I have always thought of myself as a social person. I was under the impression I made friends with ease, but the more I examine my life, the more I realize I have a problem. I see pictures on Facebook of women (friends) I went to high school with or spent a good majority of my childhood with, and I notice they all have one thing in common—none of those photos have me in them. All the wedding/baby shower/family bbq/concert photos feature many of these women as bridesmaids, holding someone’s baby, helping other’s toddlers down slides, or selfies of three or four of them attending a concert or event together. I never really kept in touch enough to warrant an invite to any of these events.
Everywhere I go I make friends, but most of these are surface friends. They are people I go out to dinner with, or meet for coffee. I invite them over for celebrations at my house, but I don’t tell them all my secrets. I don’t truly confide in any of them. I have as much connection to them as I do the characters in the books I read—probably less. It never really bothered me much before, but as I get older and see how few bonds I have made, I start to wonder what is wrong with me.
How is it that I have alienated or pushed away all those who could potentially be forever friends (to borrow a phrase from my daughter)? If I do the inner psychology thing, and try to dig into the deeper meaning of this, if feels so trivial. I grew up in a good home, with good parents, so how do I have a right to be so messed up?
When I reflect on this problem—the inability to form tight bonds with other women—I realize that the characters I write all seem to have this problem as well. Honestly, I write very few female characters. The ones I do write are damaged. Even my male characters are uncharacteristically broken. They are almost always lonely. They say you write what you know, but that doesn’t feel right. Maybe it’s time I write what I want.