Yesterday my brother called. The one I’m closest with. Who is directly underneath me in birth order. The one I probably speak to the least. He makes mistakes frequently which end up with him paying prolonged visits behind bars.
We talk about a lot of things. Or he mostly talks and I mostly listen. To his excuses. To how proud he is of me. To how he’s especially proud since I dropped out of school and blah blah blah. He doesn’t mention that I dropped out of traditional high school because of bullies and because I was a teenager and everything that happens to teenagers is the end of the world. So I left traditional high school, went directly to Job Corps and before I would have completed traditional high school; graduated with my GED and CNA.
He doesn’t mention that after that I kept moving up. Went back to school. Got my nursing degree. That in between there I had a baby and got married. That I’ve never lived with my mother after the age of eighteen. That I’ve pulled myself along to who I am now without the help of social services.
He doesn’t know how difficult being a business owner is. That managing a home, and a family, and dogs, and a writing career are the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life. I just don’t quit.
He doesn’t think about how we came from the same home, in the same city, with the same mom and dad. That the city and circumstances that he blames for his downfall are the same ones that I credit for my toughness. My tenacity. My ability to code shift. My ability to barter and negotiate. To think outside the box. To always try to be two steps ahead of danger. To be myself. To discern whether someone is genuine or not within the first few words. To do so many nuanced things that I use to run my business and my life daily.
After we hung up, I realized that his call, which was totally about him was actually ALL about me. Somewhere deep inside of me I’ve been carrying these things around in shame. The GED, the baby at 18, the divorce. Even the roughened edges which help me get through most days. My annoyance that he was throwing my life in my face as if it were such a bad thing, was actually annoyance at myself for whatever lingering shame I carry from my upbringing and subsequent bad decisions.
It made me realize how I’m often annoyed that people occasionally treat me as less than and how that annoyance has nothing to do with those people and everything to do with me. His call, – which lowkey annoyed me at first since it was late and I was busy working in bed- was just what I needed to grow pass some of my hidden shame. Like I told him on the phone, the Universe always gives you exactly what you need, exactly when you need it.
Also, God is from Brick City and the best roses grow from concrete.