Dear eldest brother:
I am not now, nor have I ever been, a VICTIM.
My upbringing did not make me one. My lack of opportunity didn't make me one. Being poor didn't make me one. Moving around a lot and not spending more than five years (and that was the longest stretch) in any one place didn't make me one. Our mother getting divorced twice didn't make me one. Not being guided and encouraged during my formative years didn't make me one. Coming from a broken home didn't make me one. Being a drug addict didn't make me one. Being a latchkey kid didn't make me one. Having a mental illness didn't make me one. Our mother being promiscuious didn't make me one. Our mother getting pregnant at sixteen didn't make me one. Being told that I could be whatever I wanted didn't make me one. Not being forced to go to college didn't make me one. Making the right decisions too late in life didn't make me one.
And none of these things caused you to be a victim, either. You did that all on your fucking own.
You seem to have this idea that our mother was a completely wretched person who never thought of anyone but herself. Sure, our mother wasn't a storybook depiction with freshly baked cookies after school and gentling prodding to finish your homework. Nor was she even halfway to that. She was loud-mouthed, had a vocabulary that would make a sailor blush, drank in bars, slept around, got married when she shouldn't have, made bad decisions, spent money too easily, and was entirely too selfish to be raising three children. However, she was not a bad mother. She was human and did what humans do. Some of her choices were far from the best, but she loved the three of us more fiercely than you could ever fucking know and sacrificed her life and her dreams to raise us.
Did you know that she wanted to be an archeologist? I didn't think you did. You don't know jackshit about her. You don't know jackshit about our brother. And you certainly don't know jackshit about me.
All you know is your own bitter pain and deluded jealousy. Yes, there are people in this world who have the things you want. Our mother did not impede you from having them. You did. Free will is a marvelous thing, you asshole. Telling me that it doesn't exist changes nothing. You made your own decisions. No one pushed you into them.
Not only that, but your life isn't that fucking bad. You have your own business. You have two incredibly intelligent children who are excelling in college and will hopefully go on to be far better than you. Your life is not "wasted" because you don't have a summer home on the beach and the ability to jetset away for vacations twice a year. Your childrens' lives are also not wasted if, when they are completely grown, they don't have these things either.
And our brother's life isn't a washout because he never got his high school diploma. He's content with the kind of person he is and struggles to further himself in his career. He's smarter then you, sometimes even smarter then me and I'm the smartest out of the three of us. He may not have all the things you so dearly wish you had, but he's not an unhappy or covetous individual. Unlike some other people I could name.
Furthermore, we were not ABUSED in any way, shape or form. And to say so is ridiculous and asinine. Do you even know what abuse means? Are you able to see far enough past your own nose to realize exactly how much our mother really did for us?
You sit there and have the gall to ask me why I've gotten so defensive about this. Why am I reacting like this? Because our mother is DEAD. She died, her body riddled with cancer, in a shithole nursing home with me holding her hand to my lips and our brother sitting at the foot of the bed. Where were you?
Where were you when our brother and I got the news that the mass in her small intestines was a malignant tumour and it had ruptured? Where were you when she was told that if she didn't get a second round of chemo in the next handful of months, she'd be dead before the year was out? Where were you when she shit herself in the car on the way home from the oncologist's because of the chemotherapy? Where were you when she puked up everything she'd finally been able to force herself to eat? Where were you when she cried in the middle of the night because she was so scared? Where were you during the countless blood tests, PET scans and surgeries? Where were you when she realized she was never going to walk again? Where were you when she realized she was never coming home?
The woman who gave the three of us life is gone forever and you have nothing but bad things to say about her? Count yourself lucky that I only raised my voice slightly above speaking level and said 'walk it off, you fucking nancy'. Be thankful that all I did was go into a rant about how none of us are victims. Be fucking glad, eldest brother of mine, that I didn't break an ashtray over your thankless skull.
You tell me that I'm a carbon copy of her?
I'm proud of it.
I'd rather be a strong, hard-headed, selfish woman who's made too many mistakes than a piss-and-moaning, self-righteous, sour old man who can't see the forest for the 'could have' and 'should have' regets that he continually conjures up. I can only hope that you eventually pull your head out of your ass because I don't want your children winding up holding hatred and disdain for you.
Despite how angry you make me, I don't hate you. I used to, but not anymore. I've moved on from that.
That moving on thing? I suggest you try it. It's amazing how one's mind clears when one doesn't walk around with so much regret and bitterness in their heart.