in which this blog takes on a confessional tone

It’s a very short distance from snappy anecdote to banality.  It’s even quicker to get from banality to venting.  And from venting to whining is the slightest shift to one side.  From whining to DRA-MA?  That’s just splitting hairs.

Which one is this blog?  I’m hoping it’s more than just whining.  I’m trying to figure out what, exactly, I want it to be.  Am I writing it for me, or for a reader?  And how does it compare to the other mostly one-sided conversations I have regularly (i.e. my therapy sessions)?  What do I owe my readers?  Interesting writing?  Snappy anecdotes?  Regular TTC updates?  (Still fucking.  No baby yet.)

These are questions I probably should have asked myself before signing up for ICLW.  Oh well, you know what they say about hindsight; and anyway it’s hard to see behind me when I’m gazing so raptly at my navel.

So as you all know (because I can’t fucking stop talking about it) I am depressed.  It has taken me an amazingly long time to trace that depression to two things that happened last December:  my experience with my first RE, and my annual visit to my brother.  I’ve examined those RE visits in excruciating detail on this blog, but I think I have had a big blind spot about the visit to my brother.  I am getting upset just thinking about it.  Why did it take me so long to get here?

So here goes.  My brother.

My brother is perfect.  He is a year younger than I am but he has always behaved as though he were older.  He is the success; I am the fuck-up.  When we were kids he saved his allowance; I spent mine on French fries.  He played varsity sports in high school and was valedictorian; I broke curfew and hung out with potheads.  He is an engineer with a retirement fund and a house in the suburbs; I am a glorified  secretary and am still paying off grad school.  He has two beautiful children.

He has two beautiful children.

I hate myself so much for even thinking of being jealous of him.  I know that life is not a zero-sum game and that one person’s achievements don’t preclude anyone else from doing just as well or better.  But I look at my life and I Just. Don’t. Measure. Up.  I feel like there is some kind of life training that everyone else got and I missed.  I was too busy practicing or rehearsing or reading poetry or watching Buffy and now it’s too late.  I can’t seem to do things that other people can do.  Like save money.  Or buy a house.  Or have children.

And there is my brother.  He does things, grown-up things.  He uses the word “grout” in ordinary conversation and can change his own oil.  I, on the other hand, know how to do useful things like set-theory musical analysis. And I am terribly afraid that this is all I am ever going to be.  The sad crazy fat useless aunt who blows in once a year and can’t even manage to bring the right clothes.  I know I am a disappointment to my family.  They are kind of bewildered by everything I do, and everything I do seems to be wrong.

And there is my brother’s older daughter.  At three years old he just doesn’t know what to do with her.  She is highly verbal, loves books, is uncoordinated and not very interested in sports, she loves to sing and dance and is a major drama queen.

She is just like me.

I am afraid for her.  On the one hand I am afraid that her father won’t ever be able to relate to her.  He is just confounded by her; part of it is just that she’s three and has all of the usual three-year-old stuff going on (tantrums etc.), but part of it is her great big emotional personality.  Just like mine, and nothing at all like his.  I hope with all my heart that she will grow up feeling accepted for who she is, even though she’s not like her mother and father.  But on the other hand I am afraid that she will stay just like me.  Interested in all the wrong things, good at all the useless things, and waking up one day at 31, barren, sobbing, wondering how she’s going to make the rent.

I want so much more for her.

I want so much more for me.

I want and want and want.

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9 responses to “in which this blog takes on a confessional tone

  1. Somewhere along the line of your life you forgot to love yourself… You are NOT interested in all the wrong things or good at all the useless things. In fact if I must make a confession I was quite intimidated by your huge range of talents when I first started reading your blog.. You are so amazingly artistic (you are in band!!) and I can guarantee that there are a lot of people sitting here in awe of you. Its just that somehow, somewhere, someone has made you believe that there is a right and a wrong way to do life… when in reality there are millions of ways and each one of the ways is so perfectly acceptable. I admire your honesty and I think your neice is lucky to have a great role model to look up to.
    x

  2. A blog need not have a script. Don’t exercise yourself on making yourself interesting for your readers. Those who will stick around will anyways stick around.

    I can see that you love your brother’s kids a lot. I think you make a great aunt.

    Just because your life script does not read like your brother’s, it does not mean that you are a loser and he is a perennial-winner. You have your gifts…think about the fun you have had growing up…

    I think like egghunt said, you need to love yourself more. You need to really.

  3. I feel like I’m inadequate and don’t measure up all the time as well, so I know how pernicious those feelings are. But I agree with the others–you’re amazing and talented! (Just think back to the entry you wrote after returning from that conference/ performance–that’s you TOO, that enthusiastic and engaged person!) I also think it’s particularly difficult to be an artist (in which category I include musicians) in this society. You get no support, and are constantly told that your life choices are foolish. How can you not internalize that? Plus it’s competitive and hard to make ends meet (and financial worries color everything and eat away at your soul), and … when you have a sibling who leads a different kind of life, one with security and stability…it sounds incredibly hard. The fact that he’s got kids and you don’t yet is an added heartbreaker.

    I have an older brother whose life I sometimes envy. His marriage is so solid and loving, his children are so beautiful, his life is so simple and elegant, he has such real skills as opposed to being an ivory tower idiot. I never bring the right clothes when I visit him… But I also know that his life is different on the inside. Your brother doubtless has his sorrows.

    Last things: as a child and certainly as an adolescent, I really needed people in my life who were NOT my parents and who could understand me in different ways. Your niece will need you and value you SO MUCH. And it’s also possible your brother envies aspects of your life. If not, HE SHOULD.

  4. Wow, you write with such beautiful, vulnerable honesty. Thank you for being so open. I just popped over from ICLW and wanted to say thank you for sharing your heart! If I had to guess, I bet your brother is probably jealous of you too. He probably thinks you are whimsical and fantastic and that he has a boring life. The grass is always greener. Have a fantastic week and give yourself a break…You are a beautiful person!

  5. Maybe because you are so much alike & yet NOT one of her parents, your niece will pay more attention & give more weight to what you have to say to her than she would if her parents were telling her the same thing. Just a thought…!

  6. Thank you for being so honest about how you feel. I understand what it’s like to have a sibling who seems to have it all. His older daughter is also very much like me. My brother is older so I have always looked up to him. I had a really rough time when he became a dad and I wanted so badly to have children.
    As far as the stuff about you measuring up it sounds like you do not give yourself enough credit for being you. I have struggled with this myself. I think everyone does. IF can make you feel really inadequate that’s for sure.
    ICLW

  7. There is something going on in your mind that no one in your family understands. You express admiration and jealousy in regard to your brother and his so-called perfect life. You think that no one values what you do or who you are. By comparing yourself to perfect him, you will always come out the failure inyour mind. So stop comparing. You were so elated about the performance you just gave and the reviews. Start by valuing that.

    I want to point out also that in describing your niece’s special qualities (highly verbal, loves books, she loves to sing and dance and is a major drama queen), that her father doesn’t understand, and saying she is just like you, you are admitting to actually admiring who you are. It sounds like you are just hung up on other people measuring you against your brother’s yardstick.
    About your niece; she is 3. She may turn out to be an actress, with her capacity for portraying emotion, or she may have latent qualities yet to emerge and go in a completely different direction. You can love her, bond with her and support her, but don’t label her the way you have felt labelled.
    I think you sound like a fascinating, loving, independent woman and hope that you were only blowing off steam, not walking around with a chip on your shoulder.

    Lisa ICLW#72 yourgreatlife

  8. Pingback: good-bye to therapy « ginger and lime

  9. Pingback: an empty cage | ginger and lime

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