I spoke to my sister today for the first time in about 4 or 5 months. We’re not fighting or anything, we’re on good terms and all. We’ve just been busy. She has her baby, I have my schoolwork, and it’s been hard for us to connect. But she had some time today so she called me and updated me on some happenings with my family. The events themselves didn’t affect me much, but her commentary and analysis of them depressed me a little bit, and I had to write down some thoughts before my mind would be clear enough to return to my reading.
Our brother has had his own apartment since roughly September last year. However, he was still living with my parents. In other words, he was paying rent to a place that he wasn’t living in. This made absolutely no sense to anyone except, of course, him. He finally moved into his apartment this month. I remember seeing this news on Facebook and saw how my sister talked about losing her best friend, yada yada. It got me thinking about how things were when I left home. I was 18 when I was kicked out (my family claims that I just up and left, but my father did literally tell me to get the fuck out, so….). There was no fanfare. There was no concern for my well-being. I was no one’s best friend. My sister and I weren’t close at that point, we were both involved in our own lives.
When I left, there was no offer to help me if I needed anything or anyone telling me I could come back home. They got rid of my bed two months after I left. I had no home.
I’m 27 now, so that was a long time ago. My brother is 24 this year. He wasn’t forced out, he left when he was ready to leave, even waiting for a few months after getting his apartment to do so. From what my sister said, she and my dad were really depressed after my brother left. My mother was fine, she continued life as if nothing happened. But my sister and father were devastated. My father misses my brother so much. He said he felt like he couldn’t protect his son anymore now that his son was out in the world. He let my brother keep the keys to the house in case he needed them.
I came back a few months after getting kicked out to get the rest of my stuff. When I arrived, my dad told me to leave my keys there.
Ten years ago, when I left, neither of my parents was depressed, they both went on as if nothing had occurred. They weren’t concerned about not being able to protect me out in the world.
Anyway, it was interesting to hear my sister talk about how sad it was in the aftermath of my brother’s move, because it made me think back to those days and to how abandoned I felt. It made me think of how homeless and family-less I feel even today. Aside from some feelings of jealousy (why should my brother be missed so much and me not at all?), thinking back to this actually didn’t bother me so much. It’s interesting to think about, and it’s a bit sad, but it’s in the past, it happened, and I’m happy without my parents in my life. I’m okay.
But my sister kept going, and this is where it started coming apart for me.
It’s weird. She said that these things made her think of the past, too. When my father talked to her about how much he missed my brother and how much he felt like he couldn’t protect his poor son, my sister replied, “Well, that doesn’t make sense. When Ariel left, you weren’t upset about not being able to protect her, and she was a kid when she left. Mil (our brother) is an adult now. Ariel was a kid. Shouldn’t you have been worried about her being alone in the world?”
“Yeah, but Ariel was different,” he said.
“How was she different? She was a kid.”
“Mil doesn’t see things, he isn’t street smart. Like, he’ll be able to see a shady person, but he doesn’t see other things. People can take advantage of him. That would never happen to Ariel.”
“But he’s an adult. You weren’t concerned about Ariel’s safety. She was a little girl when she left.”
He changed the subject.
My sister had a similar conversation later with my mother. My mother commented on how depressed my sister and father have been with my brother’s move, and I somehow came up in this conversation. My sister commented on how it wasn’t like this when I left, no one was depressed or worried or anything. My mother said, “Yeah, well Ariel was different. And besides, she wasn’t living here anyway by that point, she was only here on weekends.”
“But she was a little girl.“
My mother didn’t get it.
My sister said she felt like my parents were judging her for bringing this all up, and that they clearly didn’t understand what a huge discrepancy there was between how they behaved when I left and when my brother left.
My mother has been asking my sister how my brother is doing. She has been wondering if he has enough towels. My parents have sent my brother food and supplies. My sister said, “You didn’t do any of this with Ariel. And she was a kid.“
They really, really don’t get it.
