Sometimes things get so broken that it seems there’s no way of fixing it.
When I was 9 and you were 11, I idolized you, my big brother. You were the kid everyone wanted in their club. You were always the captain of the Capture the Flag team, always on the winning side in Kick the Can. I was so proud to be your sister. But I had problems. I was shy – painfully so – and I didn’t have the magnetism you had. That made me awkward in social settings, and you didn’t enjoy having me around because I made you uncomfortable. So you would go out of your way to ditch me, and even join in with your friends in teasing me and excluding me. I learned to play by myself.
As we both hit teenage-hood, things changed a little. You were so handsome, so popular with everyone, so charismatic. Everyone loved you. You were the soccer champ, the amazing singer, the one all the girls swooned after. I was no longer as awkward, not quite as shy – the boys loved me – and I still had stars in my eyes for you. All I wanted was to please you. Since dad left you had made yourself the head of the family to help mom out, and I knew you had expectations of me, and I was determined to make you proud of me, in spite of the fact that I was still non-existent to you in social circles. We had many of the same friends, but you rarely acknowledged me when we were out with them. So I started acting out, trying to get your attention. Dating the bad boys, worrying mom, staying out late. This only succeeded in making you angry at me and embarrassed by me. When I ended up marrying “the wrong boy” and starting a family with him, your disappointment in me was palpable. You made it acutely obvious that there was nothing about my life that you accepted or approved of. As my children grew, I saw flashes of your distaste and anger reach out and touch my children, sometimes literally, in ways that were very unacceptable. I stopped communicating with you, avoided family events that you attended, and lived my life in the best way I could, still secretly yearning for your approval.
Fast forward to now. I am the antithesis of everything you find acceptable. But there’s something about me you obviously don’t know. Your approval means little to me now in how I perceive myself and live my life. I don’t need to know that you’re proud of me. I want to be friends with you, and I’ve tried. I reached out, expecting you to reach back so we could find middle ground, but I didn’t realize I was stepping into the lion cage, and the lion hadn’t had his “tranquil”izer.
Your perception of me is warped. I’m a stranger to you, and your desire to discover who I am isn’t there. You’d rather live in your misconceptions and lash out in anger and indignation at my “accusations”. Your perception of the past is warped, as well. It matters little to you that the effect you have had on people all of your life has left scars, and you can’t face that fact in order to try to fix it, even though those you scarred are willing to leave it where it lands and start fresh, if only we could get you to open up and talk. Okay, yes, I could leave the past in the past and try to have a relationship, but the scars and resentment will still be there, and frankly, after a lifetime of being the one who compromises, I’m not willing to do that anymore. You can puff up and be the big man and push others around all you want, but you’re not doing it to me anymore. However, I watch you doing it to mom and it takes away any desire to have a relationship with you. In fact, it makes me want to RUN from having anything to do with you. I do have some news flashes for you, though:
Being “emotional” isn’t a bad thing. God made our bodies to cry for a reason, and there’s nothing wrong with it – in fact, it’s healthy. Try it sometime and maybe it would help unclench your ass a bit. Being aware of how you feel and why you feel it can lift huge burdens, all it takes is being brave enough to crawl into that mirror and explore, and be willing to be honest with yourself.
Now that you’ve got what you wanted and are back in control of “the family”, you want me to step up and get in line with our siblings. You want me to accept that you’re in charge and you know what’s best and stop “being emotional and over-reactive”.