Thursday, October 02, 2008

Lost Sympathies

I am far from perfect. I don't demand perfection from the people around me. Just as long as they are giving their all, I resepect their effort and I move on.

I guess the hardest pill to swallow was accepting there might be a slight possibility things may not come as easily to other people as they do for me. I know I am lucky, but I WORKED HARD for the things I have achieved! Still I would be lying if I didn't admit certain aspects of working hard come easier and more naturally to me than they do for other people. So far share time has taught me that everything is my fault and the road to recovery starts with blaming others! Well I guess technically my brother is taking some blame for his actions, still when it gets right down to it, somehow its all my fault.

Apparently I was his main male figure growing up, so all his shit is somehow my fault. When I was my brother's age I did a lot of drugs and drank A LOT, I was arrested A LOT for curfew violations and "defacing public & private property" (I was a grafiti artist and damn proud of it!), and I would go out and party then not come home for days. This is the example my brother says he was follow and I think it's bullshit! If you people haven't figured this out, I am one of those all or nothing kind of guys. So if this 15 year old version of myself was the example he was trying to follow then what about the rest? I was on 3 varsity teams, I maintained ABOVE a 4.0 GPA, I was vice president of the student council, and I paid my mother's mortgage. He had to repeat the 10th grade so it goes without saying he's excluded from extracurriculars and let's not add insult to injury by bringing up the money issue.

Besides, what kind of strong male figures did I have in my life? I had 3 to choose from; my dad who would rather pretend life is perfect than deal with the reality, my first step father who was addicted to meth and would beat my mother in front of me for hours then turn his rage on me after he'd finished off my mom, or my second stepdad who was a raging alcoholic and wandered the house a shell of a man until finally one day he'd had enough and he disappeared for a few years. If we are all slaves to becoming what we observe as children, why wasn't I damned to repeat one of these scenarios!?

I feel angry and depreciated when they try and marginalize my achievements by calling me "gifted". As if being smart and a good athlete is all it takes to have my life. My brother is just as "gifted" as I am in everyway! When I was around he wouldn't even think about getting away with half the stuff he's doing, but now that I am gone he's going wild. That's on him. It has nothing to do with him not being as smart as I am or as talented as I am because he is everything I am and more.

They tell me I need to feel sympathy for my brother because he's trying to be like me, but clearly he isn't. They tell me not everybody can live life with the same "iron will" that I do. They say I need to take responsibility for the part I have played in what's going on with my brother. They even say this was bound to happen after a lifetime of living in my shadow (and that one hurts the most because that one I can almost believe). So I search within myself for that sympathy and I rack my brain to find how this is all my fault, but I just can't because I don't see it that way.


Andrew said...

If he's living in your shadow, it's his own damn fault. Shadows are not infinite in size, so if he doesn't like it, he should step out into the sun. As for your guilt trip on the matter, get over yourself. Seriously. You are not so important and so influential that you should feel guilty about whatever example you might have set. People make their own choices in life, and your brother is no exception. Tell him to grow up and be a man. He's 15 and old enough to take responsibility for his actions.

As for your achievements being marginalized... well, they should be. Your natural intelligence and athleticism give you an edge that few others can boast. You should find pride in your relationships to other people, what you've given back to your family, and what you've contributed to the world, not what you've achieved monetarily. Your talents and the ease which things come to you is a God given gift. Coming from someone who is brilliant and good at everything he does, I should know. I don't take pride in doing well what comes so naturally to me. I take pride in how I use my gifts to affect positive change in the world.

You've got a lot to offer, obviously, but don't guilt yourself for anything your brother does. Whether you were his primary male role-model or not, you are not his father and you had your own shit to deal with.

letopho said...

I relate a lot to your entry.

I think someone who isn't such a 'superstar' would still feel guilt. It's the older brother syndrome. You don't want to see your silblings crash and burn.

And at the same time, what are you supposed to do? Expected to do?

Just be available... really.

Jason said...

The only difference between you and your brother is responsibility. When you were his age you were in charge of your family, he's the youngest and he has nobody to look out for but himself. When he goes crazy he doesn't have the same motivation you had to come back to reality. Cut him some slack, he's going to have to figure this all out the hard way.