Well I don’t have any inspired video to go along with this but while I was visiting my brother and his family in Arizona I checked this one off. (sort of)
I had an entire day with my brother, which I’ve never had before.
When I was in the 1st grade I brought my big brother to show and tell – that’s how proud I was of him. My big brother! Look at me! He’s so tall and handsome! He’s musical (played the saxophone then) and artistic. Most of all? He cared about me and at six, I knew it. Unlike most of the other “grown ups” in my life my brother saw value in me at a very young age. I was more than the baby, more than a cute little thing to show off – parade, buddy with, cuddle to or rely on for good old fashioned comfort.
My brother was probably the first older person in my life to ever make me feel like I mattered.
Being the youngest of four – you can get lost in the mix or just be expected to perform at your level. Be the baby. Be cute. Be adorable. Be Jodi.
Only – everyone else around me was constantly telling me who “Jodi” was and not looking past their reflections of me to see who I was actually becoming.
After a while I just went with their descriptions of me. Their chosen hobbies, their ideals. Why not? They were expecting me to be X and anything outside of that was highly discouraged.
I was praised for being an easy child. Not too difficult, rarely rebellious. I was harshly compared to other siblings who had acted out in ways that I’m sure no parent ever wishes on, dreams of or goes into parenting thinking is their outcome.
So I overtook their pressures put on me and I expected perfection of myself. I ruined my self esteem because I never could live up to my own expectations. I wasn’t fast enough, smart enough, pretty enough, thin enough. I didn’t. Couldn’t.
Yet I was blossoming as someone who on the inside knew the difference. I was magnificent. I had 2 teachers reach me and let me know that I had something inside of me that they saw. Two teachers who said the right words, who understood, who encouraged me to become whatever it was that I wanted.
To become me.
At this point in my life my brother was already married and out of the house. Moved away, came back. But was never fully in my life. He had his own family, his own life to figure out and live.
Yet he was still always one of those people for me. Maybe he didn’t know things about me any more – or only had ancient memories of a little girl to go off of when conjuring up who he thought I was now … but he still believed in me, whoever that was.
So on vacation I spent the day with him and felt like my six year old self taking my brother to show and tell again. Only add a good 20 years or so and enough life experience to cover generations of emotional turmoil. Our family has kind of bend through the shitter a few times.
Yet we survived.
And here I was, going to work with my big brother – hardly knowing who was showing me how to repair pool pumps and talking to me about my childhood – and his – yet still feeling like I was where I was supposed to be. I was finally connected to something. To someone.
I think I found home.
So I spent the day with him. After work it was mountain biking. Then his vocal coach and on to band practice. Did I sing with him? For a minute or two during his vocal warm ups with his coach, but then I fell behind and just listened … not believing in my own voice.
But being captivated by his.