Friday, March 23, 2007

My Brothers Keeper

I always wanted a brother. An older brother, someone I could share secrets with and be close to. Someone to teach me the ropes and protect me. I envied the girls who grew up next door to me because they had an older brother. He was for the most part nice to them, and he was nice to me. He was murdered when he was 18 - and I remember sitting outside crying with his sisters and thinking he was the closest thing I had to a brother, and he was gone.

Since I didn't grow up with a brother I have been behind the curve on men. I'm fascinated by them in a way that women who grew up with brothers are not. I was grown before I realized that this fascination was not shared by all women. When I was a little girl I liked to play with boys and hang around them. I liked to watch the way the interact with each other. My grade school teacher advised my mother that I was playing like a "tomboy" with the boys, and I was beginning to develop - so I should stop. My mother concurred. I was heartbroken. I had no boys to play with at home, how would I learn about them. Why was playing with them taboo?

Between middle school and high school I must have had twenty boyfriends. Not because I was fast, or easy. But because I liked and wanted to be with boys so much I would agree to "go with" any boy who asked me, when I should have just been their friends. Those relationships lasted for about a week, and most times didn't even result in a kiss. (I'm sure they were disappointed that I wasn't fast.)

When I was twenty-one I married my high school sweetheart. He was my "first" everything. I was faithful even though he was not, and I was in no rush to sleep with other guys. But I did miss them. I wanted to be around them again. There is something about the energy men give off. The way they smell, talk and move. It's wonderful - and I'm still in awe of them in some ways.

I've made some lasting and not so lasting friendships with men over the years. I like to think of them as my surrogate brothers. I've learned a lot from them and I'm still learning from my surrogate blog brothers, Zed, West and James (see side bar). Things that girls with brothers learn early on. They learn that guys lie, even good guys. That some guys are good and some are bad. That sometimes good guys do bad stuff, and that sometimes bad guys do good stuff. That sex does not mean love to men, and that guys think totally different from women. One of the most important things I've learned from them is that "it's not personal." I tend to take everything personally.

So, thanks to all my surrogate brothers. Thanks for teaching me. Thanks for being my keeper.


James Burnett said...

Damn, Angie! This was deep. Seriously, I told you before I believe in credit where it's due. This was an excellent piece of writing. You should submit this essay for publication in a magazine like Essence or something.

TDJ said...

Hey Angie! I grew up as an only child and I often wish that I'd had an older brother also. Men are complex characters. *lol* Great post!

Angie said...

Thanks guys! James, thanks for the encouragement. I'll think about it.

West said...

Nice one. (And you're welcome. :) )


Tay Lin said...

Hi, Angie I think you should send this to a magazine too!!! It's kiddo check out my new blog!!!