“Life is not for the weak”, my aunt wrote in response to a mass-message my 21-yr-old brother sent out to all of our family members letting them know that he feels he is finally on the right track in life; that he has found a sense of purpose.
The last couple of years have been hard on my brother. He’s worked different jobs, but for one reason or another they haven’t worked out. He’s tried to go back to school a few times, but that didn’t work out so well, either. He is fiercely intelligent, had to skip a grade even, but has had trouble using it to his advantage. I can’t even begin to imagine what is going on in his brain on a daily basis, but I imagine everything is happening with the same speed as he talks or faster.
Like me, he spent most of his teen years in his room but for different reasons – or perhaps all the same reasons. It’s only after I have gotten older that I feel we were probably not as far from each other as I thought. It pains me that I didn’t reach out back then, but I was going through my own pain, trying to fight the daily battle of getting out of the rut I was in. We have always been like night and day. For example, our mother always told us to never watch the movie “Se7en” because it was the most traumatizing movie she had ever seen. It ruined her life basically. Now she claims that she might have been slightly hormonal because she was pregnant – but I still to this day, at the age of 24, have not watched Se7en (this says more about me than it does about anyone else). My brother, on the other hand, watched it the second he got access to Blockbuster. To my brother, every rule was a challenge to see if he could break it and get away with it. To me, the rules were my points of orientation. While I had to sit on the bench with the adults because I was sick, my brother was out raising heck somewhere. We just could not have had more different personalities, and no matter how hard we tried we couldn’t relate to one another.
My brother is a billion times smarter than I am. He could do anything – everything is easy to him. Except for all the things that require skills you can only acquire if you are comfortable with hanging out with other people and by participating in society. I have had the same problem, but I have gotten a lot better. My brother’s brilliance is both a gift and a curse, because many thinks that is all you need to succeed. If you have the brains, how could getting an education be difficult? Like there is nothing else in your mind that could stand in the way. Sometimes a brain that is constantly running on overdrive can be extremely hard to cope with. He is constantly twenty steps ahead, and his company can feel like a whirlwind because you can’t keep up. Everything is happening so quickly, so many facts are presented, and I just can’t imagine what it is like for him. He himself believes that there is something not quite right about how his brain works. He’s been through different examinations, has been on different medications, and now he has decided to try making it work on his own.
I understand what my aunt was trying to say, and that sentence was just a fraction of her message, so in actuality this has nothing to do with my aunt. But I still have a serious problem with that saying and its point. “Life is not for the weak”. Well, who is it for then? You’re here, I am here, my brother is here, and we are all trying to make life make sense. Some think about it a lot; other’s don’t think about it at all.
Who defines what is “weak” and what is “strong”? Are you weak if you find it difficult to navigate your way through life? Is it weak to sometimes or always find life to be overwhelming? Is it weak to have been born with a chemical imbalance and to need to take the plug out every once in a while to deal with it? Are you stronger if you have never struggled? Are you stronger if you only laugh and never cry? We all have a unique story and even if it seems simple it is wildly complicated. As persons, we are made up of fractions of experiences and scars and the fingerprints of others that have been left all over our souls. It takes time to convert pain into the fuel your mind needs to move on.
I will defend this stance till I die: Everyone has the right to tread the ground and breathe the air of this planet.
SO THERE. He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.