Today was another long and supremely ‘busy’ (activity-wise) day. Activities included dim-sum, an afternoon of karaoke, and a dinner with friends. Some discoveries made during the course of the afternoon: 1) I live with THE Mandarin-Pop Princess (had always known WT had a good voice from her singing in the shower, but give her a mic and she REIGNS! 2) Yuehan could possibly be the Prince of Chinese-Pop. He only stayed to sing two songs, but what we heard was very good. 3) Edmund’s a Spice Boy (he knows practically every Spice Girl song) and the King of Canto-Pop 4) Xavier, Sun Can and Henry would make a really fun boy-band. 5) Think John never went for karaoke when in Toronto…he would have REALLY been in his element!
The last time I went for karaoke was in 1999. It’s been a while…thanks, Ting, for thinking of inviting me. :)
John and I skyped for 2.5 hours today. And it was unlike any conversation we’ve ever had before. Some parts were pretty standard…John’s corny jokes, teasing me (he translated my previous blog entry, the paragraph about looking but not seeing, not being fully present etc into Mandarin. And the translation was so ‘terrible’, it was hilarious), and just general catching up.
After a while though, I turned the conversation to a more serious topic. Since receiving a call from my mom two nights ago, there’s been a heaviness in my heart. It’s about a long-standing issue that both John and I had been grappling with for years. But in the past, we had never been able to really discuss this issue, because we were on very different ‘pages’. I’d always felt the need to protect him, while at the same time pushing him to see perspectives he was not ready to see. He never felt I fully understood his predicament and thought that I did not experience the same difficulties.
Today, I felt I didn’t have to protect John anymore. And we had a discussion, for the first time in our lives, I think, as adult siblings. I laid bare in simple terms, a painful self-discovery made two nights ago. He admitted that he had always had the same experience but always thought I did not understand. There was a slight ‘eureka’ moment when we both realized that despite our apparently different stances with regards this issue all these years, we both felt the same way. As the elder sibling, I’d always felt the need to be stronger, wiser, and the need to do the right thing so much so that I’d over-looked my own repressed pain. And because of that, and how I’d always acted, John never realized just how much we two had in common. He had also not been ready before to understand the perspectives I had been trying to get him to see. But things are different now.
I think we had the most adult and serious conversation of our lives. It almost felt to me that I was getting reacquainted with someone new. A brother with whom I can now hold important discussions with as a peer, rather than always as the ‘big jie jie’. And it felt good.
Funny how life is linked. Funny how experiences change people. Funny how much strength can be derived from weakness. Funny how we must learn to hope even when no solution is in sight. Funny how much difference having a shared understanding makes. Funny how often people forget to try to understand, acknowledge and empathize with someone else’s pain before trying to get him/her to move past it. Funny how I don’t realize when I do that although I’ve always known how important that is. Funny how different roads in our life intersect at the most unexpected of places.
I heard you. Thank you.