Sister Sister…Or Not…

As a little girl, I have always thought of my sister and being the best sister in the world. The most beautiful, the kindest, the sexiest…..the best at everything. My sister always had time for me. As a child she played with me when no one else wanted to, she defended me when I was being bullied at school, she accompanied me on outings when I was too young to go by myself and my parents were too busy to accompany me. She was my best friend. Pampering me and showing me love in every way possible. She took me out on my birthdays, gave me gifts, and bought me cakes. And those were just the material items. Just being in her presence made me feel whole, complete, safe and more importantly, loved. Our talks, us singing together, watching movies together, me playing in her hair and just searching her drawers for ‘treasures’ are moments that I will have in my heart forever. The love and kindness that I received gradually changed as I grew older. It didn’t disappear, but it changed. I guess I started to see her for who she was, rather than who I wanted her to be. She was no longer my best friend, my superhero, my role model but she became my sister…..a regular sister.

It started when my younger brother was born. She is approximately 18 years older than him and went around telling people that he was her son. This made me jealous. I was just 6 or 7 years old at the time, and whenever she said that it would hurt me.

She noticed that it did hurt and started telling people that I was her daughter too, but just by our age, they knew that it was impossible. My hugs decreased while my brother’s increased. My kisses decreased while my brother’s increased. The yelling increased while the sympathy and empathy decreased. She stopped playing with me, telling me very often that I play too much. She started to treat me in a firmer manner. Constantly asking me what was wrong with me whenever I made a mistake, making me feel like something was wrong with me. She made me feel like I was too childish to be around her, like I was not smart enough, not good enough….just not enough. This was very rough for me and hurt me in ways I don’t think she understood or would understand. I felt alone and unwanted. Things got worse from then onwards. I was emotionally abandoned by her. The once sympathetic eyes that would look at me as my mother scolded me became dry and cold. Eventually, they stopped looking in my direction completely. The hugs I used to get after getting spanked became words of criticism with the underlying words… ‘it is was your fault, you deserve it’ until she became silent.

I know in life people go through changes, and they have every right to do so. I know my sister had no obligation to do for me what she used to do and was entitled to stop whenever she wanted. I know she owes me nothing. I didn’t know back then, but I know now. But to say that it didn’t hurt, or that it doesn’t hurt anymore, would be a lie. I would like to say that things are better now…..but they are not. There were moments throughout high school when she did show up for me. She would occasionally buy me new clothes, ones that I actually liked, give me money when she had it, she bought me a cake for my sixteenth birthday and gave me a gift. She would sometimes advocate for me to go places that my mother didn’t want me to go, even though other times she would just ask me why do I even want to go there and I know that my mother wouldn’t send me. There were times she would bring me to events my mother wouldn’t allow me to go with my friends. She was the first one to take me to a fancy restaurant on my 18th birthday and ordered me my first alcoholic drink. But that didn’t mend our relationship. Certain wounds don’t heal with time and in that manner. My sister cut me deep, very deep and to be honest I am not sure I want this cut to heal, I want to remember how she made me feel so that no one can make me feel that way again.

I love my sister with all my heart. There isn’t anything that I wouldn’t do for her, and she knows that. But I am no longer putting my hope in her. I had stopped doing that a while back. I am learning how to stand on my own two feet. I am learning how to make myself happy, how to comfort myself, how to love myself, how to reward myself, how to defend myself, how to support myself and how to stand up for myself.

I am on this journey by myself and for myself, and with or without my sister I am learning to enjoy…BEING ALIVE!

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