There are two kinds of women: Those that have a sister, and those who do not.
I fall into the latter category: I am one of the Have Nots.
The subject of “Sisterhood” has been on my mind a lot recently. Barring the completely dysfunctional situation (I have one friend whose older sister tried to kill her when they were both just young girls), and understanding that NO relationship is perfect, I think having a sister would be absolutely a-maz-ing!
Like a kid in a candy shop without the money to buy anything, I’ve watched my girlfriends with their sisters with great longing. Maybe even a little envy. OK, a lot of envy sometimes. It’s a feeling that has been amplified under this latest cycle, and the truth is, no matter how close a friendship may be, the relationship with Sister always trumps it. End of story.
And why wouldn’t it? From the outset, your sister is your first and best friend and playmate, your confidante and ally. She is your caregiver, the defender and cheerleader, and your partner in crime. She also goes through all the familial “stuff” with you – everything from covering for you with Mom and Dad to shopping for the perfect outfit for your first date to sharing in the birth of your children. And she is also there to go through those really difficult times as well – death, divorce, illness, aging and everything in-between.
Sisters stick together. That’s what they do.
Having a sister – or not – is actually a huge deal, as it turns out. There are entire studies showing how those with sisters and those without are different. Sisters impact everything from our overall sense of well-being, to how we relate to others, to how lonely, unloved or fearful we may feel.
Over the years, I’ve had a few friendships that were so close, we felt like sisters. In fact, a couple of times, we even looked enough alike that people mistook us for blood kin. Oh, these are the kinds of friendships that make life so tolerable and fun and wonderful. My girlfriends have shown me true love and support, encouragement and comfort, and made me smile through some pretty rough times.
These friendships have also shown me that, when stacked up against someone who shares their literal DNA, I am and always will be a close second.
Maybe even third.
I am still so blessed. Each of the women I call “Friend” holds a special place in my life and in my heart, and I treasure them as the gold that they are. We laugh together and cry together, shop and do lunch, and have been known to toss back a cocktail or two (maybe three) as we sat on my patio solving all of our problems and the worlds as well. These friendships, in a word, are precious.
But sisters we are not nor can we ever be. When the “If You Love Your Sister” meme on Facebook is posted and tagged, I will not be included. When the family reunion pictures are taken, I will not be in them. And when I share my secrets with one of the Haves, in the back of my mind I’ll always be wondering if those same secrets will be shared later with Number One, the real BFF.
My mother was orphaned at 17 years old.
Her parents died within hours of each other, both from cancer. This catastrophic event would impact and define my mom, the second youngest of 8 children and the Baby Girl, for the rest of her life.
It’s just within the last few days that I’ve realized how much it has impacted mine.
My mom and her folks were very close. They were the perfect parents, in fact, and she was the perfect daughter as the story goes. Grandma made her beautiful clothes to wear, took in laundry, and sang in the church choir. Grandpa took her to buy a special pairs of shoes for a school dance – her first pair of high heels – and did all sort of things to make money during and after The Great Depression. Making ends meet was a big deal after my uncle (or two) destroyed the family business through theft and fraud. Globally, people were suffering as well, adding to the Collective Consciousness.
Hardworking, God fearing, loving and sacrificial. I’ve heard so many stories about my grandparents that I feel like I know them. Almost, but not really. In the stories she tells, my Grandparents hold an almost legendary place in Mom’s life. In mine, as well…mythic, even.
The heartbreaking part about losing her parents is that Mom never got over their deaths. She’s still grieving 70 years later, and as far as I can tell, has grieved every day of her life since. She is still that Orphan…that Wounded Abandoned Child.
When it came to being a mother herself, Mom loved me – no doubt about it. I am her favorite child, in fact. But she wasn’t really there for me emotionally, or playfully. I can’t remember a single time that Mom sat down on the floor and played with me. Don’t mom’s do that? I sure did. My daughter does with my grandson. But Mom treated me more as a small adult. She taught me how to be a great hostess, an organized administrator, and an excellent cook. She taught me the importance of working hard to earn money, by ironing my dad’s dress shirts, dusting the furniture, and helping with the laundry for nickels and dimes to add to my piggy bank.
She demonstrated how make a bed “properly”, and dress “appropriately” and fashionably. As a young woman, Mom was a hazel-eyed black haired beauty with boobs out to there and legs up to here that wore her hair like Patsy Cline and her attitude like The Queen. That was the upside.
There were also times when, after one too many cocktails with my dad , Mom would sit at the piano and start playing old hymns (she was a beautiful pianist and it’s been heartbreaking to watch her lose her ability to play). It always had a certain process, which would quickly disintegrate into her huddling on the couch in fetal position, weeping and crying out for her mother.
Or the times when we would take the occasional trip to church. Inevitably after the Sermon, Mom would answer the Call To Repentance. She’d grab my wrist and drag me from the pew to accompany her up to the front of the church, to kneel at the alter. Here she would disintegrate into a crying mess, sobbing out for Jesus to save her, and forgive her. This was church, in my youth….my Mother always seeking relationship with, and redemption from, Her Father.
When I was about 12, Mom came home from the hospital after one of her health issues. She and my father seemed to trade off serious “health issues” my entire life. This particular time, it was a bout with Bells Palsy. I remember her laying on my bed, and gently wiping her face with a cool cloth. I tenderly combed her hair – acts of healing and comfort to bring her some relief. This act was repeated after a surgery to remove a tumor in her stomach, and again when she fractured her pelvis 6-7 years ago, only there I bathed her feet as well.
And yet, when I think back on Mom combing my hair, I just remember lots of aggression and “painful”. When she wasn’t chopping it off so short I looked like a boy, she’d yank a comb or brush through my long curls until I was yelping out in pain. But as she told me, she wasn’t being too rough…I was being too sensitive.
