Curiosities

Secrets

It’s funny how when I don’t want to share something, everyone seems to ask about it.  When I’m excited to share or actually have something to share no one asks.  Worse, I’ll try to share and then other things come up so I don’t get a chance.  We went home and everyone asked about work.  Naturally.  No one asks about work.  Not even when I’m trying to share something exciting or a funny story about it.  Or I’ll share the story and it’ll fall flat–that’s usually with my mother, who interestingly always asks about work over the phone.  It’s like Bill Murray’s character in Ground Hog’s Day when the old lady asks him about the weather and he gives a detailed forecast.  She looks shocked and doesn’t say anything and he responds with something to effect of, “Oh, you didn’t really want to know about the weather you were just making small talk weren’t you?”  That’s my mom.  I’m not so sure she’s really interested, she just asks because it’s the polite thing to do.  Thing is, this time I just didn’t want to talk about it.  It was my secret.  Not that I like to keep secrets, although I tend to keep many from myself.  It’s that I didn’t want to open myself up to the criticism and the what are you going to do all quarter, which is what I got from a couple of colleagues.

I finally had to fess up that I decided to take the quarter off.  I don’t like doing that with my family because they ask all sorts of questions that are not grounded in actual interest.  Their questions stem more from criticism (Why would you do something like that?) or to force me to second guess myself (Are you sure you did the right thing?  I think you should’ve…).  I had to say something because they were asking and I couldn’t lie, as much as I would’ve like to avoid talking about the whole thing.  When I told my mom over the phone she asked the following: “Why?” immediately chased with “Don’t you get along with your coworkers?”  I actually get along with my coworkers really well and kind of miss them right now, but thanks for your vote of confidence.  I appreciate it more than I can say and Norma (Norma or Paranorma) is gloating right now.  My mom and her are besties.  My mom speaks from her lizard brain and there’s no filter, unless she’s asking for a favor and won’t get to the point.  This is why my so-called sabbatical is such a secret and you may think that I’m nuts by the time I finish explaining…

Any sort of dream or idea I’ve had has been scrutinized and blown off by my family.  I still remember being about 5 or 6 and answering the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” with “An artist” and being told that was “nice” but that should be a hobby you need to find a real job. It was also followed by some unnecessary critique of my artistic skills.  It stung.  I avoided artsy things and singing for a long time.  Sometimes I’ll indulge privately, but don’t tell.  So, to take the quarter off to write is insane (I didn’t tell them that part, I just said I was taking the quarter off, so it’s still a secret of sorts).  It doesn’t matter what kind of writing it is, although some kinds are “less than” others if you get my drift.  This fear of criticism is like a cloak or a mantle that I wear and it shrinks what I have to offer. I play it small, despite the fact that I’m an inveterate storyteller.  I’ve always been told that, even by my family.  Of course from my family’s perspective that was not a positive moniker by any means.  I’ve chosen to make it positive. The irony in all this is I’ve taken time off to write and I haven’t written as much as I would’ve liked.  What I’ve written has been by hand and private.  I’ve barely written here.  I’ll have to get over the fear of judgement to do better writing and to get to the deeper material.  I realized that at the beginning of the quarter, the task now is how do I do that.  It really hit me when we went home.  I vacillate with the fear–it’s like a layering piece, I don it and shed it and the rotation goes on ad infinitum.  I’m fearless in some arenas of my life and in others I’m meek.  Most days it’s a toss up.  I like to people please but I still have these uncontrollable urges to be different.  I always have it’s just those days are coming more often.  However, people pleasing doesn’t mesh well with being different, especially in my family so I’ll have to come to terms with that very soon or the quarter will be over and I’ll have nothing to show for it.

At least I’m over this hurdle.  I’ve confessed (sort of) and I can get on with writing.  They don’t need to know.  I resisted and resisted saying something (I’ve known for a couple of months I was going to do this) but I feel better (although at the time I was resentful) for saying something.  Sadly, I tried to tell a couple of friends but our conversations didn’t move there like I had planned.  At any rate, now I can move on and hopefully stop worrying and looking over my shoulder.  Maybe the blog posts will come to me now…

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