Sunday, March 19, 2006

In My Shoes....

Have you ever had a series of events unfold that make something come together for you out of nowhere? Perhaps it is a realization about a relationship or an awakening to a time in your life that you never really understood before? If so, do you believe it was really just a fluke or some sort of fate at work in your life?

This happens to me often, and I believe it is God working in his subtle ways to teach me and help me figure out things in my life. Sometimes the realizations come like thunderbolts, but most often they sneak up on me. Tonight was like this for me.

I had a scare this week with this blog. I may have been "outed" to someone who doesn't know I write on here. You see, I've never shared with anyone in my family that I have this blog. When I started, I had another more family-friendly/photo blog of my kids milestones and it just made sense to keep this private and separate--a place for me to talk about some private thoughts and memories I have. Things that could be hurtful to the people I love most, so I would never want them to read them.

So, my only sister may have found and read this site. I don't think she has, but she may have stumbled across it innocently. And, if she did, she may have been hurt by a few of my posts. I guess my hope is that if she did read it, she read a lot of it and may have a different understanding of me than she previously did, if nothing else.

You see, what I think my sister see in me, is not who I really am as a whole person. She seems to quickly label people, and acts as if she knows me so well, but often says things to make me realize she is way off of base. To her, I am in one clean box, that she can label and put away or pull out as she needs. I am the older one. I am the one Mom compared her to for many years. I am the one who didn't rebel, didn't get into trouble, and didn't mess up as much as she felt she did. To my sister who is so much younger than me, I am a lecturing older one who doesn't know how to cut loose, party, and have fun. I am someone she loves and resents fiercely all in the same breath. She can tell me I am her very best friend in one moment, and curse my back the next. She thinks she knows me, just as my mother feels she knows me. But, her vision and her ability to see me is clouded by her own quick judgment. And, I admit, I may be guilty of this with her at times as well.

When I found out that my sister found certain links that might lead her to this site, I was panicked. My husband told me I should strip off some of the older writings that might be hurtful. But, a part of me doesn't want that. I do not want to hurt her, but honestly, I would love to have her understand me. Really know me for a change, instead of assuming things about me. So, I will leave things as they are, and take my chances. I can hope that if she reads these words, she will read all I have had to say and try to open her mind to what life was like growing up in my shoes.

A movie took me back tonight, to living as the bigger sister. When you are many years older, you hear the arguments over money. You are the one to take your sister by the hand and lead her into another room, and let her play with your Barbies and things to distract her. When you are the older one, you know the words that are being said and you the seriousness that resides in what they mean. You know about the lies, even though your parents don't really realize that you know. You know about the drinking, the hidden bills, and the covering up of things. You see the disappointment and despair in a mother's eyes when she realizes another lie has been told. On some of those days when the yelling gets too bad, you take your sister outside to play where she can't hear. But you do. And you live with the fear that it creates every day.

You carry this on your shoulders for a long time, until it is time for you to go away to college. And, when you leave, you worry a lot about leaving her behind, this emotional little girl who can't get along with her parents, who you have tried to help for so long. So, you try from afar, to be the peacemaker between your parents and her. You try to make her see that you do understand how she's feeling, but also you understand them. You try to make it all work, but you are far away. You have started your own life and the stress of trying to fix theirs has become too much. You are spread so thin by it all that you feel sick insdie. You start to resent her for never being able to get her act together. And things seem to only be getting worse with all of them. You feel like a hamster running on the wheel trying desperately to patch up the hurt, but never getting anywhere.

You cry at nights, have horrible tension headaches, and things in your marriage start to crumble from the stress of it all. And, finally, you realize you have to close yourself off from it now. You have to make it clear that you can't help them all like this anymore, or you will be lost forever. You decide to claim your own life and push back from theirs, hoping things will work themselves out.

And, they do, over time, without you. But, then you are left feeling separate and quite alone from the people who raised you. You learn that all the years you tried to help, you were only actually helping to build more resentment towards you by your little sister. Now, as you talk to your family, you realize that they still think of you as the person you used to be all those years ago, when you have actually changed so much. But, they can't see that because you don't let them in enough to see it. The things you did to move on and live your life, took you away from them and they don't even know that really.

So, if my sister were to read this, I'd want her to know I love her and always will. A movie I watched tonight spoke to me so deeply about our relationship and made me realize that she probably doesn't know what life was like from my point of view all those years ago, because she was so young. Her memories are mine, yes, but there were things I knew about that she was too young to understand. And, maybe that is part of the reason I am who I am today and she is who she is. And, instead of berating her and letting it drive me crazy that she does not operate the same way as I do, I am left with the understanding that we are who we are for a reason. Without her, I guess I would not really be me. And, I guess, the same can be said for her.

And, I am left with the understanding now that we should be thankful for one another, even with all of our differences. And, I hope one day she can realize this too...


