I have a sister. Although I don’t mind revealing my identity, I want to keep hers private, so let’s call her K.
K and I were never close. K and I never talked. But recently, K got engaged, and then her fiance’s dad passed away.
And, suddenly, I was receiving middle of the night texts when she couldn’t sleep, asking if I was up and wanted to talk.
For the first time ever.
Since she was having a tough time, I welcomed her into my life for a day. We hung out. It was nice. She has never been to Sydney, so in typical tourist fashion, I took her to The City, for some classic selfies with the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. I think she enjoyed it, but honestly it’s hard to tell. I always thought I was the closed off one, but maybe I retreated so far within myself I never noticed the similarities between K and I.
I haven’t seen her for nearly two years. And in that time, as regular readers will know, my mental health hasn’t exactly been great. I have been self-harming since I was fifteen or sixteen, but until this year, I never self-harmed on my wrists. So K was pretty confronted today, when she saw my scars.
Some of what she said upset me, and I could tell she was upset, as she asked me why with tears in her eyes. So I told her: I hate myself, and I hate being alive a lot of the time, and I deserve to be punished for making mistakes and taking up too much space.
Those aren’t real reasons, she said.
That hurt. (It also made me want to cut… which I know is the opposite of what K would have wanted, but it just hurt so much, and I needed to make that pain apparent. I didn’t though. I binged instead. Which will probably lead into some self harm later anyway, but then at least K isn’t directly responsible.)
But I suppose, seeing your younger sister for the first time in a long time, with her mental health finally visible for all too see, would have hurt too.
Like my flesh, I suppose our sisterhood is scarred in some ways. I know we didn’t get along well when we both lived at home, and I know I was often provocative. But I also know that I felt entirely inadequate next to her. I also know that sometimes, the things she said made it seem as though she knew my struggles and was just another person bullying me about it.
A sister, scarred, and a scarred sisterhood. Hand in hand, I hope we can heal each other.