Broke But Not Poor

I FaceTimed my little brother to say happy birthday on Thursday, and I ended up infuriated. He said he can’t cope with my nephew living with them any more. From the sound of it, my nephew hasn’t changed since he was younger, and is bullying my little brother. I mentioned in posts before that my nephew was being incredibly rude to me at times, only ever talks about himself (has little interest in anything or anyone else it would appear), and seems to think he rules the roost and is a gift to the world… but I don’t like him making my brother feel small, and that to me is crossing a line. Apparently the two boys walked my dog (that feels wrong to me on so many levels, that was always my time to just be with my dog and just have a moment with him that nobody could intrude on) and he told my brother to respect him because he is his elder (my brother is 2 years younger than him, and apparently my nephew is acting as if he’s a toddler who can’t do anything right). He’s pushing him around with words and belittling him and being rude, and I know he speaks with a vile tone. It’s making my little brother feel awful about himself, and I know how it feels to be belittled and crushed with words and attitude because I’ve been there. Unfortunately I hate to admit that my nephew is THE DEFINITION of a narcissist. It bugged me enough that I messaged my mum and told her to talk to her son about the narcissist living among them.

I forgot about this issue enough to continue with stuff, and when I woke up the next morning I went for a swim. This time I aimed to swim for 2 hours, because if I join the university swim society then the training sessions I will attend will be 2 hours long (and at the Olympic pool one day a week). After an hour and a half I was having to spend 5 minutes sat on the side of the pool just to recover. My kick is weak because it makes my heart freak out, but my pull is at the stage where it is faster than most (non-competitive) swimmers’ full stroke, so I think I’d be able to make it through swim trials. By the end though, my heart had been racing and hiccuping for so long that it hurt and my left arm was weirdly warm and numb and kinda sore. I decided this was the time to get out of the pool. As I got changed, I realised it felt like I was breathing in thick steamy air from a sauna, and I was coughing up a thin watery substance which was not fun. I could hardly walk on the way home. It took me a long time and my feet hardly moved with each step. I got back to my room and just collapsed, which was very well timed. I stayed where I was for half an hour because I didn’t have the energy to move and my heart wasn’t fast fast (it was comfortably below 200) but it had been stressed out for too long, and it was letting me know that I was an idiot. I kind of felt strong though, I was empowered by my capability within the pool, and that overrode my incapability out of it.

My mum called me. She asked what my brother had said about Narcissist Nephew, and I told her. She said that he’s been exactly the same with her and that she refused to live like it for 2 years as it is really bothering her and she can’t cope and has even had to speak to dad about it. My immediate thoughts were:

And you shouted at me when I had my doubts about him moving in with ‘us’… Because I had concerns that exactly this would happen and you told me I was ridiculous.

Do I still seem like such a bad child now? Do you feel a little bit luckier that you gave birth to a human who turned out like me? Do I still seem so awful????

I KNEW THIS WOULD HAPPEN I TOLD YOU SO!

Recently when I told you he was making me feel like crap and that he made me feel like I was pushed out and didn’t belong and made me feel like nothing, you just shouted at me and dismissed it and wouldn’t even hear it beyond the first sentence. And now you’re saying exactly the same thing on the phone to me and that’s ok?

I kind of had this outpouring of anger about the way my nephew is being. My little brother is too terrified to talk to anyone else about it because he doesn’t want my sister and her husband to hate him or stop talking to my parents (they are hardly talking anyway, and have only just got to this stage because of my nephew moving in with my parents &co.). He can be nice, but I googled the definition of a narcissist, and when you live with him on a daily basis long enough for him to let down his guard… I hate to say it, but that’s him. My mum made an agreement with him to tell my dad to pick him up from a party earlier than it was due to finish, because my dad is old and it was a considerate thing to do. He lied to my dad in front of her and told her he had no recollection of their conversation. He can be very manipulative.

Anyway. On the first night I lived here I met up with ex-flat brother because I didn’t know anybody else. He is very confident (and occasionally judgemental) and doesn’t care what people think of him so often shrieks if anything takes him by surprise or startles him, even in the middle of public places. I find I can’t be myself around him and have to watch everything I say so he doesn’t misread sarcasm (he takes everything literally) or treat me like I’m an idiot, but he has been a good friend to me in and he was there. So we hung out. As we were making smalltalk about what we wanted to do this year, I said that I wanted to just go to Richmond Park and wander round (by myself). The next day I got a message saying

When do you want to go to Richmond park?

I was pretty horrified. He takes everything literally and reads situations completely wrong and one time just followed my friend and I to the hospital when I was seriously ill and then just sat there staring and looking at me like I was a freak – I asked him not to go (because they have to take off my top and stuff, and I’m not that close with him, and I didn’t want him to see me so unwell because I didn’t know him like that) but he just followed silently and it was so awkward and it really stressed and freaked me out because he just walked after us everywhere and literally stared open mouthed, and the hospital staff didn’t even ask who he was (and he didn’t ask permission). I really wanted to go to Richmond alone, or with one of my Uni friends, because I didn’t want to be judged and have to put so much effort into what I said for so long. It feels awkward and uncomfortable and it is very draining. He’s a nice guy and he can be a really good friend, but his people skills aren’t great and he tends to draw a lot of attention to himself and sometimes when he judges me or shouts/ snaps at me I feel like crap.

