We are the products of our parents is the more common phrase, but I think it’s safe to assume, or maybe a disservice to deny, there are influences beyond the immediate familial category.
When I think of my own family, of course I can identify the traits, faults, positives, etc. I learned from my parents. But then there are others that I can firmly claim are from others.
I could list some self-identifying faults I’ve learned from my parents…the manic episodes of depression from my father, the differing versions of anger from both my mother and father, and even the fear of relationships due to seeing my parents constantly fighting and hearing how they talk about each other to me.
But it would be strange not to include the artistic joy I gained from my grandmother and my aunt. The notion that silence is okay, not every second has to be filled with speaking from my uncles.
It isn’t missed by me that I listed negatives for my parents and positives from my distant relatives…and that wasn’t intentional. I’ve learned many positives from my parents (attention to detail, time management…sort of, etc.) and plenty of negatives from my relatives (paranoia about being alone, keeping emotions bottled up until they explode, etc.). But these were the most obvious things at the moment.
What brought on this strange line of thought?
For those who don’t know/those who forgot, I work in theater off and on (i.e. contract to contract with varying lengths of breaks between each gig) and I’m currently in the rehearsal process of a new show.
Working in theater really is like holding a mirror up to your life. Discussions of character development can sometimes lead to triggers of memory. Which happened, reminding me of a specific relationship in my own life.
The relationship between myself and my brother. My mom and her brother is almost exactly the same. We don’t talk, except on the rarest of occasions, and when we are in the same room…it’s a little awkward.
Of course, it wasn’t this way when we were children. We were much closer…but there was also always a line of tension beneath the surface. I didn’t recognize it as a child, but it influenced me and I’m sure him as we grew into adulthood.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love my brother. But it doesn’t feel like we…like each other. I can only speak from my perspective and I feel like he doesn’t like me. I know he loves me…but I don’t think he likes me.
Of course, I’m probably wrong and my anxiety is getting the better of me. And to clarify…I like my brother. And I will love him until the day we die…it was just a strange flash of memory brought on by my work.