I don’t always have shining moments in life. I’m sure from this blog you’ve probably noticed my many faults and failures. Last night I had another one. One that involved me making an immature decision that caused unnecessary conflict.
A few times in my brother’s history, he has eaten the protein out of some of my leftovers, or a lunch I packed for work. Once it was the brat out of a bun…and he left the bun and I didn’t find out until I got to work and had only a bun and salad for lunch. I even had a note on the lunch for people not to eat it, because things happened to have disappeared a lot at that time. The note was crumpled inside the lunch too. He even had the audacity to claim he didn’t see the note. The same note that was crumpled inside my lunch. Clearly visible.
I was super pissed.
It wasn’t even a out the food. It was about the lack of boundaries. The clear and blatant disrespect for the things people set aside for specific purposes. You don’t take things without asking. You don’t claim rightful ownership to something that isn’t yours, especially since there is written confirmation that there is another purpose for its use.
So recently I brought home some leftover cashew chicken. In only 24 hours, I came to find all the chicken missing out of the container, but the fried rice and egg roll were still there. I was angry. It had to be him. No one else could have eaten it. So one day I came home and I saw he had leftover chowmein noodles. So I figured…I’d eat them. If he wasn’t going to follow boundaries, why was I?
So I ate them. They were delicious.
But tonight, he decided to bring it up. I told him why I ate them. I told him I was upset that he didn’t have boundaries and I was sick of having the double standard. He claimed he didn’t eat any of my food, and that I was being crazy and that I was illogical and rude and I was the one with no boundaries. So we fought. We argued. I presented my logic, and showed him his history. He called me names and tried to make me feel like I was the one in the wrong and he didn’t do it. Who else could have though? My mother was puking sick. My father was gone. He and I were the only two who could have and I wouldn’t eat only part of a meal. I would eat the whole thing in one sitting.
Brothers have the uncanny ability to make you feel like crap though. In my family, I was always under the impression that I was the stupid one. This ideal was reinforced when my mother had me tested for a learning disability when I was young. I wasn’t dumb, but we discovered that I had a learning difference. My mom, being a former Special Education teacher, took a great deal of pride in telling people about how differently I learned. To the point where I feel like she became obsessed with it. It’s like she is trying to look for it. To bring it up whenever she can. It can be degrading sometimes.
A recent example: Just a few days ago, she got upset because I claimed I didn’t need a recipe for a dish, because I knew how to make it. She was very upset. I didn’t understand why she was so upset about me not needing a recipe, and she finally told me she thought it was because I didn’t know how to follow a recipe that I kept saying I didn’t need one. I was so offended. I told her the reason I knew how to make it was BECAUSE I followed a recipe a few times! The concept wasn’t hard. Most of it consisted of logic.She then pointed out the many times I add things that aren’t in the recipe to food. I told her it was because I knew what would taste good with the other flavors. But how did I know when to add moister she asked? Because it just made sense to. She couldn’t deny that what I made was good and she submitted. She admited she wasn’t very secure in a kitchen anyway, and admited that she didn’t intend to offend me. We found resolution. Doesn’t mean it still doent hurt me to think my mother, who has even watched me use recipies before, thought I didn’t know how to use one. To think I am not smart enought to read and follow instruction. That was really painful.
Anyway, my brothers grew up with her babying me. Saying things to them like “she doesn’t learn the same as you,” or “she needs extra help because she doesn’t know.” So that only reinforced the impression on all three of us. I needed help and they didn’t. Therefore I was not as smart. It makes sense in a young mind. So much so that even now, I find myself batteling it. For years I kept telling myself “not wrong just diffrent.” Now I realize even telling myself that was a disservice. It’s not wrong. Period.
It’s harder though when you grow older, and your brothers are much more “successful” than you. The impression is still so prominent. My younger brother is 21 and unemployed…yet makes more money in a day than I do stock trading without a degree. My older brother has a buissnes finance degree and makes almost $20/hour. I’m visual in retail. You can imagine how Thanksgiving with the extended family feels.
Wow. That was a rabbit trail. I do have a point I promise.
Since, I have been given the impression that I am “stupid” I spend a great deal of time analyzing my logic and motivations. It is the reason I became such an introspective person. I want to check my work. But in the scenario of the argument between my brother and I, I saw no flaw in my logic. Both my parents didn’t eat it. They told me. So either he was lying, or they were. I trust them more than him. I admitted that it was possible I was wrong and I apologized if I was. But, that wasn’t enough. At least it wasn’t for me. I found myself still angry. Not even about the situation. Then I found myself angry that I was still angry.
Now I realize I didn’t solve anything. Which is why I was so angry. I made an immature decision instead of just asking my brother if he did it and moving on. I disrespected in return for the disrespect I felt, and it was going to go nowhere. I don’t even care about the chicken. What I cared about was the feelings.
There is a quote out there that claims people remember how you made them feel more than what you said to make them feel that way. For me I recall both. I often keep mental lists. Lists of the things that hurt me. Those lists are attached to people who I have found to disrespect me in some way. It was one of the reasons I decided to end my relationship recently. Some things happened that felt like a disrespect towards me and the future I thought we were going to have together. Things that are painful and unresolved or were found to be unresolvable are added to the list.
The lack of respect I receive from my family is painful, and will probably be unresolved until Kingdom come. So I am learning to not be such a list keeper. I am learning to forgive and to admit when I am wrong. To offer the benefit of the doubt. I am not perfect of course. This situation is avid proof of it. I fail…and when I fail I find it harder to forgive myself than to forgive them.
That is my greatest flaw. I often cannot forgive myself. There is no person on the planet that I have attached a longer list of wrongs to than myself. Again, I find myself combating that tendency everyday. To put another label on myself…especially one that is degrading.