***Big emphasis emphasis on the, not always part. Some of you out there need to be stopped. But the occasional account dedicated to your dog, Meatloaf, who’s allergic to grass? I can get behind that.
A dramatic retelling of why I simply can’t handle change and the continuation of time.
I tend not to cry at the end of sad movies, at least in the company of others. I don’t think public displays of affection are adorable, I find them awkward. I mean the idea of inviting hundreds of people to gather and watch you and your partner make out and exchange rings? I’d rather not. Rejection motivates me. Even sad music makes me want to dance, horribly. And I can’t say I’ve ever experienced “happy tears.”
My Achilles heel is that, drumroll please….
I’m a sentimental person.
Yep, I’m a big blubbering mess when it comes to turning the page and beginning the next chapter.
I don’t like endings. It gives me pause to wonder what’s next while reflecting back on my past with rose-colored glasses. Remembering all the good and the bad that never happened exactly the way my memory would lead me to believe.
Senior night at my high school volleyball game I cried four times before ever stepping on the court. And then another few times mid-match. And then a whole lot more at the end. I’m not a pretty crier either.
I’m talking about snot bubbles and hair matted to my face with tears and sweat.
At graduation, I was fine. But that’s because everyone around me was teary-eyed all day and kept pinching my cheeks and telling me how proud they were of me. It was cute, even I will admit it.
But after a long and chaotic summer, I said goodbye to my high school friends a week before I left for college. I made it through a nice dinner at the Cheesecake factory **that is actually the most small-town midwestern sentence ever…wow**
And then on the ride home, my friends cued all the songs that meant the most to us growing up. The songs that had an inside joke to go along with them or a funny story shared at the lunch table. The songs we’d scream at school dances or sing along with on the back of the volleyball bus.
Cue the waterworks.
I wasn’t crying because I was worried or scared. I knew we’d all go off, find new friends, start new adventures, have great lives, and maybe a few good stories along the way. But I couldn’t stand to think about all the things in my life that were about to change.
When you’ve been friends with someone since kindergarten, you start to get a little attached. You don’t even notice how close you are and how much they are just ingrained into your life.
And then all of a sudden, they’re just someone you tell your college highlights to when you’re home for break.
And it’s sad. But that’s what happens. You grow up. As much as I’m not ready to grow up, I’ve accepted my fate.
However, I’m still coming to terms with the fact that as I age, so do the people I love most. So do my parents and grandparents. Even my dog!
But the one that really gets me is that my little brothers are getting older. And right now they’re both still in high school, so when I come home everybody’s still there. It’s almost like nothing has changed.
Except they’re both taller than me. And the oldest can drive. And they’re too cool for me now.
But it wasn’t always that way.
When I went off to college I requested that my mom send me my little brothers’ first day of school pictures. That was a mistake. I was almost late for my first class of the day because I couldn’t get myself to stop sniffling and my eyes looked like I hadn’t slept since I’d moved in.
While I never particularly liked or cared about the first day of school, this was the first time I could remember that I wasn’t being dragged out to my front porch for a before-school picture.
There was a time in my life when my little brothers were two of my closest friends. Don’t get me wrong, I had plenty of friends at school. (I know that’s what someone who had absolutely no friends would say, I know however it’s surprisingly true.)
When you live in the middle of nowhere, with no neighbors under the age of 65 you’re forced to make do with what you have. There’s no riding your bike down the street or going to a house over to see if someone will play with you.
No. I had two younger siblings and an enormous pile of dirt in my front yard.
But I loved it, most of the time. For a while, my brothers wanted to be just like me. It was like I had them under a spell. But looking back now, I know that they followed my every move because they looked up to me. But at the time, I felt like a ten-year-old playing mother duck. Somehow, I’d managed to imprint on them.
When I got a Bitty Baby for Christmas one year, my brother got a matching one for his birthday a month after. I remember being livid, an absolute demon child whining about how I could “never have anything for just myself” and that my siblings were copycats.
My mother reassured me that he just wanted to be like me because he looked up to me, but I wasn’t buying it.
And then, like the businesswoman I have always been,
I realized my two younger brothers were an untapped resource at my disposal. They listened to my every command like obedient little soldiers in gap kid’s khakis. They were primed for the taking. So, I took them under my wing and taught them everything I knew.
I taught them how to play dress-up and showed them my perfected ratio of ballgowns to size in a tiara. I shared my extensive architectural knowledge and taught them to construct the most elaborate and surprisingly sturdy forts in modern-day history.
I explained new made-up field games in a part of the day I liked to call “Xtreme P.E.” which was pretty much convincing my kid brothers to play a mixture of fetch and kickball for hours on end.
I surprised them with pancakes that could kill a diabetic for their birthday. I let them play with my favorite Littlest Pet Shops if I was feeling generous. I “healed” all of their stuffed animals’ wounds with my magic Barbie bandaids.
Long story short, okay not short but moderately lengthy, I spent a fair amount of time with my brothers growing up. We were always laughing, or fighting, or yelling, apologizing, giving the silent treatment, competing, embarrassing one another, or just laying around hanging out.
They were just my little brothers. The two people I could always count on to never grow up even as I got older.
Coming home this summer, I found out that the inevitable had happened.
My youngest brother is now taller than me. The brother who is six years younger and up until recently rarely ate a vegetable.
Upon processing, I had a bit of an identity crisis as I realized that the people I had left behind as I started my new adventure were aging.
I was under some false impression that time stopped when I wasn’t present. But now, faced with the fact that my little brother was no longer so little, I didn’t know how to feel. The fact that my siblings had their own lives and identities outside my consciousness was unnerving.
I struggle to process change. Even when I can see it clear as day and I know it’s coming, I find a way to trick my brain into slowing down. In complete denial, I drop an anchor in the past and just continue on. Oblivious to the now rusted memories I’m carrying with me. But knowing that when the waves get rough I have something to hold onto.
So while my brothers won’t let me document their every move, let alone even acknowledge their relation to me in public places, I found the most willing victim on my short list of acquaintances.
While I’m not going to go full “Good Luck Charlie” which yes, I have done before. I started a short lived video series when my cousin was first born and I had just gotten a video camera and learned about youtube. I promise I had friends.
This is not the start of my influencer career, but it’s what I’m doing to process the bittersweet changes that are happening all around me. Some people journal. Others get really into CrossFit. Some people chop their hair and on rare occasions, people find solstice in building model air plains. Me?
I write witty Instagram captions in the first person point of view of my dog.
@maxmakesfriends is my newest form of therapy.