"My brother and I are polar opposites, but somehow our differences have brought us closer together."
I don’t remember how I met my brother.
I don’t remember him being born.
I just remember him always being there.
It has been almost ten years now since we’ve lived under the same roof. I can’t speak on behalf of all siblinghood experiences, but we were raised with the mentality of always loving, forgiving, and looking out for each other no matter what. I never truly appreciated those sentiments until I left home and my brother’s presence was no longer a constant in my life.
“You only have one brother”, our family would always say.
When we were kids, we used to keep a stack of notebooks full of wild ideas. They were random, nonsensical concepts that had zero connection or correlation to anything concrete. They were often one sentence or one word, and we would construct an entire story filled with colorful characters and multi-layered narratives off of just that one sentence or word. That’s something I really miss when my brother’s not around. The boundless imagination and the limitless creative energy that flows so naturally every time we’re in the same room.
It’s like our brains are plugged into the same outlandish outlet.
I didn’t grow up thinking we were all that different. I had always assumed we were the same person with the same bizzaro interests and quirky habits. While there were some superficial similarities (a shared obsession for the made-for-TV movie, “The Temptations”, and a mutual dislike for the condensation bubbles that collect on the inside of water bottles when they sit around for too long), I have come to realize how different we are more and more each day.
He shreds on the electric guitar, he’s covered in tattoos, and he has a little girl.
I write make believe, I have bushy anime hair, and I’m a bunny parent.
Despite these differences, our core values remain intact: finding purpose through art.
My kid brother has the touch for music. He’s like the dude version of Rogue, a mutant in the X-Men who has the ability to absorb other mutant’s powers. It seems as though he can compose any song and play any instrument that he comes in contact with, and he's gotten better with age. I’ve always thought he had a more tangible talent than I did. I was more of the motor mouth who talked his way in and out of things.
I get super defensive when other people talk about him (even family). I think some folks look at him and make their irrational assumptions without understanding that he’s really strong and capable. He’s adulting a lot harder than me these days. He’s got me beat in the home ownership and raising a family game. If I think about it, I’ve always been the more defiant one. I’ve always gone against and rebelled against traditional Vietnamese socialization because it was cramping my style.
He’s always been the good kid with the tattoos.
I was initially worried about us growing apart due to our obvious differences. Maybe we wanted to build our own legacies. Maybe the people and spaces we’ve been surrounding ourselves with in the last decade have radically altered our political, social, and artistic philosophies...but somehow we never drifted.
We always found our way back to each other.
I don’t have those stacks of notebooks anymore, but I will always have my brother.