Where Did it All Go Wrong? Dear Sister, Part 1.

Dear Sister,

Where did it all go wrong? I cannot remember most of my early childhood nor can I find any early memories of the two of us. Photographs show a forgotten love. I cannot say that we were ever close. I cannot even say that I have ever felt a natural bond with you. How sad, for both of us. Perhaps our parents were to blame. Any time I wanted to talk to you, communicate with you, I was stopped. They intervened.

“Don’t upset your sister,” they would say.

What could a seven year old have ever said to upset you? I was a child who did not understand depression. No one sat me down and explained it. I was just left to second guess every action and every word I spoke. That is cruel. In the past, when I mentioned it to the two of them, both have become defensive. Both have denied any wrong doing and I berate them for that. As a parent to be and a parent yourself. surely one is able to admit that they are not perfect. There are and will be times we will fail. It is what makes us human.

My only childhood memory of you that stands out is a sweet moment of sibling protection.

I have made it clear in this blog that there was a time where my mother was not the person she is now. Looking back, she was a very frightening woman. In a flash of rage and disappointment (for reasons I cannot remember) our mother launched at me one day. It was not the first time she had been violent. Smacking happens all around the world and I understand that in certain circumstances it may be necessary but I cannot advocate slapping a five year old child on any part of their body. At that age, a time out should be used or at very least your words. I remember running from her and finding you on the sofa. I jumped on you in tears, scared to the bone, calling your name. She was storming towards us as I huddled and cuddled myself into you. She was on one mission only, for me to learn my lesson. Her flat palm took a large swing and her aim for my bare thigh was on target. With force she let go. I screamed anticipating the pain but before I knew it, you had shielded the beast with a cushion. There was no pain. My tears were staining your shirt, I closed my eyes knowing that she would not be happy. She yelled at you but you just yelled back. She wouldn’t fight you. She never has. You won. I won. You saved me.

I never felt that love again.

What went wrong? At what point did you stop loving me? I never stopped. I looked up to my older sister but I was an embarrassment to you. You only sought my mother’s approval and when you achieved it, I was of little point. As a teenager you distanced yourself. Academics and grades were more important and the small glimpses of fun you did enjoy were not shared with me. Yes, as an older sister, I do understand that having a nagging eight year old wanting your constant attention would be off-putting but I wasn’t a stranger off the street, I was your only sister!

I was no doubt confused the time you requested I stay with you for a weekend at University. To me, it made no sense but my happiness that my sister finally wanted to spend time with me was too much to question your reasons. I cannot remember that weekend. For a while, I thought I had imagined it. Only recently did my mother confirm it really took place.

After that, well nothing.

I felt completely apart from you. The only information I got was from my mother and she was not forthcoming with positive news. I was only to hear negative. It only created a further barrier between us.

How could the two of you ever ask or expect me to live with you instead of my father? You were not the better choice. Neither of you made me feel a part of YOUR family. I wasn’t. I was an outsider in the private, secretive world you had created. You were both so confusing, frightening. Your emotions and anger were raw and your hate for my father was so magnified. I couldn’t live with that. I loved him.

I loved you too. Both of you.

But love was used as a bargaining tool, how many times was I subjected to,

“Well, if you really loved us then……..”

Is that fair? As a parent and a sister tell me, is it?

Is this the point it went wrong for us?

If it is and you cannot forgive me then why on earth did you forgive him?! I have seen and heard of what he did to you. Yet, in his final years, you put that behind you. You forgave him for his torturous behaviour and allowed him into your life.

Explain yourself!*

 

There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.

*Part 2 to follow.

Dear Teachers.

Dear Teachers,

In the five years I spent at your school, I can honestly say that I am not entirely sure how I came out of it so sane. I was sent to you after my prodigal sister. I am aware (by my parents) that I did not do exceptionally well in my entrance test and certainly not as well as my sister, who came in on a scholarship. However, my grades (or lack of them) did not matter to you. I was my sister’s sister. I had to be good…………right?

But I wasn’t.

I was me. Not her. Yet that was never celebrated.

The first two years of high school, I slipped under the radar. I did okay, I went by unnoticed as did my grades. I excelled in the subjects I thought I would: Drama, Art, Music and English. The complete opposite to her. I was not an academic to you all. I was never part of any social dramas nor did I take any leadership roles, it was easy to forget about me.

I remember when you did notice.

When my grades slipped too far, I became your target. Suddenly, the girl you’d forgotten became the most memorable of all. Especially when you remember who my sister was – your star student. The morning you took me for a walk around the school and down to the hall where the plaques hung showing your most prized pupils of past. Where my sister’s name shone and burned into me. The place where you pointed out what I should be achieving and that I “had a lot to live up to”.

What you didn’t question was why.

Why was this sweet, lively girl’s grades dropping?

Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that my childhood was falling apart. That my home-life was like a war zone. The year was 1996, I was fourteen years old, my mother had just applied for divorce and you decided to put me on report.

You close-minded, arrogant idiots.

The reputation of your school and the notoriety of your name was much more important that a young girl struggling to make sense of her family disintegrating before her eyes. You humiliated me by dragging in my parents to discuss my “future”. Who were you to predict that? While my mother already held me in low regard, you only fuelled her perception of me. I had further disappointed her and as you placed my sister on that righteous pedestal, her place in my mother’s eyes grew stronger. You played a very clear part in the destruction of our relationship and for that I will never forgive you.

There were no positives made. No redeeming features. Humiliation and bullying was your forte. I was lost and no one was reaching out to guide me. No one.

Perhaps, if you had spent more time concerned about the welfare of your students and their emotional well being, I would have better memories of you all.

Sadly, I don’t.

Poetry Week.

I’m no poet.

I have only begun writing again this year. I once loved poetry especially as a child. Poetry has always been my mother’s ‘thing’ just as writing has always been my sister’s ‘thing’. I was never known as the poet or writer in the family. We weren’t allowed to ‘share’ hobbies. I was not praised for excelling in the same way as my family. I was supposed to have an individual talent and stand out on my own. My poetry, my writing is entirely different to theirs. I should be allowed to showcase my own talent.

Creativity should not be stifled, it should be cheered and supported. I was the showman to my family. The actress and so-called “Drama queen”. I craved attention as a child but not for the reasons they pushed on me. I only ever wanted love.

My outlet has always been writing. At school I excelled at English. I was a story teller, imaginative and creative. I was a dreamer, frequently narrating and creating exciting stories for my friends. I wrote diaries and journals. I was incredibly expressive but my outlet was stunted during my teen years.

My sister wanted to be a journalist. It suddenly became clear that she would be the story teller in our family. This was her future – not mine.

I began writing privately. It became an emotional release. It still is.

Only now, in the last year, have I felt confident enough to showcase my own writing, my own poetry. I do not want to compete with my award-winning journalist sister. It would be amazing to have a stepping stone into the world of publishing. It’s just sad that my own sister has always looked down on my writing. She has always seen me as that fifteen year old girl and I can’t imagine she’ll ever look at me any differently.

I could have a way in. To show my work and truth to the whole world but the one person who could help me sees me as the enemy. Nothing I can do about that. Convenient eh?

This week is Poetry Week for me and I will be showcasing some of my most recent work. I hope you all enjoy.

Ros xx

Before I was born.

From what I hear, this was a decent time for the rest of my family. Although my parents did not have the best relationship, their hatred was not as magnified as it later became. My sister has fond memories of this time; the eight years before I was born.

The family took holidays together and spent time socialising, it seemed happier. That’s not to say there were not problems. My father was incredibly abusive to my mother behind closed doors and bang in front of open ones too. My sister was definitely a witness to the fights and abuse. Overall however, it was nothing like it would become.

My mother’s desperation for a second child was the catalyst in ripping the family apart. My father did not want me, he made that very clear to her but she longed for another baby. This obvious desperation only exaggerated his despise for her, he hated weakness in people. What’s a natural feeling for a woman was a weakness to him. He would never understand that feeling, a want to love, a longing to pour love into someone.

To give love, you need to feel love.

Eight years is a big gap between siblings. My mother was pregnant before having me but sadly lost her previous babies. He wasn’t there to support her through that. Instead he berated her and used it as another way to criticise her. He was moody and implied to her that he was not responsible for the loss of her child. He was that much of a narcissist that it had to be all about him! His love for her had faded and there was no respect. Within days of returning from the hospital my father was giving my mother demands. The want for a second child only amplified.

As my mother edged towards her 40th birthday her second daughter was born three weeks early.

He seemed happy – at least for a while.

We, us, she, me.

We were close once.

The age difference was not an issue for a short while. We had a relationship; we just don’t any more.

The two of us have never looked alike. People often mentioned how different we were not just physically; our personality could not be further apart.

She was an intellectual, quiet and gentle in nature. My mother oddly looked up to her when surely she should have really been her role model. She could talk to adults from a young age showing high levels of maturity as a child. Her school years were easy and she flew through exams, achieving high grades and scholarships everywhere she went. People liked her, adults admired her. I admired her. As an adult she grew in confidence and power. She and my mother formed a tight unit – unbreakable and robust, I could not get through it. I wanted to be included and be a part of her life. Her personality began to alter the older she got. She is a total stranger now. This is not what I ever wanted for us.

As for me, I want her in my life.

Of course I do.

Although I do not want criticisms or attacks. I do not want my character tarnished any more. I cannot cope with it. I endured it for years from all of them. We could have a relationship and find the love we once had for each other all those years ago. The two of us could unite once again and become a true family. She doesn’t have to do it alone.

Come back to me.

Sister.