My baby bro T is 21! My idol, the love of my life, the man (boy?!) I love the most in this world! Born in ‘93 til infinity, the best year of music.
If you know me even somewhat you might know I have an unabashed obsession with my brother. This becomes evident at the sight of us together —which strangers often mistake for a cougar-cub relationship that we ham up every time, hard. All my friends love him and what big sis doesn’t want to show off her trophy, err.. sibling. I love everything he does (except the bad grades at art school which I try to help him with as much as a big PhD sis can). He has a marked talent for music which I try to foster at every turn, but it isn’t easy. His way of loneliness and anxiety creates borders between us and between him and the world.
As much as we are similar in the ways that we need constant reinforcement and external disciplinary measures, we are not the same person. He doesn’t see what I see, he has a different childhood to make sense of, and a decade of life not yet available to him. I forget the differences when I want to fill him with desire, knowledge, and resources like no one did with me. I want to make the space bigger for him than he can imagine. I want to open doors and windows and have ocean waves carry him to places that shift his perceptual apparatus, that open him to the world instead of close down his experience. He skateboards veraciously, despite breaking all his bones, injuring all his muscles, and recognizing it as an escapist activity. I nag him about it, I nag him about school, I nag him about his hair, I nag him about the stupidest shit, which is exactly the language to close experience and to minimize the possibility of a vulnerable encounter. It’s difficult, I want to give him everything, prevent everything, and in so doing I forget him. We’ve been working on this and he’s learned to be more assertive. After all, when he was very young & I was just starting university, I used to come home, hold him down and force him to say: “Gender is just a performance”; “Foucault is my hero”; “I’m a feminist”, and so on. Older sister coerced feminism.
When we are together, I feel safe. To know someone is there existing in the world that you love so much and that loves you reminds me to keep living. It seems banal, or obvious, but it’s not like a relationship type love, it doesn’t hinge on the same responsibilities, loyalties and desires.
I called my mom this morning at 7am but was told to call back 8am, his wake up call before working at Scoop & The Bean to wish him a happy birthday. In Poland, there is a tradition of calling or waking up the birthday person as early as possible and reciting this poem, “Gdy rano wstałam, w niebo spojrzałem, usłyszałem głos ptaszyny, że Dziś Twoje urodziny!” (When I woke this morning I looked at the sky and heard the bird’s song that it’s your birthday today!). My immediate family has never stopped the tradition. It is only us in Canada —us four. There’s no other familial bonds we can rely or depend on. There’s no cousins, or distant aunts, and both of my parents are only children. There’s no money for family trips, traditional vacations, or fancy dinners. We crawl all over each other when we are together, eager, animated, and in full-force pushing each other’s buttons. We are loud, unapologetic in taking up space, and argue like any Eastern European family: scream till the mom ends up in tears, 20 minutes later feeding each other love stories.
family album because he never posts up any images of himself and i have his entire life mediated through lenses.