Numb and Indifferent

"You're acting like you're not my sister."

Have you ever been told something like this by your sibling? I have. Just yesterday - and it feels like nothing.

A few months back I would have shed a lot of tears thinking that I'm actually eating a decent dinner while my brother was stuck in Iligan, amidst the rebels and their guns. A few more months back, I would have been stressed out because he just got held up by armed men and I was in my room, safe and sound. A few months back, I would have pleaded with him, crying with my heart, for him to please stop all his nonsense and start living a better life.

My brother is actually not stupid by definition. In fact, he has quite an intellectual head on his shoulders. He was almost always an achiever in elementary school; we just couldn't figure out why it all changed.

Now it just pains me to think and see how he's wasting everything, all the sacrifices my parents are going through, his time and his life. He actually knows how hard it is to make money, but instead of taking advantage of some skills he managed to scour during high school, like his ability to play really good billiards, or his know-how with computers, networking and the like, plus his keen strategies with online multiplayer games, all from which he makes a decent amount of money, he just takes them lightly, takes all his “earnings” for granted, uses them up for non-sensible things like roaming around the mall doing nothing, or eating his heart out not with real meals but tiny snacks whole day long. He doesn’t care that my parents sometimes goes berserk looking for someone who can lend them any amount just to send it to him because he says “he’s not eating anything anymore” when in fact he just replied to my SMS saying he can’t go to our house to eat or stay for the night because he’s busy with a Dota or counterstrike tournament they joined with his “guild”. He couldn’t care less that mom and dad are actually also just swallowing their pride asking for loans or just drinking instant coffee instead of enjoying meals together, considering they’re no longer supporting me financially, because he told them he already needs food allowance and doesn’t want to eat in their dorm’s cafeteria where he can just list down his consumption because he’s stricken with pride or shame if you allow the term, when in fact he just turned down an invitation from us to just go to the house so he can finish off all the contents of our refrigerator at about midnight (thinking I don’t know what he’s doing) because he’d rather sleep and wait for one of his friends to come over so they can go to the mall and cool themselves with the airconditioning and later go off to another computer tournament thing. He isn't bothered by one bit that my mom almost went crazy trying to look for money to send to him to pay for his tuition fee, while he on the other hand, after learning that the money was already sent, took his sweet time withdrawing and lining up in the school tellers, and later telling my worried mom that he didn't pay his tuition yet because he didn't make it with the priority number and that it's really quite tiring to wait in line.

It pains me that when I was in college, I’d rather bang my head onto the wall for not understanding our lessons and striving to really get my brain working properly and fend off that 2.0 grade for fear of seeing that famous daddy’s facial expression that says “You could’ve done better. Is it really that hard?” While my brother lauds himself for just passing a major subject and dropping PE or Filipino.

It pains me how I was raised to be so responsible I’d pass as a guy. So independent it sometimes annoys my husband so much because it seems as if I really don’t need anyone at all to survive. While he, on the other hand, still asks stupid questions like, “If today’s voyage is already fully-booked, what will I do next?”

It pains me how I put too much value to my parents’ financial woes, emotional and psychological stress because they want to give my brother a decent education, a convenient way of life and even a few pleasures here and there, yet he instead has reversed that order of priority into having a more than convenient life - too much fashion-related purchases, extravagant gifts for a girlfriend I don't really know for sure and surely don't care anymore if he cheats on or not, too much time in internet cafes, too much strolling in the mall with a friend, too much sleeping, and just very few hours with classes, a few projects or maybe even none, a few texts to his sister asking for load because he had a quarrel with his girlfriend and his 100 peso prepaid load has already been zeroed-out, a nonexistent “achiever”-looking list of grades which translates to more dropped and flunked classes than passed, and even showing himself to his sister and his brother-in-law only twice this semester and expecting to get a belated-birthday gift or a “despedida” when he hasn’t even bought a ticket to go home yet, considering he was already sent the money the previous day.

It pains me now that before I even exerted effort on pleading with him to get his life straight, that even up to this day, my parents think that it just goes natural for me to casually ask my brother how he’s doing. It pains me now, that my only brother doesn’t pay any kind of respect to me, even just for the sake of birthright, because it has gotten to him how my grandfather seduces him into thinking they should be very close because he’s going to inherit almost everything, which is absolutely not true at all. It has gotten to him how the phrase “you’re even brighter than all your cousins” sounds so endearing when in fact he has wasted all his abilities with games, lies and living a mediocre life.

It pains me that my parents cannot even exert some form of authority over him or instill fear nor demand respect from him, when I used to cringe on even the thought of dad or mom being even the least bit angry with me about anything at all.

It pains me that my parents beg me to talk sense into my brother thinking he’s actually going to listen, not understanding how, for so many years in the making, I have grown fed up, tired, angry, frustrated, dismayed, and now, indifferent to my very own brother.

As a Christian, it pains me, that I cannot be one to my own blood brother. I just cannot forgive and reach out to an unbelieving brother. Not now. Not tomorrow nor the next month. It pains me that no matter how tempting it is to curse someone, I most certainly cannot do so, for the fear of God and because he still is my brother. But I have stopped being a sister. I have even stopped “acting” like one.

It pained me before. But now I’m numb. Numb and indifferent.

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  1. Somehow, I quite understand you. I'm blessed with good siblings, but I've seen how my parents have to deal with the same things for so many years--and even for the rest of their lives. If they are in pain, I am also in pain.

    I hope that your brother would be able to realize his mistakes, before it's going to be too late. In the end, he has nothing to rely on but his family.

    Praying for you and your family, Cath. :)

  2. Thanks Lem, I really appreciate it. I really didn't want to dish out dirt on my own sibling, but I just felt this was the right form of therapy for me at the moment...

    Anyway, happy holidays to you and your family!


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