Wednesday, May 20, 2009


After deciding to commit to going OTD, I found myself between a rock and, well, nothing. Because I had spent all of my life really involved in learning, all of my old friends were super-shtark bochurim that wanted to have nothing to do with me. It hurt, but I honestly don't know what I would have done if the tables were turned. While I was frum, I had no room in my life for people who weren't, unless of course, to be mekarev them; They were wasting their lives, and to spend time with them would be a waste of mine. So while I didn't blame them, I was left feeling rather alone.
One of the main hurdles I felt I had to overcome, was figuring out where I stood in society. People don't realize how hard it is to go OTD, from being so frum. I had always define myself with my religion, and now I felt like I didn't even know who I was. Looking around at the world for the first time, it seemed like everyone had a place, a niche that they fit into. I remember taking drivers ed classes and being so jealous of everyone. Even if they didn't know each other they could find something to talk about, but I had nothing to say. I hadn't read any books, gone to any movies or watched any tv. I didn't even know how to dress. All I owned were white shirts and black pants.
One day I went to the local mall and went a little crazy. I went into a bunch of stores, and asked for random things. Into the book store, asked for some best sellers. Into the music store and asked for whatever was popular. Into Eddie Bauer and literally bought the clothes off of a few mannequins. I came out looking like a preppy Ken doll, listening to madonna and janet jackson and reading some crappy mystery/romance novels. Something just didn't feel right. For so long I had been part of a very tight-knit group, centered around learning, and while it was hard being without it, just trying to fit in to some random group wasn't the right thing either. So, I spent time trying to figure out who it was I was, and who I wanted to be. Reading voraciously, listening to music all the time and always trying new things. Nine years later, I have a much better idea of who I am but it's still an ongoing process. I still like to find new things, always feeling like I may have missed out on something. But finding friends and people that I felt comfortable hanging out with, that's a whole separate story...


  1. one thing i never got is why changing your beliefs requires you to change your taste in music, clothes, and everything else.

    i guess for social reasons. I never had an interest. but, maybe that's why i'm socially so in limbo.

  2. It's not that I had to change my taste in those things, I had to find what I liked in the first place. I spent my life so closed of from the world at large that I really had no idea what I liked. Imagine a deaf person who gains hearing, what music do they like? While not as severe, I was in a similar situation.

  3. i totally relate..12 years after I first stopped keeping strict kosher, I'm still out there trying all sorts of new foods...I'm going on my first trip to europe this summer, and one of the things i'm most excited about is a whole new country full of all new foods to try. :) I still haven't tried all the chain restaurants, and drive throughs confuse the heck out me....

    music and books not so much cause i grew up modern orthodox and the library was basically my second home. As a teenager I constantly got in trouble for the type of music I was listening to- mostly nirvana and NIN and smashing pumpkins, stuff like that, my parents didn't approve of (although they were fine with the beatles and the music from the 60s...i guess it was fine as long as it was the music THEY liked).

    But books...I can't remember how many shabbas diners I would sneak a book under the table so that I could just read it while people were saying divrei torah and such. Books were totally my escape, to the point where now when I'm reading, I literally do not hear other people talking anymore, which really annoys my husband (cause I just don't hear anything he says whenever I'm reading anything, including the internet).

  4. >Books were totally my escape, to the point where now when I'm reading, I literally do not hear other people talking anymore,

    I have that too! I guess my love of learning carried over to my love of reading. I can get so lost in a book that I have no idea what's happening. I also can't get rid of any books, I have over 3k and I just cant part with any of them!

  5. oh yeah I'm up to 5 (big) bookcases full at home and 1 at my office at school...and only a shelf or two of that are my husband's books :) I also gave away of a whole bunch of stuff (like my entire Steven King collection) when I moved out of my parents house, but most I keep forever.

  6. Way to incorporate Boy On A Stick and Snake... nice to know someone out there also reads that comic.
    I think the best thing you can do, to try to find your 'OTD-self', is keep in mind that you are trying to become the person you would be without religion in the way. Think about who you look up to and see what makes them likeable.

  7. >but most I keep forever.

    It's so hard to let them go!!

    BOASAS is awesome. As for my OTD self, I'm happy with who I am now, but I still always try to experience new things because I feel like I missed out on a lot.