I’ve been keeping score. The number of times one particular aunt asks how I am vs the number of times she asks how some material possession is. Not exactly a nail biter here. Material possessions are slaughtering me. If this were a football game, the fans would have packed it in and gone home at half time. My current score? Zero. Aunt has not asked how I am once. Not when she was talking to me. Not when she was talking to anyone else.
I’m having one of those lives where I tend to wonder how long it’s worth trying to salvage relationships with people just because we happen to share a few alleles.
This is a woman who is so loud, and so outgoing, that she gave me panic attacks when I was a child, and she never noticed.
I don’t have a lot in common with my family. I’m incredibly guarded when I’m around them. I don’t know whether that helps or hurts the situation. Maybe they’d be impressed that I’ve written n novels, or that I’m looking to publish. Maybe they wouldn’t. Either way, I’m sure they’d feel entitled to read and comment, and probably get out the red pen. **shudder** Tell me what I’m doing wrong. Take credit for what they think I’m doing right.
So, what’s new? Lately, I’ve been looking at this more and more as a zero-sum game. I don’t want my creative space invaded. I don’t want to pretend to be someone else in order to be accepted in their space. I definitely don’t want to become someone else.
And my family wants me to be someone else.
I want out. And in a strange way, I think I’ve always wanted out.
The first time I can remember not wanting them around was fifth grade. Wanting them NOT to be there, I mean. There was a banquet for an award I had won, and I didn’t want to invite them. Didn’t invite them.
I want belonging, but all I get is tolerance. And after a while, the difference adds up to a lot of weight.
So, here’s the question, for all you writers and creatives with meaningless day jobs, while you work toward your real goals… How do you get along with the people who think you’re just your day job? How do you strike the balance?