If you have followed this blog from the beginning, or if you have read my article about my brother disowning me because I moved to New Zealand for a year, then you will know just how badly this dinner tonight could go.
In a couple of hours I will be meeting with my brother and his wife at a restaurant for the first time in months. I have been trying to meet up with him to break the news that I will be heading to Southeast Asia for at least a year, but all attempts to meet up have been futile.
I last saw him at his birthday where we all went out for drinks with his friends, and after the explosive reaction the last time I revealed my travel plans at a party before New Zealand, you can be damn sure I wasn’t going to with drinks in us that day.
Then, I had a chance to go out to dinner with my uncle, aunt, and my brother and wife. But alas, I couldn’t get off of work that night. Last month my uncle wanted us all to come over before he had back surgery, and I was going to go, but my brother bailed out and I didn’t have a ride. And for the past couple weeks my brother wouldn’t come out because him and his wife had been furloughed.
Ever since I returned home early from New Zealand to surprise my brother on my birthday, we still haven’t seen each other much.
So, as the trip creeps up closer and closer, I’m left with under two weeks to tell him I am leaving for a year or more.
I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t anxious at all. I’ve grown up emotionally in the past few months after writing about and facing a lot of my demons, and I am more confident than ever about my dream to travel the world, yet I know how my brother.
I know last time I told him, he stated over and over again, “You are no longer my brother.”
I know for a fact that he thinks it is highly irresponsible of me to travel the world instead of getting a secure job with benefits. He and his wife have always hark on me about saving for a car and for a house and about how important credit scores are.
Well, I can tell you one thing. All of those things listed above have never made me want to save up for it. They have all never created a fierce fire in my heart like travel does. There is no way a car or a house could motivate me to save up the $8,000 I have in the past 5 months, with another $1,500 to come hopefully these last couple weeks.
And I will tell him that.
The difference this time around is that I know why I was traveling before. Of course I loved traveling, but I was still not traveling for myself. I was still traveling to escape my past that haunted me. I was still traveling to prove to my brother that he was wrong. I was still traveling to show the world I would end up in a labor job breaking my back like my father for most of his life just to get by.
I was never truly traveling for me.
Now, I am more confident than ever about this crazy, irresponsible, and overall fulfilling dream. And I am confident this time to tell him, and to accept any reaction he has. After tonight, if he chooses to react the same way and disown me again, there is nothing in this world I can do to change that. Sure, I’ll be heartbroken again to have my brother say such things, but this is my life and my dream, and it is time to live it.
I will try to approach it differently though.
You see, my brother and I have NEVER once talked about my mother and fathers deaths. I have never told my brother how finding my father’s body darkened my soul and was etched into my brain however much I tried to forget it. I’ve never told him about how seeing certain colors brought up flashbacks of that day.
But I will try today.
I am going to try and ask him for just 15 minutes of silence as I talk about the past five years and how truly dark it was.
I will tell him about how I lied to him all of those times about being fine and dandy when I was honestly depressed.
I will tell him about my denial of it all just because I wanted to prove to him and to the world I could be great.
I will tell him of that day when I nearly killed myself because I had locked everything away for so long.
And then I will tell him how I have grown up.
How I am finally talking about our childhood and our parents deaths, accepting it, and how writing has helped me face it.
How this trip is different than all the other trips, because it is now transformational and not supplemental.
How travel gives me purpose and drive to work harder at something than ever.
How I know that he is trying to be the big brother that watches after his little brother after both parents passed away.
How I know the pressure that put on him, and seeing me potentially be reckless is frustrating.
How I was reckless, and drank into oblivion at times because I couldn’t face what happened to us.
And lastly, I will tell him that I love him, and respect his opinion, but that I need to be my own man and I just need him to be my brother and accept me for who I am.
I now believe I can be great, and it is time to pursue greatness for myself. Not somebody else’s measurement of greatness.
And then, after that speech which I am envisioning I will give in epic fashion and grandeur, I will tell him about moving. Hopefully talking about all of the things we haven’t in the past will help him realize just how serious I am about this lifestyle. I am tired of trying to prove my worth by spouting out all of the things like finances that he measures me on, but if he asks I will tell him about teaching English in Thailand. But typically he has no care to ask about my pursuits.
So then I will leave it at that.
And in a few hours time I will have my reaction, and I will tell you how it goes. I will not ask to be wished luck because even though it is a kind gesture, there is no luck that will decided the finale of this night. Just two brothers talking, and two outcomes possible. One outcome will be not talking afterward. Again.