A preface before we start.
The next few essays (I’m not sure how many) will deal with my personal flaws. I am going to take a single flaw in each essay, break it down, delve into its history, expose all the dark truths surrounding it, and then decide the best way to tackle it. I am hoping, much like the Cautious Descent series, this smaller series of essays helps me deal with and move through the problems.
So here we go … be brave.
I have been trying very hard to deal with my flaws lately. When I began medicating for my Bi-Polar disorder I gained clarity. With that clarity came the painful realization that I am a fundamentally fucked up person. I am not saying I am an evil bastard who deserves to be strung up but man do I have issues. I don’t need anyone’s pity or commiseration. I deserve to feel bad about these things, if I didn’t feel bad I might not be trying to fix them.
So without further hesitation, because if I continue to hesitate I’m going to pussy out and stick my head back in the sand. Much like my first series of essays in 2012 I am terrified of doing this. I just don’t think there is a better way for me to deal with the shit renting space in my brain.
Well I could pay a therapist to listen to me … yeah that sounds like a bad idea no matter how I try and word it. Therapy, which I have tried in my life and really did my best to make work, has never resulted in satisfying results. The only thing which has seemed to be effective is venting in these Journal Essays.
Okay, still hesitating. But cut me a fucking break I tend to be extremely candid and open about my life. But these are going to be exposing some shit I am very ashamed of.
Let’s do this thing …
I am very jealous of the one person in this world who I’m related to by blood or marriage that I love the most. Let me leave no doubt in anyone reading this. I am jealous of my best friend, the most important man in my life, and the person I wish was my brother Alan (Not his real name).
I feel sick to my stomach just writing that.
Let me say this right here up front.
Alan has never in the 23 years I’ve known him done a single thing to harm me. He is one of the kindest, gentlest, smartest, most loyal people I’ve ever known. This is all on me, it’s my damage (as we used to say in the long long ago) and I am writing this because I have finally started exorcising it and this seems to be the best way to finish the process.
I am jealous of Alan because he’s always been happy. Not stupid happy like in a fucking Disney movie this is reality after all. He’s had his rough spots and painful moments. I will NOT be mentioning any of these or giving any personal information. I love him and wouldn’t fuck him over like that. But suffice it to say his life isn’t perfect, yet I’ve coveted it.
When I first met him I was settling into life with my father and the Step Monster. It was a rough period where I was realizing the happiness I’d been expecting when I escaped Dayton turned out to be an illusion. Through a mutual friend, a great guy I’ve lost contact with over the years, I met Alan. At first we had an antagonistic relationship which morphed into the deepest most enduring relationship, outside of my marriage, I’ve ever had.
I wanted Alan’s life.
I admit it.
He lived with his mother and sister. In a very short period of time we were working together, we both had our first job at the corner grocery store counting returns and stocking the cooler, and spending almost all of our off time together. By sophomore year of high school I was spending nearly every weekend practically living with his family.
They practically adopted me and I still love them.
Alan had freedom whereas my every move was questioned and examined. His freedom wasn’t just given to him he’d earned it by being honest and trustworthy. No matter what I did I was never trusted. Even with the perspective of years I still can’t see what I ever did to earn the derision and scorn from my family.
Alan had a say in what he did and how he did it. I’m sure his mom did the normal amount of nudging to set him in a direction she favored but in the end it always seemed like his opinion was listened to and taken into consideration and in the end if he made a decision his mom respected it.
Do I even need to say how my decisions were greeted at home?
I know I sound like a whiny little bitch right now. I am not going to apologize for that. This was my life and this is how I see it as a man who’s knocking on 40’s door with 6 kids. I know what I see in my hindsight is not entirely accurate and colored through emotion and years, but in the end I think my feelings and recollections are valid if nothing else.
Alan was and is generous. Sometimes people took advantage of that, myself included I am ashamed to say. But even though he was aware of being used sometimes it never seemed to affect his basic nature. If you needed a ride, if you needed twenty bucks, if you needed a place to crash, or if you just needed the ear of a real friend he was there no questions asked.
It all seemed to come easy to him, being a good person.
I wanted that so bad.
Alan got into the University of Michigan when we graduated High School. I was so fucking proud of him when he was accepted, this pride in my brother was only matched in 2010 when he opened his store. I was accepted to Eastern Michigan University, which was the school I wanted. But while Alan had scholarship money from his hard work, it helped him but I know he had /has massive loans, I had none. That was my own fault, I could never seem to focus on school work, always with my head in clouds.
Alan had a family support system. He had a welcoming home where he could live for free, he had people he could rely on. I had a hostile environment and zero help. Instead of being a man and toughing it out I ran away back to my grandparent’s house in Ohio.
I was a coward and I was bitter.
Alan made 90% of the effort to keep out friendship alive for a good 12 years. It’s not that I didn’t want to see him, I missed him so bad it hurt, but I was sure I was not good enough to be his friend, he seemed to have it all together and I was a crappy friend, father, and husband.
Why the fuck would he want to be my friend?
But he was, he always has been.
He’s been close to my kids, great to my wife, treated me like family, and he built me a fucking computer when mine died and this was when computers were still expensive as a mother fucker. He spent years driving from Detroit to Dayton to pick me up, bring me north, and then take me home. He would give me the shirt off his back if I needed it.
As I said before in 2010 Alan realized a lifelong dream of opening a comic book and games store. He did it with two friends he’s made after meeting his wife. I was happy for him, I knew with his smarts and determination he’d make it a success (which he has) but I was jealous.
I just kept thinking that it should be me up there working too many hours and making no money side by side with my brother. I thought I’d blown it all. I thought I’d lost my friend.
In 2000 my wife and I bought a home and on 2011 we lost it after a long battle to save it after the financial collapse. All I’ve felt about it is shame. Sometimes I drive by it, sitting there empty and remember all the good times … then yes I cry.
The final straw in this stupid one sided drama was a couple of weeks ago when Alan and his wife announced they were buying a house. I was awash in jealousy, I was happy for them I mean damnit they work tier asses off and I love them, but I was really jealous and really depressed.
Then I finally got it, the thing you probably realized a hundred words into this.
NO! Not that I’m a whiny baby who needs a cookie.
I realized I’m not jealous of Alan.
I am unhappy with myself.
All of the years with Alan have actually kept me from feeling worse. I saw in him that I didn’t need to be miserable and that I could be happy. I knew unconditional love and friendship from him. I think one of the only reasons I made it to adulthood is because he has been in my life.
I know he’ll read this eventually and I want to say something.
“I’m sorry Brother, sorry I was so stupid in my mind, and I love you mang.”