Vision Art Faith meet Big Stuart
Hey... Aren't you Little Stuart?
I'd often hear walking through the halls of my high school. It was not even the end of my first week of school and I'd been known by shared DNA and resemblance to my brother, Brandon. This bigger Stuart (if you will) is about 2 years older than me and apparently had already been known among many of the athletes, nerds, and artists of Cass Tech. So without me even doing anything, I as a younger sibling took on the name, Little Stuart. I was only a little upset by the nickname because I just wanted to be me in this new phase of life, but I took it in stride and still focused on creating my own experience within a new reality that I inevitably shared with my brother.
So throughout high school, that's what we did; created our experience within the same small world. Looking back, I realize that his net was cast pretty far and wide and he was showing the traits of a true renaissance man in excelling in sports, school and the arts. So no matter which hallway I walked down, hearing Little Stuart reminded of the connections and impact he was having on the people around him. Since then we've both grown quite a bit, while living the same high school reality of different paths and experiences within the same small world, only his impact on my choices and approach to life is bigger than I even imagined. I realize that as Little Stuart, I've never lived in his shadow but observed it's form to understand my own.
It's interesting that this nickname took hold in high school, because it was at this point that our lives started mirroring yet diverging from one another. We both swam for the swim team, and chose to take Advanced Placement classes, but I was more of the quiet nerdy type and he was the outgoing down-for-whatever type. We used to dance together, but at certain point I continued with my dance training and he decided to stop dancing for fear of what his friends would think (oh high schoolers). I remember feeling disappointed when this happened but now I realize this was the start of him stepping into being that previously mentioned renaissance man where he dove into literally anything he could get his hands on from playing for nearly all the sports teams, perfecting his Japanese and spending hours at home on his AP Calculus, English and Physics. He was fearless in his pursuit of knowledge and new experiences and I think I started to look up to him and all the ways he challenged himself.
He was actually the one that influenced me to give up red meat in college, then going pescatarian, giving up gluten for a bit and even veganism which I NEVER thought I would do. Our mirror in lifestyle choices always seems to keep us connected but in a larger purpose kind of a way. Some siblings grow up and grow apart but we've seemed to grow closer through our appreciation of life and search for something bigger than ourselves. All we have done and discovered focuses on mindset and intention. Being Vegan is about being gentle to our bodies and finding the right fuel to maximize our potential, physical activity is about letting go, releasing and re-building, being creative is an exploration into the deepest depths of ourselves, and all of these put together is about breaking down limiting beliefs and re-creating our reality.
Our favorite movie to watch together is Interstellar. An amazingly well-done film starring Matthew McConaughey about a dad that leaves his family behind for a mission in space (don't worry no spoilers here). Every time we watch it, we get into a long discussion afterwards that leads to physics, spirituality, possibility and even unanswered questions. Later as we experience this thing called life, we find clues to the answers and share our insights via FaceTime. I find that these moments draw us closer to our purpose and therefore each other, showing an inexplicable bond between brother and sister; something that no one can take away from us. These moments help us provide meaning to one another on the challenges that we face on our journey to becoming.
It's not everyday that you can run into someone like Brandon a kind, funny, profound and sometimes stubborn guy that is trying to be his best not just for himself but others too. He is human just like all of us, but has found ways to push through the ups and downs and ebbs and flows of life, to build and positively impact the lives of those around him. I'm just lucky enough that the universe chose me to walk behind him and observe his shadow.
Thanks for reading,
And Remember to Always have Faith, Keep a vision, and make art in everything that you do.