©2017 by James Hewlett.

  • James Hewlett

Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?


Forewarning, this one gets deep. I didn’t have fun writing it and I can’t imagine it will be fun to read back. I’m not proofing it so it is probably full of mistakes.

What a beautiful day, mid twenties all day long, sun shining, not a cloud in the sky. How can it be such a nice day and I be in such a dower mood?

It started pretty early, there were delays getting in to load up this morning meaning I didn’t get on the road until gone ten. For context I’m normally away and at my first job on a Tuesday at eight forty five. Despite being out so late I had a bunch of extras put on my run too. I didn’t even attempt to finish it all. I put in my hours, worked fast and got most done but I don’t feel bad about missing a few jobs.

That didn’t help my mood, but it happens, it can usually brush that off fairly quick. The thing that got to me and had stuck with me all damn day, to the point where I’m on my third beer at seven thirty in the evening when I shouldn’t be drinking anything because I’m still healing from a gout attack, well, I’ll give you a few guesses but I bet you won’t need them.

Of course it was Jon. I haven’t spoken to my brother in over a month, haven’t had a real conversation with him in well over a year, haven’t really been close with him in longer. And it fucking sucks.

This morning, out of the blue, I got an email from him. I was waiting to load up my van so I decided to read it even though the subject line was ‘Not about wrestling so you’ll probably delete this.’ I should have known by the passive aggressive nature of that that the content wasn’t going to put a smile on my face.

I was pleasantly surprised to begin with, he was just laying out he and Maggie’s plans for the next few months and it sounded all very good, for him.

I want to back up for a minute here and say a few things. I haven’t talked about Jon and my problems with him as much as I could have and probably should have. The biggest reason for this is that it really requires years and years of context and backstory to really understand what is going on. I’ve talked, at length, to some very good friends about it as they have a deeper understanding on us and have known us both on some level personally for years. They at least know me well enough to know what I mean and understand where I’m coming from.

My biggest worry about talking about it publicly is that without the correct context and because I’m likely to miss things out in the retelling, I think it could be easy to think that I’m actually just an insensitive asshole unwilling to give my brother the support he needs.

I just want to make it very clear that I have been there for him when no one else was. I’ve had his back when everyone wanted to write him off and I’ve tried to do everything in my power, both outwardly and inwardly to help him.

Let’s get back to today.

I was happy reading the first part of the email, the first third he lays out his plan and although I could pick it apart and find a lot of flaws in it, if it makes him happy then he has my full support. Go for it. I wasn’t going to get excited for him, sad that he was leaving or anything else though as it is all the same talk that I’ve heard before. I’ll be pleased for him if he follows through with it this time but it is the second time in as many years and the fifth or sixth time over all that I’ve heard the same shpeel.

Then we get about a third into the email and it takes a turn. The guilt trip starts. The quotation marks start. Quite frankly, the insults start. Nothing direct, no name calling or angry insults, no no, the ones hidden behind false humour. The ones that if he was ever called on it he could recall behind and say, oh I was just making a joke.

Last time we spoke, when I told him I wasn’t interested in hearing anymore of his bullshit, when I drank myself to sleep for a weekend because I was afraid that effectively cutting myself off from him would lead him to do something stupid that couldn’t be undone and that I would live with the guilt of for the rest of my life. That time I did call him on his insults and he pleaded complete ignorance. That made it so much worse because not only does he not realise what he’s saying is deeply deeply hurtful and rude, but he doesn’t even have the thought that if that is how it’s been taken that he should apologise for it. He is a very selfish person and it makes me very sad.

So the insults start and I brush past them and chalk them up to Jon being an idiot thinking he’s being funny while thinking in the back of my mind, well nothings changed here.

Next up comes more guilt tripping. Last time we spoke I told him I think he needs to get some real help. What I meant by that was some professional analysis and therapy and maybe to get on to a programme of helping himself. He didn’t respond well to that as he thinks that all doctors are out to get him and aren’t willing to help. He also doesn’t think there is anything wrong with himself and is unwilling to do anything to help himself.

In the email he even says he has not and will not be attempting to get any “real help, as you put it” and that if that is what I’m waiting for that he’s saving me some time.

This is immediately followed up by making me look like the asshole bad guy by saying things that make it sound like there is A, sides at all and B, people are now on his.

He claims to be a victim of circumstance. The key word in that is victim. Jon, in my book, has a victim complex. He needs to be the victim, everything is someone else’ fault, always. Anything that happens in a positive way is him changing that circumstance and doing it on his own without any help. He craves praise and admiration, he has admitted this. He has a but a few people that he still considers friends and I believe it is because they are the only people who haven’t called him out of his issues. Some of them may be unaware of those problems, some of them may choose to ignore them, either way I’m actually happy that he has these people around him. At least he’s not alone. He sees them at the people who believed in him and believed that he would pull himself out of the funk he’s in. I don’t believe this is a funk, I think it is much deeper than that, I think it is a serious mental health problem and it tears me apart to see it.

But I’m happy that these people support him and give him the praise he craves. I know some of his friends have been with him for years but I see now why he has, in his adult life, made more friends who were younger than him, a lot of them being friends of mine. He is a larger than life character and charismatic as all hell. He is someone people want to be around and he is able to feed his ego and garner the praise he desires from these more impressionable people. I was one of them for a long time, longer than most probably.

The back half of the email is all about the revelation he believes he had about why he was sent away as a kid. Lets just get the record straight, he was never sent away. He chose to go an DJ on cruise ships because it was an alluring life for an eighteen year old who had burnt bridges everywhere he’d lived and didn’t want to live with his girlfriends parents anymore. He got paid well to travel the world. He makes is sound like he was sent to prison, because he has a victim complex.

He goes in to a lot of detail about my dad, rewriting history to suit his own needs and narrative. Hell, he even says that he can make it fit the narrative in the email. I think he’s been watching too much Westworld.

He ends the email by doing something he did in our last conversation. Claiming to know me better than I know myself and saying that I have a load of problems that he and he alone can help me fix. He is desperate to have his once loyal disciple back and he tries every fucking thing he can think of to get me back under his wing and in his shadow. That is where he finds comfort.

The only problem I have, the only thing, literally, that causes me grief, upset, sadness and (emotional, because fuck gout) pain in my life is Jon.

And thats just about the saddest thing I ever have to admit but I came to that conclusion some time ago.

Ooooh I could go on and on and on but I think I’ve said enough here for one night. Thanks for persevering through this, I feel like I should give you a prize or something? Erm, want a £5 off voucher for custom picture frames? Shoot me a message or tweet and it’s yours. I’ll see you tomorrow.

#family #sadness #mentalhealth #rant