_ for effort

My brother has wasted his entire weekend alternatively staring into space or playing a certain CD nineteen times in a row, instead of studying for a Physics test that has to make up for the one he failed two weeks ago.

Today he woke up early enough to blow off all his classes, then ate his way through the fridge out of boredom and nervousness.

It has been a shitty week-and-then-some, full of space/sharing issues, frustrations, medications seemingly not kicking in, a job on the verge of being lost, etc., and now it is 8 o’clock Monday night and we’re in the middle of a (nearly) full-blown anxiety attack. My brother’s voice is a steady crescendo as he recounts all the ways he thinks he has failed in life, especially over the last few weeks.

I am trying to calm him down, interject a little level-headednes amongst the panic, but he is having difficulty slowing down enough to hear me. I know procrastination, college misery, pressure from all sides, severe depression and anxiety, being 21 and feeling like you’re never going to be able to hop back on the merry-go-round… but I do not know what it is like to deal with all those things plus a serious lack of life skills, and ADD as the icing on the cake.

I’m trying, he groans, but it’s all so fucking hard and I don’t know how to study or what to do or how to do it and I wasted so much time and I’m going to fail, it’s like there’s no fucking point now to doing anything about it!

I know, I say, but you also keep telling me you can do this, so you need to start to believe that, and at least try.

But it’s too late! There’s NO WAY I’m going to pass the test now, I can’t motivate myself, I haven’t done any of the homework problems and there’s like FOUR CHAPTERS’ WORTH-

So, what? You’re going to keep crying about it for a few hours, and then not sleep tonight worrying about the test and fail it anyway? Go get your stuff, I’ll stay here with you until you get the homework done.

It’s too much! And it’s FOUR CHAPTERS! And it’s already 8 o’clock and-

And it’s 9 o’clock in New York, and 7 in New Mexico.


Exactly. Go bring your stuff down here and get started.


I’m sorry, Z, this is non-negotiable now. Go get your stuff, do at least one homework problem and we’ll take it from there.

(he sighs)

And then at least you can say you’ve tried.

He relents. Almost two hours later and he’s still at it, there’s a deep calm in the house when Monk gets home, and I am glad I decided to cancel my own study group tonight to be home with my brother. I don’t know if this last minute effort, though earnest, is going to earn my brother the grade he needs tomorrow, but I can tell he’s feeling more at peace and confident, which is good. I know he’s trying, and that has to count for something.

Monk is concerned by how drained I seem but I don’t feel like talking (ranting, who are we kidding) about the evening and cancelled plans, a consistent lack of energy and a running list of items we will need to replace whenever my brother moves out (the latest, as of today: The relatively new, white luxe comforter in our beautiful-guest-room (what used to be the room I used to, you know, get some sleep at night)-turned-brother’s-room, which now has pink highlighter all over it). He is ready to take over, to continue the patient instruction and tolerance he’s practicing daily, ever since my brother moved in with us in August. But I smile and tell him my brother’s doing his homework, preparing for his exam tomorrow, and let’s try to be quiet so he can focus. I tell him I’ll be staying up tonight until my brother finishes this, and that it’s okay, tonight it’s my turn.

Tomorrow will bring a host of different issues, I’m sure, and Monk and I will continue to deal with things as they come, holding fast to our patience and compassion, our tongues and our tempers, coping and hoping for the best in every moment. I don’t know if any of this is helping my brother, but dammit, we’re trying. And that has to count for something.

3 comment:

Blogger Lisa said...

My heart is with you Quinn. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have had the patience. But you do. ANd that's wonderful.

I hope all went well. You've definitely earned a "Best Sister in the Whole Wide WOrld" award.

6:02 PM  
Anonymous skyhawk said...

Add my heart and, for what it's worth (a lot, I've come to feel) prayers for what the three of you are going through right now.

You're an awesome sister. A+.

9:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What CD was it?

Sorry, just looking for a way to avoid my own homework.


4:06 PM  

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