Life Counselor #6

(Reed’s song of the day: Show Your Face, by Balance and Composure)

Hello, o fearless leader of the Nudie Boys.

Hoo boy, this is going to be a hard one to write. I feel like every facet of what it means to be a brother, both the good and the bad, is prevalent in our relationship. We’ve been down a long, twisting road together. Somehow, we’re still doing pretty okay.

You have probably had more tangible impact on my life than anyone else, at least in sheer numbers (although Lindsay’s starting to get a leg up on you). You were the one to instruct me about philosophy and writing, the one who got me into punk rock and straight edge. You helped design the first tattoo I ever got and paid for it as a gift.

You’ve shown me what it means to be a thinking person. You’ve shown me how we can’t be content to ever just be content – that we have to keep moving forward, learning more, carving our path throughout the world. You’ve pushed me, and in some cases you’ve been the incentive for me to push myself. You were a standard I could never reach, but I kept trying anyway.

But honestly, I think some of the things you’ve taught me were things neither of us were really thinking about at the time. Some lessons I’ve had to take away myself with time, but you were the first person to plant that seed of thought (in some cases unconsciously).

Like the time you were going to see your ex, but I was having some sort of stupid girl troubles and you sat with me in the car for like a half hour, keeping her waiting, to make sure I was okay. I just remember being there and thinking, this is what I should be like to Trevor. This is who I want to be to the people I love.

And all of the times we’ve talked, all of the times I’ve had some sort of strange inferiority complex when speaking to you about a decision I’ve made, it’s forced me to realize – I need to have more confidence in my own capabilities. I need to not filter everything I think and do through the lens of your (or anyone’s) approval. And most importantly, I can accept offers of help, opinions, and even criticisms of myself without letting it impact me so damn much.

I’m still not great at treating you like a peer instead of a superior. There’s a decent amount I still have to let go. But I need you to know something.  I need you to know I’m learning and moving forward. I’m learning how to separate my personal validation from the comments people make on my work or my choices. I’m moving forward towards being centered and trusting myself.

I need you to know I’m sorry for the way I’ve treated you the past few years. I had so much anger and such a lack of understanding. Every time you tried to help me or offer advice, I lashed out at you. I remember feeling so bitter all the time; I’m so glad that part is over. But there are still reparations to be made.

I need you to know that I know you care about me. Everything you do for me (even if it’s not something that’s best for me at the time) is because you want to see me succeed. I’ve been so lucky in my life to have a whole community of people standing behind me, rallying me and inspiring me to do more, and you’re straight in the middle of that. It may be only in hindsight, but I appreciate all that you’ve done for me.

I know it’s easy to find ourselves back home and regressing to our high school selves. I know it’s a lot harder to remind ourselves that we’ve all undergone an enormous amount of personal growth – and that the person we are now is not the person we remember the last time we saw each other. I think all of us are blind to the improvements the others have made.

But we’re improving. And I’m proud of you even as I’m proud of myself, because we’re starting to put the worst parts of ourselves to rest and become our most perfect selves.

I love you. I need to visit more. Even if all you want to do is play Fortnight.

Yours,

Little brother

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