I got a letter from my brother.

My brother wrote me a letter for my birthday. I got it on Tuesday. What is it about Tuesday right now? Last Tuesday is when I got another upsetting letter from a family member. I’m not happy about this chaos all at once. I’d like it to take a number and stand in line.

This is the same person who never remembered my birthday (45 years) and never remembered my address. He was constantly asking for it. I’m his sister. He should know these things. But I was an afterthought. I was always an afterthought.

This is the same person that I stopped talking to two and a half years ago. It was spring of 2011. I’d finally had enough, for the second time in my life, of dealing with him. He was constantly twisting my words, and constantly paranoid. He was constantly pushing me around, and treating me as a thing instead of a person. He called me “Sister” rather than by my name. He isn’t getting treatment for his psychopathic behavior, and he isn’t saying he is sorry now.

This is the same person who has abused me throughout my life. He wants to build a bridge, he says. I don’t trust him. I’ve learned that to trust him is like letting a thief in my house. Against my better judgment I’ve let him back into my life before, only to be hurt worse each time. Every time he steals something. Sometimes it is just material possessions. Sometimes it is my peace of mind.

He included a picture of him and his son, all gangly at 17 and sticking out his tongue, standing with a cousin of ours. From the picture it looks like they were in England. I had a brief moment of terror – he’s gotten to that side of the family and is telling them his version of the truth. I could go for damage control and write them, but it would just be my word against his. This is an echo of last Tuesday’s drama all over again. It is sad to see how people can be swayed to believe the words of someone who has ulterior motives. If people don’t get both sides, it shows they don’t really care about the relationship. Or the truth.

This is the same person who had to declare bankruptcy because he was a quarter of a million dollars in debt. I haven’t had to declare bankruptcy, yet I don’t have the money to afford a trip to England. It just doesn’t seem fair. His son looks cheeky in this shot, with his tongue sticking out. I’m thinking if this is the best picture Ian could have sent, then that is saying something about the attitude of his child. At least he is letting his attitude show on his face. With Ian you had to get really close to see how crazy he was.

The psychopaths are hard to spot sometimes. Sometimes they look like normal people. That’s the problem. You get lulled into a false sense of safety and then BAM! You are hurt, badly. Blindsided. I’m getting tired of being blindsided. There are too many people recently that I thought I could trust that have suddenly gone batshit crazy on me.

I don’t want him back in my life. I don’t want to deal with him. I feel that there is a slice of guilt cake I’m being served. He’s offering to “build a bridge” and I’m refusing to walk across it. That way I look like the bad guy. I don’t trust my brother’s bridge. I have played this game before and I always fall into the river, and I always drown. The stones get thrown at me. I always get hurt.

I gave him up the same way I gave up fried foods and pot. I gave them up because I needed to get healthy. I needed to be strong. I knew those things were pulling me down. But every now and then I feel like I want to try those things again. I forget how bad they really make me feel. It has been so long that I’ve felt well that I forget what it feels like to feel bad. I forget that once I start down that path again it takes a lot of energy to get off of it again. I’m reminding myself of this now to steel myself. I don’t want to get hurt again.

We have no good memories together, he and I. I look askance at people when they talk about how lovely their brothers are to them. It seems like a Disney story, a fairy tale. I can’t match it up with my reality. I think he wants a relationship with me only because I’m the only sister he’ll ever have. I think that he is in love with the IDEA of a sister, while he is not even “in like” with his actual sister. He doesn’t know anything about me. He never has cared enough to see me as a person. I was always a pawn in his games, and he was always winning.

He hasn’t come to realize that “family” isn’t just a word or an idea. It requires both people working together. It requires kindness and compassion. It isn’t about one person manipulating another person. It isn’t about debate but dialogue. He hasn’t come to realize that “family” means nothing – it is artificial. You don’t choose your family. It is all an accident. And like most accidents, it is very messy and there is a lot of pain. Worse, sometimes you don’t heal right and you walk with a limp for the rest of your life.


Here is an early Christmas gift for you. Wallpaper for your desktop or phone! These are pictures I’ve taken that are interesting but not too busy, so they go well behind other things.

The plastic cup of water at a local Mexican restaurant, with light shining through it.

Sunlight through slush on the windshield.

A different shot of the same thing.

Sunlight patterns on a wall in my bathroom – I fingerpainted the wall, and there is a picture I painted in the top right.

One of the floor in the Frist. See “A Trip to the Frist” for the backstory.

Another one.

A blurry accident. I think this was taken on the day I went to get an MRI.

Digital manipulation from me – I’d taken a picture of some spirally art paper, then used two different photo manipulation applications to get to this point.

The Formica countertop at the same Mexican restaurant in the first picture.

A guy’s shirt at a “Compassionate Nashville” event. He is from India, and has no idea what the shirt says.

Sunlight through a sheet of seaweed paper. Part of my breakfast.

Please let me know if you use these and what you think about them.