Blogger Shelli said...

I can really relate to this. I come from a dysfunctional family and I am the oldest so I was always the peacemaker, the caretaker the do-gooder. My brothers aren't thankful, instead they became resentful. They didn't realize what I had been shielding them from all this time. It is really hard.

1:28 AM, March 20, 2006  
Blogger FRIDAY'S CHILD said...

Oops! I'm sure she'll understand later that this blog is one way of releasing ourselves from our inner feelings. Don't feel so bad. If what you said is true of her then there's nothing to worry. You just said what you felt.

4:32 AM, March 20, 2006  
Blogger Masked Mom said...

I have often thought about this issue with my spiral notebook journal--about someone finding it and reading it and being deeply wounded. I know it's not a direct parallel since the private/public thing with blogs is a little more sticky, but I think you're doing the same thing here that I do in my journal, which is try to sort things out, to understand the past and present and the way they work together. I would hope anyone reading this--or my own journal--would be able to understand that.

7:28 AM, March 20, 2006  
Blogger Tyra said...

I wouldn't want my family to find my blog, I know there would be several people who would have hurt feelings.

I've even contemplated going more anonymous so I can really put more out there because I have found blogging is almost like therapy for me.

7:37 AM, March 20, 2006  
Blogger Crazy MomCat said...

Shelli- You have described EXACTLY how my sister is with me. Glad to know someone relates.

Tyra, I agree. This is like therapy for me...and it is MUCH cheaper. HA!

This was my anonymous one, so I guess if I'm found out I'll have to either change what I write about sometimes or disappear into another anonymous one and start over. Funny, but I never consider stopping writing though...I don't know if I could now.

8:00 AM, March 20, 2006  
Blogger kiddiecapers said...

What was the movie? if you don't mind me asking... I understand about the blog- a few people have links to mine, but the "immediate family" does not- and I try to be mostly nice, but then it IS a release, and *sometimes* the sarcasm does creep in, and someone could be hurt. so I just try to keep it funny and full of kiddie pictures, and end up venting into a friend's email box...

8:39 AM, March 20, 2006  
Blogger Nicole said...

I think you should just keep writing and being honest. She's a grown-up now and may need to hear the truth, no matter how hard it is to hear. I am a little sister, too, and I've learned a lot about my big sister by reading her blog. Some things are surprising but I am glad she writes and opens herself up like she does. I think it's empowering and courageous.

10:21 AM, March 20, 2006  
Anonymous Theresa said...

This is a wonderful post. If your sister reads this, maybe she'll start to understand things too. I'll cross my fingers for you!

11:50 AM, March 20, 2006  
Anonymous Nicole said...

Wow. I think you made the right decision. There is some risk to honesty, but it is better than the alternative in my experience. I hope she is reading, and I hope that this opens a new door for the two of you.

12:58 PM, March 20, 2006  
Blogger Lazy Daisy said...

What is life without risks? You risk what? That your sister will discover that you have feelings and emotions and can easily be tied up in knots by family pressures and expectations. Maybe she should know it. This post is one of your's real, it's honest and it is you being totally vulnerable and open. That's a rare gift my friend, and this blog is your voice. Use it wisely and well.

6:10 PM, March 20, 2006  
Blogger Vanessa said...

WOW, you are so awesome to open up this way. I protected my two younger brothers for years, still do in fact, about some bad stuff regarding my parents, and they think I'm a bitch now because I harbor so much resentment. I'd love to tell them everything, but I don't. I wish I had the courage to expose myself on my blog! Anyway, I admire you for writing this, S.

6:44 PM, March 20, 2006  
Blogger Libragirl said...

If your sister did find your site, would she tell you? Would she read enough to know you aren't being hurtful, just honest?

I wouldn't delete anything. One of the great things about blogging is it's your thoughts and ideas. If she did read and didn't like it, she should tell you but this is what you think and it's better to get it out then fester and you end up getting into fights.

8:48 PM, March 20, 2006  
Blogger Barbara said...

If she reads this post I don't think she could be mad.

If she finds it, will the rest of your family find it?

9:28 PM, March 20, 2006  
Blogger Crazy MomCat said...

Thanks for your supportive words everyone. I really don't know what she would do if she found the site. She would probably show it to my Mom, but maybe not. I'd like to hope that she would just call me and want to talk. There's a lot of stuff on here that I think she'd really like too...and be touched by. So, only time will tell, I suppose...

9:30 PM, March 20, 2006  
Blogger Chrixean said...

We are entitled to have our personal space and to voice out our issues in a manner which we feel will liberate us and free us of painful memories and thoughts. You never mentioned her name or any of your family's in your posts, so she should not make you feel bad for owning this diary and sharing your inner most feelings in it.

Let's just pray that she keeps an open mind if ever she does find her way here.

God bless...

9:49 PM, March 20, 2006  
Blogger "D" said...

