Life at home has always been difficult and lately Aidan has been having the majority of the difficulty as his medication is out of balance and he is growing. I know he tries and he can’t control his emotions most of the time. He goes to school and keeps everything inside, but at home is when all the issues come out and his trouble is apparent. Aidan’s teachers always say how he’s such a good kid, so well behaved, so kind, so helpful, etc., which is all true but there is a reason he is medicated and attending a therapeutic day school. Aidan is such a wonderful kid with a heart of gold and I am so lucky to have such a great kid for my brother. Aidan acted out a little bit at school recently and everyone there was shocked, but what happened was not even close to what happens at home on a daily basis. I used to have a hard time dealing with Ryan and Aidan when they got home from school, I still do, but I understand it more now than I used to.
Recently I was talking with a friend at school and he was making fun of me like usual, but he brought up another topic on that particular day… white supremacy. My friend is Indian and we get along really well and I do consider him to be one of my close friends, but I got angry with him that day. He started on about white supremacy and I didn’t object because I agreed. But, he then went on to tell me that I didn’t know what it was like to struggle and that it was obvious I didn’t have any real problems. Normally I just ignore these comments, but I was not in a very good mood that day and, I’ll be honest, I was a little hurt because it had come from him. I trust him and we’ve become kind of close, so to have yet another person tell me that my life is piece of cake was not only aggravating, but hurtful as well.
I didn’t tell him it hurt me and I didn’t tell him more about my life because I didn’t need to prove myself to him and he didn’t want to hear it anyway. Some people believe what they want to. Some people believe that they know best about everything, even when it comes to someone else’s life. So, I said nothing. I didn’t tell him that my brother has threatened suicide multiple times. I didn’t tell him that my brother attempted suicide. I didn’t tell him that my younger brother has suffered suicidal ideation since he was seven. I didn’t tell him that I took care of my siblings when my mom took care of either Ryan or Aidan when they were struggling. I didn’t tell him that I saw my brother try to take his own life. I didn’t tell him about the part of my childhood that I spent sitting in the lobby of a mental health hospital. I didn’t tell him all the other issues in my life. I didn’t tell him anything. My friend continued, telling me why I couldn’t have real problems starting with the color of my skin. “You’re white, you always smile, I never see you get angry or upset… you’re privileged”, etc. It’s true, I don’t show my emotions at school, I am white, I do smile a lot, and I am more privileged than many. The color of my skin doesn’t cause me problems, but it doesn’t mean I don’t have any. I do smile a lot, but sometimes it is because I can escape from all my issues at school and I can go back to pretending I am okay. I don’t show negative emotions at school, but I have many reasons for doing that. I have many reasons for doing what I do. I do what I do because of what I have been through. I am who I am because of my experiences. I’m kind because of my family. Everything that I am leads back to them. So, yes I do fake my way through the days, but I am a different kind of fake. I am sure many of you are the same way. I do pretend things are okay, I don’t just let anyone into my life. I fake my way through the days because it’s easier. I’m not naive, I know I will be judged, but remember that I am more than what you see.
Life has thrown so much at all of us and we all handle it in different ways. Some of us have been hurt and now hide ourselves away. Some of us become bitter and blame everyone for our troubles. Some of us find outlets for our pain and trouble, some good and some bad. We all have ways of going about our lives despite the trouble we face. I have no right to judge anyone, but I would be a liar if I said I haven’t or don’t anymore. I have my moments. Sometimes I overhear people complain about how they have to share their car with their sibling, or that they weren’t allowed to go to that party they wanted to go to, or how their biggest problem right now is that they can’t get the makeup they wanted because it’s too expensive and their allowance only stretches so far. I am ashamed to admit that I have judged these people and actually wanted to have their problems sometimes. To have my biggest problem be makeup, like who doesn’t want that? Despite it all though, I love my life. I love my family. I love who they are and I am proud of them. I don’t trust people with my real life for many reasons, but none of those reasons are because of my family. I could never be more proud of them and I will never ever be ashamed of them. I love it when my dad walks me to school. I love going for coffee with my mom instead of going to that party that person invited me to. I love that my brothers want me to walk them to the bus. I love it when they sing with me. I love it when they get excited to tell me about something they did earlier that day.
Do not let anyone ever tell you your problems aren’t real. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about complaining about your problems. Don’t let anyone make you feel that your problems are stupid. Life is hard. It is okay to complain. Throw your little tantrum and when you’re done, pick yourself up, treat yourself to something, and continue with your day. There are always going to be obstacles, but there will always be something good too. Your life will go in directions you don’t want it to or never expected it to, but something good will always come out of it, even if it is the smallest thing.
My brothers have taught me many things, but the most important of all is that you should never be something you aren’t. It may be hard to be yourself, but it is even harder to be someone you are not. And, not nearly as satisfying. 🙂