Oh, The Joys of Sisterhood…

Well, this is news. So, I got into it with my sister today. Normally it’d be my stupid brother inciting this urge to vent, but not today. No, today was my sister’s turn…unusual…

I love my sister, I really do, but sometimes she just makes me want to punch her in the face. She really does. She’s my big sister, 5 years older to be exact. I’ve always looked up to her, you know? I spent my entire childhood idolizing her, in fact. Yes, I was that little sister…the annoying little brat that followed her everywhere and wanted to do everything that she did. Hell, I wanted to BE her, you know? And she hated it, of course. But she never complained. Not even when I would make her take me with her to her best friend’s house for their weekly “Dawson’s Creek” fix, or to the “girls only” little fort she and her friends had built and would hang out at. She never even yelled at me the time I followed her and a boy she liked on a walk through an entire corn field (we lived in the country) giggling and singing “… [HER & HIM] sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G…” behind her the entire time. How she kept her patience with me and my annoying antics, I do not know. It actually makes me kind of glad that I’m the baby and therefor don’t have a little sister or brother to do those things to me, because I definitely wouldn’t have been so patient or understanding…at all…

I idolized her. I thought she could do no wrong…which she couldn’t. She was perfect. Too perfect. She never screwed up or did anything wrong, it seemed. She got good grades, she studied like she was supposed to, she never drank or partied or broke curfew EVER. She did exactly what she was told, and everything that was expected of her. She worked at a nursing home in high school and saved up to buy her own car right after she graduated high school. Hell, she wouldn’t even drive 1 mph over the speed limit. I was 13 when she left for college, 3 hours away from home. I remember us packing up her car and moving her out there and into her dorm. I remember how proud everyone looked of her as they took pictures in front of the house that morning before we left. And how my mother and grandmother cried before we left her at school. I remember how she’d call my grandmother every day to check in. And how we’d go out to visit her so often. It’s not that I wasn’t proud of her, because I was. I was proud of her accomplishments and her success. She was the first one in our family to go to college, so naturally, it was a big deal. My family put her up on a pedestal, and it wasn’t hard to figure out why. She deserved it. She’d earned it. But still…

Before she left, we were close. Like I said, I idolized her. And naturally, I missed her. I missed having my big sister around, even if it was just to follow her around and bug the heck out of her. I remember that we had this little routine, she and I, where she’d call every week when “Gilmore Girls” was on and she and I would sing the theme song over the phone when the show started. It sounds corny, I know, but it was our own special little thing and it was nice. But it wasn’t the same. The fact of the matter is that she was there and I was here. And everything…everything…was different.

Again, I was thirteen when she left. We’d just moved here from another town that year, so things were different. We’d moved in December, so I’d had to switch schools and everyone knows how much it sucks to have to change schools in the middle of the school year…being the new kid and all that. My sister was a senior that year, so they let her finish out the year at her school, rather than have her switch like we did…which didn’t seem fair at all to me, by the way. But yeah. It was hard for me, having to switch schools and to leave all the friends I’d known and had since pre-school. It’s hard having to start over in a place you’re unfamiliar with and with people you don’t know. It was a hard and really difficult adjustment for me. I was quiet and shy and I had no one. My sister was gone and I had stopped talking to my mother and grandmother for weeks because of how angry and resentful I was of them for making us move. I just felt so alone, you know? And it certainly didn’t help that I was a teenager with all these new emotions and hormones raging around and scrambling my brain. My thoughts were running amuck. Everything just seemed so hopeless, so bleak. I thought I’d never fit in, that I’d never find a place to belong. That’d I’d never be happy again. At some point, I just gave up trying. That’s when I started cutting to cope. I know that when people hear the word “cutting”, they just assume that the person is crazy and unbalanced and should be in a psych ward, but those people just don’t understand. They don’t know what it’s like to feel so hopeless, or helpless. Over the years, I’d had people ask me why I did it or how I could do it and if it hurts. They’ve asked me to explain it to them so they can understand, but it’s not something that can be understood. I don’t understand it myself. All I know is that it helped. And as crazy as it sounds, it doesn’t hurt. Call it endorphins or whatever, but there’s actually something cathartic about making the cu and watching the blood appear. If anything, it takes away the pain. I can’t explain why, but it does. There’s that moment, that one minute when everything else just fades away…all the pain, the hurt, the loneliness. It’s not about suicide or wanting to hurt yourself. I wasn’t trying to die. I never cut deep enough to cause any real damage, just enough to bleed. It’s not about death, but rather it’s the exact opposite. It’s about trying to live…trying to cope somehow, in some way. It’s not the healthiest coping method, but to each his own, I guess. It just is what it is. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that it’s okay or that I’m proud of it necessarily, because it’s not and I’m not. I’m in no way encouraging my actions or saying that people should cut to feel better. I’m just saying that it helped me. In a sick, twisted, altogether not so rational/healthy way…but it helped.

