My middlename is Sindac. I hate it. It is my mother's maiden name, which is the Filipinocustom. It means "scary feeling," which makes me loathe it even more.But I accept it, nevertheless, just as I accept the fact that I have a fat dognamed Princess, strict parents and a gay brother.
My brother doesn't knowit, but he has affected my life tremendously. It's not because he is "alwaysthere for me," since there are days I don't see him because our schedulesdon't allow it. He works the hours I am home, and it isn't until the weekend thatI see him, and he usually hibernates until he has to get up and go to work again.
We used to think our physical similarities brought us closer - the gapbetween our front teeth, the moles on the left side of our necks, the sameeyebrows (pre-plucking) and curly hair. People say he is the male version of me.Reluctantly, I see it.
I never saw it coming that he would "come outof the closet," though. It was the kind of thing where it just struck me,"Hi, there! I'm your new brother. I enjoy drawing, billiards, backscratches, volleyball, and oh, yeah ... I'm gay."
"Wow! That'sso cool! Come here and give your little sister a hug!"
Of course, Iwas numb for two minutes, absorbing this new concept. But then it hit me: nowonder I kept finding my fire-engine red lipstick under his bed!
Myparents have yet to accept his sexual preference. Dad refuses to step foot intohis room where rainbow flags wave and Ricky Martin emanates his Latin spice. Momconstantly asks me if he's really gay. I tell her he's bisexual, and she crossesherself and mumbles, "Ay! Jesus, Mary, y Josef!" She knows.
Since then, my life has been different. There is never a day that all five of usare home together eating dinner or watching "Jeopardy!" With meremonths until I go off to college, I have a new perspective on family, especiallyafter this last holiday season. Mom refused to go Christmas shopping, Dad wassomewhere playing golf, my sister was discovering her beauty and talent, mybrother was always working, and I was left battling the most horrendous calculusproblems imaginable. Between school, work, flute lessons, and boyfriends, mybrother and I managed to scrounge together enough to buy the tree a beautifulangel.
His middle name is Sindac, too. Right now, my parents think hereally is scary. But I know better. I know that my brother is the unifying forceof my family. I know that he creates a true sense of togetherness despite hisdifferences and my parents' lack of acceptance. I know that I will always accepthim. Scary, huh?
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.