Personal

Sisters, Dearest

I had been wanting to write this blog for some time now.  I just never had the motivation until one day, while I was working on the last installment of the “My Mermaid” series, I found a poem in my dusty poetry binder from oh-so-long ago.  It was titled “Fucken Sister.”  I was shocked with disbelief.  Although I slightly remembered the troubled and dysfunctional relationships my sisters and I had, I had forgotten how horrible it was.  Memories flushed back to me as I read the forgotten poem.

Let me share a few lines of “Fucken Sister.”  Please excuse the vulgar language.  I would bleep out the words, but it wouldn’t paint a clear picture of my emotions when I wrote it.

Damn bitch, I hate you too.
It’s not like it’s only you.
So shut the hell and zip it up
Because, you know, I don’t give a fuck.
I won’t care if you die tomorrow.
Actually, I’ll be happy to see you go.

I used to write a lot of poetry—one of the many coping mechanisms I developed while struggling with being a Hmong female adolescent in an abusive household.  It has been a very long time since I wrote something full of anger and hatred.  One of these days, I’ll share some of my poetry from high school.  One would not believe that it came from me.

Sisters01

I (27) am the oldest sister of 5 girls.  My sisters are Dandelion (24), Wind (23), Cloud (22), and Girl (18).

We were not close growing up.  I was the oldest and viewed as the authority figure (besides our parents).  Also, I am 3 years older than Dandelion and much older than the rest of them.  It doesn’t seem to be much of an age difference looking at our ages as adults.  However, when you’re a child or an adolescent, 3 years or more is equivalent to a decade.

Dandelion and Wind were in the same grade; Dandelion was born in December, so as you may know, December babies are automatically held back until the next school year.  Growing up, I saw them as two peas in a pod—dressed alike, liked the same things, and did almost everything together (Now that I think about it, they probably didn’t have much choice).  Although Cloud was a bit younger, I thought she was still close with Dandelion and Wind.  Girl and I were at the opposite ends.  We were almost 10 years apart, so there was no connection whatsoever.  I don’t believe she was close to the other three as well.

When I asked my sisters how they viewed our relationships growing up, they all agreed that we were not close.  It’s funny how although we all agreed that we weren’t close, everyone has a different perception of things.  While I thought Dandelion, Wind, and Cloud were close, Dandelion and Wind didn’t believe so.  Wind said that she was close with Girl because she always felt like a mother to her until Girl reached adolescence.  I always felt left out, but I didn’t realize that we all felt the same.

Not only were my sisters and I not close, but we had a lot of problems with each other.  We grew up in a 3-bedroom duplex.  My mom had one room to herself, my 2 brothers shared a room, and we  girls were squished into a room together.  Just imagine 5 females with raging hormones during adolescence in one tiny room, sharing 2 beds and a tiny closet.  We suffocated each other and sometimes felt like strangling one another.  There was no privacy.  And probably because my mom was on a mission to prevent us from ruining her reputation, we all felt we were alone in our battles with her.  We couldn’t depend on each other for whatever reason.  Our family dynamic made it impossible for us to share a bond.

Sisters02

 

My relationships with my sisters have transformed completely over the years.  We are no longer the immature emotional teens who constantly called each other names and pulled out each other’s hair.  It took us to be apart to realize the importance of sisterhood.  I got married and moved to a different side of town.  Dandelion moved out to live with her boyfriend (now her husband) and since he is in the Air Force, they are very far from us.  And Wind moved away after marriage.  All 5 of us are rarely together because it’s hard to plan a get-together when one is several states away and another is across the ocean.  Pretty soon, one will be a couple hours away and another in a different state.  The picture above is the most recent one we have of all of us and that was 3 years ago.

No one can be there for you like a sister.  It took me a very long time to realize that.  Only with sisters can you look at each other and know what the other one is thinking.  Only with sisters can you talk on forever about things or people who annoy you, vent out your frustrations, and tell your dirty little secrets without being judged.  Only with sisters can you have an endless amount of inside jokes.

I posed questions on my Facebook page, asking “Are you close with your sisters?  Why or why not?  Do you have to be blood-related to be sisters?”  Although I didn’t get a huge response, I received very good ones.  Mary stated:

Family is about loving and supporting one another and being there for each other through all the good and bad times….you don’t have to be blood to do that.

