Seldom the Twain Shall Meet

I have a confession to make.

I’m leading a double life.

This is, of course, not at all a surprise to all of you because you’re all in on the secret life, which is, after all, quite public if you know this name.  Given that writing is the heart and soul of who I am, I feel very much like this is my real life and the stuff I do under my real name is just a sham–something I do to pay the bills.

The two don’t overlap a lot.

Online I am a member of a marvelously vibrant community of other writers and readers who totally get me and my weird jokes and mood swings.

In real life, I have been recently reminded that I am the odd duck out and am, generally, often forgotten about.  At least twice in the last week, I’ve been around my immediate team coworkers and overheard bits of conversation that made it obvious that they all hang out together outside work.  Like, the entire team except for me.  It made me feel…weird.  99% of the time, I just assume that people don’t hang out with the people they work with because I don’t, and it’s totally natural to use one’s own experience as a frame of reference.  But it’s looking more and more like I’m the strange one for not.

It’s not that I have some burning desire to hang out with these folks (although I do like them quite a lot–they are great to work with), as it would cut into my already limited writing time.  But I find myself feeling kind of morose that they never even asked.  I do not at all think that this was a deliberate exclusion, but now I feel all weird and awkward and very very conscious that my social life outside work and our two pairs of couple friends is…nonexistent.

This is a state of affairs I’m totally accustomed to and mostly okay with because on the rare occasions I do seek out social interaction other than my weekly lunch buddies, I usually wind up wishing I were home, online, talking to my friends who really know me.  Because I don’t feel like I can talk about the writing with these real life folks.  They aren’t writers, and even if they don’t directly shut me down (which has happened in the past), they definitely don’t get it and largely aren’t that interested.  I don’t want to talk about work, so if you take away writing, the only thing I have left to talk about is food.  While almost everyone loves to eat the fruits of my labor and appreciates my enthusiasm, even that tends to get a leery eye.

So…yeah.  I’m feeling funky right now.  And very very appreciative of all of you.

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21 comments

  1. Hmm. I’m kinda pissed off on your behalf. Shut you down when you talk about writing? They like to eat the food you make but don’t want to chat with you about it?
    Kait, I think I have to say, it’s not you, it’s them. Even my friends husbands will have a 10 minute conversation with me about writing or what dish I brought to a party. That’s the right way to act! What else do people talk about if they don’t ask questions about each others interests?
    I’m thinking you’re not as odd as you think you are, you just live in the wrong place. 🙂 I used to feel how you feel when I lived in Missouri.

    1. Yeah. I had one occasion with my usual lunch buddies earlier this fall where I was talking about the writing and I literally got interrupted and bowled over so they could talk about their kids. I didn’t say another word the entire meal.

  2. I’m really sorry, Kait. I also understand that feeling. When I was acting in NYC, I hated talking to people about it because you either get the people who think they know everything about the craft and the industry because they go to the movies (like the people who think they know about writing a book because they read one once) or you get the people who think you’re an idiot wasting your time. There are also lots of other areas of life that we keep under wraps because people just don’t get it or even get nasty about it. I’m wishing you the best and sending you uplifting, loving thoughts. xo

    -Rhonda

  3. I also lead a double life, probably for different reasons than you do. I’m very involved with church and the people there, but most of them wouldn’t understand how I can be a Christian and write about the paranormal. So I kind of turn off one persona when I’m being the other. I can be whichever one I need to be in the situation. I certainly hope that doesn’t mean I have dissociative identity disorder. LOL. But, like you, I’m very, very grateful for all my online writer friends. They get the writer side of me. We are all so lucky to have found each other, aren’t we? 🙂 And you know we all think you’re the best and appreciate you very much.

  4. Hey, Kait! I think we must be twins separated at birth. What with the evil day job boss type we have in common it sounds like we have the same social life. Hahahaha! But you know what? I’m good with my social life like it is. I hang with the people the mean the most to me and just really don’t worry about the rest. I don’t hang out with my co-workers either and that doesn’t bother me in the least. I like my co-workers too but really don’t have a desire to hang out with them after work. I have other things I would rather do…like spend time with my family or just pile up in my chair and read one of the books that you and the other authors I follow write. 🙂

  5. Same boat, Kait. Most of the co-workers know I write and a few of them do as well but all at different levels. I don’t get invited places because I never show up, I’m writing.

