Life as an Extreme Sport

it’s easier to sing the blues

Information wants to be free.

This was the refrain I taught with for a couple of years, whenever I was sidekicking Phillip in one of his technology classes. It’s a pretty common maxim, and it’s one I actually do believe, especially when it comes to the internet. Put it online, and whatever “it” is no longer belongs to you – it goes wild, and anyone can come across it.

Like your boss. Coworkers. Sister.

I would say woops, except it’s the deal I accepted with myself when I opted to keep a public blog, and when I opted to open it up to spiders and search engines, thanks to Sean being sneaky and finding me prior to that.

The thing is, and to my sister’s credit she understood this prior to talking with me this morning, blogs are often out of context. If you read my last post, and have never talked with me about my sister, you’d have a much different impression than if you’re one of the many people I’ve bragged to about her. And the thing is, she’s pretty cool, and part of the issues that come from being here are because of that – because she did do all the things my parents want, but more than that, because she’s a pretty amazing, and strong, woman. How many people do you know who voluntarily spent their spare time, as a teenager hanging out with young kids afflicted with horrible forms of cancer? Most folks acknowledge that it takes a special person to opt to deal with children in medicine, and the special of the special to do pediatric oncology.

And plain and simple, I envy her. I envy the fact that she lived here eight years I didn’t, and she has habits and routines with my parents that I never will. That she has a closeness with Mom, because of the way she looks and her choices on how to act, that I never will. That she’s seen as the amazing medical person in the family, and when she gets in to medical school there’s going to be an excitement that they didn’t have for me getting in to my PhD program.

There’s a lot of backstory to my relationship with my parents, that I’m not going to get in to right now. But being home, that backstory comes to the front, and it clashes horribly with my sister, not necessarily for anything she intentionally does, but simply because we’ve had different lives, and there are a lot of things in hers that I wish I could have, and I simply can’t.

But just because I want to throttle her half the time, and she can get under my skin like no other, doesn’t mean I don’t love her to pieces, and that I’m not immensely proud of the woman she’s become. In her 25 years, she has put more good out into this world, than most do in their lifetime. And that’s pretty damn cool.

That’s the limit of these things, though, these words in blogs. You get what I think to put down, be it the heat of the moment, the height of frustration, or the flush of a passionate response. And it goes for more than just my sister – reading over the last couple of months of this blog, you’re going to pick up a lot more of my frustration with, say, Glenn and his insane scheduling, than the intense admiration, respect and affection I have for him. You might not necessarily grasp just how much I actually love UAlbany and the people there, both professors and colleagues, or how exciting I find my life in general, or the potential I see in my future. For some reason, it’s simply harder to write about the things that are good. Some of it is self-consciousness; it’s easier to be vague and circumspect when you’re bitching than praising, and some of it, I think, is basic human nature. Besides, it’s far easier for me to write evocatively about the non-positive…which perhaps should be a challenge, instead of something to shy from.

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