That is, it helped for a while. Until it didn’t. Life went on, bad things happened. Things got worse. And the sad thing is, no one knew. For years I hid the cuts and the scars and even the bulimia…and no one was the wiser. No one was there. I couldn’t go to my sister and tell her how messed up I was or how screwed up things were in my life. I mean, she was perfect. She did everything that I didn’t. She was everything that I wasn’t. And her being so perfect, actually made it worse. The high pedestal the family put her on had made it nearly impossible to ever reach. I tried following in her footsteps, but I was never going to fit in them. I was never going to be perfect like her. I’d made mistakes and done things my sister would never even think of doing. Everyone made it so hard…though I doubt they realized it. They expected so much. And I tried to do it their way. I tried hard, for so long. Academically, I actually surpassed my sister. She was smart, but I was smarter. I got better grades than she did without even having to try actually. Hell, she went to state school and I got a full-ride to an Ivy League. It shouldn’t have been a competition, but it might as well have been. But no matter how much better I did than her, I was still the no-good nobody and she was still Miss Perfect. She likes to throw it in my face—how I took my Ivy League chance for granted. How ungrateful I was. She likes to remind me of my failures, but she doesn’t get it. She acts like I had everything and like I was given so much…but she doesn’t get it.

She doesn’t get what it was like. I didn’t get the praise or the acknowledgment or the unconditional support like she did. My mother went to everything of hers. Her games, her award ceremonies, her concerts…everything. But not once did she ever go any of my games, or my concerts, or praise my accomplishments. She didn’t go visiting colleges with me like she did with my sister. She didn’t congratulate or say she was proud or even celebrate my early-decision acceptance into Colgate and the Ivy’s. She didn’t help me pack up or go with me when I left for school. In fact, not once in the nearly 3 years that I was at Colgate did she ever come to visit me. She’s never seen or even been there. Ever. That, among other things, is what makes me want to scream when my sister tries to guilt me for my failures. She’s completely clueless to the fact that she had everything and everyone, while I had no one but myself. She had people supporting and encouraging her every step of the way, but I didn’t. I’m not trying to feel sorry for myself or play the pity card because I’ve accepted it. I accepted it a long time ago. She acts like we had it the same and we didn’t. Moreover, she acts like she knows me…but she doesn’t.