A very dear friend of mine said:

Just because you’re sisters does not mean you have to be close.  Many people are related and are not close.  Just because you’re born from the same womb does not make you obligated to be close.  I know plenty of women who are sisters and are complete opposites, thus, do not hang out or even talk.  There are bonds between friendship that could make your relationship even thicker than blood relation.  As long as two people really love and care for each other like they are family, that’s all that matters.  Blood relation becomes superficial and almost a materialistic way of thinking to me.  I feel it’s overrated.

I have girlfriends who are as much sisters to me as “real” sisters can be.  We are not related by blood, but we share a very intimate bond.  Like sisters, they are there for support and consolation whenever I need it.  And just like sisters, they also put things in perspective when I am being unreasonable.  We make efforts to hang out.  And we’re always chatting through group texts, online, on the phone, anything, anywhere.  We have inside jokes and we get each other.  Just like sisters.

A sister can be anyone you’ve met along your journey in life.

So, what about you?  Are you close to your sister(s)?  Why or why not?  And do you think you have to be blood-related to be sisters?

8 thoughts on “Sisters, Dearest

  1. I definitely agree. Just because you are blood sisters it does not obligated to be close and share your secrets with one another. However, the fact that you’ve been around one another your whole life does contribute to the interactions you have with one another. My relationship with my sister is parallel to yours. Tho, I have very close friends who I consider my sisters, none of them are quite like my sister.

    The relationship I have with my sister now is great, she is like a friend and my mother (probably because she is my only sister and older by 4 years). She and I were the only kids for while so most of my childhood memories are with her (fighting, arguing, etc). Now as adults and a part from each other, our relationship has matured. We may not always be the “go-to” person in each others’ life but I know her love and support for me is unconditional. If I’m in any kind of crisis, I know she has my back- emotionally, mentally, physically, financially, etc. I think that’s the difference between my friend-sisters relationship and actual blood-sister.

    As much as I love and support my friend-sisters, our relationship is just not quite like it. I know, every relationship is different and you can’t really compare the two. It’s great to have girlfriends in your life- you need them. However, it’s even better to have a sister because she will stuck with you through the thick and thin. For example, my sister requested that I be in her delivery room during her first child because she was in so much pain, she trusted me to make choices for her in those moments. In addition, there was a time when I woke up 2am to her phone call and rushed her to the hospital for some health issue. Stayed the whole night and day with her, came home and cleaned her house, took care of her kids and bring her food. I think of these situations and I know she would do the same for me. But I question if my girlfriends would do the same. I think at least two would come and visit me but I don’t think they would come running 2 in the morning.

    I believe my friend-sisters fill up a different need and part in my life (that is very important). Whereas my sister fulfills the rest of the emptiness. This is my relationship with my sister and this is how it has shaped my views on sisterhood.

  2. Wonderful childhood and present photos of you and your sisters. At different times, I had my own room or shared with a sister. I am eldest out of 5 girls and 1 boy. One sister died (a year younger than I).

    While we did have squabbles as siblings amongst ourselves, we at least didn’t compete among ourselves over beauty, fashion and other petty damaging stuff amongst sisters.

    There is a 10 year gap between myself and youngest in family. So there is a time in life where 1 person is entering university and the other person is merely a child….so little chance of an equal “close” relationship. So for several years, I never really interacted much with my youngest sister until she entered into her mid to late 20’s.

    1. Yes, the gap in age can really play a role in your relationship. My youngest sister and I didn’t have a relationship until a couple of years ago. Although she still has a lot of growing to do, she has matured much over the years.

  3. I tons of sisters… technically only 1 younger, however in my family there are no such things as cousins, we’re all brothers and sisters and that’s how close we are to each other. I’m very blessed.
    I can see how the gap in your age can play a role though… no common interest etc.. I’m so happy to read that you are as closed as you can be. Sisters are blessing – and they don’t have to be blood.
    Btw you have such a beautiful sisters! All 4 of you are gorgeous! 🙂

  4. I understand you! I have a huge family!! But my sisters and I were really close! One was 5 years older than me, then 3 years older than me, then 2 years older than me. Then I have another sister who is a year younger than I am, then I have another little sister who is 10 years younger than me! Now I didn’t count my brothers! But even then, I get along with everyone in my family! My parents would have been upset with us! I’m happy that all your sisters are closer 🙂

Comments are closed.