Sisterhood is difficult. My younger (I can’t call her my “little sister” seeing as she’s three inches taller than I) sister just arrived home from work and let loose about coworkers, bosses, dress codes, etc. As the “conversation” (or would one-sided-rant be a better description?) began I knew that I could say nothing to pacify her. The vent session ended with the accusation that I am wrong, insensitive and a poor listener (as if I didn’t see that coming). This is the paradox of sisterhood – we are others’ closest allies; we are the first to let the world know of the others’ misdeeds, however slight (anything from chewing too loudly and practicing pirouettes in the living room to leaving laundry in the dryer for in inordinate amount of time, or, God forbid, brushing your teeth for more than the recommended two minutes…you know, all the earth-shattering trivialities of everyday life); we are a band of spies, secret detectives and scallywags; we are a tribe of hysterical women rolling on the floor in peals of laughter; we are a tribe continually searching for a reason to split into warring factions.
These tense encounters used to convince me that I really am an awful sister incapable of proper sympathy and support, but I’ve grown (or maybe just developed a thicker skin). After hearing about what exactly I was doing wrong I just ended the conversation and instead of turning inward against myself (or starting a fight with her about who is really the lesser human being) I simply dropped it – we’ve both had long days at work, let her be frustrated, but don’t take it to heart.
One of ED’s favorite ploys is to remind me that my closest relatives think me inadequate. But he really doesn’t get it; ED has never lived in the complex world of sisters. He doesn’t realize that despite our unconditional love for one another, we all need to be right all the time (and the other’s should not only accept this as fact, they should agree with us and kowtow at our feet in a demonstration of respect for our obviously superior intellect, or cunning, or whatever it is that has somehow made us “right-er” than those who share nearly all of our genetic material). How could ED understand? He is the manifestation of all of my doubts, he is unenlightened and lacks and experience in the real world. He dwells in such a dark corner of the human mind – he’s never felt that unique sisterly love that leads us to both chat for hours on end or abandon all lady-like graces and throw things (or punches). He doesn’t realize that to engage in a long-lasting argument you need to really care about the person with whom you are disagreeing, for if you didn’t there would be no reason to persuade them or spend your time engaging them in any way.
I’m certainly not an exemplary sister; but after 20 years of sisterhood, I’ve laughed a lot, fought a lot, schemed a lot and developed a unique perspective on love that even ED cannot tarnish.