Is your family close? What’s your relationship with your siblings like?
In my family of origin, I’ve always been the outsider. I’m the oldest of three sisters and the one who no one “includes” anymore. And that is sad.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why this happened and when. But now that I’m an adult and more comfortable in my ways I’ve come to embrace sibling rivalry as a force of nature.
I’ve stopped asking whys, whens, and hows and being comfortable with who I am has never felt better. I am not my sisters, and they are not me!
But if you were to return to the place where you grew up and were to ask people there how they remembered you, I wonder what that would be like. Might there be something we could learn from that? I wonder.
Sandra, the middle one, had always been the healthiest of all three sisters. She was all about pleasing and about standing out. Typical for the middle child, you might say. But really?
Pleasing and standing out came easily to her. She was outgoing and she had a bright disposition. But despite that great fact, somehow, she couldn’t hold on to friendships for long periods at a time. Perhaps underneath her desire to please, she was too clingy and insecure? Maybe.
Personally, I’ve come to believe that she put too much of her self-worth in her petty acquisitions. To this day, that hasn’t changed. I used to feel bad for her. Now I don’t bother thinking about it.
We are all different from each other; never better than each other.
If you were to go to Macondo today and mention us, people there would remember Sandra as the wise one; the one who was more tomboyish, the one who would take on a dare without thinking out the consequences first, the one who would think out good ways of making money on market day.
Sandra would be the one who would climb the trees the fastest and descend with the biggest coconut or the biggest avocados wrapped up in her skirt. The one who would not cry at the dentists’ or at the clinic when we’d get our shots.
I, on the other hand, would be remembered as the sick one.
I developed asthma as a child and missed a lot of school on account of that. School was where I wanted to be most of all, but I never complained about being absent because it gave me the wonderful opportunity to get on with my passion for a good story book.
And when Sandra would come home from school and start a fight out of nothing, I would let her win. Always. I let her win because I felt bad that I couldn’t be there to keep her company at school as big sisters should. Instead, I was at home hogging the attention of our parents AND reading to my hearts’ content.
As for my youngest sister, she would be remembered as the one who got away with a lot. We were instructed to keep a watchful eye on her and to cater to her needs because we were told, that’s what big sisters did. And we did.
So when Terry became rebellious and arrogant, was that her fault? And when she surpassed me and Sandra and left home before we did, was it her upbringing that brought that on? I cannot say for sure.
As of now, Terry has been married and divorced three times already. She is in a relationship with a younger man and helping him raise his teenage children.
Sandra married once, divorced and now living the life of a single woman. She has a good job and travels often. She has a nice apartment but claims she’s not attached to anyone or anything.
Me, I’m happily married to the same man for nineteen years.
How come we’re so different in the lives we lead now? What brings about what we become? Though I said that I thought that sibling rivalry was just another force of nature, I cannot help wondering why I’m still the one who never gets invited.