Monday, June 2, 2008

Big Brothers, Big Sisters Program

The Big Brothers Big Sisters Program is billed as a mentoring program in the United States. It takes youths (mainly those at a proven disadvantage – lower economic status, single-parent households, etc.) and pairs them with an adult of the same gender to act as a mentor, to take them to cultural institutions or just spend time listening to them.

I had a ‘Big Sister’ growing up. This was a point where my mother tried, but fate was never on our side. My ‘Big Sister’ was a ‘Big Politician’ in the town. I believe she was even older than my mother. She lived in what was, to us, a mansion in the ritzy part of town. She had two big dogs and, though married, had no children. In the beginning, it was great. We went to ballets, museums, restaurants I had never been too. She was running for reelection. When she was sworn in, having won, I held the Bible in a dress she bought.

Then she stopped calling.

But not totally, she just became too busy to have me around. So she’d buy tickets to events and give them to me so my mother could take me- which isn’t what I wanted. Sure, I got to see Cats the musical that way and watch my mother, who told me that the show was going to be crap, cry during ‘Memories’ but it wasn’t the same.

I’ll never forget when my Big Sister was helping me get ready for a dance at school. This was Jr. High. She asked me what size my dress was – I was a 12. She told me that even at her age she’d never been that big.

Way to mentor.

I remember after it officially ended, I looked through the memorabilia of our time together. There were her pamphlets for re-election, with all of her good deeds laid out. Chief among them- she was a proud Big Sister.

This brought me back to all the times we went out before re-election, to how I held the Bible at her invocation and the Kodak moment it was.

I felt completely used, a pawn in a politicians play for power. That was it. Meaningless, just another instance of me being tossed aside when there was no more use for me.

That is the way I felt a lot in life. Incidental, of no consequence. I remember yelling at my mother that I felt like a prostitute. In order to get dinner, I had to hug her or tell her I loved her. Affection was traded for the necessities of life. And it was all so meaningless, so disgusting on many levels.