My roommates are psych majors. Not to demean this major in any way, but they often cannot comprehend what I do as an English major.
They sometimes ask to read my poetry, and almost always I say no because they won’t appreciate it, or understand the tools used and hard work put it–it is simply not worth showing them. They are proud in everything that I do, but they just don’t understand this ‘poetry thing’ that I do.
My most recent encounter with this was when I showed my friend my Marlboro Orange poem, because she asked to see it. And immediately, looking at the page, she laughed at the line “my enamel screams,” because it didn’t make sense and just sounded funny… this hurt my feelings because I was vulnerable enough to show her my hard work, and yet she couldn’t comprehend what it meant. As a poet, I seek approval, but from her, I didn’t receive that. I know she didn’t mean to hurt my feelings, she just couldn’t understand. That then questioned my motif of who I am writing for … and why?
In addition, after having my notebook open, she looked at my workshopped pieces and saw all of the scribbles and notes encompassing my poem that you all gave to me after class and she said “OMG, who did this to your poem?!”… she was shocked by the criticism and feedback, thinking it was ‘mean.’
Overall, I do seek approval, and it is hard to tell my friends I am poet, just as it hard to explain to them where I am every Monday night.