Two Barts and a Lisa

Last week we looked at Cindy and Cora’s relationship and found that just because you’re born into a family, doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll bond with them. No, their close knit relationship came around adolescence and has been growing ever since. Sisters who rarely talked are now the kind you can often find traveling with one another. I told my mom about them and asked, “Can you imagine me, Dwayne and Ray Ray taking a trip together?” She could only laugh and say we’d likely kill one another. She wasn’t wrong. This isn’t because of some horrible past even that’s led us to be distant siblings who will never utter one another’s name. It’s based on age, location and well – beliefs. Remember Bird said you had to have some shared values, well ours are slim. We never had what the Campion sister’s of Rocky’s Revival had’ a musical connection that grew into a career. What we do have in common is being extremely stubborn and it’s worse when it comes to one another.

Again, we were all basically latchkey kids thanks to a working mom. When I was younger my older brother Dwayne was who I hung out with all the time. He was my big brother and I loved him more than anything. Maybe not more than my Bambi stuffed animal, but he was up there. Then he moved across the country to start his own family soon after our younger brother entered the picture. My relationship with Dwayne was always sibling based. We were never friends. Me and Ray Ray have a little more just because we were a little closer in age, but I think him being a boy and me heading off to college around the time he started to walk into puberty – we reverted back to brother and sister only. What Cindy and Cora have isn’t only the sister thing, they have an actual friendship thanks to living with one another their entire life. My siblings and I lived together up until it was time to fly the nest. We never really had to face one another as adults and how could our relationship ever move past what it was as kids?

Growing up I was the one who turned my older brother into the “oldest.” I took away his “only child” status and being that I came from a whole different dad, I’ve always wondered if that made him resent me, even just a little. Never having asked him this, I quickly asked over Facebook because that’s easier than making a call. When he finally replied he said, “No I loved you resented mom being with your dad though. Just at first, but it didn’t take long and then I liked him.” So apparently he was never like, “Damn this kid for being born.” That was not the case when I became the older one. I was jealous of my younger brother. Who wouldn’t be? The kid was freaking adorable and I soon fell into the dreaded middle child position.
Looking back I think what caused the low key rivalry between my younger brother and me though was school. We’re both bright. It’s just I’m what he’s always classified as a “nerd” and he was always one to start trouble. He even told me once that he didn’t want to be like me, meaning a geek who loved coming home and doing their homework. A couple of weeks ago this came to mind when watching Shameless. For those not in the know (still…I told you last week to watch it, you’re slacking), Lip is insanely smart and his brother Ian isn’t dumb, but he would be obliterated in a science competition. Anyways, after Lip scores Ian a janitorial job at his school and Ian throws a fit – he’s told that just because his brother is smart, doesn’t mean he has to be the dumb one. That’s something Connolly failed to mention. Rivalries may very well be based on the labels we’re given growing up, at least maybe that could be another reason they form in the first place. If you’re “the cute one” you better believe that the one dubbed “the other one” isn’t going to be too fond of the situation or the one being adored all the time for their looks. I was always the perfect kid when it came to school, while my brothers were the ones you could expect to mouth out to any form of educational authority.

Nevertheless, we may never have flat out hated one another because I was the honor roll student and he was the baby, but those labels could be the reason we are who we are today. The pressure of being the smart one and then not living up to that potential gets me every other day, while my younger brother believes it’s his birthright to live in his childhood bedroom without paying a dime because he’s the baby. Our sibling stances, after all this, has made me look at Connolly’s idea about the whole, sibling’s being our introduction to competition but in the end, is the real competition sibling’s create…with ourselves? It’s human nature to want to succeed but I think when it all boils down we’re really fighting with ourselves the most – other people just happen to get in the way sometimes and it just so happens our siblings are the initial ones we face due to proximity, and our parents not stopping at one.

When it comes to my Barts though, I see their lives and how we’re different but at the end of the day I don’t sit and think of evil cartoon-like plots to take them down. No, I just think – I need to get my own shit together and maybe they think more or less the same because let’s face it, none of our lives are 100%.


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