When my grooming began and the abuse started, my family's existence revolved around my super star athlete brother who had accomplished so much in his 18 years in Artesia. It has been so easy over the years to blame his stardom and my parents support of his athletic journey on my feelings of invisibility. I lived years with the belief that no one knew what was going on with me because they were so focused on my brother. Of course they didn't notice my abuse. They were at all my brother's games and events. When they went to Albuquerque to watch his games, my abuser used their absence to build a deeper bond and continued to abuse me. At the time, it was very easy to blame my family because I wasn't in a place of blaming my abuser for planting all those ideas to further build our "bond" and "connection". We were never close and as the years went on post high school we drifted further apart.
In my eyes, he was a brother who went on to be a Division 1 athlete. He was a strong Christian who shared the deep religious beliefs of my parents. He married a beautiful girl from our hometown. They stayed grounded in their faith as the built a family of 4 kids. As he always had, my brother worked hard and became very successful in his industry. Mirroring the feelings of that 14 year old kid, I always felt I could never possibly compete with him.
In contrast, I came out at 19, and while my parents couldn't have been more supportive I always felt they favored Kirk because he could give them the traditional family most parents envisioned for their children. I had a string of terrible relationships in my twenties that were embarrassingly bad. I kept falling on my face over and over again while my brother kept excelling in life. I kept running from my past moving from city to city. My final relationship before my husband Derrick was awful. He was abusive in every way, especially financially where he used my young credit to open credit cards and refinance his house. To finally cut the ties with that man, I had to file for bankruptcy at the age of 26. Emotionally and personally, my life till my late twenties was a complete dumpster fire compared to my brothers.
Kirk has always been supportive, even with my sexuality. He is a deep believer in his Christian faith, but he always accepted me. It was very easy to lump Kirk in with the Christian Right who was fighting so hard to stop Gay Rights, but he truly wasn't. He has always accepted me.
You have read how I met Derrick and got my life together. You have read how I became a father and how I have become a successful educator, However, my inferiority complex towards my brother never truly faded.
It is funny how life reconnects people in the exact right time. In the past 2 years, he has endured his own personal struggles that tested him in so many ways. He needed the support of our family during his difficult times. He just needed our family to look past the drama to support and love him.
I was finally dealing with my abuse and the impact it had on my life for the past two decades. I needed my family to look past all the stigmas, guilt, and pain to support and love me.
After years of not truly being close, our lives have finally intersected in such a beautiful way this year. I needed my big brother this year. He has been my biggest supporter and advocate. He is still friends with so many people from our hometown on social media. He was the first to share this blog on social media which has lead to thousands of people, many from my hometown, reading and sharing my story. Kirk did that. He has fielded phone calls from shocked people and he has even persistently continued to send my blog to every reporter and media person he knew in New Mexico.
In my eyes, he is the big brother, who ducked out of football practice, who is jumping up and down like a maniac as I won my first big race. I still have a long ways to go on my healing journey but I know he will be there, jumping up and down like a maniac, when I cross the finish line someday.
I still remember the moment in therapy when I realized my abuse and trauma had put up so many barriers in my relationship with Kirk. I had a moment of clarity where I actually envisioned a close relationship with the brother I had resented for years. Healing tore down those barriers so we could finally show up for each other when we needed support the most.
This weekend, he remarried a beautiful woman in Arkansas. He has healed from his hurt and has found a woman who loves him full-heartedly. So when he told us they were to have a very small wedding ceremony at their home in Arkansas, I didn't hesitate to book a flight. Yes, Covid made the trip unique and challenging. I mean who wants to fly a total of 5 hours with a N95 mask and a face shield, but it has been so worth it. Covid has also allowed us to slow down and just relax together as it removed all the pressure to run around town doing local activities. I have been able to just sit back and reconnect with my brother and his beautiful new wife and children.
Life brings has a way of bringing people back into our lives at just the right moment. Recovery provided an opportunity to see who will truly show up for me when I need them the most. I am beyond grateful that my recovery and healing has brought me closer to my brother Kirk. It is great to have my big brother by my side as I walk this healing path.