Over the years, I've written a lot of personal stuff regarding the various issues in the frum community that has bothered me. None of it has ever been released publicly, and I figured that I'd look it over to see if any of it would be appropriate for this forum. While much of it is still relevant and quite on the mark, I realized that the person who wrote those pieces is not the same person I am now. In fact, it's a voice only vaguely familiar. Those essays are mainly private dialogues, where I'm battling my inner yeshivish demons and often defending myself, arguing, and trying to show those powers that be how they're screwing everything up (in the name of Torah, of course).
But today, I'm not like that. I've left that society and don't have any need to defend myself. No one's accusing me of anything (except on occasion associates from my former society). I'm respected, appreciated, and valued for who I am, not how long my shemona esrei is. And I have no need to convince anyone of those positions. Because those arguments are all attempts to change their society into one where someone like myself could be at ease with themselves, not being constantly eaten up by guilt and shame. And I no longer have any desire to be a part of that society.
So why do I bother concerning myself at all with the goings-on of dysfunctional yeshivish/black-hat culture? A few reasons: Firstly, because it hurts me to see people that I know and care about being ruined in the same way that I was. No, I don't really care if you insist on having your life revolve around necklines, sheitels, water filters, learning torah 24/7, hashgacha pratis, tehillim groups, assering cellphones or the Internet, or why unmarried 20-year-olds are a "crisis", but please keep in mind that these views and stupidities are making your children more and more miserable every day. For their sake, please, get a clue.
Additionally, the fact of the matter seems to be that the influence of yeshivish society is spreading far beyond their local communities. This is quite unfortunate, yet indisputable. It's been discussed quite a bit in many recent articles, and is often referred to as "the shift to the right". And while my particular community hasn't been affected in any noticeable way, it's probably only a matter of time until I find myself having to walk on a different side of the street than my wife.
Most importantly, deep inside I really would love to like Judaism more. It is my religion. It is my heritage. And it probably has a lot to offer that would enrich my life in many ways. Once upon a time I was interested in all that. But these last few years my feelings about yiddishkeit have turned much more grim. As long as I have to keep dealing with idiots and extremists, who only know how to make my life more unpleasant than I could ever dream of, and who insist on imparting dogmatic and obnoxious "Torah" teachings and pronouncements whose goal is to scare me or guilt me, I just want to get away from anything that has to do with yiddishkeit, torah, halacha, rabbis, or the god that supposedly insists on it all.
I want to enjoy my life. To live a fulfilling, meaningful, enjoyable, productive, sincere existence. And the popular Judaism that is being peddled nowadays seems to offer anything but that.
So I write, partly to help others, partly to stave off the encroaching menace that threatens my last unspoiled refuge, and partly to save myself from turning into something I don't want to.
Have a Good Shabbos and a Happy New Year