She’s my sister and I love her, but I also hate her a little. I know that’s probably a horrible thing to say, but it’s true. I can’t help but resent her a little for being so perfect and for making it so hard for me to live up to her success. I resent her for thinking she knows everything, and for acting like she’s superior just because she has a teaching degree and I don’t. She may have a degree and she may be book-smart, but she has no common sense or real-life experience and understanding of how the world works. She’s been so focused on being good and perfect that she’s barely even lived. I mean, she’s 31 and she hasn’t had any real fun…like EVER. She doesn’t go out or drink or do anything that can be construed by the public as “inappropriate” and “unprofessional”. She dresses like she’s a 50 year old woman and actually thinks that showing some skin is somehow un-teacher-like. She doesn’t curse or raise her voice and she still won’t drive anything over the speed limit. She’s careful and cautious and doesn’t take anything even remotely resembling a risk. It’s like she has her whole life planned out…and best believe, she follows it right down to the letter. When it comes to matters like dating and the opposite sex, the only word I can come up with to describe her is WHITE…and it has nothing to do with her complexion. She’s so pure and wholesome and good. She didn’t date in high school. No, that would have gotten in the way of her studies and so she, of course, couldn’t allow that. The only serious relationship—or relationship itself–she’s ever had is with her now husband. She met him her junior year of college through a mutual friend—making him her first and until then only real boyfriend. They dated for 8 years before finally getting married a couple of years ago. He’s the first and only man she’s ever been with. Honest-to God, she actually waited to have sex until she was married. THAT is how much of a goody-two-shoes she is. Granted she’s happy and my brother-in-law is a great guy and whatever, but come on. She acts as though this is the 1900’s and women are still walking around in petticoats. She’s of the opinion that if a woman has sex with more than one man—especially outside the bounds of marriage—then that woman is an unrepentant whore. And I’m not talking just religion here. She’s welcome to her opinion of course, but her views are incredibly outdated and narrow-minded. Saving yourself for marriage might have been her thing…but it’s not a unilateral view for everyone else…myself included. We’re not in the 1900’s and the times have changed…a lot. And that whole white picket fence, golden retriever, husband and 2.5 kids view—it changed along with it. And I for one am glad that it did. My sister might be happy in that world, but I could never be. I’m sorry, but I just can’t picture myself doing it. I can’t picture myself in the kitchen, tied down to one person for the rest of my life. I just can’t. Maybe I’m a little jaded, but marriage doesn’t hold much water—so to speak—these days. I mean most of the time, you’re screwed. You can be perfect like my sister and do everything right and you can tell yourself that it’ll work out. You can stand before God and make your vows…and break them down the road. Marriage isn’t a constant state…it changes with time just like everything else. It evolves. If you’re lucky, it’ll all work out. But unfortunately, sometimes it doesn’t. People grow, feelings change…YOU change. You eventually start to realize and find out that love doesn’t conquer everything. And that despite what people say or want to believe, love isn’t always enough. Having said that, it’s just easier to avoid it all together and to just save yourself the trouble and the grief in the end. Or at least that’s how I see it anyway. As far as sex goes, I really don’t think it’s anyone’s business—for starters—and it shouldn’t matter how many people you’ve been with, unless of course you’re going through the whole opposite gender…then you really are a whore…but yeah. I’m not in that league at all. I’m not a saint…or a nun. I’ve been with more than one person and have had a couple one-night-stands…but that doesn’t mean I’m a whore. It just means I’m a little indecisive, I think. Personally, I don’t think that we’re meant to be with one person for our whole lives. It’s not in our nature, as we’re social creatures. I think it’s definitely possible to fall in love more than once in our lives. That’s what I think.

Anyhow, back to the issue at present. This thing with my sister–It’s absolutely ridiculous. And it’s frustrating as hell. Especially now in that she’s pregnant. I’m trying to be patient and understanding and to show her some leniency on how mad she makes me because of her condition. That and the fact that she’s had a rough time these past of couple years, in that she and her husband struggled to get pregnant. They tried for a long time and couldn’t get pregnant, so they went the in-vitro route…which turned out to be even more of a struggle. They had several rounds of fertility treatments and in-vitro and it was hell on my sister. She had to take pills and meds and have injections every day for months, not to mention all the tests and procedures she had done. She even had exploratory surgery at one point to see what could have been causing the infertility issues. She had several miscarriages and had nearly given up hope of ever having kids until this last time. Early on she actually thought she’d miscarried, but luckily it stuck. She’s 28 weeks along now and having twin boys in December. It hasn’t been the easiest pregnancy, but at least she’s pregnant. And I’m happy for her, I really am. If anyone deserves to be a mom, it’s her. And she’s going to be a great mom, I know it. And I already love my nephews and can’t wait to meet little Jacob Michael and Tyler Joseph.  But their mother—she’s about thisclose to seriously getting her ass kicked…by me…pregnant or not. She’s cranky and irritating, now more than ever, and of course, she thinks she knows everything. She acts like no one else has ever been pregnant or has had a baby before. She’s picky about everything. She reads all these articles online and suddenly thinks every smell, food… ANYTHING…is bad for the babies. She believes everything she reads and she does everything the damn internet tells her to do. Granted, it’s her first pregnancy and she’s gone through hell to get here, not to mention spent tens of thousands to GET pregnant, but still. People have been having babies the same way since the beginning of time. Obviously we’re doing something right. And for someone with a college degree and her intelligence—you’d think she’d know better than to take everything she reads on Google as pregnancy gospel. But again, she’s severely lacking in common sense. So yeah, that’s where I’m at…better now…




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