What the f*ck are you looking at?

A Letter to My Brothers, Who Will Not Read It

My Dear Big Brothers,

You and I are all that’s left. As our parents’ memories fade further into the past, I am acutely aware of this dwindling circle; this together-alone-ness. You’re all I have left to call immediate family, and we are all growing old. Things are not going to change, now. But I need to say this, even if you never see it. Why would you? You don’t read my blog. You don’t even know I have a blog.

I am the youngest, by a mile. I will always be the youngest. I will always be the one who came along late, who ruined everything, who got Dad to go a little softer than he’d been with you. Through no fault of yours or mine, I was the one who got shamelessly coddled by virtue of nothing more than being the baby (and a girl). I was the one who so desperately wanted to be loved by you that I’d take any crumb you threw me, even if it was cruel. I was the one who saw you both as more mythical and extraordinary than any 1970s TV superhero. I was the one who worshiped you from afar, because within your teenage frame of reference, I fell somewhere between a distant cousin and a buzzing mosquito. I remember every single time you took me for ice cream or showed me some small kindness – I remember because I couldn’t believe my luck. That I had the two best big brothers in the world.

You hardly knew I existed.

And then you were gone. I was barely 6 when you left home, with no opportunity to become anything more to you than a cute-ish nuisance. I was left alone with our parents, with all the attendant ups and downs that that implies. I had them to myself, to dote on and spoil me; to attend all my recitals and sports meets; to buy me things I surely didn’t need; to smother and scrutinize me and later, invade my privacy with black-ops vigor; to fend for myself as Mom’s mental health rapidly deteriorated and Dad withdrew to lose himself in work and other women. I wished you were there so badly – to step in, to help me navigate, to defend me, to claim me. I wanted to belong to you two as you (or the *idea* of you, anyway) belonged to me. But you were never coming back for me – I knew it, and I didn’t blame you. I wouldn’t have come back for me either.

So here we are now – middle aged, to put it kindly. I know how you see me, as that has nearly always dictated how I’ve seen myself. In your eyes, I am the ridiculous one. The Drama Queen. The one whose vote doesn’t count. The one who’s most like Mom in many of the good ways and all of the bad. I’m the loose cannon. Over-reactive. Irrational. Lost. I embarrass you. I befuddle you. I trigger you. I’m the one who causes trouble when I’m there and who isn’t missed when I’m not, because to you, I never really was there. This is how you see me. I’m not asking. I know.

It may surprise you (it still surprises the fuck out of me) to learn that others perceive me differently than you do. To them, I am fierce and strong. Formidable. A force to be reckoned with. I am smart and kind and I’m full of empathy for those who struggle, because I struggle too. I am flawed, certainly, but also fabulous. The strength of my convictions makes me admirable, not embarrassing. I’m funny. I’m brave and resilient. I’ve been through things that you likely don’t even know about and have survived them. I am an Adult Human who is deserving of respect, and I receive it on the regular. When I stand up for what I believe is right, nobody rolls their eyes or tells me to calm down. They listen. They seek me out for advice and appreciate my hard-won wisdom. I am an ally to anybody who needs one. I am a loyal and loving friend. I’m *only* a dog/cat/chicken mom but I’m a goddamn good one, and that counts. I am honest and true. I am a ferocious defender of the defenseless. I have a soft heart, but a strong one. Outside of our family, my opinion counts. I am loved. I am worthy of all sorts of things.

That is the portrait of me that others paint. Shit, it might even be who I truly am. I cannot make you see me as other people do, and I cannot convince you that I’m something more than a ridiculous brat in a pink tutu; that I’m more than you give me credit for. But I can try harder to convince myself of that, and to let your opinions of me matter less. I will never stop trying to make you proud of me, but I can decide to suffer less when you are not. I can decide to listen more to the thousand voices of love I hear, and let those voices drown out your indifference. I can let them be louder than your judgement.

I am still your little sister.

I will never stop believing that I won the Big Brother Lottery.

I will never stop loving you both.

But I need to stop caring if you don’t love me back.


June 8, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment


%d bloggers like this: