and shame involved in it and I think it will help me to put those things into words. I will write a post about it when I am ready.

Another thing I need to announce is that I have created yet another email account called shomernegiah@gmail.com. I have done this so that in very limited circumstances I can write back to people who send me emails without my ISP address showing to them. I will continue in general not to respond both for my privacy and because I do not want this blog and the emails about Shomer Negiah to take over my life. But every so often I do want to respond and this way I can. Please do not be insulted if I do not respond to your email.

I got an email from a book agent asking me if I would like to turn this blog into a book. At first I did not respond because it is already frightening enough for me to write this blog and be afraid that my real identity will be exposed but a book is too much. But I have gotten so many emails from people all around the world telling me how much this blog made them feel less alone and so maybe letting it be published as a book would be OK. I have not decided yet. I will talk to my rabbi and to the agent and see what happens. The most important thing to me is that what I do is as much of a Kiddush Hashem as I can do. I know some people think this blog is a Chillul Hashem but there are so many who have written to me that it is the opposite and that it gave them faith! The second most important thing is that I stay anonymous.

The last announcement is the one about the move I have been thinking about. I have decided to do it. I am moving to Israel! For now it is just for a year but if things work out professionally then perhaps I will make aliyah. And of course if I find a nice man in Israel I will stay! Of course I am not writing here when I am going or where I will live or what I plan to do there but so far things have fallen into place. Baruch Hashem I was able to arrange a leave of absence from my job so I have nothing to lose by going for a year. Please daven for me that now that I am moving my luck will change too. It is said “mishaneh makom mishaneh mazal.” If you change your place you change your luck. I hope that is true for me.

38 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for coming back and updating! I know I for one was so worried about you...

and I feel especially honored that I get to be the first person to comment on your post! :)


It's awful that you feel you have to defend yourself against accusations of committing a chillul hashem. You are telling the story of your life. And a decision you reached at a mature age, and after MUCH consideration. You are not advocating your decision to be made by others, because no one else is in your shoes. And you are 35 years old, old enough to know that these are the right decisions for yourself to have made -- not a teenager saying everything she or he does is right because they want it to be.

I wish you so much mazal in your new journey... wherever it takes you emotionally, religiously, spiritually, and romantically.

And I'm sending a great big welcome-back hug.



But don't worry - I'm a girl. :)

2/09/2006 02:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Yaakov said...

תעלי ותצליחי

I wish you success in your move and your return Home.

2/09/2006 02:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Evian said...

Missed you!!
But anyhow... I dunno what you'll think of this, but when you are in Israel it prob won't hurt to do some of those segulos for marriage-like davening at Amukah, or davening 40 days straight at the Kotel... I know for a fact- it really worx...:)
Stam... you know we'd all love to see u happy!Won't hurt!
:)

2/09/2006 07:50:00 PM  
Anonymous annabel lee said...

NJG, it's good to hear from you again. I'm glad that you're doing better, and I am thrilled for you about your upcoming move. Best of luck to you - I hope you find the happiness you so deserve. Nesiah tovah!

2/09/2006 09:26:00 PM  
Blogger Eshet Chayil said...

for a long time I've checked and rechecked your blog hoping you were ok...I'm glad to see you are.

2/09/2006 09:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Chantyshira said...

Thanks for updating, I was also wondering how you've been...

If you end up writing the book I'll buy it, just to let you know. I'm not religious or SN at all but this topic is fascinating to me. You've enlightened a lot of people, no matter what their beliefs or affiliations.

Have a safe trip to Israel, take care and I hope you have a great time. (The Israeli men are hot too, rawrrr)

2/09/2006 10:41:00 PM  
Blogger Caron said...

Have been checking in and praying for you to find peace. You sound like you are in a very healthy place emotionally and I think that is most important when searching/waiting for your bershert. Hashem is with you always. I sense that being in the Holy Land will be a blessing for you. And Israeli men are delicious. ;-) All the best to you, NJG.

2/10/2006 02:08:00 AM  
Blogger Esther Kustanowitz said...

I think I've said this before, but it bears repeating. Anyone who makes you feel like this blog, this exploration of your commitment and your needs and the attempt to make sense of life as you know it, is a chillul hashem, is him or herself the one who is committing the chillul hashem.