    By the way, I think you are totally cool. Real. Be as quirky as you like we are all on the same cruise ship 🙂

  6. I can relate.

    I was having a similar funky feeling this week. I saw a post about four girls I grew up with (and was close to) all getting together like “old times”. Obviously, I wasn’t invited.

    I am the quirky one, too. And sometimes that means being left out. No matter how much I tell myself that I don’t really want to hang out with them anyway, it stings a little not being asked. HUGS!

  7. You’re not the only one who feels like an odd duck. I’ve spent most of the last semester listening to people talking about the great times they’ve had between work and school with each other, and even though I hang out with these people every day at school, not one ever asked if I’d go. (Having kids cuts into my time to actually do the hanging out, but at least being thought of would be nice occasionally). It’s been the same at a number of jobs I’ve had. The whole crew would hang out after work, but I’d never get invited.

    So you’re definitely not alone! I also agree with Gene, enjoy the quirkiness!

  8. Hugs to you Kait! I’m very appreciative of you and all the other writers out there too, especially the folks over at the Compuserve Writers’ Forum. While I have a few acquaintances and one friend in in my life who write, they’re not quite at the same stage as I am and they don’t… well, like you said, I feel like writing is a huge part of who I am and yet no one I know in real life considers that aspect of me at all. And while I hang out with friends and colleagues and family, they would never understand at all if I scaled back on our times together to turn to my writing. So I always feel as though I’m stealing time when I write.
    I have to admit, part of the reason I want to try the traditional publishing route is that I’m hoping if I hold my book in my hands I can finally start turning to these folks and saying ‘no I can’t go out this weekend, I have to work!” and by work mean writing 🙂

  9. Don’t despair Kait. My entire office found out that our bosses had flown to the UK to take the entire UK office out to a Christmas party. Yet we are the ‘headoffice’and the ones that do the more important work, dealing with the customers etc. We don’t get so much as a card from them. We all feel kind of unwanted at the moment.

    I think it is something that writers all suffer from to some extent, and if people don’t want to hang with you after work, it is their loss. Plus it allows us to hang with you instead. Something that is totally our gain.

  10. We are so much alike. My family knows about my writing, and that’s about it. Other than my online writer friends, I do not have a social circle.

    I know what you mean about the way you felt when you figured out your co-workers all hang out together…and that you’ve never been invited. It’s not like you really want to give up your writing time to hang out with people who are obviously not that interested in you. But at the same time, it still makes you feel…weird.

    Though I am not shocked you were shut down by your co-workers in lieu of kid talk, I’m irritated on your behalf. Like you, I would have eaten the rest of my meal in silence.

  11. I had a similar uncomfortable experience when I realized that all my cousins (and my brother) hang out, and I’ve never been invited. And it’s not even that I would really want to go because I’m also the oddball and am interested in different things. I guess I just wanted to feel wanted and included. I’m extremely grateful for a few excellent friends who do get me and for the online community of writers.

  12. First – I want to thank you for creating ROW80. It’s the first writing community that actually encouraged me to finish.

    It’s natural for all of us to lead multiple lives. The great thing about the Internet is that not only do we get to have friends who share common interest that are not around us – we can do it in a way that fits our schedules better.

    I mean my best friends here – are great. They encourage my writing – even if they are not readers. But – like you said, to hang out takes time.

    It’s why I committed to getting up at 4:30 AM to write. So that even though I’m working at least a 10 hour day (often 12) – I can still fit in at least an hour with my wife and occasionally friends.

    The best thing about the virtual community is that it’s easier to engage when you have time – even if it’s 10 minutes waiting for table for dinner.

    Mark

  13. Even through you would not choose to interact off site with your co-workers It is better to feel that was a choice on your part not an exclusion by the group.The nature of creativity often requires solitude but not necessary isolation. In some way you have an ideal situation for a writer social interaction at work and control of your time at home with a support network on the web.

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