Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Blogger's been slow and annoying all day. I've had some lively debate today both on blogs and on the phone with a sister who never reads the paper or watches the news or goes online, but who thinks she knows more than I do about current events because her boyfriend spoon feeds her his opinion. For a gal who reads nothing but feminist empowerment novels, she is surprisingly dependant on men for her opinions.

I actually didn't tell her that. I'm trying to cultivate better relationships with my sisters and I figure I can start by not offending them immediately. It's a bad habit we all have from our dad who was the world's harshest critic. We grew up taking great pleasure in one-upping each other, and it made for a harsh and brutal environment. It is no wonder I get along better with boys. They seem sweet and cuddly compared to the estrogen zoo I grew up in. I'm guilty of contributing my share to the chaos, but I also took the brunt of a terrible situation.

I don't usually like talking about this stuff, but it's been on my mind lately. When I was 15, my father had been diagnosed with leukemia for 4 years, and needed a bone marrow transplant. We moved to Houston so he could have it at MD Anderson Cancer Center. As our terrible luck would have it, my grandfather (my father's father) was diagnosed with liver cancer and decided to come to Houston for treatment as well. We all rented a house together, and it was a pretty tight squeeze which became tighter when my eighth sister was born. Six months after her birth, while my father was in the midst of radiation and chemotherapy, my mom was in a bad car accident and broke her arm in three places.

Sick grandfather, sick father, sick mother, new baby. It was a lot for me to deal with. All my school-age sisters started school (we had been previously homeschooled) except me. Someone had to watch the little ones, and my mom was hurt and had to stay with my dad, so the task fell to me. I resented the hell out of not being able to go to school because I needed a social outlet desperately. But I had no choice, so with the good grace of a disgruntled teenager, I did what I had to do. Fortunately for me, my little sister was an angel wrapped in gold and rarely gave me a moment's trouble and she has stayed an angel to this day.

I can't say the same for the rest of my sisters. They were going to a Catholic school with a bunch of snotty rich kids, and they began to look disparagingly at our situation. One sister decided she had to have a pair of Cole Haan loafers, which were around $100.00, and she hounded my mom until she bought them. The others were just as bad in their own ways.

I realize now they were being teased by the snotty rich kids, but it didn't make me feel too great when one of them informed me that I was a "loser" because I didn't go to school. Selfish Bitch. Nevermind that I read more while I watched my sisters than they probably have to date. No. Their contempt stemmed from me not having any friends. This was torturous. I didn't have any friends because I didn't go to school. And I couldn't go to school because I had to watch the little ones. The ingratitude of their remarks made me want to rip out their eyes and disfigure them for life, but I satisfied myself with whacking them upside the head every now and then.

After our grandfather and father both passed away, I could have gone to school, but I would have been a year behind. Screw that. I wasn't going to waste any more precious time than I had to. I started working at 16, about a week after my father died. I got my GED when I was 17 and started community college. I transferred to a University from there.

My relationships with my sisters have improved somewhat over the years, but I think I will always feel like it's me against them. I've convinced myself that I have an unfair advantage, but it's still aggravating to feel so alienated from my own family. My sisters are all a little clique complete with inside jokes from the days they all went to school together. They are shallow, trivial, mildly amusing, but definitely shallow. They don't get my sense of humor at all, and can't talk of anything deeper than music. I love them and I like watching and listening to them, but I don't like them at all even to this day.

If this post is totally out of focus it's because it's 3:30 am.

Sorry for the self-pity.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

On : 1/26/2005 4:33:30 AM Johnnie Walker (www) said:

That was depressing.


On : 1/26/2005 7:54:09 AM Fleece (www) said:

Interesting. I did some research (self, introspective kind) on my social circles and the kind of 'masks' I wore for each situation. Your story reminded me of the 'high school mask' I wore when I was physically in high school and the different mask I wore once I left for the day. Polar opposites. I wonder what your sisters' experiences were and if they really thought you were missing out. Granted, they were teens at the time, so high school really was a tiny world, a complete social scheme.

I think your experience during that time is more valuable to you than your sisters' probably was to them -- in the long run.

If this post doesn't make any sense, I have no excuse. It's not in the middle of the night. I'm just rambly like that.


On : 1/26/2005 8:04:22 AM angi (www) said:

I agree with Fleece, I think your experience was much more valuable in the long run. Yeah, it sucked. But now, you are this compassionate, educated, kick-butt woman. You sacrificed your youth to help out your family. It gave you a head start into adulthood, that some of your sisters still havent reached.

In other words, it made you who you are, and we kinda like you that way!


On : 1/26/2005 8:11:31 AM Zelda (www) said:

Sorry Johnny

Fleece - I'm sure they thought I was missing out at the time. I did too. I don't now. I'm actually convinced that I have a completely intact ego and self-esteem because I DIDN'T go to high school. But the greatest amount of clousure will come when Jeth and I pay off our debt and get a fabulous house that they are all going to want to visit. I'll let them of course, and rub their little noses in it the whole time. Cruel? Yes. I'm petty and I admit it. But they dick around too much, drinking and partying and not saving any money. Unless they marry money (which I fully expect them to do because that's how they are) I will be pretty far ahead of them. I know I sound competitive, but I we are all my sisters are competitive by nature.