You are who you are... and it would indeed be nice if your sister discovered all the wonderful parts of you! Maybe it will shake up the way in which she does her labeling?

10:16 PM, March 20, 2006  
Blogger Alison said...

I'm sorry to hear about all you had to deal with in your family!

Just yesterday I was reading the blog of someone who was worried because her blog, which she had thought was pretty anonymous, came up when she Googled her name, and she worried about certain people finding it. I think about that myself, too... I sometimes go out of my way not to link to other people's sites that might have links back to my blog. But I am usually overly aware that anyone in the world could theoretically see anything I put on a public web site or blog (even the blog I don't have my name on or link to from elsewhere), so I try not to say anything I'd be too embarrassed for my parents, brother, in-laws, husband's employers, church friends, old high school friends, etc., etc., to read! But it's a fine line, and I'm sure I write a lot of things that I'd really prefer them not to see. I do make sure not to name names or share many specific incidents that would bother someone...of if I do I put it in an e-mail or a private forum! (Some blog sites let you do "friends-only" posts, which is nice.) I would say even more about this, except that I don't want to say it in this public forum!

Still, you haven't been ragging on anyone or even naming names. I have seen blogs where people were saying cruel or tacky things about people they did name...I'm often shocked by what people will share about people who might stumble across their blogs (especially their bosses, in-laws, etc.!), but yours doesn't strike me that way at all. You're just being honest and sharing your own feelings. Maybe if your sister does find this, it could be a positive thing rather than a negative one.

I know it can happen because I found my brother's MySpace site just last week! Luckily for him, he doesn't really have a blog on it (well, only 3 silly entries), but he still has stuff on there he probably wouldn't be too comfortable with me seeing. Plus of course I could see who all his "friends" were and what they had to say. I debated on whether or not to tell him I found his page. My husband said no, and I was leaning that way, too--to just spy on him from afar (heh heh). But then I wanted to e-mail him about something else so I added a teasing message to let him know I found it. He never replied & I figure he was probably mortified. But we are so far apart in age (I'm 8 yrs older & graduated high school 10 yrs earlier) that we don't know each other that well, so I was fascinated to find this new window into him! So I check his site nearly every day...and I sent him the links to my blogs so I'm kind of hoping he might be learning more about me, too! (Though now I'm even more likely to think twice about what I post. I also know that some old high school friends have my blog address, so that gives me pause as well! I also know my Dad could get to my Blogger site, but I doubt he has bothered, or cares.) So, it may be a way for your sister to get to know you better. The complicated part is not knowing if she has seen it or not! If I were in your sister's shoes, I might feel put off by a few things in your post, but would ultimately feel moved by your obvious care about the relationship.

9:35 AM, March 21, 2006  
Blogger Alison said...

P.S. I did not tell my mother about my brother's MySpace page. It crossed my mind, but I realized she genearlly thinks it's scandalous to share stuff about one's personal life online, or even in real life. She'd probably also think it would ruin his career to have goofy stuff online. So I kept my mouth shut. And if he had said anything negative about family on there, I'd be even less likely to tell her!

9:50 AM, March 21, 2006  
Blogger Lisa said...

What an excellent piece MomCat. I think it would be WONDERFUL if she stumbled across this entry. What a wonderful opening up of your heart and thoughts, she should be no less than touched by reading this.

On the note of being "outted"...there have been people that I only met briefly that thought I wrote something about them, and I had not. They called me out on it and it was very uncomfortable. But, I swear, some people are actually disappointed that I haven't written about them. Like Lucinda said - "auditioning for my blog"!

Keep us posted!

10:52 AM, March 21, 2006  
Blogger Tamara said...

I really hope things go the way you want them to. I am proud of you for not "cleaning up" and just leaving things as they are. Good for you! I know it can be tough to put yourself out there...

10:29 PM, March 21, 2006  
Blogger LadyBugCrossing said...

I, too, am the oldest. Our perceptions are different, our memories of the same event are different... I'm sure she'll understand.. and if she doesn't, you can always give her a noogie until she does understand. :-)

6:01 AM, March 22, 2006  
Blogger Crazy MomCat said... the noogie idea, Ladybug!

8:28 AM, March 22, 2006  
Blogger Occidental Girl said...

What a great post. I think if your sister did find your blog and read this, she couldn't help but notice the sincerity with which you write so gently about a difficult topic.

Oh, and I was curious, what movie did you watch that touched you so?

This was a great entry.

11:36 AM, March 23, 2006  
Blogger Crazy MomCat said...

The movie I watched was In Her Shoes. While my sister is not as out-of-control as Cameron Diaz's character in that movie, the storyline about the older sister could have been about me. Well, except the shoe part. HA!

Rent it--it's good. It does build slowly at the beginning, but I loved it.

2:24 PM, March 23, 2006  

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