Too British to correct him and too polite to back out because it would make things super awkward and I didn’t want him to get all angry at me, I ended up saying I’d go to Richmond park on Friday, hoping he would forget. I then felt bad so checked, and he kept wanting to meet at earlier and earlier times even though I’d told him I was busy until 12.

We went to Richmond. He sat on the tube puffing up his cheeks and drumming on his legs and then clapping his hands. Every time the tube stopped he’d grab the pole even though he was sitting down, and a couple of times he shrieked. He had absolutely no shame, which I kind of admire, but I was embarrassed enough for the both of us as people stared and some shook their heads in irritation. Thankfully he seemed oblivious. I tried to just focus on where we were. He walked ahead of me which made things even more awkward. But then I managed to get him to walk slower and talk, and he bought me a McDonalds and I felt bad. I love Richmond, it’s such a nice place. I like seeing how the other half live. It’s all private schools and everybody drives nice cars and they just look more attractive and they are well dressed. There were mums with young kids and rich, in-shape dads doing the school run, and huge jumbo jets roaring overhead as they prepared to land at Heathrow airport. Everybody had dogs – Labradoodles and pugs and spaniels. There was one lady carrying a labrador puppy like it was a baby. I just liked looking at the views from Richmond Hill.

By the time I got back to Mile End, my legs were so sore and I was so tired that I could hardly walk. Uni Portsmouth Friend knew I had hardly any money left, and invited me to the Biomed. society’s meet and greet for first years because she’s pretty senior on the committee and they have free pizza at this event. I tried to go to this event when I was a fresher last year, but the room was so full they weren’t letting any more people in. This year though, it was awesome. It was mostly third and second years and there was hardly anyone there. I talked to some of my course-mates that I’d seen around but had never spoken to, and they talked to me like they’d known me ages. They were so nice, and it really brought me out of my shell until I felt like a different person. They were honestly such kind and friendly people, and I joked around and ate pizza and they talked about how they too found the idea of uni daunting and exciting at the same time, because after 4 months off they had forgotten how to student. I made three new friends, and one of them added me on social media, and that’s super rare for me because I am usually a socially awkward shy person who hides away and doesn’t talk to anyone I don’t know. I guess after being in my accommodation I was so lonely and desperate for company that I would have talked to the pizza if I’d had to. I’m so glad I put myself out there though. It went well (and I got two slices of Domino’s pizza completely free).

I went home, I got changed, and I met one of my other really good friends from uni who lives just round the corner from me (she called me babe in her last message to me, so I may just call her Uni Babe). I wasn’t in a mood to go out to Brick Lane, but we made out way there anyway for Uni Pal’s birthday drinks. I’m so glad I went. To start with it was just four of the 5-6 of us that usually sit together in lectures (including Women’s Rugby Uni Friend, who has been there for me through so much), but we’re good friends and I hadn’t seen 2 of them all summer (and we hadn’t all been together since after exams finished) so it was great to see them. They all offered to buy me drinks as I’d bought them some in the past, and because I had a handful of 1 and 2 p coins in my pocket and that was all the money that I have. Uni Pal bought me two drinks (doubles, because she’s too generous) and I got a little tipsy, my body got a bit annoyed at that, and I had two nosebleeds (very. Embarrassing). A couple of girls from my tutor group showed up. I didn’t really think we knew each other very well but there were hugs and conversation and I didn’t feel like my usual socially awkward self which was cool. It was just so nice not to be alone any more. I had a really good night.

Uni Babe and Women’s Rugby Uni Friend left with me at 11 and we got the overground and underground back to our respective stops. Uni Babe took me to the shop just by my building because she wanted a load of snack foods and lives right near it. Drunk me wasn’t as stubborn as sober me, so I turned down a lot of free food, but still ended up with a shopping bag containing some drinks, a ready meal, and a bag of apples (she kept offering to buy me more, and even messaged me this morning telling me to just ask). I was at the stage of drunk where I was just relaxed and happy and sleepy, and only really felt drunk when I stopped moving and couldn’t stand up straight. But I felt all the feels. I thanked her over and over and sent her many messages as I filled my hungry stomach with the food she’d bought me and put the change she’s given me on the side. 80p is enough to buy bread, which I feel may be a wise investment. I genuinely have the best friends. I am touched by their kindness and incredibly grateful for their generosity. I don’t deserve it, and I told them this, and their replies made me feel all the feels, because they said I deserved the world. I mean… These people are too nice to exist, and I am fortunate enough to call them my friends. I feel like the richest person in the world right now. I may be (temporarily) a little broke, but I’m certainly not poor right now.

“I get by with a little help from my friends” – John Lennon

Things are good.

Really good.

I am finally home.

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