Heavy title there right? I've been deep in some philosophical thoughts late yesterday and so far today... I had a really long good chat with my brother on google chat which helped me muddle through a lot of my thoughts, so maybe this blog won't be as long as I thought it might be... or it will be... proceed at your own will, it might be heavy enough to match my title.
What started this endeavor of thought? My 16 year old step brother, who I've never been terribly close to (our parents married when I was already away at college, I only lived in a house with him for about 9 months when I was 22/23), was caught stealing from Spencers and has apparently taken up smoking just like his father - he's grounded for who knows how long and my mom was going on about how he's just "commited to self destruction" and that if she catches him smoking in the house he's gone and regardless he'll be kicked out at 18 whether he's done school or not (he's currently 2 years behind)
Now, I am not the biggest fan of my mother's husband - I never have been, and I actually have told her as much. The step brother in question has been in and out of trouble for a few years now, he took a knife to school at 13 to "show off" - no malice of violence in his mind, he just wanted to parade his shiny dangerous toy to his friends. He stole my macbook for a day and hid it in his closet, even "helped" me look for it as I cried distraught over the possible loss of something so incredibly important to me as a young trying-to-be-professional woman. Once we found the computer in his closet, he climbed out his bedroom window and ran away - a passerby found him walking along a back road hours later after dark and brought him home. For years I've listened to my mother's husband talk about how "stupid" his son is, how he is just so convinced to do bad things, he can't be trusted, he can't this - he can't that. No wonder the boy acts like he does - if I were told I were such a horrible human being for so long, I'd probably figure it wasn't worth the effort to behave in a socially acceptable manner either. If I wanted to get academic about it I'd go on a rant about internalizing stereotypes and racism (my step brother is half hispanic and identifies as such) but thats a whole other post.
When my step brother has been in trouble before, I've thought about trying to take him aside and let him know that I worry for him and I understand if he needs someone who is not his father (or his questionable half sisters who have problems of their own), but I haven't been in a position to do it. I've been still reliant on my mom and disturbing those waters could have been more detrimental to myself and my step brother than would have been beneficial. We've crossed a threshold... the benefits of making my self available to my step brother as a supporter now outweight the possible risks. If I piss off my mom and his father - it doesn't really matter any more, I will be the offender and I will accept whatever their reaction might be towards me. I am also steadfast in believing that whatever he and I talk about is none of their business unless they really must know (i.e. infectious diseases). His well being is in an evermore precarious place, if there's a chance that I could offer some sanity or relief from whatever is bugging him it's worth it. I really want to say, 'hey, stealing and smoking are not great choices - but they don't make you a doomed individual, and if you'd like to talk about whatever is going on I'm happy to hear you out - I care about you and those bonds are not so easily broken'
Which brings me to the paradigm shifts... I couldn't have imagined doing such a thing not all that long ago, how did I get here? My brother congratulated me on acheiving "big sibiling" mentality. I remembered how when he was in college, he told me he wished he could have adopted me and brought me to live with him to get me away from our parents very messy divorce. I was drowning in their animosity, and he saw it. Just his musing of wanting to whisk me away told me that I wasn't crazy - it really was a bad situation that I was in, and my feelings about it were valid. I got even more clarity on the whole thing as I established myself in college. But how did I get from there to here?
My mom had mentioned a few months ago how much I've changed since the fire, I couldn't see what she was talking about. I see it now and I see other times in my life where it's happened too. It wasn't just the fire that caused the shift, it's been a long slow seismic move since probably about 2010, and I could list some of the more significant things that fed that shift - but I already did in an earlier blog www.sparkpeople.com/mypa
I'm realizing that I am not the person that I was when I graduated college 4 years ago any more, not in a bad way - actually in a very good way, I'm very proud of myself.
+1 up and 8-bit fireworks acheivement unlocked - adulthood
now that I've managed that... maybe I can direct my step brother in the vicinity of productive adulthood too, that would be awesome.
tl;dr - I think so much, it hurts some times. I can do responsible things woo!