Let’s see, so where was I…
Oh yeah! Leaving out many actual facts regarding the not so good parts of growing up, to spare the “innocent”, wait or should it be the “guilty”, whichever, I left off with our move to VA. In truth, this has been hard for me to express. There is this split between my truth, and shedding light on the truths, and feeling guilty for the very ones that caused the suffering, intentionally or not. Therapy time!
On to Virginia.
Tragically, we lost 3 members of my family on moms side with in a year of each other. The strain of being so far from her family took a toll on my mom. So when her company launched at East coast opening, logically she wanted to get on board. I can’t say I would have made a different choice in her shoes, but in my shoes, as a teenager, I was pissed. I was finding my niche in high school, I had a date to homecoming, which is like a mini prom out there. I made the volleyball team, was going to parties, and had new friends, I was happy. We moved the weekend of the homecoming dance and I was sure my life was over. Insert eye roll over how much everything was about me, such is the way with teenagers.
We both had to start at a new school, and struggle with making new friends, but I was only concerned with my little life. I know my brother had a hard time, I just though it would have been easier for him, being younger. My high school years went by in a flash, and I did as much as I could to not be around my family. Separating myself, working, being with friends, dating, what ever it took. When I was home, I had to watch my brother, or do chores, or was in my room. More mothering, obligations and mostly, more division. I resented him for having less work to do around the house than I did, for having to cancel my plans to stay home and babysit him, for seeming to get away with everything, or being forced to bring him along places I was trying to escape to. When I had to be around him, we usually fought, him antagonizing me or deliberately making a mess of things.
Side bar – Looking back, and trying to convey it all now, probably doesn’t really capture the ups and downs, but I remind myself, this is for him, and he will get it.
As a human, I never saw color/race growing up. I did however come from parents who did, who came from families who did. Partly because I didn’t see the difference in humans, and partly because it was a way of defying my family, I dated all different races. Furthering the divide. You could say I was the black sheep, but it was almost as if I wanted to carry the torch of being different loudly and proudly. I wanted to uncover all of the hush-hush of the family past and then say “I will see your 20 and raise it 100”. I wanted to break the chains, and I left my brother, my family, as soon as I could. My mom gave me an ultimatum to change or move out, before I was even 18 years old. And by change, it meant “break-up with your black boyfriend”. Well, I left and never thought about it twice. She could keep her religion, and I gained my life. I was going to begin my life, and leave all of the negativity there. I realize now, I was not just getting away, in a sense I was abandoning my brother. But I still think, it was my only way to survive at the time. I checked in periodically, and out of the constant strain, I was able to finally see my brother as a brother, not a responsibility.
Shortly after that, my mom, stepdad and brother were embarking on another move, half way back across the country. I had bought a house and was living with my soon to be husband, recognizing that he was facing the same thing I had in moving to VA, suddenly changed my perspective about my little brother. Knowing what I did, what I had been through, and being out on my own, snapped me out of my negativity toward him, finally seeing a potential relationship with him. It was like our start over in a way. Slowly we started talking, becoming closer over the next couple years. I helped him in times of decision, tried to help guide him with unsolicited advice usually. I pushed him to do more, get out there, explore, party, sow some wild oats… and mostly to break free from whatever oppressed him.
I did not find out, until much later, how awful he was feeling internally. The sadness and depth of chaos he had going on in his own mind. The middle of our stories, was like climbing a steep hill, but it led us to the beauty of our relationship now. A necessary step in our journey.
More to come… part 3 – it does get happier!