To Know Me is To Know Me

Every time I come off a visit with my family, I feel like a teeny, tiny cartoon character who is walking around stomping my feet saying “WHY DON’T YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT ME??” “WHY ISN’T ANYBODY LISTENING TO ME?”

This could be the youngest child thing, where all we ever want is attention. My siblings are cool and wonderful people, happy with their lives in general, terrific parents to some terrific kids, but, where I feel I want to probe and ask meaningful questions of them, somehow, maybe knowing too much about the “baby” of the family is too revelatory. Or something like that.

I want to tell them that I’m SO cool and I’m SO funny and my friends LOVE me and men DESIRE me and I get sad, and lonely, and miss our mother and struggle to this day with the residuals of our common upbringing. I want to tell them that I’m getting “fan mail” about my writing and what I’m reading and what moves me and what inspires me. Each of them has their limits and boundaries of what they want to know about me, and what they want to tell me or deflect or when they want to change the subject. I value that I have easy access to one, at any moment of any day, and that my psychologist brother is there to let me vent about my issues and FEELINGS in a way that a caring professional can. Other group dynamics are far more complicated and leave me sad and hurt and questioning every time.

But, there is the flipside, friends, those who know me well, and despite that, still love me and hang in there with me, and newer friends who find me entertaining and often seem VERY surprised to see a glimpse into the “laughing on the outside, crying on the inside” me.

I LOVE being “known” I long to hear the words from a man “I want to know everything about you” (not in a gag-me kind of way, but in a way that really means it, a slow-unfolding of me.) And I LOVE knowing my friends. I am astounded by how much there is to learn about people as their lives change and grow, to observe their epiphanies, their joys and disappointments and to learn more about them by seeing how they react and mold to each and every one. This is the knowing.

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7 Comments

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Interesting. Write a bestseller featured on Oprah's Booklist and your siblings will wind up, inspite of themselves, knowing too much about you. 'Celebrity' seems like the only sure fire way to shift the family spotlight on you from whomever's always monopolized it. I suspect your sibs may also feel the way you do — that the rest of you don't know him or her quite the way he or she wants to be known. Are you not "known" or is it just that you feel misunderstood by them? After all, don't we misunderstand ourselves — which is why we keep growing — and thereby can't help but being misunderstood by others? My family "knows" way too much about me (and are pretty vocal about what they approve & disapprove of!) but don't really understand my "who" "what" "how" or "why". I can't imagine it otherwise, but then, I guess, it's a matter of what one expect from others. Anyway, if you could convince your sibs to subscribe to this blog, Gayle, that might do the trick.Damn. Now, all of a sudden, I want to call my brother …

  3. You've got me thinking about the question of "self," Gaylie, and the shifting nature of who I am, depending on who I'm with. I know that there's a core in me that those who love me see and know. However, I'm also aware of a subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) shift that occurs when I'm spending time with any given individual. What I'm saying is that there's the Dan I am when I'm hanging with Gayle, as opposed to the Dan I am when I'm hanging with Mike Fuchs, as opposed to the one writing this comment. And in terms of family, I often feel myself slipping into old patterns and selves that I hadn't thought about in ages, and, being the hyper-empath that I am, I see myself through their eyes and imagine their perceptions of me, and so on, and so on… I can just hear my brother or sister or uncle or cousin thinking "Oh that's so Dan." This often leads to that same frustration or sense of impotence that can turn one into a stomping, fuming little cartoon character, as you so aptly describe the sensation. Yes, I think there are those who know us and know us well, but I think that who I am is, as they say, a "moveable feast."Or maybe it's just me.Thoughts?

  4. Dan, you hit the nail on the head with your description of your "family self." I feel like, when there's the similar sentiment of "Oh that's so Dan," that there is an element of judgement there. Actually, in some situations I know there is. I pride myself on being extremely authentic and consistent with everyone. Craig always advised me not to ever tell your parents too much or else they are forever armed with information that could come back to haunt you. I think you know me well enough to know that I have a hard time "editing." That being said, I am slightly "modified" with different folks, so yes, the "moveable feast," is a wonderful way to put it.Ruben, I'd have to wait for a lot of people to die before I ever wrote an Oprah-worthy appearance (she will long since been gone from her tenure)and I don't want anyone to die. One sibling is indeed signed up for this blog. I can't beg the others to take the time. The invitation has been extended, but, I'll only ask once.I love you guys both so much, and feel it a miracle that you are in my lives again.

  5. I always thought the three of us would start an Algonquin Hotel-style round table. Maybe "Blogspot" is it. Not how I pictured it, but okay…. ;o)

  6. Sounds like a great opportunity for a new wardrobe and I just might have to start smoking again! The two of you will look so dapper in your tails…

  7. Yeah, as long as there's plenty of top-shelf and I don't have to wear shoes or a top hat, sounds cool. This "blogspot" will never quite do though …

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