They don’t really know me


I have always been the intense one of the family, sometimes quietly intense, other times not so quiet.  I’d always been seen as a little strange, a lot sensitive, overexcitable, highly curious, always questioning, always searching.

My family never understood where I was coming from.  I was always an outsider, and my questioning ways were met with scorn.   I was ostracized by my own family – labeled as weird, a spaz, too sensitive, hyper, moody.  Anything but what I really was – creative, intelligent, thoughtful, compassionate, interesting, enjoyable.

No one in my family enjoyed my company, no one really wanted to talk to me growing up, except my paternal grandfather.  That helped a little.  My grandfather let me watch Benny Hill with him.  He talked me me about topics I was interested in.  Always encouraged my educational and career goals.  He let me read the books on his bookshelf and pore over the National Geographic magazines.  He sang songs to me, like “You can’t buy beer on a Sunday”, and “I’ve been working on the railroad”.  He was the only one in my family who actually laughed and joked around WITH me, not at my expense.

My grandfather has been gone for about five years.  I miss him a lot.  He was the only one I felt really comfortable around.

Everyone else shunned my attempts to fit in to my own family.  My mother was too busy fighting with my step-father (who was busy drinking and fighting with her) and trying to chase my boyfriends away.  My siblings would always try to stay out of their way, and my oldest sister would hit me a lot, and chase me around the house – one time with a kitchen knife.  Yeah, but I was labeled the crazy one.

I’m a grown up now, with children of my own.   That family of origin stuff still stinks.  I am not close to any of my sisters or my brother, too afraid to get close because they’ve been awful to me in the past.  I have had a few close friends that have come and gone.   I see only two or three very infrequently, but not nearly enough.

I realize there’s been scant few people that really know me.   They know the basics…that I used to work in a laboratory, that I am married to a friend of mine from college, that I have three kids.  They know the tip of the iceberg.  The superficial details about my life.

Most of them don’t know the depths of which I think and communicate.  Most of them don’t know I take pretty decent nature photographs…and that I write.  How I was the only one of five children that turned out to be a prolific writer, I’ll never know.

I write prolifically – almost addictively – if not on this blog, then in my other ones, or in my journal, or in emails (though not as much as before).  Maybe I do so I don’t have room to let sadness creep back in.

There’s a name for compulsively writing. Hypergraphia.

I might be hypergraphic.  I don’t know.  All I know is that I’m a stay at home mom and when the kids are in school I get very bored unless I’m writing.  I didn’t write this much when I was working in the genetics field.  Then again, I also had plenty of friends to talk to, so I didn’t need to write so much.

Sometimes I feel really bad for writing so much.  My husband said today I was going to end up sucked into the computer, like in the movie Tron, because I’m writing on it so much.  Well, yes, today I was.  Still am.  I’m sick, unable to talk, not feeling well, and writing seems to help.

But I don’t always write.  Sometimes I read too, and today I’m reading from Anais Nin’s biography by Deirdre Bair.  Anais Nin wrote compulsively too.  She said her diaries were like her best friend.

So why do I always feel so guilty for writing?  She did it, so did Mark Twain, and Vincent Van Gogh (who was a prolific letter writer as well as an artist), Fyodor Doestoyevsky and Lewis Carroll too.  I’m in great company.

Sometimes, when I try to talk to my husband…I hear myself and feel like I am just making no sense sometimes.  When I write it out, I feel a lot more confident in what I’m saying.  I am also better able to stay on track and not digress too much.

You know, oddly enough, I feel more self-conscious about writing than I do about sex.   I feel that writing is a bit of a time waster, but not sex, and I kind of think my husband thinks the same thing (that sex is not a time waster, but writing is).  How strange is that?

Anyway, I am getting tired and I’m having so much trouble thinking of an ending, so…well…I guess I’ll wrap this up with a

Good night.

About Casey

“the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’ ~ Jack Kerouac, On The Road Again
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4 Responses to They don’t really know me

  1. Phil says:

    To be heard is one thing. Your prolific writing, be it here, privately, or in other forms such as letters, e-mails, etc. does in fact put you out there in a position to be heard. To be understood however, that is far more complicated. Your own experience with your family shows the vast differences between being heard and understood. I’m not so sure it is very different outside your family with respect to the overall proportion of those who might hear you, and those who truly understand. The one benefit however, is a larger N to find some critical mass of folks who do understand.

    Interesting you feel more self conscious about writing than you do about sex, especially in terms of time.

  2. Phil,

    I do not mean to undermine the value of writing emails and letters. The thing is, the way it worked out before, I had been in the physical presence of friends before we became pen-pals. So I would spend time having long walks and chats, or laughs over coffee or an alcoholic beverage. I got to know their unique quirks. I would drink in their facial features and expressions and I would smile in response to their smiles.

    If they moved away (and some of them have) letter writing took the place of face to face contact. But I was relatively certain I knew who they were, even their negative traits. You can hide negative traits in your writing, but spend enough time in the physical presence of another, you can start to see their flaws as well as their strengths. It gives you a real picture of the person. Like, for instance, did you know I snort when I laugh sometimes? Not a huge snort…but a little dainty snort, if snort can be classified as dainty.

    I make friendships quite easily these days, with people hundreds of miles away. But I can’t meet them for dinner or coffee. I can’t go to an art museum with them, the opera, or take them to the arboretum that’s in the picture in this post.

    In addition, to the lack of face to face contact, there’s a real deficiency of hands-on human contact these days. It’s called Touch Hunger.

    There’s even a whole book dedicated to Touch by Tiffany Field, a leading researcher in touch and touch deprivation in American society.

    It’s my humble opinion that writing, for me anyway, is like masturbation, which is, in my estimation, a solitary pleasure that my husband is NOT involved in – at least for the duration that I’m writing. He can of course enjoy the pleasure of reading when I’m done.

    But, for me, writing is like having another lover. I want to attend to it, I want to nurture it, I want to selfishly give ALL of myself to the process of writing. Mihayli C (long name I don’t want to look up right now), calls this phenomenon “flow” – probably quite relatable to the transcendental experience of orgasm, which, as I’m thinking about it, kind of makes me chuckle.

    Now, if he was working, this wouldn’t be a big deal.

    But, right now, he’s sitting on the couch waiting for me to respond to you, so we could go pay the taxes, go to Office Max to buy printer ink, and spend some time at the career center at our old alma mater. These things need to be done. He’d be less concerned about going if I was making out with him on the couch because it would be pleasurable for both of us. But as it is, he’s forced to sit patiently while I type this response, which right now, is more important to me than printer ink and property tax payments.

    Now, he’s a wonderful guy and IS sitting patiently, reading his book, but I’m sitting here wondering when he’s going to be moving from patience to frustrated.

    So, with that, I’m going to get going.

  3. Mike says:

    Casey, I love your writing, and I think that the fact that your write a lot – that\s just a dimension of your generosity 🙂


  4. Mike –

    That’s one of the sweetest things anyone has ever said to me about my writing. I appreciate that so much.



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