I have four brothers, and with one of them I don’t have the best relationship. Be it me or be it him. I’m sure if you asked, you’d receive fingers pointing. I’m tired of people reminding me of the mistakes I’ve made. For me it’s a matter of whether I really need someone’s constant nagging and rumination that present in my life. All of us have aims or something like a bucket list. To tick those off, it’s nice to be in a supportive environment. And the emphasis is on supportive. People, who are in your way, or make judgements about what you’re doing all the time, will have a hard time hanging around. And how much energy can you really put in, when the person makes a lot of effort to change you, instead of engaging with who you are?
I don’t antagonize my brother, and I’m getting more indifferent to making up as well. I’ve known him, since he was born, and I know very well what demons he’s fighting. Sometimes, you just have to let people be. Whoever they want to be, even if it means they’re harming themselves. As the big sister, that’s my way of showing love. I could obsess about his behaviour, take it super personal and put a lot of emotions into it. I can also choose to let it go. I like the concept of a family. And I like that you have to get along with people, you wouldn’t choose to be friends with. Often enough we stick to the people, that we’re comfortable with, missing out on valuable life experience and opportunities to get to know ourselves better.
But it isn’t just him. I’ve been avoiding talking about it all together. An important role model in our lives needs to be right all the time. It’s not only a need to be right, it’s also the need to do the right thing all the time. It’s not the need to do good. It just means, be right and stick to it all the time. Even when it means you disown your only daughter. That’s right, I’m talking about our father. We haven’t talked in almost two years, and honestly, I don’t think this will ever change. But this also means, that the way my father handles things obviously influences my brother. For my father, what I did, is the worst and unforgivable. In the little communication I had with my brother since, I can feel how troubled he is. I can also feel the hurt, that must have accumulated throughout the years.
I can try to explain things by quoting platitudes. And they mostly apply as well. A woman is to be pure. She is to care for her family and put them first. With that patriarchal mindset looking at that woman that is your sister or your daughter, you’ll wonder why she’s rejected all of those wonderful characteristics. Why has she allowed the West to compromise her? Why doesn’t she want to be pure and pious? Why has she left her family? Why does she keep travelling and what is she seeking?
These questions can be posed in an open way with a curious interest and the want to really understand the essence of your daughter’s life. They can also be asked in a judgemental way. The mindset, where you’ve already decided on who your daughter is. Or maybe more who she isn’t and never will be. But maybe, the hurt is so deep, that you’re longing for a big gesture to make up again. Maybe you just want to see that she does care after all. She does care. But only as long as she’s not hurting herself. Everyone can take a little hurt. But when you’re getting guided into a life that accepts hurt as substantial part, you have to wonder whether this is true for yourself.
I’m the one who left. The one, who redefined her life a few times. I have demons as well that I’m fighting. I’m far from being perfect, and even though I tend to strive for perfection, I’m actually trying to be less of a perfectionist. On my journey, I made new friends and I lost old friends. I see my weaknesses. At the moment, I’m really trying to fight my arrogance. I haven’t gotten to my impatience yet. But – this is another big one I’ll have to tackle! I’m disappointed with the response I got from my family. I was hoping for a surprise. I was hoping for a change. I was fed up with living two different lives. With hiding my true self. I really wanted my father to see and appreciate who I have become. I wanted my brother to listen. Just listen. We grew up in very similar circumstances. Even though life has taught me lessons he doesn’t know and vice versa, it’s still difficult for me to grasp, why there’s such a rift between us.
He’s accepted that my father’s world was shaped by his past and what his family and his culture have taught him. But this ignores, how my father left home at a very young age. He was only 18, when he moved to Austria to pursue his dream of studying to become a doctor. He had quite a lot of freedom and also some financial support to go for his dreams. Life had been good to him mostly. Even compared to his siblings he enjoyed privileges that weren’t granted to them. But he also got a heavy responsibility placed on his shoulders, when my grandfather left this world and asked him to take care of the family. Life wasn’t always good to him. The umbilical cord was cut abruptly when Saddam Hussain came to power and changed the Iraq he had lived in to something, that seemed a million years away from his childhood’s experience. Worlds apart, and those worlds keep moving. How do you make sense? You’re inevitably looking for the truth. And if you break it down to the essence, there’s only one truth. The reason, why we suffer is because we don’t follow this truth. When the figures you’ve trusted the most leave you, there’s one absolute power you can choose to believe in. Your ancestry, your history is pointing at it. I get it. And I don’t get it. I don’t think my father knows how to have healthy relationships. He’s dismissed a lot of people, estranging from them. Friends. Sisters. Brother-in-laws. Me. And my brother seems to be treading on the same path. What I know of my brother is, that it’s really difficult for him to admit a mistake or a slip out. And he needs to get that reassurance. He’s not as final as my father. I do think we’ll talk again. And really it could happen any time.