I looked pretty good once they cleaned me up, right? This was one of the first family photos we took together, but despite how normal we appear, we were anything but a perfect family. Let me give you a little history.
My mom was later to the game giving birth to me at the age of 39. My dad was 41, and my brother was about to go to middle school. So most of the time, I was alone, not because I wanted to be, but because my parents had already put all of their energy into raising Bryan.
Yeah, my mom organized a couple of birthday parties for me, let me have a pet squirrel, and fed me emotional security...sometimes. But I dealt with my issues independently of her, even as a young boy. As I grew older, ICQ and the computer screen, her two besties, stole her attention away from me.
My dad was an extremely diligent and precise man. Some people worship the Bible; he worshipped his day planner. He was up by 4 am to exercise, checked away at his task list as if shitting was a priority, and in bed by 8 pm on the dot. He was meticulous about routines and personal business, and I rarely saw him veer away from his schedule.
I had just stopped sucking my thumb the day Bryan went to the Citadel for college. He never felt like a brother to me but just another emotionally absent parent. One of the few things we had in common was that he graduated from the high school I would go to in 8 years. We were obviously very close.
Between the three of them, I was pulled in different directions without every grounding myself. My mom was emotionally unavailable, my dad was in his own world, and my brother was physically away from me. This trifecta permeated my childhood. I’m thankful my therapist screened me for Bipolar disorder, but it’s a good thing the results disproved her theory.