And if you need a co-author or editor on that book...

B'hatzlahah tamid.

2/10/2006 02:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've only started reading your blog and I'm glad you are okay, I really hope that people will learn that they cannot judge someone else unless they are in their shoes. Your decisions are between yourself and Hashem and if you want to put it out here for people to read/learn or to maybe hear what people want to say, thats your business. They shouldn't be coming here to condemn you.

I hope you have a safe trip to Israel and that you'll find your b'shert soon.

2/10/2006 11:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's good to see you back - have been checking in on you. as a recent lurker and reader i just wanted to throw in my 2c to say how much i admire your honesty and your struggle and having been in a similar place myself, relate and am glad to read these pages. can't believe people who would seek out your blog just to give you a hard time. good grief. i can say also that it would be great if you wanted to keep posting - NOT as the be-all end-all about SN or halakha but simply about your human ordinary life and the new adventures therein. wishing you the best...
sarah

2/10/2006 01:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad you're okay. I think this blog has been a good thing. You're never once said that being SN was bad or meaningless. I don't think it's chillul hashem. If anything, reading about your thoughts and experiences has made me more comfortable with the idea of becomming shomer negia myself.

Ahuvah

2/10/2006 02:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for the update . your blog has really helped me deal with being single and frum and definitley a kidush hashem . you are telling your feelings not giving a halacha shiur.
bayla

2/11/2006 08:13:00 PM  
Blogger littlejerseygirl said...

I'm so glad to hear that you are doing ok. I had been checking in almost daily for updates.
Please do not stress over people feeling that your blog is a chillul Hashem. I think anyone who reads it should have an understanding that you have complete respect for Hashem and his Mitzvot. I don't know how many other people would be as strong as you are in your circumstances. I for one never had the impression that you were careless about following mitzvot. You are a strong person and the only person you have to answer to is G-d.
For me, your blog has completely opened my eyes and really sensitized me to the pain of singles. I have made a much more concerted effort to set up my single friends as a result.
Good luck in Eretz Yisroel, and I hope that you have lots of Mazel and Hatzlocha there. May hashem answer all your tefilot.

2/11/2006 08:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice to here from you!

2/11/2006 10:00:00 PM  
Blogger Flatbushyid said...

I am one of those people you are referring to. Why people are commenting that we are the problem and not what you wrote as the problem, when you yourself admit to it is beyond me. You were finally being truthfull they aren't. That said, I truly wish from the bottom of my heart, you mazal in finding your mate to be able to bring up another generation of yiddishe kinder. I also wish you strength to be able to keep all of hashems 613 beautiful mitzvos. We may stumble but the idea is to get back up and go on. Hatzlacha in all you do.

2/11/2006 11:40:00 PM  
Blogger Shomer Negiah said...

Flatbush Yid: Thank you for your kind wishes. I never "admitted" that my words were "the problem," only that it was correct that I was never planning on staying S.N. since I started this blog. Whether that is a Chillul Hashem is in the eyes of the observer. You think it is but people like Ahuva (see above) think it is not and that in fact my words are inspiring to her to do MORE mitzvot. How can that be a Chillul Hashem? Obviously I am doing something right. Something wrong and something right, and which you decide to focus on is up to YOU not up to me.

2/12/2006 01:27:00 AM  
Blogger Another Nice Jewish Guy said...

Mazal tov on the aliyah!

I really admire you for making the move. Alot of singles (myself included) want to go, but feel held back by the bigger pool of potential dates here. Hopefully you will soon prove us wrong.

2/12/2006 03:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the update. I am a recent new reader and I devoured all of your posts in one single night. I was beside myself that the man in your life didn't work out, and at how upset you were. I've been compulsively checking and rechecking your blog daily for a new post. I am not jewish, but I grew up in a jewish area and am familiar with some of the customs. As an outsider, I find the religion beautiful, full of rituals and forgiveness and deep understanding of the human condition. I am very happy that you don't regret your decision to touch this man and to let him touch and kiss you. It was a huge step, and from your postings I know that it was not a decision you made lightly. All we can ever do is to make the best decisions we can at the time with the information we have at the time. I get the sense that even had you known that this wasn't the man you are to marry, that your decision would have been the same. One of the biggest regrets in my life is that I DIDN'T have sex with the first man I fell in love with. We kissed and touched and petted, but we didn't cross that last line. This was when I was 20 and still a virgin and waiting for marriage. Over 20 years later I still regret that I made the decision not to sleep with him. He haunts me and I don't think he would if I hadn't left 'that' part a mystery.

