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.
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.
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?