Love and Apathy: a Sibling story
Come on a journey through my emotions as I explore why I despise my brother, my only brother whom I love passionately.
It all started when I realized that my brother must not be the sole bearer of my life’s compass. It was tough and it still is tough.
This one is going to be hard to write because one of the attributes about my brother that drive me bananas is his ability to control the narrative. On this trip home, I realized there is levels to emotional intelligence.
I’m often the animated, loud and passionate communicator. In my house though, my dad is the undisputed champion of loud, animated and passionate.
He can get as equally animated over why sand moves when winds blow by as over why the president is a fraud. I want to say I have never seen such instant emotional oatmeal but alas that would be a betrayal of truth.
In other words, one must find another lane to get messages across. My brother has chosen the complete opposite. He has mastered patient, slow, gentle, calm, tactful disposition. When my brother is peeved, he gets animated and hisses, when he is extremely upset or disagreeable, he becomes the most soft spoken bloke in the building. So much so that you have to strain your ears to hear him.
It’s annoying, you know when you are trying to tune someone out but u need to passively listen. I’m not sure if he does it intentionally, if he does, it’s both genius and devious. But the low volume forces me to remain engaged while he takes his time to pronounce every syllable and convey every emotion through his facial expressions. You know he is livid but his whole body betrays the fact.
It’s a form of mastery that I am far from. Especially complimenting of the freedom of expression that my parents demonstrated all our lives.
Where is my lane?
See that is the question, I am struggling with it. I suppose the immediate answer would be a balance. Be soft spoken when needed and be passionate when needed. But this false right where my brother lands. He is balanced. He tempers hear with extreme coldness, and lights up snow with matches and tinder.
It almost leaves me with one real option. The extreme of my father. Be soft, calm, measured everytime. Oh the thought alone is repulsive to me. It’s a form of death if you ask me. Death to who I have perceived myself to be for as long as I have had a relationship with myself. On the contrary, I am in love with stretching myself; finding ways to be better and exploring growth. This growth though, this stretching creates a conflicting emotion within me.
I don’t like my brother very much.
Please don’t jump to the conclusion that I hate my brother. Because that would be inaccurate but true. I don’t merely hate him, I am Indifferent about him. See, hate for me is not so bad because it means I love him fiercely. I don’t believe you can hate something you have never loved. Or that you can hate devoid of love.
If you disagree, then I’ll take a quick detour and flog you with an analogy so we can return quickly to our regularly scheduled program.
- Have you ever loved someone ?
- Have you ever broken up with someone you loved ?
- Have you ever tried to stop loving someone you love ?
- Have you ever tried hating someone you used to love?
- Have you ever noticed that people you hate are forgiveness or resolved conflict away from taking over your life ?
Hate is nothing but a sore injury decaying within yet surgically sealed off on the surface. Love on the other end is the nurturing, especially the devotion of attention to the same area whether injured or not. In both cases, your mind spends significant time keeping that area of your body alive in thought because it cares about it.
We strive for indifference. When we want to hate something or someone, we really want to be indifferent about them. No time, energy or emotion spent or wasted on it.
For me, I am indifferent about my brother and that is what scares me. I wish it was hate. Like streaming venom, because then I know once we resolve the root then we can get back to buddies.
As a youngster, I have very deep memories of being alone, ignored, rejected and considered insignificant. And I try to shove them deep within me but they rear their ugly head from time to time. Somehow I became callous to my brother’s affection that I can neither accept it or reject it. It just feels indifferent.
Unfortunately, we are at a life stage that indifference is cancer. Indifference will set the stage for a family and bloodline that I hope doesn’t result in regrets.
It really hurts me.
Everytime I try to communicate my apathy, what I get back in return is reward for apathy. It’s like,
Hey Dolapo, why are you behaving like a child. Cut out your emotions and focus on duty.
Cut out my emotions? Focus on duty?
That is exactly what I have been doing for 12 years! Somehow it hurts to know that what felt disconnected and unhealthy has been exactly what my brother thinks is best. In other words, keep everything as is but just try to say yes more often to things I say or ask for.
Oh my mother ….. cheese.
In my head, I feel like brothers should fight and wrestle and disagree and punch each other and hug. I feel like all the animation and passion is part of what makes love hate and Vice versa. I feel like a woman in a romantic relationship with an emotionally unavailable lover. It’s kinda weird because in almost all my romantic relationships, I am the emotionally cold, distant or calculated one. In a sense, it’s like I get a taste of my own medicine. I just want someone to tell him:
You can be many things. What you cannot be is calculated, cold, distant and controlled.
But my brother is reading the exact opposite memo. I am writing this all out because
- I am committed to giving words to inspirations that are uncomfortable
- I am hoping that I can read it and find my faults
- I am expecting someone who has come out of this to read and reach out to tell me how the story ends
Heaven knows, I fear this story won’t end well. By well, I don’t mean a monster falling out. Infact I think that is the most remote possibilities. But the biggest failure for me is that the man I share the great burden of carrying my great grand fathers lineage and name with will just become another man, being that walks this earth. We will come together once every 5 years for American thanksgiving and eat turkey with marshes potatoes and gravy. Oh what a life that would be!
Why do I despise him so much?
Because I am reminded of my failure to communicate everytime we talk. Every conversation on topics that I am passionate about end with more distant put in between us. It ends in disappointment. And I know why:
I am trying to clawback 15 years of not seeing each other and having formed our adulthood apart from each other’s influence. I am trying to claw it all back and communicate all my hurt in the next conversation. I fail at it and I blame me more and retreat further.
Oh wow. So that is it.
You know when someone tells you, the answer is patience and you feel like that is worse than not knowing the answer ?
Yup, that is me, right now.
If you ever find yourself in a position of apathy. Deep rooted apathy. Start the journey of chipping away at the dead callous skin; be at peace with patience and commit only to return frequently, more frequently than it will take for the last removed callous skin to become callous again.
The journey is the beauty.