Grateful Sunday: Guidance

After spending some much-needed down & catchup time with my brother on Friday night and Saturday afternoon, I found myself reflecting on our weekend together as I let my mind wander during my jog.

We had planned yesterday afternoon as our “main event,” that being his campus’ Spring Weekend concert. Especially exciting because it was a group we are both fans of, and he & I don’t often have the opportunity to see live music together.  A great bonding experience.

That was not what I found myself reflecting on, though. I was struggling as I pushed myself along my route, breathing hard (much work to be done to undo havoc wreaked from 4 months of wayward dieting & exercise), and all of a sudden I felt my heart in my throat, overcome by a profound sadness. What was this sharp pang? I was caught off-guard.

It was heartache. My heart hurt because I had observed, in my 24 hours with him, my brother grappling with the same sort of emotional confusions I have worked for so many years to understand and sort through. The huge (HUGE) difference here, for which I am massively grateful, is that he is acutely aware that drugs and alcohol are not to be self-administered as prescriptive remedies, nor are they for abusing & binging.

Because his moral compass is so finely tuned; so meticulously calibrated. He attends a Jesuit university and adheres to the value system. This is a kid who bows his head to say a quick Grace when we go out for brunch at his favorite Bronx diner. This is a kid who since his semester started in January, has consecutively worked on varying assignments every single day in some capacity (finally taking yesterday off). His diligence & commitment to his purpose are unwavering.

And therein lies the cruelty of being a good person in a bad world: most people don’t understand the altruism of a pure heart. Much less your average coed; even much much less your average coed whose life experience will for the most part have already been financed by the wealth of their upper-class family. These fucking kids…they don’t understand, and they don’t care to understand.

This puts my brother in the uncomfortable position of wanting to be as normal as any other college student while simultaneously battling labels from his peers for electing to crack books instead of beers. I’m immensely proud of the path he’s chosen, and heartbroken by the way I see him ostracized for it.

For example, after spending 3 hours on Friday night rounding out an assignment and prepping for the next one, he suggested we stretch our legs and do some people-watching  at the intersection of the popular bar hangouts. At one point on our walk a classmate recognized him and came over to say hi. “Wait…I didn’t know you like, go out.” Of course it wasn’t intended to come off as mean, but the subtext was obvious: you’re a bit of a nerd with not a lot of social clout. Doesn’t matter what the channel is; when you receive that message, it stings.

I saw this pattern emerge in a few other ways throughout the day yesterday, and it stems from the fact that young people habitually operate in cliques — and he did not truly belong to one. It’s so simple: acceptance. That’s all he wants. But when you’re an outlier on the graph of social norms — and this is my wheelhouse — you find yourself constantly frustrated & fighting for a foothold. I was lucky enough to pretty immediately find a group of freethinkers & thought leaders when I arrived at the collegiate chapter of my life, and consequently I have a fraternal support network that has played a crucial role in the path I had to carve in the post-grad world.

So to watch my younger brother navigating the sea of social stressors mostly alone…it hurt. I hurt for him. The objective viewpoint here is that yeah, eventually he’ll figure it out, as everyone does. But subjectively I feel the loneliness that gnaws & leaves you raw. Especially for a kid with such exemplary virtues/values, it pains me to see him somewhat shunned for thinking differently.

I know it’s not my battle; I just wish I could offer more guidance. I suspect this is what being a parent feels like.

At least his brother is still sober & alive to share his own insights.


Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 8.40.41 PM

Advertisements

Drop a Line

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

roamwildandfree

Work Less // Play More // Be Free

prayer & practice

Just another WordPress.com site

A Holistic Journey

Finding my way back out of motherhood -- while mothering

criticaldispatches.com/

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @RichyDispatch

Oscar Relentos

Welcome to my catharsis

Omnipleasant

Make more time for what matters most

Seeing Clear Lee

musings on becoming alcohol-free

katie macbride

Fiction and freelance writer covering addiction, mental health, politics, culture, and the arts

Sailing on Dreams

Playing mind games with Soul

Rasmus Keger

Through the eyes of Rasmus Keger

Globe Dreaming

To travel is to live.

Quartz

Quartz is a digitally native news outlet for the new global economy.

My OBT

My daily quest for One Beautiful Thing (OBT)

Microgalactic

Food, Travel and Photography Blog

Unconfirmed Bachelorette

Proudly living alone with cats

THE RIVER WALK

Daily Thoughts and Meditations as we journey together with our Lord.

Zen and the Art of Moto Taxi Survival

Lessons learned while flirting with disaster in Paris traffic

Be Like Water

Music, Film and Life

kelzbelzphotography

My journey - The good, bad and the ugly

will hike for food

Just Get Outside.

800 Recovery Hub Blog

Written by people in recovery for people in recovery

%d bloggers like this: