“I can’t be less than who I am, for anyone.”
My sister said this to me today during a phone conversation about life and relationships. She’s single. Christian. Has been both for a long time. She turned 50 last week with a sad and dismal awareness of what should have been a festive celebration of her life. Not spent in solitude and reflection. And sadness. But she wanted to be alone. So I respected her wishes. I get it. But I had wished a different day for her.
Recently, the love of her life resurfaced in a most unexpected way. We were talking about what that meant to her. And to him. If anything. They are both treating the encounter with opposing emotions. Her a little giddy and head over heels. He seemingly indifferent. Sucks when feelings aren’t reciprocated.
When I asked her how she felt about his seeming indifference after they had spent an entire night, dusk to dawn, on the phone in profound and meaningful conversation, she told me she was hurt. Deeply. But in the weeks since, she has come to the realization that she can not be less than who she is, for anyone. Not even the man she would marry in a heart beat. If he asked.
As a young hottie, my sisters arrogance, narcissism and calculated coldness was shaped by her insecurities. She and the boy fought. A lot. Each determined to be the Alpha. But after twenty-five years of raising four children alone (one of which he fathered – long story), finding Jesus and all the trials and tribulations of that journey, and everything in between, she has come out of it a strong, decisive, independent woman. And that was not something she could change for anyone.
She could not be less than who she is.
That resonated. Big time. Inspired this post.
And perhaps all the ones to come.
My sister makes me think. A lot. I like that. She has a wicked sense of humour, is amazingly insightful and brutally honest. She’s also incredibly generous in her compassion and kindness, and has the ability to see all sides. She’s also got a zip-line temper. Christian, yes; flawed, damaged human, first. She doesn’t judge me for being a lesbian. In fact, she shared that she understood the predilection and resists the temptation regularly. Never gonna happen lol but that’s how honest she is. I’m the older sibling. The “successful” and worldly sibling. But in so many ways she is so much wiser than I. And if possible, even more broken.
Abuse years are like dog years. Living through one is equivalent to 7. You grow up a lot faster. She’s gotta be like a 1000 now.
We both share cruel beginnings. Neglect and violence familiar from birth. We’ve been estranged most of our adult lives through no fault of our own. Sharing the same biological mother pretty much guaranteed there would be some fucked-up-ed-ness as siblings and as human beings, but we are fast becoming real friends. I applaud her strength and courage. I admire her ferociously independent streak and envy her not needing anyone. Well, sort of. She’s a fighter. Tough and resilient. I’m a lover. Soft and susceptible. Neither is right. Just is. But deep down we are both desperately seeking…something.
My sister has always looked up to me. Uncomfortably so at times. Sister-worshipped me as little sisters are want to do. Envied my relationships, my dream life with hubby, my relationship with my daughter, my daring, my boldness, and my seeming to have all the answers to pretty much everything. Then one day she made a decision that caused such a rift between us that I wasn’t sure we would ever recover. But we are. It’s a slow, beautiful process that allows us to meet and see and know each other on an even playing field. As adults. I am no longer the wise older sister worshipped for just being alive. I can finally put down that heavy crown of perceived perfection and just be my flawed, imperfect, human self. I can cry and show weakness and admit that I have no idea what I’m doing. And I am so grateful for that.
My sister and I are different. Have lived very different lives. She is a Christian with mostly unwavering faith in God. I believe in something I have not yet named. But what we do have in common far outweighs our differences. We are blood. We are family. We are sisters who have survived horrors untold. Strong, capable, intelligent woman with values, opinions, and a layered deepness only we seem to truly understand. We are not easy women. The walls are there for a reason. Survivors understand this. And it takes a special kind of person to see us. To accept us. To believe in us. To love us.
But we are so worth it.
I remind my sister of this every time we speak. And today she reminded me that I should never be less than who I am. For anyone.
Juliene, I’m so proud of the human you’ve become. If he doesn’t see you for who you are, appreciate your growth and independence, and love you for all you have to offer, warts and all, then f*ck him. (But not literally.)
I love you, Sister mine. ❤