After much deliberation, I only really want one gift for my birthday this year.
No, I wasn’t the Zodiac killer. And no, I’m not a Trump supporter.*
I was just a mean kid. Mean to my two younger brothers.
More than mean, I was manipulative, brutish and basically an all-around dick.
We fought a lot. I was almost always the provocateur.
We played 2v1 basketball on our driveway court a lot. They knew that as soon as they scored the winning basket, it was time to head for the hills. Frankly, I’m not sure why they kept agreeing to play against me.
I realize now that I was mean to them because I didn’t like myself. My body was on the court while my self-esteem was somewhere buried below. I needed each basketball basket to validate my existence. When they didn’t come, my mind flipped on survival mode and went on the offensive.
It was a vicious cycle that I’m regretful they were forced to endure. Almost weekly the guilt I’m struck with a momentary pang of guilt.
My mindset was very fixed back then. Each validation only engorged cravings for the next. I was only as good as other people saw me. I was trapped.
I’ve tried to adopt a growth mindset in the years since we all lived under the same roof. A mindset where the struggle is the mark of validation. Where can or can’t have no bearing. All that matters is consciously going, each day, forward.
I’m much happier now. I’ve actually never been as happy as I am right now. Each day that I have the freedom and ability to express my love for my partner, my family, my dog and my work is a gift. Some days I do a good job of showing that love. Others days not so much.
By some grace of God/Allah/Buddha both of my brothers turned out to be great people in spite of me. And, by some further gracing they both seem to like me still.
All I can say — if they still hold some grudge-is, I’m sorry.
All I can say to myself is I forgive you.