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.