And there you have our relationship in a nutshell. It’s never been about her being too rough…or critical…or emotionally imbalanced…or controlling… It’s always been about me being too sensitive.
As a kid I adapted some of the classic “survival mechanisms” caused by growing up in an alcoholic environment. High functioning, yes! But there was never a family event or holiday or work night or sporting even that didn’t include booze. And so as the eldest child and The Girl, I entered this Shadow Agreement with my mother – I would be The Adult Child caring for her Wounded Parent.
Just acknowledging this brings a new level of compassion to my heart. I love my Mom. LOVE her. We’ve had some awesome, amazing times together. I don’t like knowing she’s hurting so badly, physically, emotionally, or spiritually. I also love her enough that I wouldn’t dream of trying to talk to her about what I’ve learned, the unconscious roles we’ve been playing out. I have to accept that my Mom simply will not acknowledge her Shadows. There is too much pain and shame and guilt there.
But I can make the shift within. I don’t need her participation or approval. However, I hope that she feels the difference herself in the most positive ways, and I will continue to find ways to nurture myself in the ways I always needed.
Mother will help me.
*** I was just getting ready to hit the “Publish” button on this when the phone rang. It was mom. She’s had a bad night, didn’t sleep all night, and wants to rest. So we aren’t going to see her after all.
Was that A Shift????
Ever ask for something, and end up getting the exact opposite of what you wanted?
Yeah, me, too.
Now, I’m all about practicing Detachment and holding “expectations” and “desired outcomes” in a loose grip. I know how important it is that I not spend too much time concerned with the HOW of it all. My job is to set of the intention and let it go. I understand it’s best to put our desires out there in a very generic, visionboardy “I want to find my tribe!” sort of way, and then wait for The Universe to manifest it in some configuration.
But sometimes, I just want what I want, when I want it, exactly how I want it. Period.
Don’t get me wrong! I get many answered prayers specifically as I ask for them to be, and often in the most miraculous ways! BUT, not always. Many times the “answer” is cleverly disguised as an “issue”, or a “confrontation” or a “smack down”, and it’s my job – alchemically speaking – to turn that shit into gold.
This last couple of weeks have been intense. Like, Game Changer intense. There is so much energy and movement going on behind the scenes right now, that it’s all I can do to navigate my day to day responsibilities without screaming, ” Can’t you see I’m BUSY here???” at anyone who even looks at me!
In other words, I just want to be alone.
Alone. Oh, the sheer BLISS of the idea right now. Alone with my thoughts. Alone with my studies. Alone with nature. Alone with my journal and my cards. Alone with my prayers and my rituals and my pace and my idiosyncrasies. Alone with this stuff so I can deal with it!
This sudden compulsion to get all Hermitty is actually very normal for me, especially when I’m processing something uncomfortable or painful at a deep level. The funny thing is, given the right opportunity, I would not be able to shut up! Seriously, like the words are just poised at the back of my throat just waiting to come spewing forth. But I’m really not ready to verbalize what I’m going through because I’m pretty sure if I did, I’d be hearing a bunch of, “You did NOT just say that!” from those around me.
Anyway, I suddenly find myself in a Season where a huge spot light is beaming down onto my Relationships. All of my relationships: My marriage. My children. My family. My friends. My co-workers. My relationship with God.
My relationship with my self.
Throughout the last few weeks, my interactions with others have offered me a chance to experience both the Light Side and the Dark Side of human relationships. Which is not to say that I didn’t also have a number of positive exchanges since I wrote my last post, and they were fun! As a contrast to that, though, and where I’m focusing, are the opportunities that mirrored back to me areas where I’ve not been as supportive to myself as I could be. I noticed how I can sabotage myself, or play “small”, to make others feel more comfortable. I’ve had a chance to see where I minimize my contributions and who I am for validation, when all I really want is to feel valuable and valued.
With the help of a 5 hour audio series by the Divine Mr. O (O as in Robert Ohotto, and “Oh, if I only I were a gay man!” LOL) on the current Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio/Libra, I’ve been shown how my subconscious and unconscious patterns engage with certain people in ways that make me loose my power. And I’ve been show how shadow loyalties and agreements can energize my decisions and actions.
One of the fuglier lessons this week was watching how my unhealed Adult Child and abandonment issues sculpt the way I emotionally react to what others do and say….how hurt I get when someone I love says something untrue or hurtful (or, conversely, through what is not said). Whether what was done was intentional or not isn’t the point.
So I find myself at a Cross Roads – the kind that will ultimately change the course of my life, moment by moment, depending on what I choose. DESTINY calls. I can feel it, down in my bones and beating deep within my heart. I can hear it, whispering to me in the middle of the night. Literally. I’ve been out of bed by 3:00 a.m. every morning this week to wander outside and gaze up at the Full Moon, over and over again. I’ve lifted my arms, raising my hands in the air in supplication and surrender. With yielding and longing, and – a couple of times – with fisted hands.
Everything is up for grabs right now. That’s pretty much what I’ve put out there. That’s how serious I am about making this Shift. The idea of putting all of my relationships up on The Alter of Transformation isn’t so scary as it once would’ve been. I’ve already been here a time or two and I’m convinced that the people who are meant to be in my life will always be here. We are energetically inseparable. I’ve been taken down to white-hot ash, and risen up again – having experienced my own personal renewal as well as the rebirth of relationships I thought were dead and gone.
And here I am again, only this time I’m the one holding the match against the crispy dry edges of My Comfort Zone – ready to watch it go up in flames. Burning out and burning up the deadwood of disillusionment, dissatisfaction and disconnection so I can be Light and Free.