On Brothers And Men

Growing up in a family with no sisters and three brothers ultimately had a big impact on my life. They are all significantly (9+ years) older and therefore had all left the nest by the time I was in junior high. Actual memories I have of them were from my limited, prepubescent personal interactions with them. Hiding in trashbags, a badminton (or flimsy volleyball) net in the backyard, complaining about mowing the lawn, houses made of couch cushions.

After they left, my parents – and I – would fill in the following blanks as to who they were; that is, with my being the audience. That is the thing about filling in the blanks. When you don’t really know anything about a person, others can make them out to be whomever you want them to be. You can also project on them any sort of role you feel they need to fill and they won’t be there to dispute that portraiture. So though I never knew them as well as even one of their high school acquaintances, there was an extremely high bar that their absence created – even bars that weren’t true to life. But they were created for me to overcome. When I did – I got the violin scholarship, played last in the piano recitals – it would prove that I was worthy of being loved. I even fulfilled their role as lawn-mower, as I probably mowed the quarter-acre lawn more often than my Dad did after the brothers left the nest.

The absence of my brothers created a need in me that went created yet unfulfilled. I have always had the love and approval of my Dad, so I wouldn’t say I had your stereotypical “Daddy Issues” you always hear about in women’s magazines regarding sexuality and equating the aforementioned with approval. Also, my mother is not the girliest of the girly so female sexuality for the most part went repressed – or, shall I say unexplored for the moment. Instead, I had “Brother Issues.” I have had, for most of my life, a need to be accepted by men as peers – whether I admitted it or not. It was something I had never had, but wanted. It was something I could see beyond my reach. Continue reading