A Tale of Two Sisters
I have had a million things on my mind.
What else is new?
I had a strange feeling yesterday as my sister sent me a lovely photo of her, my brother in law and nephew after church.
They looked like the perfect little family.
It was like three in the afternoon, I didn’t go to church, I was still in my pjs and I was alone. I was feeling guilty that I hadn’t gone to church in weeks. But I really didn’t have the energy to sit through service as people went on about their mothers. I love my mother and I’m thankful for her, but it’s not a day that I really enjoy because of how complicated our relationship is.
I was a little bit jealous looking at the photo, but at the same time so happy that my sister managed to find her happiness and find her place and her lane.
My sister has been the kind of woman who settles down and always appears to be content. Sometimes I confused that for her playing it safe, and settling, meanwhile I was always the one to branch out, do something different or crazy and test my limits and my independence.
Sometimes, it made me feel superior.
I often wondered, why don’t you want MORE? What is out there that you dream of or feel like you lack? Why haven’t you just gone for it?
It confused me. I felt like we were made up of the same stuff, surely she had a desire for more. I looked up to her. She was a great student, a good athlete, very smart, very beautiful. I felt like she hid from her greatness. It was like her greatness was more than she could stand, a burden, a sin and she wanted nothing to do with it. It would draw too much attention, and it would be too much.
That bothered me, since I thought so much of her. I but I actually still do think highly of her. But she’s not me, and I’m not her.
She is still a little bit of a mystery because a decade separates us. She was off to college when I was eight, and she never came back home.
She never stepped up to meet it her greatness and look it in the face and accept it, I thought. Even when I tell her how beautiful she is and how she should wear her heels higher and her jeans a little tighter, she’d just shake her head. It wasn’t comfortable to her.
Why didn’t she she what I saw?
I’ve come to the conclusion, my sister is satisfied.
Sometimes, I am jealous of her ability to be satisfied, while I’m always in search of the next, the better. I can’t stand still, and more and more, I say what’s on my mind and what I won’t accept and then I don’t accept it.
We’re two sisters living in two different worlds.
She admires my independence. I admire her groundedness.
Things aren’t perfect. And she’s had her struggles. Her frustrations with work, my nephew has had some medical scares with seizures, but she’s had an amazing husband who has stood by her and seems to adore her still.
I had a long talk with my cousin Friday night, and I asked her if I was too independent, too selfish for a real relationship, marriage? Would I be able to subdue my often independent and creative and impatient nature and would my future man accept it?
It seemed like my sister was highly suited for traditional, stereotypical marriage. She didn’t have a rebellious streak in her at all. She did everything she was supposed to and without complaint or grumbling. She was a good kid. She rarely got in trouble or talked back to our parents ever. I had the smart mouth. I would question. I would act a fool in the store.
She would occasionally stand up for herself when necessary, but like myself, she calculates her moments and tends to be non-confrontational unless she has to be.
When I was engaged and preparing for marriage, I was trying to mimic what a good wife was supposed to be– full of self-sacrifice, totally supportive. I put everything into my relationship. However, my creative side was lacking. I was afraid if I didn’t faithfully put a certain amount into the savings account we created together that we agreed upon, I’d be letting down my man, I’d be cheating him and I wouldn’t want him to think I wasn’t pulling my weight. Our accounts and our participation in contributing to them allowed us to live as we pleased without worry. It was smart. I wanted to always be attractive to him, I wanted to be able to do the things he wanted sexually. I thought that was what good wives were supposed to do. The best wives seemed to be the ones who sacrificed the most.
So here I am.
I know myself better than I’ve ever had before. But I worry.
I’ve seen a lot of pain. I’ve seen a lot of selfless acts in my family. I’ve seen people fear and or deny their own pleasure and happiness and wants because they had to take care of someone else out of love and duty.
I don’t want a life like that. I want to feel like I’m being mutually loved, nurtured, protected and taken care of. Love should be freedom. The person you love should make you feel free. Yes, you have a duty to them, but you should feel most like yourself. You should feel free.
The stakes are getting higher and higher for me because I see how quickly life can change how life is filled with joyous moments, but also highly painful ones that require support networks free of judgement, and full of acceptance and love.
It’s strange how I don’t want my man to feel like he has to sacrifice everything for me, but I want to just know, like I know my own name he would if he had to, but because I love him just as much and I’m giving too, he doesn’t have to… Because that’s what you do for love.
You don’t trap people.
You accept them. Even when they change, because they are going to change and grow and you are going to change and grow too.
The goal is to change and grow in a way that benefits the unit.
I think people in relationships are allowed to change and grow.
But the vision for the relationship should always remain the constant. You have to agree to that from day one. Even when children come and when they’ve left the house, even when there is success, even when there is failure.
You both are looking at the same goal.
Sometimes I wonder if I already know this man. I wonder if I have to fall in love again and fail once, twice or even three times, before I’m supposed to be with him. If I’ll be mature enough or worthy enough to be allowed to have the one finally revealed to me.
I wonder If we’ve met before quickly and brushed past each other on a busy street, or we’ve sat and had easy conversations that lasted well into the night, laughs lingering in warm air. I wonder if he’s right around the corner, or living half way across the globe, doing all of the things he’s supposed to be doing so he can find his way to me at the exact, preordained time. I wonder if it will take ten years from now to find or rediscover him.
The timing isn’t up to me.
Who he is, isn’t even up to me.
It is up to me to recognize his voice when I hear him.
His touch when he touches me, his kiss.
To look in his eyes and see him and know.
That kind of love is out there.
I’m sharpening my skills to better identify it.
I’m getting closer.
I was told not to worry. That he’ll find me and love every bit of me. He’ll accept those dark things that occupy my mind that makes me quiet and moody sometimes, and he’ll love me through it. He’ll give me just enough space, but he’ll know exactly when to come in, not say a word kiss me on my head and hold me close.
Everyday, every action, we both are getting pulled closer.