Family is not something we can choose. If we could, I’m sure we’d all be vying for some awesomely funny brotherly figure like Mitchell from Modern Family, a sharing and super hip sister like Denise from the Cosby Show and lenient parents who let us find our own way like those parents in My So Called Life. Or let’s be realistic, we all wish we could be a part of the family from Family Ties. At the very least, we’d audition our counterpart siblings before we agreed to enter into a life-long agreement of familydom.
For as much as my family is functions normally, we have our dysfunctional moments. As a middle child, I suffer (yes, present tense despite my near 30 years) from the curse of always being (aka feeling) right, having amazing foresight and resenting all those to take my parents attention away (umm… excuse me family dog!). As a middle child I also had the fortune (read misfortune) of having an absent, self-absorbed and bossy sister. Even when I was younger, I always felt more mature than her 4-years my senior. More than that, I suppose I felt as though my sister was just an auxiliary part of the family – someone who never really wanted to be associated with us anyhow.
If having a sister meant pretending that I didn’t (and shouldn’t) exist to her… then yes, I had an older sister. D.J. Tanner wasn’t perfect by any means, but at least at the end of each Full House episode, she and Stephanie, (my middle sister character doppelganger), would embrace in a supportive sisterly hug right before the credits ran. I watched those episodes and looked at all the ways in which my sisterly relationship lacked the support and love which strengthened family ties. Through the years I did try to connect, only to hear that my life sucked compared to hers or if it didn’t suck, it soon would since she was all-knowing at forecasting my future. People think that as you age, you let go of little grievances and have a better ability to accept things for the way that they are. Yet with the passing of nearly 30 years, I feel no closer to the person who I am supposed to look up to with admiration and respect. In fact, I feel no desire to be closer than I already am. My mother thinks me closed minded which made me reflect on my “state of yes mind frame” and this blog.
While being positive and embracing ‘the yes’ mentality is a path I am trying to abide by, I suppose I feel as though my sister is a move away from this mind frame. Why be involved with someone who only causes frustration, stress and resentment? If she were a friend, she’d be blocked on Facebook, but because she’s my sister, I’m supposed to have a certain tolerance for our differences and love her irrespective of fault. You might think you know where this post is heading: that family is there forever and my sister and I happily walk off set holding hands laughing over all those seemingly petty fights. Well, it’s not so. With most things in life, I understand that family relationships are a development… something that will evolve and take many shapes over time. Perhaps one day I can let go of the past, forgive her sisterly faults and have a real conversation that’s not entirely focused on her… but that day is unforeseen far into the future. Whether I’d like to recast her is irrelevant, I’m stuck in the situation. So the obvious answer is that I should make the most out of it. But I can’t do that. Not yet. For now I just have to find peace with the dysfunction and find a way to live with it without it being destructive to my own life.