I really hope that when you do have sex with a man that it's everything that you dream and hope it will be. I hope he's loving and tender with you and understands the special gift that you are sharing with him. I hope he takes his time and gives you the sweetest part of sex--those moments afterwards in your love's arms, breathing in sync, listening to each other's heartbeats, totally at peace, and connected not just to each other but to the deeper primal self. And I believe with all my heart that you will feel that with a man. You are too smart, too special, too insightful not to--some smart man is going to snatch you up and spend the rest of his days giving thanks for you.

You sound strong, and I am happy for that. I am glad that you have a plan for a move. And bonus points for arranging the leave of absence--you can always come back if it turns out to not be all that you want.

I hope you will continue to post and to update us on how you are doing and what you're up to. Many of us care deeply about you and about your happiness. and I do mean we care about YOU--not just the 'will she or won't she' part--but about you as a human being--bravely expressing all the doubt and self-questioning that we all go through. I wish you peace and joy.

2/13/2006 12:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for your blog. Please do us all a favor and do not remove/delete this blog. Even if you feel that this "story" is over, even if you will not post anymore, please leave your posts here for the world to read.

I drew alot of strength and inspiration from your writing and have passed it along to others as well. Thank you and godspeed in your move to the holy land.

2/13/2006 07:29:00 PM  
Blogger Ayelet said...

I guess you readers will have to decide for yourselves whether that makes me really S.N.

Actually, I think we'd all do better to leave the judging up to Hashem, Who has a much better handle on all the factors that bear weight on the situation. I,, for one, think it's great that you've done something that affirms in your mind that you are beautiful and can be attractive. That is so important, especially to a woman. I wish you lots of hatzlacha in Israel and hope that your mazal in the realm of shidduchim will change for the better!

2/13/2006 08:30:00 PM  
Blogger Semgirl said...

I am very to see that FY is the only semi-neg comment this time. Interesting, that he is still spouting his self-righteous drivel, when I am sure that he doesn't practice what he preaches. FY, are you saying that you never ever speak a word of L Hara, and keep every single detail of Hoshen Mishpat.. Didn't think so.

NJG, I wish you all the Mazel and Brocha in the world. You will always be in my Tefillos, and as I said on my blog you are a rolemodel for me and always will be. Its easy to get married off by Mommy and Totty at 19, even if you have the maturity of a 14 yr old, and scream from a rooftop in Lakewood or BP about how important it is to be SN... You are the REAL DEAL..

2/14/2006 08:14:00 AM  
Blogger Elster said...

Glad to hear you are ok and good luck on the move to israel. Wish you best of luck and success.

As for the book thing. If you can do it anonimously, I think that would be great. Of course, as a failed to be published author, that might just be my own "jealousy" talking. But your blog certainly seems to have inspired many. Isn't that worth a share?

2/14/2006 12:57:00 PM  
Blogger Elster said...

Don't know why but mty comment didin't seem to post. I wished you congrats on the move and best of luck.

I also think its agood idea for you to try and publish that boook if it can be doe anonimously. Best of luck

2/14/2006 12:58:00 PM  
Anonymous ESB said...

direct qoute
"I learned something very important from being S.N. which is that even just kissing and holding hands is very meaningful if it is saved for someone special"

yes...YES....Y E S

2/14/2006 06:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NJG,
glad to see that you're feeling better in general. I still hope and pray that your situation improve.

I'd like to suggest that you not consider your past as someone who wasn't shomer negiah. don't downplay your mitzvos. you're better than that.

as far as the book (if I may be a bit obnoxious in putting forth my opinion): this blog is powerful and very real, and like all powerful and real things, it can have positive and negative aspects. so, besides for personal issues, please also consider very carefully what this blog may do if put into book form. personally, I think it will do more harm than good (especially at this point that the blog has already had its message heard by those who should have heard it).

either way, i'm very relieved and happy to see you doing better. i hope the future will find us all in better situations.
take care,
b,h,&e

2/16/2006 01:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't waste time and money with the amuka scam (see http://www.canonist.com/?p=398#comments).

