My brother recently went to visit Headquarters for Christmas. (drawbacks of moving. He only visits Utah) Seeing as how I wasn't there, the majority of our interaction took place a few weeks ago on Skyping Sunday with a whole bunch of my family taking turns all mooshing themselves in the teensy yellow room in front of the webcam.
This particular sunday when Alex, James, and Mark and Amy were the core skypers*, I had a rare opportunity to skype with them completely alone for the duration of the kids meltdown and bedtime, but not before Libby and Emma availed themselves of the opportunity to display for Uncle Alex the toy we call The Camel. (He gets capitalization because he is an enemy force to be reckoned with.) The Camel is a stuffed animal from Jerusalem which plays music when you squeeze it. Incessant noise you can do nothing about except wait it out. The kind of noise that makes your blood pressure rise so quickly you can feel it. I had experienced this phenomenon several times already that day, seeing as how the girls both wanted to play with him. Camels get squeezed when you are ripping them out of your sister's hands, you know? I had actually spent sacrament meeting with the thing in my purse, strategically not applying pressure, in constant terror of what would happen if the thing went off. The Camel was a source of stress, kind of like a ticking time bomb.
So when they found the thing again and played it in all their glory several times accompanied by crying and concentrated exclamations of "That's MINE!" I confiscated it promptly and placed it high on a shelf above eye level. Feeling justified in doing so because Hello! It was bedtime and I am totally allowed to take away toys for selfish purposes as long as they are secondary to bedtime purposes! (right?) I went back to skyping and said to Alex without thinking and with a mix of pure vulnerable honesty and exasperation, "I can't handle The Camel."
Picture Jack Nicholson, veins bulging out of his face: "You can't handle the Truth!"
While I didn't mean to speak with such fervent emotion, this is the level of pathos and pure upset I feel about these stupid things about myself on a daily basis, and I guess some of that intense emotion eeked out unintentionally.
It must have sounded something like that, because this is the part where Alex laughed. You know my brother. Picture it. Hear the soul fixing burst of pure comedy that is my brother's laugh. It surprised me, pleasantly. I didn't particularly think my comment had been even slightly amusing, and there I was, the source of some of my favorite laughter on the planet, on accident. Not even just Alex, but Mark and Amy and James oh James. Guys, my family is funny when they laugh. And I caused that. If that isn't a self esteem boost, I don't know what is. Maybe the Nobel would equal that, but I don't know, Obama won it. (Kay that was really mean spirited and ucky of me. My shriveled Scrooged soul will probably repent quickly and delete this part, so if you read it, you're probably the only one. Guilt tangent, Fin.)
Kay my point is, I take heart in the fact that my absolute unhealthful neuroticism and blood pressure driven actions are not always as bad as they seem, because:
One, they make my brother laugh, and we all know I have spent a significant portion of my life imitating, seeking alliance and especially approval, and basically wanting to be my brother. Cause he's a boss. Making him laugh at me, even if it's a little bit cause I'm a dork, releases more endorphins than diet coke. That is serious.
Two: Such interactions could theoretically spawn the formation of "The Camel Club." This club could hypothetically pick a motto of "Blame it on the camel." And that would be priceless, hypothetically.
Three: Sometimes people react in a totally different way than I do to my weirdest weakest admissions, like the fact that I am soul-deep unhinged by the incessant noise of a souvenir camel. ( a small example of a thing that is a problem) I am not usually very kind to myself about those weakest parts of myself, and its nice to be reminded once in a while that maybe they aren't (maybe I'm not) so terrible. They could just be funny. We could just laugh and keep living and not have to fix everything. Maybe if we are laughing, I'm not so broken as I feel when its just me hanging out with myself. Maybe it is just fine if I can't handle the camel quite yet, or if I can't even get on it by myself. Someday I'll be a big kid who can handle it. Maybe I'll win a race. Maybe I'll win laughing.
That is the power of Skype, and siblings. I can sit in a room two thousand miles away and have one of the most hilarious conversations of my life with my beloved sibling people who heal my own perceptions of myself a little bit every time we talk even if they are laughing at me.
And in honor of one of the most hilarious conversations of my life, a round of quotebookage: ( Which I wrote on a grocery pad from the fridge and a half working pencil while we were talking, cause I knew I would forget and I had to blog about it! Geekin out, no big deal.)
"We can use it all the time and feel all elitist and stuff!"
Me:"My pencil lead is running out."
Alex: "Figuratively, Literally..."
James: "So that's your problem. Long on pencil short on lead!"
James: "So if they do it with a plot that'll be okay, but if they're like 'We'll just pull it out of our butts,' its gonna come out looking like a bunch of dirty underwear."
Amy: "I use the halo to hide my horns."
"Look! They're using separate plates"
"The newlyweddness is wearing off."
"Thanks to your teasing, we more often use separate plates and utensils in public."
And the inevitable sojourn into Firefly territory:
"Dear Buddha, please bring me a pony and a plastic rocket."
Also: "Well, it looks like my days of not taking you seriously are coming to a middle."
I love my siblings. Long live the Camel Club, amen.
*These skyping sessions with my family are quite interesting. No two are made up of the same people. Sunday is the night when the whole clan shows up to swing the pendulum of Headquarters from empty nest back to mad house, just cause we operate in extremes over there in Robinsonland. This usually means that we get a varied and diverse rotation of who actually skypes with us, and there usually ends up being a core of three or four people who stick out the smooshing and the noise until everyone else gives up and then whoever's left actually talks for more than sixty seconds. (Conversation of the fittest? Darwinian theories in a social application?)