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Flashback Friday: Sisters

Friday, September 17, 2010

That's me on the right and my sister on the left. She is 13 months younger, but taller by about 7 inches and "prettier" by my family's standards. It still stings a little when I think about all the times an aunt, uncle, cousin, grandma, or even our father would call her pretty and then silently stare me.

It was painful to be considered ugly by your own family. How was a girl supposed to develop a positive self-image?

I found other ways to get attention and praise. I devoted myself to my school books, and I became the "smart" one. Aunts, uncles, cousins, grandmas, and even our mother would call me smart and then silently stare at my sister.

Looking back, I see how it must have hurt her not to be considered bright. How was she supposed to develop positive self-esteem?

To this day I have no idea why our families pigeonholed us that way. Their labels sparked a competitiveness that fueled a bitter rivalry that still simmers. We fought like wildcats and spewed hateful words at each other. We never became close like sisters should be.

As adults we've managed to put the animosity aside, but it's hard to get past the past, especially when we are around our family. They bring all the nasty emotional ooze bubbling to the surface. That's not a good excuse. We are both grown women and should be mature enough not to let others drive a wedge between us.

So I'd like to tell Tameka, my sister, that she is an intelligent, gifted young woman. I hope one day soon that we can trust each other enough to have a sisterly relationship.

Thanks to my cousin Tony for supplying this long-lost photo for today's flashback.


Help! Mama Remote... said...

This happens so often in families & I don't think parents realize it. I hope you can tell your sister this personally. It may be the begining to your healing

Alexia said...

This post breaks my heart because my sister and I have had similar issues from childhood, but we are the best of friends now. I can't imagine why your family (or mine for that matter) felt the need to call one of your prettier and suggest that one of you was bright and the other wasn't. As my therapist says: now that you're a parent, you can use these horrible lessons to learn what NOT to do to your own children. I really hope you and your sister can rebuild a sisterly relationship, it is one of the most challenging and rewarding relationships in my life.

Anonymous said...

aww I hope you guys can get it. A sisterly bond is like no other. I have 4 sisters and my bond with each of them is something I cherish.

Michelle @Flying Giggles said...

I hope your relationship with your sister can now flourish, it is never too late. What an unfortunate circumstance. I am sure it will help you by realizing how you want to raise your own family, but unfortunately, it was at the expense of your own relationship with your sister.

Pat said...

that sounds like my family.. my sister who is just one year older than me was the smart pretty one because she looked like my mom and I was the artsy knows what she wants girl.. I really try to teach my girls that they are pretty and smart and artsy, they can both be that if they want to.

Mrs. K said...

Well, I think you guys both look beautiful in that photo. And, I agree--families do that without realizing what they are doing (especially blunt Jamaican families--LOL). In my family, I was the "smart" one and my cousin was the one with the "personality." It is funny to think about now, but it wasn't funny at the time. A good thing about the situation is that you are aware of it and likely won't do the same with Marlie and her future siblings :)

April Yedinak said...

Not that it matters what a person looks like, but I don't see how anyone could rate one girl as prettier than the other. You were both adorable.
This is a common thing though. My sister was the 'pretty, but dumb' one and I was the 'smart, but homely' one. It hasn't affected my life much, but sad to say my sister has built her whole life and happiness on her appearance and when it fades with age, I worry what she will do.

True Hearts Marriages said...

Thank you for sharing that wonderful story of you and your sistah. Yes, isn't something how family plant seed of division in us early in life, and being young we do not have what it takes to stop those seeds from growing and manifesting in our hearts. I thought that they both of you were delightfully beautiful in that picture and you both looked like twins to me!!! But, anyway people see differently. As a wise man said, "Different doesn't mean better or lesser then it just means different," if we could only appreciate our differences and see the beauty in that I think we would be able to encourage one another from a better perspective. This is my first time visiting, I will be following you henceforth...check us out at, "thmcovenant.blogspot.com"...
blessings in your day, Penny:)

Radical Selfie said...

You quite literally brought tears to my eyes, Teresha! I'm so sorry that you and Tameka had do tote around all that unwarranted baggage placed upon you by family. From the outside looking in, you seem to be such a beautiful and confident woman, and I'm grateful to see that you managed to find yourself despite those issues.

We all have our versions of family baggage, and for me, I get called (to my face and also in conversations of which I'm told) "Perfect Patty" aka the one who thinks she's perfect and doesn't make any mistakes. Fortunately, I was too busy living in my head to even notice until later in my life. It definitely stings, because I came off "unrelatable" to many of my cousins, and to this day, my sister and I don't speak in large part because of the "Perfect Patty" label.

As a mom of two girls, I'm always cognizant of how I speak to each one of them. I never compare, and I'm vigilant about snapping at folks who compare them in any way. Marley is vocal and assertive, and sometimes people notice Sage's quiet persona and think she's the "prettier, but not as smart one". They say it not in so many words, but show it in many ways. Maaaaan, if they don't calm that down!!

Anyway, Kris and I do our best to remind each of them how special they are, and also that comparisons are un-necessary when you appreciate value in yourself and others.

Hugs to you, sis!

The Redhead Riter said...

She was much bigger than you! Reminds me of me and my sister. She was just a little tiny, petite girl with all the guys while her BIG TALL NERDY sister hid in the house LOL

Nice post for your sis

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