Too many mental tabs open today.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sibling Rivalry?

I haven't seen my sister in ten years, in fact, I had originally planned to not even mention her at all on this blog. I needed to bring up my mother's ridiculous desire to dress us as twins to make a point (see the evidence above)so there she is. Her name is J and she's two years younger than me, it might as well be ten since I spent most of my formative years taking care of her. Every day after school I would forego activities to stay home with my little sister. Year after year I missed out on after school plans and events, further alienating myself from my classmates who were allowed to do whatever they felt like doing. I never once blamed my sister for this, it wasn't her fault. I did get angry when she was allowed to make after school plans but the anger went to my mother who allowed this. I not only looked after J but spared her from much of our Evil Stepfather's wrath. I was older and therefore able to "take it" more then J, or my mother for that matter. It was usually me that he went after or was put at the top of his shit list. I actually felt better with this arrangement because I was always the strongest female in our household. Even at 10.

As the years passed I managed to convince my mother that J was now old enough to be home by herself and was able to do things after school, ironically I always invited J to come along. She never once accepted. Instead she shut herself in her own room, preferring her own company to mine and my friends. It was around this time that the compulsive lying started. Since we were only 2 years apart we were both at the same high school in my senior year. Joy. Randomly people would come up to me asking odd questions like "Why didn't you tell me your father owned Guess Jeans?" Huh? Apparently J went around school telling the most outrageous lies about herself and our family. It was pretty embarrassing. After a while I got a handle on the situation, that didn't stop the lying but it did stop the path back to me.

The year I graduated high school my dad took us both to Europe, after spending some time in Italy we went to Marbella, Spain. In Marbella we had a villa with it's own pool, being on the beach of course was the better option and after breakfast that is where we could be found. Except J, she wanted to stay by our pool, alone. Even at night she had no interest in going out with us, we got used to dumping her off after dinner, she was no fun anyway. She lied to our dad about her fluency in Spanish, which she said she had been taking for four years, blaming the lack of understanding she experienced on the people of Spain's inability to understand her New York accent.

The following summer our dad married his third wife, J was consumed with jealousy and did what ever she could to piss off our dad's new wife (who was actually cool). After they had a baby J refused to see our new brother Z. In fact I can tell you exactly how I knew he had been born: I came home from the movies and saw the expression on her face, I don't think I've seen a face that miserable. I immediately took off to the Upper Westside to see my new brother, I even spent my last dollars buying flowers. I was thrilled. I spent lots of time that summer with my stepmother and brother. J spent the summer locked in her room.

A few years later my mom moved from New York to Florida to be closer to her parents and sister who had already taken the Great Trek South. I was in college at that point and was happy to see them go, it was frustrating to see my mother just accept my sister's lying and general behavior, blaming everything she did on "a phase." A few years after that I was planning my wedding to Starter Husband and I asked J to be my Maid of Honor because that's what sisters do right? Since she was so far away she was spared any of the planning help which fell on to my future sisters-in-law and future MIL (which they gladly did, I miss them). I even had a dress made for her, to match the other bridesmaid dresses. A few weeks before the wedding I called her to see when she was coming in so we could get everyone together, she said she wasn't. She didn't want to be a part of my wedding. Whatever, I had enough to deal with, I honestly expected it to end up that way anyway. My whole family (including my future family) made an effort to reach out to her, she mostly refused their calls and the ones she took were crazy. She told whoever spoke to her that "she knows what she did" referring to me. What I did? Let's see, I sacrificed my childhood to take care of her, I gave up the innocence of youth by taking abuse for her and I never once put the blame on her. Sure I did a terrible thing, I protected her from a horrible life, I must be punished.

I rarely saw her after that, on the visits I would make to Florida to see my family I was civil to her (because I'm a nice person) but made no effort to do more than that. I listened as she spun a web of lies and gave my opinion to other family members when questioned about it. For speaking the truth I was treated like a pariah. When Starter Husband's job took us to Los Angeles, I knew that these family visits would become less frequent, and for that I was grateful. My mother would visit from time to time and I was able to deal with that. Around the time my first marriage ended my grandmother got sick, a lifetime of smoking (even after numerous heart attacks) had taken its toll. She was dying in the hospital and my family was pissed at me (once again) for not visiting. Newly divorced I barely had money to put gas in my car, buying a plane ticket to sit with a woman who not only didn't like me but did nothing to protect me as a child was not high on my list.

Then she died, I had no choice then. I managed to find an affordable plane ticket thanks to a sympathetic agent who was forced to listen to my whole story. I gave my mother the details so she could pick me up. Cheap airfares mean layovers, the trip took all day. When I got to the airport I saw no one. I called and found out that my mom was too tired to get me, she sent a cab. Awesome. When I got to her house there she was sitting with my sister, they were both watching TV. After a phony round of "I miss you" I went to bed. In the morning there was my sister happy to talk about her new boyfriend and how tired she was from having to deal with all of this "death shit." She spent two hours looking for a cute outfit to wear to the funeral. That day was so awful, not because I was mourning (I wasn't) but because I was in a room full of people that were blaming the death on me. I was told that I ripped the family apart by never coming to my grandmother's deathbed. OMG, seriously, this was like some ridiculous dream, who the hell are these people? What the hell are they talking about? These people have always hated me because I remind them of my father, I was told my whole life that I am "just like HIM" and now I'm the bad guy. Not any of them, they were the ones that sat back and let me get abused by a lunatic and did nothing because it was better than having my mother be alone. They were the ones that allowed my sister become pathological, and gave into her lies because they didn't want to have to help her. Sure blame me, I'm an easy target.

I got on that plane home and never looked back. That was the last time I saw my sister. I sent her a letter a few years ago after she had a miscarriage but I never heard back. She is one of those people that should never have children, for many reasons. One of the reasons is what prompted me to write this.

She did have a baby, three years ago yesterday, I have a niece and K has a cousin that neither of us will ever meet. Before this child was born I told my dad to watch out for it, J was incapable of taking care of anything and this child will most likely be neglected. I told my dad that J will not do anything to help this child in life, she will not love or nurture it, she will not help it learn and grow. She will use it as a tool to get attention and it's going to be bad. This was not said out of jealousy it was said out of fear, for a life that was about to be completely messed up. I told my dad that I hope to god I am wrong about this.

I wasn't. My dad sent me a video from the party today, a party with no friends, no other kids, just my parents, J's in-laws and her husband who seemed to be asleep on the couch when he wasn't yelling. When I saw the little girl I know that my prediction was correct. This child cannot talk, doesn't focus and has poor motor skills. Not one person in that room has said a word about this. Earlier I sent a text to my dad saying that being at the party and celebrating with them was accepting the abuse and neglect that his daughter is inflicting on her own child. I think my words must have gotten to him. Before he left he blew up at them, saying that clearly there is a problem with this child, she needs help and she needs it now. My sister has a litany of excuses just like always but this time there is someone else involved. I hope and pray that something is done now. If anything can be done at all.

So there's the story of my sister. Living in complete denial surrounded by people who clearly would rather shut up than face the truth, no wonder they hated me. I was always throwing in their face everything they refused to see. Even as a child, my mere presence was a reminder of what was going on in my house. Instead of helping me they blamed me.

That thing I did to my sister? I grew up and evolved, I faced the reality of my life and learned from it. I didn't retreat and withdraw. What I specifically did to her? I put the mirror up to her and made her look at herself, she didn't like that.

Do I miss having a sister? Of course. The good thing is that now I have new sisters. Sisters that are with me at all times (and you know who you are!!) and have my back.