Incubus is set to perform tonight at KL Live and this will mark the third time I miss their concert. My 10 year-old self is crying on the inside, and I really wanted to take Imran with me since we both grew up listening to Incubus but alas, tak tercapai impianku kali ini.
My relationship with my brother has alway been… turbulent ever since we were born. We had our ups and downs, and now it’s a weird…. tolerance, I guess? Between us. It never used to be like this.
He was a totally different person when he was a child; someone that I’ve grown to miss over the last few years.
Imran was soft; easily moulded and shaped into whatever you wanted him to be. Easily bullied, to put it bluntly. But over time, he’d formed spikes from within for some reason and started mutating into someone we hardly recognised. It was getting increasingly difficult to see with him eye to eye, and at one point, none of us in the family wanted to have anything to do with him.
He shot up to be more than a handful for all of us. I shamelessly admit I was close to hating him and my father was inches away from delivering the ultimate blow of completely giving up on him. But my mother, bless her heart, always saw through the bullshit Imran had put and fought for him. Hard. Because none of us (including him) were making it easy for her.
You see, I grew up spoilt. Had everything I wanted, everything I needed, and was always given options. Imran had all that too, but the difference between us was I didn’t know what to do with them while he abused them. We were complete opposites living different lives.
Sometimes I wonder what compelled him to do the idiotic things he’d done. What was he rebelling about? What frustrated him so much to make horrible life choices when he was younger?
Or was he just a stupid little kid making stupid kid decisions?
Me, I was always the good one. I scored my exams, read books as a pastime, had little friends and kept to myself. I rarely went out on school nights because I hated the idea of socialising, and considered the things I had to be enough for me. I detested my brother for mixing around, doing time-wasting things when he could be home reading or studying.
When we moved to Damansara, I was in a phase where I hated everything in sight. I wanted to go back to Banting, wanted to retreat back into my safe bubble. But he was excelling. Made new friends, did new things, broadened his horizons… and I was jealous of that. I didn’t know how he was doing it. But instead of approaching him with curiosity, I shunned him from my life (didn’t help that he was an annoying little fuck back then) and refused to be a part of his formative years.
Sometimes I look back and regret that. Could I have made a difference if I was closer to him when we were younger? Would we have formed a much closer bond? Could we have done cooler brother-sister things growing up? Would he have let me into his life, and would I have helped keep him out of trouble?
But the thing is, maybe none of those things could’ve happened even if we were close. Maybe things were always supposed to be how they were in order for both of us to grow as individuals. I learned from his mistakes, and I hope he learned from mine.
Our relationship was close to nonexistent for some time until he left for Lumut. The less I saw him, the closer we got. I suppose it was the distance; absence really does make the heart grow fonder. And funnily enough, we reached the pinnacle of brotherhood when we started smoking up together. We used to talk a lot. He would invite me to his room and we would chill, smoke, talk about life goals… or rather he would talk and I would listen. I liked listening to him verbally plan out his life. I was proud. Here was this boy who 4 years ago looked like he would amount to nothing, now making proper plans for his life. I was envious, sure, but never have I been prouder as a sister.
Back when I was working at The Wknd, I was at a good place. And he was too, and I remember thinking to myself; if this is how both our lives are going to be like from now on, we’d make Mummy and Baba so proud.
But Baba still had a lot of issues to work on with Imran. He was going through his own dumb ass shit (that he put himself in) and was taking it out on his son. This was common back then. I suppose that was where one part of Imran’s rebellion stemmed from. Daddy issues, who doesn’t have them am I right? This time around however, I was on Imran’s side. I didn’t understand the unrealistic expectations, the weird obsession these men have with their egos. I couldn’t understand their thought process. Two very similar heads butting against each other when they could be working together.
Both wanted different things for one person, I guess.
Eventually, both grew out of it and currently they’re in a good place now.
Also eventually, I stopped smoking up and we drifted apart again. No, I know better. Weed wasn’t the crutch to our sibling relationship. It was a pedestal for us to gain better understanding of each other, but it couldn’t have lasted forever because we never really solved the deep rooted issues within.
I think he still bears grudges against me. Perhaps it was because of how I (mis)treated him when we were little. Really, I was a mean bully. And he was soft, like I said. Perhaps it was because I was always given higher regard, asked to be made a model out of, compared to by our parents and grandparents. Obviously it was damaging as an individual. Looking back, I probably shouldn’t have milked it in so much but I was young, and revelled in the fact that I was the golden child.
But we’ve both grown up since then. He definitely has, and is much more mature than I am in some ways. I am happy for him. Proud. There is no way to go for him but up at this point. Hopefully.
I learn a lot from just observing his antics and the way he plans his life out. Everything is cut and dry, black and white, yes or no. There is no think, there is just do. I admire and respect him for it, wishing my life can be as straightforward as that.
But here’s the tricky part. He needs to understand that with what he has now, as an individual – minus the hustle and life goals – is not enough for him to be wholly… mature. He lacks compassion and empathy, which frustrates me to this day because sometimes I wish he could see it from someone else’s point of view instead of his own.
Someday I will confront him about this. Someday I will dig all the frustration, dissatisfaction and whatever issues he has out. But the difference now is I will not come from a hostile place. I will sit, and wait patiently for him to talk or lash out, or say whatever he wants to say to me, and I’ll take it all in.
Then I’ll tell him what I think. Patiently, in his language if possible, and reason with his feelings. No more quips, no more belittling. Just… talking.
Whatever it takes for us to move past this dip in the ride.
Tonight’s musing; friends come and go, but siblings are forever.