On : 1/26/2005 8:13:48 AM Zelda (www) said:

Angi - I kind of have to disagree - I didn't really get a head start on adulthood, but I appreciated my youth and my college days much more because of it. Believe me, I take great satisfaction in being better read, more articulate, and wealthier than they are.


On : 1/26/2005 8:30:24 AM Kat (www) said:

I think it sounds like you are the kind of stand-up person that is just born that way. You take on the strongest and most difficult roles because you can, and others usually can't. I bet you have trouble letting most other people drive when you're in the'd rather do it yourself. I think you should be more than proud of yourself, and eventually, they'll see that, too.


On : 1/26/2005 9:32:20 AM micki (www) said:

You don't have an unfair advantage. You took a bad situation and turned it into a better one. It's hard to put yourself through college. You made yourself into a better person. Your sisters are losing out on a lot, being selfish like that. Maybe, one day, they'll wake up and see you for the person you are.


On : 1/26/2005 10:31:16 AM tinyhands (www) said:

If, as I glean, you're the oldest (and we know that you're still quite young), they're still far too young to appreciate the sacrifice you made and the maturity you've always had. There's no amount of arguing or debate you can have with them at this point to get them to see it from your perspective, so be patient. Hopefully their understanding will come sooner rather than later, but whether or not they ever thank you for being the best big sis a gal ever had does nothing to diminish the fact that you are.


On : 1/26/2005 10:42:26 AM Zelda (www) said:

Kat - LOL - Actually you're half right. I HATE driving, but I'm a little bit of a back seat driver. Jethro hates me.

Micki - I was displaying a shamesles ego when I said I had an unfair advantage over them, meaning I can take them all. But I thank you for the kind words. I don't care much what my sisters think anymore. I just wish they'd make an effort to make holidays more pleasant.

Tiny - Stop. You'll make me cry. But you make a good point about them being young. I am the oldest and lately my sister who is closest in age to me has started making appreciative noises. We'll see. I don't hold out much hope, but I've largely stopped caring.


On : 1/26/2005 12:04:20 PM Gooch (www) said:

I agree with Tiny - It sounds just like being a parent in the sense that you'll probably have to wait it out another decade or so before all of them realize what an incredible sacrifice you made for them.


On : 1/26/2005 12:53:43 PM Zelda (www) said:

I don't really want credit. It wasn't like I did it willingly. I bitched about having to ditch school pretty much without ceasing

I guess I don't know exactly what I want, but a little respect would be nice.


On : 1/26/2005 3:07:13 PM Jen (www) said:

You wouldn't be the woman you are now if it had not been for all those past experiences. Who knows where you would have gone to school, who you would have dated and possibly married, and what kind of mother you would have been to another man's children.

That being said, you and Jethro are one of the happiest and most grounded couples I know. You both faced hardships as kids and early adults, and are all the better for dealing with that crap. The fact that you can honestly state, that at the age of 29 you have faced your worst demons and worst life problems, is a testament to who you are.


On : 1/26/2005 5:26:19 PM Kate the Peon (www) said:

That's sad, Zelda. My sister is one of my closest friends. I wish you had the same - she's such a valuable resource.

Hope things turn around.


On : 1/26/2005 6:56:22 PM Inanna (www) said:

Yes, they are much too young to appreciate you. And if I could go back to any time in my life... I can guarantee it wouldn't be the high school I went to.


On : 1/26/2005 11:41:43 PM Ciggy (www) said:

Catholic school, like with the skirts and everything?

No... wait... (FOCUS Ciggy, FOCUS!)


On : 1/26/2005 11:54:59 PM Zelda (www) said:

LOL Skirts and all. I even went to Catholic school, but I was in elementary. 8th grade was the highest I went. But looking back, we all looked pretty cute in those uniforms.

I remember being in 8th grade and trying to hem my skirt just a little bit shorter. It was supposed to be just below your knees, but everyone cheated a little and hemmed them to just above. The faculty was always whining about it, but they never did anything.


On : 1/27/2005 9:47:17 AM Jethro (www) said:

Do you still have that uniform babe?


On : 1/27/2005 11:14:22 AM Zelda (www) said:

Yeah, but you wouldn't want to see me in it.


On : 1/27/2005 1:33:29 PM angi (www) said:

I know my self esteem would be better if I had skipped high school!


On : 1/27/2005 3:18:11 PM wilde_thought (www) said:

You are mature when you can look back and decide that the bad stuff that happened made you a better person today. The sad thing is that you and your sisters had decidedly different childhoods and you aren't that close because of it. Don't be too upset if it that sisterhood you want never happens. It's been my experience that relationships once set down a particular path usually stay true to that course.


On : 1/27/2005 3:48:44 PM Jethro (www) said:

Try me!


On : 1/27/2005 4:16:59 PM Zelda (www) said:

WT - I won't be, but I will enjoy getting rich and rubbing their faces in it.

Jethro - Trust me!