I am the oldest of four girls, I guess with this “oldest” title came the automatic assignment of always being the one responsible for the others. I was capable, more than capable so when my mom left when I was nine and requested that I parent my little sisters I was flattered that she would see that I was capable.
My sisters however were not at all like me, they were into sports, I was not. As they got older, they were outgoing and vivacious, I was not. I loved to live in my books and my thoughts. Schoolwork was easy for me; it wasn’t as much for them. I often wondered how I ended up in this tribe feeling so very different from it.
Eventually, myself and all of my sisters ended up living at my maternal grandparents. Catholic school followed by public high school because the small town we lived in had no Catholic option for high school. As my high school graduation approached, my mother said that she was ready for motherhood again and decided that my sisters would go back to live with her and her then new husband and his two daughters who would come and go as they went to their own mother’s as well.
At the time I was focused on just getting out of it all, heading off to college and a life of my own making. Living at my mother’s would be better for my sister Carmen who was battling cancer at the time since this would put her closer to the University of Michigan Medical Center where she was being treated. I was headed to college not too far from there so I would be able to see her regularly when she was having inpatient treatment. It is strange when I think back about that time, I remember Carmen getting very thin, losing her hair, being really gray and sick but she never lost her zest for life and I never for one minute thought that we would lose her and we didn’t, she survived and survives to this day.
When my sisters went back into my mother’s home however there was no longer any guard rails. My mother was still her childlike self. Absorbed in her own life, doing her own thing. Slowly but surely my sisters came off the rails too. When my stepfather was transferred to Southern Indiana and they all moved away, it all somewhat became out of sight out of mind for me. I was focused on school and the life I wanted for myself. Over time the distance between me and my sisters grew and as they continued to live in a home with no guard rails, I began to watch each of them fall to lives battling addiction and then trying to find their footing again.
As with my mother, it became ‘safer’ for me somehow to not have my sisters close in my life and that continues to this day. Don’t get me wrong, there isn’t a day that I don’t think of them and want the best for them but every time I have tried to get close to one of them my over capable nature and their desire to have it all fixed has just never worked to have a healthy relationship, so I have chosen to maintain the distance.
This distance in my family of biology has actually been an amazing gift for me because it has allowed me to be willing to be more open to a broader definition of family and sister. Over the years I have built a circle of sisters that have come into my life from various circumstances or common interests, but the connection of sisterhood has kept them in connection with me. Today as I navigate uncertainty it is this group of women who I lean on, I share tears with, I bounce ideas off and I try to show up the same for all of them.
I know that I need this tribe with me, navigating this world alone would not be healthy for me, just that word ‘alone’ bring tears immediately and a heaviness in my heart that can feel as though it will swallow you whole, so I choose differently. I choose sisterhood, not biological but stronger than biology, I choose sisterhood based in honest, real connection, free from judgement or agenda, just heart centered connection. I have sisters and because of them I am never alone.
If you are my biological sister and you are reading this, know that I love you, there isn’t a day that I don’t hold you in my heart and want the very best for you. I wish for you to know your own value and see that you are worthy of love, for when you remember your own worth you will know your path of freedom. I see you for the angels you are.
If you are in my tribe of sisters, know that I love you, I am grateful for you, I am grateful for the mirror of strength that you are for me, I am grateful for the zoom calls, the text message check ins, all of it! You are part of the strength that keeps me going, wanting to show up better in the world, do great things, be a mirror for other sisters who need it.
Over the past 9 weeks now, I have been leading a class of sisters each week exploring the topics of the wise & wild woman that we all are, each week using Writing Wisdom we write into our natural rhythms, creativity, intuition, connection and so much more, each week in this circle the vulnerability of these sisters and how we see each other inspires me, it gives me hope for the world to get through this time. Sisterhood is such a powerful bond; I am in awe of it.
If you are curious to experience Writing Wisdom, I have a couple of free classes coming up. A free Healing Circle class on Monday, August 3rd, check it out here. I also have a Life Visioning class on Wednesday, August 5th if you are interested in using the Writing Wisdom practice to explore your vision for your life, check that out here.