Yesterday’s portrait showed my brother Mike’s* rage at himself. His self harm would usually involve hitting his head, biting his hand and slamming his arm into his chest. I mentioned yesterday that, when I was growing up in the 1950s and 60s, I was not frightened of him. Maybe I should have been. Mom told me once that she saw Mike near me or my younger brother with a hammer.
My parents told my younger brother and me that they tried to shield us as much as possible from Mike. I didn’t feel shielded, nor did I feel the need for shielding. I always thought of Mike as a deeply complex puzzle. I would almost have welcomed a bit of physical contact from him.
*Mike is my older brother, who is autistic, low functioning and nonverbal. He currently resides in a geriatric group home.