I need get out there with an issue that has been a source of pain, not just for me but for some of the people I have touched, and may even affect my ability to stay with the Tribe. My style of writing (at least when I’m not in pain) is cold and sterile; I do not have the poetry and feeling I find in many other members’ writings. But more than that, the things that I say and the way that I say them can come of sounding arrogant, and therein lies the problem.

The abuse I suffered as a child was certainly nothing to compare to what many in the Tribe have experienced. With the exception of an infrequent spanking there was no physical abuse in the home. But there was the other kind. I was raised by an alcoholic who never drank, an addict who never used drugs, and a depressive who was never in therapy. And he used his son as a tool to prop up his self-esteem by touting all the ways in which he was better than me. (In his defense, let me say my father did love me and had he the insight to understand what he was doing I think he would have tried to stop.)

Now my father was a successful businessman and investor. So to this day, I hate to have to deal with money. Most people can tell you exactly what they make. If I had to guess at my base salary, I’d be lucky to come within 10,000 USD. Every two weeks I can view my pay details online – how much went into the bank, how much came out for taxes, social security, retirement, etc – important stuff, so I take a screen shot and send it to my wife. You know what I look at? How much vacation time I have. My wife does all the banking and pays all the bills. If I need to spend more than 100 USD on something, I call and ask her “debit or credit?” because I don’t know.

But one thing my father wasn’t was educated. That was one place he couldn’t follow. I went to college and then to graduate school. Along the way, I developed a writing style, and it has carried through into my career. The problem is I can’t turn it off. I CAN’T FUCKING TURN IT OFF!! It doesn’t matter that I know it’s going to alienate me from others and perhaps put an end to my participation. If I forced, with great effort, another manner of writing to come out, it wouldn’t be me – it would be me impersonating someone else – and I’m not good at impersonations.

Now I have found no one, and I mean no one, in the tribe that I think is dumber than me. But others members, when they are not writing in elegant poetry, are at least able to write informally. I have a fear I may not find a home here and I don’t know what I can do about it.


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