Those who know me, or have read previous blogs of mine, may realise I have only recently cracked opened the closet door and told some of my family that I write. It’s been an amusing journey of mine.
There were a lot of reasons I didn’t tell my family before now. I didn’t wish to tell my family, because I thought that it could all so easily go down the drain. And having my whole family asking me about my failed attempt at authoring was the best reason to stay in the author-closet.
You see – I’m proud of my writing. But I don’t want my family to read it. I don’t want them to read my sex scenes. I don’t want them to ridicule my writing. I don’t want them to comment on what they think I should’ve written. I don’t want them to tell me what I should do next. Because they will. I’m the youngest, and they just automatically think I need to be guided by their “older” wisdom.
And the gay thing? How do I tell them that? Unless I personally sit down with every single member and explain it in depth, and make sure they know why I write MM, I can’t be sure that they won’t be saying inappropriate (and hurtful) stuff.
I dreaded their reactions. I thought I knew how it would go. Some would be surprised and excited for me. Some would be in disbelief that their youngest sister could so something like that. Some would want to know details. Some would want to see the proof. Some would want to know about how much money I earned. Some would mock. Some would laugh. Some would be insanely jealous.
Not that I need accolades from them or anything. But I do get sick of, “Oh, and Renae. She’s just a mum.” If I didn’t believe that being the best mother you can be, and raising our future generation, is the most highly regarded thing I could ever do in my life, I would’ve been completely demoralised by my family’s attitude long ago.
I waited for an opening. Back in September 2014, I made the decision, that next time my mother, in-laws or siblings asked me how I was going, or asked me about returning to the workforce, or even asked me what I had been up to recently, then I would tell them.
Currently, in April 2015, I’m still waiting. How sad is that? Not one single family member of mine has asked me about my life in over 7 months. I’ve listened to their stories about their work, kids, study, friends, relationships and illnesses, and not one person has said, “And you, Renae? How are you travelling?”
So a couple of weeks ago I told my mother. She took it well. She nodded, and then told me what sort of stories she thinks I should write. Then the conversation turned back to her, and the saga of her life continued.
Then last week I told my brother-in-law. He was impressed and thought it sounded great. He asked some questions, and we talked. He didn’t really understand the breadth of Amazon, and usually shuns anything that required a computer to facilitate, so it was a little rough going. Books are not his thing. He thought it a noble hobby to be doing.
It has therefore been a mixed bag of responses so far – and somewhat in the ballpark of where I expected.
But it is the reaction of my BIL’s girlfriend who has me absolutely stunned. A whole week later, I’m still replaying the scene in my head, trying to work out what I did wrong. And THIS is what you need to laugh with me about.
So picture me sitting on a lounge, discussing everyday things – the weather, parenting, diets, etc. I decided to broach the subject and asked if my BIL had told her – about the ‘writing thing’ I had confessed the previous day.
GF: No. What?
Me: You see… ahh… it’s kind of a secret. But I… (embarrassed blush)… I write books. I’m an author. I have several novels published.
GF: I need to go and study now.
And she got up and walked away.
I sat there stunned. Did she not believe me? Did she think I was lying? Did she not hear me?
I mean, if someone told me that they were a writer, the first thing I would ask is what genre and in what form did they write? Poetry? Screen play? Journalism? Fan Fic? Epic novels? eBook, print or online?
I mean – that would be polite, wouldn’t it?
Maybe it was shock. Maybe it was a hard pill to swallow that I don’t just loll around the house all day pretending to raise my children (which I think she believes, and is another story). Maybe it was complete disinterest in anything about me (which is highly likely).
But to not even acknowledge that I spoke? I don’t know how I’m feeling. Stunned, perplexed and insulted, I think. I guess it’s a life experience. I should write it in a book, but I don’t think readers would believe me…