2/17/2006 05:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best wishes in Eretz Yisrael. :-)

David

2/19/2006 06:44:00 PM  
Blogger Mia said...

You should definitely care much less what people think about you!

Israel is a great idea, I am sure you will have a great time and there is a big chance to meet the right man :)

2/20/2006 12:28:00 AM  
Blogger tafka PP said...

Jerusalem awaits you, NJG... and Kudos on the book deal, whatever you decide to do.

2/22/2006 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger Ben F said...

In a comment late last October, I wrote, among other things:

//I think that NJG's website is less likely to foster transgression of S.N. than it is to educate about S.N. and, perhaps, by raising both individual and community awareness of the issue, spotlight the need to address it by, e.g., more focus on fostering matches.

. . . .

You say that NJG should be a role model. Well, maybe one day she will drop her mask and become an activist, a spokesperson on this point. Maybe that is why Hashem put her through her tribulations while blessing her with her marvelous writing skills, and why He did so in the age of the blog. //

I think that you should carefully consider the book proposal, including possibly dropping your anonymity.

And I join your many other readers in wishing you well.

2/24/2006 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger Lyss said...

Glad to hear that you've come to terms with things thay had been bothering you. Good luck with the Israel move nd the rest of the goals.

3/09/2006 11:09:00 AM  
Anonymous seebee said...

Hey Nice Jewish girl!

Congratulations on your blog. Many people had already observed that you could write. Now an agent has agreed. This is great (although you must ensure your anonymity, that is crucial.) Your plight, though incredible, does have a universal dimension.

I am glad you are starting to feel good about yourself and your life. Although I don't know you, I am sure you are a great person, with enough wit, charm and intelligence that it must shine through. Whatever you feel is wrong with your body you can work on changing and/or accepting. But focusing on your qualities will always help you.

May your sensitivity and your strong attachment to the Torah be heightened not lessened by this experience and please don't let any fanatics grind you down (esp. if you go to Israel!)

Best of luck,
Seebee (female)

3/15/2006 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger chosha said...

"I wish I could say I feel guilty that I broke a halacha or “wasted” my first kiss on someone who I did not marry in the end but the truth is that I am not sorry."

Waiting until marriage for sex is a hard road, and it is probably part of the reason you spend a lot of time lonely (because most guys aren't holding that high a standard and don't consider dating someone who is). It's ironic that these guys avoid you, not because they DON'T want to have sex with you, but because they do, and know they can't. And yet, it's so easy to feel like it's all about you, or your looks. We really give ourselves a hard time, don't we? Anyway, my point is that when we are trying to wait, and are feeling lonely and sometimes unwanted, it IS comforting to have that sure memory that someone wanted you, cared for you, and found you attractive.

Whether or not you feel guilty over whatever you did is up to you and your beliefs. But I don't think anyone needs to feel guilty about needing to know, just like we all do, that they are loveable, attractive, and worth being with. If that guy's kiss taught you that, maybe it was worth it.

3/18/2006 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger Needsabetterjob said...

Good luck and hope all works out for the best in Israel, You have truly been a light of the diaspora.

3/23/2006 01:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SN: I wasn't aware that being shomer negiah *was* part of the taryag (you may want to look again.) To the best, of my knowledge, it is a "fence" added by the rabbis.

And, as for those people who would judge you, let them first stand in your shoes for a while before they dare open their mouths.

Good luck to you in Israel. I hope you find the man of your dreams and fulfilment of your every wish.
Scottyboy

3/31/2006 01:50:00 PM  
Blogger Kyaroko said...

I hope you keep posting in Israel. Good luck!

4/06/2006 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger brianna said...

Please take the agent up on the offer. Besides the fact that you'd make some money, you'd be doing the world a lot of good. There are others like you and they feel very alone. A book would serve to show the world what it's like to be a shomer negiah adult single and at the same time you'd give people in the same situation some chizuk.

7/03/2006 02:30:00 AM  
Blogger The Red Headed Rebbetzin said...

Talking to your Rabbi is a good idea. Couldn't your agent find a way to maintain your privacy, maybe with a psuedonym.

5/10/2010 04:41:00 PM  

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