My sister monologued about this for a while. She talked about how she was seeing patterns that she didn’t understand, that she wanted to try and understand them so that she could break these patterns. She said she doesn’t want to raise her daughter to be broken like she was broken.
She also said that she had thought she was breaking patterns before all of this, but she realized she wasn’t. For example, she broke up with her baby’s father because she didn’t want to have her daughter raised by an awful father like she was. But she realized that even though this was the right thing to do, she still hadn’t broken the pattern because part of the reason she has problems with him today is that she treats him the same way that my mother treats my father. She stopped doing that, and since then things have been much better. They’re not getting back together, not by a long shot, but she understands that what makes them different from my parents is the fact that they’re adults and that they can deal with their daughter as adults together. But this required a change in her.
She said that she realized that my mother wasn’t the type of mother that I (me, Ariela) needed or wanted. She said that while this was true for all three of us in one way or another, that it was the most true for me. My mother isn’t “real.” She’s passive-aggressive and she can’t handle the truth. I have never been the kind of person that can deal with that, and so as a result my mother couldn’t deal with me.
She said that she and my mother were watching a show the other day about a grandmother who raised her grandchild because her mother was too young to do it on her own when she had the child. The child felt abandoned by her mother and kept talking about all of her feelings on the matter. I guess the mother kept taking it personally, so the host stepped in and said, “Your daughter’s feelings have nothing to do with you. They are her feelings based on her perceptions. It’s not about you.” In other words, this host was trying to get the mother to stop seeing herself in the center of the situation and to listen and take in her child’s feelings instead.
My sister emphatically agreed with this, and my mother turned to her and said, “How could she say that? Of course it has to do with her mother. How could her mother not matter?”
THIS. RIGHT HERE. This is where much of the problems lie between her and her children.
It was so strange to hear my sister say all of these things. I was happy to hear that she was seeing things that I saw many years ago and that these things led her to realizations that are helping her improve her own life and especially the life of her child. These are the good things.
I was kicked out of my home for trying to protect my sister. But the thing is, I wasn’t supposed to protect her. I was supposed to teach her.
Still, there are so many things to be sad about. How am I different? Why are my parents so callous and unfeeling toward me? Why don’t they love me? They did not let me go because they knew I’d be okay, even if that’s the excuse they want to give. They let me go because they didn’t want me anymore. They brought me into this world and I became more than they could handle. They were glad to get rid of me at the first opportunity.
I think they stopped loving me a long time ago. And I’m not sure what I did to make them stop loving me.
Maybe it’s because I’m a mirror. They could avoid having to deal with themselves and their issues until they looked at me, and I looked back at them. They saw themselves in me, they saw their ugliness, and instead of turning inward and trying to figure out their own problems they blamed me for making them ugly. Then they threw me away.
Anyway. I’m happy for my sister. I am sad for myself. I don’t know what the life lesson is for me in all of this. Why did these things happen? What’s the point?
My brother is 24 years old. He is an adult and should’ve been on his own years ago. My parents are doing everything they can to make sure that he’s doing okay.
I emailed my mother after my father kicked me out. It had been almost two weeks and my parents hadn’t tried to contact me. I emailed her and told her how angry I was, how I didn’t understand how they could do what they did. I asked her how she and my father could send an 18 year old out on her own, not knowing where she was, not knowing if she was okay, not knowing if she was eating or had a roof over her head. I told her I wasn’t going to speak to her anymore. She said, “I love you, Ariel, always.”
She wasn’t telling me she loved me. She was saying goodbye.
She was OKAY with not knowing where I was. She was OKAY not knowing whether I had a safe place to stay or food to eat. She was FINE. She is STILL fine. And so is my father.
But they must protect their son. Their adult, shit-ass, disrespectful son.
I’m feeling all sorts of fucked up right now.
At least all of this will lead to my niece’s life being much better than mine or my sister’s. That’s the good part.
I’m going to go cry now.